Primedia's very own President and CEO Craig Nickerson braved the heat of the California Speedway as he participated in the California Classic Celebrity Media Challenge at the 2003 Inaugural California Classic Autofest in Fontana, California.
In support of the "Make A Wish Foundation," dozens of celebrities and several corporate CEOs strapped in to battle it out in 150-mph NASCAR race cars supplied by the Drivetech Racing School.
Craig definitely had his "game face" on as he headed out to the 2.5-mile banked oval. Going up against celebrities like Chris Titus, Ian Ziering, and Mickey Jones was only the beginning. The real challenge was going head to head for 10 laps against auto-industry heavies like Barry Meguiar, Chip Foose, and Boyd Coddington. Those guys really seemed to take this thing serious, which doesn't seem too far off due to their competitive business nature.
Although radio contact between the drivers and the driving school instructor kept the race clean (no one actually traded paint or threw their helmet into a competitor's race car), they were driving in excess of 150 mph in the straightaways. It's not an easy task with the triple-digit heat factor in the driver's cockpit.
After the race Craig Nickerson was asked how it felt. An exhausted Craig answered, "Unbelievable! Just unbelievable." I'm sure if I had let him catch his breath, I could have gotten a few more descriptive words about the adrenaline rush one gets behind the wheel of a 500hp race car. Not your average Sunday drive in a '32 highboy roadster.
During the post-race driver's meeting one of the Media Challenge racers was pointing out how "spent" he was after only 10 laps. "I can't believe the NASCAR guys do it for several hundred laps. Them boys are serious athletes." Although Craig didn't win the race, there was a large group of Primedia employees on hand to congratulate their "boss" on a job well-done.