On my very first trip to Daytona Beach, over twenty years ago, I was taken like any other tourist, to visit the Daytona International Speedway. It was overwhelming for a little island girl to take in. I saw the sun set on that track and fell in love. Like most awe-inspiring experiences, it took a while to process and it didn’t make me into an instant NASCAR fan. Watching it on television could not replicate that feeling, of actually being at the track and seeing it as a whole. Every time we made plans to visit, I always made a pitch to go in February, just to see that track in all its glory. Today, I finally got the chance to go and it was something else, I tell you. I got myself a red neck but it’s not what you may think.
My nephew and I got there pretty early in the day. Perhaps too early, as the dark skies cleared to reveal the sun; that proceeded to beat down on us like a mafia enforcer. It was brutal and I was still accustomed to cooler winter temperatures. This blazing sun was just too much for me. We walked the length and breadth of the outer areas, taking in all the hoopla. Unfortunately, there wasn’t that much hoopla to be seen. Ford was still setting up with no vehicles in sight. Hopefully, the large photo of Ken Block means that a beastly Fiesta is set to appear, but not today.
I had planned on taking a speedway tour but they were postponed due to track activity. Unfortunately, the website didn’t mention this, so we had excess time to kill but nothing to do. We saw, shopped and then sat in the stands to eat; and be eaten by the heat. The NSCS practice was in progress and as each car zoomed past us, our resolve was weakened further. We couldn’t talk because of the noise and there was a scarcity of folks nearby to socialise. My nephew found solace with his iPod while, my face and neck had already turned a darker shade of pink. With an hour to go, before the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, I decided to bolt, and I kid you not. We were out of there in no time, with every intention of returning later for the Budweiser Shootout…uh, maybe?
That maybe became a solid maybe not, as we cooled off and shut down. Maybe it’s age, heaviness or both; but I was busted. The good thing is that the pseudo-tourist thing is out of the way. We got some cool stuff and I wouldn’t say no to more. However and henceforth, that speedway will not see my face until late afternoons and nights. I won’t lie though; I had a lot of fun. Although, the hair may not have been as fabulous as when we left the house; and the skin freaked out in the heat. My feet may have been wondering, “Woman, why does this place have so many stairs?” but no matter what – I had fun. Just let me catch my breath, calm my red neck and I’ll be back at the Daytona International Speedway. Oh yes, and very soon. Like tomorrow, so stay tuned. Now if only, we could convince them to turn that big infield into a little RallyCross circuit.