Mom Moments: Moms love Crashfest too

2012-10-21T00:00:00Z Mom Moments: Moms love Crashfest tooCarrie Steinweg Times Correspondent
October 21, 2012 12:00 am  • 

I am surrounded by testosterone 24/7. Sometimes it is too much.

As much as I love these creatures, I sometimes grow weary of roughness and dirt and zombies and wrestling and snakes and toads and Axe deodorant and video games and washing sports uniforms, and crashing sounds, and devouring of a pan of brownies in 1/8th the time it took me to prepare them. But, on the same token, I love it. And I love being introduced to things that weren't part of the girly world I grew up in.

In having boys, I learned to like things I never knew I would – snowmobiling, fishing, skateboarding, all-terrain vehicles. One more I can now add to the list is the annual Crashfest at Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville.

In the last weekend of September, I visited the venue for the first time. I’m not one who watches racing on television, but it was not my first exposure to it. Several years ago, on a press trip to Indianapolis, our family visited the Indiana Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. It remains one of my favorite spots we’ve been to. Part of the visit was a ride around the track in a small bus. We were moving at a crawl compared to how the race car drivers take the turns, but it was a big thrill to be on that same track and rounding those corners gave me such a rush.

My husband has been to Crashfest before with a couple of the boys when they were younger. Each year since, we have marked it on the calendar, but are never able to make it. This year we decided at the last minute to attend as the calendar was actually clear that day and all seven of us could attend.

We pulled in the lot nearing race time and I could not believe how many people were there. And how many people take it so seriously. There were tailgaters with tents and grills and tables who looked like they'd been there for hours. Once inside, we were lucky to find a small vacancy on a front center bleacher so that we could sit close to each other.

First were stock car races. The boys had fun making picks and watching a Corvette blow away everyone else. Next was a figure 8 bus race. As they picked up momentum on those 25 laps they ran, some fell behind leaving close calls each time they'd cross. Two buses collided. One tipped over. The driver jumped out of the back, unscathed, and hopped back in the driver seat. I enjoyed it way more than I thought it would.

There is the potential for injury - even death - in such an event, but when the driver jumps out with hands in the air, letting everyone know he is okay, the crowd goes wild. The winner of that race was someone who had just bought his bus, decided that morning to enter the race and painted it that afternoon. Everyone loves an underdog story.

The final race is a trailer race and that's the one where the crashing happened. My boys, of course, had a blast. I kind of liked it myself. And it's not something I thought I'd enjoy. You see, I cringe at so many things where I know people are getting hurt - football, wrestling, hockey. That's the mom in me.

I don't like to see people get hurt. And in this race, there were a couple pretty big crashes, where you weren't sure if the driver was going to walk out of there in good condition. But, they did. So, you hold your breath for a moment, waiting to see if they come out...and when they do, you kind of want to see it again. At least I do. And most of all, I love any activity I can do with the kids where we are all there and all having fun together.

After we returned home, I logged on to Facebook and saw my husband's status. "4 hours tonight at Illiana Speedway Crashfest. $120 for tickets. $45 for food. All family members enjoying the night, priceless!" I was thinking the same thing myself.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Carrie Steinweg, the mother of five, lives in Lansing. Reach her at

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