Our first NASCAR raceOkay, its time to come clean to the world. I love NASCAR.

In fact, Cole and I attended our first NASCAR event this weekend at Dover International Speedway.

Now, you’ve got to understand, I didn’t intentionally become a NASCAR fan. It was an accident. I promise.

Last year the animated movie Cars came out and it quickly became Cole’s favorite movie. We’ve watched it about 257 times since we first saw it in the theater. I’ll tell you what, that movie is a slippery slope if I’ve ever seen one. It started with the movie, moved to collecting the die cast cars then he would start stopping me at the race telecasts when I’d be flipping channels trying to find the Cubs game or something. Before I knew it, I’d watched the entire Daytona 500 and every race since then. When we’re not home we are even sure to program the DVR so we can catch the race later.

It’s a sickness really. But, like a sickness, I can’t help it. And honestly, I’m beginning to love it.

We went to the Nationwide race on Saturday (this race is kinda like the JV team – the big name races race in the Sprint Cup on Sunday).  We went early so that we could see the practice session for Sunday’s race. We’re big Dale Earnhart Jr. fans in our house and Cole was crazy excited to be able to see Jr. drive in person (yeah, i was too).

If you were in the East this weekend you know that it rained.  And yes, it poured on us.  The final practice session was cut short due to a massive thunderstorm which we rode out mostly under the metal bleachers until we found ourselves crouched under a the trailer of a semi-truck with a very kind older couple from Virgina.   We eventually made it back to our car soaking wet and rode out the rest of the storm there.  After about three hours the sky cleared up and the race actually started.  This was after a trip to the nearby mall for some dry shirts and socks.

Here are some thoughts from our first race…

  • Its awesome live. I like watching NASCAR on TV.  But, live is amazing.  When we first walked up the steps the Sprint Cup Series drivers were on the track and it was really unbelievable.  We walked up the steps right next to the track and the first thing we saw was Dale Jr. flying past us.  You should have seen the excited expression on Cole’s face.  It was priceless.  He was jumping around he was so excited. (I won’t admit publicly what my reaction was…)
  • Rednecks are really, really nice people. It’s funny, the most frequent comment I get from all you NASCAR haters is the predictable redneck and mullet jokes.  And yes, there were a lot of lovers of country music there drinking very cheap beer.  I was disappointed with the amount of mullets that I spotted. But, the NASCAR community is like one big family (no, its not because they are all related!).  We met the nicest people.  For example, the father in the family that sat next to us was kind enough let Cole borrow his sweatshirt for the race cause he was cold.  When they heard it was our first race, they were excited for us and we had a great time watching the race with them.
  • It’s kinda loud. In fact, I have never heard anything louder.  I was going to be a tough guy and not use any ear plugs or anything.  I quickly changed my mind.  I am goign to upload a short video I took during the race and it gives a small glipse of how loud it really was.  I actaully called my wife, Melanie, during the race and let her hear the noise. She got a kick out of that.

Well, I think I’ve pretty much done myself in with this here post. I hope you can still respect me!

If nothing else, Cole and I had an amazing time together and it was such an awesome bonding experience for us.  From the huddling under the semi truck to waiting out the rain in the car to finally seeing a live race, Cole and I have some great memories from this day.

So, if you want to hate on NASCAR, go right ahead.  I would have done the same 5 months ago (that is, until I reached this higher level of enlightenment!).  But, you can’t really hate on my hanging out all day with my 4 year old son.

Now, I need to find myself some NASCAR blogs to read up on the race at Pocono this weekend…

(There are some great pics of us at the race on my Flickr account. Check em out here).