Sunday, September 12, 2010

NASCAR Weekend at Richmond International Raceway

When Chris first asked if I was interested in going to a NASCAR race - no, NASCAR weekend - with his friends, my immediate response was, "No.  No way."  Then he explained that it really was a lot of fun, and the best part of the whole thing is the tailgating, and he didn't even plan on actually going into the race.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have been anti-NASCAR since I knew it existed.  "This left turn, brought to you by Skoal," echoed in my head.  But after I found out some of the wives were going, I thought about it, then changed my mind.  It could be fun, just to hang out with friends.

What did I think?  It was So. Much. Fun!  Friday night we played cornhole at the hotel, boards provided courtesy of The Westin.  Later in the night some friends moved on to play Wii in the lounge area.  I loved this hotel!

Saturday morning, our 16-person, 4-vehicle convoy rolled into the Richmond International Raceway parking lot, and we set up our tailgate 2 tents deep, complete with a flat screen TV to watch football during the day.  Chris told me I needed to pick a driver to root for (because it makes the race much more fun), so we headed to Midway to find a t-shirt for me.  I had no idea who any of the drivers were, so I decided to pick the shirt I liked best and that would be my team.  (It's all very scientific.)  From then on, I was team Tony Stewart.

The team/driver enthusiasm was amazing.  Random strangers, passing by, throwing a fist up in the air and screaming, "Go 14!" when they agreed with the driver I was representing.  It was so infectious, I found myself doing the same thing.  Except, it was with one of our tailgate neighbors.  After I gave him the approving, "Yeah, nice visor!" comment, he went on for several minutes about why he roots for Stewart, and not other drivers.  And I nodded in agreement the whole time.  And I had no idea what he was talking about.  And I still had no idea who Tony Stewart was.  But I think I played it off (by not saying anything), and he didn't suspect a thing.  Either that or he thought I turned into a mute.

Chris and I hung back at the tailgate with a few others while those with tickets left to watch the race.  But just before the race started, two scalpers came by, and I convinced Chris to buy 2 tickets for $20.  We looked at the tickets on our way to the gate - we had an $80 ticket in Turn 1, and a $40 ticket in a section halfway across the stadium.  Um.  Yeah.  But we lucked out and there was an empty seat next to our ticketed seat in Turn 1.  The deafening roar of the engines and the speed of the cars is an experience unmatched by watching the race on TV.  Or so I'm told, since I've never watched a race on TV.  I honestly have to say that it was a great time, and I'm so glad I went! 

Go, Tony Stewart!

Chris in our hotel lobby this morning, sporting his new Tony Stewart cap...

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  1. What a great and humorous story! I prefer motorcycle road racing, but can definitely appreciate that NASCAR has managed to create a great fan experience. Glad you enjoyed yourselves!

  2. I never would have pegged you for a NASCAR fan, but having experienced car racing at an early age (a boyfriends family had a race car back in the day) I can say that there is nothing like it! Hope to see you soon!

  3. Once again - I'm so jealous! Want to go to a race sometime, I'm gonna make it one of these days!


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