In many ways it’s more important than an actual sporting event. It’s the increasingly popular “meet-and-greet” where sport celebrities come face-to-face with their adoring fans and everyone gets a chance to celebrate one of most important aspects of any sport: Teamwork.

When it comes to motorsport putting a face to a personality becomes even more crucial since the driver is usually hidden behind a helmet in a racing car. And when it comes to a sunwear sponsorship can anything be more valuable than a face-to-face where the star driver’s face is sporting a pair of shades... just like yours.

Wiley X gets the powerful importance of all of this. Having a speed-belching car decked out in the Wiley X logo is mighty cool but chatting up the driver and team is even cooler so Myles and Dan Freeman (they are the ones beaming in the picture with driver Jim Yates) arranged an up close gathering with the Jim Yates Wiley X Sunglass Machine team for employee viewing at the Wiley X corporate facility in Livermore, Calif. this past summer.

Jim Yates, a two-time NHRA Pro Stock Champ, set up his Wiley X Transporter and Car so all Wiley X employees and their families each could have an opportunity to meet the race team sporting their cherished brand. There were sessions to learn about the mechanical operations and inner workings of auto racing and details about how the overall race program is used promoting the Wiley X brand to the vast world of racing fans.

Sessions included a tour of the racing car transporter which also functions as a mobile garage. In addition, employees were able to see how all the computerized data is collected during each race assisting the team with immediate telemetry during a race for literal real-time race car adjustments.

Jim and his team signed autographs and posed for pictures with everyone. On the Saturday following this event (20/20 is SO jealous about THIS part) Wiley X chartered a bus to take employees to the NHRA Fram Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. The day was filled with plenty of race action and an insider look at what it takes to get the car at speed for qualifying rounds. Combine that with a special guest visit from Wiley X Funny Car Driver Tony Bartone, excellent grandstand seats and eats served in the race pits side-by-side with the race crew and you have an experience this writer deems motorhead heaven.

—James J. Spina