Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Unboring Side of Talladega

From the stripper poles on Talladega Boulevard to the chicken car in the infield, Dega sure wasn't boring. And even though the race itself wasn't what you'd call a thriller, the fun and festivities were memorable to say the least:

Note to self - next time, pack muddin' shoes: Saturday at 'Dega looked like NASCAR's own version of Woodstock--with rain, clouds and a bunch of formerly shiny, happy race fans coated in mud. The concert space for the night's Zac Brown Band show was a virtual pit of goo. But the fans didn't seem to mind (at least the ones wearing boots or galoshes.)

Yes, they need a man step: This may be neither here nor there, but to assist the Cup drivers with getting into the truckbeds for their pre-race trip around the track, NASCAR officials give them the benefit of a small plastic footstool. Sure, it may not be the most manly way to climb into a pickup, but for those who are more vertically challenged, it probably saves some face.

Martin's the Man: Mark Martin signed just about every autograph down the line on his way to the driver's meeting, and he also seemed to make a point to hang with AJ Allmendinger before driver introductions. It could've been mere coincidence, but something tells me that's just the kind of guy Mark is--his conversation with AJ sure kept the fans who gathered nearby from harrassing the driver about his recent DUI arrest.

Some People Shouldn't Be Allowed to Leave the House: Combine Halloween with Talladega and you can pretty much predict that there will be some off-kilter costume choices. The most memorable? The dude dressed as a giant phallus, the desperate soul who was offering "free mammograms," and the guy who duct-taped a turkey to his head (memorable not so much for the turkey, but for his method of construction - is there anything duct tape can't do?)

Little Bit of Chicken Fried: Yes, that was Brian Vickers driving the chicken car around the infield on Halloween night. That car got around Dega better than Max Papis.

Dega's Most Hated: It's no surprise that the biggest jeers from Talladega race fans were reserved for Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon. I chalk up Busch's poor reception to his rivalry with Dega's favorite son, Dale Jr. And Gordon was most cruelly jeered when he had to be pushed to pit road because he ran out of fuel. But I was truly surprised by the vitriolic remarks hurled Juan Pablo Montoya's way when he was introduced on Sunday. Guess he has a bit more convincing to do before he wins those Alabama fans over.

My Home's In Alabama
: Maybe the coolest surprise of the day (at least for this Southern girl), was when Alabama's lead singer Randy Owen took the stage to sing "My Home's In Alabama" before the Star-Spangled Banner. Owen must also be at home in Talladega 'cause he made the crowd cheer with his black Earnhardt jacket.

Speaking of music
: The Zac Brown Band and Randy Owen weren't the only performers entertaining the crowds at Dega. Although I didn't see this show myself Colt Ford - and his rendition of Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" - sure had fans raving on Sunday. Folks were calling it the best show of the weekend - might need to check out that CD.

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