This tumblr has attained a sizable amount of followers, so I’ll do a little “About Me.”
I’ve followed auto-racing since my brain started forming memories. My earliest racing memory is Rick Mears piloting that bright yellow Pennzoil machine to victory at INDY in ‘84. I remember watching Bill Elliott win the ’85 Daytona 500 while playing in my great-grandmother’s den. I began attending dirt track and ¼ mile drag races in the rural South around age 6. My first CUP race was the ’91 Pepsi 400 at Daytona. Bill Elliott won that day. I logged time in countless speedway garages and team shops as a kid. I was lucky enough to be small, sneaky, and often in the right place at the right time. I once wound up in the King’s cockpit. Another fortuitous stroke of luck landed me in Daytona victory lane with Dale Earnhardt. I’ve always loved hearing the teams fire up those big V8s, whether they were under a hood or mounted to the back of a dragster. I’ve lost count of how many races I’ve attended in my 25+ years of fandom. NASCAR, Indycar, Formula 1; I’ve seen them all and felt the roar of those engines in my chest. Oh, that deep thump. Deeper and harder than all of the feels ever.
I’m a sucker for anything loud, fast, and dangerous. My favorite smell is spent racing fuel. Fast cars, motorcycles, and electric guitars are tops with me. I’ve had all of these things a few times over. My first car was an ’82 Firebird. It was a former local drag racer. I paid $400 and towed it home. It was stripped out with no motor and big slicks on the back. We made it just street legal enough to drive to school. We dropped a rebuilt 350 from a ‘70s Monte Carlo in it. That was dumb/awesome for a 15-year-old kid. I’ve had a couple of bikes over the years, but my favorite is my ’75 Honda CB500T (when it runs safely).
I’m from the deep, rural South. I lived a bizarre southern rock’n roll childhood aboard my stepdad’s tour bus and vans, moving from hotel to hotel through my elementary years. Both I and my gorgeous wife played in a few bands together too. We were fortunate enough to tour, make it safely from coast to coast, sell some records and hear ourselves on the radio. We spent our money on tattoos and music gear.
We have two critters who also love race cars. Critter #1 attended his first race on his second birthday (INDYCAR Grand Prix of Alabama). We started watching old taped races from the ’80s together when he was two months old. He loves race cars. He can turn anything into a steering wheel and say “look daddy, I’m a race car guy!” Critter #2 loves “The candy car,” and “the pink team!”
I’ve amassed a ridiculous collection of auto-racing memorabilia; namely, items from the late ’70s to late ’90s: Shirts, programs, pictures, models, hero cards, die-cast, posters, pins, flags, hats, calendars, patches, even a 1993 Goodyear tire off Bill’s Junior Johnson prepared Bud #11. I love the sights and sounds of the speedway. It is beyond an obsession for me.
I’ve gone through the honeymoon stage and fandom and disillusionment with the sport. I usually focus on the positives. I have an idea of how things could be better on both sides of the fence. I believe it is possible to nurture a cultural shift from the stands. The television analysts might not mention it but we should not and will not forget the heroes and villains who made this sport grand, the “Death-traps of Death” they nursed to victory and the monumental feats of determination by ordinary men doing extraordinary things.
There is a certain nostalgic aesthetic I adhere to and I would like to see more of it in the stands. Folks gripe and complain about how going to a race isn’t what it used to be. I can’t bring back big block, long wheel-base cars or real, salty characters behind the wheel but I can wear my old driver shirts, boots, and Melling hats, sit in the stands and shoot the shit with the old-timers. I don’t like to hear the “yer driver sucks, gimme another Beer” talk in the stands. I want to talk about the great stories and forgotten heroes. I find it harder and harder to do this in the current era of fandom. Let’s bring that good old feeling back. Thank you for checking out my blog and stay tuned for stories and images from my life around NASCAR.