[Grab a cup of coffee and a Power Bar; it’s a long one]
In early 2004, Stick created a list of goals for us and towards the top of that list was the decree that we would go to a NASCAR race. Since there was no way I could possibly go to a race without a) having a clue what was going on or b) having a driver to support, I began obsessing. Big time. I printed out driver lists sorted by name, sponsor and number, I watched races, I read websites, I joined message boards; I did all those things I typically do when I need to learn more about something. Having a friend who had just moved to Charlotte and was getting hooked on NASCAR herself certainly didn’t help me exercise any restraint.
We didn’t end up making it to a race that year, but my obsession lived on. I went to my first race in Charlotte in 2005 and watching my guy win by thousandths of a second sealed the deal for me – I was hooked. This past weekend, I went to my third race and – while Chimmie didn’t win – I can’t complain about a top 5 finish.
I flew into Charlotte Friday afternoon where Rebecca swept me away in the ginormous 15-passenger van we would be driving down to Darlington the following morning to take me to their new house. I’d drugged up before I left the house because I knew I was going to be faced with a dander explosion; my hosts share their house with Maddux, Charlotte, Stewie & Jesse (a fat ol’ beagle and three cats). I haven’t had much luck with Claritin in the past but the CVS knock-off saved my bacon this weekend.
Long story short (HA!), we loaded up the van Saturday morning and headed the 100 miles ESE to Darlington Raceway. We ate, we drank, we basically tailgated for the better part of 4 hours, id then we girls headed into the garage. Sadly, thunderstorms rolled in about this time and the skies opened up seconds after we got through the last security checkpoint. We spent about 45 minutes waiting out the downpour in AJ Allmendinger’s garage stall and watching various crew guys who weren’t at the haulers puttering about. The ultimate was when Chad wandered through on his way to go do crew chief-y things. He was about six or seven feet away, paused to talk to a couple of folks, then headed out into the rain. At the risk of exposing my not-at-all-secret dorkdom, I was speechless. I lurve him. Unfortunately, it all took place so quickly that I couldn’t grab my camera and wouldn’t have gotten a picture of anything but his (fabulous) butt anyway.
Ultimately the race was run on Mother’s Day. Chimmie wrapped up third with Rebecca’s and Morgan’s drivers coming in 7th and 8th. Chimmie led several laps, but coming in for tires and a prolonged race back to the front kept them from holding off Hamlin and racing for the win.
What, you thought knitting was my only obsession?