ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

NASCAR: Still not a sport, but very cool

Updated on July 28, 2013

Eldora Dirt

Thousands of my closest friends and I gathered together at Eldora speedway for dirt track racing.

Yes, I'm the much-maligned author of this NASCAR exposé. Many online friends stop by to explain to me where my head is at and discuss why I probably shouldn't travel south of the Ohio River without a phalanx of burly guards for my body.

Anyway, I was invited to attend the inaugural NASCAR event at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Reserved seats were proffered. I accepted.

We park in a cornfield

We drove there. Since Rossburg, Ohio, includes about 200 people on a normal day, we were fairly certain that parking facilities would abound. We were not disappointed.

For $5 we parked within sight of the venue on top of what was once a farmer's field. It may be a farmer's field again today or perhaps an enterprising agronomist realized that his time should be spent harvesting cash from hyped-up race fans rather than planting soybeans. Try parking at an NFL, NBA, or MLB game for $5: good luck getting your car down off the jacks when the game is over.

Parking for $5. Yes, that is a working grain silo in the background.
Parking for $5. Yes, that is a working grain silo in the background.

There's more to see than a race

Monster trucks matter. If you live in a high-rise or a college dorm, you probably won't see Grave DIgger or Brutus or Rap Attack or even Spike Unleashed looking for a parking space. These beasts inhabit dirt tracks and converted indoor arenas across the fruited plain.

We were presented with opportunities to gawk upon stylized monster trucks. No guards, electric fences, or bulletproof glass came between us and the awesome fiberglass. No chaperones shooed us away if we touched it. Fan were respectful and highly interested. I had my picture taken with that thing.

Free with admission: a hands-on experience with Grave Digger

Grave Digger, so to speak. We touched it and no one said we couldn't.
Grave Digger, so to speak. We touched it and no one said we couldn't.
I don't recall the name of this monster , but I want one in my driveway.
I don't recall the name of this monster , but I want one in my driveway.

Our first glimpse of the track

Being careful not to get overstimulated by Grave Digger, we strolled toward the track. Eldora hosts a 1/2 mile banked oval made of dirt. There's no asphalt. There's no yellow lines. There's not even a start/finish line. OCD fans would be quickly disappointed.

We would shortly learn what happens to the dirt when horsepowered vehicles slide through it at high speeds.

1/2 mile oval. Dirt.

source: my cruddy phone
source: my cruddy phone

Lots of dirty driving

The feature race was scheduled for 9:30 PM. We arrived at 4:30 and the place was already packed. It turns out there were many other vehicles turning left at high speeds throughout the day.

  • Practice: each truck went out and played in the dirt by itself.
  • TIme trials: each truck ran two laps against a stopwatch.
  • Heats: groups of 5-6 trucks raced a few laps to see who got to run in the main event.
  • Main Event: broadcast on The Speed Channel and witnessed by 19,999 NASCAR maniacs and me.

Interspersed with the truck events raced 'late model' cars that looked like developmentally-delayed jalopies and sounded like psychotic bass drums. Those beasts ran faster than the trucks because all of them had actually run on that particular dirt before.

Grandstands and lawn seating and cheap food, oh my.

We sat in the main grandstand adjacent to the starter's tower. That might not be the correct phrase describing the tower where the starter stands, but someone will let me know.

The starter waved flags. Green means go, yellow advises caution, checkered means it's all over. Roll up the yellow flag to indicate one last caution lap. Cross two rolled up flags to signify 1/2 of the race remaining. Most of that I didn't already know.

No one escaped the dirt. Thirty five trucks thundering down the brief straightaway at 90mph (no kilometers here, duh) kick up a massively pervasive cloud that you scrape from your nostrils for the following 48 hours. Don't ask me how I know.

These seats really stunk.
These seats really stunk.

The coolest part of the evening

Every NASCAR event includes a protracted run-up. Manic redneck Tom Bergeron wannabes introduce each driver with minute detail. The PA announcer explains racing nuances. These fans hardly need additional motivation, but witnessing the St. Henry High School Marching Band play the National Anthem with fireworks in the background was absolutely worth any price of admission. They formed up in the dirt and they nailed it. Band Moms: I hope you never wash those plumes.

From the podium before the race and after the National Anthem, a prayer was offered. Imagine the opposite of a generic TV prayer appropriate for any major religion. Think of a prayer that the Democratic party would not be proud of. That was how we prayed.

If this doesn't give you chills, go back to your polo pony.
If this doesn't give you chills, go back to your polo pony.

Racing: you feel it more than you see it.

Next time you find yourself cruising on an interstate highway with a grandma 6 inches off your rear bumper, blame NASCAR. Professional racers do not observe the 1-car-length-per-10mph rule. That mindset has trickled down to pretty much everyone who can swipe their own credit card and pump their own gas.

This race kicked off with a rolling start. The pace-truck pulled off. The trucks rounded turn 4 and simultaneously jumped on the accelerator. The starter waved a green flag, but that was for show. Nothing was going to stop the maelstrom. Even if you can't see it, you can feel it. You might be stuck in line at the T-shirt trailer or waiting for a hot dog with mustard, but you can always tell. That much horsepower bunched up into a thundering dust bunny drowns any plans you might have had for being able to hear your grandchildren say their first words.

Most of us wore hearing protection. It helped mostly. OSHA was nowhere to be seen, but they were probably wearing Dale Jr. tank tops and eating nachos.

The main event begins. It's all kind of a blur. And a thumping in your chest.
The main event begins. It's all kind of a blur. And a thumping in your chest.
There they go. They'll be back in 21 seconds. 150 times.
There they go. They'll be back in 21 seconds. 150 times.

Conclusion

It's still not a sport, but it's an event that you shouldn't miss.

Everyone was absolutely nice. The ticket takers were patiently kind. The lady charged with searching incoming coolers for non-American beer was polite. The guy sitting next to us was a stranger for about 15 seconds. Navigating the crowd was unnerving for claustrophobic me, but that's not the fault of NASCAR or Rossburg.

The whole place felt like family. Pass-outs were free and unlimited. Race food was cheap and plentiful. You don't have to worry about bumping into any Kardashians.

Would I go again? Absolutely.

Rossburg, Ohio. Classic flyover real estate. I love it.

NASCAR is a sport

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      4 years ago from Ohio, USA

      One person voted in the poll. That tells me something.

    • Insane Mundane profile image

      Insane Mundane 

      5 years ago from Earth

      Your photo featuring the endless supply of Port-A-Johns was totally priceless! Ha-ha!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Your heartfelt review, nicomp, touched me. I especially enjoyed your observation about the 'seats' in the Porta-Potties. Touche!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)