A long time forgotten, NASCAR races were a holy and private thing to a Southerner. The boys from Hueytown, Alabama took turns cuttin and rubbin their way down every dirt track from Times have changed and these days stock car racing has not only made it to the Great Lakes but it’s a little more fancy than I remember.
Recently, our travel team found our way to Michigan International Speedway as a guest of Hungry Jack. I’ve seen my share of races, but this experience in Brooklyn, Michigan was a little different. As usual, I thought I knew what I was talking about, but there were some new lessons to be learned at the Sprint Cup Series, Quicken Loans 400.
- The Grandstands: These seats are for the masses and a great way to see what’s happening on the track. Like most sporting events, it puts you right behind some redneck who has fallen asleep, with his gaping mouth open to the sky. If necessary, it can be used as an inpromptu ashtray. These can be fun seats as long as you are aware of exploding tires bouncing through the stands at a hundred miles an hour.
- The Infield: I would suggest the infield is not for children or the faint of heart, but that’s where my sister and I cut our teeth. This place is for warriors. The people show up days before the race and power party in the mud and sun nonstop. From the time you drive under the track in the RV, revels are celebrated and new friends are made until such time as you fall asleep on the roof of your motor home in the sun. The farmer’s tans at a NASCAR race is literally unbelievable. These are the people who stand, barefoot, in four inches of bathroom water, completely submerging the NASCAR tattoo on their foot. I mean really, what kind of back-woods, swamp-fed hillbilly has tattoo on their foot?
- The Owners Suite: Finally someone who gets it. It’s about time. I finally found my people in the JTG Daughtery Racing owner’s suite. Jodi and Tad of JTG Daughtery racing, were super sweet in letting us dangle in their air conditioned booth overlooking the start/finish line and he pits. Really. We were invited to their recreational vehicle to enjoy a pancake breakfast with some Hungry Jack syrup (of course) and spend a few minutes listening to racer AJ Allmendinger‘s strategy for the upcoming race. It all boiled down to “going faster”. Who knew?
Sure, it rained for most of the race. It’s Michigan, what do you expect? Sure, we waited it out in the sweet suite with Michigan State football coach, Mark Dantonio, enjoying a slather of pork shank and Crown Royal. Of course they provided us with headphones so we could listen to the drivers communicate with the crew chiefs. Of course.
Every time the rain slacked, we would step above the suite and enjoy the restart overlooking the track from the balcony. A few times, the pit crew sent someone up asking me to come down and lend a hand, but like I told them before, my racing days are over.
As much fun as the grandstands and infield can be, if you have a chance to join me in the owner’s box next time, I suggest you take it. Don’t be intimidated. I will show you around and introduce you to the beautiful people. Just stay close.