So for the last three years, my father and I have found a couple of people to tag along with us to go to a NASCAR race to celebrate my birthday — Yes, I like every sport basically. We’ve been to Charlotte, NC the past two years and this year we went back to Dover. I had my first NASCAR experience there about 12 &1/2 years ago so it was kind of cool to come full circle like that.
The area where we stayed, Smyrna, DE, was about a 15 minute drive from the track. Although we were pretty close to Philadelphia, this town started showing sign of redneck takeover. Waffle Houses, Chick-Fil-a’s, and LOTS of liquor stores (You can’t buy beer in a supermarket in DE). Not a ton of pedestrian life in this area outside of the fans there. It kinda felt like driving through New Jersey with the big warehouses but there’s also a lot of open space and many billboards reading “Vote for Jesus. He died for you.”
For the race itself, Dover is one of the circuit most historic tracks. The track is exactly one mile long with a full concrete surface notorious for eating up tires and giving the drivers handling hell. These racing weekends usually consist of three series; Truck Series and XFinity series which are basically for driver development and the Sprint Cup which is the championship circuit. XFinity was slated for Saturday and Sprint Cup for Sunday.
I was super excited at the chance to see Jeff Gordon race for the last time. Gordon is the biggest and first sports hero I ever had. He retired from full-schedule competition last season, but when Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered a concussion, Gordon was one of two replacement drivers for the team and he picked to race Dover which made me beyond happy.
It rained all Saturday and forced a doubleheader for Sunday. The racetrack sent an email saying tix for both races would be honored to get in for both races so we rounded up early and got to the track for 600 miles of racing.
Unfortunately for the fans who were out for blood, the biggest crash of both races happened early.
We ended up getting to the track for about the last 20 laps of the morning race and then we watched them go through the motions of driver intros, invocation, national anthem, and Joe Walsh yelling the phrase “Drivers, start your engines!”
As a lifelong drummer, I love loud noises and those engines are LOUD.
I had never picked out better seats for any even in my life. NASCAR is a little backwards in the sense you want to sit higher up in your section so you can see the whole track. Also a race-day essential: a radio scanner. Part of the experience is that NASCAR teams broadcast on public channels so fans can listen to team communication in real time or stream the national radio broadcast through it, as well.
Outside from a couple of tire failures and a major blown engine, there wasn’t a ton of yellow flag action which probably garnered this race a boring rating. One car led almost half the race and there were only six that finished on the lead lap.
I loved it as usual, but I’m one of those weird folk that can sit through a full NASCAR race or baseball games, no breaks.