Like a first kiss when your faces are close. You both lean in, eyes opened, heart pounding, warm breath forcing your eyes closed. With trembling lips you meet and the passion stirs more ardently. There is nothing that can separate you.
And then you realize you are still waiting. Waiting for the time when all this will start for real.
Since the off-season began the countdown did, too. For many the holidays filled a few weeks, but still we waited.
We watched for signs of action – testing, practice, new uniforms, sponsor news – and posted for all of our racing-loving friends.
|Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR|
The new Generation 6 NASCAR Sprint Cup cars sit on the grid during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 10, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
When news trickled down we hopped on it and discussed it ad nauseam, whether it was about the Gen 6 cars or who was dating whom.
Collectively we camped out for the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Collector Car Auction. Our blood ran fast when Hendrick was spotted seated next to Jeff Gordon. We consoled ourselves with glimpses of fantastic cars and the money others have.
Recently we tried to trick ourselves into a relationship with “other cars” because we see familiar names and the venue of our first race of the season. Twenty-four hours of racing that captivates but never satisfies the craving felt.
The long weekend merely whets the appetite and ignites the passion even more. Again countdown signs are visible everywhere. Instead of months there are weeks.
The rest of the country goes berserk about a football game. People stock up on beer, pizza, chicken wings, and nachos to watch the end of the season blowout. Many watch simply for the over-priced commercials.
We watch. Some of us are even football fans. But most of us are biding our time. Our biggest debut is around the corner.
We sit with other race fans and discuss. My husband and I engaged in the following discussion verbatim over the weekend:
“Why would Coach Gibbs stick with KyBu?”
“He brings the publicity and the sponsors love it.”
“How do you think Matt Kenseth will do in his new team?”
“He’ll do brilliantly. He’s the kind of driver who can tell what is wrong with the car, how to fix it, and then win. He could very well be the next Cup Champion bringing Toyota their first championship. He should definitely have a positive affect over there at JGR. In fact, if he wins a championship for Gibbs in the same equipment that Denny and Kyle haven’t, there could be big changes on the horizon.”
Whether you agree or disagree, you undoubtedly have had similar discussions with your NASCAR-loving friends.
A Nation of others is willing their driver – Dale Jr. – to win the Great American Race. If he does – or when – it will be his second win at this crown jewel of races for the Cup Series, his first coming in 2004.
Whoever you root for you know the day the race is here you will be filled with immense passion for the sport. The unrequited love of the offseason will finally be replaced with the consummation –commencement.
But that’s then. Right now all we have is the anticipation. And as much as I cannot wait for the offseason to end and the race season to begin, there is something sweet – and thrilling – about the anticipation.
Like that first kiss, anticipation is yet another reason why I love NASCAR.
Chief 187™ is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™Chatter. Her column “Why I Love NASCAR” and other articles are featured on Skirts and Scuffs. She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit http://Chief187.com.