by Ted Chittenden (2001)
Victory Lane Collectibles
The National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. Most definitely, with out a doubt, no questions asked (because the guy standing next to you couldn’t hear you anyway!) the loudest sport in the world! Forty-four spectacularly colored cars, bumper to bumper, diving into the fourth turn, heading into the front straight, three wide, 200 MPH, taking the green flag, screaming for more! And, Boy, is it loud!
Like the roar of forty-four rockets, the thunder of forty-four storm clouds, the fury of forty-four steel beasts, all fighting for the lead! That’s a lot of noise!
Over the past few years, NASCAR Winston Cup racing has reached the pinnacle of motorsports, stealing the spotlight and the adulation from the Indy cars the nation watched each Memorial day replacing the open wheel heroes like Mario, Al Unser, and Jackie Stewart with King Richard, Dale, Rusty, Mark, Texas Terry, and most recently, Jeff Gordon.
NASCAR has become a world wide obsession in the Nineties. While our national pastime quietly plays on, NASCAR has given life-long race fans and newcomers something to make noise about, something to yell about, one common goal, one weekly desire, one perfect Sunday afternoon, get your driver to Victory Lane, gets some all important championship points, and win the Winston Cup for your team owner, the crew, the fans, you wife and kids, your mom and dad, your country, Thank God, and, oh yes, your sponsor. That’s what all the noise is about!
On most every Sunday or an occasional Saturday night, from the green flag at Daytona in February, to the checkers at Atlanta in November, NASCAR makes a lot of noise and provides millions of fans with a weekly rush of excitement. Each NASCAR race is like a rebirth, a fresh start, a clean slate, when the green flag falls, each time is equal. No matter where you finished the last race, this week your driver can be the greatest racer in the world. Squeal a set of Goodyears, rev a few cylinders (hopefully all eight), scrap some paint, draft down the backstretch, leave a little tire rub on the guy outside of you. Just find your way to Victory Lane. That’s all. Win a race. Make a lot of noise!
It’s a great feeling when your driver does wins! Then you really get to make some noise! Just thin, bragging rights until the next race! You can always tell when a NASCAR fans favorite driver wins: that’s all there is to talk about. Everything else take a back seat. His or her driver is the best driver in NASCAR, he’s going to win eight or nine more this year, Earnhardt sucks, and the Winston Cup Championship is just about a gimmee. That is , if he doesn’t get stuffed into the wall by Ernie Irvan or Mr. Excitement, Jimmy Spencer. But if that does happens, “I’ll tell you what, that Monte Carlo (or Thunderbird or Grand Prix) was really hooked up, and we was flyin’! We really thought we had something for ‘em. The whole team worked hard, and I’d like to thank all our sponsors, Hi, Kathy, love ya kids, and we’ll just pack up and head for Charlotte (or Talladega or Watkins Glen). And when we get there, were gonna make a lot of noise!”
If you’ve ever attended a Winston Cup event, you already know what all the noise is. It’s a sound that will make your hair stand up and yell! It’s the sound of burgers being grilled, beers being popped, the sound 80,000 fans make at Martinsville, Virginia or 400,000 at the Brickyard. All having a great time, all there for one reason. To yell their driver into Victory Lane. It’s the sound of excitement. It’s the sound of all-American fun! And that makes a lot of noise!
If you’ve never been to a Winston Cup race, listen for the noise! It will lead you to Loudon, New Hampshire, Pocono, Pennsylvania, or maybe Bristol, Tennessee. And, if you’re like most NASCAR fans, that’s all it takes. One race.
Then you’ll know what all the noise is about!