posted on Feb, 20 2005 @ 09:10 AM
here is a great article of what is going on at daytona this morning...there is NOTHING like a nascar weekend
By Bob Margolis, Yahoo! SportsMatthew McConaughey with race fans. (AP)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Trying to describe what it's like to be here in Daytona Beach for NASCAR's biggest show reminds me of the old tale of the
blind men and the elephant.
Since the men have never encountered an elephant, they grope about, seeking to understand and describe this new phenomenon. One grasps the trunk and
concludes it is a snake. Another explores one of the elephant's legs and describes it as a tree. A third finds the elephant's tail and announces that
it is a rope. And the fourth blind man, after discovering the elephant's side, concludes that it is, after all, a wall.
Being here at the Speedway is similar. It all depends on where you are and who you talk to.
The weather is perfect – if you think that 68 degrees, clear blue skies and no clouds is perfect, that is.
On Saturday morning, the day before the race, the Nextel Cup garage area is abuzz with activity. The Nextel Cup teams are preparing for their final
practice session. Cars are up on jacks, engines are running – running very loud at that.
Crewmen are moving around each garage in a very hectic but seemingly choreographed manner. There are pages of prerace checklists taped to each car's
rear fender. Everything has to be checked and double-checked before the car and driver are sent out onto the track for laps at nearly 190 miles per
"It gets a bit tedious, especially since we've been here all week, but it's something you've got to do," a crewman for Roush Racing said. "I'm tired.
It's been a long week."
It's noisy, it's crowded and there seem to be way too many people wandering around who don't belong here. Of course, they all have the proper
credentials, but since NASCAR announced that it was clamping down on the distribution of garage credentials, there are more people than ever who get
them. And you've got to watch out – they're ready to knock you to the ground to get an autograph from their favorite (or any) driver.
But the new infield Fan Zone at Daytona International Speedway is the place to be this weekend. It's where the rich, the famous, the "wanna-be famous"
and the fans are hanging out.
On Sunday, the list of stars at the track, both as part of the festivities and as fans, will be lengthy. It's a who's who of celebrities.
Singers Vanessa Williams, Clint Black, Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson and band Five for Fighting and will join Hollywood stars Matthew McConaughey and
On race day, there will be many more. There always are. It's star-watching at its best.
But if you really want a taste of NASCAR – and I'm not talking about the bad soft pretzels and cold hot dogs – you have to venture out into the
infield where the fans are camped out.
This is where the world takes on the feel of "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome."
This is the "real" NASCAR. It's where the die-hard fans are hanging out.
The first thing you notice when you drive through the Turn 4 tunnel is all the flagpoles bearing Old Glory alongside the flag of each encampment's
favorite driver (a few still fly Confederate flags). There are also plenty of No. 3 flags flying for Dale Earnhardt.
In the daytime, at first glance, it looks like you've come across some bizarre refugee camp – with $100,000 Winnebagos parked alongside camping
Your senses are assaulted as you walk through a bizarre landscape. Loud music, both rock and country, is blasting from every type of speaker. There
are children running around, but mostly its adults acting like children.
And the food. Yeah, it's the food. There's nothing better than the smell of a burger on the grill.
The Daytona infield ... it's Memorial Day, Fourth of July and birthday parties all rolled into one.
Oh, and there's just a bit of beer here, too.
The parties continue well through the night, continuing until the sun rises on race day.
Is the atmosphere electric? You bet. There's a million megawatts of power flowing through the air.
If you're a race fan, this is where you want to be this weekend.
Forget all those references to racing's Super Bowl.
This is bigger than that