On Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010, my father, sister and I went to the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen in Watkins Glen, N.Y. What follows is the first part of my impressions of going to our first NASCAR race, with the second and third parts to follow later in the week. My sister also will chronicle her own impressions of the race on her blog, Boondock Ramblings, specifically how my father looks like Mark Martin and his encounter with the driver of the No. 5 car. My impressions will focus on pre-race, the race itself and post-race.
Part I: The Pre-Race
While waiting in the Wally World line to pay for my new Jeff Gordon hat, a Jeff Gordon fan in front of me AND another Jeff Gordon fan behind me, and then actually seeing two more Jeff Gordon fans while touring the pits before the race:
Before this, I thought that I and one of my friends on Facebook were the only two Jeff Gordon fans in the world, but now I know better than that, even though before the race, one redneck behind me and to my right booed loudly when Gordon was introduced. A table of Jeff Gordon fans (yep, now up to 10 of us, counting Kristine and me) directly behind me promptly went over and kicked his ass (okay, not really, but I wish they had; being Jeff Gordon fans, of course, they were too polite and just let his comment slide. I think they went over and prayed for him).
Now you might be asking me: Wait, a minute, you said “table of Jeff Gordon fans”? Weren’t you sitting in the grass with your beach chairs with the rest of the Redneck Nation? Nope, we weren’t.
We were in The Bog, on Turn 11 of the 2.3-mile road course (more about Turn 11 and also the term “road course” in the second and third parts). Originally, The Bog was just that a mudpit, but in the 1970s, it became the scene of an infamous incident where a mob of drunken spectators burned a bus belonging to fans of Formula 1 driver Emerson Fittipaldi. As a result, The Bog was subsequently closed down. Last year the area was reopened, but as “a special hospitality area where fans can watch the race, enjoy complimentary lunch and snack food, play games and meet their favorite drivers during question and answer appearances,” or in other words, sans the burning bus. The package now also includes exclusive parking at Gate 5 and Cold Pit Access, meaning when the pits aren’t running, you can tour them – and free Pepsi products throughout the day. Yee haw.
Along with the lunch, snack food also came six tickets for free Budweiser beer and/or mini-Red Cat (and White Cat) wine bottles from Hazlitt Vineyards, who sponsored the bog, for each person. My father and sister, being teetotalers didn’t use their tickets. My dad’s tickets went to a woman behind us, who said, “If he doesn’t want them, I’ll take them,” and my sister’s tickets went to me (more on that later too).
Each person also received a free souvenir. Now, before you become too excited, let me show you a picture of the souvenir:
Yep, we got our very own can cozies and not only that, but in an awful orange.
Yessirree Bob, the fun was just beginning for my father, sister (who took the photos above) and me at the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen. Tune in tomorrow when I’ll give you a run down of the race and then Wednesday when I conclude with the post-race mayhem.
Oh, my wife also wrote a blog post about being abandoned at home and how awful she felt not being able to go to the race with us. Okay, not really, but it’s still a humorous post — with apologies to her for co-opting her title, well, sort of.