Adventures at NASCAR: The Gargoyle and the Burning Underwear (Part I)

NASCAR, The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, held its annual Coca-Cola 600 two weekends ago in Charlotte, NC, which also happens to be its headquarters. All of my close friends and family know that I have never been a fan of Nascar and in fact never understood it, enjoyed watching it, or cared really about any of it. So your car goes 165 mph and you can make 4 left turns over and over for 4+ hours. Congratulations. Who cares. It is stereotyped as being a redneck sport, that only rednecks enjoy, and only rednecks would pay to watch some fast cars go around a circle over and over again. So when Queenie invited me to go with her to our very first race in Charlotte, I asked the only important question: what should I wear? I agreed to camping (like, the kind in tents with no indoor plumbing/electricity or showers. I know), eating hotdogs for every meal for 2 days, and opened my mind to a grand adventure. Luckily there were hotels and an outlet mall nearby, should an emergency evacuation of the campsite be needed, and I was greatly comforted by these facts. My fav Miss Foxy agreed to rendezvous in Charlotte for this epic weekend.

When we first arrive at this little racing mecca, my first thought is that I have never seen so many RVs in a 5 square mile area in my life, even in pictures. Driving into this place it was like a little Hooverville of country folk. I was slack-jawed taking in the vast mileage of camping, and I don’t even feel that I can describe it accurately for those of you that haven’t witnessed it. Think about a big football tailgate. The VT kind, not the fake UVA kind (yes, that was trash talk. Bring it.) Its like if VT let us park on every available field and parking lot on campus, plus the drillfield, plus all the pastures along 460, plus the big horse farm across from the Southgate entrance, and if EVERYONE came in an RV and not just that little section of Lot 2. Then it might begin to compare. In the middle of everything, there was huge ginormous massive stadium. The track is 1 and 1/4 miles, plus the concourse, plus all the little attractions and booths and stores surrounding the track. So in all, it’s probably 5 miles around at least. This is what greeted us as we made our way to the furthest campsite (in my little Mini Cooper no less…totally blending in from the start, obvs).

So instead of give you the play-by-play (boring) I have compiled a list of random happenings that a) taught me something about myself/life/people/what happens when one downs half a bottle of SoCo, b) were hilarious, c) required me to say, “No, I’m keeping my undies on, thanks.” or d) all of the above.

Any of you heard of a gargoyle? Not the stone kind that guard France’s great cathedrals, the kind related to a keg. It’s actually sort of cute and if you’re small enough to perch on top of a keg (like me, for example) it’s kinda fun and definitely way better than a keg stand. So I only lasted like 4 seconds, who cares. Thank you Foxy for preserving that moment for me on film.

I think Nascar is now synonymous with “it’s ok to not wear clothes.” It’s gosh-darn hot in Charlotte in the middle of the day, especially sitting in the stands on metal bleachers with nothing but a cold beer to keep you hydrated. The no clothes thing applies to anyone and everyone – small children, pregnant women, old geezers (I mean super duper old), hot chicks with beer guts, hot dudes with beer guts, anyone with a beer gut, etc. My most favorite-est example of this was a prize bull Queenie spotted during one of our beer/hotdog breaks. He was at least 60, 5’10 or 6ft tall, probably pretty close to 300 lbs, completely bald, wearing no shirt and no pants, only a tiny little speedo looking thing. TINY. On a HUGE man. He had lots of dark extremely curly chest hair and a huge smile with missing teeth and a cooler of beer. Clearly, a can’t-miss photo opportunity.

Saturday evening the dudes built a fire and we all sat around it drinking from our newish coldish kegs, everyone at various stages of drunk. At first it was an innocent little gathering, everyone going around and sharing an embarrassing story or two, making fun of each other, having a good laugh. This innocent activity somehow, and quite quickly, turned into everyone putting their underpants in the fire. At first it was a baseball cap, which burned for about 30 seconds or a minute before the owner wanted to wear it again. Then someone had the brilliant idea to sacrifice his underwear, and suddenly pants were being shed and man-undies were tossed into the fire. It’s pretty funny to watch underwear burn. The fire flares bright white for a couple seconds, devouring the little rocketship underpants before calming back down again. After the first pair, the natural course of action was for each guy, one by one, to drop trou and feed his underpants to the growing fire. In total I think we reached 15 pairs. Miss Sassy favors somewhat expensive undies so for this reason (and a couple other pretty good ones) mine did not make the foray into the fire, despite a couple feeble attempts to persuade me otherwise. I am also proud to report that my dear friends maintained their dignity as well and kept it classy. You go girls. This however cannot be said for one female visitor to our campsite, but I guess the class kind of goes out the window when you can’t remember your own name.

Have you ever slept in the back of a Jeep Grand Cherokee with 2 other people? It’s super fun. As it turns out, I’m a pretty good middle spoon…

Maybe you never thought Nascar could every be classy or sassy. Well folks, we made it happen. Foxy brought J.Crew, I brought Mini Coop, and Queenie brought her chic Cleopatra hair cut. I know you want to hear more but someone once told me that I’m “wordy” so, fine. Less sass for you. Stay tuned, more Nascar shenanigans on the way asap.

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One response to “Adventures at NASCAR: The Gargoyle and the Burning Underwear (Part I)

  1. Oh Sara, you made me miss camping at NASCAR races sooooo much – although we never ventured into the undies for kindling genre, we did have fun and a couple of us could have been accused of forgetting their names and where they lived.

    Loved your wonderful description from the standpoint of a “NASCAR virgin” and can’t wait for the next installment.

    You rule, Miss Sassy!

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