The speed at which many NASCAR fans move is the opposite of the sport they love.
They’re in no hurry.
Camped on the infield at Texas Motor Speedway for a weekend of races, the fans are taking life easy, not the least bit concerned about the weather — or anything else.
“It’s our time to get away from work, kids and everyday regular life,” said Chris Starnes of Canadian. “It’s too much of a hustlin’ and bustlin’ pace nowadays.”
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Most of those in the infield are in decked-out RVs armed with essentials: food for grilling, cold beer and camping chairs.
“If they let me in here a week sooner, I’d be here,” said Billy Roberts of Burleson, who arrived on Wednesday.
Roberts — “just as die-hard a fan as you can get” — is among the hundreds of fans gearing up for a weekend of racing, beginning with Friday’s XFINITY Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 350 and Saturday’s Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500.
Julie and Anthony Roth, of Sapulpa, Okla., said they’ve been coming to the Texas races since 1999, and one year, their Oklahoma University championship flags were stolen “in all fun and games.”
They suspect University of Texas fans.
The NASCAR fanatics at TMS this weekend, from around the state, region and country, schedule much of their vacation time and budget to get to the speedway — and not just to watch the races.
“It’s the sounds, the smell, the thrill of the pits you can’t get on TV,” said Robert Cummings of Hitchcock, whose camp included folks from Nevada, Texas and Louisiana. “It’s the only time I get to see some of my friends.”
Many come in groups and bring tall platforms to sit on to get a better view of the oval. The Roths called their platform “redneck engineering,” but were proud of its “prime location” in the middle of the backstretch.
“It’s a better view,” Julie Roth said. “Drivers get pretty aggressive on the backstretch.”
But some, like Roberts, watch the races on their own TV or on Big Hoss — the world’s largest HD videoboard, which dominates the backstretch — from the infield rather than watch the live action around them.
“I don’t need to see ’em go round and round. I can hear ’em,” Roberts said. “I’ll watch the last 20 laps — that’s when it gets good.”
And the potentially stormy weather that comes with spring racing?
“We’ll just sit here and drink,” Cummings said. “That’s about all you can do.”
But really, it’s being here that counts.
“First time I came here, [Cummings] handed me a beer, I got on top of the platform and a woman flashed … me,” said Danny D’Antonio, Cummings’ brother-in-law. “I knew I was in heaven.”
Mark David Smith, 817-390-7808
By the numbers
6,751 reserved camping spaces, including 1,147 infield, 5,254 VIP and outside Turn 3, 350 tent sites
52 spaces in Burnout Alley for luxury motor coaches on the backstretch.
$50 to $15,000 price range for campers, beginning with tents ($50) to Burnout Alley ($15,000 for the season)
1,500 acres at Texas Motor Speedway