On September 20, I attended my first-ever NASCAR race: the 2015 myAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. I went with Amanda, her brother Michael, and her Dad, and it was a beautiful day. It was an historic race as Jeff Gordon tied the record for most consecutive starts at 788. It also took place during Gordon's final year in NASCAR, and saw him lead the race for 40 laps. Denny Hamlin ultimately won the race, despite crashing earlier on. It being my first time seeing NASCAR live, I was amazed at how loud it was — possibly even louder than F1 used to be. The near-deafening roar of the engines at starts and restarts is a sound I will never forget, and is one aspect of the race that can not be fully-appreciated on TV. The above photo — taken at the beginning during a formation lap — captures some NASCAR stereotypes, such as the American flag bandana and mullets. But in reality, the race helped me learn to really appreciate NASCAR and see beyond the stereotypes that lead some to view it as the sport of rednecks. You really don't know anything about NASCAR until you've seen a race live. I'm happy that I learned to appreciate the sport before Jeff Gordon retired.