NASCAR vs. Drag Racing vs. Good ‘ole Dirt Track Racing … it’s all fine. Most racing enthusiasts have one favorite. I like it all although I do favor ‘down home’ dirt track racing because I can relate to it and can even be involved in it. When I was a teenager some of my friends had old cars in the yard … a most beautiful art form in our way of thinking. As we passed the bottle of Ripple around we talked about getting ‘em running.
We talked engines and how to hop them up. When we got our driver’s license most of our racing was in a straight line on the way to or from school. Making turns was not easy in our 60’s and 70’s cars. When we encountered twisting roads we had to slow down. The notion of road racing was far from our minds.
Recently, I was able to go to a road race for free. Could I enjoy road racing?
We all know that the most important thing about cars is the color and exhaust note … but different forms of racing have other characteristics worth noting. NASCAR has lots of contact. Drag racing has extreme noise and extremely high speeds. What would I note about road racing?
The track at Road America, in beautiful east central Wisconsin, is 4 miles of long and short straightaways plus lots of turns. You cannot see the whole track from any location. There were thousands and thousands of spectators spread out over the whole course. I viewed the racing from many locations. One of my favorite locations was at the end of a straightaway where cars had to brake from a speed of over 200 miles per hour to what appeared to be 60 miles per hour. I was only 70 feet from the track. There are many locations where you are very close to the action.
In the American Le Mans Series, different classes race at the same time. There are a few classes termed LMP (Le Mans Prototype and a couple of GT classes. I just call LMP cars ‘dedicated race cars’ and GT cars ‘modified street cars’ … but back to what’s important in cars … the color and engine exhaust note.
My favorite color was the Tequila Patrón Ferrari Green. I also liked the yellow Corvettes. In the GT class the winner was a red Ferrari. After the race that guy will have an easy time getting a date. My vote for worst color … the white BMW’s. BMW’s are supposed to be black. No dates for the BMW drivers.
|Tequila Patrón Ferrari Green.|
|Worst color: White BMW. No dates for the BMW drivers.|
Of course, the Chevy V-8’s had the best exhaust tone. The Corvettes were a bit too loud but had a deep tone. The best Chevy tone was made by Le Mans Prototype class Chevy engines. Just loud enough … nice deep throaty sound. Most of the other cars had a high pitch, like you hear in NASCAR racing, but some were muffled better than others. The worst tone: High pitch and loud from the BMW’s … definitely no dates for the BMW drivers.
As in all types of racing, the people were fun. The people had less tattoos than in other types of racing but let’s face it … this race was in Wisconsin where you have to make a financial choice between tattoos or heating oil. The people drank a lot of beer. Beer is the official anti-freeze of Wisconsin.
In the Pitts
The cars were prepared in view of the spectators.
|Preparation of winning Le Mans Prototype car. It was Aston Martin powered … yeah … the company that made James Bond’s car.|
|I think that this is a Chevy powered LMP car.|
Food and Beer
Food and Beer prices were quite reasonable. Despite a good variety of menu items, you just have to eat brats in Wisconsin. Johnsonville, Wisconsin is only 8 miles from the track. The brats are brought to the track by the BMW drivers who have plenty of time since they can’t get a date.
As for beer prices … $4 seems cheap until you realize that beer comes out of wells in Wisconsin. The only costs are bottling and shipping.
Road racing gives you a real international flavor. Many of the teams had one American and one European … what a nice cross culture thing. Drivers came from all kinds of countries and states in the USA. I can understand that many drivers are from California but I can’t understand the fact that many drivers also come from Georgia. Georgia drivers are supposed to be racing old American cars on dirt tracks … or running moonshine both on and off road.
All the driver’s girlfriends had normal hair, not big hair as you’d expect to see in NASCAR. Occasionally you could spot a driver looking at a spectator with big hair. This kind of driver will usually try to find their way to NASCAR.
Other Aspects of Road Racing
The announcer had a British accent or one of similar heritage (like the Geico Gecko) but I swear that he would occasionally slip into a New Jersey accent. Just as a faked European accent will help waiters get bigger tips in high end restaurants, a British accent is required to announce road racing.
Conclusion about Road Racing Through the Eyes of a Somewhat Redneck
Had a great time … but I really enjoy all types of racing.
|View of race from a bridge.|
|Winner of GT class. Nice date machine.|
|Why do they have advertising aimed at the drivers? You’d think that they could be distracted … especially if they’re hungry.|
|Sponsor’s use pretty ladies to attract international drivers but they never use ladies with big hair. Don’t want them to go to NASCAR.|
|Pit action is slower than NASCAR … although it’s near the end of the race and they probably could use a brat.|
|Interesting refueling contraptions.|
|Saw this ESPN lady again, the next day on TV. ESPN cut the 4 hour race down to 1 ½ hours … made a really good presentation. ‘Kind of neat seeing the race on TV the day after you saw it in person.|
|Winner is greeted by the Pillsbury Dough Boy … Oh, maybe it’s the Michelin man.|
|Has nothing to do with racing but everything to do with Wisconsin ... mmmm ... brats.|