In other sports, home games happen just as often as away games. But racing is different. We spend almost the entire season at away games. The sport as a whole only gets two home weekends a year; the 600 weekend in May and the October night race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Both offer a welcome respite from the usual grind of the season.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I always enjoy the chances to go racing here in Charlotte. It’s like every other weekend in that I still get to do what I love, but it always seems to mean a little more getting to do it close to home.
One thing you always notice about the Charlotte races is the amount of people roaming around the garage area and on pit road during the race. Besides the usual suspects, the proximity to home allows many friends and family who don’t normally get to see what we do to come out and spend the weekend with us. The credential lists for these weekends always end up full because of the extra requests.
On top of that, it’s nice to not have to travel to a far away race track. Instead of long plane rides or crowded van trips, it’s only a short drive for most to the track. And it’s nice at the end of the day to be able to go home and sleep in your own bed.
And I don’t know if you happen to notice a difference, but to me it seems like the racing action is always a little more amped up. I think everyone wants to be able to win in front of a home crowd, so teams bring their “A” games and drivers are a little more aggressive. Charlotte races don’t usually disappoint.
To top it off, the facility at Charlotte really is a great one. The garage and pit areas are nice, and you can’t beat having a half mile dirt track and the greatest drag strip on the planet all in the same complex. Bruton (and Humpy) really did a great job.
For high school and college sports, those homecoming games are always a big deal. The fans come out to support the team, there are a ton of festivities, and you know the games will be hard fought. Racing is not different. Our homecoming weekends mean just as much. There really is no place like home.