A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Vroom, Vroom.

The NASCAR races at the Pocono Speedway are a test of men’s endurance. 250 laps, five hundred miles of blistering heat, intense competition and it requires dogged determination to make it all the way through to the checkered flag. It’s also hard on the drivers. Being a NASCAR fan I am predisposed to like the two annual events on the Pocono plateau. But even if you love NASCAR racing you have to prepare yourself for a grueling day.
Take last Sunday as an example. The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 was set to show the green flag at 2pm. This means that any self respecting race fan has to be in the parking lot, tailgating and consuming mass amounts of frosty cold mature beverages by nine am. Many weeks of 16 ounce curls are a prerequisite to the big day. You have to be on your game! After several hours it’s time to trudge with loaded coolers to the racetrack. Depending on the luck of the draw where you park may be anywhere from half a mile to ten miles from your seat. Mile after mile you stumble in the baking heat carrying enough beverages in your cooler to stock a beer garden. Finally you arrive at the grandstands. Your seat, at the top of the stands is approximately one mile in the air, with a vertical pitch that would frighten a seasoned Mt. Everest sherpa guide. When you reach the top all you can hope is that you packed oxygen in with the beer. Now, if you have timed it right you have several hours to sit in the sun. Remember you are now very close to the sun as you are at the top of the grandstands. More beverages must be consumed. Many more. In fact so many are consumed that now you must wobble your way down the slope and make your way to the ”worlds largest toilet.” That’s what the sign says on the facilities. And it’s a good thing too because you have to take the worlds longest pee. Then it’s back up to where to air is rare. Lather, rinse, repeat. Do this all day long. And is the day ever long! There are some things in life that would be better if they were shorter. The “Dark Knight” film could have been ½ hour shorter and featured more of Keith Ledger. The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 would be twice as good if it was half as long. Let’s face it, any NASCAR race (and most sporting events) are most interesting in the last ten minutes. 500 laps at Pocono takes long enough to conceive, gestate and give birth. Of course the kids’ first words would be “any more beer?” Or then again I could be wrong.

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