Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day at the Races

We went to the race track the other day, and believe me when I tell you, it was quite the experience. I'd never seen so many tattoos and guys drinking Bud Light. You realize what a lot of people do on their weekends, and what sport is popular in this country. I realize the allure of the sport, but still don't completely get it.

We received free tickets to the race track online, and I figured it would be fun and exciting, especially for N. The track is down in Loudon NH, and it was part of the NASCAR circuit. I didn't realize this at first, and learned firsthand what NASCAR is all about. We had been to the races in Canaan, which I believe has some sort of NASCAR affiliation, and it was fun. It's a small track and the races were fun and manageable, if not really loud. I figured this time would be more of the same, but maybe a little bigger. Boy was I wrong.

This race was real deal NASCAR stuff, with all the big names in racing. I was blown away by not only the size of the track, but the number of people there, and this is NH. I can't even fathom what the crowds would be like in the South or Midwest. When we first got there, the traffic was heavy but moving smoothly. It wasn't until we got to the actual track that we learned how big the place was. It seemed like we were driving around forever just to find a parking space, the place was packed. Once we parked the car, we walked about a half mile to the stadium, and that's when we realized how big the place was. I think the track is a 1 mile loop, and the stadium seated tens of thousands of people, if not hundreds of thousands. Our seats were opposite of where we entered, and it took us about 15 minutes to walk there.

We arrived just at the race started, and the cars were cruising around the track before hitting full speed. Once they took off, the sound was amazing. I mean really deafening. We brought ear protection, but even then, the noise was incredible. We sat and watched the race, but you can't hear a thing, and for whatever reason they announce the race even though you can't hear them over the cars. As I mentioned, I don't completely get it. The cars do 300 laps but at some point it got pretty monotonous for me. It wasn't until about halfway through the race that I realized big names were out there, including Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Danica Patrick. Even knowing that, I still was not that enthused.

Maybe the most interesting part of the whole experience was watching the people. Boy, you really get a glimpse of what people like to do in this country. First off, I've never seen so many tattoos, even at a rock concert. It made me realize why all those tattoo parlors exist, they are clearly doing a lot of business. I've also never seen so much beer consumption. They let people bring beer into the stadium, which sort of surprised me, but makes sense with in light of the racing culture. Guys were getting hammered and I wondered if belligerence was going to ensue. It didn't, but getting tens of thousands of guys together pumped up on testosterone and alcohol seems like a recipe for disaster.

We watched the race for about 200 laps, and then decided to take off. We were in the minority, but the idea of trying to leave at the same time as the masses was intolerable. It would have taken us hours to get out of that parking lot, and even leaving early we hit a traffic jam. It also started to rain when we were on the highway, though the cloudy weather made it tolerable to be out there. We got home in time to whip together supper and then make it over to the ultimate frisbee field, where there were lots of people waiting to play. A nice end to a crazy day.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to roger blake for the pic.

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