Remember as a kid, sitting around the campfire telling ghost stories? For emphasis you’d pull out the flashlight and aim it toward your face to create shadows to make yourself look extra creepy and create a spooky atmosphere for your fellow campers.
Scary stuff as a kid; but downright terrifying for a modern day adult!
Allow me to explain. While camping with some friends during this Spring's Richmond race getaway, nature called in the middle of the night. I shuffled out of the RV in my pajamas into the darkness with my trusty iPhone in hand; the vFlashlight application leading my way.
I approached the line of Porta-John’s that were stacked side by side for what seemed like half a mile. I chose one in the middle of the pack, figured it would be the least offensive, sucked in one last breath of freshness and entered.
So there I was, balancing myself in the “hover-nate” stance over that hole of unmentionables, still clutching the glowing iPhone tightly when it happened.
The door of the Porta-John flew open and suddenly my illuminated “spooky” face was looking into the eyes of a monster. I froze like a deer caught in the headlights, eyes opened wide and my mouth agape, forming the perfect “O” as I tried to make sense of what was happening.
As I heard the monster yell out, “Jesus Christ, you scared the hell out of me!” I realized that I had not locked the door and the monster was nothing more than a mere race fan.
Had I not already been over the bowl, I might have peed my pants out of sheer fright. Luckily I was in the right place at the wrong time.
In pure redneck fashion I hollered out a slew of fleeting obscenities as my new found acquaintance stood there staring at me.
An eternity passed as he stood there, clutching his chest and catching his breath when finally he said, “Damn girl, you really scared me!”
“SHUT THE DOOR!”
I could hear him muttering to himself as he took his place in the john adjacent to mine. “Should have locked that door, never would have happened if you had just locked the door.”
"Yeah, yeah…it was all my fault, get over it already," I bellowed as I pounded the wall that separated us.
I’m no stranger to NASCAR Porta-John mishaps.
Last year during the Fall race in Richmond I stepped into one that was not balanced properly and nearly rocked it forward on top of me. The crowd erupted in laughter as I held on, preparing to go down with the ship.
I don’t know if it was Dale Sr. himself looking down from above, but some higher power granted me a stay of execution. At the very last minute that Ol’ Johnny lurched back to the position from whence it came and I was spared the literal meaning of shit hitting the fan!
Porta-Johns are just one facet that make a NASCAR race so damn special.
People who need people.
A successful race weekend is one that brings together old friends and allows you to make some new ones. NASCAR fans are some of the best people I’ve ever known.
Sure there will be times that you'll get tired of looking at shirtless fat bodies and mullets, but don’t forget they need love too and help to make the weekend an awesome one.
That being said, there are exceptions to the rule.
There are those few rotten apples that give NASCAR fans a bad name. The ones who get entirely too intoxicated and try to feel you up or offer Mardi Gras “beads for boobs.”
I don’t think that NASCAR brings out the idiot in them, I’m convinced that they are dolts pretty much every day of their lives.
At a race years ago, my sister and I were sitting in front of one of the jolliest, shirtless bellies that I’d ever been witness to. It was blazing hot that day, so he was drinking heavily and sweating profusely.
The race stayed green for most of the day so there was no real need to stand up. The caution flag finally waved and everyone was on their feet. In his drunken upright haze, our fat friend fell forward onto my sister.
I watched in virtual slow motion as his gelatinous belly literally engulfed her entire head. I did what anyone else would do in this situation, I laughed my ass off!
I've stayed in a variety of hotels over the years, but I must say the RV is the way to go.
The good thing about staying in an RV is that you can come and go as you please without agenda. No need to wear a watch, when the crowd starts rolling toward the track, you know it’s show time. That is when you grab your soft-sided coolers, scanners and clear backpacks and head into the Grandstands.
The downside to staying in an RV falls on the shoulders of those you are camping with. I recommend ear plugs to drown out the snores and flatulence that come from within those four walls and a sling shot for the sounds that come from right outside your rig.
This Spring we were parked next to "The Cackler,” a woman with hands down the worst laugh ever.
I am convinced that night owl stood right next to my open window telling herself jokes until the sun came up. I gave her the hairy eyeball numerous times, didn’t help that it was pitch dark outside and she couldn’t see me. I think that she was married to the Porta-John peeping Tom.
Richmond International Raceway is so dear to my heart. I've spent nearly a decade of racedays there with good friends and family, each year brings a new experience.
I wrote my first Bleacher Report article right after last season's Richmond race. I've come full circle as I gear up for the upcoming weekend and once again look forward to what adventure I will find myself in the middle of.
Join me as I hit the road to Richmond on Friday for an event filled weekend as I report from tailgate to trackside.