This is the part of me...

...that none of you have ever seen in person.

While your families were going to church or watching NFL on Sundays, this is what we watched.

Doesn't seem plausible? You better believe I have slept under a #3 (that would be legendary Dale Earnhardt Sr.) afghan and could name the best drivers before I knew who Barbie and She-ra were.

One of the first things Matt and I discussed was our NASCAR fever. It is not a common interest, especially for a kindergarten teacher who enjoys a good purple pen and decorative cupcake liners.
2009. No, I was not stricken with an eating disorder (MOM) at that time, I was standing sideways and almost behind him.

Anyway, this race took us to Michigan International Speedway, in Brooklyn Michigan. I guess the closest big city to that was Toledo. It was OUT in the middle of nowhere. We left at 8 am, dropping Larkyn off at Nana and PawPaw's, and were there by 11:00. Look what we saw on the way!
one of 4 hot air balloons lifting off in the fields of Marysville.

After doing a little shopping at the merchandise trailers (I bought nothing for myself! Holla!), we made our way through the sea of shirtless wonders to our seats. 

Now, for any other sporting event, you'd want to sit up close. Not with 43 stock cars in front of you. We sat almost as high as you can get, in the front stretch, and they were fabulous seats. And we were lucky enough to sit between some pretty tame spectators. In previous races ("back in the day"), we could party with the best of these guys.
Now we just like to watch them.
I can't really explain the feeling of excitement when the pace car drops off and the race begins...just think of the loudest thing you've ever heard and multiply it by 43. Or maybe 430. And then you settle in for 200 laps of speed, wrecks, getting excited when your driver get the lead, and getting pissed when someone passes him. Thing is, you can't hear anyone around you. So, a NASCAR sign language is established:

Shrugging shoulders and holding up a number with your fingers: "Who is that guy?"
Everyone standing, fists in the air, hollering: Dale Jr. must be in the lead
Everyone pointing and booing: Juan Pablo Montoya must be coming

I think we made a pretty good pair in this 200 lap silence.

So the wreck we saw? Easily the worst one all season. First of all, the cars never go into that area! It was careening toward the crews and infield spectators. Second, if he had smashed in a few inches toward the front, he probably wouldn't be here. And did you see that cameraman hustle?!

And where did our guys end up? Well my driver (Carl, #99) was leading with about 30 laps to go (whoo hoo!) but that didn't last. Which resulted in Matt's driver (Jimmie, #48) leading with 2 to go. Would he finally get to see Jimmie take Michigan after witnessing him lose the lead twice before by running out of gas?

Nope. All of a sudden in a puff of smoke, Jimmie's engine blew. Greg Biffle (#16) took the checkered flag as 95% of the crowd cheered for Jimmie's demise (haters). If you haven't seen it, here's what they do when they win:
That's a good cloud of smoke, the burnout. And that guy in the front (you see him) cheered like that for everyone. He also had a humongous beach ball he started bouncing around. Excellent idea to have one of those in front of cars going 200 mph.
So, the outcome wasn't optimal, but you don't really go for that. You go for the rush, for the good time crowd, and for a straight-up All-American experience. At the end of these races, there aren't belligerent fans throwing bottles (pull it together OSU fans!) and everyone is "Whooo!"ing and just having a good time. Put it on your bucket list, I'm tellin ya.


Schneider 4.0 said...

The only sport where a prayer is said, national anthem sang and you can bring your own beer. God Bless America I say. :) I will never forget when my brother lived with his buddies in Arlington during OSU days...they had Mark Martin as their Christmas tree star and beer cans as ornaments. Oh NASCAR.

callie ;) said...

i never knew you were a nascar fan, stacie! learn something new every day. :)

Julie Hallas said...

Okay, I loved reading this and imagining every scene from Talladega Nights (my closest experience with NASCAR). Plus I enjoyed all the photos at the track showed beautiful puffy clouds... nice!

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