Impressions of the Coca-Cola 600 (Part 2)
(note: You have to read the previous post first to get the full effect…fyi.)
The National Anthem is sung (Country star Daryl Worley has the honors) and it’s time for the engines to roar, the crowd to go wild, to put the ear plugs in place. Actually, if you’re a newbie like me, wait on those ear plugs for a sec. Listen to the engines as they start. Feel the vibration as the cars take their first warm up lap in sync with each other in their respective rows. Let them take their second lap. As the pace car makes it’s move to Pit Row and the green flag is dropped, wait a bit longer. Just two more seconds and VOOM, VOOM, VOOM! We’re off!!
The ear plugs better not be in just yet. You have to experience the full effect for at least one official lap. It’s like no other experience you have ever had. It’s loud as hell. Forget talking to the person next you much less to yourself cuz YOU CAN’T HEAR yourself talk, think, much less fart. Seriously. But, it’s an amazing experience that lasts about 3 minutes. Then, put those plugs in. You’ll need ‘em for the remainder of the race.
Note to self – things to bring to a NASCAR race: a seat cushion, Alleve, weather gear, sunscreen, feminine products, cell phone (with text messaging capabilities), EAR PLUGS. Don’t forget the ear plugs!
The race begins and I tell ya what from the moment the green flag drops until the checkered flag waves, I am literally watching every movement of my favorites – Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, and yes, Jeff Gordon. I watch their numbers rise and fall on the leader board as the night rolls on. One minute I’m yelling at the top of my lungs to my husband right next to me, “Do you see that? Kasey’s # keeps going up, up, up!” The next minute I’m texting him cuz he can’t figure out what the hell I’m trying to say. Brings conversing by text to a whole new level.
The 600 is the longest race in the NASCAR schedule. The entire thing lasts nearly 6 hours, give or take a wreck or two (In this case, we were lucky there wasn’t anything major to worry about). For a few laps, I thought for sure Earnhardt, Jr. was going to win. His car was looking strong and then WHAM! into the wall. Then it was Jimmie Johnson’s turn. He kept his status near the top and even hit first place for a time almost to the point that I thought he was going to win but whoops! He headed into Pit Row and never returned. Then it was up to Tony Stewart. He had it in the bag when all of a sudden one of his tires blew and that was the end of that. Up comes Kasey Kahne who kept moving up the ranks on the leader board pretty much the entire night. Thanks to Tony’s unfortunate…uh…issue…with 3 laps to go, Kahne takes first place and wins it all! I jump, clap, smile, even tear up as Kasey does the ceremonial half-doughnut, turns his car around and heads down the track in the opposite direction with Checkered Flag in hand to wave directly to the crowd.
My first race is over. Everyone exits as my husband and I wait and watch. For me, it’s just because I want to see if there’s anything else to witness. I don’t want to miss anything. For him, it’s to wait until the crowd clears out some so that our car isn’t idling in traffic for any longer than it has to be. After a few minutes, after all the pomp and circumstance at Victory Lane (which we can barely see thanks to the fact that at Lowe’s it’s located off-track), we decide to make the trek back to the car in that field with the long grass to your knees where the tick and the antelope…I mean…grasshopper play. Needless to say, we ended up waiting about 45 minutes to get going on the main road. That wasn’t half bad considering there were over 100,000 people in attendance. We made our way to our campsite about 20 minutes from the track and hit the sack shortly thereafter.
This was a day (and a trip) that will forever be in my memory. THIS was the reason I blog today. I have now officially become a NASCAR fan…not quite a junkie…yet, but a fan nonetheless.
Anyone else have a story about their first NASCAR experience they’d like to share? I realize I probably won’t get any responses considering this blog is so new but hey, if it’s a year later and you’re still reading this, don’t be shy, comment away! That’s what I’m here for.
Dover’s next. 400 miles and I won’t be there. But, I guarantee you, I will now be watching and rootin’ for my favorites. Then, I’ll be bloggin’ all about it too. Join me, will ya?
See you in the pits!