Midvale School for the Gifted Alumni Association

Sunday, September 25, 2011

#3 Might Have The Car But #43 Has Got The Nerve

My first NASCAR race today, in Loudon, NH, and I'm pretty certain it won't be my last. I spent many years being actively scornful of NASCAR, right up to the moment I first rode in Christopher's car. Christopher's NASCAR branded Chevy Monte Carlo. I took a deep breath and decided to keep an open mind. My love for Christopher is not based on wheels.

Although, his love of NASCAR has certainly been influential. He's very slowly introduced me to pieces of the sport and the culture he thought I might find interesting. And I did. We'd then watch a piece of a race here, a race day summary there, and then finally, a whole race on television one Saturday night. Then, the movie Cars. More articles. And lastly, today's race.

There are parts of this fandom that I'm likely ALWAYS going to have trouble accessing, the country music and rebel flag pieces being two that come to mind immediately. But there are parts of other sports whose fan culture rubs me the wrong way too; I mean, crazy gear is crazy gear, be it a shirt with sponsor patches or shaving your head to tattoo the flying Elvis Pats logo on to it. Extreme. But not all fans have Pats tattoos, and not all NASCAR fans are rednecks.

The race itself was really interesting. I was able to see cars battling for position, the tactics they use to speed up, to try and pass, to gain an edge, and that's fascinating to watch. The experience itself is all 5 senses--sight, sound, smell, hearing, touch, as the seats vibrate as the cars race past. I watched a blind man and his escort stand close to the fence and he would raise his hands to feel the vibrations every time the cars passed him. I tried it once myself, and I could feel the rush in my palms. Visceral.

Am I completely hooked? No. Am I definitely more than a casual fan. Probably. This sport is so much more than "drive fast, turn left". So much more.

Daddy's Cup - The Drive-by Truckers

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Blogger Erik said...

There are certain sports that I'm just not able to access. Basketball is one, NASCAR is another. I might be able to find things about each that I like but I'm pretty set with my other interests and the overt "Redneckism" that NASCAR oozes is a major turn off for me non-redneck types like me.

6:20 PM  

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