Monday, March 24, 2008

My First Nascar Race

Carolina and I went with our youth group to the Pepsi 300 on Saturday at the Nashville Super Speedway. It was my first experience at something like this, and I thought I would record a few of my musings about the experience.
  1. Having been able to see it in person, I understand a lot more about how it works. I never had known about the way they would pick the initial order of the cars, as it seemed to me that this would play a major role in who could win. The qualifying is where each car is allowed to go around the track several times and they count the car's two fastest laps. They then order the cars by which one made the two fastest qualifying laps.
  2. It is extremely loud. Had I not had ear plugs, I would be deaf today.
  3. Most hardcore fans have these nifty radios which allow you to hear the conversations between lookout people on the roofs, pit crews, and the drivers. One of the families who came from our church had one. This was a really cool thing I thought, which enhanced the experience.
  4. The cars move much faster in person than they appear to on television. It struck me how fast they were going when I knew that the track was about a mile long, yet they were circling it in very short amounts of time.
  5. Pit crews are incredibly fast. In a matter of seconds, they can change out tires and refill the tank with gas.
  6. Nascar is very fan-friendly. You are allowed to bring a cooler (within a certain size range) and bring all your own snacks. It is not as expensive as going to some other kinds of events and sports, and being able to avoid the cost of concessions is a huge plus. I paid $30 per ticket, which included the entire day's events (from 10am-4:30pm) and also a hot dog and coke from the concession stand. Also, they didn't charge anything for parking. The bleachers had backs on them, so they were reasonably comfortable. Cameras are also allowed.
  7. This is the only race I've seen, but it seems to me like Nascar has less highs and lows like basketball. There is pretty much constant movement, but the cars are all moving at similar speeds and it's very hard for one to pass another. So it's high-action in terms of there not being much down time, but low action in terms of cars constantly passing each other. There were a couple of times where one car's engine blew out, and another car ended up spinning and going into the grass. But one car was in the lead something like 123 of the first 167 laps (until his spin out). And he wasn't barely in the was by nearly 1/2 a lap. The couple who are big Nascar fans told me it was one of the more boring races they've seen. I still enjoyed it, but there was not as much passing and swerving as I would have hoped for.
Overall, I liked it. It was "Family Day" so we were sitting in a non-alcohol section, and there were probably more people than usual who didn't know much about Nascar. Everything I knew about Nascar before this, I learned from Ricky Bobby. Even though there was a terrible wind chill, I loved that we were able to sit up high with a great view. This track is near Lebanon, TN, with few things around it, and on a warmer day, I would love being able to sit there, relax, and enjoy the experience.

I think I'll probably organize another trip for the youth group to go again next year. Below is a picture of the winner: #29 whose name is Wimmer, I think. It was his first win in 5 years. The youtube video is a clip I took as the race was starting. It was pretty exciting whenever they would get the green flag and take off.


  1. "Everything I knew about Nascar before this, I learned from Ricky Bobby."

    Priceless, Mark! Absolutely priceless...

  2. I used to watch my uncle race at the muddy speedway as a kid growing up. It was my favorite time. Staying up late, eating junk food, and being excited to watch him. However, as a parent, I would never encourage my kids to do this. Racing is crazy!!! I like driving fast too, but even I realize there are limits! :)

  3. I do remember Mrs. Speedy Whittington zooming past me a few times on the way to RB. :-)