An Unforgettable Place
After driving for hours on what felt like an endless highway, where the only scenery I was able to see through the windows were trees, I finally passed a sign that said Talladega 30 miles. In early fall, some trees have leaves that are turning vibrant yellows and oranges, some are black from having caught fire recently, and of course there are the evergreens. This being the only view for miles, one has a tendency to become bored rather quickly. Upon arriving most days throughout the year, you would think you were in a town called Nowhere, Alabama. During October and April, for only one week, this town turns into one of the most desired places to be. These two months happen to be during the Nascar Nextel Cup racing season. This magical place is Talladega, Alabama, home of the Talladega Super Speedway.
Talladega Super Speedway is known for its 33 degree embankments, restrictor place racing at high speeds, and 500 long miles. And you can not forget the intense all week long partying and long waits to get anywhere within 50 miles. This includes, but is not limited to, getting to the track, concession stand, restrooms, and viewing the displays at the many driver souvenir trailers.
I, somehow, managed to survive the journey here and then began the long wait to get to the track. I had finally arrived and had been playing this moment over and over in my head, yet it was everything I could have possibly imagined and so much more. I had sat on the couch at home, many times before, watching this very race on TV hoping one day I would get the opportunity to be a part of that crowd. October of 2001, I got what I had always wanted. I was finally part of that crowd.
Although it would have been much cooler sitting on the couch watching yet another race on TV, the 100 degree heat just made it even more real. Driver introductions were great, and after five years of only being seen from a television screen, I got my first real glimpse of Dale...