Against my better judgement and upbringing, I made my way to the golden jean-shorted coasts of Florida for a friend's bachelor party at the Daytona 500 over the weekend. Upon hearing of my trip, Fearless Leader asked if I would document my travels and perhaps provide some accompanying blurry photos in between the left turns and cases of Pabst so that we could all share in one of the most epically neck-reddening spectacles in these here free states of a united America. The following is a diary of those events...or at least the closest thing I could come to a diary, what with all the North Florida going on all around me to distract the literary process. It was full on green-flag racing from the onset:
9:30 AM: I packed light figuring wearing the same thing for multiple days is a generally acceptable practice in Daytona. I did, however pack my Sunday best for race day. Go Noles.
12:30 PM: Layover in Atlanta. The gate for my flight is strategically placed between a bar and a Popeyes Chicken. I watch a Tony Stewart fan devour 3 chicken breasts, a butter-bathed corn on the cobb, and 3 biscuits in about 3 1/3 minutes. He is the current pole sitter for untimely in-flight heart attack.
1:42 PM: Just waiting to board the flight to Daytona...
1:42:30 PM: ...FUCKING WEBSTER!
1:50 PM: Pre-boarding. Wes Welker is on my flight. Seeing him and Webster in the span of about 10 minutes cannot be coincidence.
2:15 PM: Plane full of Nascar fans. Smack talk being tossed around between Kyle Busch and Clint Boyer fans. One man sits alone in a Danica Patrick t-shirt.
3:30 PM: Touch down in Daytona. Airport is right next to the track, ensuring that the headline "Firey plane crash at Daytona Motor Speedway, Sunday race to go on as scheduled" will someday be written.
3:53 PM: Picked up by the rest of my party, who have been drinking at some place called "Cruisers" since noon. The sentence "My beard still smells like whip cream!" gets uttered in a celebratory tone.
5:00 PM: Met the Mayor of Daytona Beach within the first hour at the bar.
7:15 PM: Walking the streets in Daytona, it's hard to tell the prostitutes from the Florida fans.
10:28 PM: MNIAUDGBEYVFGWBIDUPNFVJDKL:GHJAGERBOMBSNDWUIBHDYWVYIO>
12:23 AM: UPSET REVELATION OF THE WEEKEND: It is illegal, I say again, ILLEGAL, to get your nipples pierced on Daytona Beach. If you go to a piercing place on the beach, and request that your nipples be pierced, they will put you in a van, take you across the bay, and then lawfully pierce your nipples in said van while on the mainland, and then bring you back to Daytona Beach.
2:36 AM: Go Gata
11:30ish AM: I WANT TO DIE.
12:25 PM: Pigs in a blanket and a bloody mary...death averted.
4:00 PM: Beer run
4:40 PM: Return from beer run to see that debris flew up in the stands during the Nationwide race and injured people.
4:41 PM: Checks tickets. Sees we are sitting in generally the same area on Sunday.
4:42 PM: Return to Daytona Beach to resume drinking.
7:40 PM: First offensive tattoo of the weekend. Heil Tide!
9:16 PM: Convinced the rest of the group that a Meth Lab syndicate could do very well down here. May have potential investors.
10:31 PM: SEC! SEC! SEC!
11:47 PM Bar tender explains to me that there are only two kinds of women that work in Daytona...strippers and bar tenders, and all of the bar tenders are strippers.
2:24 AM: Some words of wisdom from the bar bathroom stall in preparation for tomorrow's race.
8:30 AM: Leave to head to the track. Hungover and angry. 1 PM Eastern start time. The Daytona 500 is the JP 11:30 kickoff of NASCAR races.
9:45 AM: They are charging $40 to park in the Waffle House parking lot next to the track. This just seems wrong.
10:30 AM: Load up ice chests and backpacks with beer. The Daytona 500, as is with all great events in life, is BYOB.
11:25 AM: The Daytona 500 Fan Fest area...where the longest lines are for free samples of Skoal Wintergreen Longcut and to get your picture taken on the Crown Royal "King's Thrown".
11:43 AM: A Daytona 500 port-o-john is less a place for bladder relief and more a testing ground of desire.
11:52 AM: This guy
12:17 PM: Walking into the track. Overhear that Ray Lewis is somehow involved in the pre-race activities. Hope he's wearing a motor oil-drenched white fur coat.
12:26 PM: Inside of the track. It has all of the charm of a flea market with the structural integrity of Neyland Stadium after an F5 tornado.
12:43 PM: Pre-race interview with 50 Cent. Going to NASCAR is such a G move, Curtis.
12:55 PM: Zac Brown Band performs before the start. Zac Brown is wearing a knit cap. It is almost 90 degrees. Zac Brown has the worst trademark ever.
1:02 PM: "RACERS....AND DANICA, START YOUR ENGINES!!!" - announces grand marshall and huge NASCAR draw, James Franco.
1:05 PM: Left turns.
1:25 PM: Stopped by the kill zone.
2:25 PM: Left turns
2:36 PM: A lady sitting in front of me with a Jeff Gordon shirt on stands up and cheers on her driver. She has a foam #1 finger on one hand and a bag of pork rinds in the other.
2:55 PM: Hotdog covered in macaroni and cheese with bacon.
3:05 PM: Left turns
3:25 PM: I may or may not have just fallen asleep for a minute.
3:40 PM: CRASH LOAD NOISES SMOKE FIRE WOOOOOO DALE JR!
3:55 PM: Jimmie Johnson pulls it out. That's Miami 2, NCAA 0.
4:00 PM: I too finished the race strongly.
Thank you Daytona...you were a gracious hostess...a gracious hostess with a meth habit and a rampant prostitution subculture...but gracious nonetheless.