The first half of the race looked more like the Wreckyard 400 than the Brickyard 400. But in the end, Tony Stewart of Columbus, Indiana had the strongest and fastest car on the track. (Complete results here.) He was not going to be caught.
After living here for years, this was my first race, at the track. Getting in wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be, but getting out was a hassle. Everyone trickles in throughout the morning, but most everyone exits at the same time, creating a massive logjam. Knowing the shortcuts through town helped me get out faster than I would have otherwise been able to do.
The crowd was huge, but surprisingly there were a lot of open seats where we sat (right as they go into the third turn). I was equally amazed at how much beer was being consumed all around me, with very few people getting rowdy. There were a couple of instances where the yellow shirts (track security) had to step in. One appeared to be a domestic thing, possibly with two exes involved. Another was some creepy looking guy, I am not sure what the hell his problem was.
Overall, I found the NASCAR crowd very mannerly and far more subdued than the Indy 500 group is known to be, and certainly, far less snobby than the Formula One crowd. It's not something I would want to do again soon. But next year, who knows? Now that I know what to expect, I will be in a better position to negotiate the process.
The most awesome part was clearly watching how fast these guys go, assuming it wasn't one of the 8 or so caution flags in the first 30 laps, or so. The roar was earth shaking to the point that my water bottle vibrated and you could feel the sound waves on your chest. In short, it was breath-taking. Having been to Indy 500 qualifications, I think I can now say that NASCAR cars are nowhere near as loud as Indy cars.
So, here I am, a bit sunburned and very tired from the day. Hope all of you had a good weekend, too.