How the other half live

NASCAR driver Johnny Benson got the opportunity to see the sights and sounds of European-style motorsport when he visited the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last week

How the other half live

Benson is used to hauling a Pontiac Grand Prix around high-speed 1-mile ovals in the company of 40 other similar production-based machines, so the idea of an F1 race on a track like Silverstone was undoubtedly alien.

In addition, the conditions exposed to fans during the weekend were something of an eye opener for Benson: "The wind blew, we froze and it rained like you wouldn't believe. I have never seen so much mud," he said.

"As we were pulling into Silverstone Sunday morning we heard the radio say that police were telling everyone that if they weren't already in line to stay home. It was taking about five hours to get everyone in the track. I told the folks over there that is why the drivers in NASCAR get motorhomes - just so they won't miss the race."

"There are some tough things about going to races, like the rain and traffic but it is also a heck of a lot of fun," he added.

The high tech nature of F1 surprised and impressed Benson, but it was the characteristics of the ubiquitous Ferrari fans that proved the most idiosyncratic feature of the race weekend, according to Benson.

"The technology those Formula One cars have is incredible. But the show we put on for our fans is tough to beat. The fans there were just like those here except they carried around flags of their favorite driver and the Ferrari fans carry airhorns they set off whenever the Ferrari's come by them. Can you imagine 100,000 air horns added to the noise at Bristol?"



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