Yesterday was my first NASCAR experience and I knew going into it I’d be in for an interesting day.  I’ve never been a big fan of the sport for two reasons.  One being I didn’t understand how driving around a track hundreds of times could be that exciting to watch.  Its not like a football or basketball game where no game is ever the same.  The second reason I have never developed a taste for racing is because of the paraphernalia.  I’m a fan of simple.  I like simple t-shirts.  Maybe a small graphic on the front using just a handful of colors.  Anything more than that is excess.  In the world of NASCAR, its impossible to find anything resembling simple.  I am convinced there are two rules that govern any clothes produced with the NASCAR trademark on them:

1. A minimum of 27 different colors must be used, and
2. Pictures and graphics must account for 90% of the item.

When looking at someones shirt, it takes me an average of 2.7 minutes to decipher who the racer is that they are supporting.  Perhaps this is because I don’t have everyone’s number memorized.  But now… I know that when I see an “88” that person is going for “Junior” (aka Dale Earnhardt, Jr.).  After we reached the 100th lap yesterday (the race was 344 laps) I had an “ah ha” moment.  The reason NASCAR paraphernalia is so schizophrenic is to make up for the lack of excitement in watching cars go round and round HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of times.  That has to be why.  I mean, everyone that has season tickets to the races has tasteful class, right?

Wrong.  I’m sure there are a few that are the exception (like myself yesterday).  But overall I’d say no.  Here are some of examples from yesterday to prove my point…

Exhibit A: There was a large truck that we were tailgating next to that was blaring rap music the whole time.  That is until they had drained the battery.  A Volkswagen Golf soon pulled up to help them get a charge through jumper cables.  That was a sight to see.  As a thank you to the VW people, the owner of the truck shouted “thank you… you’ve got nice t*tties”.  Ick.

Exhibit B: On the other side of us was another truck (shocker) who had set up a portable restroom.  This was made of a tall skinny tent surrounding a bucket.  As if I had port-o-potty issues before, this surely didn’t clear them up.

Exhibit C: Sitting in front of us during the race was a man and his two sons, who were probably 5 and 7.  All were decked out in NASCAR gear.  T-shirts, hats, headphones, everything.  Not only did the dad blow cigarette smoke into the kids faces the whole time, but he also had them retrieve beers for him out of the cooler.  Really?  The youngest son, again somewhere around age 5, also had highlights in his hair.  Assuming this boy isn’t playing for the other team, do you really think he asked his parents to highlight his hair?  This is sorta like getting a 3 month old girl’s ears pierced.  No offense to anyone whose parents had that done for them. 

The whole experience was fun, based on the fact that we had no traffic and left early.  Otherwise I’d probably have been a little bitter about my Sunday.  It’s not something I ever have to do again, but I would as long as there was tailgating involved.  My thoughts on the whole sport are still the same… the clothing is atrocious and the sport is boring.  I think my face probably looked like this the whole day…

However, the atmosphere definitely made me feel like I was in the 70’s a bit.  And made me wanna watch Urban Cowboy reeeaaaaal bad. 

One more thing… REO Speedwagon was the “opening act”, so now I can say I’ve seen them.  Two birds, one stone.