Went to the Richmond to see the Crown Royal 400 this past weekend. Needless to say, it was an interesting experience. The most amazing part was the variety of people to see...and, well, there was a race too.
Being still considered a "southern" sport, we obviously saw our share of interesting people. The Confederate flag is still flown proudly in Richmond apparently...I imagine even more so the further south the race gets.
Yes, his leg says "Git 'er Done!"
This dude's back is a tribute to the Civil War with Generals Lee and Grant on the back.
And, well, I'm not going to say anything about this...
The facilities were what you would expect for about 90,000 people hanging out in a parking lot.
As you would expect with something as sponsor-oriented as NASCAR, there were booths setup everywhere advertising different products
But who really wants a sample of Hellman's mayonnaise???
And nothing really explains this guy...
Thankfully the it didn't rain during the race itself but we had a few good downpours mid-afternoon that sent the spectators scrambling.
Once inside, we found track drying was well underway. The sound of the track drying equipment is actually louder than the actual cars. It was painful listening to the blowdryers but at least they were able to get the track dry and start pre-race festivities on time. One of the more interesting aspects of getting into the track is that NASCAR actually allows you to bring your own food and drink into the track. So everyone had bags and coolers. It's pretty nice because you don't have to worry about excessive costs in buying a hotdog from a vendor. It's a very fan-friendly sport.
They parachuted in the American flag and there was a flyover. And the "The Commandant's Own" The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps performed the Star Spangled Banner.
Because of track drying, they actually started the race under the yellow flag to take care of any wet spots but it wasn't log before the green flag flew and we were racing.
Everyone there had their favorite drivers. Obviously, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. elicted the loudest applause while Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson shared the title for most boos. The crowd was most pleased when Johnson wrecked in the latter stages of the race.
I think the race tied or surpassed a Richmond record for cautions and a few occurred between turns 1 and 2 where we were located but, for the most part, there weren't any major accident.
Kyle Busch won the race handedly and, surprising, the crowd wasn't too opposed to that outcome. It just happened to be Kyle Busch's 24th Birthday so that was interesting too...
All in all, it was an enjoyable experience. I think people take shots at NASCAR fans because of the redneck beginnings of the sport but the people at the track were really no different than the variety of people you would see at a typical Mountaineer game. I'm definitely going to have to go to another race at some point...it was an overall fun time.