Photo: Collin Woodard/Jalopnik
I’ll always be jealous of other people who grew up going to races because I did not. In fact, it wasn’t until I started writing about cars that I got to see my first race at the ripe old age of 25. I didn’t exactly ease my way in, either. One day, I had never been to a race of any kind, and the next, a PR person was handing me a morning beer at a NASCAR race in Talladega. It was an absolutely perfect day and included some of the best people-watching I had ever had the pleasure of witnessing, like seeing one woman’s mohawk dyed to look like an American flag.
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In the years since that first race, I’ve been able to attend several more events, including the Long Beach Grand Prix. That one especially sticks out in my mind because I lived in Long Beach at the time, which meant getting there was simply a matter of walking out my front door over to the race. That one was hot, but in addition to the main event, I also got to watch my first Stadium Super Trucks race. If you haven’t seen one before, let’s just say I highly recommend going. You can even take the kids because, unlike sitting through an endurance race, every five-year-old is going to love watching trucks fly through the air.
However, my favorite racing memory has to be one from this last weekend. Porsche invited me to attend Petit Le Mans with them at Road Atlanta, a track I once drove a few laps on in a Cadillac CTS-V while it was raining but have never been to for a race. Considering I grew up and currently live in Georgia, that was kind of a big deal. And it was especially exciting since Porsche actually had a chance to win it all this year. Oh, and Jensen Button and our former deputy editor Lalita Chemello were there, which was great because I had never met either of them in person before (spoiler: Lalita’s a hoot).
What really made the weekend special, though, was when I made the hike out to Turn 7 to find some friends who I hadn’t seen since before their wedding. They were there with their awesome overlanding Lexus GX and, as it turned out, more old friends who I hadn’t seen in years. We hugged, we laughed, we shared stories and overall had a fantastic time. Somehow, we were also perfectly positioned to see the number 6 Porsche pulled off the track after sustaining too much damage to continue racing. Did getting the above photo require me to squeeze my way behind a porta-potty? Yes, it did. And you know what? It was still worth it.
What about you, though? What is your favorite memory at the race track? Be sure to let us know down in the comments.