When the Joy Mining Machinery Toyota Tundra makes its debut tonight in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway, one fan in attendance will wear an extra wide grin.
Kenny Gregory, known in the infield at "The Fathead Guy" will be wearing that shit- eating smile (even though, he points out, no one has ever been known to have exibited any form of happiness immediately after swallowing human feces).
Kenny names Kyle Busch, who owns the ruck, as his favorite NASCAR driver.
But tonight, even more important, is the Joy Mining logo on the Kyle Busch Motorsports truck's hood. Gregory spent 35 years working for the Franklin Pa.-based Tool and Die Maker. He retired in 2003, and saved up enough to now travel the NASCAR circuit, taking his life-size Fathead driver stand-ups to up to 25 NASCAR races a year.
(Either Gregory saved a ton of bread, or it will come out in a few years he's the next Bernie Madoff. Whatever the case, mazel tov, Kenny, you love the racing, the fans love you, and you deserve to be at each and every race.)
Many fans know Gregory as a gregarious and tireless networker in the campgrounds, using the Fatheads to stimulate conversation, debate and new friendships. Kenny was the same at work, receiving several awards for cost saving for the company of 8,000, which is a leader in developing equipment to extract underground coal and other bedded materials.
Tonight, 2009 and 2010 World of Outlaws Late Model Series (WoO LMS) champion Richards will be at the helm of the Joy Mining Machinery Toyota Tundra Gregory will be pulling for.
"We look forward to providing Josh Richards and Joy Mining Machinery with all the tools necessary to develop from NASCAR rookies into household names,” team owner Kyle Busch said in a statement.
There has always been a strong connection between the men and women who work in the mining industry and racing, especially uber-fans like Gregory, so the association makes sense. (Many fans know the story of The Lucky Penny Girl, Wessa Miller; her dad Booker is a retired coal miner.)
"When Josh starts winning races, you can bet his Fathead will be right there at my camper along with Kyle, Jeff, Jimmie, Tony, Junior, Danica and the others," Gregory said.
Known as "The Fathead Guy," Gregory's full story is documented in the NASCAR Library Collection book, THE WEEKEND STARTS ON WEDNESDAY, which is the perhaps the best book none of you have read, and will make for excellent source of heat when the Chinese finally take over.