I am trying to type this on the laptop, when the cat has decided SHE is the laptop and the laptop is the armchair armtop. Sure as taxes there is a back pain thing coming, but one does not argue with nor displace a Siamese lest one wants poo in one’s shoe.
Anyway, last weekend was RACE WEEKEND. Or rather DIG-A-SEWER-LINE-THEN-RACE WEEKEND. We went to Mom and Dad’s Friday night, spent Saturday digging and laying….ok Terry and CJ spent Saturday…ok Dad, Terry, and CJ spent Saturday….ok Dad was contrary and in the way and bossy while Terry and CJ spent Saturday digging a 30-ish foot long trench and laying pvc pipe to the septic tank for CJ’s new place while Terry tried to keep Dad occupied by sending him out on errands fetching this and that to keep him out of the way but that only goes so far. eventually the pipe got laid and CJ was might impressed at Terry’s ability to get it exactly where it needed to be right to the very inch (flexible joints help). I was impressed at the amount of mud, but then it WAS raining most of the time. Which made the hard clay easier to dig but wow…clay mud is messy and sticky stuff. However, I know the menfolk in this family well enough to know that if a little dirt is good a lot of mud is even better. Viva la oldboots.
Thanks to the productivity of Saturday (the entire job was done except for burying the pipe, and that needed to wait anyway), we were all able to go to THE RACE IN TALLADEGA with a clear conscience. WOOHOO!
Ok yeah. Way fun….with PIT PASSES. I am glad we got to go into the pit. I am not interested in doing it again, unless there’s drivers there because I want to see if they really are as short as everyone seems to think. The cars are pretty small so I guess you’d have to be. Except for Michael Waltrip whom I understand is rather tall, or maybe it’s because he’s always next to Mark Martin who isn’t tall at all. But the pit is cool and interesting and it’s easy to tell which racing team has the big sponsors and which ones don’t. I kind of like underdogs. Do you? also, how the tires are all laid out for the changes and how some of the tool boxes are so fancypants they had touch screens in them and others are just…tool boxes. big ones, but nothing fancy at all. The well-sponsored teams had many sets of tires and the not-so-well-sponsored teams just had maybe 6 or 8 tires.
The race started with all the obligatory prayers and National Anthems (why can’t they just SING the song without all the “Listen to what I can do and I’ll hold this note so long that the flyover comes too early!”) and introductions and such…and honorary this and honorary that and no one will remember who got to drive the pace car anyway except the person who drove the pace car and maybe his mother but that’s ok because I wouldn’t turn it down if they offered it to me….where was I?
Oh yeah the race…43 cars with a total of 39,000 horsepower goes screaming by with all the woohooing and beer cans possible…it’s kind of invigorating, really. The first lap is watched with no earplugs and that results in a couple of hours of bleeding ears but hey…everyone is doing it so it’s ok.
Occasionally there’s a crash and of course I never have the camera ready for those but I can get pictures of some aftermath.
A little over 100 laps into the race it started to rain and we forgot the ponchoes, so packed up and headed home along with about half the other fans (some of whom forgot clothes entirely. Bless their hearts). Apparently after a 3 hour delay there was much excitement and the race was eventually won by someone who was not even noticed by the press until then- Front Row Motorsports. David Ragan and David Gilliland blew past the front runners who were bickering with each other over the first spot, and failed to notice them. Here’s to a young team and their first NASCAR Sprint cup win! First and Second place for 2 team members! We wouldn’t have seen it anyway, as all the excitement happened on the other side of the track.
As per usual, a NASCAR race is ripe for people-watching. There was the gorgeous young woman who kept wanting to do the Talladega thing and watch the race in her bikini, but the temperatures were fluctuating between 50 and 60 degrees (depending on the cloud cover) and she’d get cold and have to redress. There was the young man (who’s arm you can see in the photo above) who had no idea where his seat was and drifted all over the stands. There was the occasional whiff of ProbablyNotTobacco and the gravelly voices of 3-pack-a-day smokers cheering their drivers then coughing alarming, rattling lung-upbringing coughs. Stellar race-track hotdogs and hamburgers, beer, etc. The cool thing about a race as opposed to any other sport, is that there are 20 teams instead of 2 so there’s little (if any) animosity toward any other team. It would be logistically exhausting to boo 19 teams. Except for Kyle (Kurt?) Busch. Apparently no one likes him, and there were boos a-plenty and also rude hand gestures when his sadly crunched car was towed past.
Thanks to the wisdom of parking way out at the far end of the field, we were able to get out fairly quickly. And thanks to the logistical smarts of the whoever-does-the-planning, traffic wasn’t horrendous. Apparently they’ve dealt with it before, and all 4 lanes are one way. Also, lots of tractor-pulled trams, because the track is quite large. I also got a hat. I am fond of the Waltrip Brothers because they’re funny, and also Mark Martin because even though he’s the oldest driver in the world (at 54) and likely to retire soon, he’s a gentleman and I like him. Thus, I am following the Aaron’s/Napa Michael Waltrip Racing Team and bought an appropriate hat. Each driver/team has a huge trailer selling
paraphenalia stuff like t-shirts, hats, and autographed things.
We are discussing where to go next year (once a year is plenty). Maybe Bristol and it’s Gladiator Roman Colosseum-like experience, or maybe Charlotte, wouldn’t it be cool if they had drag racing the same weekend! That would be fun! Who knows…there’s time to figure it out.
Now, at a race I feel a little bit like a tulip in a turnip patch, as I possess no tattoos or bikini tops (that I am willing to wear in public), nor do I smoke or drink (heavily) (in public)but there is a definite thrill about it all and I come away from a race wanting very badly to drive one of those cars around a track, at 190 mph, just to say I did it.
I almost have Will and David talked into going to one with us.