Why I Love NASCAR: Live Cup Races Part III

Chief 187 with husband, Racer 187 and children ML187 and GS187
Photo used courtesy of Chief 187

It never rains but it does pour. After a drought of fifteen years between attending a live Cup race, we were put in position to see another race less than two years after the second one! Our association with the NASCAR social networking site left us tied to a new community of friends who we were anxious to connect with, especially if it entailed a meet up! This race was to be at Martinsville, the site of our first NASCAR race we had ever attended back in 1992. The year was 2009 and we were planning to return to Martinsville with our two sons in tow. Our NASCAR life was blooming full circle.

By this time we owned a Ford E-150 conversion van that was our tow vehicle for the racecar we run in the VSCCA. Spacious, comfortable, and perfect for travel, we loaded it up for the trip to Virginia from New Jersey. As a surprise, my husband bought a glass marker to write on the windows of the fan announcing our affiliation with the site and our destination! The plans were to meet our friends where we’d be lodging, in Roanoke, Virginia. This also pleased us because my husband and I had married in Roanoke, so this trip was to be filled with a lot of poignant and happy memories we could share with our children. Our first surprise was the hotel we’d made reservations wound up being the exact hotel (albeit with a different name now) that my husband’s and my wedding was held! The layout looked the same and we were flooded with the best of memories of that date in January 1993 when we tied the knot!
Courtesy of Chief 187

Our friends made the race meet up top notch. We met, drank, ate, and laughed together for hours as we had all arrived the day before race day. We had our young children so we were unable to continue the fun to the dinner destination as it was late and they were “done”. Truth be told, I was, too. Unbeknownst to everyone except my husband and doctor, I was pregnant but not yet sharing the news. The next morning we were up early, made a convoy strategy, and headed out for the track. If you’ve not been to Martinsville or the Roanoke Valley, it defies description. The Blue Ridge is a sight to behold and makes highway travel a pleasure. Once again, race day traffic became congested miles before the track was reached, but it was rather organized and pleasant. I’ve yet to experience angry, annoying people in pre-race traffic, that usually appears in the mad rush to get home when people are tired, sun-burned, a bit inebriated, and over-tired and a majority are cranky because their driver did not win. Still, for the most part, NASCAR-lovin’ people are super great and I’d rather be in their company than most anyone else’s.

Once at the track, parked safely (and NOT on a grassy hill) the group of us rendezvoused with the hosts of the NASCAR podcast we all listened. As they are all men, they were semi-organized for a pre-race meet up, concerned more about the interviews, race information, and work they had to do upon the completion of the race. Fortunately, they had supplied Dunkin’ Donuts doughnuts and coffee as well as several boxes of Martinsville hotdogs. Wanting to be helpful, the day before we traveled I shored up my flagging energy to bake banana chocolate chip quick breads, a pan of brownies with peanut butter chocolate chips and marshmallows, and some chocolate chip cookies. I also supplied cheese and crackers, a dip, cutting boards, knives, and napkins. Between all of our efforts, including a few other contributors to the feast, the meet up was festive as well as hunger quenching!

After the food was eaten, hugs and handshakes exchanged, and our area cleaned up, the lot of us wandered over to the pits for a tour. It struck us all how tight the pits were at that track. Tires were lined up in neat rows and represented more money than my car is worth. Crew members were organizing everything, checklists were visible, and rituals were being observed. On the way out of the pits, in a great twist of fate, we passed Jack Roush, going the other way. Outfitted in his signature head covering that garnered his nickname “The Cat in the Hat” and looking as ruggedly handsome as he did nineteen years earlier when we met him at Martinsville, it was fantastic to have that memory brought full circle as well.

Later we assembled at the production of Raceday on SPEED’s live broadcast. Unlike Pocono, we didn’t make the show that we know of, but it was so much fun it just didn’t matter. From there we decided to take our seats. A group of us clustered in the top of the section of Turn 2. Martinsville, as I’ve written before and you know if you’ve seen it live or on television, is an intimate short track that does not contain a bad seat in the house. Being experienced parents we knew to have a bag full of gear for our children including the following: ear protection, sun block, hats, a wind-breaker, activity books, pencils, crayons, water, snacks, and lovies. Whereas we were seasoned NASCAR race lovers, our sons, ages six and two at the time, were just along for the ride. Keeping them entertained and being ready to leave at a moment’s notice was all part of the deal we made at the start of our day. Fortunately, there was enough action and our attention to allow us all to sit through the entire race, a race that ended in Jimmie Johnson’s favor.

Getting out of MartinsvilleCharlottesville, Virginia where the podcast we listen used to be produced. We were invited to join in the day’s podcast “outtro”; that planted the seed for my Internet Radio work I do today. And, once again, seeing a live Cup race, for the third time, is yet another reason why I love NASCAR!
Why I Love NASCAR: Live Cup Races Part III Why I Love NASCAR: Live Cup Races Part III Reviewed by Chief 187 on Monday, May 02, 2011 Rating: 5