Last year, I moved from the UK to North Carolina to live with my wife, who I married in October 2016. I had a previous marriage for which I was not supposed to remarry, which is why I had to wait until October. Since then, I have had the chance to explore the area, its people, and its customs. One thing that has particularly struck me is how different NASCAR is here compared to how it is in the UK. Below, I will try to answer the question; “Where is the closest NASCAR track to me?”
I started by doing some research into the topic. First, I found that the nearest NASCAR track to me was almost 900 miles away in Nashville. Since then, I have had the chance to go and visit the track, which, as you might expect, is pretty far. It’s one thing to read about NASCAR in books or online, but it’s another to actually go to the tracks and see them in person. Luckily, I got to visit Hendrick Motorsport with my wife in February, which is when all the teams were there testing. I got to see how the whole place runs and how the drivers interact with each other, which was great.
I was a little surprised to learn that the closest NASCAR track to me was so far away. From what I gathered, NASCAR is pretty popular in Nashville, so I assumed that there would be a track nearby. There isn’t, however, and that’s a real shame. The lack of a local NASCAR track is definitely felt, especially as the season is drawing close and there aren’t that many options for fans. Nashville is a great place to live and work, with a vibrant music scene and lots of food options, but there isn’t any great place to watch NASCAR. The closest track is more than 900 miles away and traffic can be bad, especially during peak periods. The locals I’ve spoken to say that it isn’t unusual to meet a stranger who knows more about NASCAR than you do.
As you might have guessed, I didn’t like the sound of my research. I’m not sure why, exactly, as I think that there are definitely good reasons to go to Nashville. It’s a beautiful city and the locals there are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. There are lots of opportunities for those who want to work in entertainment or music, among other things. The traffic there can be hellish during peak periods, though. If you prefer to avoid large amounts of cars and trucks driving past you, then perhaps the UK isn’t the best place for you. The lack of a local NASCAR track is a real shame, as it could make for some great rivalry. Who knows, maybe one day there will be a track nearby.
Charlotte is the second-closest NASCAR track to me. It’s only 400 miles as the crow flies, but the drive can take longer than you’d think due to the winding roads and number of stops. The fact that it is so close means that I’ve had the chance to go and visit the track. I’ve met some really great people there and seen some great racing. One of my favorite things about Charlotte is how much the city has changed since the 1950s. The old buildings have been preserved and there are lots of new restaurants and bars opening up around the city. Everyone seems to be having a good time, which is great to see.
While I wasn’t exactly expecting to like Nashville or Charlotte, I think that they could become my new favorite towns. There are lots of opportunities for those who want to work in music and entertainment. The competition for jobs in those industries can get pretty fierce, so the fact that there’s a good chance of getting a job makes it that little bit more exciting to explore the area. It’s great to see how much the city has changed and how much it has to offer. Maybe one day I’ll even consider moving there myself.
Dirt Road Racing
I was really surprised to learn that there is no NASCAR track nearest to me. When I first heard about dirt road racing, I assumed that it would be something for hooligans to do on the side, but it’s actually quite the opposite. I had the chance to see a NASCAR-inspired dirt road race held in May, which is also the debut race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The crowd turnout for the race was tremendous, with many people coming from far away places like New York and California to see it. What impressed me the most about dirt road racing is how organized it is. The drivers all have their own crews, which help them prepare for the big race. It’s not just a hobby for the lads either, as most of them are full-time professionals, which is why they can afford the expensive cars and trucks that they use for these races. In many cases, these are the same cars that they use for everyday driving, so they know how to take care of them and how to drive fast. The cars look the part too, with many having their own unique paint jobs and decorations. It’s not often you see such dedication from the drivers and the teams they work for, especially given that many of them compete for sponsorships and prize money, so there’s a lot at stake. These guys really put in the practice too, as the season often starts well into the winter, with the final race usually taking place in May or June. This isn’t just a hobby for the drivers either, as these aren’t the same guys who sit in front of a computer all day, as many of them have families and other interests outside of racing.
In the end, I think that it’s fair to say that I didn’t expect to like NASCAR so much. I had a good experience with it in the UK, but that was more than 20 years ago. The sport obviously changed a lot in the interim and it’s not just the cars either. The tracks have changed too and they’re not what they used to be. When I first went to see a NASCAR race, Back in the day (BTD) it would have been nice to have had a walkie-talkie to hold up for the drivers so that I could high-five them as they went by, but apart from that, I can’t think of anything bad to say about the sport. The community aspect is great too, with everyone there getting behind the drivers and hoping for a good result. As a spectator, you’re guaranteed an entertaining race, no matter who you’re rooting for. Whether you love cars or car-related sports, NASCAR definitely has something to offer. It’s far from being a pastime for hooligans, as I’ve met a lot of hard-working, polite people at the tracks. The closest NASCAR track to me is almost 900 miles away, which is a lot for a professional driver to drive. Traffic can be bad there too, especially this time of year, so if you plan on going, then do so early in the morning to avoid the jams.