Ford is in a lot of racing series all of which have their own followings and nuances, but NASCAR really is the 600 pound gorilla in the room when it comes to US racing. I could write about the things I saw for hours (instead I took pictures when they weren't looking) but there are two things that really stand out. First of all is the massive scale of everything. The stands hold over 100,000 people and that is reduced from what they are before, there are people camping everywhere... literally living at the track for a week and the noise. It is loud. as. hell. We were there for qualifying as opposed to the race itself since I had a wedding to attend, but when even half the cars are on the track at once its constant noise. The other thing that you can't help but notice is what a well oiled machine everything is. The Nationwide Series (big leagues) runs 39 races a year, (36 for points) and there are NASCAR employees, sponsor employees, team employees, press people and a lot others that are right alongside the cars and drivers at every stop. It was sort of like going backstage and hanging with the roadies and production crew at a concert and seeing what life on tour was like. Like a band, everyone definitely seemed to be a big family that had been together for a long time, and it was really cool to see all the people who live NASCAR week to week behind the scenes. Every thing has a sponsor, a schedule, a person in charge of it and has been perfected by doing it 39 times a year, year after year.
Working with Ford racing has been cool in that it's something that is so specific to the auto industry and is a big point of pride at the company (you're literally racing other car companies to see who's fastest) and Ford has an especially rich history. All of the teams and drivers came to visit with employees at WHQ, as well as a meet and greet in the morning at the Ford Racing offices where I met Carl Edwards and yes, Richard Petty and you can see what it means to the people who work here. You may not know this but Jalopnik recently named it the automaker with the greatest racing history of all time, so it's been really cool to be involved in that. So thank you to Ford and Tim who showed us every corner of NASCAR and what goes into putting on such a massive show week to week, it was a great day.