When you first meet me, there are probably many assumptions you will make about me and some will be dead on right and others so wrong that you will feel embarrassed that you assumed. However there is one assumption that almost no one ever makes about me because you would just never think that about me. (I also realize that by telling you this, I can’t use this when playing “2 Facts and a Lie” anymore.)
I like NASCAR.
I know. I know. I don’t fit the demographics of your typical NASCAR fan. AT ALL. But I do. While I’m not the HUGE fan I used to be years ago, it’s still entertaining for me to watch every now and then. I check up with the race stats and news, see what drivers are in the running for the Chase, find out who has switched teams and gotten new endorsements. Sponsorships have always been interesting because sport has so much product placement, more so than any other sport I believe.
I’ve never actually been to a race and I doubt that I will get a chance to in my lifetime (and I kind of doubt I would fit in if I actually got the chance). However I have been to the Bristol Motor Speedway and I did get to drive on the track. Granted it was during the Christmas lights show and we were going like 10mph but it was an awesome opportunity. And the banking on those tracks is REALLY steep. It’s basically like visiting a Roman coliseum.
I also did enjoy Talledega Nights and Cars for being NASCAR themed movies and because I got a lot of the in jokes.
Though I’m going to have to admit this. My reasons for why I started liking NASCAR are rather dubious. Fine, let’s just admit it. Back in 2002, I started watching NASCAR because I thought Dale Earnhardt Jr. was hot. It was summer and I had a broken ankle and couldn’t move around easily. And I remember one Sunday when I couldn’t go to church and I was stuck lying on the couch. I turned on the TV and since we didn’t have cable, I had limited options and there was a NASCAR race on. I started watching. Then they showed clips of the drivers. And I’m like. Oh hey that guy is cute. And thus, it began.
I basically became a Dale Jr. groupie for the better half of two years. I watched every race. I did my research on him. I bought and read his book. It was an awesome time. I really got to understand racing and became involved in that whole culture. Much like folks do fantasy football, I did fantasy driving leagues. I had to know about ALL the driver to see which one would be best each week and how they would do for the whole season. I learned about trades and what went on during off season.
I was such a big fan that I won passes to meet him when he came to Norfolk in 2002 for arena car racing. I was so excited. I had my calendar all ready for him to sign. And I knew what I was going to say to him. I was in college at the time so I was going to say something like “Oh, you should come to Virginia Tech and party with us sometime.” Because you know he totally would have. (*sarcasm*) Instead in typical awkward Deborah fashion, what came out was “You’re hotter in person than you are on TV!” His response “Um….thanks.” And then this picture was taken.
Can you feel the awkwardness? Because I still can. How many Asian fans does he really have? He probably remembered that for awhile. I ruined my chances!
As I’ve gotten older, I realized realistically, Dale Jr. and I probably would not have matched well. He’s a lot older than I am and he’s….more Southern than I normally like. He still sounds like a great guy to hang around. And actually I’m looking back at pictures of him from 2002-2004 and he looks a lot better NOW than he did back then. Then again my tastes have changed a lot since then.
But my affiliations have since moved on to his teammate. Kasey Kahne. I mean….come on.
Because it’s not just me who feels this way:
Though just like with Josh Groban, what is it with all the older woman?
And he’s also a good driver as well. The first year he raced in the Sprint Cup he got Rookie of the Year, he finished 4th in 2012, and he’s had 16 wins and 127 top ten finishes in races. He’s very good at what he does. And it doesn’t hurt he’s easy on the eyes too.
The fun part is that now with social media, I can follow both these guys on Twitter to see what they’re up to. While I haven’t gotten a response back from either of them yet, (Dale Jr might still remember me and thus avoiding) it’s still cool to be able to connect in ways one couldn’t beforehand.
All this to say that I do enjoy watching races. NASCAR does have a stereotype to it, but if you take the time it’s actually pretty fun to watch. You can make all the jokes you want. I am secure in my liking of this.