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Is anyone else sick of hearing about the election?! So in honor of giving it all a break, let’s talk about something else American… NASCAR! Yes, I’m serious. Yes, I am hooked.
First off, it’s important to grab ahold of opportunities when they present themselves. Case in point – this weekend. A friend had an extra ticket to the NASCAR Sprint 500 race at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) so I jumped at the chance to go. It was about a month ago that I was saying how much I would like to check out a race here – wish granted! So rather than fighting with traffic Sunday morning while heading to the track, I went in for the full experience on Saturday night. The outcome – I CAN’T WAIT for next year!
NASCAR comes to TMS twice a year, once in April and again in November (it’s the two big races). So typically when the races come to town, you make an entire weekend out of it. Friday night are truck races, Saturday is a car race and Sunday is the “big race”. Saturday night is also a huge party night. After the race, you can party down on the infield of the track. A lot of people are camping out in their RV’s (which is totally the way to go), some inside the track but the majority on the outside of the track. That’s what we did. I was lucky enough to be invited to stay in an RV and subsequently would now like one of my own. Everyone sits around, builds a fire, has a beer (or two, or ten) and just has a great time. There was even a group of people behind us that had a band playing. Everyone is incredibly nice, you feel safe, parking is FREE.
Sunday morning, you wake up, hope you’re not hung over and get ready for the big race. This is what the parking lot looked like around 10:30-11am. Already packed. The stadium is a lot farther away than you think!
Closer to the stadium, you can peruse. The Speed Channel was there, of course. You could stand behind them and get seen by the thousands of people at home.
And you can check out the buses and buses and buses of merchandise for each of the drivers. They all have their own trailer (or so it seems) and you can find pretty much any item you are looking for. The best part is all the merchandise is all reasonably priced. Hats range from $5-$25, t-shirts from $10 to $25. Seriously beats the $40 t-shirts I’m use to seeing at baseball games.
Then it’s time to head into the stadium! Honestly, one of the best experiences ever. Bags are checked but you can bring in your own cooler, which means your own beer and food. You can also buy food inside the stadium (that was pretty good from what I had). Again, parking is free. Basically, this event can be as cost efficient as you’d like it to be. You can pretty much come just for the cost of the ticket. Yes, there’s a crowd but everyone was pretty nice to each other. Sure you’d see a few strange ones every once in a while (we are at a “redneck” event) but it’s a great people watching experience!
Before you find your seat, there’s an important piece of information that you need to know. It is super important and will greatly improve your experience if you get a headset (hearing protectors) and a scanner. The headset will reduce the amount of noise you hear but it’s also hooked up to the scanner. The scanner will greatly improve your experience as you can listen to any driver converse with their pit crew. Case in point, Danica Patrick. She and her pit crew are awesome. She is full of sass (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a fellow lady) but if you’re a woman out there with a bunch of men, you’ve got to pull your weight and then some. She wasn’t letting anyone push her around and quite honestly, it was pretty amusing. I definitely didn’t realize how much the drivers rely on their pit crew to let them know what’s going on, how little they can actually see and how to strategically place their car out there. Pretty cool to listen to and definitely makes being at the race all the more entertaining (and something you can’t hear at home)!
Before the race starts, the drivers drive around the track and prepare for the race.
The best part is when they all get into their cars and you hear “Gentlemen, start your engines!”!
Seriously, how do you get that job?!
Here are some pictures of the race!
I was pretty excited!
Line ’em up! Let’s start this thing!
Our seats were great – right after turn four in front of the entrance to pit road.
Kasey Kahne, #5.
Dale Earnhardt Jr, #88.
Jimmie Johnson, #48.
Another job I wouldn’t mind doing. What does one have to do to be the one waving the flag?! TMS, if you ever need someone do to this (or start the race) – let me know!
There were a few cautions during the race. Here you can see everyone stopped at once…. and left at the same time too! A few of them were cutting it pretty close! I’m guessing insurance premiums for the pit crew are pretty high!
As the sun begins to go down – what a view!
Jimmie Johnson was leading for most of the race. Within the last 10-15 laps there were 3-4 cautions called so it really came to a two lap finale. Jimmie Johnson won. Below you can see all the cars headed back to their garage.
Jimmie Johnson in the Winner’s Circle.
The final standings!
What a great race and a great event to attend. I’m seriously on a kick and can’t wait to go back. Thank you so much to my friends for the ticket and for allowing me to stay in the RV! If you haven’t been to a race, I recommend! I recommend! I recommend! Don’t knock it until you try it folks! Best of all – it’s definitely affordable! What a fantastic day!I guess next on my Bucket List will be to drive one of these around the track!For more videos, please check out my YouTube page, here.