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A day at the races

I am not a typical sports fan. That is, I am not a fan of typical sports. I can always find something I'd rather be doing than watch basketball or hockey. Like staring at blank walls. I don't mind football, and I understand it reasonably well (marching band does that), but I'm never going to watch it of my own volition. I do like baseball, but I'm a Red Sox fan living in Yankees territory. It's better just to forget about it.

The sports I like take a little more explaining. I watch professional bull riding. I enjoy timber sports. And I love NASCAR. I started watching races with my dad when I was little. I rooted for Dale Earnhardt, not because he was good, but because he drove a yellow car at the time and it was easy for me to pick out going around the track. As silly as that may sound, it's a very practical way to choose a driver to follow, even if your age isn't in single digits.

amy_pearlman also grew up watching NASCAR with her dad, and when we realized our common interest, we set about converting many of our friends to our sport, instead of putting up with theirs. We even played fantasy NASCAR for a couple of years, although we aren't this year.

This year for Father's Day, Amy told her dad she would take him to a race. So, this past Sunday, she, Mr. G, blackfog and I loaded up the car and went to Delaware, to the Dover International Speedway, also known as the Monster Mile. Here's the Monster:




We caught the end of an advertisement saying something about the Monster's Closet, and C said he thought that sounded like a competitor for Victoria's Secret. I would definitely shop at Monster's Closet! I think that's a great name.

We got there pretty early, so even after walking halfway around the stadium to get from the parking to our gate, we had plenty of time to find our seats:




and roam around shopping and generally getting our bearings before everything started. I even remembered to have someone take my picture this time:




Once the race started, no conversation was possible. It is LOUD! We had good earplugs, and even with them in, it was still loud. It made for a very different experience, since usually when watching the race at home, we talk about what's going on all race long. We resorted to hand signals for a while, and then about halfway through the race, started passing notes on the two iPhones present.

I don't currently have just one favorite driver to follow, but instead watch many of them. That's a lot easier on TV. With the cars coming by twice every minute, it just wasn't possible to see everything that was going on. So I focused on the driver on my hat, Mark Martin. He's a feisty little guy, and is the oldest driver currently racing who is competitive in the standings. He was having a good day on Sunday, finishing in twelfth place after starting 42nd.

It was a great experience, although afterward I was tired and sore, and I really wished I'd been able to take Monday off. I had gone into it expecting it would be one of those things you do once to say you've done it, and then stick to watching on TV. But I can see wanting to go again, probably to a different track next time.