I grew up with car racing. My family and I loved going to the dirt tracks to watch local races and of course, my favorite, the demolition derbys that would happen from time to time.

I had an uncle who raced weekly at a track just outside of the Corning area. It was fun cheering him on. In addition to checking out local dirt tracks, we also spent a lot of time hanging around the Watkins Glen race track.

I grew up about 10 miles from The Glen, and my father worked each race as a Sheriff's deputy. This was back in the 60s and early 70s, before NASCAR came to town. The big race was Formula 1.

Those were exciting races. My Dad and I had access to check out the cars before the races began. These were world champion Formula 1 racers. I miss those days.

Obviously, in later years, NASCAR racing added Watkins Glen to the yearly schedule. If I remember correctly, there were two each year for a while. Now it's just once a year around the beginning of August.

My family are huge fans. I don't mind checking out the races, but not what you would call a dedicated fan. Many times in the Summer when I've returned home to visit, I have had to compete with the race on TV. It's a beautiful sunny summer day, and my siblings are inside the house starring at the tube. Not me.

This past weekend, we celebrated my Mom's birthday, along with one of my sisters and two nephews. It was also the weekend that The Glen hosted a NASCAR race. This is the big one, since it's just up the road from us. The TV was on and tuned to the race as usual. I will admit it was a very hot day and we prefered to stay inside and enjoy the air-conditioning, even though there was a pool outside waiting for anyone to jump in and cool off.

The home I grew up in, currently the home of one of my brothers, is situated on one of the main roads that lead to the Watkins Glen race track. Each year when the race lets out, the road gets quite busy with race fans and even several of the trucks containing cars that were in the race.

Over the years, it has become a tradition for residents up and down the road to pull up a chair or two or have a party near the edge of the road and wave to the fans and trucks as they pass by. As I headed down the road to connect with I-86, I felt that I was in a very long parade...8 miles to be exact...waving to everyone and honking my van's horn while passing a lot of dozens of partiers.

One of the revelers had a super soaker, and just missed soaking me as I passed their group of  partiers. the water just missed going through my passenger side window, which was down. And there were a couple of guys standing on top of a car lifting their t-shirts as I passed by. Yes, guys. All in good fun, I guess.

As I passed each house, and there weren't many that didn't have several people sitting in their lawn chairs or having a party on the front lawn waving to me and vehicle driving past, it made me smile that something as simple as a car race, brings people of all kinds together. The force definitely is strong with NASCAR fans. And in my opinion, that's a good thing.

More From 99.1 The Whale