Chaos in Richmond

It has taken me this long to fully embrace the amount of fun that I had two weekends ago… or perhaps I just did not want to accept the fact that it was over just yet.

What kind of chaos was in Richmond you ask? The kind where cars make left turns at REALLY FAST speeds of course! Yes, I adventured down to Richmond, Virginia for race weekend, and it was fun from the minute we started our road trip.

My best friend and I (or my NASCAR rookie as I like to call her) left Jersey Friday night to be ready for the Xfinity race that took place on Saturday afternoon. A 7 a.m. wake-up time had us at the track by 9 a.m. (okay, we were a little slow on Saturday) to go explore the grounds of Richmond International Speedway. Driver Q&A’s, Fanatic gear, a lot of free stuff, and of course, the Joe Gibbs mascots were also in attendance! We made it inside the track just in time to see the final Cup practice before watching Kyle Larson win the checkered flag in the Xfinity race. It was a busy day full of sightseeing and planning our missions to be accomplished on Sunday.

Sunday morning rolled around and we were at the track by a bright and sunny 8 a.m. where we, and a lot of other fellow fans were ready to take on the Virginia heat. The day consisted of some Monster Energy fun, track-side access (including signing the Start/Finish line, exploring Matt Tift’s hauler, meeting Austin Dillion’s pit crew, and exploring Pit Road), Chase U, and a crazy race!

While we did not get to actually meet Chase Elliott at Chase U (probably for the better, I would have forgotten my name) we did get a quick Q&A with him, in which he mentioned that no, he does not know who will be driving the 88 car next season. After hanging with Chase and Hooters, it was time to watch some short-track racing which for some reason, seemed to have all the action happen right in front of our section. By the way, JR Nation was NOT happy with Jimmie Johnson that day, and where I was sitting, that was obvious.

Come Monday morning when I was back home in Jersey, I was hungry for more racing. While watching Talladega from my couch was nowhere near the same as it would have been being there personally, it was still a heck of a show! Makes me miss Richmond a little more, and has me looking forward to whatever race I attend next!

Yeah, I Live at Concerts

Adding to the concert saga, over the last two weeks I got to see Levi Hummon, Jackie Lee, Dan + Shay, LANCO, and Jake Owen. To say it was fun, is an understatement.

IMG_5797

We begin this chapter with concert number one, featuring Levi Hummon, Jackie Lee, and Dan + Shay…

Levi Hummon, to those who do not know him, well, is an artist you should probably start listening to. His dad Marcus Hummon has written songs for guys like Tim McGraw, and Levi seems to have had music gene rub off on him too. I will be honest and admit that I had not heard of him until that night, but I am a fan now, and you can see why after listening to his son, “Love You Hate You Miss You.”

Jackie Lee followed next, and had me laughing from the moment he came on stage. His songs including “Breakfast,” “Leave the Light On,” and “Getting Over You” have been stuck in my head since the concert, and rightfully so in my opinion. They are CATCHY.

Now, this was my third time seeing Dan + Shay. The first time, they opened for Blake Shelton on the beach in Atlantic City in 2014, then I saw them at Starland Ballroom in 2015… and this time they SOLD OUT Starland Ballroom in 2017. The crowd was loud, crazy, and singing a long to every song including “19 You + Me,” all the way to “How Not To,” which if you have seen the video on their social media, Jersey can sing pretty darn well. Whenever I see these guys, they are always full of energy and a load of fun, and they did not disappoint this time either!

Then, exactly one week later, I got to experience the part that LANCO and Jake Owen throw… and I do not think I was mentally ready for it.

LANCO’s song “Greatest Love Story” is my FAVORITE song at the moment, and after seeing them live, I have to admit that there was not a song I did not love by them. They had such a great performance and got the crowd involved a lot. I had their music downloaded before the night was over, and since then, have been learning the words to all their songs.

My man Jake Owen, who I have loved since “Eight Second Ride” is just as awesome in concert as I pictured him to be. While I did see him at CMA Fest last year, it was much cooler seeing him in a smaller venue, especially when it was a sold out crowd of Jersey rednecks. It was full of flamingos, palm trees and lots of seafoam green!

Ok. I think that catches us all up on the concert shenanigans. This weekend I head to Richmond, Virginia for two days of NASCAR! So, brace yourselves now for that post 🙂

 

The Great American Race

Over the weekend, I pretty much dedicated my nights to a very important event: opening weekend of NASCAR! Sure, majority of people watch just the Daytona 500 on Sunday and call it done – but I decided that if I was going to be a true racing fan, I would give those other guys a shot too. The outcome? I was not disappointed.

You probably remember me talking about my Dover trips last year (Jersey Girls Take on Dover), and how I kind of knew some things about the sport, but I could not tell you much besides some drivers and car numbers. Well this year, I decided to jump right in and become a real fan… even if that requires me to hog the television for hours 🙂

Where I work, I have a few customers who are big racing fans, and one in particular who would constantly come in and give me a rundown of what had happened at all three races, including the latest drama, and even their qualifying and practices. It was pretty overwhelming figuring I pretty much would just keep up with the Cup series and pay attention to only a handful of drivers. Another customer actually attends Daytona and Homestead every year (jealousy is at an all-time high) and last time even brought me back a Chase Elliott shirt since we share him as a driver! I’m still waiting to see what he brings back from last week, he told me it would be a surprise. Being around these customers only made me want to watch racing more to really understand what exactly I was missing out on.

If you watched any of the races over the weekend, it can easily be summed up as CRAZY! The trucks were insane, and constantly wrecking. The Xfinity race had a 90 minute delay, which benefited me because it was while I was still at work, and only had a very small number of cars still out come the final lap. Also – both of those winners were really young – 18 and 23 years old, respectively. So, it was only right to assume that a youngin’ such as Chase Elliott or Ryan Blaney would win the Daytona 500, right? Think again.

Sunday’s race was overwhelming no matter what driver you were rooting for. In the end, only FIVE of the 40 cars came out unscathed by a wreck. For the last 20 laps, it seemed like Chase Elliott was guaranteed his first Cup win… until he, and many others ran out of gas on those final laps. Ultimately, Kurt Busch ended up taking home the win for the weekend, and pretty much well deserved too. Makes me excited for next weekend at Atlanta though, because Elliott is just itching for a win, and something tells me that he is very close to achieving it.

So, that was my weekend summed up in a nutshell. And it will be my weekends for the 40 weeks or so as the season gets underway. Now, the countdown to green, begins!