Last week, one of my close friends conner called me and invited me to go to a Nascar race in Fontana California. Either of us have ever been, so we recruited another buddy Matt and paid $125 a piece for a ticket to the race and a seat on a chartered train (metrolink) that would take us from Oceanside California to the Fontana speedway (90 miles).
My alarm went off at 5:15am on Sunday morning. Conner, Matt and I got to the train station a few minutes early and enjoyed our surroundings; Home Depot Jackets and Nascar shirts everywhere…it was obvious that we were about to enter a whole new wolrd.
The train ride took a surprising 2.5 hours which seemed quite long, but we had bloody mary’s, margaritas and playing cards…we weren’t bored. Once we got to the raceway it really hit me how big of an event this actually was. There were over 140,000 people in attendance. Nascar is the most viewed spectator sport in the United States right now.
We headed over to a friends car in the parking lot who was grilling up a bunch of snags and a tri-tip. We chowed, drank a couple of beers and again, were really enjoying taking in our surroundings including die hard Nascar fans rooting for their number one driver/team in nearly every form of expression you could imagine. Matt decided it would be good if we fit in, so he bought us a bunch of Fontana Speedway t-shirts…now this is getting good.
Heading into the race, we realized that there is a circus of events outside the track and tons of places to buy souvenirs, headphones to listen to the race and of course…beer and bratwurst. Conner and John leased a set of headphones that scanned all the radio frequencies used by the racers, so they could hear the pit speaking to the drivers and vice versa. Once we got to our seats, the couple in front of us leased the same unit but UPGRADED it so they also got an LCD screen that showed the inside of the cars and all the replays (of the crashes) as well.
Before the race started we were graced with a fly by of Huey Helicopters and a bunch of fighter jets right after Kevin Costner came over the speakers telling the drivers to “Start your engines!” Wow…the build up is actually quite exciting. At this point, everyone in the crowd started screaming, cat whistling and hooting! It was insane…
Once the race got started…well, they kept going around in circles. In fact, they went around the 2 mile track over 225 times. Wow. That was a long time to watch really loud cars go in circles at 170 to 200 miles per hour.
Towards the end of the race, EVERYONE in the stands was drunk (but not us). It was a booze fest full of drunk dudes (not many girls). We ran into this guy who wanted to beat up our buddy John just because John threw peanuts at him, 3 of them hitting him in the face, while he yelled for him to “sit down.” See, there was a big crowd standing up watching his girlfriend tugging hair and scratching at some other chick sitting behind them. John did the right thing, I mean, we couldn’t see the race, throwing peanuts at the mean looking biker dude with a fighting girlfriend is the logical thing to do. Well, the cops finished up their bratwurst and showed up to regulate. After Summers last couple of experiences with the cops, Conner I decided it was best to leave these fat cops with their biker buddy and head out before the end of the race.
Now came the tricky part…we had one hour to get to the MetroLink train and we had to go back to the car to get our gear. Have you ever seen 140,000 people trying to leave a stadium and go to the same parking lot? Needless to say we made it to the train with about two minutes to spare. The train ride home took 4 hours. It was hell. No more Nascar races for me, but I sure am glad I got that notch on my belt without loosing any teeth.
Have you ever had a Nascar Experience?