Taking a NASCAR Daycation

A daytrip to a NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway proves to be great fun even for a visitor not too familiar with stock car racing. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini.

A daytrip to a NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway proves to be great fun even for a visitor not too familiar with stock car racing. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini.

Racecars, A Roadtrip, and a Lot of Potential

A great trip does not always have to be had by decamping to someplace exotic or romantic and far, far away.  I am introduced to a whole new world—just a couple of hours away from my home—when a neighbor gives us tickets to a next-day NASCAR race. Am I up for a quick roadtrip to Pennyslvania to find out what it’s all about? Sure!

Fast cars have always appealed to the Brawny Sherpa, and a couple of our youthful adventurers watch races on TV. Having suffered a few youthful car accidents (always in which I was the passenger), speed has not really appealed to me. I’m not even too keen on roller coasters. Will I find something to like at Pocono Raceway?

Danica! Danica!

Car no. 10 is driven by Danica Patrick. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini.

Car no. 10 is driven by Danica Patrick. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini.

About the only thing that I know about NASCAR (or, more formally, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) is that there is one female driver, Danica Patrick (although at the time this post is being written, it looks like she may not be back for the 2018 season). I just like that she’s a chick competing at top levels in a very male world.  It must be a good omen when I see her car (Number 10!) being readied for the big race just as we make our way to the stands. Before we get there, though, we see displays of sorts—tires and what I gather are repair stations, or, I am informed by a more knowledgeable youthful adventurer, pit stops. The crowd seems drawn to pit road. I marvel that, although security is present, the driver’s teams and their gear seem very accessible.

A Day at the Race

Good views and good catering make for a great day at Pocono Raceway. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini.

Good views and good catering make for a great day at Pocono Raceway. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini.

Enjoying a NASCAR experience is not limited to the duration of the race. We arrive hours ahead of time and make our way to the stands. Our seats rest beneath an overhang, so we are shielded from the sun. Even better, beer, wine, and munchies are included in the price of admission. We yack with some friends while I marvel at how civilized this whole speedway thing is.

Then there’s a parade of sorts with presentations, bands, and whatnot all taking place on the track before the race finally begins. This is an exciting one—an accident occurs in the very first lap. I particularly enjoy the speed at which tires are changed when drivers make a pit stop.

NASCAR Camp

Most intriguing to me are the number of campers present on the site. Some people—a lot of people—apparently are spending almost a week here. What we miss out on by being day babies: fireworks, block parties, driver appearances, and access to practices and qualifiers. This could be fun!

—Lori Tripoli

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Where Is Pocono Raceway? In Long Pond, Penn.!

 

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