Each year on the Sunday prior to Memorial Day the NASCAR ‘Coca-Cola 600’, which used to be called the ‘World 600’ – I think – before all the money arrived, is held at the local racetrack. Part of the week long festivities leading up to the race is something called “Speed Street”. Several main streets in the heart of Charlotte are blocked off starting Wednesday noon thru Saturday. Any and everything imaginable with your favorite driver’s number printed on it for sale. Over-priced beer and food. Plus product give-aways by a wide range of name brand sponsors where you might find a line of 50 or more people waiting to get a small single serving box of Cheerios as a keepsake of this momentous occasion. Here is what the the main drag looked like at midday today –
I thought this next item was rather odd due to the very large (and growing) Latino population in this area –
But the oddest thing of all, besides the Oscar Mayer wiener-mobile (not enough corporate sponsor stickers but plenty of room to put them) was this plaque in the sidewalk next to the outdoor seating of a downtown cafe-
You would have thought with all the good ole gals and guys in attendance that some group would have constructed a shrine on this spot made from empty Budweiser beer cans and Slim-Jim wrappers.
And no, I’m not a NASCAR fan. Funny though after decades of paying less and less attention to sports of any type the one event I will sit down and watch from beginning to end is the Indy 500. Though if you read the local Charlotte newspaper the next day it is a challenge to find any mention of it.
In general the people I saw today were a mixture of workers like me on lunch break, families with children and a more racially mixed crowd. Later as I was leaving the Bank of America Corp. Ctr. on my way home I got a better view of the hardcore NASCAR fans. Much rougher looking crowd. Hundreds of them lined up in the lobby of the shopping area that is part of the BOA complex waiting for drivers to appear and sign autographs. The same spot where several hours earlier improvised jazz was being played by a piano and soprano sax duo.