Just a quick lil post about yesterday’s outing to the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL for our first ever NASCAR race! I took like a 100 pics there yesterday and finally go it paired down to the 54 in the slideshow above (confession, I did not edit them because I wanted to get this post up quickly, lo siento). My husband took the cool panorama!
To start with, I felt like I needed to dress the part so I decided to run to Old Navy and pick up these overalls! They are unbelievably comfortable and affordable. After that, I felt like we ready to go. After about a 30 min drive on I355 to I80, this massive speedway seemed to appear almost out of nowhere. The Chicagoland Speedway is located in a sea of cornfields deep in Joliet. Parking was pretty easy – the man at the gate pointed us to an open field where a few other directed us neatly into a row with other cars. People were tailgating all around us, but we decided to head in, explore and find our seats since we had never been before. We couldn’t wait to get in because even from way out in the parking lot, you could hear the roar of the cars warming up inside.
First lesson was learned on our way in…outside the speedway there are booths to rent noise canceling headsets. These are the good ones outside that allow you listen to the commentating and/or even watch it on a mini screen along with being able to still communicate with the group you came with via microphones. I was convinced there would be more stands like this inside the stadium; however, there were not. So my recommendation would be to check these booths out and rent from there. Inside the speedway luckily there was an apparel booth that did end up selling the noise canceling headsets, but these didn’t have the batteries for the radio portion of the headset nor did the stand sell batteries. On top of that, we couldn’t talk each other lol…so yea, definitely rent the ones outside. Those headsets are WAY better. Also, yes! You do need either ear plugs at the minimum or noise canceling headphones. The cars are insanely loud. We left ours off during the start of the race and a few restarts just to feel the noise. That is how loud it is – the hairs on your body stand up, and you literally shake it the cars engines are that loud. It’s a really cool experience. Another tip is, if you care to, you can bring a small cooler of beverages into the speedway. The full details of what’s permitted inside can be found here. Inside the speedway, there is basically only carnival food. I’m not joking – they literally just open up various carnie stands so prepare yourself for some funnel cakes, corn dogs, turkey legs and dip n dots. I did see ONE smoothie stand which I did not actually go to investigate, but I’m sure that they somehow managed to make those smoothies unhealthy. During a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem, parachuters jumped out of a plane with a giant American flag and red, white and blue banner, making the Anthem just that much better.
As you can imagine, the cars around track over and over again for 200 laps in this particular race. In the beginning, it’s kinda like slightly a little boring just because there is so much ground to cover. Cautions, when something like a crash or a car malfunctions and they need to clean up the track, were actually kind of welcomed because the cars have to go slower; therefore, the engines aren’t as loud at this time. We could take off our headsets and talk. Some people would use this as a bathroom break. It’s also cool because a lot of drivers pit (get their tires changed, gas filled up, etc.) – I would recommend bringing binoculars if you have them so you can get a good look at the pit road action. Those guys are incredible!
For pretty much whole race Kyle Busch (car 54) competed with Matt Kenseth (car 20). Busch lead for a 102 out the 200 laps. I tried get some decent pictures of them battling it out above in the slideshow. Kyle Busch won the race in the end, taking the checkered flag. The final few laps and ending were by far the most exciting part of the race. Kyle sped around while fireworks burst in the background! Don’t mind my crappy fireworks picture, I’m working on my photography, and I warned you that I didn’t edit these. Here are a few videos of Kyle Busch getting the checkered flag and driving off:
Once the race ended, we hustle back out to our car as we knew the parking lot would be a nutso traffic jam. Getting out turned out to actually be kind of okay…maybe taking about like 10 minutes. They do route you away from I80, so we followed the signs to get to I55 to get to highways, which kind of works for Chicagoans and Suburbanites because you can just shoot that back up north to home.
All in all, our NASCAR experiencing was super fun. The cars are truly awesome, and the race (especially the end) are very exciting. We definitely plan on going back again next year!
Wet Hair, Don’t Care