Wednesday, April 26, 2006

NASCAR & the woman from MARS

"Baby, we're only 140 miles from Atlanta Motor Speedway, want to go to the race?"
"You bet!"
Within minutes we had tickets and a parking place for the motorhome St. Patrick's weekend. Pack, plan and invite friends; it's more fun when shared.

There's the race and then there's all the other stuff that happens. On St. Patrick's day we parked in Legends Campground behind a rented RV from Canada. Visiting with the lady of the group we learned that she was from MARS - a slim, trim, blue-eyed blonde that sounded Mid-western. We know NASCAR is the fastest growing sport among women, but Mars? How many rocks from the sun is that?

To our delight, two of our house guests were adolescent boys who found it more interesting to exit the motorhome's two steps sliding on their bellies. JB flipped a coin for them to claim which set of earplugs. We gathered coolers and coats and headed for the "Rebuilt Real Fast" stands. It was a mountain climb to our seats in the 69th row of the Champion's.

The boys watched the Craftsman Truck Race until the need for food, or a diversion, took over. Just once Mr. G. showed them the way down. Thereafter, they navigated on their own returning with a funnel cake one time, and space ice cream others. I liked the mint chocolate best. Todd Bodine won.

Back at camp we set our little grill on the grass to similate a campfire. It didn't take the boys long to discover they could make flames by adding dry grass. JB cut a metal coat hanger in half for roasting marshmallows. We put the slightly dark ones between mint patties. The blackened ones dropped on the hot coals and swelled up - a science experiment.

Before Saturday's Nicorette 300 Busch race we put our small charcoal grill on our plastic table to cook hotdogs and polish sausage. We didn't notice it was melting through. The indentation resembles a large butterfly hurled hard and fast, or are those Martian footprints? Mr. G autographed our "less table, more conversation piece." Jeff Burton won.

Sunday just JB and I treked the half-mile to the track in our rain-gear with coolers and sandwiches, took our seats in the Champion stands, and waited. Spits of rain. National Anthem. Drivers in their cars. Drivers out. Trucks busy drying the track. Drizzle. Real rain. Race delayed until Monday at eleven. Close together and fast drops parted the sea of spectators into stayers and leavers. We stayed. It was our seventh race, and the first that was a rain delay.

Ms. MARS came by happily saying, "It was an eighteen hour drive from north of Toronto. We;re staying. It's my first race." Her husband had been to Talladega, and came home with a smile. No doubt. We've been to that Red Neck Mardi Gras: beads, boobs and painted on bikinis.

Mon. we heard, "Gentlemen....start your engines!" I soooo want to say that. The race was on. We were up and down, intrigued by each caution, and thankful no one was seriously hurt. Kasey Kahne won.

The crowd was thin. Our Canadian friend came to say bye. I overheard her admit she had worked at the MARS candy factory, but I never saw a trace of chocolate on her face or any samples.

It didn't seem like such a big deal to leave after the race with fewer spectators, but it took us five hours to go 140 miles. Stop and go to Atlanta. It was so slow, guys who needed relief dashed out to the ditch, and lined up like a busload of French school kids.

copyright 2006 Red Convertible Travel Series

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