It really is the definition of America and it has to be America’s true pastime. NASCAR. Every year (at least for the past three years) on a Sunday in the middle of July, I, along with a couple of cousins, make the trip to Loudon, New Hampshire to see the big names in racing take a bunch of left turns for a few hours. Yes you’re right, most of the time is spent wearing huge headphones, sweating like you’ve never sweated before, and watching exactly this:
A quick note: that video doesn’t do the noise of the race justice. Honestly, it is one of the loudest noises you will ever hear and, unlike in the video, you can’t hear that announcer even a little bit. Conversation is impossible. As you can see from the video there are some redneck nutcases that abandon the headset idea. These are the special brand of people that you only see at NASCAR, people you have to see to believe, and people you probably do not aspire to be. I could not even begin to describe to you these types of people because a couple adjectives is just inappropriate, inaccurate, and unlawful. A picture is worth a thousand words, but this one really doesn’t even scratch the surface of this culture:
Just in case any race fans chanced upon this post here’s a quick synopsis of the race. Bad (according to the announcer) Brad Keselowski started from the pole, but the real story at the beginning of the race was the car starting in 41st place. At 71 years young Morgan Shepherd became the oldest driver to start a NASCAR Sprint Cup race ever. Shepard, as expected, did not finish the race. Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, and Kyle Busch all led portions of the race, while Tony Stewart and a new favorite driver of mine, Kurt Busch, also spent time at the front of the pack. Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. both wrecked and brought their cars into the garage at the same time (obviously to get a mid race make out session in). Joey Logano just had an awful day from the get go, the invocation (a quick prayer prior to the start of the race led by a reverend) was beautiful as always, Paul Menard was being an asshole, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were irrelevant, and Jimmie Johnson rebounded after starting dead last to finish sixth. The big story however came at the end when Tony Stewart looked to be in a good position to win the race, but then all of a sound a few cautions screwed Smoke and opened the door for Brian Vickers. As Stewart ran out of gas (literally) on the final lap, Vickers barely pushed the #55 across the finish line. Didn’t even have enough gas for a burnout:
It was Vickers’ first win since 2009. To put the win into perspective, Vickers is 53rd in the point standings and shares time in the #55 car with racing legends Michael Waltrip and Mark Martin.
As for the experience: It’s probably the hottest three and a half hours of your summer, and you come back feeling absolutely disgusting, but NASCAR culture is one of a kind and a day at the racetrack sends you home with thousands of unforgettable stories.