I’ve been to a race before. It was a NASCAR event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, many, many years ago. I have to be honest, it really wasn’t my thing. And no, I’m not the guy who doesn’t believe it’s a sport. I just couldn’t get into it!
We were able to get up close and personal with the whole process that goes into “race day”. First, we were introduced to the Kia Optima’s that are driven in the races. They are pretty amazing vehicles, both inside and out. Then we were taken to the pit area, where we got a chance to see qualifying runs by drivers Ben Clucas and Mark Wilkins. It was loud, REAL LOUD!!! I won’t lie, I got a bit of an adrenaline rush being that close to the action. The strategy for the upcoming races, begin during these runs. Once it was explained to me, I started to get excited about watching our drivers in the race and cheering on the Optima.
We went back to the Kia tent and had lunch with the drivers. Both of the guys are great and have a real comradery with each other. They act like teammates in every sense of the word. Another thing I noticed was they signed every hat, program or whatever else was put in front them. They never turned away one fan! It was nice to see how much they value the people who come out to root them on.
The thing that makes this style of racing a little different is the track. It’s not a bunch of guys driving around an oval for a couple of hours… It’s much more. There are different elevations, styles of turns and straightaways. It’s very technical and the drivers really have to drive with a lot of skill and precision. Road America alone is 4 miles long and has 14 turns! It’s a great venue for a newbie to the sport like myself. You have a myriad of vantage points to choose from, so that you can see all the action. It really gets you involved in the race. I was having a blast watching the flashes of red and white zip around the track.
I’m a racing fan now and it’s an experience that I will look back on with a lot of fond memories. It’s great to find new things to be passionate about. It makes me feel like no matter what age, discovery is still around every corner!!!