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My First Nascar Race…Part 3: Race Day

Posted by Amy in General

Last installment had our heroine (ME) running around the Neon Garage and watching Qualifying. It was fun. Saturday was the Busch Nationwide race- which we didn’t go to. We did other stuff (i.e. didn’t have tickets).

It was pretty warm Friday and Saturday so I seriously contemplated not taking my sweatshirt in my backpack because it weighed me down. BFM and I got up early, grabbed a bite and were off to the track. BFM was feeling way better by now. Unlike on qualifying day we were parked further back in the lot and were surrounded by Gordon fans.

Once we made it to the Midway area I was freezing my butt off. It was just that chilly desert wind…it rips right through you. I am not one who likes layering…but I stopped and put on my sweatshirt….and I was still cold. BFM too was cold. We stopped by the Gordon/Stewart merch haulers because we were both freezing and I decided I needed SOMETHING to keep my head warm and my baseball cap wasn’t doing – so I grabbed a Tony Stewart beanie to keep my poor little head warm. BFM ended up with a beanie / glove set (from the Gordon Hauler). Ahh I wish I had gloves!!! We decided it was too freaking cold to be wandering around so we decided to try finding our seats. All I knew is that they were somewhere between turns three and four…leaning more towards three.

After quite the hike (these are the cheaper seats mind you- not the cheapest but not the expensive ones either) we finally find our seats and sit there all huddled up because we are COLD. I have my shirt on, my new beanie, and my hoodie with hood up and I was still freezing…so we waited for the race activities to start. The thing that sucked the most about our seats? Were that we couldn’t see much of the pre-race activities except on the “sprint” screen. Other than that our seats were pretty awesome and we could see probably about 98% of the track. Next year we decided we are so getting driver into passes for Sunday.

Now when the stands started filling in it seemed like no one was gonna sit next to BFM. Until “BobbyLabonte” man arrived. The first thing he said (quite loudly I might add) when he arrived “I hope there are no Jeff Gordon fans around here” and then proceeded to sit right next to BFM who was clad in her Jeff Gordon gear. She looked over at him and he said “Whoops I guess I am sitting right next to one” They ended up making peace though.

Anyway we are all standing the national anthem is sung (rather well) and they do the fly over. Now I was a little freaked out about the fly over because the last time I was at the SportsCar races at Laguna Seca there was a fly over that was unexpected….and the jet was so low I was sure it was gonna knock me outta the grandstands so I grabbed my mom and hunkered down. This caused everyone around us great amusement at Laguna Seca and my mom laughed so hard she nearly fell outta the grandstands. Anyway… the thunderbirds did two gorgeous flyovers and I wish that I had my camera out so I could have taken pictures of them. I did get some pictures of the RedBull Stunt plane playing behind the backstretch though:

I was able to get some shots of driver parade lap:

The cars lining up to go green:

(More raceday pictures in my UAW DODGE 400 flickrset).

I was expecting the cars to be louder. I think that it might have to do with the shape of the track and the geography around the track (not much around to bounce back the sound). The race was fun!! I loved the feel of the cars. I will admit this: Damn those cars go fast! The races that I have been to were Indy car (pre split into champ/irl) and SportCars but on a road course and naturally cars go slower….so the cars were flying around that oval to me and I LOVED that. LOVED it.

What I didn’t LOVE was seeing Tony Stewart hit the wall HARD right in front of me. (For those who caught the race…where Tony initially smacked the wall- was right where I was sitting…47 rows up). It was loud and hard…I could hear it, see it and feel it. He then proceeded to slide along the wall all the way to the end of turn four. That HAD to HURT. Everyone in our section anyway stood and watched his car in horror. BFM kept asking me if his window net was down…which I couldn’t tell. It was very…tense for quite awhile.

I will tell you what…I am kind of glad I didn’t rent a race scanner for the race…I had considered it but decided against it. I am glad because I wouldn’t have wanted to hear Tony come on the radio and say he was hurt. That would not have been fun.

I didn’t get any pictures of the big Jeff Gordon accident…as it was across the track from where we were sitting…but I did see the large debris field that his accident left and was glad to see (thanks to the sprint screen) that he walked away because that was was just as violent looking as Tony’s.

We left right after Carl Edwards did his backflip (and there were all kinds of festivities we could have stayed for…including another race. It took us probably about 45 minutes just to get to the car from our seats…often times walking in huge herds of people shoulder-to-shoulder. (And personal to the asshat jerk man in the green jacket…thanks for shoving me out of your way asshole. You are a total class act). Now we had been warned by a coworker of BFM that getting out of the parking lot could be challenging. Um…just finding the car was challenging. I was seriously beginning to think that I would need to whip out my phone and call onstar to have them honk my horn for me…but BFM finally found the car. You don’t even want to know how long we were in the parking lot. Let’s just say we pullout out of our spot and got into the line to leave our row. Adjacent to our car was a pickup. We sat there and watched the three men pull out a grill…set up the grill….then put steaks on the grill. Eat doritos while they were grilling. Set up the cutest camp table and chairs. Serve up their steaks. Sit down and drink their beers and eat their steaks at a leisurely pace whilst chatting and occasionally glancing at us like they were worried we might jump out of my car and steal their dinner (and by this point we were fairly hungry and had we not had left over kettle corn from our midrace snack run we might have considered it). Then we got to watch them pack up their stuff. All this while sitting and waiting to get out of the aisle. All in all I think we were in the parking lot alone over an hour. Then we got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on some little frontage road where we could see all the helicopters coming into the track and landing and taking off for their drivers. We were on that road for forever too…but finally made it to her house about 7:30ish if I remember correctly.
Still it was totally TOTALLY worth the money…and I am SOOO going back next year. And I am pretty sure that the whole experience only solidified BFM’s new love for NASCAR too.

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2 Responses

  • Valli says:

    Ok, the part about getting out of the parking lot cracked me up! I had to watch people eating food for an hour too just waiting to get out of the parking lot too. All I had was a lame danish I forgot to bring in with me that morning. The sad thing is that I had the exact same experience as you and I left track an hour after you. Crraaaazy.

    But it’s awesome you had a great time. You should come to Infineon this year! :)

  • RevJim says:

    Amy it is so fun reading about your experience and looking at your photos. Great job. You are quite the photographer.
    I am glad you had a great time, and, yes, the first time you see a Cup race on an oval track, the speed is quite impressive. You never forget that sensation.
    Please go to more races. Your photos and blogging about it are great!

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