Filed under: Family Weekend Trips, Sporting Events, Nascar, Tailgating
NASCAR Racing Comes to Town
The roar of 41 high performance engines is literally deafening. Still, when combined with the aroma of 112 octane racing fuel and burning rubber it all comes together for an evening of excitement at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia.
Last night was the Bubba Burger 250, which is one of the races scheduled this year for the NASCAR Sprint Cup series of quick lap races.
Living within 12 miles of the track (as the crow flies) I can hear the roar of the engines days before the race as the cars come to run practice laps. It helps to build on the fever and excitement for what is to come.
Several days before the race, literally hundreds upon hundred of RVs; travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers, pop-up campers, motor homes, vans, buses – you name it – assemble in the Meadowbridge Camping section. Pre-race activities include games, such as toss across, Bar-B-Q dinners, music, dancing and just hanging out with other campers talking about their favorite drivers, teams, and cars.
Once we were seated in the 113,000-seat area that surrounds the track, we found ourselves sitting six stories up looking down on the track. We had a 360-degree view of every turn, bump, and stone out there. The surreal part of the entire event was being so far up above the cars it was easy to visualize them as a bunch of little Hot Wheel toy cars being propelled around a circle by children playing a game.
Perhaps one of the best parts of the race is the opening (see the video). The spectators stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of the National Anthem and an opening prayer. This year the National Anthem was sung by a 10-year-old girl who received a standing ovation. The final flyover by the Blue Angles is a heart throbbing event.
The race was not quite as much fun as the pre-race activities, opening and final six laps. In fact, it was the most uneventful NASCAR race I have ever attended. Hometown boy Denny Hamlin in his Camry (Toyota) led the pack for 199 of the 251 laps with only two minor fender benders bringing out the caution flag.
Still, the excitement of a NASCAR race is indescribable. The opportunities to really get close to the race by attending in a RV exceeds any other venue. Think about it – no traffic getting in our out, plenty of time to visit the Midway and pits before the race, watching the qualifying for the starting position, lots of fans surround you along with good food and spirits. When the race is over you go back to your RV for either a good night’s sleep or one of the many local celebrations. There is no sitting in traffic trying to get out of the parking lots.
Tonight (Saturday, April 30th) is the BIG race, the Crown Royal 400. The grandstands will be filled to capacity and the race for the crown will hopefully be an exciting event. While I am partial to Chevrolet, I can’t help but root for our hometown boy. Maybe Denny will win this one too?
I apologize for the less than stellar quality of the videos. All were made with an Olympus FE-340 without a tripod. The setting sun did not help the exposure either. Nevertheless, if you turn up your audio volume and watch you will get a sense of the excitement.
NASCAR and RVs go hand in hand.
UPDATE ADDED 11:30 p.m. EDST 4/30/2011
The Crown Royal race tonight proved to be much more exciting than Friday’s race. Beginning with a confrontation between Ryan Newman and Juan Montoya on lap 105, fans spent a considerable amount of time jumping up from their seats as the action began to unfold.
When the checkered flag finally dropped Kyle Busch, who started 20th, crossed the finish line ahead of hometown favorite and team mate Denny Hamlin to win the race.
Back at the RV campgrounds the celebrations are already beginning. It really doesn’t matter who won, it was an exciting race that deserves celebration.
Despite the over indulgence of a few fans in the campground, the majority of those celebrating are doing so in a civilized manner typical of the mature and responsible folks that make up our RV community.
If you like excitement and the opportunity to participate in numerous games and parties, this is the place to be.