Notes from a NASCAR Newbie

Until this weekend, everything I knew about NASCAR came from my son’s miniature matchbox set, my grandson’s obsession with the movie CARS and Will Farrell’s portrayal of Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights.  NASCAR wasn’t exactly on my bucket list but I’m not one to pass on an invite from a good friend, especially when it involves a brand spanking new experience with box seats and parking pass included.

RV’s, trailers, cars and trucks lined the highway for several miles before we saw the Bristol Motor Speedway track rising from the clouds on the Tennessee mountain up ahead.  People of all ages were drinking and dining under make-shift canopies in front of tight little communities of tents.  Hard to tell how long they had been there or where the facilities were, easy to see they were having a grand time of it.

There were carnival type booths set up next to the many, many parking lots hosting TV screens and crews, contests, and handouts.  Hot-dogs, beer, Moon-shine cherries, ice cream, and automobile stuff, all for sale; scanners for rent.  What’s a scanner, you ask?  They are little hand-held devices with a video screen and head phones.  You can select drivers and listen to their crackling chatter and see their view from the driver’s seat during the race.

There were golf carts to transport those faint of foot up the mountain side to the track entrance.  Streams of colorful, cooler toting people with ticket adorned necks streamed through the entrance into the wild world of racing, wearing every get-up one can possibly think of (and then some),  wide-eyed and pumped up!


Bristol Motor Speedway’s enormous NASCAR production caught me completely off guard.  I tried to take in the grandeur of the pristine, flawless 18 wheelers, which house the race cars, the brilliant colors of said race cars and the logos of familiar products emblazoned on each car and crew member’s jumpsuit.


A blur of sparkle, shine and color mingled with voices lauding prayer, pledge and country music.  Children sang the star-spangled banner, fireworks exploded, Miss Zmax paraded, flags waved, drivers postured, planes flew over, a parachutist descended and the crowd reveled before we even got to the part, “Gentlemen, start your engines.”

Crashes, fires, tire changes and helmet throwing highlighted the 500 laps between start and finish.  The sound of engines and tires was loud.  I mean really, really loud, maybe the loudest sound I have ever heard.  We each picked three cars to follow, two of mine spun out of control and were unfit to continue.  All of my husbands placed in the top ten including the winner.

So you know now what I didn’t know then, and I’m just betting you’ll put NASCAR right on top of your list of must do’s.  You may just get a glimpse of the Ricky Bobby in all of us and why NASCAR is America’s number one spectator sport.

That’s some big truck, Harry



15 thoughts on “Notes from a NASCAR Newbie

  1. Pingback: America-Super-sized | play-grand

  2. Grandma Kc

    Lately you hear so many stories on the news of cars going out of control and taking out part of the audience — I think for that reason alone I will opt for staying home!

  3. That’s a fun posting….! My sons would love to go to something like that, for sure. I have never thought that I would but reading your post makes me wonder. 🙂

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  5. Grandma Kc

    Fun post! I’ve never been to any type of auto race but I loved Talladega Nights! I’d be willing to try it at least once.

  6. I went to one racing event one time. It was interesting. True fans are indeed avid fans. I, though, could not get past the LOUDNESS of the event. But I can see the attraction and the excitement. Cheers to the NASCAR devotees!

  7. Judy Hall

    We have a NASCAR track here with 2 races each year and DH and I have successfully avoided going:) Perhaps we should make the 20 minute drive and see what it’s all about?

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