My Earliest NASCAR Memories

Jeff Gordon celebrates after winning the 2005 Daytona 500 Photo- Getty Images
Jeff Gordon celebrates after winning the 2005 Daytona 500 Photo- Getty Images

Memories.

The moments you reflect back on your whole life. The good memories come along with the bad memories but, the good ones are the ones that shine brightest. The thing you enjoy most in life probably has many memories to go along with it. The most special memory of your passion in life? Well, it is always the first memory of that special something in your life. For me, that passion is NASCAR. My earliest memories of NASCAR are some of the most celebrated memories I have. My earliest NASCAR memories are still vivid in my mind and forever will be.

Today is my birthday. Every year when February 16th rolls around, I am constantly reminded of my first memories of NASCAR. 2005 was the year that changed my life. NASCAR entered my life that year and it hasn’t left since. February 20, 2005 was the day of the 47th running of the Daytona 500. That day also happened to be my seventh birthday party. While I was with my friends during the party, my dad and some of his friends were watching the Daytona 500.

I took a break from the party action and went in with my dad to see what he was up to. He was watching the NASCAR race, so I decided to sit down with him and watch it for a little while. I loved the sight of the cars going around the track while they were going fast, real fast. At that time, what I didn’t realize was that eight years later, I would be still watching the fast cars go around the track.

I watched that race more intently and deeply than any average seven year-old would have. I don’t remember much about that race other than that was the first taste of NASCAR I would ever get. From that day on, I was hooked on watching fast cars drive in a circle. Eight years later, I would still be doing the same thing every weekend. At that time, I never realized how important that February day would be. What if I didn’t watch the race? Would I still have the same love for racing I do today? That’s a reality, which I hope to never live. NASCAR is such a big part of my life that I can never imagine a life without it.

2005 was a huge year for me. I started watching NASCAR that year and I remember so much about some of those races which are now everlasting memories in my head. Watching those cars drive around in circles changed me for the better. I remember the Aaron’s 499 from 2005 very vividly. That race featured a twenty-five car pile-up and Jeff Gordon went on to win in that Pepsi car with my favorite shades of blue. For some reason, I have never forgotten about that race and to this day, it is still one of my all-time favorites.

That year was also the first time I attended a NASCAR race at Dover in September. Jimmie Johnson went on to win that race and I remember his burn-out from that race, a little too clearly. That day also had placed permanent racing memories in my head like when I first got to the track and I tried to walk over the bridge to the infield. Being seven at the time, I had no idea you couldn’t do that. A nice lady stopped me from crossing the bridge, which I now realize is only for people with special access. That day was when I smelled the Sunoco gasoline and the rubber on the track for the first time and ever since, I crave to smell that smell all the time.

For reasons I will never know, my earliest memories of NASCAR will always have a place in my memory, or rememory as Miss Kay from Duck Dynasty calls it. That day I sat down and watched the cars go fast will always be important to me because that’s the day I first witnessed NASCAR. The best memories I have in my fourteen years are from NASCAR. NASCAR is the relaxation in my life and relaxing every Sunday afternoon while watching a NASCAR race will always be my favorite thing to do. Eight years of NASCAR in my life has only created great memories and I hope a lifetime at the track will only create even more amazing memories.

By Jason Schultz

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