This past weekend I traded the urban jungle for palm trees and sun. My brother invited my husband and I to Florida to celebrate the 4th of July and to see my very first NASCAR race. Now, NASCAR wouldn’t normally be my thing but this trip totally turned my perception around of the sport. TV honestly does not do the races any justice. The cars are 100 times faster in person and I quickly understood how one wrong maneuver could cost someone the race or even worse – their life.
I was lucky enough to get pretty much an all-inclusive pass to the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona. We tagged along with Paul Menard’s team for the day – getting a HOT pass to see behind the scenes of what really goes on in a race. That includes sitting with the pit guys and seeing everything super close up.
The race was supposed to go on at 7:30pm Sunday night (the 5th of July), but due to an all day rain delay, the drivers didn’t get going until 11:30pm. At one point, we thought that the race was going to be cancelled entirely so we went down the street to Buffalo Wild Wings to wait out the storm. With our noses buried in Twitter, we finally got an update that the race was in fact on.
The whole experience was absolutely crazy and fun. I had no clue how competitive and fast-paced NASCAR races were – my heart and adrenaline were pumping the whole time. Paul was 2nd for pretty much the entire race (although he placed 16th), so it was an extra exhilarating race to watch. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended up nabbing 1st place but not without some crazy incidents through the night. There were about half a dozen crashes and what I can imagine was one of the scariest checkered flag crashes to date that sent driver Austin Dillon’s car airborne into a catch fence. Literally everyone in the stands stood up and gasped as his car was slingshot from the fence back onto the track leaving his engine behind and on fire. Thankfully, Dillon was not injured although his car was pretty much shred down to the size of a box – he definitely had angels over him that night.
I’ve included the crazy crash below and a video recap of my entire weekend. Have you guys ever been to a NASCAR race? Do you watch it? I am so new to this sport and I will definitely be catching future races on TV.