Drivers and fans alike ready themselves for the Quaker State 400
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Race fans hope the weather holds up as NASCAR invades the Kentucky Speedway this weekend.
The three-day event begins Thursday and culminates in the Quaker State 400 on Saturday.
On Wednesday, WDRB caught up with drivers and fans ahead of the green flag.
NASCAR drivers push full throttle in practice to find the perfect combination of speed and skill to get to the checkered flag. Fans like race to set up in just the right spot for three days at the speedway.
What do they all have in common?
A thirst for adrenaline.
"You can sit in the stands and vibrate as they go by. If you're down in the first 20 rows you can actually fell the dirt fly off the track and hit you in the face," said longtime race fan Kevin Watts. "It's an energy that lasts all week long."
NASCAR driver Brian Scott echoed the same sentiment. "There's just something about being in a car going fast and driving on the ragged edge that gets us excited, and then, as competitors, we love to go be better, faster and smarter than everyone else," said Scott.
Something new to the experience this year is that NASCAR is valuing wins over points.
"It makes a win here more important, so what you'll see is more people taking more changes on both sides of the ledger," said Mark Simendinger, General Manager of Kentucky Speedway. One report estimated the economic impact of this weekend's events near the $150 million mark.
WDRB asked the drivers what they were looking to get out of their practice laps.
"We're going to try and have our car where we can take off well, and then when it goes dark, we know what adjustments to make to bring our Camaro to life," said Scott.
It's a triple crown of auto racing in Sparta this weekend. Trucks race Thursday, the Nationwide series runs Friday, and the main event, the Sprint Cup Quaker State 400, comes Saturday.
The Kentucky Speedway can pack 106,000 screaming fans into the stands with even more room on the infield. The crowd will rival another Kentucky racing favorite, the Kentucky Derby, in both size and intensity.
"Racing fans -- they're some of the best people around," said Watts.
For Watts and many others, this is the best weekend of the year.