Every time I cover a race, I wind up at home when it's over, drained, drinking and thinking to myself, "Man, I need a new job ... I don't ever want to do that again."
I actually wrote that after last spring's Aaron's 499, by the time I'd gotten home and was recuperating from a weekend that featured a number of early mornings and late nights. And I'm pretty much in the same place today -- if I could've slept until noon today, I would've (unfortunately, the hound refuses to let anyone sleep past 8:30 anymore).
Anyway, I'll probably post some links later today after I get a better hold on my head and get to the office this afternoon. But I did want to add something, just in case you guys out there read this thing and I think I'm one of the miserable media members who sit around and bemoan how awful life is, when it's really not that bad.
Race week is my least favorite part of my current job, no question about it. Getting up early in the morning, dealing with a huge swath of traffic, dealing with P.R. reps (who get lamer by the week, by the way) who represent drivers who think the sun rises in their backyards ... it's not a great deal of fun, particularly since, well, I'm not really a race fan.
But it's not so bad, right? I mean, hanging out with some of the old grizzled writers (Monte Dutton, Mike Bolton, Mark McCarter) is always cool -- all of them have a ton of cool stories, a perspective steeped in years of experience and all of them are really good at their jobs (and have been for a long time). And when you finally do get to talk to the occasional good-tempered driver -- like Michael McDowell, who was a joy to interview (read the story here) -- it's really a lot of fun, especially when you see that guy a few days later and he actually remembers your face.
And, of course, there's the race itself. No, the traffic isn't fun; no, I'm not much of a race fan; yes, when the drivers make a deal to drive around in a straight line for three hours, it's kind of a letdown. But it's genuinely a lot of fun to see the cars take off to start the race, and it's always fun to watch them come down the stretch for the end -- every race I've seen (except last spring, when Jeff Gordon dominated) had an ending I couldn't have predicted when it started.
Does it mean I want to keep covering races until I'm as old as some of the writers in the box? Well, no ... but, as my dad frequently reminds me, I could be pouring concrete for a living. So maybe we should all stop whining.