2:01pm Lilsaej and I crack the first beer and begin to tailgate. Witness some of the spread:
2:18pm One of my favorite moments from the afternoon - Rougie and Lilsaej:
2:47pm While you may think that Lilsaej was merely trying to capture me in a moment of chronic txting/Facebook status updating/Tweeting/Blackberry IM'ing - this was a totally posed shot so she could capture the redneck monstrosity behind me. Seriously - check it out y'all:
Her caption for this photo on Facebook: Check out the "you know you're a redneck" engineered grill in the background. Oh yeah. Wooden board on barrel with room on either side of charcoal grill for food preparation and utensils. And if I were a more technically savvy blogger, I'd know how to put a giant red circle around the grill with arrows and shit to make it really obvious.
4:00pm After 2 hours of tailgating, Lilsaej and I decide to venture out. The goal is 3-fold: 1) calculate how long it will take us to walk to BMS; 2) activate the awesometastic Sprint Fanview on loan from my buddy at Childress; 3) buy a t-shirt or 2 or at least some sort of souvenir from the race.
4:09pm We meet this dude en route to the track:
He's been at the track for four days. He's all too willing to strike up a conversation *and* pose for a picture. We love him instantaneously. He wins the "Best T-Shirt at Bristol" contest hands down. Runner-up: "If you're going to ride my ass at least pull my hair."
4:13pm We arrive at "The Flea Market." This is the group of unofficial vendors who set up outside the track selling unofficial t-shirts, knick-knacks, souvenirs and
4:22pm Why hello Jack Daniels! It's so lovely to see you too. (And PS - what are the odds that the pretty blonde bartender working the JD tent lives 7 minutes away from me? Seven minutes y'all!)
4:44pm We make it across to the BMS side of the street - although not to the actual track. We find the Sprint trailer and get the Fanview activated. The man who activates it assures us it's not as complicated as it seems but gives us an extra set of instructions just in case. Sigh.
4:53pm We find the Jimmie Johnson trailer but sadly there is NOT ONE SINGLE FUCKING SMALL T-SHIRT ANYWHERE. What gives?? I am told there's a #48 trailer on the other side of BMS - maybe they have smalls. Sigh. Again.
4:55pm The line at Tony Stewart's trailer is out of control. I don't care if they do have smalls - I am not 1) waiting on line or 2) buying a fucking Tony Stewart t-shirt - I don't care how cute they are.
4:59pm We stumble upon one of several official BMS trailers hawking Bristol 2009 tees and goods. Discover the MOST PERFECT T-SHIRT EVER but am discouraged to see it is sold out. So, me being cute and perky and charming and me, I politely ask the nice man behind the trailer counter what size is the sample tacked to the wall. "Small," he says gruffly. It's like fate. I ask him if he'll sell it to me. "After the race," he says gruffly. "Exsqueeze me?" "After the race. I can't sell the sample until after the race is over." Me: Dumb, blank, WTF-dude stare. Also me (in my head): Dude - the shirt is full of fucking holes from where you've tacked it to the trailer wall. Him: "If you are the first person to come back after the race is officially over, then I can sell it to you. Bruton Smith's policy." So yeah - WTF Bruton Smith???? You can't fucking let a sample t-shirt go before the race ends even though it is already sold out? I don't give a flying fig that maybe you can buy it at one of 800 other Bristol t-shirt selling establishments on the grounds - you can't let this one little sample go? So yeah. I tried to maintain some level of perky charm and beg/plead/smile/eyelash bat my way into this t-shirt, but the man behind the trailer counter was gruff and mean and following this most ridiculous of t-shirt selling policies ever and would not capitulate and so yeah...IT'S ALL BRUTON SMITH'S FAULT THAT I DON'T FUCKING HAVE A T-SHIRT FROM BRISTOL.
5:03pm I storm off from the Bristol trailer in a mad and apoplectic huff.
5:07pm Lilsaej and I begin the trudge back to the car for some more pre-race tailgating. Randomly manage to catch a shuttle which brings us back to our EXACT field on Old Carden Hollow Road. The shuttle is run by church peeps and they are selling sodas and waters and snacks for $1 a piece and I wonder what they think of all the drunk lunatics running around Bristol.
6:02pm Our other 2 friends for the evening, Joker and Ace, arrive. Good thing I talked to Chad (owner of the field where we are parked) to secure them a spot because that yard was FULL. Also? Good thing that Chad was a total enginerd with a massively planned out parking schema and could figure out how to accomodate Ace, Joker and their vehicle.
6:50pm We begin the walk back to BMS. It turns out to be a little bit more than 15 minutes because this time we are laden like pack mules with race bags and coolers not to mention that we have to actually get to our gate which is kind of at 11 o'clock on the circle that is the track and we are kind of hitting the track at 6'oclock.
7:21pm We are in our seats. They are fucking incredible:
7:34pm Bristol is nothing if not patriotic:
7:38pm FLY BY BABY!
7:44pm GENTLEMEN...START...YOUR...ENGINES!!! WHOOOO-HOO!!!
The race. The race. The race.
The race was a crazy, hazy blur of deafening volume, exhiliarting speed, beer, the smell of burnt rubber, rain, Tweets, crashes, beer, corn dogs, chips, cautions, intense action, a little more beer and an almost win by the #48. Seriously - if that last pit stop hadn't been such a disaster, I wouldn't have had to gag as Kyle Busch pulled into the Winner's Circle. And as it stands, we all know Jimmie had the fastest car on the track that night. Winners aside, it was an incredible night that certainly set the bar high for future NASCAR outings. Of course, I am looking at my calendar to see if I can make it to another race in 2009 and Lilsaej and I are already planning our Divas Do Dega trip in April 2010.
Getting back to Bristol...After the race, we slowly made our way back to the car. By the time we got back to our field, most everyone had already rolled out. The owners of the field didn't seem to mind, and so instead of scurrying off, we cracked a beer, turned on some tunes, and chilled out under the stars and let the crazy, churning, turning, swirling, whirling, spinning madness known as Bristol fade into the night.
And if that ain't fantastically country, I'll kiss your...