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the grass, setting up our overhead tent, getting flags into place and etc. I wander around some and look for some familiar faces to see who else had already arrived. First, I find my buddy Gino a few campsites down, stop by catch a quick “hi" and tell him I catch up with him after we get settled in. So back to work to help our crew get things all in order, this year we went with a larger group of about 16 strong and had more on there way to join us. A few new ones with us this year as we labeled them the "Pocono Virgins" and they had no clue what they were in for.
Camp is all set up and we are now ready to start kicking it into party mode. Beers and other drinks have been on ice all morning and were ready to get broken in to. We spent the afternoon hanging out, getting some sun, playing some horseshoes and of course, tipping back a lot of frosty, cold ones. Fire up the grill and put a big batch of chicken on the grill that's been marinating a few days, oh melts in your mouth. Clean up our dinner mess and now it's time to bring out the music. Still daylight and as we fire up the sound system a few people start huddling around. For a Thursday night the infield is filling up quite nicely. My partner Jason and I are ready to roll. Things get rolling and turns turn out to be a good night for night one of 4. We make it an early night and quit around midnight as we now this will be the only good night of sleep we are going to get the rest of the weekend.
Friday morning arrives and we awakened by the sweet sound of engines roaring around the track for their first practice session. As we all scrabble to get into a stop to watch, the temperatures are already over 80 degrees. Going be a hot one today. As temps are up you can see cars slipping and sliding around but an uneventful practice session closes. We are all pumped up now as we have waited 10 months for this weekend. ARCA qualifying and another practice session go off before Cup Qualifying hits the track. By now we are in the 90's and the heat is brutal. Qualifying goes off and Ryan Newman rips off a killer lap leaving everybody else in awe, almost .6ths of a second faster than the next closest driver. So now our field is all set for Sunday’s race. Now the trash talking starts within our clan.
Dinner time, its seafood night, over 20lbs. of shrimp ready to hit the grill, along with lots of other good eats. After eating a king sized meal we pull out the tunes again and get ready to let loose and have some fun. Already some people are pulling up chairs and making a spot for them selves. We start cranking out some music, dipping back into the oldies and some country, mixing up our selection. The girls pull out the beer pong table and start working on an early start to a hangover for sure in the morning. Every time I pick my head up the crowd gets larger and larger, I think we're in for a good night. Darkness has fallen over us and the weather is starting to cool down and the wind has picked up. Watching the radar I think we are in for a nasty thunderstorm coming our way. But keeping one eye on the radar and on the crowd we plug along. After a few "socials" ( for those of you that don't know what they are, well it is a time we all drink together; me, my partner and our crew, along will everyone in the crowd). I get greeted by a group of boys from our navel service. Last July I met them and they are great guys. Me being a die hard true blue American, we spend sometime catching up on things and one of the guys said to me "We're Ready, can we do it again". I said without hesitating "yes". Last year I wanted to pay a little respect to our service men and woman when I met this guys last July. So I put all of them up on the roof of our camper, handed them our American flag and pole, turned all our lights out, put the spotlight on them and played a few songs that puts the war into view. Let me tell you could have heard the roar of the crowd in Daytona that night! A lot of thanks and new friends were made at that moment. But we gave it another round this year and same outcome, deafening roar from our NASCAR fans, it was great, makes me proud to be an American. Shortly after this we had to decide to pull the plug on our night as the storm was not far away and the wind was getting real strong. So we packed up our stuff for the evening and got everything in just minutes before the storm arrived. Want to give a big thanks to David Stremme for stopping by, he hung out with us for a short while, or as long as he could before the crowd realized he was there. Real nice guy, we were impressed a lot by him. Turned out most of the storm missed us and we lucked out there, well Saturday night is another shot. Saturday arrives, a lot cooler temperatures than Friday, thank God. Looks like a great day in store for us but a few of our clan are looking a little rough from over doing it the night before. Practice session and happy hour make it thru and it is time for the ARCA race. A lot of new names this year. Chad McCumbee who is filling in for Kyle Petty on the cup side here at Pocono this weekend, comes from a lap down to win the race. Impressive drive for the boy who looks like he is 14 years old, could be a new face in the future here. We settle in and make dinner, lots of beef on the menu tonight that have been marinating for days. The gang can't wait to dig in to these steaks and "Joe's" awesome mushrooms. Everybody is having a hard time getting around after stuffing themselves but the show must move on, it's the big party night at Pocono now. All the coolers have been topped off hours ago and the Jello shots are made. It is time to get busy. We fire it up and within minute people start arriving. Last July we had over 2000 NASCAR fans having a ball and it looks like we are in for another one of those nights. I am pumped and primed, ready to go. The crowd keeps coming and we kept turning it up. Hundreds and hundreds of fans drinking, dancing and having a good ole time, just as we had hoped. We had a blast, met lots of good people and made some more good friends throughout the night. Reed Sorenson stopped in and talked with a few of our gang and tried to blend in until he was found and had to make a quick exit. Thanks Reed, we enjoyed your company. Saturday night turned out great and we all had so much fun. It just does not get any better than this; NASCAR, Friends, Fun and of course the Keystone Jukebox. We live for this. Sunday arrives and Mother Nature was not to nice to us, on and off little rain showers cause many delays to the start of the race. But we get things started a few hours late and the threat of more showers looms not far off, with one eye on the skies and one on the racetrack we watch strategies unfound in many pits. Gotta give Jeff Gordon's crew a big "hell Ya" to their thought process as it won them the race. It wasn't won on the track but in the spotter’s eyes and crew chiefs calls. A very hard charging Ryan Newman came up inches
short of his first victory this year. Mother
Nature pulled a victory away from many
contenders. Ryan Newman and Denny
Hamlin looked liked the class of the field
prior to this point. Well, we will have to
wait another 7 weeks to see.
Sunday night falls and this means the end
of another Pocono venture for now, my
into a state of unknown but smiles and
laughs the whole time keeping our group
entertained for the night. As the rain falls
we decide not to play tonight but are
having a lot of fun with our "Dink"
entertaining us and our neighbors.
Monday morning arrives; we pack up and hit the highway. Already looking forward to being back in August to do it all over again. Thanks to all, it was fun and we can't wait to see ya soon.
Joe Donovan, Keystone Jukebox DJ Service
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