Monday, September 10, 2012

Gentlemen Start Your Engines!

My dad is a huge NASCAR fan and came in town this weekend for the Federated AutoParts 400 race at the Richmond International Raceway. I couldn’t believe that there is such a huge track right here in Richmond! I’ve never particularly been a race fan, I went to some when I was little with my dad and used to tell people I liked Jeff Gordon, I think only because his number is also my lucky/favorite one…24.

So we set out on Saturday to the race, and luckily my dad had looked at the weather and purchased some ponchos ahead of time because you can’t take umbrellas into the grandstands. Just as we began packing up the tailgate to walk up to the race it started to rain. Then we got there and it started to pour, I’m talking cats and dogs people. We were huddled under a staircase because the rain went right through the stands. This went on for more than an hour. 

Blue ponchos are so fetch right now!

During this experience I met a group of UR students that were volunteering at the race, and there were a few exchange students from Italy. If you don’t know me well yet I’m almost as Italian as you can get, and so then my dad proceeded to have a 20 minute conversation with them in Italian. Is this real life?

After waiting around forever the rain finally stopped. Quite a few people left at this point, but it made the stands more comfortable. I got my dad to buy me a long sleeve tee (score!) because the rain also significantly brought the temperature down. I’m usually so good at checking the weather in advance but not this weekend. Thankfully I’d had the sense to wear tennis shoes!

So does anyone know what happens when it rains at the race? Well the big drier trucks come out and dry the track of course! Trucks were pulling these huge jet driers around the track that sounded like airplanes and after a while it was finally dry enough and time to start.

Finally inside the track
They went for almost 150 laps (out of 400, mind you!) when I felt a raindrop. Inside I screamed “NOOOOOOOOO!” But Mother Nature said “Yes, ha ha ha ha!”

After an hour rain delay they were back on. Just whizzing around, and around, and around, and around, and…well you get the point. They hit 400 and someone (I’m not even sure who-whoops!) won. There weren’t too many exciting points, no real wrecks, fights or anything scandalous. 

People watching on the other hand…now that was where I found my excitement! I was a good girl and didn’t snap any pics but it was a horrendous sight. When we walked up to the track through the tailgate fields we saw a group with an inflatable hot tub (pump, heater and all), huge speakers, and a “dancing” pole. Sometimes I can be really embarrassed about other Americans. 

The race didn't end until 1:30am which was killer, but all in all it was nice to spend time with my dad and Mr. Charming. For last five laps we went and stood down near the track and it was insane just how fast these cars go. Though I don't care too much to watch it, I would LOVE to get my chance at zooming around the track. I'm going to start looking into that!

Anyone else get caught in the nasty rain around here this weekend?

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