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My favorite week is race week 

Race week is my favorite week in Charlotte. Not just because I have supported my writing habit over the past few years by coordinating NASCAR commercials and working on the show 3 Wide Life, but because of the NASCAR nightlife. Cause when the NASCARnival comes to town, Charlotte becomes a fun house.

Just last Wednesday was Jack Daniel's party with Casey Mears at Hooters, O.A.R at the Uptown Amphitheatre (and Whisky River after) and a One Night Stand with Kasey Kahne -- as in Budweiser's One Night Stand concert with Eric Church at Coyote Joe's. And I went to each event and had a night so fun it warranted its own Scrapbook of Shenanigans on BrittneyAfterDark.com. Yet the funniest part of my night at the NASCARnival was at the end of it, when I walked into my condo building to find Denny Hamlin playing a player piano.

I have watched the race at Lowe's Motor Speedway from the pits, the grandstands, the suites, in the infield on an elevated couch on turn one, and from the roof of the National Tailgating League's motorcoach. And then there's the time I somehow ended up in Michael Waltrip's motorcoach learning the Hannah Montana Ho Down Throw Down from his 13-year-old daughter. Also have to mention the the Budweiser's RV, where the shower doubled as an elevator, which, just so you know, will squirt water on you if you touch the showerhead. I learned this the hard way going up to the roof, and by the way, it was freezing outside.

Yet, the best place to watch the race (or drink while it's going on) is the Red Bull Energy Station. Between the leather lawn couches, DJ, and catering that entails filets, they make NASCAR, CLASS-CAR.

I typically describe a NASCAR race as Woodstock for rednecks, but not because NASCAR fans stereotypically lack intelligence and class as the term implies, but because they're some of the nicest people, who just so happen to travel and party like hippies. A race is actually just a sporting event with its own culture. A culture born here.

Cason-Point: If you live in Charlotte, you have to go to a race at least once -- the NASCARnival may stop in Uptown, but the biggest party is at the track.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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