With the help of tips from readers and track officials, I am drawing closer to solving the mystery of who the shaved-back NASCAR fan is. Thank you all for your sleuthing. Here is what I have learned since last week:
1. Multiple sources say they have seen the shaved back with their own eyes, enough people that I think it is safe to say this photo has not been altered. I had feared, when I set out in this quest, that the picture had sprung from the laptop of some Photoshop prankster. It is safe to say that this photo is real. Shaved-back NASCAR fan exists!
2. There is unanimous consensus that this photo was taken at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bristol track officials confirmed this. The fan is believed to be sitting in the Kulwicki Terrace under the Wallace Tower, probably in section O.
I e-mailed Bristol Motor Speedway officials who alerted me to the existence of this video, which was used to promote pole day a few years ago. NASCAR's most popular fan makes an appearance at the :24 mark.
So we know this guy and his back hair exist, and that this photo was taken at Bristol.
3. I was told by a source that the woman sitting next to him is his wife. Anyone know who she is? Name? E-mail address? Anything?
We're circling in. The next thing I need is a name. If the man who shaved a three in his back does not wish to be identified publicly, I will respect that. But if he wants to talk, I would like to interview him so that we can discuss what it is like to have the most famous back in NASCAR, as well as what he thinks about the sport and whether he plans to shave any other messages of support into his back in the future.
Why am I doing this? Every sport has a signature fan. The NBA has Jack Nicholson. The NFL has the Hogettes and the Dawg Pound. Baseball has the Cubs' Ronnie Woo Woo, among others. NASCAR finally has a Hall of Fame. Now it needs a No. 1 fan. Who are you, shaved back NASCAR fan guy?
Feel free to comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with clues or tips. I will give an STP prize pack to the person who provides me with the most useful information between now and the 2010 Daytona 500.