|The Sharpie 500
NASCAR at Bristol Tennessee
Saturday, August 27, 2005
I talked to E.T. and Koz Wednesday about catching a ride
with them to Bristol Tennessee for the NASCAR Nextel
Cup race. They were driving from Detroit and I had never
been to the summer race there. It is on a Saturday night
and allows one to party good and then have all day
Sunday to drive home.
I later talked to BW and he said that he could go, so I
wouldn't need E.T. to drive a couple hours out of his way.
BW also said that Dave Gordon was going to go.
E.T. and Koz got to Bristol on Thursday, we Indy guys
would leave Friday afternoon.
I had a very stressful week with a job interview at 2pm on
Friday so we didn't leave my house till 4 pm.
I hadn't had time to get ready for the trip other than picking
up booze (Grolsch Red Amber, John Courage, Rolling
Rock, Evan Williams Single Barrel 10 year old whisky and
a bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon).
BW brought a 30 pack of beer and a jug of Evan Williams.
Dave's girlfriend got sick and he decided not to go, so it
was just BW and I.
BW drove us in his minivan. We had an uneventful trip and
arrived in Bristol at 11 pm.
I slowly unwound from all my stress and started feeling
The Busch race had several rain delays and was still
going on when we got to Farmer Bob's campground. E.T.
and Koz met us at the gate and got us in.
We had the same great camping spot as we've had on
previous visits, but this time we were sharing it with a
bunch of other people whom ET and Koz had met at prior
races. I met those guys as they returned from the Busch
The temperature got below the 70's that evening so it was
comfortable and we had a campfire. I hadn't brought any
food and I regretted it. Koz was kind enough to get me a
One of the guys that had staked out the campground for us
lived in the area. His name was Jamie and he had to get
up the next morning to go to work. Koz, ET, BW and I
stayed up real late. We all got up the next morning except
BW, who slept into the afternoon.
The first thing I did Saturday morning was
walk over to the breakfast hut that is set up
next to the shower barn and grabbed some
coffee and biscuits and stewed apples.
These campgrounds seem to contain a
large proportion of men and their shower
line was pretty long. As I sat there eating, a
lovely girl came out of the showers in a
miniskirt and sat down across from me and
crossed her legs. I about fell over
backwards! Damn she was beautiful.
There were also some horses nearby that
some people were petting.
Back at camp, the guys had setup a
shooting range. They had a high power
pellet rifle and everyone was taking turns
shooting. Some of these guys were from
New Zealand, but are now living in
Bryce taking aim.
E.T. loading a pellet.
E.T. is measuring the distance from
the targets to the gun.
Careful with that beer ET!
After some more drinking, we played
They set up a pool and everyone threw in
$20 to pull a few drivers out of a hat. My
Finally, BW woke up and we drove
through the camp to find some food and
tickets for the race. We found one guy
who was selling his $96 tickets for $150
each. We passed on those. It started
raining while we were driving.
There were some souvenir and food
stands up near the gate and I bought a
People bring all kinds of small transportation
to the campgrounds - ATVs, Scooters,
Motorcycles - I even saw a powered barstool!
I wish BW would have brought his ATVs.
These guys had the ultimate smoker grill!
Numerous campers brought their own
The rain didn't last long and had stopped
before we got back to our campsite.
Here is some examples of the native fauna.
BW and I met some guys from Columbus Ohio in a
nearby campsite and we played them a few games of
horseshoes. We were getting a little nervous about
getting tickets, as we didn't have much money to
spend, when some girl in a golf kart drove up waving
2 tickets that were together. They were $96 tickets
and she took $100 for both of them. Yea!
The Detroit guys had brought all their beer in big jugs
called growlers. It was some great beer made by
small breweries in Michigan.
Bryce pulled a giant frosted glass out of his cooler
and preceded to almost empty one of the jugs into it.
The glass held more than a liter. He then passed it
around to share.
It was called the friendship glass and had the numbers
one through seven printed around the rim. Seven
people share the glass, each sipping from his
Bryce recalled a song he'd heard about the glass that
went something like, "Friendship glass. Friendship
glass. It really kicked our ass...." :-)
Someone had brought a big propane grill and loaded
it up with big beef tenderloins which they make filet
mignon from. Rick sliced it up and we grabbed pieces
and ate it by hand. It was very delicious. It was gone in
Eventually the afternoon turned into evening and we
hiked to the track which is across the street from the
campground. First, we had to climb this hill.
By the time we got inside the track, we'd
missed the driver introductions. BW and
I headed to the front row by the
start/finish line where there is no
There was a childrens choir singing with
a few drivers standing about.
It was surprising to see this huge
section of the crowd create this
My friends occasionally get in the way
when I'm trying to take pictures at the track.
BW, being a photographer, should know
better. He should also know that 900
decibles is not going to come through a
cellphone better by holding the phone two
feet closer to the track.
It is so loud in the front row, where the
cars zoom by seven feet away, that
earplugs are a must. The decible level
where we were was so high that if you
pulled your earplugs out, your ears would
start ringing instantly.
Sitting on the front row is unbelievable!
The cars zip by so fast in front of you, its
like some spaceships out of Star Wars.
It is very exciting and besides the noise,
there is a good amount of wind.
After about an hour, BW and I
decided to go check out our seats.
They were located very high in the
middle of turns three and four.
(Waltrip Stand, Row 51)
There didn't appear to be any room
and we tried to get people to
squeeze up so we could sit down,
but they would not.
BW was mad about it and spent
half the time standing and
While he annoyed everyone around
us, I lit up a big cigar to do my part.
For awhile, it looked like Rusty Wallace
and Kurt Busch would finish 2-3. Matt
Kenseth dominated and would go on to
win the race.
After I finished the stogie, we left and
returned back to the front row, where
we were to meet Koz and ET after the
race. Here is E.T. doing a beer bong.
The checkered flag waves!
We got separated and E.T. and BW
returned to camp together while Koz
and I looked around at souvenir
stands before returning to camp. I
got a t-shirt for $5.
Back at camp, someone had put up
some neon sheep on top of the camper!
Koz grilled hamburgers for everyone. We
stayed up really late and partied. ET
related how BW had fell down the
campground hill on the way back.
BW can sleep anywhere anytime, and he
went right to sleep as soon as he got
back to camp, which was around
midnight. Let's see he was up for 11
After all his sleep, he didn't seem to mind
waking me up early the next morning after
I'd had only a few hours sleep.
Consequently I felt terrible the entire trip
back to Indy.
I guess next time I need to specify DON'T
WAKE ME UP!
Anyway, we drove through major rain most
of the way back, perhaps caused by
Hurricane Katrina, which had hit Louisiana
while we were in Bristol.
Indy's weather was beautiful, but in a day or
so, Katrina would dump rain on us all day