NASCAR fans hit pool, rock out before Coke Zero 400
Tarin Alberson, 22, and Brady Alberson, 19, of New Mexico, walk around outside the Daytona International Speedway Saturday before the Coke Zero 400. The Albersons were married June 30 and spent their honeymoon in Daytona Beach. (Jon Busdeker / Orlando Sentinel / July 7, 2012)
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That's how die-hard NASCAR fans Dewey "Pork Chop" Dillon and Jim O'Steen stayed cool Saturday leading up to the start of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
Across the infield and outside the track Saturday, the fans in attendance did their best to escape the sun and beat the heat. Beers were kept cold with cozies. Tarps blocked the sun. Box fans blew
And if that wasn't enough, cool tunes, from AC/DC's "Who Made Who" to Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" blasted from the RVs and tents in the infield.
While afternoon temperatures topped 90 degrees, the friends, who set up the portable pool near their infield spot by Turn 3, floated in the water. Above the duo was a beach umbrella for ultimate shade protection.
"You can't get your core temperature down unless you're in a pool," said a shirtless O'Steen, 65, of Neptune Beach.
For more than 15 years, O'Steen, Dillon, 46, of Orlando, and a group of their friends have attended the midsummer race in Daytona. And they do it up: a flat-screen TV, a large grill, a full bar, blow-up chairs, an American flag and, because they know it's going to be hot, an air-conditioned tent.
The miniature, portable fans around the necks of Carol Ferris and Sandy Bolton did little to chill them down as each lugged a bag of souvenirs across the infield. The two made sure to wear lots of sunscreen and drink lots of water, Bolton said.
Big fans of NASCAR, the friends from Northfield, Minn., outside of Minneapolis, left their husbands back home to attend the Coke Zero 400.
"It's fun under the lights," Ferris said.
Saturday's race marked the second time Mike Sutherland has attended the Coke Zero 400. Sutherland, of St. Petersburg, brought his girlfriend, Marie Butler, and the couple wore matching, custom-made shirts.
Printed by a company Sutherland works for, the black shirts featured a profane dig at Kurt Busch. Sutherland said a lot of Kyle Busch race fans like the shirt.
At home, the couple root for separate drivers: Butler likes Matt Kenseth, and Sutherland likes Tony Stewart. The couple even had different beer cozies with their favorite drivers on them.
"We're constantly battling with each other," Butler said.
Eight-year-old Megan Spokas has a favorite driver, and it's Danica Patrick, who raced Friday in the Nationwide series.
"I like that she's the only girl driver," Megan said.
Megan and her dad, Adolph Spokas, 41, of Tampa, waited in line to buy a few souvenirs featuring Patrick. For sale were T-shirts, hats, visors, toy cars, tank tops and stickers.
It was Megan's first NASCAR race. Spokas said his daughter was "most definitely" excited about the race.
Megan picked out a hat, which she promptly put on, and a pink T-shirt for her 4-year-old sister, who couldn't come to the Coke Zero 400. Spokas also bought a lanyard to hold Megan's ticket.
Newlywed Tarin Alberson of New Mexico carried a bright-blue sign Saturday that read, "Best Honeymoon Ever." Alberson, 22, and her husband, Brady Alberson, 19, were married June 30 and have been in Daytona since Monday.
They've enjoyed the beaches and the seafood, she said. But to be honest, they wanted to be in Daytona for the Coke Zero 400.
"We chose our wedding date for this," Tarin said.
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