I hit I-20 heading toward Shreveport at 7 a.m. on Nov. 4. Five long hours were ahead of us. The anticipation floated around in my head. I prayed this experience at the Sprint Cup Series would be worth the drive.
When I first arrived, we stepped out of the car to the aroma of funnel cakes and festival nachos. I noticed two men playing horseshoes in the distance while families cheered them on. I realized then, NASCAR was a family affair. I continued toward the entrance and noticed the extreme fan appreciate for different drivers.
A little girl, no older than 5, clad in a green and black 7-up jacket with black cowboy boots, was definitely a Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) fan. Her mother trailed with an “I love Dale” T-shirt.
After meeting Rob King, editor-in-chief of ESPN Digital Media, at a convention this summer, I expressed my desire to work for NASCAR. He asked me to email him about a Hot Pass for a NASCAR weekend. With a Hot Pass, you have access to see the pit team change tires, talk to the drivers and get a feel of the race from a different view.
Watching NASCAR in my bed on Sunday afternoons is incomparable to being in the midst of the action. Before we walked inside the track, the man who was driving us around on his cart asked us if we had earplugs, which we did not. We would later regret not bring or buying ear plugs and vowed never to attend a race again unprepared for the noise.
Although there wasn’t a lot of Blacks in attendance, I didn’t feel misplaced. Everyone I met was friendly and helpful. Some fans taught me rituals and rules that gave me a better perspective on NASCAR.
This trip enhanced my thirst for knowledge, and I plan to apply for the diversity scholarship for the summer of 2013.
Tierra Smith is a sophomore mass communications major from Milwaukee, Wis.