Gentlemen, start your engines! Model Charlotte McKinney kicks off a day at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, by waving the flag for NASCAR driver Ty Dillon. “When I was asked to be an honorary race official at the start of the Xfinity race series I had to say yes,” the DWTS contestant tells PEOPLE.
The model hangs with “some amazing kids” that were part of Saturday’s race. “My family has always been into cars and my parents actually own their own dealership in Florida but none of us had been to a NASCAR race,” McKinney tells PEOPLE. So her date for the day? “The man I knew would love it as much as me – my dad!”
Before race time, a meeting with “the amazing and talented Brian McKnight,” as McKinney says. (The singer was on hand to sing the national anthem.)
No selfies here, but hey, “nothing like a quick photo shoot at the track,” she shares.
“That’s me and Denny Hamlin,” McKinney says of her new driver pal. “I learned that we have something in common – we both love fast cars and we are both from Florida.”
McKinney had the honor of riding in the pace car, “all ready to lead the pack,” as she explains.
Before leaving for the day, McKinney poses for a shot with Chase Elliott, who finished fourth in the race.
TURN IT OUT
“All great things must come to an end. I am so glad I got to spend this special day with my dad,” McKinney says. “Thank you NASCAR for making it a day we won’t forget!”