Ok I admit it. I'm having a bit of a party binge. In December I had two parties here at my place and I'm only 15 days away from having another one. It's the First Annual Daytona 500 Racing and Backyard Tailgate Party. Hosted by yours truly.
For the first time in 10 years I am not going to the Daytona 500. I know, I know, what am I thinking?? That race has been the one of the things I have looked forward to every long, hard, ugly winter. It sort of marked the coming of Springtime for me. But several things have influenced my decision not to attend, and here they are in no particular order.
1. Ticket prices. Last year I paid almost $500 for my ticket package that included 2 seats for two races. Good seats, but not fantastic seats, and I had to pay for them almost a year in advance. My friend Chuck decided to go about a month before last years race and his tickets were only about $300 and his seats were so close to mine I could almost throw a hot dog at him. Does anyone see something wrong with this?
2. Ticket prices. Over $500 for 2008? WTF?!?!? I'm not made of money.
3. Start time. The race used to start promptly at 12:30pm. By the time the race was over, there was still daylight, it wasn't really cold (most of the time) and you could take your time getting into traffic for the drive home. We used to hang out, have some food, listen to the post race shows on the radio and let traffic thin out. Now the race doesn't start until after 3:30pm, and for the past couple of years, with rain delays and other issues, the race doesnt end until around 8pm or later, which means we have to hustle to the car and get into the traffic queue so we can get home before sun-up so we can get to our jobs the next day. We gotta work to pay for next years tickets, right?
4. Parking. The race starts at 3:45ish as we know. But in order to find a suitable parking space for less than $75.00 that is close enough to the track that you don't require a lunch break during the walk, I have to leave my house before 6am. And all for a dirt lot parking space. I hate tailgating in the dirt.
5. Weather. I understand that it's Florida but out of the last 10 years of attending that race I have sat in the freezing cold and / or rain at least 7 of those years. It seems that the days before and the days after are always nice and balmy. I am betting that since I'm not going this year, race day in Daytona Beach will be 75° and sunny.
6. Rude fans. When I first started going to the race, the fans were all nice, friendly and courteous. We laughed with each other, teased about favorite drivers and shared snacks and beverages with each other. No sense missing some of the race just to get another beer, so have one of mine. Some where along the line that began to change and I can't really put my finger on when that happened , but it seems to coincide with the time when ticket prices began their upward surge. Maybe the richer you are the bigger prick you can be?? Or have we've all just become a bunch of racing snobs?
Anyway, I'm not going and I'm using the money I would have spent for tickets, parking and gas to have a bash for my friends. Want to come???
I bet the weather will be awesome...