HAMPTON, Ga. — Just 15 miles from my hometown Fayetteville lies an arena that holds over 100,000 fans to watch a common, southern sport — NASCAR.
Walking into the middle of the arena, this big, beautiful place and its huge track complete with the permanent beauty marks and skids from races seems to hug you as you stand there. Glancing around at its emptiness, its easy to imagine all of the noises that permeate the arena on Race Day.
Loud, screaming fans cheering on their favorite racer, the roaring engines on the cars and all the different machinery and bustling about from the pit crews fill your mind.
For media usage, there is a special place just for press to enter and interview the racers after their stellar performance of victory or spin-outs that caused failures. It was amazing to sit in a professional press room to see in person what we all watch on ESPN after races.
Being my first time in this type of location, the looks of awe and astonishment appeared obvious on my face, especially being someone who has not been a big NASCAR fan.
The purpose of the day at the Atlanta Motor Speedway was to kick-off Thursday Night Thunder which is a racing series that AMS hosts during the summer for racers of all ages. Hearing younger racers eager to start the season made me excited for the season to begin, but even more so, hearing the adults speak about their racing competitiveness, the thrills and adrenalin they feel on the track seemed to give them a youthful exuberance despite their age.
Seeing this showed me that you never are too old to have fun!
Before I left the NASCAR Dreamland, I had the opportunity to drive around the track in an actual legends car, just like the ones you’ll see on Thursday nights this summer. I finally understood why all the older ones like Skip Nichols raced for so long. There is seriously a huge rush from the loud engine revving, then roaring as you pound the gas and ride through the breezing air brushing by your face as you accelerate.
I almost felt as if I should ditch interviewing the racers and becoming one myself.
It isn’t hard to see how this sport — and especially this well-known track — has endeared itself to so many people in the Atlanta area and all around the country.
If you need something to get your blood flowing this summer, come out on Thursday Nights from June 4 through July 23 to catch an exciting series of that might hook you to the point where you’ll want to stay for the Friday night drags!
Mary Ramsaier is a graduate of Whitewater High School in Fayetteville, GA where she played soccer. The sophomore communications student at Clayton State University is a contributing writer and social media coordinator with thecrescentbuzz.com. Follow her on Twitter @ItsMaroula.