**This will be a special 2-part series for OnceEveryThirty. Those who know me now might find it odd bordering on absurd, but as a kid, I was a diehard NASCAR fan. My dad and I spent a weekend at the races long ago, and we decided to re-tell the story here. We didn’t talk to each other as we wrote our accounts. We simply agreed on the event and told our story. It was a revealing experience and a weird experiment on memory! Dad’s story goes first, and mine will be up this afternoon!**
May 28, 1992 Dover, DE
So it’s 26 ½ years since my son and I went to this race, and we are going to record our individual thoughts on the event. Enjoy!
It’s Thursday afternoon, my son and I are headed to Dover for the NASCAR race. Decided to make it a weekend event. We’re going to see Friday’s qualifying, Saturday’s Busch race and then Sunday’s Winston Cup race. We loaded up the pickup and hit the road. Should be at the track early evening. We plan on staying at the track and pickup truck camping for the weekend.
We made it and found our spot outside of turn two. We were parked beside a couple in a RV. It was clear they did not know much about RV’s. They we’re trying to light the hot water heater and failing miserably. I asked if I could be of help, and they gladly accepted. Once I got the pilot light lit they were on their way to hot water, and I was offered hot coffee for the weekend. WIN, WIN!
Friday we headed into the track to watch practice and qualifying. I remember we were able to sit any place. We sat in turn one and very shortly thereafter my dream of racing a stock car crashed and burn with Ricky Rudd’s turn one crash. What I mean is his crash made me realize that there was no way I would be able to do what those drivers were able to do! He hit the turn one wall so hard that the whole stands we were sitting in moved. Oh, and at that time, the walls weren’t safer they were concrete. But, that’s not why my dream died. It was how he got into a backup car and went out and drove it into turn one faster than when he had crashed. I realized at that moment those drivers were amazing or completely nuts.
Later in the day we watched as Clifford Allison blew an engine coming out of turn four, lots of oil and then the car caught fire. He was okay, but in August, he would die in a crash at Michigan International Speedway.
That night or the next Dover race-way had movie night outside of the track entrance. We went over and watched a movie and saw fireworks.
The races on Saturday and Sunday I have no memory of, and the truth be told I had to look up the winners. I found out Saturday’s race was rained out and run on Monday June 1st. The winner was Robert Pressley. Sunday’s race was won by Harry Gant and Dale Earnhardt came in second.
Dale Earnhardt was my son’s favorite driver. He belonged to his fan club and everything. I loved Dale too. He made it easy to cheer for any other driver. I loved to hate him. Only now do I realize he was the best thing NASCAR ever had; he was there black hat guy. You loved him or hated him. There was no in between. He made NASCAR, and, sadly, we fans didn’t even realize that his death was the beginning of the fall of NASCAR.
We headed home after the race and ended up sleeping one more night in the truck as the house was locked up, and I didn’t have my keys.