Charlotte weather, particularly in Autumn can be tricky when attending all day events. It may reach 75° during the day, but the temperature drops quickly after the sun goes down. Normally in the range of 30°.
This becomes an important component of tailgate preparation. From clothes to food to equipment. Jeans and a long sleeve shirt are apropos until midday when the sun has you wishing for shorts and a tshirt. Wandering the trackside amusements and playing cornhole all afternoon you forget how cold the day started and wonder if you applied enough sunscreen. Then just as you start to breakdown the tents and grills the air starts to chill and you’re back in pants and long sleeves, looking for a jacket.
Tailgate food is, well, it’s the same wherever you go; burgers, the locally preferred cased meat, macaroni/potato salad, chips, dip...NASCAR tailgating puts a premium on portability of food though. The fact that you can carry in your own food and drinks is unique in public sports venues and rich or poor, the pros all carry in. For an Autumn night race that means having a pack to keep cold beer cold and hot burger and brats hot. No one wants a cold brat - that’s worse than prison food.
Also important is something to warm you up after the race while you wait for traffic to clear. My go to option is chili. All it takes is a crockpot and a power converter. The first time I brought this setup everyone picked on me right up until they saw the steam rising from the pot around midnight as we waited under a 45° cloudless sky for the traffic to clear. Then I was sainted.
This year was just like any other, cool and electric than hot and hazy and finally frigid and drained. You know, perfect!
I didn’t wake up until 11:30am. I never sleep that late! I suppose after 14 hours of drinking and eating and cheering I should have expected it.
Olie and Beth were up two hours before the rest of us (Red and a couple of his friends ended up staying over too), and were nearly done cleaning up by the time I had gotten the sleep out of my eyes.
I don’t remember much of the race at this point, but I do know JR Nation went home disappointed.