I’ve been to a NASCAR race once before as a guest of Jimmie Johnson’s (he was good friends with my cousin) to see him race at the California Speedway back in 2005. The experience was unreal as we helicoptered in from Santa Monica and then toured his pit during the race. After he drove around in circles for four hours in 120 degree heat, he made us dinner in his RV. He’s the coolest guy.
I didn’t think this trip to NASCAR could come anywhere close to my first but I was pleasantly surprised. No matter how you feel about NASCAR, these people know how to market a sport and treat their fans. I wish tennis and other sports would take a lesson from them. You can’t even go near tennis players and all they are doing is swinging a racket. Fans of NASCAR have unbelievable access to them and these guys are driving 195MPH just a few inches away from their counterparts, risking their lives.
The Texas Motor Speedway (3545 Lone Star Circle | Fort Worth, Texas 76177 |817.215.8593) is
This is America’s second-largest sports and entertainment facility and it’s just 20 miles north of downtown Fort Worth and is now the only speedway in the country to host every major form of American automobile racing, including NASCAR NEXTEL cup racing and Indy style racing.
The stadium accommodates 200,000 fans and a 1.5-mile oval track and NASCAR comes three times a year. I was there for the Duck Commander 500 (yes, it’s named after those long bearded dudes on TV) so they had to drive 334 laps (my boy Jimmie Johnson won!).
In addition to year-round racing, they also offer tours and championship driving schools. New racing facilities at the Speedway include a 13,000-seat Dirt Track, and a new infield road course complex.
Before the race our tickets (and it seemed half of the others) allowed us to walk across the track, check out the drivers’ garages and watch them get introduced before they each drove away on the back of a Chevy Silverado. You gotta love all the advertisers.