Sunday, December 6, 2009

How To Kick Those Off-Season Blues

So the 2009 NASCAR season is officially over. The awards have been doled out. The drivers have left Vegas. And the fans are left all alone, to stare wistfully at their diecast collection and count off the calendar days 'til Daytona.

While I can't promise that the off-season will be as fulfilling as say, a weekend at Bristol, there are indeed a few ways to maintain your body's minimum racing requirement during this oh-so dark time.

Get comfy: Kick off your shoes, settle into your favorite chair and pop in a DVD. Okay, so this isn't quite the same as watching a live race, but now might be a good time to rewatch all those old standbys like Days of Thunder, Talladega Nights, Stroker Ace and even Disney's Cars. For a more realistic viewing experience, check out Together: The Hendrick Motorsports Story, NASCAR: The Ride of Their Lives, Daytona 500 - 50 Years of the Great American Race, NASCAR -The IMAX Experience, or 3 - The Dale Earnhardt Story.

Go virtual: For the gamers out there, there's hours of fun to be had with NASCAR Kart Racing and NASCAR 09 . And, if your friends are suffering from the off-season blues like you, why not throw a mock tailgate party while you hit the virtual track? You could even serve Fresh Start (or as I like to call them "Green Flag") Brownies for a little something sweet. But if you take virtual racing a little more seriously (and you're willing to purchase a steering wheel and a monthly payment plan), then bite the bullet and sign up for It's the NASCAR-sanctioned, premier online motorsports simulator that even pro drivers use.

Get real: If virtual racing just won't cut it, then get in the stock car yourself. It just so happens that the Richard Petty Driving Experience is currently offering $59 holiday ride-a-long experiences at 20 tracks across the country. That's 45 percent off the regular price. Reservations for ride-alongs are not required, and you'll ride shotgun for three laps around the track at speeds up to 165 mph. If you prefer to get behind the wheel yourself, well that's a little more pricey. But it is Christmas - you never know what Santa might leave in your stocking.

Take a trip: Lots of NASCAR-sanctioned tracks offer tours and several of them have museums and other fun exhibits which are open to the public. Of course, it may make you weep with longing to visit a track during the off-season, but in the long run it will give you just the fix you need. Plus, on race day, who has time to watch the NASCAR IMAX movie at Daytona or visit the Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum? Look at your current downtime as an opportunity and not an obstacle. And if you're fortunate enough to live near the Charlotte area, be sure to tour your favorite team's headquarters.

Tweet and Retweet: I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you're not on Twitter, then you're missing out. Lots of drivers are sharing their off-season plans about now and if anything big breaks (like an announcment by Danica), you'll be the first to know if you have a Twitter account.

Read Up: Now's an opportune time to catch up on your NASCAR reading. And fortunately for fans, there are plenty of racing books from which to choose. Here are a couple of my picks: Then Junior Said to Jeff--: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told by veteran NACAR reporter Jim McLaurin and Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and the Birth of NASCAR by Neal Thompson.

So buck up little race fan. The Daytona 500 begins in just 69 days. And until then, here's a little Vegas video to tide you over.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for mentioning my book! Fans can learn more about the book here:
    And they can watch a few of my Nascar-releated videos here:
    yours in racing,
    Neal Thompson