I have journeyed into what passes for Middle America around here and have returned with some stunning news:
AUTO RACING IS SUPER BADASS.
Like all of us, I have made fun of NASCAR forever. I mean, who could possibly enjoy watching cars go around and around for a couple of hours? THAT'S STUPID. But guess what? It's like hockey or strippers or Bananas Foster. YOU HAVE TO SEE IT IN PERSON TO GET THE APPEAL.
Backstory: The Wife won this trip thing at work. Basically it included a night at this hotel in Santa Rosa and a big group dinner (for like 30 winners in her industry) at Johnny Garlic's, one of celebrity chef/professional irritant Guy Fieri's places, and then going to the Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma on Saturday.
So I take it that it's kind of the minor leagues for NASCAR but I don't really know anything about NASCAR so I don't know how the whole thing works. The "real" NASCAR race with the famous drivers is on Sunday and that apparently is when 100,000 people show up and I hate crowds so I'm glad we weren't going to that. ANYWAY we got to watch it from a "Tower Suite" with free food and booze and they could have fat guys racing lawnmowers and if there's free food and booze I'd watch it.
That guy in front waving was the guy who put the whole thing on. Super nice guy.
So before we were all "Yeah, whatever, auto racing" but then you get there and the cars are whizzing by at like 100 mph and it is fucking DEAFENINGLY LOUD if you're outside and I don't know, there's something really cool about the whole thing. Early on I chose to be a fan of the #6 King Taco car driven by one Luis Martinez Jr. and at one point he was in 5th place but I think he finished last. After like 5 laps, I was totally into it, against every preconceived notion I had. Being in the Tower Suite probably helped with this but maybe it's cool just to be in the stands too.
So that's my discovery! Auto racing is fun! Now, I'm not sure I'm going to turn on the TV every Sunday or any Sunday at all and ever watch it again but seeing it in person is certainly impressive. Also, maybe this isn't typical of every race but by the end those cars were all beat to shit and had major body damage and parts hanging off them and shit. YAY FOR WRECKED STUFF.
(The less said about Johnny Garlic's the better. Part of this dinner was unlimited free wine, so that part was good. But honestly, Guy Fieri, is that was real "wagyu beef," I'm a cow.)
(Also, it strikes me as sorta funny that this is the most hetero thing I could possibly have done on Pride Weekend.)