I didn’t grow up with NASCAR. I grew up watching the major team sports.
Baseball was and still is my favorite sport. But I also had a passion for football, especially of the college nature. And basketball was always top of mind. But I also had fond interest in track and rodeo. Auto racing never really entered my thought process.
Sure, I watched the Indy 500 every year. But I didn’t understand it. And as far as NASCAR, I was clueless. And that is a shame. I’d heard what a spectacle the sport was. But because it received scant coverage and there was no local track or ties, it slipped my attentiveness. Even when Texas Motor Speedway opened up I still didn’t come to embrace the sport. Then, I went to a race. And my perception changed. It then became an obsessive thought on what I had missed.
Having been in sports radio for 25+ years I have been extremely fortunate to having witnessed many of the grand sporting events this country has to offer. I have covered Super Bowls, college football major bowls,World Series, Final Fours, all-star classics in all sports, Olympic Games top prize fights, and scores of other athletic endeavors. I’d always heard that NASCAR was like no other, but I had never attended such. So on the first race day at Texas Motor Speedway on April 6, 1997 I decided to give it a shot. WOW! WOW! WOW!
I had never seen such a marvelous and majestic event. It literally took my breath away. The air was electric and on fire. Two hundred thousand fans screaming their favorite drivers name. The roar of 180 MPH missiles racing at a break-neck pace. It was massive intensity in technicolor. I was, excuse the expression, blown away. I became a fan. A HUGE fan.
In the 14 years sense I have played a frantic game of catch-up. Trying to devour and appreciate the sport. I now make it a priority to watch the race every weekend throughout the season. I’ve educated myself on the chase, competition, clash and course of each contest. It’s taken some time to come to the appreciation of the parade and exhibition of races. But I’m getting there. I now rank NASCAR as a top five favorite sport in my fun-time activities. You should to.
So as race week is upon us, I strongly suggest you give it a shot if you’ve never attended a NASCAR event. You’ll love it. It has all the pitfalls that constitute a frolicking good time. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
In this space tomorrow we will explore the great lengths that NASCAR goes to make its loyal fandom happy and sprinting back to tracks for every race.
In the meantime, it’s Race Week DAMMITT!!
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