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Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard recently held its annual race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With this being my first NASCAR race, I learned several things in regard to this exciting sport. As I arrived at the Brickyard, the excitement level was at a fever pitch. Fans familiar with the sport were eager to teach me the ins and outs of the race before it started and I found the environment to be much more comfortable than I had anticipated.

Here are a few things I learned about NASCAR races and this event in particular.

NASCAR drivers are great athletes

Although NASCAR racing has always been referred to as a sport, those unfamiliar with the sport find it hard to think of the drivers as athletes. Despite popular belief, these drivers embody the term “athlete” in every way. Many of the drivers follow a strict regimen of exercise, a healthy diet and practice just like other professional athletes.

NASCAR/GM team up for diversity scholarship

Before the opening of this year’s 400 at the Brickyard, partners GM and NASCAR announced a new diversity program to help increase the diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and motorsports. The partnership announced its second annual scholarship contest that rewards four university students who produce the best 90-second video applying STEM and racing knowledge as well as its importance to motorsports. For more information about the scholarship, visit: http://chevyscholarship.nascardiversity.com With this diversity outreach program, Chevy and NASCAR hope to bring in more diverse drivers, fans, engineers and other professionals.

The history of Brickyard 

The Brickyard stands out for several reasons. As one of the two privately owned tracks in the circuit, this track has many unique features, including a golf course directly in the center and a neighborhood built around the track. Over three million bricks were used to pave the original track in 1909. While the drivers no longer race on a brick track, the bricks are still displayed on site and referred to as “The Yard of Bricks.” The NASCAR tradition of “Kissing the Bricks” after a team win started in 1995 and is considered an honor and tradition that is still practiced to this day.

-alexis townsend

Rolling Out

I aim a razor sharp, panoramic lens on popular culture and dissect it for our network of curious, aspirational, savvy and eccentric enthusiasts. I have the strength of an eagle and soul of a phoenix. #IAmRollingOut.