Sunday, February 19, 2006

Will you still like me tomorrow if I tell you my dirty little secret? I like NASCAR

Today is the "Super Bowl of NASCAR," so I'm coming clean. Yes, the rumors are true. I'm looking forward to today's "Daytona 500." I will watch cars go in circles. So what's it to ya?

I can tell you that Cale Yarborough and LeeRoy Yarbrough spelled their last names differently. My best friend is in a NASCAR fantasy league. I own "NASCAR THUNDER" for my PS2, and have actually played career mode. I watched "Days of Thunder," laughed at the over the top superspeedway racing, and knew whom the Cole Trickle, Harry Hogge and Tim Daland characters were based upon. (That would be Tim Richmond, Harry Hyde, and Rick Hendrick, in case you were wondering...)

Sometime today, I'll hear Benny Parsons say, "He needs some wedge, two turns, and to pull a spring rubber" and not laugh. (But I might giggle...) I know what "Bump drafting" is and why it's a bad, bad thing in the corners. Ask me about "Plate racing" at Daytona and I can you it doesn't involve your collectable Star Trek plate collection. I can spell Talladaga without looking it up. Ask me who's driving the 38 today and I'll tell you it's M&M's car with Elliot Sadler. Who's driving for the Wood Brothers this year? Not that you would care, but I bet you don't have a clue either. It'd be journeyman driver Ken Shrader.

After reading the previous paragraphs, I'm not sure if I should be proud, or ashamed...

I can picture you all now, giving the screen a quzzical look, and thinking, "Who took Big Al's place today?" Let me explain.

I grew up in a very small farming town here in Michigan. The sort of place where the bars have more country music than rock on the jukebox. Where dressing up for a night out was putting on a fresh flannel shirt and clean work boots. And you didn't forget to replace your CAT hat with your clean John Deere one. Basically, it was a pretty redneck kind of place. Before you say anything, I can use the term redneck affectionately, as I'm friends with 'necks. But I digress...

There is a bullring of a late model stock car track a stone's throw away from my hometown. You can hear the cars for miles on a hazy summer Saturday night. My dad would take me occasionally, and I got hooked. I became a fan of the the Wood Brothers Purolator Mercury. Thinking back, it's probably because my dad drove a Merc and I liked the cool colors. Thusly, a stock car racing fan was born.

I hide it extremely well, as I'm no longer living in the sticks, but I'm just a small town country boy. I channel my inner Stroh's drinking redneck when I watch stock car racing. Not many people, other than family and friends in my hometown, know my dirty little secret. I've managed to keep word of my interest in NASCAR on the down low. So what's the best example of me being a closeted NASCAR fan?

I was tailgating at the Silverdome before a Lions game. I was with the then girlfriend, who was fairly sophisticated. Defintely not a small town sort of chick, she wouldn't have known a roll cage from a bird cage. She knew me damn well, save for my NASCAR secret. A work friend of hers walked up to us, and was wearing a lime green colored Interstate Batteries jacket with the number 18 on the sleeves. Having had a few pops, I blurt out, "So, are you a Bobby Labonte fan?" My significant other looked at me like I had just fallen off of the turnip truck. Her expression screamed, "How in the living HELL do you know that?!" Then she actually said those same words... And just like that, I was outed.

So if you happen to be flipping channels on this bitter cold Sunday, just remember that some of us stick and ball sport fans watch stock car racing. Sheepishly, but we're watching.

1 comment:

  1. I forgive you, I will not remove your link from my site, but I may be a little more hesitant to trust you now! LOL.

    Just kidding there man, at least you had the strength and courage to come out of the closet. Hey, just because I don't understand the appeal of watching cars go in a (almost) circle for any lengthy period of time does not mean others can't!

    I am glad that you came out, breathe the free air again my brother!