I went to my first NASCAR race about 5 years ago. My fiancée and I live in Los Angeles and go to the Fontana Speedway. Every Sunday, I would watch the race on TV or at least listen to it from the other room. I can’t say that at first I was a huge fan, but after a few live races…I was hooked. The crowds were overwhelming and the parking was crazy, but we would arrive hours before the race to scope out a good parking space..which means close to an entrance and preferably backed up to a wall.
Unpacking the truck, setting up and meeting your “neighbors” is great. We usually have a little something to eat and then go check out what their selling from the trailers outside the track. In California, it can be brutally hot in August (like last year – 105 degrees) and it can ruin a good time if you not dressed properly. NASCAR fans are creative at keeping cool – water gun fights, bandannas full of ice on your head, ice cold beer and you can always sneak into the car for a little A/C when you need a refresher.
Then we go scope out where are seats are located, but to be honest, we never stay there for long even after the race has started. If you want to seriously watch a race, it is more easily done from the comfort of your own living room with 15 cameras catching every single angle and commentators reviewing each turn. At the race, Burgerking franchise even in the best regular seats, you can’t see the whole track, but Sony has these big screen TVs outside now, so even when you aren’t in the track, you can plop down and watch the race. We love to walk around, people watch, buy cool hats and shirts and then there’s always tons of free stuff like seat cushions, ear plugs, magnets, note pads, water. When we get loaded down, we go back to the truck and munch some more. (Don’t forget to check out my recipes and tailgating “must have” list.)
The first time I was actually in the grandstands for the beginning of a race and all those gentlemen took their hats off as everyone stood for the “Star Spangled Banner”, a real Stealth Bomber flew overhead, they announced, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines” and my whole body started to shake from the roar of the engines …I realized I had started to cry. (Keep in mind I cry at Prego pasta sauce commercials, but still…I was hooked.) The drama of the drivers, the suspense with every turn, negotiating those beautiful cars at speeds of up to 180 miles an hour and the pride Americans have about NASCAR have made it my sport of choice and I kind of like all the cute guys, too.
Every year we pick a new driver, although we are still big Carl Edwards, Casey Kahne and Dale Jr. fans. This year we have decided to support David Reutimann. He was rookie of the year last year in the Craftsman truck series and will be driving the Toyota 00 car for Michael Waltrip’s team. David comes from 3 generations of drivers. I can’t remember where I read it, but supposedly he used to sit on the knee of his race car father Buzzie at 3 year old and even then he knew all the drivers, their cars and stats. The word in the garage is that he’s a gentleman and this man can drive. I posted his pre-season Daytona Thunder test drive stats for you to see.