At Kansas Speedway Race Car Track
Texas Motor Speedway
My First NASCAR Experience
I was introduced to NASCAR racing when I first met my husband. I had heard of NASCAR before, and knew the names of some of the superstars, but had never watched it before. When my husband told me how great it was, I began watching. I wasn’t too impressed with it at first. All I saw were cars driving around in a circle as fast as they could go…not too exciting, so I turned it off.
The first Valentine’s Day gift we were together, my husband surprised me with tickets to the Texas Motor Speedway to watch NASCAR. At that time, I was not sure how wonderful a gift this was. The tickets were for the practice runs, the Nationwide series and the Sprint Cup series. That meant I had to be there for the whole weekend watching cars go around in circles. My husband assured me that there was more to it than that…I wasn’t convinced.
Then I arrived at the track. Practice was rained out for the most part, but what I did see just blew my mind. Yes, it was just cars going around in circles, but it was much more than that. It was the sounds, the smells, the atmosphere, and the people that made it special. The haulers full of merchandise, the chance to meet one of the racers and get autographs, the tailgate parties…all combined to make it a memorable experience.
I loved the hype of the pre-race concert, the introduction of the drivers, the parachuters dropping into the middle of the track. You could feel the excitement in the air. And then the race started.
The call of “Gentlemen, Start your engines” brought to life the roar of the engines. When the green flag dropped, that roar was multiplied by a thousand! I watched as the drivers fought for the lead, sometimes nearly hitting the cars around them. I was awed about how these drivers could go at speeds nearing 200 miles per hour and pass the cars around them so closely without hitting them. The crowd was on their feet for much of the race – cheering their favorite drivers and booing the others. Before I knew it, the race was over! I didn’t much care for the driver that won that day, but I fell in love with NASCAR, just as my husband knew I would. It turned out to be the best Valentine’s Day gift ever!
Kansas Speedway is a one and a half mile track in Kansas City, Kansas
After that wonderful weekend, I grew to love watching those cars circle the track. I watched it on television every weekend, hoping to someday go to the track again. Two years later, I had my chance again. My husband received tickets to Kansas Speedway from a colleague at work…the same weekend our first grandchild was born…in Kansas City! Talk about a wonderful weekend!
Kansas Speedway reminded me a lot of Texas Motor Speedway. It is another one and a half mile track. The banking is nearly the same. The action is definitely the same. We didn’t get to see practice and the Nationwide race this time, we had a grandson to see too!
I remember walking through the gates for the first time with the same awe as I did when I went to my first race. I was happy with our seats that gave us a great view of turn three and a pretty good view of the start/finish line. As with Texas Motor Speedway, people at the track act like they have known you all of your life. They start giving you a hard time about your driver, and you give it back about theirs. Sometimes you have the same favorite driver and you can talk about the goods and bads about him. You also talk about your experiences at other tracks across the country. You find that some of these fans have been to every track in the country and others have come to Kansas Speedway as their very first track.
Then you are amazed as everyone in the bleachers stand up and remove their hats and place their hands over their hearts as a prayer is said and the Star Spangled Banner is sung by some star. Then jets fly over and everyone cheers. Then, soon after you hear those words that you came to hear, “Gentlemen, Start your Engines!” Then the roar of engines as the green flag is dropped and 46 drivers fight their way around the track.
Some people come hoping to see someone crash. I don’t like the crashes – we saw one at Texas that I was surprised the driver walked away from. It was Michael McDowell and he flipped his car about seven times before he hit the SAFER barrier…and walked away without a scratch. At Kansas Speedway, we saw a couple of small crashes – again no one was hurt, thank goodness! Yet the race was still very exciting.
As the race neared the end, I became even more excited. Tony Stewart, my favorite driver, was closing in on the win. It was pretty amazing to see. It made a wonderful day at the track a wonderful experience, especially when Tony crossed the finish line first!
Kansas Speedway is a wonderful track to get your NASCAR fix. In my case, it allows me to drive a fairly short distance and allows me to see my daughter and her family while I am in town. It is a wonderful track to visit!