This past weekend the NARSCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Races came to Kansas Speedway. Race weekends are always a lot of fun, despite Kansas Speedway being a "cookie-cutter track" and one of the most boring tracks to watch as a fan. It's not just about the racing, however, it's about the tailgaiting, the people watching, the beer drinking, and looking (and feeling) like a true NASCAR fan while wearing a headset and scanner.
Saturday was the Nationwide Series race (formerly the Busch Series). These racers are one league below the big Sprint Cup guys- they still race the old style cars and their engines are a little slower- but are still fun to watch (you never know what inexperience will cause on the racetrack). Anyways... we left for the track around 9 A.M. to start tailgating. The race didn't' start until 2:30 P.M. so we had plenty of time to relax, cook our food, and get some beer into our bellies.
Mikey, Nate, Clint and Jason also had tickets to the race that day, so they called us and ended up being able to park right next to us and tailgate too.
Nate brought along Grandpa's Balls (a.k.a. Ladder Golf) to keep us entertained. Brian is going to make the washers game to bring to Talladega, so next time we go camping or tailgating, we can play both!
We went into the race with my parents (thank you mom and dad for the tickets!!!) around 2 P.M. It was hot, hot, hot!! They happened to have built the stadium in such a way, that no matter if there is a breeze or a wind gust, the people in the stands won't feel it. Why couldn't it have been cool like last week?
It was a pretty boring race overall. Mark Martin crashed at one point, which was somewhat exciting. Luckily my parents wanted to beat the traffic (really I think my dad was too hot) so they asked us if we would like to leave early and go get dinner at Outback. Of course we said yes and ended up watching the end of the race there. Denny Hamlin won.
We went home, both of us had headaches (lots of beer + too much sun = feeling like you have a hangover), so we watched a movie called Vacancy with Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson which was pretty good, and called it an early night.
On Sunday we got up at 8 and left again by 9 A.M. We thought that would be plenty of time to beat the race traffic and get our usual parking spot, but we were wrong. Lots of people had the same idea as us, and we almost missed being able to park where we wanted to. Next year we will be leaving at 8 A.M. to make sure we get where we want to be and avoid all the traffic. We set up with the same stuff as yesterday and made some really great burgers for lunch.
We didn't have the pleasure of hanging out with Mikey and those guys because they got there are 7 A.M. and parked right in front of the stadium. We would have never been able to get over there, plus we weren't sure if we wanted to hang out with a bunch of drunk single guys. I'm sure we'll be getting enough of that this weekend at Talladega.
One of the best parts of the races is the really cool military fly overs. We've seen the stealth bomber and fighter jets, and Sunday we got to see really cool helicopters (I forget the name of the big one right now). That double propelled helicopter actually brought the pace car othe track, but we missed it because we were still outside eating and drinking. They actually brought it down an hour before the race started (we have no idea why) so I doubt very many fans got to see it. Those giant helicopters are amazing to see fly and maneuver in the air.
The race finally got started, and guess what, we got to see single file racing for most of the race. I think cautions are called at Kansas Speedway on purpose so they can stack the field back up. At least we were able to listen to the Chiefs game during the race- that was a much needed win!
It was also very hot again. Hotter than Saturday. Brian and I didn't come prepared with enough water so we were eating ice cubes and drinking the melted water from our coolers (we didn't want to spend $3 on a bottle). Jimmie Johnson had won the pole position, so he led most of the laps. Brian and I hate Jimmie Johnson (I am a Junior fan and he is a Tony Stewart fan) so we weren't pleased to see him lead most of the race. We also weren't pleased because Brian Vickers hit Tony Stewart which caused him to spin through the grass and finish towards the back of the field.
The very end of the race was exciting. We are talking the last half of the last lap here. Carl Edwards had been fighting Jimmie Johnson for the lead for quite a few laps and on turn number three of the last lap, Carl Edwards gave his car all the gas he had and shot around Jimmie Johnson for the lead. But then he shot right into the wall which let Jimmie pass him for the win. Booo!!!!
Carl Edwards is the #99 hitting the wall and Jimmie Johnson is the #48 getting ready to drive right past:
So Jimmie Johnson did his burnout and we got the heck out of the stadium.
It's surprisingly easy to get out of the parking lots and onto the highways. They really know what they're doing out there. It's nothing like trying to leave a Chiefs game where you are better of waiting until everyone has already left.
We got home, took showers to get rid of all the sweat and relaxed for the rest of the night while catching up on old TV.
We can't wait for Talladega!