Unique Stories Bring Fans From Around the World Together for Bank of America 500
Dedicated race fans are nothing new to NASCAR, but the diverse group headed to Charlotte Motor Speedway for this weekend's Bank of America 500 weekend festivities may be as unique a group as any in recent memory.
Fans from 48 states and as far away as Canada, Australia and Puerto Rico will be on hand for this weekend's Bank of America 500. From a NASCAR blogger traveling from the United Kingdom to see his first live race to family from Colorado who was displaced by recent flooding and a monk from Belmont Abbey College with a need for speed, fans from all walks of life will be on hand for the only Saturday night race in the Chase.
NASCAR Blogger Travels 4,000 Miles
William Babbington, a NASCAR blogger, avid social media enthusiast and fan of all things motorsports has traveled more than 4,000 miles to watch his first NASCAR race live this weekend at the Bank of America 500.
Babbington, a longtime fan of Formula 1 and rallycross racing, became interested in NASCAR several years ago when a friend suggested he start writing about motorsports for the blog BeyondTheFlag.com. Since that time, he's devoted countless hours to learning the intricacies of NASCAR, the teams and drivers. But he's never actually seen a race in person.
"It is just something you have to do," said Babbington. "It's one thing to be watching it on TV and to be talking about it with people; you just need to get a feel for it. I don't think you can say you know something until you've seen it and actually been to an event. I'm going to be coming away with a better understanding of NASCAR.
"What I'm looking forward to is hearing the engines when they fire them up. I'm sure that can't be replicated on TV. I think you have just got to go, and what better place than Charlotte, the home of NASCAR."
Nightmare at Home Won't Stop Dream Vacation
John Casey and his family dreamed for years about making a trip to the heart of NASCAR country to experience a race at the famed 1.5-mile superspeedway and all the family fun that a trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway can offer.
Just weeks before the Oct. 12 Bank of America 500, that dream took a nightmarish turn when the family's Lyons, Colo. home was destroyed by massive floods that swept through the state, washing away all of their belongings, including their Bank of America 500 tickets.
Despite their ordeal in the aftermath of the flooding, the family remained eager to make the trip to Charlotte to watch NASCAR's best battle in a pivotal points showdown, and reached out to Charlotte Motor Speedway's ticket office, which gladly replaced the tickets.
Casey, a self-proclaimed "rabid" NASCAR fan, will bring his daughter, niece and nephew to experience their first race at Charlotte.
"My excitement is to take her to a NASCAR race," Casey said of his 15-year-old daughter. "You can't describe it to somebody. I want her ears to shake and her body to vibrate. Her excitement is to see me at a NASCAR race. There was no way we were going to miss it."
Belmont Abbey Monk and NASCAR Fan
Hours before he's in the parking lot tailgating and taking in all the sights and sounds of race week, Brother Edward Mancuso will spend his morning praying the Psalms before sunrise at Belmont Abbey College, where he lives and works.
Mancuso is not only a dedicated Benedictine Catholic monk, he's also an avid NASCAR fan. He regularly attends races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, just a short drive from his Belmont Abbey College home.
Mancuso sees similarities between his two passions: the peace and serenity of the monastery to the roar of 800-horsepower engines. "They both offer an elevated time," he said. "To me, the choir stalls are the engine room of our campus."
For the past four or five years, Mancuso's parents, aunt and uncle have traveled from New Jersey to Charlotte to celebrate his birthday by treating him to a day at the races.
"As long as there are NASCAR races, I'll be going to the speedway every October," he said. "For me, it takes on the spirit of a holiday."
Tickets are still available for all October race events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Fans can catch all three days of racing, including Bojangles' Pole Night, the Dollar General 300 and the Bank of America 500 with packages starting at just $99.