Monday, March 5, 2012

The Weekend in Phoenix and an Unexpected NASCAR Race

If you missed my video blog from Saturday you may want to go back one day and view it as I announced the Autism Awareness Tour of America coming in April.

I filmed the video blog during the 1st round of the USAC Generation Next tour in Phoenix and it felt so great to be back at a track with flags in hand. I could tell I am out of shape, in a way, as by the end of Saturday my knees ached from leaning over the side of the railing and my right wrist felt like a pile of jelly at the end of the day. All in all though it was a great day, and safe day, at the track and already I am looking forward to next week's race in San Antonio.

After the race on Saturday the USAC staff and I went to the Tempe area for dinner. I believe Arizona State University is in that area and the amount of people walking on the sidewalks is amazing. My typical night is not leaving the house so being out in the environment is 100% alien to me. Truly, I could not believe how many people were out with 2, 3, or sometimes a dozen friends at once. There's loud music blaring from almost every eating establishment and no one seems to mind. Walking past some places I cringed as my senses were assaulted and that was a reminder why this environment is so foreign to me.

Sunday morning I awoke not knowing what to expect. There weren't really any plans and once the car rental place finally open Rick and Denise, two fellow USAC officials, and I started driving wondering what to do. There is no shortage of things to do in the Phoenix area, but I mentioned, "You know, the NASCAR race broadcast just started, I saw, so the race will be starting in an hour so why don't we go to that?" And, with that question asked, we headed West to the track.

On the way to the track I mentioned several times how odd this felt. The reason why this felt odd was because when I go to an event I usually have it planned days, or weeks, in advance. In other words spontaneous decisions like going to an event like this just doesn't normally happen in my life. To be honest it felt somewhat liberating to be headed to an event without a ticket not knowing what was going to happen.

We found a guy on the street selling tickets and, to be honest, Rick's and my negotiating skills were certainly lacking as we probably could have talked down the price, but oh well, the tickets we got were pretty good to be honest.

Also, I felt truly out of my element as we took our seats after 74 laps. When I go to an event I am always early. Being late is not an option and yet, yesterday, despite feeling odd it felt okay; it wasn't the end of the world.

After the race while walking back to our parked car there was a car stopped waiting for the foot traffic to take a break and there in the driver's seat was Jamie McMurray. I thought to myself that it is certainly a small world and I wanted to make some sort of waive of my hand or simply something to say hello, but by the time I had processed that it was him I was already 30 seconds away. With so many people though I doubt he'd have any memory of me, but I still felt it awesome how paths can cross.

So that was my weekend. All weekend I have been trying to process just what impact my keynote presentation had and still am at a loss as to the reaction I got. Maybe someday I will understand, but as of now I will simply keep presenting oblivious as to why people enjoy it so much. Also, it felt kind of nice to live outside of my rigid ways. Granted, I still want to be early for everything I go to and I don't think the nightlife of Tempe is for me, but for one weekend I was part of "that" world that I wonder about so much.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on starting your new season. I worked my first dirt race of 2012 last Saturday night and have a few muscles that weren't used during the off season.

    I'm glad you are doing the .25 races; when I worked them at OSS a couple years ago, I was thinking the kids needed to see the same starter at all the races. And if it wasn't me, I'm glad it's you.

    Also glad you enjoyed your visit to PIR. A couple of years ago, I could have got you in and a tour of Race Control.