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Getting to know you, Tommy Kendall, on the Autoweek America Adventure

Mon, 31 Oct 2011

If ever you wanted to get to know someone--I mean really get to know them--spend the better part of six days in a car, just the two of you. I would not suggest it as a job-interviewing tactic, but perhaps a portion of that time might get HR approval.

Tommy Kendall is a fascinating young man. That I've known him for more than a decade and to just come to that realization now is the kind of epiphany you earn while riding shotgun with a guy talking about everything from the dirtiest driver he's ever competed against to the benefits of yoga.

I mean, TK is deep, and funny, too. His sense of humor goes beyond dry to a whole other level. If you don't follow him on Twitter (@TommyKendall11 and @El_Gallo1), then you are missing some joy in your life. The guy takes to heart what Mark Twain said about brevity and weaves it into 140 characters of extraordinary, thoughtful prose.

He could easily be a journalist because he is a fine observer of the environment. And he is not judgmental--that topic itself an hour-long conversation--but is discerning. He is an amazing photographer; his eye was honed as a young man who, before he was a racer, took his camera to the track. Honestly, I'm blown away with what this guy can do with an eight-megapixel phone camera.

He is engaging. There has not been a person on this trip he hasn't gone to, making a point to introduce himself. He is affable and self-deprecating, charming and witty.

I got lucky in asking TK to join me on the Autoweek America Adventure. He brings the right attitude (he named us Team Honey Badger) and the right quality of life. When you can talk about Vince Flynn novels and Deepak Chopra in the same burst of energy, then there is something right in this world.

Thanks, TK. You've made this extraordinary trip even more so.

Look for us at:

-- @11_HoneyBadger

-- @Autoweek Racing

-- Facebook

-- Autoweek America Adventure

By Dutch Mandel