Friday, June 07, 2013

2013 Dover 400 - A Recap

This past weekend was my family's annual trip to Dover to see the NASCAR race.  Like every year, it was a hoot. If you've never been to a NASCAR event and have a slight interest in it, you should try it once.

Television doesn't do racing justice.  Those cars are going a lot faster than they appear on the boob-tube. The problem with television is that the camera follows the cars, so you lose the point of reference.

The race had two points of significance.  First, due to heightened security from the damn terrorists, security was doing pat-downs and examining the contents of all bags.  At NASCAR events, you brings an average of six coolers of beer and 2 bags of Fritos, Twinkees, and Doritos.  Oh, and a bottle of water.  Some people even bring sunscreen.  With the more thorough inspections, the unintended consequence was that people stood in line for about a half an hour waiting to gain access to the stands.

Finally, at 1pm, the official start-time, I snagged a peak inside the stands and noticed that it was less than 25% full.  However, there were many thousands of people still standing outside waiting to get in.  Finally security decided to throw all available personnel at the gate inspections.  Then they stopped doing the pat-downs.  Then they stopped inspecting bags altogether.  As I passed the head security power-tripping jackass guy, I hollered to my dad, "I guess Fox television got on the horn with someone and said why the F**K are no people in the stands?  We paid a lot of money to show this!!!"  That drew some laughs from the yocals.  Dover later issued an official apology to fans for the absolute ridiculousness of the wait times.

Secondly, and unfortunately, 2013 will go down as the sequester year.  There was no fly-over by any military planes.  Instead, we were presented with the Delaware State Police Helicopter Trooper 4 flyover.  No disrespect to the hard working officers of the mighty Delaware State Police, but it's just not quite the same.

You've heard my normal babble on the race, so I'll just present you with some pictures and commentary. I don't really go there for the race. I go for the people.

I did manage to capture this short video of the cars racing by.  You get absolutely no sense as to how loud this really is. You can tell this is the first lap because everyone is still standing and a lot of people don't put on their headsets right away.  Admittedly, I don't either.  It's cool to hear the thundering roar as the cars pass and the vibrations pass through your chest like the bass and percussion at a rock concert.  But after that first lap, we're all cool with putting the headsets back on.

I used to work in a glass factory.  It was loud.  The older guys used to tell me that "after a while, you get used to the loud noise."  Yeah, that's called deafness.  "Ha???"  Exactly.  "What'd you say?"

I'm coining a new term: the NASCAR tan.

Attendance at Dover seems to be waning.  I think the stadium seating capacity is 135,000.  I recall more people at the previous 4 races. And to avoid embarrassments like this, and for other financial reasons, NASCAR no longer announces official attendance at events.

Everyone likes crashes in NASCAR.  I caught this close one in the pits.  One car pulls into his spot, the car behind him is pulling out, and three are going by.  They have to maintain 35 mph in pit row, but the drivers try to see who can be the first to 35 mph without looking where they're going.

One of my pet-peeves is that everyone is "going green".  Screw that. Aric Amirola's car runs on bacon, damn it!! 

Some NASCAR teams sweep their pit area after a pit stop.

Others are smart and use the blower.

The funny thing about some NASCAR fans is that the help their driver by telling them to go faster or to pass someone.  And they tell the other drivers they suck by showing them the #1 sign.

Tony Stewart ended up winning the race after leading only 3 laps.  But in NASCAR, the only lap that matters is the last one.

God bless America!

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