Each NASCAR race is a unique spectacle. Usually starting around Friday afternoon, a convoy of literally thousands of race car-symbolized, American flag-adorning recreation vehicles, SUVs, and automobiles cut through race-specific traffic patterns (put in place and administered by dozens if not hundreds of local police officers). Serpentine trails of taillights circumnavigate winding mountain roads, the glow of the local metropolis (whether Norfolk, Charlotte, Phoenix, Chicago, Birmingham, or Atlanta) shimmering off a thousand rearview mirrors. Descending in droves upon the racetrack, these auto-mobile transporters of domesticity—and the humans that create it—buzz down back roads, highways, and interstates—each converging on an assemblage of specially marked parking lots and campgrounds that will serve as micro-neighborhoods over the coming weekend. Fans from around the country make the pilgrimage to each race, anxious to see their favorite drivers—as well as good friends/“NASCAR neighbors” they have made over the years—in these semiregular get-togethers. In the same document from which the epigraph to this chapter is drawn, NASCAR promotes such a mass race-gathering in this way:
Our fans’ journeys to our racetracks are an emotional expression of their lifestyle:
The heart of the fans’ passion;
Average of nearly 120,000 spectators at each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race;
Some racetracks can hold nearly 200,000 or more spectators;
NASCAR fans see race attendance as a rite of passage. (“This Is Our NASCAR,” 2009)
Brand Loyalty Professional Sport Consumer Culture Corporate Sponsor Corporate Signifier
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