I decided after years of being a die hard NASCAR fan, it was finally time to go to a race! I scored awesome tickets for the FedEx 400 at Dover Raceway and I'm going to sound like such a NASCAR nerd when I say this but it was honestly the coolest experience of my life.
Yep, that's right. After all of the professional & college sports events I've been to, NASCAR tops them all. Arriving at the track that day, knowing I'd be there with so many of NASCAR's greatest drivers started the morning off with total excitement. If you're into racing, you get pretty invested in "your driver" or a particular team (For me, it's Team Hendrick!)
Everything at the track went so smoothly. Parking was a breeze. We rented scanners so that we could listen to our driver during the race which I highly recommend. We walked around and checked out some of the driver's apparel. Then, into the grandstands we went. Dover's turns are pretty incredible to see in person due to their 24 degree banks. And then seeing pit row. And all the cars! I was definitely getting pumped. Yet, it only got better…
The pre-race activities started and then my heart really started to pound. The driver intros kicked off the day followed by the most beautiful and emotional Star Spangled Banner I have ever experienced by Cassadee Pope from The Voice! Luke Bryan recovered from his fall off the stage the night before and served as the Grand Marshall with those four words we all know so well…
"Drivers… START. YOUR. ENGINES!!!"
That moment right there blew me away (I had no idea what I was really in for just moments later!) Hearing the roar of those engines, knowing the start of the race was almost there... my adrenaline was pumping! Then, one after the other, the cars pulled out onto the track. Everyone was on their feet. Anticipation. Excitement. All around.
After a couple laps around the trace, the pace car cut away from the drivers and the green flag dropped. The moments following that were the moments I'll always remember. The sound of those engines taking off. Their speed. The way you could actually feel the cars whir past you. I was speechless.
The race fans were awesome. Everyone around us was a true fan, totally tuned in to the race, their driver, and what was going on when a caution went out. The weather was perfect. Sunshine + 73 degrees + the constant breeze from the race track = YES! I had the chance to get down by the track to see my driver and Mr. Dale Earnhardt Jr. too! Lastly, the race ended with a Team Hendrick win as Jimmie Johnson took Victory Lane. What a beautiful day!
Focused race fan right there! I'll wrap it up with a comment I made on Instagram [@chelseadinen]:
"It still amazes me how a moment can take your breath away when you least expect it to. Bucket list items become some of your most enjoyable moments in life. Your passions and hobbies shift & mold as you grow and some of the oddest combinations (like me with NASCAR) so perfectly fit. The right people & experiences forever become a part of you without even having to search for them. I don't think I'll ever come down from this high."
Some of the most unexpected experiences in our lives became memorable lessons for us. Dover was that for me. I wrote about the important life lessons that I was reminded of that weekend. Check it out on my website.
Also, just for fun… here's my 2012 Bucket List Vlog. It's crazy how many of these items I've already checked off (including one thing that happened less than a week after going to the NASCAR race!) Stay tuned!
Where are my fellow race fans?! Who's your driver?