Daytona 500, 2011

Most of you know that every year I get the opportunity to fly down to Daytona Beach, FL and get to go to the Daytona 500.There is a group that has been going for 9 years now.The first year it was just me, my brother Corey, my dad, and Gavin Wilkinson.The next year we added Gavin’s dad Bobby. And then either a year or two after that we added the Roachs, Travis, Trent, and their dad Duane.We all have our favorite drivers that we cheer for which makes it fun.

Well…I take that back.My dad doesn’t have a driver and who knows if he will eventually or not.See, he is good friends with a guy named Ken Schrader.Now, many of you probably haven’t heard of Ken Schrader, but to diehard NASCAR fans, they know who he is.Anyway, he is older but when we first started this trip he still drove in NASCAR so my dad would cheer for him.But eventually he just didn’t have a ride anymore so my dad should have picked someone else to cheer for, but for some reason can’t seem to pick anyone.I don’t know what the deal is, but he just sort of plays the field every year and picks someone at the end that is still running and goes with him for the end of the race.

So I was down in Daytona this past weekend watching the race and it was a great weekend.We went to the Nationwide Series race on Saturday and most of us got fried by the sun because we didn’t apply the proper amount of sunscreen before the race.We then drove to Orlando, Fl to stay the night because finding a hotel around Daytona is a disaster.

The next morning, race day, we get up and drive back to the track.We get there pretty early in order to go onto the infield where we get our prime spots to get really close to the drivers and celebrities.See the video below.

So those were pretty much the highlights of the day for me because at lap 16 my driver, Kevin Harvick, blew his engine and was done for the day.So I pretty much just enjoyed the weather for the rest of the race and slowly watched more of drivers get knocked out of the race from wrecks.Races like Sunday’s don’t make for too much drama within our group because most of drivers were knocked out or laps down by the end of the race and no one was cheering or caring too much.The racing was still entertaining and we still had a blast.

As soon as that checkered flag waves we are out of the stands on our way back to a van that will take us to the plane.And we run about 1 – 1.5 miles to the van because we have to be first so we can get in line to take off from the airport.This is very important because it is no fun sitting on a runway for an hour or 2 after the race is over because everyone else is flying out as well (we have experienced that before).

This is a tradition that I hope continues for a long, long time.

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