I grew up in North Carolina, but three years living in Charlotte taught the folks I had dinner with tonight more about the wonderful world of _______ racing than I ever learned. I put ______ back there, because I just realized I don't even know what kind of racing Nascar is. Stock car? Drag? My friend Penata's helpful suggestion was "boxcar," but those belong on trains, and while a lot of country music does indeed talk about trains and car racing, I somehow don't think the two are connected in any meaningful way. Fill me in in the comments, if anybody has a clue. So here are the things I learned about Nascar and Nascar culture tonight:
1. How To Count To Ten In Nascar: "One, two, Dale, four, five, six, seven, Dale Jr., nine, ten." Somebody who's number is 24 or 25 is "Satan."
2. It is better to live in a $300,000 triple-wide, than in a house of equal value. One of the guys tonight suggested that "triple-wide" was thinking small. If he were a Nascar millionaire, he'd live in a dodeca-doublewide. Imagine it. Twenty-four dimensions of living space.
3. Nascar (the corporation) is "bitchier than the NFL with licensing and all that shit." Since I don't know anything about professional football corporations, either, this comparison is relatively meaningless to me, but it sounded tough.
4. People LOVE Dale Earnhart. One guy's neighbor took off work to grieve when he died, and people in Charlotte held candle light vigils for weeks. I'm amazed that this dude inspired such fervent admiration. How'd he do it? What's his deal?
5. The Nascar corporation has re-designed (what does that even mean?) Dale Earnhart's number three times so that they can somehow make even more money off of it. I'm unclear on the business side of this, but I believe it has something to do with licensing (see #3). I have a question. Do people with Dale's #3 tattooed on their body (and I think they're out there) have to get the tattoo re-done with new licensing? I have this funny image of some biker dude with two #3 tattoos crossed off on his arm, and a third one underneath.
So that's what I learned tonight. Are these things true? How did I miss out on all this, living in the Nascar belt as I did? Should I know anything else of note about Nascar or Nascar culture? Inquiring minds want to know.