It’s pretty late in the year for a post like this, but that’s the way it works, sometimes.
2016 started out with a bang (or maybe a roar) with a trip to see the 58th running of the Daytona 500. From there, I went west enjoying desert storms and mountains wildflowers. While I hit a lot of places I’d seen before, I was able to explore those places more deeply. I also made it all the way to the opposite coast and saw the magic of the sun setting over the Puget Sound. It was a pretty good year, and I’m looking forward having the adventures that will go into next year’s retrospective!
On the NASCAR racing circuit, the Daytona 500 is the biggest event of the season. With well over 100,000 fans cheering their drivers on, it’s one of the rowdiest parties on Earth.
Here are four reasons it may also be the ultimate American experience.
1. Booze is heritage, not just an after-effect
Many (if not most) sports associate themselves with alcohol and a rebellious nature, but NASCAR alone owes its very existence to moonshine and out-driving law enforcement. When NASCAR started in 1948, most of the drivers like “Reckless” Roy Hall and “Lightning” Lloyd Seay had learned how to drive fast outrunning IRS agents on southern backroads during prohibition. Race day at Daytona International Speedway reveals that alcohol is just as important to racing now as it was then. Not only are several of the race teams sponsored by beer and whiskey companies, but flags with beer logos flutter off of RVs parked on the infield like medieval banners marking dominions. Hours before the race, coolers and grills are hoisted onto the sheetmetal roofs of those RVs. Fans sit back in lawn chairs cracking cold ones and bantering back and forth until the race starts. If you walk by one of these RV parties wearing the t-shirt of the group’s favorite driver, it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll offer to toss a can down to you. Even if the beer isn’t “your brand” it’s in your best interest to take it. Continue reading “4 Reasons the Daytona 500 is the Ultimate American Experience”