Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Guest TB: It's Not Just About Left Turns

TigerBlog is still trying to process the season finale of "The Following," which left him with one thought: "Eh." It had a dramatic turn at the end, though it was fairly obvious it was going to. And it had the requisite "no way anyone in law enforcement would in a million years do that" moments that, combined with the random contrived plot twists, ruined what had been a promising show. And TB still can't figure out what the point of the cult was in the first place, or how anyone is supposed to believe that putting this cult together from death row would actually be remotely possible in the first place. 

Anyway, because he's still sorting all of that out, TB has turned over the floor today to East Carolina Director of Marketing Scott Jurgens, who formerly held the same position here at Princeton and is an all-time TB favorite. Scott writes about his experiences at a NASCAR race, something TB has never never attended, though he did get caught in awful traffic near Dover, Del., once, prior to a race. 

Princeton is down to only a few remaining sports for the 2012-13 academic year, with home rowing and Heps track and field this weekend and then IC4A track and field at home later this month as the only events on campus still to go. 

There is already NCAA championship participation set for some teams and individuals, and two others - men's and women's lacrosse - have huge weekends coming up to determine if they'll join their respective NCAA parties.

 For today, though, TB thought he'd let Scott talk about his NASCAR experiences, and so Scott Jurgens, the floor is yours:

 In 2005 after graduating from Boise State University it was in my best interest to get out of my comfort zone, expand my mind and advance my career by leaving the Gem State and heading to a job opportunity in the state of Ohio. Since then I have worked in New Jersey and now in North Carolina at East Carolina University. I have been fortunate to meet some great people in my time since I left Idaho and have worked at some amazing universities. One of my strengths has been to have an open mind, open to all beliefs and people, adapting to my environment and embracing the culture that I have been in while not forgetting where I have come from, as well as remembering YOLO - at least that is what the kids are calling it - which is You Only Live Once. This past Saturday an opportunity came up to once again YOLO and embrace the culture that I am in and do something that I had never done before.

After attending an ECU fundraising event Saturday afternoon in Virginia Beach, a few friends and I embarked on the two-hour journey west to attend the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Speedway, my first-ever NASCAR Race. 

Working in athletics, one rarely has to pay for tickets to other athletic events, and I was fortunate enough to obtain a few tickets to the race from former Princeton staff member and now Assistant Commissioner for Championships at the CAA, Steve Kanaby. From the moment that we parked, I knew that this was something I had never seen before. 

Upon arriving, I learned the hard way that hard coolers were not permitted into the race. I then proceeded to the Rite Aid across the street and bought arguably the most expensive soft cooler one could buy. 

Here is a list of must have items for your first race: a good camera, a fully charged phone, a soft cooler, ear plugs, cash because it is not cheap to park (we got lucky and were only charged $25), not your best clothes and lastly, an open mind. 

By the time we left the car it was 6:45 pm, and since it was a 7:30 pm race we were doing okay on time. Next time I go to a NASCAR race I will get there lot earlier because the number of displays and other things for fans to do is amazing. NASCAR does a great job of engaging its fans with displays by their drivers and their corporate sponsors. 

Once we found our seats, the announcer was finishing up introducing each driver. Our seats were great as they were located between Turns 2 and 3 on the backstretch and in great view of the Sprint videoboard.  That is right the Sprint videoboard: Another great lesson that I learned this weekend was that anything and everything is for sale at a NASCAR Race. 

From there, they began with a moment of silence for the victims of Boston and West, Texas, the invocation, the pledge of the allegiance, the national anthem and colors and then a flyover by vintage T-28B Trojans. 

Once the race began, the people-watching began. I was truly amazed how long everyone stood. Also every time a person’s favorite driver drove by they would raise their beverage or take off their hat and wave it to cheer them on. About halfway through the race, I decided I would walk around the track to get a different perspective on things. From being at some points only five feet from the track during the race, to having a better appreciation on how fast the cars are going, and lastly seeing a lot of fellow Pirate Fans, the experience was just an added bonus to a great night at the track.

For me, the whole day was an education from what a caution is to the love people have for their sport and drivers. As it turned out, cautions late in the race dictated how this race would finish as a late caution cost the leader at the time, Juan Pablo Montoya, the race. In the end, Kevin Harvick won a Green-White-Checker finish, which is like an overtime period.  

Hype and excitement are a huge part of NASCAR and they deliver on both. 

In closing, if you are on the fence about heading to Talladega this weekend or Daytona next February for the Daytona 500, NASCAR is a must for any sports fan to at least try once.  


Anonymous said...

Folks culturally removed from NASCAR can easily be unaware of the machining genius of the car builders and the athleticism of the pit crews. The latter boast a choreography that would rival any offensive line in football.

Anonymous said...

What about Barnaby? Was he there?