Imagine standing among thousands of people and then Curt Schilling, the Walburgers, and Olympic stars walk by you.
As all this is happening, you hear that defining roar as fans cheer for their favorite driver, and at that moment it hits you, you are at New England’s largest sporting event: the NASCAR race at Loudon.
If you ever get the chance to go, it’ll be an experience you’ll never forget and one that will have you itching to relive for years to come.
The day began with activities in a fan zone right outside the track where drivers being interviewed could be heard all around in between the deafening sounds of the race cars at full throttle on display to impress fans.
And this was just the beginning, outside the track, before any of the racing had begun.
Next was the journey inside the gates to get into the track. There were people scanning tickets and checking bags, and the anticipation was maddening for what waited up the stairs – the first look at the track for the racing of that day.
After the exhilarating view from above, the journey took us on the track and we were met with the load roar of the engines as they began to get cars ready for the day. Walking up and down pit road you could hear the crew members talking.
I told one pit crew member how I had to leave at two in the morning in order to get to the track. He responded saying he was on an airplane at 2 a.m. flying from Kentucky where there was a race the day before.
As I kept walking, I could smell the glue that was being used to attach the lug nuts to the tires for the race later in the day. Adding to the sensory overload, right in front of where this is happening is a concert, with country music artist Brett Eldredge preforming for the crowds of people in the stands.
As the morning turned into early afternoon, race time was fast approaching. It was now time for driver introductions. You would hear the names called followed by loud cheering from fans for their favorite drivers.
“Now welcome to the stage, driver of the number 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr.!” the announcer yelled, followed by an eruption of cheers from the stands. After all the drivers were introduced, the pre-race prayer was delivered by Red Sox great Curt Schilling, a treat for all the Red Sox fans in attendance.
Then came the command, and with the fans in a frenzy, the engines of the 43 cars came to life and it was one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard.
The race was on and from there the speedway was filled with the smell or gas and burnt rubber and thrilling side-by-side racing. It’s 300 laps of some of the best racing the world has to offer. It was soon obvious that one car, driven by Kevin Harvick, was clearly the best all day.
Others had problems.
Kyle Busch, one of the most hated in racing, had a tire blow sending him into the wall, leading the fans in the stands to cheer loudly for his demise. As the race went on, it was clear only two drivers, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth, were in contention.
It came down to three laps to go and Harvick was leading, until his car suddenly slowed. He was out of gas, and the fans went nuts. This meant that Matt Kenseth had an easy drive to victory. As people cheered for him winning, the stands filled with confetti from cannons under the stand and smoke filled the air. The race was over, and for this race fan, the day could not have been any better.