Interstate Batteries 500

(Sorry that there are no pictures of this race.  My camera developed problems during the Driver Introduction segment, and nothing from that point on turned out.  Boy was I disappointed!  If you are interested in pictures, try the 1998 and 1999 races.  There are some GREAT photos there!)

We had our first taste of a live Winston Cup race in 1997 with the inaugural Interstate Batteries 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.  At the time, we were living in the small West Texas city of Lubbock, so we were overjoyed that NASCAR was finally making its way into our neck of the woods (which is actually more like prairie!)  The race was held just 2 days before Cindy's Dad's birthday, so tickets to the race made for a great birthday gift.  He's been a NASCAR fan for a long time.  Cindy's Mom was only somewhat interested (how could you not be when you watch it every Sunday?), so she tagged along too.

Funds are always too tight, so we opted for infield passes and a very short weekend.  We didn't even start thinking about hotel rooms until February, and found, to our dismay, that nearly every single room in a 30 mile radius was already booked (except the ones that we couldn't afford).  We set out from our hotel room in Garland (East of Dallas and a fairly good distance from the track) at around 6:00 AM, but traffic backed up just a few miles down the road.  We spent hours on the freeway driving approximately 12 miles an hour.  We didn't make it to the track until nearly 10:00 AM.

We made it to the race anyway, obviously, and I think we all had a great time.  We were quite disappointed that we couldn't see much of the race from where we were sitting, but we did get to peek into the garage area now and then, so that was cool.  The worst of it was the fact that ALL of our drivers were caught up in various wrecks/problems throughout the day, and Mom and Christen were ready to go home after Jeff Gordon wrecked.  Fortunately for he rest of us, he made it back out on the track with a severely mangled car, so they decided to stay.  Dad enjoyed himself, but decided he prefers to watch races on TV.  The rest of us went home plotting our strategies for "next year".

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1998 Texas 500