• Monica Montanari

Ladies & Gentlemen, Start Your Engines


Guys. I think I just had THE most redneck experience of all time. So get this- my best friend here works with Talladega Super Speedway’s Coca-Cola Marketing Street Team (long enough title ya think?). Anyway, he works during the Talladega 500- and I decided to tag along for fun. And OH. What fun. If youre anything like me, the only time you've ever heard the name Talladega is in Eric Church's new song (which I've attached below if you haven't heard it yet). Okay- so let’s go chronologically. So, I drive there and get there right in time for the Friday night concert, which is, of course, a country concert. We have VIP access because all of my friends work there. Amazing. People pay $300 just to bring their beer coolers into the front and let their trophy wives dance on them during this concert. Not to mention, these beer coolers cause a few fights throughout the concert (which almost killed me in laughter). Remember when I said we were gonna go chronologically? Just kidding.

Anyway, before the concert started, we got to walk down “The Boulevard”, which is a hilarious street upon which people park their trailers so they can tailgate, drink about 50 gallons of beer a night, and watch the race on Sunday morning. If you haven’t, you need to see this once before you die. First of all, it is one of the greatest races in NASCAR, and it is one of the most amazing sports venues I have ever seen. During the spring when Talladega is empty, the grass all around it is green and I SWEAR it’d heaven. It’s peaceful and there is this simply amazing track surrounded by the greenest grass you could imagines- for miles. I’m not kidding when I say that if I died there, I’d be happy.

 

Now I knew the stereotypes about NASCAR- but I never had any idea how true they were or how much I’d LOVE it. Yes, it’s pretty crazy if 40% of the people there have their original teeth. But when you’re sitting in the stands, listening to the sound of about 40 racecars break records around an oval track, those 200 laps go by so fast. I had no idea I had to wear sunglasses- I just brought them because I’m from L.A. Sunglasses are a staple. If the sun gets in my eyes, I can’t see.

But during the race, these cars are going SO FAST that pieces of their tires sprinkle everyone in the crowd. And these pieces are tiny, so they can easily get into your eyes and bother you. I’m not kidding- when I left, I had inhaled pieces of tire, and found them everywhere on me- including in my mouth. Yuck. But at the same time, the sound of engines. The Adrenaline. The Smell of the track. It was exhilarating- if you love cars, this is THE place to be. Yeah. It’s full of rednecks. It isn’t classy. But nobody there could care less. They are all unified- and it honestly feels just like a summer camp.

​ Every person in Talladega brings a mobile home and has an amazing time just camping out, meeting new people, and gathering around a campfire to bond over their love for Southern life. By the way, I attended a wedding here. No joke. This couple decided to have the third wedding for both of them at Talladega- and I can’t even explain how cute it was. The bride was about 45- with a bouquet of fake flowers with NASCAR cars in the middle- and the cutest checkered fifties dress on. The groom sported a flower with a NASCAR in the middle, and a t-shirt with a fake tux and tie on it, to match all of his groomsmen. The bridesmaids wore checkered tank tops. We got there a bit late, but just in time for the bouquet toss and garter toss, which had a total of two single men in it (thank God we brought both of them). Their cake was a series of checkered cupcakes, and the punch was a mixture of sorbet and fruit juice- their vows were said on the top of their RV, with their children watching below, and all of Talladega to witness. Cutest third wedding I have ever seen. Thoroughly made my life.

 

Anyway, if you’ve never been or you have a thing against NASCAR, I’m sorry. I can’t help you with your personal problems, except to tell you about my amazing experience. It’s worth the money for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.