PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Before racers took laps around Talladega Super Speedway last weekend, a South Mississippi man was taking a chance of his own.
After months of planning, Cody Cutrer of Pearl River County popped the big question to his longtime girlfriend Shannon Barbin. But he wanted to make it an unforgettable experience so he enlisted one of the biggest names in NASCAR.
Before racers took laps around Talladega Superspeedway this past weekend, Cody Cutrer was taking a knee.
Cody and his girlfriend Shannon were lined up to meet his idol, former Nascar racer Jeff Gordon. But what his high school sweetheart did not know was that this was much more than just a meet-and-greet.
"Whenever Shannon, my fiance now, wasn't looking, he gave me a look like, 'Shhh. No, no, come last.' He wanted me to come up last to do it. And then after we got done and taking pictures and autographs he said, 'Cody didn't you have another question for me? Maybe not me.'"
Cody nervously pulled the ring out of his pocket.
"And I just got down and asked her if she would marry me," he recalled.
Her shocked reply: "Oh my God, yes!"
Cody said he had been planning the photo-finish proposal for months and was working with Jeff Gordon's PR team to make it happen. His family says they aren't surprised at all that he was able to pull off such a big surprise.
"Since he was a little kid, he's been the epitome of a super fan," said Cody's cousin Shaun Jones. "He got (Gordon's number) tattoo on his forearm --24. As well as, he got Jeff Gordon to sign his arm."
Since the age of four, Cody has followed Gordon's career, watching countless races.
"I used to watch races with my grandpa," Cody said. "My whole family were Dale Earnhart fans, and nobody in my family were Jeff Gordon and I picked him as my driver and I've liked him ever since."
Cody, who suffers from epilepsy, said, he's experienced some memory loss. But he said an engagement in front of Gordon is something he hopes will be hard to forget.
"It was just a surreal moment and a crazy feeling and for Jeff Gordon to be in on it with me for these past couple months, him knowing about it was just awesome. It still hasn't sunk in. I still can't believe it," said Cody.