Of the many things I did in motorsports, one of the most fun was being a Banner Boy. I coined that name. I even developed a cartoon strip to chronicle the adventures of Banner Boy & the Cable Tie Kid, lol.
Every company in racing has several Banner Boys. All of us would prepare our hundreds of Banners ahead of time for race day morning.
Some got on the road at about 5am or 6am. They were too late. I had started at 3am on almost all the days that I hung Banners, as we called it. The Banner Boys would load their vans or trucks with all of these Banners and start driving towards the race track.
Then, every so often, we’d stop, get out, put up some Banners, drive a little, stop and do it again. The location dictated how many Banners you could put up. If you came across a nice fence, that was great.
I’ve been out in the dark, with a head light to see by. The head light that fits on your forehead with an elastic band. Try pounding stakes in the dark and the cold sometimes, with your light shaking with every blow. Sometimes you hit the stake, and sometimes not.
In my years as a Banner Boy, I’ve hung banners on chain link fences, wood fences, wooden stakes, metal poles, buildings, on the way to the track, at the track, restaurants, Driver appearances, contests, Winner’s Circle, Victory Lane and everywhere in between.
I only made the mistake once of drinking the night before Banner Day aka Race Day. I was in Dallas and that was a long road to the track. I had lots of banners, stakes, mallet, cable ties, staple gun and some duct tape loaded in the rental truck.
I was ready for Sunday morning, so I went to the hotel bar and hung out for a bit. At 3am I was still sitting in the bar drinking. I can still remember the guy’s name my sister and I were hanging out with… Myles, from GMAC I think.
The irony is that we were making all kinds of jokes up for the adventures of Banner Boy & the Cable Tie Kid. We laughed all night.
At 3am, I showered, dressed and left to Banner the route to the track. I was by myself this time. I would have loved to have had help, especially in my state.
That day, at the Texas NASCAR race, I had to work another 17 hour day. I was so tired when I got back to the hotel. I swore that I would never drink on Banner Day’s Eve again, lol.
And if I ever see Myles again, I’m going to kick him in his ass for getting me drunk the night before a big day for me.
As I said earlier, I was an early riser. I usually had Bannered all of the good spots along the route to the track by the time the other companies were just starting.
Then the race fans, tens of thousands, would drive by and see my Banners. I know the other Banner Boys were pissed to see my Banners in all of the good spots.
It was always a great feeling when my superiors came up to me and mentioned how well I had Bannered the route. After Bannering, I’d be at the track early, get my coffee and walk around, watching this very epic and exciting day unfold.
It was an unwritten rule that you never took another companies Banners down to put yours up. Now as far as the race fans, they take anything.
Here is the definition of Futile… I’m putting up Banners on the way to the track early in the morning. As I’m working, something catches my eye, so I look over to see race fans 100 yards away taking the Banners I just hung.
The morning of the race, traffic gets backed up terribly in some cities. The Texas NASCAR race is like that. So, race fans are in stand still traffic, trying to get to the race. They’re stuck in their car, sitting still.
They look over and see Banners on the fences, so they hop out and go cut them down. This is the bane of a Banner Boy’s existence.
Banner Boy & the Cable Tie Kid have many ‘run ins’ with race fans over stealing Banners. Banner Boy takes Banner Thievery very seriously, as do I.
Race fans can get someone fired. Say they take all of the Banners along the route to the track and even at the track. What will happen to that Banner Boy when his boss doesn’t see but 2 Banners along the whole route.
I enjoyed Bannering. It’s one of the first things I did when I started out in motorsports. There’s something to be said for a sense of accomplishment and with Bannering, you had that. You could physically, see what you had just done.
Get a photo to show your boss because the race fans are coming, lol.
At the Indy 500, I had a great assignment. Go to the campground and hand out free racing Banners to wild and crazy race fans. I loved it.
As you can see, Pennzoil was one of the companies I represented.
The second we would pull up, they’d come get the freebies to decorate their campsites.
One time, we were at the airport with hundreds of Banners in the back of the minivan. Then we had a flat. A nice Indy cop let us change the tire there in the pick up lanes.
The really suck part about it was that the jack and spare tire were in the floor panel, under hundreds of Banners. We had to unload on the sidewalk, right in the middle of the airport, on Indy 500 weekend, to get the job done.
Imagine, a pile of bright yellow Banners, hundreds of them, in a large pile in the very busy Indy Airport pick up lanes. Our minivan was parked next to a sidewalk, thankfully. So we were able to unload onto the sidewalk.
Just think if we weren’t near the sidewalk. I guess drive that bitch until the wheel comes off or you get somewhere that we could change it.
Every year, I met lots of people. And every year we were offered beers. Usually, I never took a drink, but when we were offered Bloody Mary’s, I accepted. They were great.
We’d open the side door of the van, for easy access to the Banners, then just drive around the campground, giving away promotional materials.
I say promo materials because on occasion we had Pennant Rope to accompany the Banners, as well as Decals, at times.
It’s like Xmas for race fans when you give away cool promotional items.
This is a nice photo because you can see the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the background.
In this next pic, you can see the Pennzoil Pennant Rope I handed out the previous year.
If I ever made some ContraGear Racing Banners, I’d personally give them out at this campground. They’d go crazy for my Banners.
I’ve been noticing things and doing a little research. The following photos are from all over the country. And these are just the ones I saw. How many more are out there?
This Pirate Flag doesn’t stand out like the first one, but it’s still noticeable.
Number three is very easy to see.
The fourth flag stands out quite nicely. When you’re photographing a moving flag, you never know what you will get.
There are so many Jolly Roger’s out there, it would be impossible to know for sure how many ‘New Age Pirates’ are out there. If I only had a way to get all of these Pirate fans to check out my sites and logos.
If you haven’t heard of a ‘New Age’ Pirate, that’s because I coined the phrase to help define an attitude that some have about life… and death in the 21st century.
It stands out when it’s by itself.
A little hard to see, but it’s there.
Maybe one day, they’ll be flyin’ my flags.
Even the smaller tents have Pirates in them.
Talking about Pirate Flags and Banners started me thinking. I just took a coffee break and designed a pretty good Banner for the race fans.
The logo is cool. The lettering matches the skull logo. It has the all important word Racing. But notice mine has the word Team added.
You never see companies making Banners that say Racing Team. I’d bet a lot of money that if you gave a racing fan the option of any other company’s Banner or mine.
Well, you just might lose big. If it’s one thing I know, it’s what racing fans like. I made this Banner in about 20 minutes. And most of that was shopping online for some new fonts.
This old bus wouldn’t look as nice without the racing Banners and Pennant Rope. They look like true race fans. And you’d be surprised at this.
If a company doesn’t put the word Racing on their Banners, the race fans won’t want them as much as a Racing Banner.
What is a campsite without a comfy old couch? I almost wrote sofa, but that is definitely a couch, lol.
Couch: Check. Beer: Check. Race Tickets: Check. Shirt: Nope.
Cool way to get around all the ‘goings on’.
I always tried to get good group photos for two reasons. One, we used the photos in our ‘After Event Reports’ to corporate, to show them what we were doing in the field and how we were promoting their brand and products.
Two, was that I’ve had my websites for years now and I always handed out a card with my website on it. A few days after the race, they could visit my site and download their photo for free. I was the only Banner Boy offering that service.
So when you look at these next photos, think about me getting the photo right so they’d have a good memory of their race weekend. All of the people came to my site and got their pics. I imagine some got framed and are in the living room somewhere.
Even the ladies got into the Banner Battles.
Sitting around your campsite with family and good friends, drinking while you wait for the Greatest American Race. Not a bad way to pass the time.
As a Banner Boy, part of your job description is pulling practical jokes. Or at least that’s what I thought, lol.
My cohort and I used to pull a great trick on the girls that worked with us. Somehow, we got the keys to their vehicle, most times a van. A van made it easy to get their keys because we always said we had to go load the van with race day supplies.
Johnny and I would take some baby powder and straws to their vehicle. Then, we would load up the air vents, using the straws, to put baby powder in these AC vents.
You turn the AC controls to high, so the next morning, the girls get in, start the van, the AC kicks in on high, and the girls get covered with white powder. Man would they get pissed every time they fell for it.
This next pic makes me laugh. The guy taking a drink of his beer just as the photo was taken, in particular.
He had a checklist for Race Day. Wear a NASCAR shirt to the Indy 500. Check. Get a photo of me drinking my beer. Check.
These next people had the right idea. Party in the shade.
These people definitely liked this photo.
And these guys weren’t having any fun at all, lol. One guy asked if he could take his dick out.
This is a great picture.
While working on this post, I’m missing racing, then I think of the constant traveling, long hours and how it wears you down. I’d love to go back to this campground area again. It’s just as fun for the NASCAR Brickyard 400.
I made it possible for all of these race fans and many more, all across this country, to get fun photos from the races they attended. You know, I never got one single email. Not a single thank you or even bitching about the pic.
I guess they were pleased. Believe me, these days, people bitch at the drop of a hat.
Everybody wants to raise their shirt or show me their garnubles and batons.
Pay close attention to that particular banner. It almost got me fired, lol.
You definitely notice all different levels of camping when you go to the campground. Some have good set ups, while others are ‘roughing it’ a bit more.
You will see most anything and everything at the campground.
Notice this year of bannering, they took the word Racing off of their banners. People still wanted them, but just the word Racing makes it that much cooler.
This guy had a motorized recliner to cruise around on.
I had some beers with these guys. This was his imitation of a driver in turn 4.
This was one of my favorite photos from handing out Banners.
Hey, fix that banner, bunch of slackers, lol.
How would that picture look if they were standing next to three ContraGear Banners?
Even the guys wanted to show me tit.
Hold on there.
Watch out, now.
Banner Boy has fans countrywide. They love to dress up, with the trademark Banner cape, to look like Banner Boy, lol.
That’s me helping Banner a wire. Again, the word Racing makes them look so much better.
These would be taken overnight by someone from the campground across the street if they had Racing on them.
That’s bad for the company who buys them because they’re not up very long if they’re cool Banners. But that company’s Banners are hung up in garages, businesses, man caves, etc. all over the country.
Here I am arranging a group photo.
I think it came out great. I know they loved this pic.
Aw hell, sumbody done done it.
And then they doubled down.
And it’s not even Mardi Gras, lol.
Okay, now here’s where I begin to sweat. I had brought my photographer friend to Indy with me to cover the weekend in photos.
And yes, that’s a dildo. Notice the cardboard sign says, ‘Chicks Ride Free’.
Now is when I was sure I was getting fired. These girls starting showing everything, the crowd was snapping photos and all right in front of my Banners.
At this point, I know I’m going to be working on my resume. Look at this next photo real well.
Yep, that’s a Beer Bong through her legs. That banner was placed so well and here it is, the reason I get shit canned.
And my photographer friend was snapping away with his camera, along with a large crowd of race fans, doing the same thing.
I was worried about nothing. Nothing came up, so I guess it was a case of race fans doing what race fans do, have unadulterated fun.
I think she lost a contact.
Well, that was a look at the wild campground next to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
I also promoted my company when I was talking to all of those race fans.
I hope you were entertained while reading on this article. You see, even Banner Boys get to pose with the trophy, lol.
Until next time, be safe and have a chill day.
That completes this IndyCar 101 Course. Give yourself 3 Credits towards Graduation. Congratulations on your Quest for a Degree from The Universite de Arachnida.
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Dr. Spider Michaels, Phd.