Bristol 2008 was a near complete success for the APIAS.net crew. We say nearly because Tony got wrecked in the final laps and Dale Jr. rolled in 5th. A big 1-2 out of those guys would have made for a perfect weekend.
The trip as a whole went down without too many hitches. We were able to watch the Cats lose in grand fashion from the Fast Lane in Bristol. Delicious chips and salsa and cheese sticks nearly made up for a terrible waitress. We were also able to watch UT go down Saturday night in the basement of our weekend house. Also, big ups to the Morgan* family for putting us up, feeding us breakfast Saturday morning, and for the burgers and dogs Saturday night. Way too nice to us.
Sunday, we hit the road at 8:30 and were in a tailgate lot about 1.5 miles from the track by 9:00. If you’ve never been to Bristol, there’s nothing quite like coming up over the hill and seeing the track looming in the distance. It looks like it’s right there and you’re over a mile away. It’s that big folks.
We proceeded to have a couple of drinks in the tailgate lot and hang out with the amassing crew (the girl who got us tickets ended up having 16!) and wouldn’t you know it, nature called. Heading over to the facilities, you don’t really expect to run into people from Kentucky. Lo and behold, we did. These nice Kentucky fans even shared a bit of Eastern Kentucky hospitality with us as they gave us an unopened quart of clear mountain water.
We’re normally leery about stuff like this, but when a fellow Cat fan gives you something, you generally can take it on faith. Besides, the stuff smelled good and they offered us a second quart of berry flavored that was only about 1/5 full. So they’d been nipping on some of it anyways.
With some warmth in our bellies we proceeded to eat a few hot dogs (okay, nearly our weight in hot dogs) and packed the coolers for the race. Oh yeah, in case you’ve never been to a NASCAR race, you are allowed one personal cooler at the gate. No, not just for cokes, water, or sandwiches. As long as there is no glass in that cooler you can take beer, and as far as we know, any other alcoholic substance you want in. Try that at your next NBA game.
We hiked up to the track just in time for the fly-over and start your engines. 500 laps and about 4 hours later and we were heading out the door. Still amazed by how fast the cars fly, how Tony got wrecked out on the last laps, how Dale rallied for a 5th place finish, and marveling a bit at how fast that Red Bull car went up in flames.
All in all, a great weekend at Bristol. Watching the SEC tournament on location was a bit of a hassle (we nearly missed the start of both games) but everything else went smoothly. Again, thanks to the Morgans*, the Elliots (for keeping us in mind for tickets), and everyone in the great towns of Bristol, TN/VA/wherever we were. Couldn’t have asked for a better NASCAR experience for the first time in 10 years.
Now where did I lose TGC?
*Morgan may or may not be the family’s name that we stayed with. It is, in fact, probably not their real name.