Pat Summitt was honored at the Food City 250 on Friday night. I could see her on the giant TV screen at Bristol Motor Speedway but I couldn’t hear any of the festivities. Summitt, the announcers and the national anthem singer were drowned out by the jet engines being used to dry the track. Trevor Bayne’s “We Back Pat” car had the pole position.
For the most part, my first NASCAR race was what I expected. The cars circled the track with occasional wrecks and caution laps. I hadn’t anticipated that the lead drivers would catch up to the back of the pack. For much of the race, it looked like the first-place driver was in sixth place. Only the scoreboard revealed the truth.
Many of the fans had rented headphones that allowed them to hear the communication between the drivers and their pit crews. I thought that one of the cars should have been sponsored by a brand of duct tape. After its trunk flew off, the number 31 car was put back together with tape and it returned to the track. Near the end of the race, Trevor Bayne’s car was also taped together after a wreck.
We parked off-site in a church lot that allowed for an easy getaway after the race. As a result, we walked past some houses that had rented their lawns as campsites for RV owners. Some homeowners offered use of their indoor showers for a price. Pedicab drivers were selling rides from the stadium to the far-off parking lots. One driver got mocked by the crowd when he yelled “bike on the right, bike on the right” in an effort to get us to clear a path for him. He failed to realize that he was actually on the left side of the road.