Dear rest of the world,
As an American, it is well-understood that most of you really hate my country. You consider us rude and obnoxious cretins who whip our dicks out at inappropriate times and use those dicks to piss on yourcountry (whichever one it may be, because we don’t care). In short, we’re a red white and blue Abrams tank shooting middle fingers across the globe.
Now in many ways, you’re correct in your feeling. I make no excuses for the horrid things my country has done in the past, and continues to do today. However, we’ve done a lot of amazingly awesome things in the past as well, and continue doing awesome things right into the present day. Is the sport of NASCAR one of those amazing things? “Fuck no!” you’re thinking, “it’s a bunch of cars driving around in a big oval!” And you are correct in that analysis. However, after my recent assignment to the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, I believe that the uniquely American elements that make NASCAR a beloved tradition may not be so uniquely American after all. As such, journey with me into the wonderful world of apple pie and twisted metal.
See! Hooked already.
When I arrived at the Daytona International Speedway, I certainly looked the part of a jingoistic American idiot. Nothing says “Mr. Big Dick” like an oversized belt buckle with a buffalo on it. And indeed, when I began milling about the gargantuan sea of humanity that populated the venue that day (over 115,000 people in total), the swell of patriotism in the hearts of NASCAR fans was apparent. Not only because they really do love this crazy country of ours, but also because for a race that started at 6:30pm, most people were already completely hammered by 2 o’clock. They really wanted – needed – to let you know how much they love the stars and stripes, man.
Yes of course, this shouldn’t be a huge surprise. NASCAR fans drink heavy, party down to country-rock cover bands, and sometimes vomit into cowboy hats. Booze makes all things infinitely more fun and interesting, so it only makes sense. But what I found unique about the drunken behavior of the people in attendance at the Speedway was that no one was acting like a prick! Not a single person that I saw was being abhorrent, confrontational, or in any way bothering anyone else at the event. Now I’m not so naive as to think that in a crowd of 115,000 people there weren’t a problem or twenty, but on the whole, and as a veteran of public intoxication, I give NASCAR the seal of approval when it comes to drunkard’s safety. In short, you can get drunk with lots of other people, which will make the experience enjoyable even if it means passing out by race time.
I myself am an ass man. Big, round Brazilian asses. Slathered in oil. Bouncing, bouncing, bouncing…
Yes, an ass man I may be. However after visiting the Coke Zero 400, I must say that if anything was going to convert me to the tits side of the force, this would be it. Tits. Everywhere. Big tits, small tits, some as big as your head. And not only the tits themselves, but how about the human beings they’re attached to, right? Yes, those would be women! And some fat men, who were nowhere near as arousing.
Yes, hot women, with tits, as far is the eye can see. It’s quite the conundrum, the widespread love of NASCAR by women (as the sport is comprised of 99.98% male participants). I could go into a deep psychological analysis of what may have brought this about – Clockwork Orange-style brainwashing? West African Voodoo? Viacom? – but fuck that noise jack, wet t-shirt contest in the midfield!
By 4 o’clock, I had had my share of midday heat and gallivanting about the track. Also, I lost my press credentials in a poker game at a bar the night before, so I was pretty much relegated the seats that my driver picked up from a seedy scalper outside the Speedway’s front gates. So, we found our seats, ate surprisingly good Ham sandwiches, and settled in for the forthcoming race. Which reminds me…
No? Not even the Soul Sister song? Alright then, moving on.*
After a depressing rendition of our national anthem by television news anchor and suspected sock-puppet Robin Meade, the 43 drivers started their respective engines and the race began. From our seats in the lower-deck stands (a mere twelve rows from the fencing), every rounded lap shook my mucus-filled innards. At over 200 miles per hour and within inches of one another, the vehicles blazed past in a blurred Tetris-piece formation that sent shock-waves through the stands. They would maintain that impressive-but-unaltered formation for almost fifty laps.
Fifty fucking laps?! Do something you bastards! I was beginning to fall asleep, regardless of the minor earthquakes occurring at regular intervals. But then, just as I was beginning to believe that NASCAR was pretty much exactly as boring as the television makes it seem, oh hello! Shit starts to get crazy.
Cars begin crashing into one another. And I’m not talking about a you-scraped-a-dude’s-bumper-and-he’s-pissed-now-type crashing. The magnificent violence of the gnashing metal, sparks and flame.. oh how the television does it no justice. Smoke and jagged edges, flashing lights and carnage. I felt as spectator in the Mechanical Colosseum, rising to my feet for vantage with mouth agape; it was like watching “Real Steal,” but for completely different reasons. A man a few rows down became so excited at the chaos that he screamed recklessly, letting the juice from his chewing tobacco flow down his chin and onto the concrete below. Spectacle.
As one primate does not stop the performance, the competition barreled onward, now with a somewhat different combination of brightly colored sponsorship-machines.† Finally a shake up! And that would become the evening’s trend: a few attempted passes, a number of near-misses, and the savage pageantry of the eventual crashes. The car which I had arbitrarily chosen to root for placed in the top 3, which was somewhat serendipitous I’m sure.
You know that pejorative about being a person who only watches NASCAR for the crashes? Yeah, that’s pretty much true. But the crashes, like all the discussed elements of this review, serve a purpose; they shape the race, and thus, the entire event. The crashes, the hot chicks, the boozing and yes, even the Train, combine themselves into an experience that I think anyone, from any race, creed, lack-of-religion or ethnicity could appreciate or at the very least understand. Will I become a NASCAR super-fan and get Dale Earnhardt’s face tattooed on my leg? Probably not. Would I go to another race? Absolutely, and you should too.
* – To their credit, Train put on a perfectly fine performance, and seemed like genuinely nice people. Alright mom? I have extolled the virtues of Train. Sorry you had to read about my love of Brazilian asses.
† – Seriously, every company on the planet sponsors these guys; the demographic range is insane. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the Tampax 500 as an actual race one day.