Twelve hours, 500 miles, 2,000 tires, 7,000 gallons of gas, 20,000 Dale Earnhardt Jr. shirts, 16,000 hot dogs, and an inland sea of light beer: My fearless voyage into the 34,400- horsepower heart of Nascar, Texas.

7:15 AM

I’M SITTING AT AN INTERSECTION in one of the world’s largest parking lots, watching an impatient crossing guard cope with the early stages of one of the world’s largest traffic jams, which is forming in front of the Texas Motor Speedway, one of the world’s largest racetracks. The guard has a long shift ahead of him; today’s race won’t begin for six hours and forty

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