I’m a southern gal. Born and raised in the South. My mama’s family is from the South. My entire life to date has been lived in the South. However, I recently attended an event that despite my southern pedigree and upbringing had me feeling like a Yankee in King Earnhardt’s court. I experienced my first NASCAR race.
The National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing–NASCAR–is the governing body over one of the most profitable enterprises in the U.S. Since its beginnings back in 1947, NASCAR has grown into a behemoth of a sporting enterprise, broadcasting in over 150 countries and holding 17 of the top-20 attended single-day sporting events in the world (The History of NASCAR). Seventy-five million fans worldwide annually purchase over $3 billion worth of licensed products!
The Hubs is one of these 75 million who worship at the temple of Richard Petty. Hubs has implored me for years to shed my NASCAR virgin status and experience the rapture that is a NASCAR race. He upped the ante when he swore off attending another home & garden show until I accompanied him to just one race. What’s a gal to do–I can’t be expected to give up my house porn addiction.
Being that the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series begins next week, I thought I would share some of the valuable bits of wisdom I acquired from my expedition into the wilds of the NASCAR masses.
TEN TRUTHS ABOUT NASCAR
1. You’re going to need a hat. Everyone wears a hat. You can get away with a run-of-the-mill baseball cap, but why not go all out? Trust me, there will be plenty of vendors within a ten mile radius of the race track selling all kinds of merchandise. I purchased this bargain beauty for a mere 5 bucks!
2. It’s loud. Crazy loud. Check your style ego at the turnstile and wear the dorky headphones. For additional tips regarding what to bring with you, see NASCAR For Dummies Cheat Sheet
3. No one is on their cell phone. No checking Facebook or Twitter et al. I saw not a single electronic device out or in use during the entire race. Though tempted, I kept my I-phone fully holstered so as to not incur the wrath of the NASCAR purists.
4. They don’t really throw chicken bones. Apparently this is a myth created to make fun of the NASCAR virgins. No one threw as much as a small drumstick at me. I’ll admit I was a little disappointed. I’ve discovered there is some truth behind this myth:
At most NASCAR race tracks, the backstretch is called “Chickenbone Alley” because these are usually the cheap seats. The term is derived from fans throwing chicken bones down toward the track during the race.
5. Pick a driver. Compare a NASCAR race to a college football game. In football there are just two teams–you pick your side and cheer your heart out. Well, in NASCAR there are up to 43 drivers on the track. You have to pick someone to root for, otherwise it’s just a bunch of cars driving in circles and it gets really boring really fast.
“Bird Makes Coffee – YouTube”
6. It ain’t that easy. I had not expected racing to require so many tactical techniques. When to pit, re-fuel, get new tires, move to the top or the bottom of the track, etc. are all important strategic decisions.
7. Not a safe haven for feminists. I lost count of how many times I was called sweetie, honey, baby, sugar, darlin, etc. Go in with your eyes wide open here. The language is unapologetically salty. One big fella sitting behind us in the stands relished in telling the most sexist, dirtiest jokes I have ever heard. Truth be told some of them made me snort. He led a raucous one finger salute to Danica Patrick–currently one of the few female drivers–when she flamed out of the race.
8. Silver-lining moment. NASCAR may be the only sporting enterprise in the world where the lines for the men’s bathroom are longer than the queue for the women’s bathroom.
9. You can bring your own food… and booze! In the cooler next to the PB&Js, chips, and Oreos, you can legally ice down a six pack and bring it into the stadium. And they wonder why NASCAR fans are known for being hammered?
10. Don’t worry, they are making money. Trust me, surrounding the stadium you will find a sea of purchasing opportunities. Every driving team has a merchandise trailer and the concession stands do a brisk business. No one was crying over our lil ‘ol backpack of Bud Lights.
Obligatory NASCAR race; check. Now, to find the nearest home & garden expo…
Anyone else out there have some fun NASCAR wisdom to share? Any NASCAR die-hards?
Rena McDaniel saysFebruary 18, 2015 at 1:55 pm
I died laughing over this because I am married to “one of those” as well. I attended ONE race with him at the Kentucky Speedway when we lived there and let’s just say we showed up at 9 am for a stupid race that started at 5. There was so many different radios playing so many different tunes I soon had a migraine and the alcohol. I don’t drink so I was probably the only sober person in the whole place. I made it to lap 15 then told my husband we had to go home…right tat second. I haven’t had to go to one since. Somebody recently said “Do you know why tehre aren’t more women in Nascar?” “Because a woman wouldn’t drive in a circle for 500 miles she would drive to Denver than go shopping!” Yep, that’s me loved it!
Kim Dalferes saysFebruary 18, 2015 at 2:33 pm
“Drive to Denver and go shopping ” – that. is. perfect.
April Theeck Williams saysFebruary 7, 2015 at 5:52 pm
This was a fun read lady, keep up the great work! xoxo
Kimba saysFebruary 8, 2015 at 8:30 pm
Aw, thx April – glad you liked it, thx for stopping by.
Marquita Herald saysFebruary 7, 2015 at 2:20 pm
Great story Kimba. In another lifetime my “boyfriend” was a race car fan and that’s where we could be found every single weekend. I truly enjoyed the whole experience, noise and all so your story and images brought back some very nice memories.
Kimba saysFebruary 8, 2015 at 8:31 pm
Marty, I love that you have a race car driving former boyfriend – I would not have guessed that!
Carolann saysFebruary 7, 2015 at 11:06 am
I went to one once and it was a fun time! And yes, ladies room never a line!
Kimba saysFebruary 8, 2015 at 8:37 pm
Don’t know if I’ll go back, but it was definitely fun to go once.
Andi saysFebruary 7, 2015 at 12:38 am
I have never been but would I love to try it out sometime. I can’t believe no one uses their iphones!
Kimba saysFebruary 8, 2015 at 8:38 pm
It was weird, like being amongst an alien species…
Lois Alter Mark saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 6:26 pm
Loved reading this since I will never be going in person! May be worth going just to experience someplace where the line is for the men’s room instead of the ladies room!
Kimba saysFebruary 8, 2015 at 8:43 pm
Haha Lois – it was worth going at least once. Can I reiterate that you can bring your own food & beer? Just sayin…
Donna saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 5:21 pm
I am going the first week of march…bringing my earplugs!!
Kimba saysFebruary 8, 2015 at 8:46 pm
Have a great time. If anyone DOES throw chicken bones at you pls report back! 🙂
Tam Warner Minton saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 11:58 am
i can’t think of a worse place for me. Well, maybe a brothel would be worse. As a one time spectacle? Maybe. You are a brave one.
Kim Dalferes saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 12:29 pm
Oh, I’m not so brave. I can try just about anything once. Except sky-diving, I’ll never try sky-diving.
Tam Warner Minton saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 7:43 pm
Personally, I think skydiving would scare me less.
Carol Cassara saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 10:48 am
You really do need ear plugs. I kind of like the whole redneck scene.
Kim Dalferes saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 12:29 pm
It was kind of fun! Leave your pretenses in the parking lot and enjoy the ride.
Joy Weese Moll saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 9:25 am
My husband likes Formula-1 but we watch some NASCAR races on TV. I’m not too tempted to go to an actual race, though. I like all the commentary so I know what’s going on.
Kim Dalferes saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 12:33 pm
They have headsets you can rent so you can hear all the commentary – so they’ve got you covered!
Doreen McGettigan saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 9:05 am
You made me laugh!
When my parents divorced when I was 11 my Dad transferred to Daytona Beach so I spent a lot of time there. It would be safe to say I am a fan:)
I love NASCAR and Motorcycles.
Kim Dalferes saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 12:31 pm
The Hubs spent some time in Daytona, so I think that is where he also picked up the NASCAR bug.
Mary Burris saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 8:37 am
You brought back some sweet memories! Not that I have been to a TRUE nascar race, but I have been to the only NASCAR-sanctioned track in Idaho. I used to go every weekend with my boyfriend and his parents. We didnt have the big name drivers at our locat track, but we knew who we were cheering on. On Sundays, we’d spend the day watching the real race on TV. That’s where I developed a love for my first driver, Davey Allison. I cried when he died in that horrific accident.
Kim Dalferes saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm
It can be a very dangerous sport. This is a light-hearted post but it should be noted that racing always has that element of high drama as they zip around the track.
Suzie Cheel saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 7:40 am
kim, thank for informing me about NASCAR, even down under I have heard of it, You humour delighted me and takes me smiling to sleep tonight
Kim Dalferes saysFebruary 6, 2015 at 12:36 pm
Nighty night my friend – wonder if you’ll dream of race cars and chicken wings; maybe chickens driving race cars…