You know you’re working in a good (admittedly remote) office when an email for writers’ favourite races goes out and all the replies come flooding in within five minutes.
Spanning the globe and a whole number of different eras, it’s amazing what memories stand out, be they individual driver performances or tiny details like the way one driver leant his head into a corner. There’s even a near-riot in NASCAR in our list.
First up, then, it’s Jim Holder with that infamous NASCAR race. Be prepared to descend down a YouTube rabbit warren if you click the link.
Let us know which was your favourite in the comments below.
2006 NASCAR UAW-Ford 500
“Time to leave.”
It was an emphatic statement backed up by my travelling companion leaping to his feet, picking up his belongings and marching for the exit - an unusual response to the chequered flag being waved just nano-seconds before on what I now regard as the greatest event I ever attended.
It had been a long, hot day at Talledega, particularly for two bright-eyed Brits trying to squeeze in as much NASCAR racing into a two-week break as possible.
Unlike my companion, I’d never watched at a Superspeedway before, where the cars pass in tight packs, just a few metres and a wire fence away, at more than 200mph. That was pretty amazing.
So too was watching the race with upwards of 150,000 fans, 80,000 or so of whom were packed in the grandstands with us, and 79,998 of whom, on my wide-eyed estimation, brought their guns out for the day. I prefered a corn dog in my hand, and we seemed to get along just fine with the Alabama crowd.
Superspeedway racing, I soon learned, was like high-speed chess, at least in the early laps, drivers biding their time while trying to edge up the field, choosing a line and then hanging in there. It was an extraordinary sight, boosted by the fact that home favourite Dale Earnhardt Jr was at the sharp end.
Bang, bang, bang. The sights and sounds of the cars punching through the air was intoxicating, the lead battle never less than a hair-width apart. As the laps counted down Earnhardt Jr led from his (and the crowd’s) nemesis, Jimmie Johnson, with his team-mate Brian Vickers behind, ready to ‘bump draft’ him into the attack, an amazing tactic whereby a following car literally uses the tow to close up and tap the one ahead a few mph faster at 200mph. With every lap the atmosphere became more intense, the crowd willing their man on and excitement building in anticipation of what we all knew was coming.