All posts in NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (05/10)

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all-star race: a big, crowded racing event thingy

Charlotte Motor Speedway Pit RoadI arrived at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race to find a bajillion freaking people in the infield. Okay, maybe not a bajillion but it was a whole hell of a lot of people. Walking through the garage, okay, only one side of it (The Dale Earnhardt Jr. side, of course) was packed with fans and people that were clearly only on hand because some companies were doing some serious entertaining. Women in heels so high it was obvious they’d never been to a race before and men pointing to cars to tell those women who the drivers were but got the names wrong. Men, if you don’t know who someone is just say that you don’t know. It’s okay. The garage was filled with all kinds of people and it was seriously hard to walk like two feet.

The whole day felt weird for me because 1) I hadn’t been to a race since last year’s Pepsi 500 in So. Cal. and 2) my first day ever at Charlotte Motor Speedway was also race day and I’d never done that before. Usually things ramp up, ya know, qualifying then practice then racing. I had missed stuff. But whatever, it was still great to be there.

welcome to charlotte

Charlotte, NC - photo by dawngrif/flickrOn my flight into Charlotte the guy sitting next me was watching the first season of “Lost” on his DVD player. He had never seen the series before and decided to get started on it on the plane. So while our plane was experiencing some serious turbulence I saw the plane in the very first episode of “Lost” go DOWN. Why of all the TV series you could choose to watch on a plane would you pick the one about a plane that CRASHES?

Yeah, I don’t know either. Anyway, my flight was happily uneventful because I made it to Charlotte safe and sound. Guess what the first thing I did was, after calling my mom to tell her I made it in ok and that I hadn’t been kidnapped like that girl in the Liam Neeson movie “Taken,” I picked up a Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbucks.


When I got to Hertz to pick up my rental car I was super excited to find that I got to drive a Volkswagen Jetta. My car at home is a VW too, so it was nice to drive something familiar. Oh, and here’s a tip from your friend Valli: If your rental car service has a self-service kiosk you should use it. I ended up getting out faster than the people who decided to stand in line. I was in my car and driving out while the people who had gotten to the counter well before me were still waiting.

I opted out of getting a navigation system from Hertz and instead used my cell phone and Sprint Navigation. I didn’t have to pay extra for it and it worked just as well as any in-car navigation system.

Driving through the streets of Charlotte, on my way to my hotel, I marveled at the fact that I put myself here. It’s one of those moments where you say to yourself “Holy crap, I’m actually doing this.” I must be serious about this whole NASCAR thing if I chose to fly across the country to attend a race.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter this weekend, today is the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and tomorrow the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.