Limitless memories made at No Limits, Texas

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By Savanna Gregg

Staff Writer

Burnet Bulletin

There is no denying the sense of community one feels when part of a group that shares the same interests. Each year I have the opportunity to gather with fellow NASCAR fans and take part in an entire weekend of camp food, racing, and sunburns at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, and each year I am reminded of the affect the race weekend has on me and everyone else present.

My husband, Adam, has been going to the NASCAR races since he was a young boy, but I just started going about four years ago, but I grew up as the daughter of a NASCAR fan, and remember watching the drivers fly around various tracks on TV, back in the days of Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Race operations, opinions, and sponsorships have changed over the years, and sadly the crowds no longer fill the stands to the brim, but those who have stuck around know true dedication and show up with their racing gear and ice chests to cheer on their favorite driver and enjoy their weekend at No Limits, Texas.

I'm just there for a good time and don't have a favorite driver – I'm the person who roots for the one in front – but after each trip I am already looking forward to next year's. The sheer enjoyment of camping in a tent, eating unhealthy food, and making weekend-friendships is something I will never grow tired of experiencing. We enjoy our time at the track, and even though we are sometimes bombarded with thunderstorms, cold weather, or high winds – we were blessed with the latter two this last trip – our race vacation always leaves us ready for the next year.

The weather was frigid and relentless, causing me to spend the entire weekend in my big hooded coat, ear muffs, and gloves, sleeping under a gigantic pile of blankets when I wasn't standing dangerously close to our fire pit. We each came home with a sunburned nose, as that was the only part of our bodies which saw the sun over the three-day trip, and the bare-bellied man we've camped near at previous races kept all of his clothes on for the first time since we have been staying at Tent City. We didn't let the unfavorable weather hinder our ability to have fun, though, and Adam and I enjoyed the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Sunday, March 31, complete with cold beer and fried cheese on a stick.

Arguably one of the best sounds in the world is that of the powerful engines of the cars taking that first lap around the track. It is a wise move to purchase noise-blocking headphones prior to the race, but I always make it a point to leave them off for the first lap or two in order to really experience the excitement of the chase.

Kids in NASCAR caps too big for their small heads watch excitedly and wave flags which read “Race Fan,” as they root for their favorite driver along with their parents, and especially devout fans cheer for their driver and curse their least-favorite for the entirety of the race.

The image NASCAR brings to most minds is full of rednecks, Confederate flags, beer, and questionable individuals (such as, this time, two men who shaved parts of their heads, dyed the remaining hair purple, and painted the number “48” on the bald area in support of driver Jimmie Johnson), and though there are plenty of these things throughout the complex each year, the image brought to my mind is family.

I love seeing people of all walks of life gather together for this favorite American pastime while everyone enjoys a good time, salutes American heroes during the National Anthem, and spends quality time with old friends and new. The usually shirtless man who camps near us offered the shelter of his tarp-wrapped canopy when the wind was too strong to get a constant flame on our camp stove, another couple offered to share their hamburgers with all the fixings one night, and a kind stranger once informed us of a scenic route home in order to avoid the traffic of Interstate 35.

The excitement of the race fans is contagious; you can feel the energy of every individual as you listen to their applause and cheers, and it is heightened every go-round, as the cars speed past with loud, rumbling force. The feeling of anticipation is palpable, from the very beginning as the announcer shouts, “Drivers, start your engines,” to the victory lap and smokey burn-out performed by the winning driver. The feeling continues as you hop on a shuttle with other camo-clad, ice chest-dragging race fans as it totes everyone back to the campgrounds for one last night at No Limits, Texas.

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