Big Day + Bad Weather = Daytona 500

Big Day + Bad Weather = Daytona 500

It was something I’ve been looking forward to since this year began.  The call of the Speedway had to be answered.  I told my sister that I wanted to go to the Daytona 500, and she hooked me up.  We got great tickets to a few events that would culminate in the biggest of them all.  It’s called “NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious motorsports event.”  The fans and curious came from all over, while the hype escalated to fever pitch.  Economic downturn be darned!  However, the skies were darkened from very early that morning and never cleared up.  Never, and then the rains came.

Daytona 500 26-Feb-2012

Don’t know what this is but I like it!

Our small, multi-cultural group arrived at the Speedway’s Superstretch section with ample time to take a tram to Midway.  It was just to look around and take in the sponsor hoopla, since the rain delay would undoubtedly delay the day’s events.  Or so we thought.  We had a ball, looking at the more new cars and climbing into military vehicles, courtesy the US Air Force.  Even the agricultural equipment was fun to check out.  Unfortunately, the loud music, contests and announcers blocked out the sound of Driver Presentations in front of the Grand Stand.  By the time we returned to our designated area, the pre-race events almost done.  We actually heard the US national anthem being sung by Train’s Pat Monahan, as we waited in line for lunch.  By the way, he did a fantastic job and hit that high note like a pro, because he is one.

Daytona 500 26-Feb-2012

You could water ski on that asphalt

We ate our lunch while being rained upon with all the other displaced individuals.  Nowhere on the ground was safe.  As the rains eased, we climbed the many stairs of Lund Tower and found our seats.  Then, the rains came…again.  For the next couple hours, we stood near the stairwell and waited.  Calls were made to find out what was being said on television, since our smart phones weren’t acting too smart.  We thought about taking off at about 3:00 pm.  Perhaps we were inspired by the periodical take-offs from neighbouring Daytona International Airport.  One after another, private jets were getting out of dodge.  Clearly, the rich people had better things to do than wait around.

Word came that crews were going to dry the track, as the rains had ceased once again.  We finally got the chance to take our seats.  Desperate NASCAR fans cheered and shouted, as a Speedway vehicle drove the circuit.  These tired, wet people even cheered for the dryer trucks.  I admit that I was among them.  By the way, the noise was just as bad as the race cars, but continuous and much more painful.

Daytona 500 26-Feb-2012

The collective decision to get out.

At about 5:00 pm, after a cup of hot coffee and a new hoodie to replace my wet one, the rains came…again.  One of my friends theorised that it might be mist but no.  It was rain but this time everybody left.  Without discussion or contemplation, every man, woman and child from our stand, left the Speedway.  I’ve never seen hundreds of people get fed up and leave a place, at exactly the same time.  The masses calmly braved the rain but they weren’t happy about it.  The mood on the bus was as gloomy as the skies.  Some folks were shell-shocked that the waiting and anticipation had been for nothing.  A lady told her husband that this happened because they skipped church.  I understand her view, since clearly t’was divine intervention that prevented this race.  Another man was just plain furious.  He was angry in line for the bus, during the ride and was positively livid when we arrived at Parking Lot 10.

Daytona 500 26-Feb-2012

…and just like that, it was over

After a lovely dinner at the Texas Roadhouse, we went home to hot baths and hot tea.  Today will count as my Fitness Revolution: Day 120 and I have the sore legs to prove it.  Despite the humungous disappointment, we did manage to have a good time.  It was wet but it wasn’t boring as our group got along quite well.  The race is postponed to noon on Monday February 27, 2012.  I can’t go but wish well to those who can.  Hopefully they’ll have a great time, even if it is one day late.  Anybody want to buy my ticket?