Hey Andy, I wasn't kidding when I wanted to borrow your black & white checkered hooded sweatshirt to take to Talladega with me!
I went to the Talladega 500 NASCAR race 2 weekends ago. Although I do reserve the right to post non-windsurfing topics on this site, this post is actually related to windsurfing. Stay with me and read on...
Yes, this was the race that ended in a spectacular crash that sent #99 Carl Edwards' car into the catch fence at the finish line with flying parts that injured some fans, luckily none of them very serious. Fortunately, we weren't sitting close to where the crash happened. It is a very big track and we were sitting in a great spot in the stands watching the cars come off turn 4 into the tri-oval, just before the finish line.
Click here for a 3:30 minute video summary of the Talladega 500 race
Yes, I am a race fan. And Talladega is one of the most exciting tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup series with the cars racing 3 or 4 wide on the race track nose to tail at 190mph most of the race. Get into an actual race car and either drive it around a race track or go as a passenger sometime and you'll gain a whole new appreciation for the sport. You'll then truly understand how amazing it is for those cars to race like they do at large tracks like Talladega and Daytona.
Some neighbors and I made a weekend of it by renting an RV, driving to Alabama, and camping in the infield of the 2.6 mile Talladega International Superspeedway. It was a fascinating and fun weekend. Fascinating from the standpoint that we were mere amateurs with our little rented 31 ft Cruise America RV compared to the real race fan pros in attendance with their giant bus RVs with extensions, giant grills, giant sound systems, recessed lighting, and every other nice amenity you could want on a fancy camping trip. Also a fascinating night life amongst the infield race fans. The best way to describe it is calling it a "redneck madris gras". I say that as a term of endearment since I am really an old redneck from Surry County myself. Also fascinating since we got to spend time in the garage and pit areas before the races on Saturday and Sunday. We were very close to many of the drivers, crews, and the cars. This was courtesy of pit passes provided to us from a friend of mine who works for one of the race teams. Pretty cool. It turned out to be the two most exciting races I've seen in a long time...both with very close and exciting finishes.
Our home away from home
The crew preparing the tires before the race in the pit area
The #48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Racing hauler in the garage area
NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Kurt Busch
2008 Daytona 500 Champion Ryan Newman
3 time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"Rowdy" Kyle Busch
2 time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart
Miss America - I had no idea who that was. I had to ask someone who was that girl surrounded by security going into Dale Jr's hauler. She later sang the National Anthem.
The classic fly over after the National Anthem
Boogity! Boogity! Boogity!...Lets Go Racin Boys!
Turn 4 and the infield front row spectators atop their giant RVs
This 10 second video clip is what 190mph looks like...
So I was trying to figure out how I could possibly tie this post to windsurfing. Not that I had to or needed to but I figured I would at least try. I was innocently and coincidentally perusing a few windsurfing web sites including Miami Windsurfing and look at what I came across...
I lifted these pictures from the Miami Windsurfing web site. Imagine my excitement when I saw this. I had no idea that a real NASCAR driver actually windsurfs. It turns out that #42 Juan Pablo Montoya lives and windsurfs in Miami in his free time in the off-season and in between race weekends and appearances. Montoya originally hails from Colombia and used to be an open wheel champion including winning the Indianapolis 500. He made the switch to NASCAR a couple of years ago. He actually had the pole position at Talladega. There are a couple of mentions of Montoya on the Miami Windsurfing web site and it promises to soon post an interview with him about windsurfing. Big thanks to Miami Windsurfing for posting this. Montoya's race team is based near where I live. I'm going to have to get him out on the lake windsurfing sometime when he's here.
So there...you learned something new and also found that NASCAR and windsurfing do in fact mix!