Why I Love NASCAR: Racing

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Racing has been a part of my working vocabulary since I was a very small child. My father is a proud member of the Vintage Sports Car Club of America (VSCCA) and still is. From my earliest memories I can recall three seasons of my father rolling out the tow vehicle, the racecar du jour and the trailer and going off to “go racing”. By the time I had joined the family as the youngest of three children, my mother was happier to send my father off to race alone than to drag her brood to the track and wait while my father reveled in his hobby. Upon the race weekends’ conclusion and my father’s return, we’d all ask him the same question, “Did you win, Daddy, did you win?” And my father, with a warm smile that emanated from the inside out would respond the same way each time, “Of course I won, I brought the car home safely and in one piece and had a fabulous time.” I didn’t understand then, but I do now.

My husband got bitten by the same ‘bug’ my father had been. They became fast friends while my husband courted me. My husband was handy in the garage, eager to learn, and quite the mechanic as the years rolled along. When finally an opportunity came for my husband to buy a (personally) highly sought after racecar, we agreed he should do it. He made sure it was safe, bought a firesuit and all he needed to outfit his car properly to run in the VSCCA, took driving schools (Skip Barber then the VSCCA school), and took to the track(s). He was off and running. Having been schooled by my father, my husband learned that winning was indeed about having a great time and bringing oneself and the car home safely. In all honesty, the VSCCA hands out no purse, no trophy nor any points. A practice is akin to a race and the only thing one wins at the conclusion of a race is bragging rights!

Racing on television was also a part of my childhood history. I knew about races called the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500, but I could neither tell you what the cars looked like nor which one claimed Richard Petty versus Mario Andretti (I know now, including the crossovers!). Once my husband and I set up house and spent our first few years living together in Virginia we started watching NASCAR; this predates his owning his own racecar. We chose Dale Earnhardt as our driver and watched religiously season after season. Once Dale was lost I lost my passion for racing entirely. I felt it had robbed me of so much. Not until my husband and I discussed he buying the car did I even contemplate racing. I was nervous, as Dale’s death was still fresh; we bought the racecar in May 2001, a mere three months after Dale’s death. But I watched, listened, and learned everything my husband had to and began to feel more relaxed by the myriad precautions taken to ensure the utmost safety possible.  I also learned that I adored being around the racetrack. I blossomed as an amateur photographer, bonded with the racecar drivers, and enjoyed hanging with the corner workers. As the years went on we created a magical world filled with race weekends. My husband, as much as he loved racing himself, still was a loyal NASCAR fan. Eventually I realized that racing was a common bond we shared and well worth putting back into my life. A NASCAR social networking site solidified my return to NASCAR fandom in May 2007 and I’ve never looked back.

 I come from and belong to a racing family. Racing is as much a part of me as my mixed heritage, my distinguishing features, and my laugh. There are those who bleed their team’s colors; I bleed high octane racing fuel. My children wear NASCAR t-shirts on “Wear Your Favorite Sports Paraphernalia to School” Day. The penname I write is “Chief 187”; the surname “187” is my husband’s racecar number. In recent years the economy has affected our racing budget. We are unable to do the circuit we used to in our heyday. Being able to watch racing weekly is yet another reason why I love NASCAR.
Why I Love NASCAR: Racing Why I Love NASCAR: Racing Reviewed by Chief 187 on Monday, April 04, 2011 Rating: 5