You see some pretty interesting things in Downtown Roanoke, but an official Sprint Cup racecar isn't usually one of them. And that's why racing fan Jeff Tynes made sure he was there to see it.
"I ended up taking a vacation day," said Tynes. "I even told my boss where I was going. I didn't care. I had to be here."
To help get fans revved up about the fast approaching Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR and the Martinsville Speedway teamed up for a party in the City Market square -- complete with the Patrick Henry High School marching band and Chase driver Kasey Kahne.
"He's really good at driving cars," said Nathan Garcia, one of the youngest fans at the event.
Garcia was pretty excited -- his mom let him miss school to see his favorite driver in person. And he left the event with an autographed hat.
"I wanted to see the car and the band and I got a hat," said Garcia.
Fans had the chance to get up close to the car Kahne drove to the event. The 16-time race winner also answered their questions.
"I like Roanoke," said Kahne, who drives the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports. "I've never been here. But the city and where it sits between the mountains, I think it's a really cool place."
Kahne received a gold star from Roanoke Mayor David Bowers, who also declared Wednesday as NASCAR Day in the city. He also left with a Roanoke Weiner Stand hotdog. But he says the best part of his visit was spending time with the Martinsville Speedway's largest fan base.
"It's a neat deal," said Kahne. "I'm glad we're here in Roanoke, glad we're talking about the Martinsville Race and trying to get some people interested. It should be a show."
Fans say the experience was well worth standing out in the afternoon heat.
"Ain't nothing better than NASCAR," said Tynes. "And there ain't nothing better than Martinsville."
Now, they're just counting down the days until the Chase roars into the Martinsville Speedway on October 27.