Everything I know about NASCAR I learned from Days of Thunder and my mother. Despite repeated viewings of the trials and tribulations of Cole Trickle (as portrayed by Tom Cruise), the sport just never caught my interest once I grew too old to play with toy cars (although I still love Days of Thunder--the scene where Robert Duvall promises a car chassis that he'll shape it "like a bullet" may be one of the finest in all of redneck cinema. And let us not forget the scene where Duvall tells Cruise about the advantages of being loose--"When the rear end's loose, the car's fast. Loose is fast, and on the edge youre out of control."). My mother can't get enough of NASCAR, however, a fact that has always confused the rest of our family. She's a liberal with a college education who drives a Toyota Highlander, after all. This weekend, she's sure to be excited, as NASCAR visits the Texas Motor Speedway for the Dickies 500. My mom says the race will be an important one, especially considering that the Chase for the Nextel Cup is shaping up to be a tight one--with Jimmie Johnson, Denny Harlin (Q:"What'd you do last night?" A:"Oh, we just hung out at Denny's. He cooked us breakfast."), Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. all within striking distance of leader Matt Kenseth. Tickets are $50 to $140 for Sunday's race, which starts at 1:30 p.m. (gates open at 9 a.m.) The Texas Motor Speedway is located at 3545 Lone Star Circle in Fort Worth. Visit texasmotorspeedway.com.
Sun., Nov. 5, 1:30 p.m.