come as you are come as you are
By Bran Strickland By Bran Strickland
When the green flag drops on the Amp Energy
Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, it will
be Halloween. And somewhere in the infield,
there’ll likely be Mr. Goodyear — a NASCAR fan
with a Goodyear racing tire fashioned around
his waist … and not much else.
But not because it’s Halloween. Because it’s the
Talladega Superspeedway infield.
“It quickly became apparent that the opportunity
was there for us — because of the unique social
atmosphere of Talladega — to do some things
different that other tracks have done,” said Grant
Lynch, Talladega Superspeedway Chairman. “If
you look at our infield on a normal night, it takes
on a kind of a Halloween-esque aura.”
When it was first announced more than three
years ago that NASCAR’s largest — and some
argue rowdiest — track would share a weekend
with the holiday reserved for ghosts, ghouls and
goblins the comparisons quickly began to roll in,
likening the event to a redneck reception for the
wedding between Halloween and Mardi Gras.
And truth be told, the first go-round didn’t disappoint.
Case in point, Lynch’s favorite costume from the
2009 race: “The guy who dressed up as a mam-
mogram machine. It was great.”
The world of sports and Halloween don’t come
together too often. Sure, everybody is in the
Halloween mood for what seems like a week
surrounding the date, but technically the holi-
day doesn’t always fall on the weekend. Last
year began the exception with a Saturday ap-
Now, this year offers up a Sunday. Outside of
the religious conflict some draw between the
Lord’s day and a day associated with the Devil,
Halloween and the Sunday-heavy NFL have always seemed to be a perfect marriage.
It’s long been a sport where the fans dress up
whether it’s the first day of September or the
last day of October. Philadelphia has Birdman.
Washington, D.C. has the Hogettes. There’s the
Barrel Man in Denver, and then there’s just the
random people who slap paint on their bodies
and don crazy wigs to coordinate with the colors of their favorite teams.
Outside of the cheerleaders ditching their traditional uniforms for sexy versions of Catholic
school girls, policemen, pirates, German beer
girls … or just whatever looks better with a little
cleavage, it’s barely more than a bump from any
other regular season game in most cases. But in
the world of NASCAR, Talladega Superspeedway has dived right in.