Photo credit: NASCAR

There has been an enormous hole in our coverage that sounds like V8s and feels like ‘Murica: I’ve never been to a NASCAR race in person. We’re changing that this weekend.

I know that sounds crazy. And it is. I’m so glad I’m finally fixing it.

Part of the reason why has been location. The closest major high-speed oval to me has fallen into disrepair and no longer holds any pro racing events. On top of that, the timing’s never been right for me to make it up to the second closest oval, which now hosts all the big time roundy-round events for the state: Texas Motor Speedway.

That’s where I’m finally headed this weekend: up to TMS for a delightful weekend of very loud cars in a very loud oval.

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Fortunately, our own resident NASCAR expert and weekend editor Alanis King is coming along as well to remind me that there won’t be a random GTE-Am Ferrari taking out the overall race leader, and to show me the ways of the vast, mythical oval world.

TMS is a track known for gut-bombing culinary creations, very high speeds and giving Jeff Gordon ponies as a retirement gift. The feature Sprint Cup race is the Duck Commander 500, for Pete’s sake, as if they’re intimately familiar with our state’s need to blast tasty animals out of the sky. It’s all so Texan that I feel the need to chug a bowl of queso.

For the first time in a while, though, I actually feel like I might be a fish out of water at a race weekend—even more so than when I ended up in France. While I’m fessing up to various racing-related faux pas, I should probably admit that NASCAR was the one major series I followed the least coming into this job.

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That’s since changed and I look forward to experiencing everything firsthand, especially with a certified fanatic like Alanis.

It’s going to be a fun time, and this should be unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in person before. When series commentator Rutledge Wood came into town this year for SXSW, he swore he could make anyone a NASCAR fan in that first two laps. That’s probably what I’m looking forward to the most: the big wall of sound and resulting chaos at the start of a race. Things like that will never be able to be transmitted in all their glory through a television broadcast.

Despite all the usual drama about the Chase and the newly renamed overtime finishes, NASCAR has had some of the most fun races to watch this year. If TMS gives us more of the same, good news.

If you’re out here too, let us know!