When the pre-race interviews begin on Sunday morning, I can guarantee at least one question that will be put to the drivers. “What did you do with your week off?” We will then be treated to a brief glimpse into the daily lives of our motor sports heroes. Kind of cool. After all, what else does a NASCAR driver do other than go in circles every weekend? What else does a NASCAR fan do when their favorite guy takes the week off?
We do have one of the most extreme schedules in the professional sports world. For approximately 40 weeks a year, we are permitted to think of nothing else than starting line-ups, spring rates and tire compounds. It’s exhausting… and exhilarating!
I tend to scoff at the guys in the office who stress over the annual football mania. Honestly… they don’t have a hope of beating out true insanity when they come face to face with a NASCAR nut. 16 games and the postseason? Really? Is that all you have for me? Won and done in a mere five months. What do they do with the rest of the year?
I had to take more than a moment this week to figure out what was missing from my daily routine. It was my racing! My NASCAR! The TiVo frowned when it discovered there was nothing to record for an entire weekend. I kept checking SpeedTV only to discover all it had to offer was bus racing and automobile soccer. What then?
It looked to be a week of… well, nothing. Was it to be proven that life without NASCAR is no life to lead at all? Fortunately not. I received several reminders throughout the week that it behooves us all to stop and smell the roses on occasion.
First, there was a new baby! My newest niece, Rowan, arrived on Tuesday at a mere 10 lbs. Coolness! Phone calls and emails flew. I spoke to family members and sent out flowers.
Next, my books arrived! Time usually spent in writing was dedicated to sending out signed copies to family and friends. I may have been playing the rerun of the Atlanta race in the background while doing so… but still, it was a moment mostly devoid of racing.
I poked my head into the RV, as well. Checking on supplies may have been a chore, but it got me thinking as I folded the No. 88 blanket, found some overlooked stickers and stored the can koozies from Sprint. The Icebreaker at Thompson International Speedway is only two weeks away and my spring vacation will include a visit to Richmond.
And last of all, with the sun shining and mild temperatures inviting, I just couldn’t stop from getting out the rake and uncovering the budding flowers and crabgrass in the yard. Friday is the first day of spring! I nearly had forgotten. Brushing off the leaf mold and dust I decided, this week off was wonderful. The sun’s a bit brighter, the full moon was creepy, big and yellow and even my porch swing still works.
With anticipation for the turning of the season and the start of the local racing, I was now ready.
Bristol will be rocking, even if they don’t manage to sell every last ticket. Our road warriors will be back in battle, removing paint and fenders from their competitors’ chariots. The last of the first five races, the bottom feeders will be looking to finalize their shot at the Top 35 and those in the top 12… they’re just looking to take home the trophy.
I’m ready for the next green flag and I’m ready for racing to run for a few weeks without interruption. It was nice to stop and catch up with life, but seven days was all I needed. Maybe this is why NASCAR runs the manic schedule that it does… NASCAR Nation just doesn’t know how to get away from it all.
Then again, why would any of us want to?