You'll love it, I tell her. I was a reluctant race attendee at first, after all, and now I'm a huge fan. It's one of the highlights of our summer, going to the track; watching practices and qualifying runs and other races leading up to the main event.
Sometimes we get to meet and talk to the drivers,
or watch the mechanics working on the cars.
The races are fun and exhilarating, I assured my friend.
L. is a football fan. We go as much to socialize as we do to watch the games.
"Isn't racing loud?" she asks.
Yes, you need ear protection.
"So when do you talk to each other?"
"But, doesn't it...smell? Like fumes?" she says, wrinkling her nose.
It smells like exhaust and fuel and motor oil and rubber.
We love it.
But it also smells like popcorn and funnel cakes and French fries and pizza.
You get to meet all kinds of people, too; NASCAR fans, open-wheel fans, and folks who show up knowing nothing about racing but just want to have a good time.
There's always at least one fellow sitting near you who, every time Danica Patrick drives past, stands up and pumps his fist and yells, "WOO-HOO!"
I'm told that the Indy Car crowds are more subdued and laid back than NASCAR crowds.
Someday I'll go to a NASCAR race and find out for myself.
Soon racing season will be over. We'll be planning our next trip to a race.
Perhaps the Indy 500? We'll see.
(All photos taken by yours truly at Mid-Ohio in August 2010, and Baltimore in September 2011.)