60 degrees outside.
The first time warm weather emerges from the winter like the fiery red snout of a fox from a briar patch, I think of the racetrack.
Every Saturday night during the summer of 2004, I climbed into a bright blue dune buggy, slid my glasses down off my head, and headed to Fremont Speedway. We always parked at the bottom of the hill, climbed up so that the dust swirled around the bottom of our pants, so we looked like we belonged. Among the sea of neon t-shirts and torn jeans, we walked. The pits were buzzing with jumpsuits and sprint wings, and the people from Tennessee put lawn chairs atop their trailers and watched from the sky.
Moths danced through the path of the stadium lights, racing one another to the brightest spot in Fremont. The sun always set right behind turn 3, opposite the Grandstand where we sat, bathed in an orange afterglow.
The National Anthem sung high and proud to the flag waving in the dust from practice runs sent chills down my spine.
The push trucks, driven by friends and relatives, pushed each sprint car until it snarled to life on the dirt track.
3… And once everyone was lined up,
2…the crowd on their feet,
1…and the town roared with the wave of a green flag.
I cannot wait to go back.