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Every Day Is Race Day

By Wyatt Earp | September 28, 2009

<i>Erik, making good use of his binoculars.</i>

Erik, making good use of his binoculars.

Okay, maybe not, but Saturday was definitely race day for Kyle and Erik, who experienced their first-ever NASCAR race. We spent the day with my friend Bill at Dover International Speedway at the NASCAR Nationwide Race. The Nationwide Series is the former Busch Series; kind of the NASCAR’s AAA farm system, and since the race (and the day) is shorter, it was as good a time as any to take the boys.

When we arrived at the track we were immediately struck with the feeling that this was a smart move. Unlike Sunday Sprint Cup races, there were far less people on Saturday. The stands were not jam-packed and the souvenir/food trailers were fairly empty. We stopped for souvenirs first, which was an adventure. Erik wanted a Denny Hamlin, shirt, hat, and small die-cast car, which Bill (his godfather) was more than happy to pay for. Kyle, on the other hand was a little more diverse. He wanted a Kyle Busch hat, an Elliott Sadler shirt, and a Brian Vickers die-cast car. Again, Bill picked up the tab despite my protests. For their parts, the boys wore their hats inside all day on Sunday.

<i>Kyle, happily standing in front of Kyle Busch's trailer.</i>

Kyle, happily standing in front of Kyle Busch's trailer.

We came back to the car and ate lunch before going to the NASCAR Kids Zone. It had cool games and rides for the kids, and everyone received a gift upon entry. This year, it was a Dover Raceway Rubik’s Cube. It had the mascot, Miles the Monster on one side, and cars and the track on the others. They boys approved. We stayed there until Sprint Cup – the big guys – started Happy Hour: The final practice before Sunday’s race.

Now, if you’ve ever seen a race on television, you cannot truly comprehend how fast these cars are going. I think this video – taken during Sprint Cup Happy Hour – captures the speed well enough. See if you can make out whose cars are going by:

Yeah, I didn’t think you’d be able to. Hell, I couldn’t figure out who was going by, and I was there! Unlike the Sprint Cup race, all seats at the Nationwide race are general admission. You sat wherever you pleased, and after watching Happy Hour from the front row of the section before Turn 1, we climbed the stands to get a better view of the entire one mile track.

Once the race began, the temperature dropped. We brought the kids’ jackets, but we were all wearing shorts, as it was hot earlier in the day. The missus packed sweatpants for the kids, but I left them in the car. Dumb move. Erik was so cold that I wrapped his legs in Bill’s jacket, and he sat on my lap . . . for the entire 200-mile race. After two hours, my back was killing me, but at least it kept him warm.

Kyle was warm with the thought of his driver, Kyle Busch, dominating the first 100 laps. In the first half of the race, he probably passed 20 or so cars. Half the field was at least one lap down by the midway point, before a caution sent the leaders to the pits.

And then it happened.

Busch’s car came off pit road and was never the same again. He stayed toward the front, but it was apparent that he wasn’t going to get the win. Kyle was upset until I explained that I have been to nearly 20 races in the last 11 years, and I have still never been in attendance when Jeff Gordon win a race. He smiled at that and took solace in the face that his guy finished 4th. Erik and I were pulling for Denny Hamlin, and he was wrecked by Brad Keselowski with about 50 laps to go. Damn.

The weather cooperated until winner Clint Bowyer did donuts in front of our seats. Immediately afterward, the skies opened up. We walked back to the car, had some dinner, and prepped for the drive home. When Bill asked the boys if they had fun, they both screamed, “Yeah!” and Kyle asked if we could go back next year.

<i>Kyle, me, and Erik in front of Denny Hamlin's car.</i>

Kyle, me, and Erik in front of Denny Hamlin's car.

Um yeah, I think I can arrange that.

Topics: Racing | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Every Day Is Race Day”

  1. RT Says:
    September 28th, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Just awesome! :) That video is sick, btw.

  2. Ingineer66 Says:
    September 28th, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Sweet day.

  3. Randal Graves Says:
    September 28th, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    What…no Racegirl gear?

  4. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 28th, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    RT – It’s scary fast. Damned cool, though.

    Ingineer66 – All about the ids, and they loved it. I was worried they might not like it, but I was happy to be proven wrong.

    Randal – I told them the story when we walked past the trailer. Kyle started laughing.