Well, kinda, sorta.
I saw 13 laps of the race.
Right after Hubby and I got married, during the summer of '99, we road-tripped from Charleston, SC (where we were living) down to Jacksonville, FL where one of my good friends was living. She had gotten 4 $100 tickets to the big race over July 4th weekend.
(Coincidentally, she was one of my bridesmaids. Who happened to hook up with one of Hubby's groomsmen at our wedding. They were together for over 2 years.)
Anyway, so Groomsman was flying down to Jax from Boston and the 4 of us were going to make a FUN weekend of it. Wahooo!
On our way to Florida, Hubby and I stopped to eat here.
(Psst, that was foreshadowing.)
Later that evening, Hubby started to feel ill. He spent most of the night sitting on the throne. I felt fine.
The day of the race, Hubby's system was all cleared out.
I, on the other hand?
Had a bangin' headache that wouldn't quit. And my stomach felt, errr...."funny".
So off to Daytona we headed. At the ass crack of dawn, because there was much tailgating to be done. Wahooo!
We arrived in Daytona. We were parked in the middle of a blacktopped parking lot with a cooler full of beers. HOT doesn't even begin to describe it. In Florida. In July. On tar.
And I? Was trying to hang in there. Thinking maybe if I ate something, I'd feel better. I had an apple. And some Twizzlers. And a few beers.
But nope, I still didn't feel right.
I kind of wanted to die, actually.
But the other 3 were SO
Eventually we made our way into the stadium.
Our seats? Couldn't have been up any higher. Practically the top row. In the middle of the row. Squished in there. Surrounded by wasted
Now I really felt gross (and claustrophobic).
While the National Anthem was being sung, I sat, with my head in my hands, quietly moaning to myself.
Then, up from the depths of my body, I felt it coming.
I heaved, and then lurched out of my seat, practically crawling over bodies to get to the aisle. I RAN to the bathroom and made it just in time, emptying the contents of my belly.
(Not that I was the only one throwing up in there, mind you. I just happened to be the only sober one throwing up.)
Whew. Now I should definitely start to feel better, right?
Notsomuch. I returned to my seat, to the curious stares of the 17 people I had had to climb over beforehand.
(I'm sure they thought I was totally wasted, because, by that point, who isn't at a NASCAR race?)
Everyone was standing, cheering and screaming at the start of the race when the loudspeaker bellowed, "GENTLEMEN, STARRRRT YOURRRRRR ENNNNGINES." (Did you just read that in your head like how it's supposed to be announced?)
Not I. I sat. Hugging my body tight. Miserable.
I couldn't do it. There was no way I could sit through an entire race. I needed to leave.
But the car was a loooong way away. And it was dark out.
I leaned over to Hubby, who was hooting and hollering and
Dumbfounded, he stared at me. "Wha? You can't just sit here."
"Nope, I'm definitely gonna be sick again. I can't keep climbing over these people. I need to lay down."
Ever the dutiful newlywed, Hubby
Got himself a lawn chair, turned on the car radio, cracked open a beer from the cooler, and tailgated.
Alone. For the remainder of the race. To the sounds of the racecars zooming around the track in the background.
Later, we had to pull over on the side of the highway a few times on our way back to Jacksonville that night so I could puke some more.
The next morning? I felt totally fine.
But everyone else was hung over. Heh.
And that's the story of how Hubby and I went to a race at Daytona but only saw 13 laps.
P.S. Needless to say, we have never eaten at Steak n' Shake since.