The race at Bristol isn't for nearly a week, and yet hordes of fans are already descending on the speedway, making their way from the hills of eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia. Who are these people? Do they have jobs? Did they leave behind loved ones? And how can I get paid to join 'em?
TriCities.com brings us the story of the town of "Jelloville," an impromptu community that springs up twice a year in the campgrounds of Bristol Motor Speedway. Now, you've got tidbits in here that would make this, at first glance, look like your typical "check out the crazy NASCAR fans" feature -- dogs named Skeeter and campground tips (best spot: close to the shower house). And yes, there are words like "frivolity" and "fellowship" sprinkled incongruously throughout the article.
"Jelloville" draws its name from the drink of choice -- Jell-O shots. (The article helpfully defines Jell-O shots, for people who have been living under a rock since the Nixon administration.) The townspeople of Jelloville downed about 500 shots last race; there's no statistical breakdown, but I'd bet that Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans are cranking down more than most.
The people of Jelloville don't waste much time on introspection, as you can tell by these quotes:
"Bristol is about racing, partying and having a good time."
"Some of us are fans of Dale Jr. and some are fans of Tony Stewart. We just like to watch them all race and wreck."
"A lot of people come to see things get torn up, but I like to see the driver and his car pesevered. I enjoy performance."
OK, yeah, it's easy to make fun of these early-arrivers. But you know what? Here's the thing. Whoever these loons are that can make the trek to Bristol for a week at a time, they're having more fun than you or me right this very minute. So we can sit back and laugh at 'em, but then we have to go back to work. They can keep laughing at us right on through Sunday.
First wave of NASCAR fans arrives at Bristol Motor Speedway [TriCities.com]