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NASCAR fan revved up for another racing season

Posted on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Louisa County’s Craig Turner poses in front of the #88 car driven by his favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., at the Kentucky Speedway in 2013. Earnhardt retired at the end of last season.

Many sports fans, whether it be football, baseball, soccer or any of the thousands of options available today, always remember the first time they experienced it.

Craig Turner is no exception.

“All I can remember is that it was really cold,” he said with a chuckle, recalling his first experience with auto racing.

That race, held at Richmond Raceway, was a family affair as Turner and his brother both went with their father to watch.

“I was freezing cold and drinking a lot of hot chocolate, but I was young and thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” he said.

It may have been Turner’s first race, but it would not be his last. In the decades since, he has been to races at many tracks throughout the NASCAR circuit and still has plans to see more.

“There are some races this year I’m hoping to go to,” he said. “The one in Bristol [Tennessee] and there’s one up in Dover. I’m looking forward to those.”

One of Turner’s fondest memories as a NASCAR fan was his first time going to the famous Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. In 2011, he made the last minute decision to drive down to the track. He left work and drove through the night to make the trek.

“It’s not a track that runs night races, but it was still somewhat lit up when I got there,” he recalled. “Looking at the size of it, I couldn’t get over that.”

His excitement grew the next morning when, after getting a few hours of sleep, he entered the stadium for the first time.

“I remember walking in and looking from one side to the other,” he said. “I just couldn’t believe how big it was and that I was finally able to see it.”

The trip left such an impact on Turner that he made it again the following season.

This year, there are a number of races that Turner is looking forward to watching, even if he can’t be there in person.

(This is a partial article. Read full story in the Feb. 8, 2018 issue of The Central Virginian)

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