I found out on Friday night that my mother-in-law had free tickets to go to the Coke Zero 400, I must have looked like a child on Christmas morning when she said she wasn't going to use them and that I could have them!
I've only been to one other NASCAR race, the Bud Shootout about 8 years ago, so I imediatley jumped on the phone and called by bro and asked "Do you want to get stuck in traffic with me tomorrow", to which he replied, "...uhhh, what?" Of course as soon as I told him what I really called about he didn't even hesitate to take me up on the offer.
We arrived in time to take advantage of the free parking & free park-n-ride to the speedway, plenty of time to get something to eat and to listen to Martina McBride sing.
My littlest brother got to hold the flag for the Daytona 500 (I believe) this past year.
If the national anthem mixed with mullets doesn't give you the patriotic goosebumps, the 4 F-15's will. My best friend Jonathan is an Officer in the Air Force currently training to fly F-15's so it really hit me hard! I mumbled....'Murika
Ahhh, the driver parade.....don't they look thrilled! Left to Right: Harvick, Stewart, Dale Jr, Gordon, & Martin
And they were underway! The roar of the engine was nearly diminished by the screams from the crowd. Which is strange really.....they can't hear the crowd or see the crowd for that mater, but these fans loved their racers and hated the rest!
An early photo of the eventual race winner.....Im not totally giving it away though!
We were sitting directly parallel to the Pole sitter, Mark Martin, and had a great view of his pits
AND THIS WAS OUR AMAZING VIEW! (Click on photo to ENLARGE)
We were under the highest tier, which gave us a great overhang all day, but also not too far up to not smell the fuel and feel like we were in the action.
The fans were great! Look at this guy in the lower left....he's making sure everyone knows whos in the lead...HIS DRIVER!
It's amazing that they can stay sooo close going 200+ mph all around the 2.5 mile tri-oval.
My brother and I called this guy "#1 Fan" for a few reasons: 1. He was there alone; 2. He brought and entire bucket of chicken for himself!; 3. He listened to his scanner all race and never left his seat.
One of the few green flag restarts during the race
With only a few laps of the 160 total to go, the "big one" finally happened, and sadly, the driver I was for took the hardest hit
...And David Ragan takes the checkered flag. His first career NASCAR Sprint Cup win!
This is the wreck that ensued as all of the subsequent drivers battled as they came to the start/finish line.
A decent burnout and some fireworks ended the perfect race night! I hope to go back again real soon!
Thank you Candy for the awesome tickets! My brother and I kept reminding each other how ridiculously fun it was and how perfect the seats were! - Mark