Tag Archives: NASCAR

Race #52 – The Color Run Night 5K

I’ve said it before, I’m not much for “novelty races” — mud runs, cave crawls, and the like.  It’s not the I mind the events too much, but a lot of them are nationwide touring events with no medals.  However, there are a few things that’ll trip my trigger, and pique my interest.  One is NASCAR tracks.

When I found out that the Color Run Night was gonna be held on the track at Gateway Motor Speedway, I was in.  There was no medal, but it was on the track!  And then, I discovered that they also had another race from these folks in September, the Color Run Shine, that would have a medal.  Woot!  I signed up for both.

Unfortunately, I got an email a couple of days ago that the Shine race in September was gonna be cancelled.  No real explanation, just due to “circumstances beyond our control.”  There went my medal, but I still had the race on the track, so that was good.

I went out Saturday morning, and started gathering the things I’d need for the race — goggles (to protect my glasses and eyes), a couple of cowbells, and lots of glo-sticks.  I wanted to be dressed right for this event!

Drag Strip
Drag Strip

I got to the track a couple of hours ahead of the race start, as suggested, and wandered around the facility.  This track is both an oval, as well as drag strip.  When I was a kid, I liked drag racing, and it was extremely cool to stand at the start line, and look down the track.

As it was really hot — about 90° — I figured I needed hydration and a little food.  The concessionaires were dealing, so I scarfed a big ol’ soft pretzel and a bottle of water.

And knowing there was no medal, I went to the “company store” and picked up a keychain.  I figured I could get some ribbon, and make a medal out of that little plastic do-dad.

The stage group were whipping the growing crowd into a frenzy, with music, swag flung into the crowd, and group Zumba.  It was looking to be a good-sized and energetic group as the sun set, and we got closer to the start time.

Start Line
Start Line

We started to corral near the start line, and it was evident that this was gonna be fun.  Folks had their lights, glo-sticks and glow-in-the-dark stuff revved up, and little by little, we were released in waves onto the course.

Shortly after my wave took off, we turned, and found ourselves on the drag strip.  Although it was dark, you could still see the dark rubber from all the burnouts.  Walking on that, however, was anything but fast.  The rubber laid down by all those tires was tacky, and it felt like you were walking on fly paper.  Probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever walked on!

One after another, the throng I was with crossed into color zones where we were doused in colored powder.  There was also a zone with bubble machines, and another with black-light messages on the pavement.  From the flats of the straightaways to the banks of the turns, the course was great, and loads of fun.

One thing I’ll mention is that the course was short of 5K — my Garmin measured about 4.3km, but with the walk from the parking to the course, and back, I’m counting it as a 5K!

Crossing the finish line, I was handed a bag, filled with the same colored powder that was covering everyone.  This was for the after-party.  And then, someone put a medal in my hand.

Now, the medal was a “Shine” medal, not a “Night” medal, but that was fine with me.  My guess is that the medals for the Shine event on September 19th were already in town, so they were just used for this event.  Works for me!

The after-party was a blast.  People were everywhere, all covered in every color of the rainbow, and all having a great time.  Every ten minutes or so, the announcer would countdown to another “color blast”, which is when those bags of color would be launched among the crowd.  It’d look like a massive fog falling from the sky when folks would fling their colored powder in the air.  It was really cool, and gave a great medium for the lasers from the stage to shine through.

And finally, they had a fireworks show.  And not just bottle rockets — real good fireworks that went on and on.


When I got home, I got a good look at my clothes, and man was I a mess!  I had color-covered arms.  I had a color-covered belly — I have no idea how that happened!  My shoes were orange.  I was a mess.

After I got in the house, and figured out how to keep from tracking color all over the place, I hopped in the shower, and began to try to scrub off all the color from me.  Frankly, I was surprisingly successful, although there’s still a little color on me.  During the shower, though, it looked like someone was wringing out a Smurf — so much dirty blue-ish colored water!!

Yeah, I don’t usually do this kind of race, but I believe this may be a return event for me.  It was that fun!

EDIT:  Here’s the video from the race.  Warning… it’s kinda long!

This race benefitted the American Red Cross of Eastern Missouri.

Race Course

Four Laps At ‘Dega

Folks at work have had the pleasure of listening to me talk about this all week. The folks at the Talladega Superspeedway hosted an event benefitting the Alabama Red Cross in aid of the tornado victims in Alabama. Basically, for a $50 donation to the Red Cross, you could take your vehicle out for a couple of laps on the track. How could I pass that up?

The way it was advertised, it would be two laps, running at about 65-70mph. I figured I could do that. I asked my mother if she’d like to go — she’s a VERY nervous rider — and she decided she’d give it try. I drove to The Mountain yesterday, and we took off for Talladega early this morning, with the goal of being in line an hour before the event started.

Frankly, as we drove down, we were reminded why we were doing this. Passing through Trenton, GA, and Rainbow City, AL, the devastation was evident. Any picture you’ve seen of homes exploded by tornadic destruction couldn’t do justice to the scenes we saw. Those two areas — and I know there was way more destruction than just what we saw — were simply blown away. These folks needed help, far more help than just our running around the track could do. It’s a start though.

We got to the track, dropped the top, got the cameras ready, and waited. The folks there were great, and the other would-be drivers kept looking in amazement at this big ol’ Jeep, chocked full of camera gear. We were definitely out of place against a tapestry of Corvettes, Mustangs, and regular ol’ passenger vehicles.

The pace truck took us to the track, and in short order, we were lined up and ready to go. The folks at the track came by to give us the rules… stay in line, stay close to the person in front of you, don’t lag behind, and we’ll be going about 85mph.

Waitaminute… 85? Really?

Mom and I looked at each other, and began pulling out in line. We were third in line, and the pace truck and first two vehicles pulled out like they were shot out of a cannon. The Big Green Box lumbered along, and when we hit the first turn, we were at about 65-70mph, trying to tackle the center lane, just like the cars so far in front of us. It was terrifying.

I couldn’t get past the feeling that we were gonna tip over on the 33° banking. I mean, I was sure we were gonna tip over. And so both of us instinctually leaned right to hold the wheels down. 🙂 There just aren’t words to describe how taking a vehicle so aerodynamically poor through turns designed around being very aerodynamically sound.

By the time we’d finished the first turns, we both decided that we’d take the bottom-most banked lane the rest of the way, hoping it’d be less unnerving. And, frankly, it was, although still pretty dang “tilty”!

After two laps, we thought we’d be brought in, but the cars in front of us — now almost a full straightaway ahead — kept going. And going. And going. After four laps, we were brought in, having finished our run. The highest speed I noticed on the speedometer was about 95mph, but the GPS indicates that we may have been closer to 110mph during some of the turns. By far, that’s the fastest my lil’ ol’ Jeep has ever gone.

Mom squalled the whole way — if you watch the video below, you’ll hear her squalling everything except “Help me Baby Jesus! Help me Tom Cruise!” (with apologies to Ricky Bobby) — and said she was glad she did it, but never again. She also said this was the most unique Mother’s Day gift ever. I’ve gotta give her that. It was definitely different.

If you ever get a chance to run at ‘Dega, you should. It is an amazing experience, one that will defy description, and leave you breathless.


Marking a Decade

It doesn’t even seem possible that it’s been a decade since Dale Earnhardt was killed at Daytona in the 500. There’s been all kinds of tributes, and will continue to be as this year’s 500 kicks off in just a bit.

The thing that impresses me is how emotional it still is. I can still remember seeing it, and hearing on the radio later that Dale was gone. And this weekend, you could hear it in the voice of Michael Waltrip when he won the truck race Friday night, and you see it in the eyes of broadcasters that are supposed to be two steps removed from the emotion of the sport. That’s just how deep this wound has been over the last ten years.

Frankly, I don’t see how Junior manages it. I mean, the death of my father, now almost a decade past, stills wrecks me at times. A phrase, a thought, a place, and suddenly I’m in the way-back machine, hurting like the wound was fresh. And I don’t have someone reminding me of it daily, nor do I carry my father’s name so I see it everywhere I turn. For Junior, there’s no escape from the legacy of his father and his name, and while I’m sure he’s proud to carry that on, I know there’s gotta be a indescribable weight that he carries daily. You can talk about strength, but that’s a strength most of us will likely never know.

The 500 starts in a bit, and I’ve heard that the 3rd lap will be run in tribute to Earnhardt Sr. There’s no better tribute I can think of to help the sport heal, and begin to point the splitters forward, rather than behind.