Saturday night was this year’s version of the NASCAR All-Star race and just like Friday for the truck race, I was foolishly given a pass to the garage and pits for the day compliments of SafeAuto Insurance. This meant that I got to disrupt a bunch of people who take their jobs very seriously (and rightfully so considering they’re operating on machines that move almost 200 miles per hour), which is something I enjoyed doing every day as a player on the Ohio State basketball team. The major difference between Friday and Saturday, though, was that SafeAuto didn’t have a car in the All-Star race, meaning they didn’t have a trailer for me to hang out in and eat a week’s worth of calories in cookies and chips. If I was going to enjoy the spoils of the pit pass, I was going to have to get creative. And get creative I did.
Something that became obvious to me as soon as I stepped into the NASCAR garage area was that there was a culture of sharing among all the teams. Even though some of the drivers hate one another, the rest of the guys on the NASCAR teams apparently get along, or at least get along well enough to take food and drinks from each other’s trailers. Once I realized that there seemed to be a free for all mentality, I decided to get in on the action and try to get my hands on a bottle of water. For some reason I chose to grab a bottle from Mark Martin’s cooler, whether it be because he’s old and I knew he wouldn’t be able to catch me if I took off running or because he used to be sponsored by Viagra and the middle school kid in me still thinks that’s funny (because it is). Either way, I enjoyed a much needed bottle of water courtesy of one of the best drivers of all-time and I started to feel a confidence that would rival Ben Roethlisberger’s confidence both as he scrambles out of the pocket and as he scrambles into a bathroom stall.
After “borrowing” the bottle of water from Mark Martin, I wandered around the garage area a little more until I came across another cooler by Kevin Harvick’s trailer. At this point, I was pretty confident that I could take whatever food or drink I wanted from any of the trailers because there were people who looked just as unimportant as I did and were scavenging from all sorts of trailers. Knowing this, I again went in for the kill and nabbed a Coke Zero from Harvick’s cooler, even though there was a guy standing next to the cooler sporting a funmanchu and biceps large enough to warrant rolling up his sleeves. After I took the Coke Zero and realized that the large man didn’t crush my skull, I started thinking that maybe I wasn’t quite as daring as I had hoped to be. My theory of people being able to take whatever they want was holding true, which made my Robin Hood tactics a little less heroic than I had originally thought. That’s why I decided to crank the intensity up. Literally. Well, not literally, but kinda literally because of what my next move entailed.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I took an enormous wrench from Kurt Busch.
So what if the wrench wasn’t exactly in Kurt Busch’s pit or garage, and was instead laying on the ground in the middle of the entire pit area and Busch’s pit just so happened to be the closest one to the wrench? That’s not important. And neither is the fact that it looked like whoever put the wrench there was trying to get rid of it and had no intent of using it again. What’s important is that I will forever tell people that I stole a wrench from Kurt Busch (or more likely that Jeff Gordon handed me the wrench and then said some motivational stuff about following my dreams as he messed up my hair and called me “kid” way too many times). That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
To make my farfetched story of the stolen wrench a little more awesome, later in the night Kurt Busch went on to win the race and consequently win $1,000,000. Had I actually stayed for the whole race, I probably would have tried to convince security that I had a hand in the victory and should therefore be able to celebrate in victory lane. This would have undoubtedly made me more of an unwanted guest than a guy holding a stick with a mirror on the end of it in a women’s locker room. As it stands, though, I didn’t stay for the entire race, mostly because I had a 13 hour day at the track the day before and I had already got to hang out in Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson’s pits, but also because the NASCAR All-Star race is the most illogical All-Star event in sports.
I understand what NASCAR is trying to accomplish by having an All-Star event, but having an All-Star race makes as much sense to me as the fundamental plot of every Captain Planet episode.
(Seriously, though, what’s the point in Captain Planet having to be summoned? Why not just always have Captain Planet around since, ya know, he’s like a thousand times more powerful than the Planeteers and their goofy rings? Why does he have to go away? Just so he can say “The power is yours”? If he really cared about the planet, he wouldn’t be so lazy and make the Planeteers do everything. Just saying.)
The reason for having an All-Star event is that it gives fans a chance to see the best of the best go at it at least once every year. NASCAR fans get to see this on a regular basis, though. All the drivers in the All-Star race get to race against each other every week, so the notion of this race being the one chance fans will have to see the best compete against each other can be thrown out. The only real differences are the million dollar prize for the winner and the fact that some of the guys with the awesome racing names (like Dick Trickle) aren’t on the track getting in the way of the good drivers like they are every other race. Whatever the case, I still had an up close look at a NASCAR race and didn’t stay for the duration of the event, which is an inexcusable offense in my family of race-lovin’ Hoosiers. I’m sure the race was just as exciting as they all seemingly are and even though I left early, I’m still grateful for the opportunity SafeAuto gave me to see my favorite drivers up close. It was a fun weekend from which I took plenty of memories (and Kyle Busch’s wrench) with me.
I would’ve made a Dick Trickle joke but I decided to “Play it Safe”,
Mark Titus of Club Trillion is guest-blogging his experiences with the SafeAuto team at the NASCAR All-Star Race in Charlotte