NASCAR fans dread the offseason.
With no on-track action for about two and a half months, fans will turn to anything to get their NASCAR fix. From watching old races to any racing-related movie, the fans need something to make them feel connected again to their favorite sport.
Some fans can wait, turning to football or other sports while spending time with family.
But die-hard NASCAR fans can’t get enough and on Saturday they proved that.
Just how bad do they have it? They turned to the ARCA Series to help with their withdrawal.
And I don't mean they turned on their TV and saw cars on the track; no, fans actually sat at their computers and listened to live streaming audio of driver channels, specifically Danica Patrick’s.
More than 50 ARCA cars are at the Daytona International Speedway testing for the 2010 season and while there is no TV coverage, ARCA’s official website set up a page to show live streaming scoring and audio.
Patrick is making her debut in a stock car, testing for the Feb. 6 Slick Mist 200 in her No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevy.
Most of the day was spent doing single car runs, where fans patiently sat and watched as she bounced between third and 15th on the speed chart.
Then came the fun part: drafting.
Fans turned the volume up, as Patrick got ready to really learn what it’s like to drive with a roll-cage. For the most part, she was pretty calm talking about how fun and cool it was.
Then she got high-pitched and annoyed when a car seemed to jump out of line suddenly without signaling. She dropped the F-bomb when describing her thoughts.
The team got her back on track though and the fans got a good laugh.
The common sentiment from many, including JR Motorsports PR man Mike Davis, seems to be that she’s enjoying herself and quickly getting the hang of things, listening to the team give feedback while providing much of her own.
For the next hour, fans continued to listen to the No. 88 team talk about donuts, leading the ARCA race, finding drafting partners, rainbows, and everything in between.
And they ate it up and enjoyed every minute of it, talking through social websites about how funny it was.
Common expressions from fans, “Never thought I would listen to an ARCA scanner for the better part of my Saturday,” and “I’m starting to like her [Patrick],” or “She’s asking good questions.”
The best one by far and one that summed up the day for NASCAR fans was, “Can you believe that most of us are sitting here listening to scanner audio from an ARCA test? We are either bored or can’t get enough.”
For most, it’s the latter.
Or maybe, just like the East coast getting a snowstorm back in 1979, which had people tuning into NASCAR and the first ever-televised Daytona 500, the snowstorm of 2009 may have had people tuned to Danica Patrick and quickly become fans.
Some of the best Danica Patrick and team audio :
Danica: “Since we need friends out here should I start handing out gifts or money?”
Spotter: “We won’t need friends if we’re leading.”
Danica: “It’s tough to get a run on these guys [chuckle].”
Danica: “We need to freight train the guy in front, he’s too slow.”
Danica: “If only I had snacks in my car. Maybe we should build something.”
Crew: “You need something now?”
Danica: “No, I’m a big girl. I can wait the last hour.”
Danica: “We may have something with this Krispy Kreme thing. We can fill the car with them, and since this car is so hot they’ll always be ready and stay good inside the car.”
Crew: “You going to deliver them?”
Danica: “The fastest anyone ever did!”
Crew: “Go down the backstretch and see if you can get his bumper.”
Danica: “Like hit him?!?”
Crew: “Yeah like hit him.”
Crew: “It’s like your going to the neighbor's house, knock a little on his door. Knock, knock.”
Thanks to ARCA Series testing in Daytona, Saturday wasn't a complete waste for some fans that were trapped inside.