I wasn't able to make it to Daytona this weekend, because I have anything better to do... but I did dispatch my special correspondent, Luke.
Luke used to be a dangerous man... if I had sent him five years ago, he'd have started the day with a bottle of breakfast Beam, made best friends with some hearty southerners, slept with a 45-year-old Tony Stewart groupie, gotten a rebel flag tattoo, and then cried himself to sleep because no one loves him.
But that was then, and this is now. Luke is married now, and took his wife Ann with him to the race. Anyway, Luke actually ended up winning a trip to the race on a radio show this week, he flew down to Daytona this morning, and has been filing intermittent reports via Blackberry. His first report can be found by clicking that pretty little link below.
5:45 am, Dulles airport. Free Southwest tickets to Orlando, bus ride to Daytona Beach, and free tickets to the Daytona 500. All courtesy of The Junkies.
It's an interesting group of people headed down to sunny F-L-A. The wife is sporting her newly acquired Greg Biffle hat. I currently have no gear, but you can bet the Toyota gear is getting purchased (I advised him to get a Karate Kid headband, with the big red sun in the middle)... and some redneck is gonna punch me in the kidney.
We've become acquainted with our fellow contest winners. There's a couple of middle-aged Dale Jr. fans, a younger yuppie couple (the wife definitely likes to complain). And there are two young bucks, who apparently got jumped and mugged in downtown Orlando last night. One dude, head to toe in Tony Stewart gear, bleeds spontaneously and profusely from his hands, completely unprovoked.
We've got a 2 hour car ride from Orlando to Daytona. Andrea, our van driver, is not a fan of me drinking in the car. The bloody fighting guy doesn't like it, either. They don't have a chance.
The older couple are questioning Andrea constantly about when we'll get there. And they're not fans of foreigners. I overhear this conversation.
Guy: "There ain't no black NASCAR drivers."
Old man: "Cause they won't let any of them even in the building."
Meanwhile, the young yuppie couple. Well, she set them free in a tank top. She's packing planets.
I've never been in a more uncomfortable place. It's fucking cold.