I’m a Man Without a Driver
That’s right, a man without a driver. I may as well say “a fish out of water”, “a dog without a nose”, “an Irish man without a favorite beer”, or just a dude who doesn’t follow NASCAR. I’m not good with metaphors.
It’s true, I, The Jester, don’t have a favorite NASCAR driver. I live 8 miles away from the Speedway. I’ve gone to the races before, but usually when I get tickets, I sell them to the tourists who are willing to pay so much more for them. There’s just something about NASCAR that is boring to me. I’ve tried to see the fascination that people have with it, I try to enjoy it, but I can’t. My cerebral cortex will not allow me to do so, or something.
I’ve only lived in Bristol for about 7 years, most of the locals still think of me as a “foreigner”. But I’ve lived here once before. I actually went to 2nd grade here (don’t e-mail me and ask why, I just did)! Do you know what I remember about the NASCAR races?
I remember it being hot and sweaty. I remember spending $6.00 of my allowance on a bag of popcorn. I remember all of that, and my daddy taking me and my brother (now A1C Jeremy Dotson) to the drag strip. I remember how the cars were so loud my brother had to sit on my dad’s lap so my dad could cover his ears. I remember the cars being so powerful that the concrete bleachers we were sitting on vibrated. That seemed amazing to me! How can a CAR— what we drive to the grocery store in —vibrate something that they use to build houses on?! It boggled my mind. I was 7.
I’ve never really been what you would call a “car nut”, but I know my way around under the hood. I’ve always been more interested in the more technical/designs of the workings of an engine, I’d be a terrible grease-monkey. I could explain what the difference between AWD & 4WD is, what every microchip does in your car, and why certain lights are lighting up, and others aren’t. But ask me to replace one and I’m lost. I’m sure I could figure it out if I were given the time, but this is one of the things that shaped me into who I am today.
For instance this past year, or racing season, or whatever, my Mother, my Aunt and I walked our dogs and stopped to watch and take pictures of the race convoy that came through town. Yes, our neighborhood, and State Street are conveniently adjacent to the route all of the NASCAR cargo trucks get off the interstate and head the last 10 miles to Bristol Motor Speedway. While there, we get a chance to talk to a lot of the tourists that visit our quaint little town, fill up the hotels, cause waits at all the restaurants, and most people look like they’re from Jersey.
While talking to the tourists, most of them are nice enough, and notice we are walking dogs.
They are great for starting up conversations with strangers, which sometimes can be a bad thing. After all, talking to strangers is something I’ve been taught NOT to do since before I could talk. But I digress, the tourists end up saying that they would never be able to handle taking their dogs on a weekend trip for a race. We then retaliate by saying that we’re local, and then BAM! we get suckered into answering, “ZOMG!!1 WHOO IS YOUR FAVE-O-RIT DRIVER!!!???????” A question they are way to over enthusiastic about. When I tell them that I enjoy racing, but am not an “official fan” I guess you could say, so I have no driver, they look at me like this:
“You’re FROM Bristol, and you don’t have a Driver!?“ No dude, I’m from Northern Virginia, I’m a Redskins fan, and I live in Bristol. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bristol, Tennessee and Virginia. But I don’t need a NASCAR driver to live here!
Like I said before, I don’t remember much about NASCAR growing up when we used to live here. My father watched NASCAR every once in a while, but not every week. I remember the bonding you do watching the sport. And with a sport like NASCAR, you have a lot of down time to get to know the people you’re with.
**All pictures are property of their respective owners, and may be subject to copyright laws. Obtained through Google Image Search.**