NASCAR provides great family experience

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Before moving to Dover, Delaware, I had never watched a NASCAR race. Even though I have worked a couple of them, this year was the first year I was able to be a fan.

I have never really been a huge fan of NASCAR, but after interacting with some of the drivers and being able to sit and feel the vibrations of the stands and the roaring of the cars, I think that has changed.

I was fortunate enough to have my parents come up to visit for this weekend's race. They have never been to a NASCAR race either and I think they really enjoyed themselves. This weekend we were able to talk with some of the drivers, walk down pit row, hang out in the garages and of course, watch the race from the grandstands.

I think my dad was more excited about NASCAR than any of us. He took tons of pictures and videos. He informed me that he is now a racing fan and is going to start following NASCAR. He still hasn't figured out which driver he is going to cheer for in the upcoming season.

On Saturday, Dell Hamilton, a partner of Hamilton Means Racing LLC, sponsored our entry and access credentials which allowed us to walk down pit row and hang out in the nationwide garages. We were able to watch the Nationwide Series qualify for their race and hang out with #4 Jeffrey Earnhardt's team. Even though I have been down pit row before, it was an awesome experience to watch how my parents reacted to the excitement.

I think NASCAR is similar to the military in the way they are structured and the dedication they put into making sure they can complete their mission, which is to compete and try to win the race. Also, the pit crews are similar to Team Dover's maintenance squadrons. They work together as a seamless machine to get the mission done.

On Sunday, my family and I hung out in the FanZone as we waited patiently for the race to begin. We walked around and looked at the different vendors and ate some great food until the race began. It was very exciting. At one time there seemed to be five cautions in a 20 minute time period.

Even though I am a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, I am still happy that Jimmie Johnson won the race. It was a great weekend with my family and I am very happy they enjoyed themselves. I hope they come back for the September race so we can do it all again.