I might have shared once or twice that my family is huge into NASCAR. Recently I was asked to share my family’s experience with the sport with
Fanatics, and I figured it would be good inspiration to perhaps get me to do some more writing. Naturally the more part didn’t happen, but I did have a lot of fun writing this post!
I myself didn’t always follow the sport, my husband being the fanatic (not just of NASCAR, he is into sports, period). I simply watched from afar, poking a good bit of fun at him.
The first race I ever really watched was Daytona in 2001. Ironically, that was the day that Dale Earnhardt died, and I just happened to be watching. How sad is that introduction to the sport? Not too long after that a show was created that showed NASCAR drivers in their natural habitats. It was called NASCAR 360 and it followed around several drivers as they went about their day. I developed quite the affinity for one Mr. Kevin Harvick and his wife Delana, and have been a big fan ever since. I also root for Matt Kenseth, and also have been known to cheer for Mark Martin, Kent Schrader, and Jeff Burton when they were racing full-time.
My husband has been a race fan all his life. He’s from Oskaloosa, Iowa, where there is a racetrack right uptown. He grew up rooting for Awesome Bill from Dawsonville, the amazing Bill Elliot.
By the time he came around, my son was born into a family that loved racing. At the tender age of two he stole my thick NASCAR preview magazine and memorized all the names of the drivers, their numbers, their owners, and so forth. He was TWO.
This two year old also decided that Jeff Gordon was his favorite driver. In my household at that time, it was almost blasphemy. Eventually as Jeff became less whiney, we learned to tolerate this decision. It could have been worse, he could have chosen Tony Stewart. This child was so into Jeff Gordon that he was Jeff Gordon for Halloween three years in a row, and still has a Jeff Gordon themed bedroom!
My daughter has been dragging her feet about NASCAR. She likes it but not like we do. Greg Biffle is her man. She also roots for Kyle Busch because she likes M&Ms. Once or twice she has uttered the words “Go Danica Patrick.” Them’s fightin words in this house…
I would like the record to note that I have done quite well in two different NASCAR fantasy leagues. I kicked butt. I was awesome. I’m only throwing that in because it will probably be the only time I will be able to say I did well at anything involving sports.
In April of 2012 we got the opportunity to attend our first race as a family at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. I being the anxious one naturally balked at the cost of attending such an event, but in the end it came out okay. It was definitely a unique experience, and here are a few things we took away from it:
1) No matter what they say the weather is going to be, prepare for the opposite. It was supposed to be 75 and beautiful. It was in the 40s and freezing.
2) Kettlecorn is a wonderful way to satiate two starving young children.
3) Choose your seats wisely. The ones we got weren’t overly expensive, and we got to see the drivers pretty close when they had driver introductions.
4) Bring a good camera. My camera was so awesome that I got a picture of Delana Harvick sitting in the pit booth, and I was pretty far away. So.Awesome.
5) Earplugs. You’ll need them. Trust me.
6) It’s nothing, absolutely nothing like watching it on tv. You can see and hear everything. And experience things like when they say that a car doesn’t sound right, you know it when you’re there in person.
7) Races are kind of boring when no one wrecks. There was one caution for Bobby Labonte blowing up. That was it. Booo.
8) Get a souvenir t-shirt. Get two. Hell get seven of every driver and wear them all over the top of one another.
9) Preschoolers will sleep where they lie, even at a noisy racetrack.
NASCAR is a family thing in our household. It’s probably the only thing we can agree on. Forget football, soccer, tennis, curling, etc-we all enjoy this sport. We may not like the same drivers, but it is fun watching it together!