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Living Life from the Infield. My Weekend at NASCAR

Auto Club Speedway, Nationwide and Sprint Cup -slide0
Chris Dyer

Before I get the haters saying I know nothing about NASCAR and I shouldn’t be writing about it, let me preface this post by saying you’re right. I came to the races last weekend in Fontana, Calif. hoping to see Joey Logano and Danica Patrick win. Solely because Joey is from my home state of Connecticut and Danica because, well she is a girl…obviously. Technically speaking Joey has a good chance of doing well and he actually did very well leading the race for 96 laps. Danica, however, doesn’t have as great of a chance, and I know that. She isn’t as aggressive and when she does get to the front, if last year was any example, the boys take her out. But this isn’t a post about the technicalities of NASCAR, it is about the experience of the races, the infield and the redneck life.

From the inside of the infield it looked like any normal RV park. Kids were riding their bikes, and pushing their skateboards. Adults were playing corn hole and sitting on lawn chairs and patio furniture having their adult beverages. TVs were set up outside of the RVs, with barbeques and outdoor bars people brought from home. People were set to live like they’re home on their five day weekend in the middle of a race track. The only difference between this RV park and a camp site? NASCAR paraphernalia was everywhere!

Flags, banners, cups, posters, licenses plates, shirts and hats. They were all over the place. It was actually pretty amazing. The commoratity that NASCAR had created, bringing people together, really showed. People put up their flags of their favorite drivers and teams. Kyle Busch fan in this corner, Kevin Harvick fans in another, Jimmie Johnson fans over there. Groups huddled based on who you rooted for. And if you were ill-fated to be next to a rival fan, some friendly trash talking never hurt anybody.

I only had a wrist band, $100 piece of plastic to get me to the infield for the weekend. But each night I went home to sleep in my warm bed. For those who were lucky enough to spend the weekend in Fontana (and save the gas) the parties came alive at night. People were up all hours drinking, visiting friends and even running to the grocery store that sat in the center of the infield to get some midnight munchies or beers. And if you were really lucky, like the family I was with for the weekend, you were able to see Jimmie Johnson himself jog by at 6 am.

Now, lets go back. Yes I said grocery store in the middle of the infield. Anything that you could need was at the Vons. Toiletries, steaks, burgers, and buns, chips and dip and even your morning coffee cakes. It was all there.

As I took this giant step outside of my comfort zone to not only attend a NASCAR event for the entire weekend but to experience it full force from the infield, I began talking more and more to my parents about it. My dad has had a passion for cars and racing his whole life but has never really been a diehard NASCAR fan. (I think he’d rather race himself then watch someone else do it.) After my weekend in the infield, he is ready to fly to California next March, rent an RV and a $450 site in the middle of the track for the long weekend. Do you think I can spend another weekend at Auto Club Speedway? I can’t wait. Get me a Danica shift and I’m in!!

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