29 October 2010

The Dover Race

Sorry it's been awhile.  My life has been complicated for the past few weeks, but more on that later.  Back to my vacation time with Mom.  When we left off, Mom and I were about to enjoy the Dover race package that I had won, compliments of NAPA.  The proper name was the NAPA Race Day Experience, or NRDE.  We were welcome at the NAPA chalet all day, which was located in Hospitality Village.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We woke up at 4:00 a.m. and left my flat at 4:30 a.m. after a short pit-stop (ha ha) at Sunoco (The Official Fuel of NASCAR) (where my mom ACTUALLY tried to buy the clerk's uniform off his back!!!) for breakfast.  We pulled into the Dover parking lot exactly two hours later.  Breakfast service at the chalet started at 8:00 a.m., so we planned on napping in the car for an hour, which would give us half an hour to wake up and find the chalet.  However...

Right in front of us were these tailgaters who were literally sitting on their tailgate and hitting the Corona.  The fellow on the left insisted on shouting "PUT THE LIME IN THE COCONUT!" every few minutes.  Not, mind you, singing the entire song - no, no; just that one freakin' line.  After a few repetitions of that, I wanted to put my lime in his coconuts, if you know what I mean:

They were literally about five feet in front of our car.  Mom decided she couldn't sleep with them staring at us.  I mean, it isn't as if they were staring at us on purpose.  They were just kind of mindlessly staring ahead (except when something caught their attention to the side, which is when I took the opportunity to take this picture), and that's where we happened to be.  Then, of course, they decided they needed a trash bag out of the back of their truck.  That's when the view REALLY improved:

 While I was busy snapping this picture, Mom was dying laughing at something happening to our left, which I did NOT get a picture of (sadly).  You know those port-a-potty tents?  Those little tents that you can take camping with you that hide port-a-potties?  These people who had camped out in the parking lot hadn't staked theirs down, and it fell over.  Mom laughed so hard I thought she was going to (sorry, I can't help myself here) pee her pants.  She was all, "I hope no one was in there!"  Meanwhile, to the right of the guys in front of us, we watched a guy (who had a grill in the bed of his pick-up truck) pull up about five inches, get out, shake his head, then back up three inches.  Hope that helped, buddy.

We finally made our way to the NAPA chalet, where we received a really nice goody bag.  The bag itself is a nice backpack, and in it is lip balm, a set of earplugs, a mini Sharpie, a decal, a diecast, a hat, a koozie, a poncho, and a coupon for wiper blades.  They gave us breakfast, an offer for a track tour (which Mom and I skipped), and a lunch buffet (burgers, hot dog, potato salad, pasta salad, mac and cheese, coleslaw, brownies, etc.).  We also got to enter a drawing to win Martin Truex, Jr.,'s helmet, and we could submit a question for the Q&A session.  Speaking of the Q&A session - most of the people there were people who are NAPA employees or who are somehow affiliated with NAPA, but you could tell they definitely weren't race fans.  The guys at our table had actually gone online, printed out information about Truex, and were studying for Q&A session.  Mom and I were cracking up.

Martin made his appearance, answered a few questions (no, we didn't have to answer questions about him - shocking, I know), gave away his helmet, and dashed away to the Drivers' Meeting.  I felt bad because a few people booed when they announced he didn't have time to sign autographs, but it was written on the information we received with the schedule of events that no autographs would be given, so I don't know what was wrong with these people.

I will say that the hospitality workers were pretty awesome.  No sooner did you clean your plate than they whisked it away to the trash for you.  As soon as you approached the drink barrel, one would approach from nowhere to ask you what you wanted (God forbid you should actually get your hand cold digging for your own drink!).  If you were headed to a trash can with something, they'd take it from you.  It was actually uncomfortable at times - "No, really - I can throw it away myself, but thanks!"

Martin Truex, Jr.

 Before Martin showed up, we had wandered around to some of the other chalets to see if any of the other drivers were making their appearances.  We caught the tail end of Jeff Gordon's appearance at the DuPont chalet.  If you look VERY carefully, you can see his silhouette smack-dab in the middle here (ignore the grumpy-looking woman in the foreground; I don't know what her issue is):

Jeff Gordon, I promise!
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that after Martin's appearance, I SPRINTED like all hell (not easy to do with a year-long groin injury) to the Interstate Batteries chalet to try to catch the future Mr. Min (aka: The Elusive One), but I was told I missed him by about two minutes.  Drat.

All of these activities pretty much took us to time for driver introductions.  We made our way to our seats, with a quick stop at the restrooms first.  And we had to laugh at the sign on the bathrooms:

Go Fast; Team Tylenol: Feel Better Fast

The race itself was great.  Our seats were amazing, and unlike at Kansas Speedway, when the national anthem ended there wasn't a race to sit down first because the seats are so close together (and bleacher style) that you want to claim your butt-space before your neighbour gets her/his butt down before you do.  This will be a spoiler for those NASCAR fans who are REALLY behind on race news, but I was very pleased when The Guy Who Drives Chad's Car won the race.

The Guy Who Drives Chad's Car doing his burn out.  Chad had given him strict instructions NOT to hurt the chassis.  "Burn all the rubber you want.  DO NOT HURT MY CHASSIS."
 After the race, we got to watch the cars go into the haulers and the haulers pull out.  The way this is done at KSS, you can't see this at all.  I took several pics of different haulers, but I'm only posting the most beauteous one of them all (and I took about six pics of this one):

The most gorgeous hauler I ever did see.
Then we got kicked out of the speedway.  Literally.  The usher guy asked us to leave about four times.  We were busy pointing and laughing at something and weren't done yet.  It was really Ria's fault.  She wouldn't answer her phone.

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