Friday, November 23, 2007

Our 1st Annual Day-After-Thanksgiving Event

We opted to stay home for Thanksgiving this year, one of the reasons being that we thought it was time to start some of our own family traditions, and oh baby, did that decision ever pay off today.

Just as an aside, we did the usual turkey blow-out yesterday. I have little hope of ever being able to completely ditch the turkey on Thanksgiving, but the cornbread dressing I did manage to fight off. I am, however, killing the turkey repeat for Christmas. I'm shamelessly stealing another family's tradition and making curry on Christmas. Somehow it just has a better ring to it.

But back to our Spin Around the Speedway. For the past decade or so, Lowes Motor Speedway, which is only about a 15-minute drive from our house, has sponsored a day-after-Thanksgiving fund raiser for their own children's charity. What they do is open up the track to the public and in exchange for a small donation, you get to drive your own personal vehicle 3 laps around the 1.5 mile speedway. I've wanted to do it since I heard about it last year because we do not have a Porshe or a Corvette or a Mustang. We have a Toyota Sienna mini-van and the thought of racing it around a NASCAR speed track sounds to me like a whole lot of silly.

It was a blustery afternoon so we bundled up the kids and loaded them into the moti...only to discover that the battery was dead.

But you will note from this picture that even the reality of having to jump start the van did not diminish Jeff's enthusiam for the fun that lied ahead.

This is our "ticket". You'll also notice that the gas light is on. But the "race" is only 4.5 miles, so we figured we could make it. That's right, our battery is having issues and we are nearly out of gas. Probably getting ready to drive 70 mph around a banked turn is the last place we should be.

But having come this far, we were not going to get out of line now - especially because we were in FIRST place following only the pace car. Obviously, we're going to WIN! You'll note, some of us took care to wear our crash helmets. And our Buzz Lightyear costume.

We were very, very, very, oh so very, very, very, excited. And when we weren't being excited, we were wishing we had race tires on our van like the ones behind Jeff. Or wishing we had a Dodge Viper like the guy in the group in front of ours.

I did pretty well on the straight aways.

But not so well on the banked turns. I get the concept of centripetal force mentally, but it's a completely different story when my mini-van is driving on what feels like 2-wheels on at least a 45 degree angle. All I could think was, "Please Dear GOD, don't let us roll the van with our three kids inside."

But by the third lap, I had developed a renewed appreciation for my 11th grade physics class and was even enjoying the turns myself. And, we didn't run out of gas. The gas light actually went off while we were out there driving laps.

Anyway, it rocked. We are totally going again, and again, and again. This year an event, next year a tradition. You may all consider this your official invitation to join us.


  1. Now that is a tradition worth keeping!

  2. I so thought that your ending was going to be running out of gas (uhm, fuel I mean)on the speedway. How totally cool. Looks like loads of fun.