The noise of 40 someodd cars racing past you at over 150 miles an hours is enormous. The ground shakes as the blurr of color and sound jet down the track. All heads turn in unison to follow the pack of highly paid, highly skilled drivers with their cars screaming down the back stretch into turn three.
Before you knew it they were back again dropping out of turn two, flying past us and on to turn three. B was elated, cheering and clapping as they came around again and again. Directly in front of us was a giant big screen, jumbo-tron thing that showed us turn four and the front stretch which were out of our view. The crowed would stand and cheer when Dale Jr made it to the front.
It does not matter who your favorite driver is you always cheer for an Earnhardt, especially at the track that claimed his fathers life. The race continued on with a dash of excitement every 20 or 30 laps. A near miss here, a spin there, over all a very good race. But perhaps the most exciting thing was the stable of Hendricks drivers who were battling for the lead. Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr, and Jimmy Johnson were all near the front, oh yeah that Busch Kid was up around as well not Hendrick but use to be).
So as for that whole planning and controlling thing this was one part of the day I could not control. But if I could have I could not have planned it better then what was unfolding. After the first round of pit stops it left Jeff Gordon in the lead. Jeff Gordon in the lead! Oh how cool, B's first big race, his favorite driver was in the lead, great weather, I wasn't mad anymore and did I mention JEFF GORDON WAS IN THE LEAD!!!
Jeff maintained the lead for the majority of the race only exchanging it with his teammate Dale Jr. I was surprised and pleased the 4 hour race kept my 5year olds attention for virtually the entire time. Yes we had a few moments of fidgeting and an occasional when will it be over, but for the most part he was very involved. With his intensity toward the leading Jeff Gordon he began to convert the fans around us whom may not have been cheering for JG IF B was not there.
His enthusiasm and excitement was contagious. When Jeff would overtake the lead from Dale Jr. the groups sitting behind us and in front of us would wait for B-mans reaction and then would giggle and talk among themselves saying how cute he was.
I was very surprised at how much B could put together. From the announcements being played over the loud speakers he could figure out what was happening all over the track. If someone passed JG on the stretch we could not see he would hear the announcer comment on the pass. He would immediately say, Jeff got passed or he's back in 1st place. I was surprised, I found it hard to hear the announcer much less tell what he was saying. Most children would not be focused enough to even pay attention, and to hear and realize this person is talking about the race. Lap after lap the cars passed, a cold lemonade and a pretzel later we were nearing the end. 20 laps, JG in the Lead. The announcers said it was all but over, but the race was heating up.
The cars were closer together pushing and shoving in the corners to get the best spot to gain ground on the straight aways. Jeff was still in the lead but a few cars were jockeying for a spot to overtake the Dominate Jeff Gordon. 10 laps to go. Oh my gosh this would be the best day ever if at B's first big race his favorite driver pulled into victory lane. We were on pins and needles as each lap wound down. Each lap the other competitors became more aggressive to apply pressure on the leader.
Any other driver would have crack under the pressure but Jeff is a seasoned veteran this type of pressure situation was what he loves. He is a multiple cup champion and has equaled or beaten many of the forefathers of racing records in victories.
This was turning out to be a battle to the end. At lap eight B would scream, " Eight more laps Jeff, hold on you can do it". as the pack of cars would pass.
Seven more laps Jeff, and so on.
Five laps to go, It was a sure thing, Jeff had to win. WE had not been in our seats for the past 20 laps or so and we were scared to watch each time the pack came through a turn. It seemed a lot of bumpen and rubbin was going on in the turns, Kyle Bush was very aggressive and grabbed the lead late in the race. Jeff poised himself to regain the lead with 3 laps to go, and then it happened!