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I used to hate NASCAR. With a passion. It is cars going around in circles. That's it. I was in Charlotte, North Carolina visiting some family for a month in the summer. Apparently, to live in North Carolina, it is required to be NASCAR fan.

Anyways, the first week I was there, I spent most of my time learning about NC. Mostly that it is ridiculously hot. On Sunday after church, I was excited about what type of family excursion we were going on. Much to my dismay, I found out we were watching the NASCAR race. I did not want any part of this. I decided to go upstairs and text people about my unfortunate predicament. Text anyone. My parents. My friends. My girlfriend. My friends' girlfriends. My girlfriend's friends. My girlfriend's best friend's boyfriend's big brother's baby mom's cousin. I believe you get my point. I just wanted everyone I ever met to know I was miserable because of NASCAR.

Anyways, at about 3:30, my uncle yelled upstairs to tell me that the race was starting. I yelled back I was too busy whining. He used a convincing argument to get me downstairs and watch with everyone else. "Negro get yo Yankee *behind* down here or we ain't feedin' you" was what I believe he said. "And Big Ma is making bean pie so if you want, it, you're watching". No way in f*ck I'm missing Big Ma's bean pie. I grumbled downstairs and watched what I could see outside. People driving. And we watched all of it. Qualifying for the Busch race. The Busch Race. Qualifying for the Nextel Race. Pre-race. Actual race. Post-race. Highlights on SportsCenter. After all that, my uncle asked me who one. I wasn't paying a bit of attention so I said "some white dude". Considering I was technically right, he let me eat. I was pleased.

Next week, I had gotten accustomed to the 105 degree temps in the Cackalakies. Sunday rolled around. I was playing Madden when I was beckoned to come join watch the cars. Uncle Ty used the old food card again. I asked him what were we eating. "Big Ma is making cornbread" was the reply. I don't think my feet touched a single stair, I was down there so fast. Allow me to explain something about my grandmother. She doesn't give a **** about calories, trans fat, or cholesterol. I suppose this is why she has diabetes. Her cornbread has a pound of butter and a pound of sugar. It's like heaven in a heart attack. You can FEEL your blood sugar rise when you eat it. I love that cornbread. After the race, I was again asked who won. I payed a little more attention this time, mostly because someone caught on fire. "Dale-uh-Tony-uh-Jimmie-uh-Carl-uh-Jeff" was my reply. One of them was right, so I got to eat.

We spent the next week in a beach house in the Outer Banks. I spent most of this time crab fishing and playing football. Oh, and listening to how come there are no black NASCAR drivers. "As many speeding tickets as I've got, you'd think they'd hire me!" was my cousin DeShawn. I just kept to myself. On Sunday, we were going to eat the crabs we caught. I could smell the collard greens Big Ma was cooking, so I didn't need to be yelled at. this time, I payed attention. The last 10 laps were epic. I was shocked at cool it was, but I still wondered how I could get those first 340 laps of caution flags and pit stops out of my head. Anyways, when asked who won, I happily replied Jimmie Johnson. I was right. I decided that he was going to be my favorite driver. And Dale Jr. because everyone else in my family likes him. And Jeff Gordon, because he has flames on his car. So the next week, I was prepared to watch, with drivers to cheer for and everything.

Little did I realize next week I was going home.

At any rate, I now have a favorite driver, and a new sport to watch.


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