Monday, November 30, 2009

The NASCAR Fan’s Guide to the Off-Season

After a tumultuous 10-month season, racetracks across the country have gone silent. While some of the tracks are awaiting their own blanket of snow, the tracks in the south, with perfectly good dry pavement, are sitting empty, quiet, lonely.

As NASCAR fans, we are used to the hustle and bustle of the season. So much so, in fact, that when the off-season comes, it is almost as an ill-fitting suit – we’re not quite sure what to do with no racing on.

I feel for you. I really do. I go there every year myself. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of things to do in the off-season. Hopefully that will get you through the winter.

1. Redecorate

Silly Season is wrapping up. Drivers and sponsors are finding new homes – Keselowski is with Penske, GoDaddy is with Mark Martin, Truex is with Napa, and McMurray has moved to Earnhardt/Ganassi, among others.

Perhaps you could rename Jayski’s Silly Season Site to Jayski’s Guide to Off-Season Redecorating.

You should start this now, as your wife or husband may have different ideas of how to decorate, and it may take time to settle the Gordon/Junior debate.

I recommend coming up with some sort of way to appease your frustrated spouse who agreed to let you decorate with Jimmie Johnson apparel “only when he wins the championship.”

2. See the Doctor

Being a NASCAR fan is hard on the body. Travel from track to track is stressful, and prolonged stress can cause nervous system and circulatory damage.

Hours upon hours and days upon days of sitting still for months at a time while watching the races can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT – the “airplane” disease, or “killer legs” as they say in the commercials).

Then at the track, you consume… um… things.

If all of this builds up over too long a period and goes unchecked, it may cause a whopper of a problem. Get this checked out. You want to see who wins the next championship, right?

3. Clean Your Tailgate

Any experienced tailgater has his or her system finely tuned – you know what to pack, how much to pack, which food groups go where, where to put the utensils, and where to store everything else that makes your particular tailgate party unique.

Now clean it.

Trust me, you don’t want your guests, invited or uninvited, to get e coli or salmonella because you neglect to clean your stuff.

Throw away all the “I wonder what this used to be” formerly edible items.

Couch-tailgaters need some maintenance too. Clean your ovens, check your couch cushions, change the batteries in your remote, etc…

4. Come Up With Reasons To Justify Why Speedweeks is More Important than Anything Else You Might Be Otherwise Be Doing

I go through this every year – there just aren’t many NASCAR fans throughout Iowa’s private colleges. When my school’s other NASCAR fan and I tried to throw a Daytona 500 party last year, it caused me to miss a meeting. When I mentioned I would be unable to make it, an esteemed colleague remarked, “You have got to be kidding me.”

Well, we did cancel a meeting a week earlier for the Super Bowl. Is this less important? This is my Super Bowl.

It almost seems like Christmas versus Yom Kippur.

In my experience, non-NASCAR fans just don’t get it, and very few ever will. That’s why it takes two months to come up with good reasons (or excuses) to miss things that occur during Speedweeks.

When the Bud Shootout comes on… I’ve gotta have my fix.

5. Practice

This one is self-explanatory. Get on a crowded highway and pretend you’re at Talladega. Trust me, it will make you feel better (just remember the no bump-drafting rule).

6. Do Your Part
Support the sponsors that fork down millions to support your addiction. Shop at Target instead of Wal-Mart and Office Depot instead of Office Max.

With Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Menards all doing their part, feel free to choose between them. You get the idea. If given an alternative, support those who support NASCAR.

7. By All Means, DO NOT Tan

By the beginning of the season, NASCAR fans should be as light as possible. If you don’t come out of your first race looking like a raw steak who will hurt for 3 weeks, you are not getting the full experience.

8. If All Else Fails, Hybernate

If you’ve gone through my list and there’s still time left over, and you just can’t stand it any more, then crawl into a cave and sleep. There’s nothing to do out here anyway.

That’s it. I hope this provides some measure of coping mechanisms. If you need any extra help, the Racing Tool and youtube are just a few clicks away.

-David Dubczak

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