Seriously, it’s already time for Daytona? I still have Jell-O shots in the fridge from Thanksgiving and some leftover Christmas cookies that are rock hard in the pantry! Where did the off-season go?! Truthfully, though, I am ready to get back on the road because it feels weird when I’m not unpacking a suitcase or hopping on an airplane to get to the race track. This off-season was an exciting one for sure with lots of time with family and friends as well as a few awesome trips sprinkled in.
Where to begin? Well, the last time you heard from me, we were in Vegas for the NASCAR banquet, but even before that was the craziness of cleaning, prepping and cooking for the over 35 people who came over for Thanksgiving at our house!
I love to cook, which I get from my dad, so along with him, my mom and aunts, we made a feast using Kyle as the “official” taste tester. Here is a sample of my menu that I posted on my blog in case you want to save any of the recipes for your future holiday get-togethers! It was four straight days of eating and drinking (a little too much at times) and playing "Logos," which has to be one of my favorite party games because it combines charades and "Pictionary."
For most of the rest of December, we really took time to do a whole lot of nothing! We tried to catch up on sleep, work on all those little house to-do tasks, like organizing those drawers you have put off for months, and we binge-watched way too much TV! Seriously, for all of you that suggested on Twitter that we watch “The Walking Dead", I love you! We literally watched four seasons in three weeks. It’s beyond addictive!
We also did a massive Christmas shopping spree for the Kyle Busch Foundation. Each year, we buy specific Christmas presents for over 200 kids based off a wish list they send us. We can’t thank the fans enough for sending in gift cards all year to help with this event. A huge shout out to one of Kyle’s biggest fans, Lexie, for starting the program with her mom! They collect a gift card for every win and pole Kyle gets throughout the season and other fans have started doing this too so we get a huge amount of support by the end of the year to shop for all these deserving children. Here is what one young girl’s kind gesture turned into today:
We seriously thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts!
Many of you see the rough and tough side of Kyle on the race track but, I’m here to tell you, my hubby has a very sweet and romantic side! One morning, I woke up to a note that said what to pack and what time to be ready ... that was it! Later on that day, we hopped in the car and I discovered that Kyle had planned a special getaway to a place in the Blue Ridge Mountains called Primland Resort, which is about 45 miles away from Martinsville. (Hint, hint guys ... maybe take your ladies here one night before or after the race weekend for a little romance!) It is a beautiful place with hiking, canoeing, golf and great food and wine!
We spent a low-key, quiet Christmas in Charleston, S.C. We have never done Christmas dinner at a restaurant before, but after the insanity of Thanksgiving, it was nice to not have to do any dishes! The town is so cute with so many fantastic restaurants, shopping spots and lots of spooky nighttime ghost tours. I highly recommend visiting for a little weekend trip. If you have never been there, hit me up on Twitter and I can give you some fantastic restaurant suggestions!
We celebrated our three-year anniversary shortly after on New Year’s Eve. Kyle planned a special dinner at a new local hotspot in Charlotte, Nan and Byron’s, where friends met up with us later in the evening to ring in the New Year. I still can’t believe it has been three years already! Time flies when you’re having fun!
The Barrett-Jackson Auto Show in Scottsdale, Ariz., had to be one of the highlights of the off-season and, yes, this is coming from a complete girly girl! Neither Kyle nor I had ever attended the show before and we were both completely blown away by the event. From stunning, classic cars to good food to the entertainment of watching people get into bidding wars, it should be on everyone’s bucket list to see. I had so much fun walking around the tents just checking out the various cars and listening to Kyle and his Dad critique each one. But then, finally, across the room I spotted her, the most stunning car I have ever seen. A 1957 pink Thunderbird with all ivory interior and a dual top. She was a beauty! I took some pictures with her and, of course, thought of all the fantastic retro inspired outfits I would coordinate while cruising around in her. Unfortunately, she was scheduled to roll across the stage on Sunday along with the two cars Kyle was selling from his collection and we would already be gone.
Scottsdale is one of our most favorite places to visit and we love to spend a little extra time out there around Phoenix race weekends, but after two days at the show, we had to cut this trip short because we had a VERY important date in Denver to watch Kyle’s Denver Broncos play against the New England Patriots.
We had a blast tailgating with friends and the game was awesome! The Broncos could do no wrong that day. As we were sitting watching the game, Kyle handed me his phone and said, “I hope you can reach the pedals in this!” When I looked down at his phone, it was a picture of the beautiful pink Thunderbird from Barrett-Jackson! I was literally speechless! He then showed me a picture of a teal 1956 Bel Air that he got for himself! I guess we are a '50s family now!
The final trip of the season took us to New York City for Super Bowl weekend. I was skeptical of the game being somewhere so cold, but New York City really outdid itself! Times Square was such an awesome site to see with so many game-related activities for tourist to do. All of the parties were held in gorgeous, historic venues, like Gotham Hall and Chelsea Pier. The first night we went to the Leather and Laces Party, which was a star-studded event with Paris Hilton as the DJ. I had a little too much fun that evening and sincerely thank all of you on Twitter for the hangover suggestions. My two favorites were ice cream, which, when Googled, actually has true hangover cure properties, and the guy who told me he goes and gets women’s PMS medicine ... it really works! The next evening we went to the Maxim Party where the beautiful April Rose hosted the red carpet. We saw Alyssa Milano, who came to the Daytona race last July where she launched her women’s NASCAR collection and was even a guest host at the NASCAR banquet. It was a fun evening of dancing and people watching!
In retrospect, knowing how the game went, the official pregame tailgate was really the best part! They had a number of big name performers but what was really neat was that they had various Broadway shows perform so you could get a little taste of each. I really want to see “Rock of Ages” now! What show on Broadway is your favorite?
Our view of the game was awesome thanks to Mars Chocolate and we had a blast with all of them. Unfortunately, most people with us were rooting for the Broncos and well, we all know how that went. Maybe Peyton should have yelled OMAHA more! The worst part is that Kyle and Kasey Kahne made a bet on the game and now you will see Kyle strut his stuff in a Seahawks jersey all during Speedweeks. I’m drawing the line at wearing it out to Valentine’s Day dinner!
So that was our off-season in a nut shell ... it seemed to go by so fast but it was really so much fun! With all the changes NASCAR has made to qualifying and the Chase format, it is going to be quite an exciting season! Kyle had one of his best seasons yet in 2013 and we are looking forward to an even more successful 2014. I’m also really looking forward to sharing my experiences from this season with you via this blog. I’d love for you to check out my new website and let me know what you think! And don’t forget, be sure to let me know your suggestions on what you’d like me to cover in future blogs.
The season kicked off this weekend with the Sprint Unlimited! It was so good to see that #18 M&Ms Toyota Camry back on track!