To say I knew nothing about NASCAR before attending a recent Sprint Cup Series race, the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, CA, is not exactly true. But it's pretty close.
Admittedly not a fan of car racing in any format, I spent many years in the marketing seats of large automotive companies. In that world, I learned that NASCAR, in its heyday, was the most expensive promotional sponsorship you could buy. The other thing I thought I knew was that NASCAR was a "Stock Car" racing series with real cars, battling it out on the track, with plenty of crashes and drama. The former, I found out, is still mostly true, but the latter has been majorly "modified."
I'd always heard that watching NASCAR on television pales in comparison to being at a race, so when some friends told me they were huge NASCAR fans and went every year, I asked if I could tag along to experience my first NASCAR. With their help, and the help of a few kind industry folk, I came away knowing a lot more about the phenomenon that is NASCAR.
In fact, I went into the experience with many assumptions that turned out to be false. And we all know what can happen when you make assumptions, right? In retrospect, I discovered many false assumptions about NASCAR that needed to be rooted out.