The year was 1989, and NASCAR was rumored to be inviting its driver Rusty Wallace to Las Vegas to promote the newest champion for the day.
And when PR expert Jan Shafer got word, he immediately let me know that I would be taking Wallace on his tour to visit every conceivable member of the media for a meet and great.
I was excited to meet Wallace at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and I was at the track by seven in the morning readying myself to go.
The only problem was that there was a hiccup in securing a flashy new vehicle complements of whoever was sponsor for the season.
And as luck would have it, the best vehicle we had was an old GMC vehicle that we had just about run into a junk yard. Fortunately, I ran into Nevada Highway Patrolman Steve Harney, who told me not to worry. He would meet us in the track infield at 8 at the next morning.
You could hear me breathe of relief for miles. Considering that I had taken IRL driver Tony Stewart on a media tour for three consecutive years, I was used to the media tour, and really enjoyed providing the service, especially in top-notch new vehicle.
Nevada Highway Patrol officer Steve Harney gladly provided the vehicle and even drove the NHP patrol car for us. When we were a little late, Harney would turn on the blinking red lights, and traffic was cleared.
The tour featured nearly a dozen stops, generating a huge following for the coming seasons. All of us were clearly thrilled with the results.
On the last go-around, Harney pulled over a speeding car heading north on Las Vegas Boulevard. We had no idea why the stop was made and watched as Harney closed his ticket book.
About 15 minutes later, Harney would let the driver go. It seemed like a “no harm, no foul outcome.
So when we all waited for the outcome of our incident, someone in the car asked if the speeder received a ticket, and we were told that the offender was let go without a ticket. You know, we all wish we had escaped a ticket at one time or another, only to discover that we were hit with stiff penalty.
However, we were really interested to discover that the offender didn’t get a ticket, or even a warning.
The nice guy, Steve Harney, told the offender to have a nice day.
Will the rest of us get the same treatment some day?