Watkins Glen, New York was especially busy and lively this weekend as NASCAR, along with its dedicated fans, came to town. Having lived in this area my entire life, it was a privilege to be a part of race weekend for the very first time this year. The entire weekend’s events lasted from Thursday, the 8th, to today, Sunday the 11th. My dad and I were only up there today and yesterday though, because we both had to work on Thursday and Friday and there wasn’t too much going on until yesterday. Race fans have the option to camp up at the track, but we didn’t because we live so close. The Zippo 200, NASCAR’s nationwide series race, was yesterday, and we had a lot of fun being introduced to the world of NASCAR.
The nationwide series is the one that features mostly lesser-known drivers and, while it’s still a big deal, is not near as big of a deal as the Sprint Cup series, which was today’s race. I don’t really follow NASCAR that much, so for yesterday’s race, the only two drivers I had ever even heard of were Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne, who are both also in the Sprint Cup series. As for yesterday’s race results, Kyle Busch had a bit of a wreck in the first few seconds of the race, so he was out for the win, and the winner was Brad Keselowski, who also is in the Sprint Cup series. That race was a good introduction for us to know what a race at The Glen is like, and made us even more excited for today’s race.
I feel that I should explain something before I even talk about today’s race, just because of how silly it is and I feel you should know why my favorite driver- is my favorite driver. Like I said, I don’t really follow NASCAR that closely and never really have. But one day, many years ago, I got a driver’s car number sticker in a cereal box, and that man became my favorite driver- the one I would root for. That man was Jeff Gordon, and he’s been my number one ever since. Silly reason to pick a favorite, I know, but I was little and that’s what I decided and I’ve stuck to it ever since. So anyway, I knew that he had been hanging around yesterday, because all of the drivers are already there and they always do, but I couldn’t see him and knew I wouldn’t get to until today. Today rolled around, and I was so excited to see my favorite driver and everyone else in NASCAR’s biggest series! We woke up early today and got up to the track around 8 this morning, so we could stake out our spot on the grassy hill with our chairs and get to the little church service all the way on the other side of the track. The service was short but very nice, and we spent the rest of our morning wandering around on the inside of the track, where all the vendors and activities were, until we got tired of walking and decided to find our spots and wait for the pre-race events to begin.
There is one thing I have to tell anyone that’s planning on going to a NASCAR race anytime soon. During the singing of our national anthem, (USA, not Canada’s) when the words “and the rockets’ red glare…” are sung, be prepared, because dozens of pyrotechnics are going to go off, and they very well might be right in front of you. As you’ve probably guessed, we pretty much jumped out of our skin at that very surprise yesterday, and today- we were prepared for it. :P That is just one of the many pre-race events, others include the introducing of the drivers, the invocation, and the famous words being spoken- “Drivers- start your engines!!”
The Cheez-It 355 was off, and excitement was in the air. It would take way too long and would be extremely boring to try to recount the entire race with detail, so in short, Jeff Gordon got into a wreck and by the time his car was out of the garage he was over 20 laps behind, there were lots of crashes and scrapes, none injury inducing or anything, so it was an exciting race to watch, and Kyle Busch ended up winning.
All in all, our weekend at Watkins Glen International was a lot of fun and I can definitely vouche for the fact that races are a lot more fun to watch in real life than on TV! I hope that I can go back to race weekend many more times in my life because it’s a really fun atmosphere and it’s so exciting to be a part of the great sport of NASCAR speedway racing. :)