Start. Your. Engines.

NASCAR comes to Phoenix two times a year – once in March, at the beginning of the racing season, and again in November, nearing the end of the racing season. Bill is a NASCAR fan and so is my brother Dave. So the two of them go to both races every year, and have for nearly a decade.

This year, my brother had planned to attend the race with Bill as usual. What no one counted on is that my sister-in-law would have an accident at work that resulted in a broken bone in her back. I know, I know. You all just sucked in your breath. I’m so happy to tell you that she is recovering unbelievably well, and in fact, got out of the hospital a couple of weeks ago and got out of the rehab facility yesterday, and is now at home.

Yesterday – the day of the NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway.

My brother, being the sensitive kind of guy he is, decided it wouldn’t be prudent to do either one of these two things: 1. Ask the doctor to keep her in rehab for one more day so that he could enjoy beer and cigars at a racetrack; or 2. Order up an Uber to take Sami home in her wheelchair so that he could enjoy beer and cigars at a racetrack.

Dave took Sami home; Bill went to Plan B, which is me…..

 

Because I don’t normally go, I don’t pay attention to the preparation involved. What I learned is that Bill owns a little table and a little grill (both of which I was unaware) and he brings breakfast food and lunch food and beer and cigars and all necessary items to accompany all of the above. Dave assured me that Bill has everything down to a science, and that was true.

If my mom was the Queen of Picnics, then Bill is the Prince. He even remembered to include a tablecloth for his little table. My mom always had a tablecloth in her picnic basket.

The fact that we awoke with the birds resulted in us getting a superb parking place very close to the entrance of the actual racetrack. Despite the early hour, we weren’t the first, but nearly so. The early arrival also resulted in me having a bloody mary at 8 o’clock in the morning, and not feeling a bit odd about it. It did occur to me that if Bill came out of our bedroom some morning this week at 8 o’clock and saw me sipping a bloody mary, he might be concerned. Something about being at the racetrack makes it alright. In fact, Bill told me by the time I had my first bloody mary, he and my brother would have already downed at least one beer and smoked at least one cigar.

The race was a lot of fun, I must admit. It was hot. Damn hot. So hot that we didn’t stay for the entire race. So hot that despite the fact that we both slathered ourselves with sunscreen, we resemble brown bears. Take a look at this tan line….

Here’s some things I learned about NASCAR yesterday. A. The pre-race festivities (i.e. tailgating) are about as much fun as the race. B. The best things about the race are the flyover by the F-35s from Luke Air Force Base right after the performance of the National Anthem and when we hear the words, “Drivers, start…your….engines. Vrooooooooom. It’s awesome.

But perhaps the most interesting thing I learned is that NASCAR fans are incorrectly described as hillbillies or rednecks. In fact, every single time I, myself, told anyone that I was going to the race, I added the exclamation yeehaw. The truth is very different. Oh, there might be some rednecks at a NASCAR race because the fans comprise a large variety of folks. But as we walked through the area where people park their RVs (most of which cost as much as our AZ house), it became abundantly clear that while they are unwaveringly patriotic as evidenced by the American flags that adorned a large number of the vehicles, NASCAR fans are likely to be bank presidents or lawyers or successful business owners.

Having said that, I must admit to hearing the guy sitting behind us in the stands tell his buddy, “Damn, It just feels weird to not have my gun.”

Whatevah! I like NASCAR.

This post linked to Grand Social.

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