My First Nascar Race

At the risk of being ostracized by friends and neighbors, I must admit it’s been a point of pride with me that I have lived in NC for over 17 years and managed to not once attend a Nascar Race. Yea me!

That all ended yesterday. The Animal Protection Society of Rockingham County ran a food tent at the race. We stocked the booth with volunteer workers and in return took home 10% of the profits.

In by 8 AM, we took inventory of hamburger and hotdog buns, bagged peanuts, fry trays, and plastic Nascar souvenir cups. The flag went down (up?) at 2 PM but fans arrived well before then. I live 25 minutes from the Martinsville, VA racetrack and it took me almost an hour and a half to drive in and park. The traffic was bumper to bumper up Hwy 220 from 7:30 AM on through the race.

Our booth served hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, bagged peanuts, beer, soda, bottled water, and the “famous” Martinsville hotdog—red hotdog with mustard, chili, and red Cole slaw. I wrapped about a billion of those dogs yesterday and came home reeking of meat. (Amazing Blair didn’t just throw me on the floor and have his way with me—not often the vegetarian wife walks in the door with the aroma of fried meat clinging to her hair.)

We braced ourselves whenever there was a caution on the track, as people would come flooding out of the seating arena to grab some food. There were lulls, however, and during one of them I wandered out to watch the race.

Just like how you can never show a person a picture of the Grand Canyon and explain how vast it is, you really can’t explain how fast these cars go without seeing them in person. Sparks flew out from their tires on the curves. They clung to the walls at such high speeds I felt dizzy just watching them. Once, twice, three times around… I get it! This is why people watch Nascar races. It’s thrilling! It’s fun!

And then I watched them go around a 4th time and just like that, I was over it. No disrespect meant to fans of the sport, but I can’t begin to fathom how much beer you have to pour down my throat to force me to sit there for all 500 laps.

And if I thought the traffic was bad on the way in…. as we did clean up I watched lines of cars sit for over an hour and not budge an inch. Not an inch. Total madness getting out of there.

We worked a 12-hour shift yesterday and I am pretty much the definition of useless today. However, we did pull in close to $900 for the weekend, which was the point. Near the end of our shift, slap-happy from exhaustion, another volunteer and I kept teasing one another to, “Think of happy kitties and smiling puppies” to get through the last couple of hours.

And a shout-out to those Nascar fans who saw our hand lettered sign that we were working on behalf of the animals and gave us tips for our tip jar. Thank you.

And thanks to my wonderful co-workers who were kind enough to show me the proper way to wrap a Famous Martinsville Hotdog and who also heeded my warnings not to make me a cashier if they wanted to have any hope of the till not being off by several hundred dollars. (Dena + math = DISASTER).

It’s almost 11 and I’m begging myself to get some work done and not cave in and take a nap. Anyone care to place bets on what the outcome will be?


p.s. Forgot that after a 12-hour day at the track I got home and Blair asked, “Who won?” I stared at him blankly before admitting I hadn’t the faintest idea.