This past weekend Michael and I drove down to Kentucky to attend the NASCAR Xfinity race in Sparta. PTB sponsored three races for Spencer Boyd and this was the last of the three. Our sons, Dan and Zack, went to the first in Chicago and we raffled off the second on in Daytona.
The race was on Friday evening but as sponsors we had pit passes which allowed us a behind the scenes kind of experience.
We arrived at the track about 2:00 pm and were met by Josh, one of Spencer’s PR guys. He got us checked in where we were given our parking passes. We got parked and then Josh took us, by golf cart, to the area where all of the car haulers were and we spent the next several hours chatting with other sponsors, crew members and of course, Spencer.
Spencer showed us around the inside of the hauler. Downstairs is a bunch of cabinets where they store medical supplies, tools, uniforms, food stuffs, etc. Right above that is where the car is stored while in transport. And then upstairs (like in a 5th wheel) there’s a small lounge area with TV, table and wrap around couch.
We also sat outside under the awning for a while…trying to stay in the shade as much as possible as it was HOT. They provided us with lunch – meatball hoagies, which we partook of…they also provided us with lots of water, soda and Gatorade…which was really as it was so hot I’m surprised someone didn’t ‘fall out’.
Shortly before qualifying time we were all given headphones that allowed us to listen to the chatter between the spotter, crew chief and Spencer. Unfortunately, the units Michael and I received didn’t work so neither of us heard anything during qualifying.
After qualifying (Spencer qualified 36th…not the best in the world) we went back to the hauler to chill before race time. Michael went up into the lounge with Spencer and a bunch of other people while I stayed outside and visited with one of the wives of another sponsor. Once it got too hot we moved inside and hung out downstairs in front of the fans, snacking on veggies and dip.
By the time it was time for the race I was hot and cranky so I didn’t go down to the car to get pictures with Michael. I stayed in the pit box in the shade and tried to cool off…thankfully the stands were tall enough that we were in complete shade and the temperature dropped enough that it finally became comfortable.
The race was long (2+ hours) and boring, for me at times, but I did enjoy being able to see Spencer come into the pit, right in front of us and to see how quickly the crew did their thing. Wow! It was also pretty cool to listen to the chatter over the radio…mostly the spotter (‘eye in the sky’) who kept Spencer updated of all of the goings on around him that he wasn’t able to see. At one point Spencer got frustrated with one of the other drivers for whatever reason and the ‘eye in the sky’ said, ‘I think you drive better when you get pissy’…LOL! Day made.
Spencer has been racing in one form or another since he was a little boy but this is his first year as a fulltime driver for the Xfinity circuit. He did a great job of driving and ended up finishing 24th which is his goal.
The race ended about 10:40 pm and after walking to our rental car (7,000 miles away) and then driving back to our hotel in Erlanger we made it back just after midnight. Long day.
This is the second NASCAR race we’ve been to, the first being Talledaga in April, 2011…it was our first trip in our brand new coach. And my opinion remains the same…not my cup of tea.
The following day we spent at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky about a 30 mile drive south of Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Ark is a life-size replica of that in the bible. It is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high and absolutely beautiful. The attraction opened in July 2016 and is a representation of the vessel described in Genesis. Because many details of the Ark itself and its occupants are not detailed in the writings of the bible, the creators of the park took artistic liberties that they thought would most likely have been the way things looked or were done.
We really enjoyed the time we spent wandering the three floors of the Ark. There are lots of different ‘caged animal’ exhibits that give you a feel for some of the animals that may have been onboard. It was also interesting to walk through what may have been the living quarters of Noah and his family.
There are two videos of about 20 minutes each that provided walking relief as well as a spin on the whole Noah’s Ark experience.
There are several eating establishments on premises but the largest is Emzara’s Buffet, which is a two-story restaurant with stuffed animals all over the place. Very well done. That’s where we stopped before going aboard the Ark and I think all of Kentucky decided to go at the same time as it was PACKED. The line to the salads and sides was crazy long so Michael and I concentrated on soup, meat and dessert as the lines to those areas were minimal.
While we enjoyed our time (about 6.5 hours) at the Ark I’m still not quite sure it is worth the hefty $48 per adult. We received a military discount of about $10 per ticket which helped…but for the average person…that’s a lotta dough.
I would like to have seen more ‘hands on’ displays or more animatronics. One exhibit was of Noah at his desk and you could ask him questions by pushing buttons…very cool. Although I really did enjoy walking around the huge structure and imagining what it was like for Noah and his family and to see how the animals and supplies may have been stored.
So…I think that in the end I would recommend that you visit if it’s something that would be of interest to you and you can afford that price tag.
While in Kentucky we decided we needed to try a Kentucky Hot Brown, which is basically an open-faced sandwich with a little twist. The sandwich normally consists of turkey, ham, bacon and a slice of tomato with a mornay (or cheese sauce) over it. There are variations but this is kind of the norm.
Being a Wisconsin girl I thought I’d love the ‘cheese-like’ sauce but it was a bit too much for me. I would have preferred a milder sauce. Michael didn’t seem to mind. The addition of the tomato slices was different and after about half of my meal I opted out of the tomato and moved it to the side.
Now we can say we’ve tried one…I can’t say that I won’t try it again as who’s to say that the place (Colonial Cottage) we tried was a good representation? They always say you should try everything twice to get a good ‘feel’….that is unless you’re talking about boiled peanuts or Skyline Chili…once is PLENTY! :-/