Last week at work, Mr. Kevin, a very kind gentleman who sits in a cubicle next to Rod, offered him tickets to the first ever Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motor Sports Speedway, about 30 minutes from our house. The tickets were for the Friday practices and qualifying. They also included free breakfast, lunch, snacks, awesome parking and real toilets (as opposed to port-a-potties). Although we have never considered ourselves race fans, this was very exciting to the boys and appealed to the nearly forgotten Daddy's girl side of me that long ago loved to spread Bond-O, order quarts of Oil Dry (another story), attend hot rod car shows, and ride shotgun with Dad going close to 100 mph down Denton Road (much to my mother's chagrin). While there is little chance of us becoming Ricky Bobby's family in Talledega Nights, we did have a blast and would love to go again next year. Here are some highlights:
It was free! That made it so easy to relax and enjoy the day, even with the truck fire that backed up the interstate for miles on the way there. We just turned around and went the back way and avoided the whole mess. The weather was cool, breezy and gorgeous; plus there were not very many people there. There were inflatables for the kids when they tired of watching the racecars. It was easy to get back and forth to the car and to the free food and snacks, so that part could not have been any better.
Aside from the race track, the paddock is where the action is. This is where they work on the cars before and after the races. There was so much going on, it is hard to describe it. Suffice to say, we had to sign a waiver saying that if anything happened to us while we were down there, it was our own fault and we could not sue them. We also had to include the boys on the waiver. We asked the officials exactly what we were getting into, and they told us that it was an extremely dangerous area because of the chaotic movement of cars and other vehicles, which have the right of way over pedestrians. One man said, "You can't be too careful down there."
Part of me was thinking, "Great, this is a mother/social worker's dream. Knowingly taking her children into an extremely dangerous situation...."
SO, Rod took Max's hand and I took Briggs' hand and the boys were instructed that they would under no uncertain terms be let go of for any reason. They complied until a racing team invited them over to sit in a real racecar! They were so excited and we were too! Here is the car:
The Rehagan Racing team was so kind to us, even putting our pictures on their website:(we're on about the fourth page of photos)
Which is great because somehow in the excitement, we did not get a good picture of this.
Both boys got to sit in the winning mustang because little did we know that they would win the Barber 200 on Saturday!
Another exciting thing about the paddock is how close we could get to the race track and pit row. We stood against a fence where the Indy cars were coming in for their pit stops. In some sections, there was nothing separating us from the racecars pulling out of the pits. It was amazing to be that close, but also very scary!
It was so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the roar of the engines at over 200 mph! Sometimes I would pull out my earplugs just to get the full effect! We had such a great day!
By the end of it all, Max was exhausted and asleep on Daddy's shoulder.
I think all in all, the Cude's had the checkered flag on Friday!