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And a little bit of party after dark

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This Bud's for ... Dale Earnhardt Jr.

And there was plenty of Budweiser and buddies at his birthday party at Cans last week. After I gave the bouncer the password: "J.R," I got to join in the exclusive, intimate NASCAR party that was all white -- collared, that is. Let's just say it wasn't your standard NASCAR crowd. All NASCAR drivers have pit crews, but JR. has a pit crew of women as well, a harem if you will. Drop-dead gorgeous girls were waiting in line to talk to him like they were waiting in line to use the ladies room (slow moving and in herds). But don't get me wrong, there were plenty of gentlemen with raging engines there as well, happy to be junior to JR. and take his scraps. While JR. was chain-smoking and chain-flirting, my friend Tara and I were dancing to live band karaoke. Canned beer, pretty people, old school tunes, and good times -- it was any old night at Cans ... just with the most famous driver in NASCAR as the guest of honor.

Dribbling, Driving and Not Drinking

I managed to score courtside seats to the Bobcats preseason game against the Milwaukee Bucks, so I went to check out Charlotte's contribution to the NBA -- that and party it up at the arena. But turns out, the court is where most of the people were that night. I quickly realized why someone was willing to just give me courtside seats -- it was the preseason after all. Let's cross our fingers that more people take an interest in the orange and blue when the games start to count.

Perhaps the majority of the Charlotte sporting fans were conserving their fuel for the waving of the green flag at the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Take a tailgate for a football game, add 150 horsepower, and you have yourself a NASCAR tailgate party. It's more like a vacation, as some NASCAR fans camp out in the lots surrounding the track for up to a week before the race. The objective is to get as drunk as you can in order to make the fast cars making left turns entertaining. I too headed to the speedway for the Bank of America 500 where I ended up partying in the pits among stacks of tires directly behind Dale Jr.'s (male) pit crew. Turns out, NASCAR races are more fun when you're tailgating in the parking lot and watching from the stands. It's the difference between going to a country club and going to a keg party.

The following Thursday, I went to Grand Central on Central -- not to be confused with Grand Central in uptown -- for a private Tanqueray soirée featuring a live performance from the Roots. The scene of the concert/party was the complete opposite of JR.'s birthday party. It was more like a Diddy party in NYC. There were cater waiters, local celebrities, urban sophisticates and models painted green holding poses to appear like mannequins while standing on platforms. The motionless models made about as much sense to me as the system for ordering drinks. You had to wait in line to get a ticket from a cashier, and then you had to wait in a different line to get to the bar to redeem your ticket for a drink. That hassle was enough to keep even the biggest lush sober. I, along with everyone else, enjoyed the vibes coming from the stage. Even the cop in the corner holding down the fort was bobbing his head. I just wonder how the green models kept from moving their heads and hips to the beat.

Psssstttt ... If you have any dirt or inside scoop on nightlife, shoot me an e-mail at brittney.cason@creativeloafing.com.

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