Category: Entertainment

NASCAR and Its Fan History

Millions of racing enthusiasts tune in to watch their favorite NASCAR drivers every weekend. Whether filling the stands in person or watching on television, NASCAR fans are drawn to the action and the sport’s storied history. It is believed that what would ultimately evolve into car racing began during Prohibition times when “runners,” or those who delivered moonshine, souped up their cars to evade federal tax agents. These runners took pride in evading the law and would hold informal races to determine who had the fastest car and greatest racing chops. Eventually the need for smuggling booze waned, and car racing became a more respectable sport. On February 21, 1948, the National Association for Stock Car racing was officially incorporated, although the first official NASCAR race took place six days earlier. The sport would go on to be one of the most popular spectator activities in North America and is now a multibillion dollar industry.

NASCAR owes its beginnings to mechanic and auto-repair shop owner William “Bill” France, Sr. of Washington, D.C. France became interested in racing after relocating to Daytona Beach, Fla., which he discovered was a hotbed for racing enthusiasts. France involved himself in racing cars and promotion. France felt there should be a sanctioning body to govern the sport, so in 1947, he organized a meeting in Florida to discuss the future of stock car racing and conceived the notion of NASCAR with other members of the racing community.

As NASCAR amassed its legions of fans, it also helped solidify the star status of many drivers. Richard Petty, David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt Sr. (and later Junior), Jimmie Johnson, and Jeff Gordon are just a few of the notable drivers who have torn up tracks. In 1998, amid 50th anniversary celebrations, NASCAR put together a list of the organization’s 50 Greatest Drivers. Living members of the group were honored during pre-race festivities for the 1998 Daytona 500.

NASCAR has built its reputation not only on quality races, but also through sponsorship. In the history of NASCAR, there have been only three naming rights partners: RJ Reynolds, Sprint/Nextel and Monster Energy, which took the reins in 2017.

Those unfamiliar with NASCAR may think that the NASCAR season never ends. However, there is a defined season. The race season, comprising 38 races, starts in February and ends in November. Races are conducted on privately owned race tracks, all of which are asphalt or concrete. Although NASCAR has southern roots, tracks were built in California and Las Vegas to tap into newer audiences. NASCAR has been around for decades, and new stars and fans are made each year.

Guide to End-of-Summer Sales

The end of summer is marked by mixed feelings. Come the end of summer, vacations may be coming to an end as children ready themselves for a new school year. But shoppers know the end of summer is an ideal time to find great deals on an array of items. Although back-to-school sales flood the marketplace this time of year, plenty of other sales take place in the final weeks of summer — and consumers can save substantial amounts of money if they know where to look.

Outdoor furniture

As stores clear out their seasonal items, shoppers can score big deals on patio sets and other outdoor furniture. Retailers need to make room for snowblowers, rakes, shovels, and holiday merchandise, so shoppers are bound to find discounted tables, chairs, fire pits, umbrellas, and chaise lounges. Individuals can use this opportunity to update worn-out patio furniture and other seasonal items they can store over the winter.

Camping/hiking equipment

Only the most devoted campers camp out when the temperatures begin to dip, so consumers can use this opportunity to grab camping equipment before it’s gone for another season. Tents, flashlights, cooking gear, backpacks, outdoor recreational items, such as kayaks or fishing tackle, water bladders, and heaters may be available at steep discounts.

Grills

Backyard barbecues are a staple of summer. If your barbecue or outdoor cooking equipment experienced heavy use throughout the summer, now is a great time to shop sales on grills and outdoor cooking gear.

Travel

Consumer Reports says that prices tend to drop on airfare, hotels and theme parks after Labor Day. Deals on luggage also can be had once summer travel season ends. Tuesdays are a great day to book airline tickets because they tend to be cheaper on Tuesday than other days of the week. Travelers can use this information to their advantage, booking trips to destinations that have super weather throughout the fall, such as Hawaii or the Mediterranean. Caribbean destinations also are good choices, though travelers should consider travel insurance to protect against hurricane-related cancellations.

Vehicles

Many dealerships tend to begin discounting cars when new models begin to debut in August and September. The longer a dealership holds on to a vehicle, the more money it tends to lose. Prospective car buyers may be able to negotiate a good deal this time of year, ultimately walking away with a brand new vehicle with a solid warranty. It’s not unheard of to receive a discount of 15 percent or more on previous year models.

Spa treatments

Many spas have begun discounting massages and facials at the end of summer, according to the International Spa Association. Shoppers can use this opportunity to try out new spas and save some money in the process. In addition to these discounts, bathing suits, summer clothing, lawn and garden equipment, and pool/spa items may be discounted come the fall.

How College Kids Can Save When Dining Out

Dining halls may be the eatery of choice for college students, but that does not mean students don’t enjoy dining out. Tight budgets may make it difficult for some to dine out very often, but there are various ways for students to make dining out more affordable.

Take advantage of your student status.

Many restaurants in the vicinity of college campuses offer student discounts to patrons who present their college identification cards to their servers or cashiers. Students who patronize such restaurants can save substantial amounts of money.

Look for discount nights.

Just like many college-area restaurants offer discounts to customers who present their student ID cards, others may host discount nights when certain items on their menus are offered at substantially discounted prices. Such discounts are traditionally offered on nights that would otherwise be slow nights for restaurants. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be slow nights for many establishments, and students might be able to find great meal deals on these nights.

Abstain from alcohol.

College students who are of legal drinking age can save money on date nights by abstaining from alcohol. A bottle of wine tends to be considerably more expensive in a restaurant than it would be if customers were to purchase the same bottle at a nearby liquor store. College students who still want to enjoy a drink during their next dinner out can save money by visiting BYOB restaurants.

Embrace food sharing.

Some restaurants offer food sharing or “family style” options to parties that exceed certain sizes. This can be a great way for college students to dine out and save money, as the cost per person might be less when sharing plates than it would be when each person is paying for his or her own entrée.

Tight budgets may prevent college students from dining out too often, but various saving strategies can make dining out more affordable for college students.

Local Dining Spots Foster Community

Dining out is a great way to celebrate life’s milestones or simply reconnect with friends and loved ones.

Research firm NPD Group found that, by the end of 2015, restaurant visits by consumers increased by 700 million compared to just five years prior. While chain restaurants invest heavily in advertising, independently owned restaurants do not have those same resources. Multi-unit chains also have more pull with suppliers and might be able to negotiate better deals, or can spread operational costs across various locations.

Too often diners are not aware of the vast array of tasty, well-priced and artisanal foods awaiting them just down the street. But dining out at local eateries can be beneficial in various ways.

• High-quality food: Many local establishments have complete control over their suppliers and menus. As a result, they can be picky with regard to the vendors they use and the produce, meats, dairy, and other ingredients that they select. Many small, independently owned restaurants team up with local organic farmers and distributors to supply a farm-to-table experience that many diners now enjoy.

• Freedom of experimentation: Although chain restaurants may have to meet approval from administrative boards and marketing departments before they can introduce new fare, independently owned restaurants can let their diners decide which foods remain on the menu and even adapt to community trends. Local restaurants may take pride in serving cultural or regional foods.

• Ability to customize: Independently owned restaurants may be more amenable to adapting recipes or making substitutions to meet diners’ requests. Skilled local chefs can think on the fly and modify recipes, which may not always be possible in chain establishments.

• Crowd control: Local restaurants tend to be smaller and more intimate than many chain restaurants. This can translate into a calm dining experience. When crowds are small, the noise level inside the restaurant may be muted and service may be fast because there aren’t as many tables to serve. Furthermore, local establishments, although concerned about making a profit, may be less worried about table turnover rate, preferring to let diners linger if it means repeat business.

• Familiar faces: Some diners enjoy being a “regular” at their favorite local restaurants. Local dining spots also become gathering locations for residents in the know, instead of passing-through tourists or commuters.

Much can be said about the advantages of patronizing local eateries. Men and women who want unique dining experiences can give local, independently owned establishments a try.

Now Playing: Summer Movie Nights in Your Own Backyard

Looking for a way to get the most out of your summer evenings? Make it a night at the drive-in at home! With the right equipment and planning, you can easily enjoy your favorite movies under the stars, right in your own backyard. Here are a few simple steps for bringing your new favorite tradition to life.

The Setup

Designing your outdoor screening space is a simple process. To begin, determine where your screen should be placed. You will want your screen positioned where there is minimal light once the house lights are off and the sun has set. There should be ample space for guest seating, and room for the projector’s image throw distance. For optimal image quality, your projector should be elevated.

For seating, an assortment of lawn chairs, floor chairs, outdoor ottomans and outdoor rugs will accommodate preferences for guests of all ages.

Since you will be limiting ambient light as much as possible, keeping pathways lit for safety purposes is a sensible exception. Solar LED pathway lights are a tasteful accent that will keep guests safe around tripping hazards.

The Basics

Select the right projector. Since outdoor settings include a number of light sources that are not always within your control, such as street lights and moonlight, choosing a projector with the right lumen level for your space is critical for clear image projection. As a rule, the more ambient light in your backyard, the higher you will want your projector’s lumen level to be.

The second component to consider is sound. No home theater system is complete without quality sound, and your outdoor screening experience is no exception. Your guests will appreciate an audio source with enough output to cut through ambient noise.

For simplicity and convenience, consider an all-in-one outdoor movie theater kit, such as the one offered by Improvements, which is Wi-Fi enabled and features everything your backyard home theater needs, including a 1,200 lumen projector with 800×480 DPI, Bluetooth speaker and a 90-inch screen.

The Extra Details

Since you’ll most likely be waiting for the sun to set before starting the movie, get creative with activities for both kids and adults to pass the time. It’s a smart step to spray the area for bugs before guests arrive, and keep additional pest control solutions on hand.

Hosting an outdoor movie party is a fun opportunity to put a twist on movie theater snacks, especially ideas that can be prepared in advance. However, fresh popcorn is an absolute must.

Creating a drive-in theater in your backyard is easier than you think. With the right equipment, and some planning, the most difficult step will be picking out the movie.

American Football: An International Pastime

According to Nielsen, 111.3 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl in early 2017. Almost two-thirds of adults in the United States say they currently watch National Football League games. But American football is no longer relegated to the boundaries of the United States, as it is becoming a global sport. According to the International Federation of American Football, there are 80 countries with organized federations governing the game. Plus, thousands of youth and adult leagues exist all over the world.

The Evolution of Football

Even though soccer has long been a global sport, it seems the other kind of “football” is quickly catching up. The sport known as American football was borne out of the English sports of association football (soccer) and rugby. During the late 19th century, elite Northeastern colleges took up the sport, playing a soccer-type game with rules adopted from the London Football Association. Intercollegiate matches began to spring up at schools such as Rutgers, Princeton, Harvard, and McGill University. Rugby-type rules became preferential among players and spectators. Walter Camp, known affectionately as the “Father of American Football,” transformed the rugby-style game into the one that resembles American football today. Camp brought two key innovations to the game. The opening “scrummage” was eliminated, and a rule was introduced that required a team to give up the ball after failing to advance down the field a specific yardage. Camp also developed the quarterback position, lines of scrimmage and the scoring scale used in football today.

The Injury Controversy

Early games were controversial because of the high rate of injury. Even President Theodore Roosevelt stepped in to ask collegiate teams to revise regulations to make the game less brutal. The committee overseeing the rules would later become known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Thanks largely in part to the popularity of college football, professional football began to gain traction with the public. The American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920. That league would later become the National Football League. The first televised NFL game occurred in 1939. Eventually, American football’s popularity would explode.

Sis Boom Rah!

Cheerleaders were introduced to the game in the 1960s. Currently, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are the most famous squad. Six teams in the NFL do not have cheerleaders: the Chicago Bears, the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions, the New York Giants, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Green Bay Packers. Football games typically last around 3 hours. Average attendance for an NFL game is 66,957 spectators. American football has become a multibillion-dollar industry. What developed on college campuses has grown into a worldwide phenomenon.

 
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