Racetrack Seating

Published May 2008                                                                  Dale Wilkerson

      When you purchase a ticket for a NASCAR race, it is like a lease agreement. Yes you must have a ticket for access to the facility, but that ticket also entitles you the use of a small piece of furniture for the length of the event. Why can’t NASCAR fans use their seats?
       Now for fans that end up in the lower rows, I know why. The buildings, trucks, campers, signs and all the team flags that the infield fans feel it necessary to fly limit their line of sight. When these folks stand, the folks behind them have to stand or they can’t see at all.
       The Lowe’s Motor Speedway recently re-worked over 22,000 of their front stretch seats. These seats are box still so fans can be more comfortable. Some fans choose to sit in the corners. The Diamond Tower Terrace gives you a great view of the track.
Between these tower and terrace seating levels is the Ford Terrace. Most of these seats can see the entire track, except for a small portion of the backstretch that the scoring tower blocks. That is where I sat for the 600 Sunday. Once I got over the shock of how high, and steep these seats were, I took in the view.
We could see the entire track, except for that small part of the backstretch, from our seat. When the Pre-race show began, the U.S. Army Helicopters were literally in front of us. I mean, the pilots looked out the window and they were looking straight at us, not down at us, but straight at us.
      After a very Patriotic Pre-race show, where every thing was awesome except for the singer thinking the National Anthem is a jazz-improve piece, we all settled in for the 600 miles event. Well, I thought we settled in.
I expected folks to stand for the start of the race, but a lot of them did not want to set down. The folks in front of us would take their seat for a while, but then they would jump back up to their feet, especially if Dale Earnhardt Jr. was passing anything. That’s right, anything.
      Some people say you have to stand to cheer for a driver so he knows you are happy with what he is doing on the track. I don’t think any driver really takes the time to look to see if any one is standing. I have heard drivers say they can hear the fans cheering, but if they are looking to see who, or how many, are standing for them, they might pull a Buddy Baker.
     Ole’ Lead-foot Baker was leading a race one time, running away with it, when he started waving at the fans. He was looking at the fans and not out his windshield. Baker ran over another car. He didn’t win the race because of the fans that were standing and waving at him. I wonder how many Baker fans that day felt like they caused him to loose that race?
     A few times at Rockingham, my group would sit row one, in the first turn tower. We stood for the prayer, the National Anthem, and took our seats. See we knew the feeling of having folks stand in front of us blocking our view. So much to our surprise, when the cars rolled off pit road, the folks in row two jumped to their feet. We asked them why stand when you can see the same thing from your seat? They said they wanted to see more. Then someone from our group said to them, “You should have bought better seats.”
     At Lowe’s we could not have had a better seat, unless we had the front row of the section we were in. Maybe next year we can get those, or maybe I will watch it from home. Nobody stands for lap after lap in front of me and I could call my favorite Pizza Delivery folks, Pizza Perfect, and have supper brought to me for what it cost to park, in someone’s yard near the track.