Our website is all about the best part of motor sports...the Race Fan! Much of the weekend's fun at the track is about people watching. Part of the reason we started the website was to gather stories about the race fans for a book I am writing. We call these stories fan fables. The story below is one of my favorite fan fables.
Many fans have met Lamar. They might have met him as Bubba, Paul, John or Bobby.
He is always at the race track. He is always lost.
We met our Lamar in the Talladega infield. Imagine that!
Lamar; A Fan Fable from the Talladega Infield
by Jo Ann Hlavac
It had rained in Talladega for days before race weekend. We pulled into the Talladega infield on an overcast Friday night around 6:00 P.M. We are lucky; our race wagon is small & light. We are able to park where other bigger and more expensive motor homes fear to tread. We pulled into the best spot we have ever found in an infield.
As we were parking, a guy walked up and told us; "Bo, you are gonna get stuck. I've been watching people try to park here all day". He went on his way. At least 5 other people tried to warn us about trying to park in the spot we had found. We parked, without getting stuck and started setting up. Up walked the first guy who tried to warn us. "Bo, I can't believe you didn't get stuck. I'm impressed."
(Let me stop this story for a minute to explain that watching people try to park and not get stuck is considered one of the events in the Bubba Olympics).
Back to the story. The guy chatted with us for a few minutes and went on his way. We continued setting up. Around 2 hours later, up walks this guy again. He comments again on how much we have set up and how he can't believe we did not get stuck. I ask him his name and he tells us Lamar B. Something, from Somewhere Georgia. He has been coming to Talladega and camping in between turns 3 and 4 with the same group of friends for 20 years. Well, it seems Lamar had done something that many people do at the race track. He went wandering around during daylight without having a landmark to know where his home was for the week end. When it turned dark, he was hopelessly lost. All camp sites look the same at night. He had been looking for his friends for hours. He told us that he couldn't find them but couldn't lose us.
Off he went into the night to look for them again. Lamar finds us 3 or 4 more times while trying to find the friends he has been coming to Talladega with for 20 years. Every time he has a different type of beer in his hands. (Ain't race fans generous?) Finally around 3:00 A.M., he wanders up and asks if he can sit and rest for a few minutes. Of course, he promptly passes out. I decide to call it a night and tell Jim that I will put a sheet out for Lamar. When I come out with the sheet, Lamar has fallen out of the chair. Half of his body was on the tarp and the other half was in the mud. It started to drizzle and Jim and I decide it might be better to cover him with a tarp. Jim says he will take care of it and I go on to bed.
I fall into a deep sleep. I hear the motor home door open and roll over to see not my husband but Lamar. I look next to me but no Jim. Jimmy is known for wandering around after I go to sleep.
I am thinking to myself; "be calm. You are only in the infield at Talladega in your motor home with some one you do not know from Adam. Your husband is no where to be seen. Stay calm."
Lamar flips on the lights and starts talking to me like he has known me all his life and this is the most normal thing in the world.
Thank God the door opens and it is Jimmy. Lamar is calmly eating chips he found on the stove and asking if he can sleep on the cooler in the motor home until morning. He has finally realized he has no hope of finding his buddies until daylight. We let him stay because we know that could have been us in our drinking days. Daylight comes and Lamar bids us goodbye telling us he will come back by later. We know he won't. He probably did not go more than 3 yards from his camp sight the rest of the week end.
This is my favorite fan story for a few reasons:
First, I am Catholic and we are supposed to give up something we like for Lent. That year instead of giving something up for Lent, I decided to do good deeds. Well, the Lamar saga was 2 weeks before Lent ended but I told everyone that covered me until the end.
Second, no matter what track we are at if we see some one lost we always
"ask are you Lamar's cousin?"
It still gives us a laugh! In fact the term Lamar is on our "Race Fan Lingo" page.
Third, we know every time that crew goes to Talladega Lamar's friends tell him
"go find your friends you spent the night with a few years ago."
At which point he replies, "yea I couldn't find you guys to save my life but I couldn't lose Laidback Racing. I know y'all hide from me on purpose".
Finally what I like best about this story is that it shows how real race fans always look out for each other no matter who their driver is.