I went to my first NASCAR race this past weekend in Loudon, New Hampshire. A very appropriate name for a town that hosts a car racing event.
After years of glossing over a few laps on FOX on slow summer weekends, and having it forced upon me by my roommate, I finally get it.
A NASCAR event is an experience in the truest sense of the word. It’s a redneck church service where people from
all walks one walk of life congregate to pay homage to the gods of horsepower and Dale Earnhardt.
Once you’re done tailgating, you pack up your beers and just… carry them into the track. A professional sporting event in America is BYOB. Think about that for a second.
You pick your seat and look around, trying to gauge the vibe. It isn’t like sitting in the bleachers at Fenway. People aren’t there to talk, or do whatever else people do at normal sporting events.
Everyone there is there to watch the race. There is no talking, just appreciating.
Now, that said, you simply cannot talk to anyone. Yes, most NASCAR fans seem like people that won’t be too keen on a male they don’t know striking up conversation, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
It’s literally impossible to talk. The cars are that loud. If you’re a chatty one, like myself, I suggest you sign up for sign langauge or lip reading courses right now, because no matter how hard you try, you’re voice is completely drowned out by the mechanical monstrosity that is a racecar.
The best chance you have are one second windows between packs of cars, but even then, the only way you can say anything of substance is if your an southern auctioneer.
So just save your breath and appreciate the race… also because, if you don’t, your chances of lung cancer sky rocket due to all the exhaust in the air.
Then comes the fans. They’re exactly what you expect them to be, while also being more than you imagined. It’s whacky, but in a good way.
Frankly, anyone that’s this against sun exposure is a-okay in my book.
And you really can sit anywhere, the bleachers are really just one big general admission. There isn’t a bad seat. But then when you get close, holy shit.
As someone who’s racing acumen really just consists of Need For Speed Underground 2,
I’ve never really had the chance to understand and apprecaite what these cars can do. It’s unbelievable. Simply put, there is a scenario where you can line me up at wide receiver in the red zone, and I can catch a pass. Put me in the batters box, and there’s a chance I can hit the ball in play.
There is no way I could ever drive a successful lap in NASCAR. Period.
Even if you have no idea what’s going on, which I didn’t, really, you can’t help but marvel at every turn a car makes. Watching their back wheels spin out a bit, yet still looking in control… it’s just insane.
If you haven’t gone to one yet, make plans. And wear sunscreen. Lots of it.