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Monday, May 14, 2007

You don't evolve into a fan of NASCAR. You're created a fan of NASCAR!

Perhaps the biggest reason for the growth in popularity of NASCAR is the laissez-faire attitude by the track management on the fan experience, particularly inside the spectator area.

From the Richmond track site on

What to bring

Each ticketholder may bring into the grandstands at Richmond:

• A 6x6x12 soft-sided cooler or a similar item, such as a scanner bag, a fanny pack or a purse

• One clear plastic bag, no larger than 18x18x4

• A seat cushion -- All seating in the grandstands are aluminum bench seating. The seat cushion is for comfort and for keeping your place on the bench.

• Chairs, a grill, food and games. These items are a must for those who plan to get there early.

Question: What are soft-sided coolers or similar items and clear plastic bags well-suited for?
Answer: transporting canned beer, Aquafina bottles filled with whiskey, and food

Whether or not you know the sponsor, car number, and racing team for each driver, are familiar with pit strategies, or even have a rooting interest in the race, you still have the case of beer and assorted foods to consume throughout. There is something extremely satisfying about drinking beer that was purchased at supermarket prices at a live event like a race where vendors sell it for six times what you purchased it for.

In long stretches under green, the gap between the leading and the last place car diminishes in a short track race like Richmond, until the lead cars lap the last place cars and they end up fairly evenly distributed around the track. I was concerned going in that this would make it too difficult to follow what is going on in the race, but leader board made it easy to identify which cars were near the top of the field. While cars were all over the track, I was able to focus on groups of cars running close together.

While some fans watch the race with headsets listening to the the frequency for a particular driver and crew chief of their choosing or the race coverage through a race scanner, it is not a requirement to have a good time at a race. And you don't have to be a total redneck either, although there are lots and lots of them in attendance and a large percentage of them are fun to observe.

Now, enjoy some of the Richmond memories captured on Arnie's new camera!

"Sushi at a race? Now that's a first!"
- cooler contents inspector, upon seeing the container of sushi that my pal Matt brought. Incidentally, another fan in the row below also had sushi.

"Well, that was the best $10 I've ever spent. It's irregular, yes, and they said that they couldn't sell it to me, but I told them 'Oh, yes you can!'." - Arnie, now rollin' on 24's

Most NASCAR fans like them some baby Jesus. Before each race is a prayer, which we found amusing. Sometimes sponsors are mentioned by name in this pre-race prayer.

Many individuals proudly display which side they favored in the War of Northern Aggression. Note the West Virgina University stickers and the faux testicles hanging from the trailer hitch. We found those to be highly amusing, so much so that you almost wanted to ignore the racist 'stars & bars' decal.

We arrived at the race in a fuel efficient Honda Civic. Other fans chose to drive vehicles that were more efficient at moistening the panties of female passengers.

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