NASCAR: Day 1-2

December 6, 2012

Never say never.  If you had asked me if I would ever attend a NASCAR event, not only would I have laughed at you, I would have said never.  Thus, no one was more surprised than myself when I agreed to a weekend of NASCAR events.  Two things pushed me to say yes: 1) I am a big believer in doing things outside of my comfort zone, as it ultimately makes me a better person and 2) I am a big believer in Toyota and I was asked to go on their behalf as part of the Toyota Women Influencer Network (TWIN).  I was also tempted by the fact that no travel would be involved, since the events were taking place in my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.  After months of non-stop travel, a staycation at the gorgeous and centrally located Hyatt House Charlotte was definitely in order.

Hyatt House Charlotte

Our day began bright and early at a Toyota family event held at the Joe Gibbs Racing Center.  There we were able to meet Coach Gibbs himself and receive a special behind-the-scenes tour of everything that comprises Toyota Racing.

Joe is one of those guy’s that exudes confidence, ambition, and an insatiable desire to constantly improve himself all while retaining a strong moral compass.  He explained to us that he had never been a huge racing fan and that the sport had somehow found him (most people know him as the ex-Washington Redskins Coach), however now it is his greatest passion in life and he is determined to make Toyota Racing the best team in NASCAR.

Until you see race cars in person, you will never comprehend the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into making them.  Behind each one is a dedicated and loyal team that works almost every single day of the year.  NASCAR employees only take breaks during Christmas and New Year.

The main event of the day was at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, where we would be watching the Dollar General 300 from a luxurious Toyota executive suite.  We were each issued “Hot Passes”, which granted us VIP access to just about everywhere.

As the cars began to come out onto the track the infectious excitement in the air was palpable.  It was time for the show to begin!

For hours we watched as the cars zoomed around the track; they were so powerful that they shook the suite we were in each time they passed by.  I honestly thought I would be bored after a couple of minutes, but I found myself endlessly daydreaming about what it would be like to be able to drive a car that fast as my profession, since speeding driving fast is my greatest vice.

Before I knew it, the race was almost over and since it was clear that a Toyota car was going to win, we were rushed to the Winners Circle in the middle of the track.  Cars were still whizzing by at around 190 miles per hour while we waited for someone to cross the finish line first.

A winner emerged from the smoke and dust and it was the car Call of Duty with Toyota Racing driver Joey Logano behind the wheel.

Want to know what victory looks like after racing in a car for 300 miles?  It looks like this:

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of Toyota.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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48 thoughts on “NASCAR: Day 1-2

    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      Thanks! I was actually working on another article at the same time believe it or not and was mentioning the Cowboys and got my wires crossed. Thanks for the heads up. Error has been fixed!

    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      I was pretty shocked I said yes as well, but it was a HUGE rush!!! I seriously had the best time. I’m not going to become a NASCAR fan, but I wouldn’t say no to free tickets in the future…

  1. Katie @ Domestiphobia

    SPECTACULAR shots of the race! I am seriously blown away. NASCAR isn’t really my thing either, but that looks like such a cool experience. And speeding is also a vice of mine — I once got a ticket for going 20 over. On a military installation. Driving a government vehicle.


    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      Hahahahahaha I LOVE you!!!!!! We would be such good friends IRL I know it. Thanks for your kind words re: my pics. Honestly I thought I was going to regret going, but I had so so so much fun.

  2. Andrea

    I imagine these cars aren’t as noisy as Formula 1? Melbourne would have those races when we lived there and you could hear them for miles! Sounds like a great day out.

    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      I’m not sure if they are as noisy or not, they were EXTREMELY loud, had to wear something in my ears to protect them. But I know that Formula 1 cars go faster.

  3. hayley

    Excellent photos – you capture the noise and colour very artfully. What a fantastic opportunity you had to see the action at such close quarters. I’m a NASCAR fan and planning a trip over from New Zealand to attend an event next year… can’t wait!

    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      Yes, we left the first night much later than most people and then the second night much earlier than most people, so we were able to avoid that craziness!!! The engine power was INCREDIBLE!!

  4. Alex

    Good for you for going outside your comfort zone! And these are definitely the most beautiful NASCAR photos I’ve ever seen… almost tempts me to go!

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