Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Touch Of Class

with a Bunch of Rednecks thrown in.

This past Thursday, thejeepjunkie, before he left on his, and his family's, annual 4th of July Expedition to the Ozark Mountains, well, he revealed to me the fact that one of his buddies who drives a black and tan car for the State of Florida had bestowed upon him, and me, tickets to the Coke Zero 400 and, more importantly, the Brumos 250.

thejeepjunkie graciously made these available to this olelongrooffan and it gave me something to do over this 4th weekend other than commiserate the fact I have no life.

thejeepjunkie left me three tickets and, as I only needed one, I gave the other two to the dude who has done the granite install on the last couple kitchen installs. Needless to say, Ishmall was floored and thanked me profusely, noting he was taking his grandson to the race and thank you very much. As this dude is American by birth, although his family emigrated from Cuba and became naturalized US citizens, and although living in the Daytona Beach area for many years, had never been to a race previously. I was honored to have allowed him that opportunity, on behalf of the benefactors of those race tickets. But, I did tell him they were FHP comp'ed tickets and to behave himself. As I had previously known he is a mature adult, I was not concerned about his representation of all of us.

Again, thanks to TheStateTrooper and thejeepjunkie for your generousity to all of us.

But hang on a moment, I have to step outside to see the Air Force Jets do a flyby after their fly over of the track.

Now, I am back. The real b*tch about those flybys is the fact the sound arrives about 25 seconds after those fighter planes fly by and you really miss the sight of them just at the top of the highest condo building down on the beach, right about the same spot thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan saw this last month. Alas.

So, since the time I went out to see those jets fly by I have gotten myself a bite to eat.

And get this, the Coke Zero 400 has started and just went back to green flag racing after Casey Mears spun the #7 on lap 28.

Without a boob tube here in the Taj Mahal, I know you Counters are asking how I know this?

I am following the race via Twitter. Yeah CDM, Twitter, via SpeedMag.

Does this represent a decline of cable TV networks in the future as is happening to newspapers these days?

Well, that does it for waxing nostalgic and let's get onto my day at the track.

This morning, before I left, I felt I needed to do something productive around the Taj Mahal to deserve this Day of Enjoyment. So I cleaned the bath and kitchen and then the olestationbus. As a result, I got out of the house around noon. thejeepjunkie called me enroute to DIS to see if I was enjoying myself. Well, as it was about 200 degrees out and I was sweating out every bit of the hurricane supplies I consumed last evening, it was a relatively short conversation but he did mention he had gotten Big Jim Dunn's shed insulated in relatively cool weather. Way to go jeepjunkie.

So, yesterday, I had done a reconnaisance mission down to the Speedway to see about upgrading my free ticket to one with infield and garage access. I was told, by the sweet young thing behind the counter, no not Counters, but the counter inside the Daytona Experience I had the pleasure of sharing with this fine bunch, that I could upgrade to, for an additional $65, access to the FanZone but access to the Garage area was limited to those comp'ed by large firms and access could not be bought. Well, I need to start working on those large firms, Real Soon.

So, anyway, I decided that since I have shared with you Counters the access I have enjoyed to the inner workings of race day at the Daytona International Speedway, I would share with you the sites seen by we, now, plebians.

First, I must say this about that.

The powers that be at NASCAR have enjoyed their success for a number of years now. Changing the rules almost willy nilly; Adding new race courses at the expense of the old school tracks; Dropping the road course tracks for more roundy rounds; and, finally, pricing themselves out of the market for the common man. I mean, $65 to get into the FanZone, on top of a grandstand ticket price of $60. Imagine getting a family of four into that, along with the cost of getting to Daytona Beach in the first place. Although in NASCAR's defense they did lower some grandstand ticket prices to $40 for the Coke Zero 400. But the fact they have sold 40,000, yes 40,000 less tickets, this year versus last year may have a h*ll of alot to do with that.

Had to take a break for a moment. It is 9:30 here in the Birthplace of Speed and, unlike many places in our Country, the City of Ormond Beach is having their annual fireworks display down at Riverside Park and I had to step out and enjoy it.

BTW, Dale Jr. and Clint Bowyer just wrecked and there is a big thunderhead about 15 miles away, over in Deland, home of thejeepjunkies favorite U-Pull-It, heading straight toward the Speedway. A Big One on the front stretch is what Twitter is telling me.

Well, like some hoon texting while driving, I am getting away from this blog, so I will attempt to step away and get on with describing my day as most of you will probably have seen the race live anyway.

So, yesterday on my recon mission, I noticed there were some cars parked behind the new NASCAR complex under construction across International Speedway Boulevard from the Speedway. As I usually parked there, free of charge, I thought I would check it out today and see if it was available.


I guess NASCAR wised up and figured they could continue to rob we patrons and charge SEVENTY DOLLARS to park there. Well, I immediately beat it the H*ll out of there to check out the privateers, although not government sanctioned, along Bill France Blvd.

Well, across ISB from the Track are a whole bunch of retail establishments including, but not limited to, Hooters, The Volusia Mall, Beall's, Marshal's, Ruby Tuesdays and a ton of others. Think of a big strip mall on the north side of International Speedway Boulevard from I-95 to Halifax Hospital, a distance of about four miles.

All of them sell parking spots on the day of the races.

Yesterday they were $10 cheaper than they were today.

So I left the, formerly free...for this ole create a parking spot man...NASCAR patron raping area and looked around. The lots closest to the track were $60, a block further north..$50, a block further north...$4o and so on and so on.

Well, as I related here, when I left the 380 back in February, it took me over an hour to get home and, although I knew I was not staying til the end of the 400, I would prefer to be as far north as possible.

So, I continued north for three more blocks and you know what I found?

And it is the absolute truth, although no pictures.

Well, in the outskirts, where the private parking lot just, south, across the street was charging $20 to park, well, I found a US Post Office with freaking huge empty parking lot.

So, I have to say this about that, thanks to my fellow taxpayers I got a free place to park, just a 12 minute stroll north of the track.

Thanks you taxpaying Counters.

Hope your 4th is as fun as mine....

So, anyway, I parked a 12 minute stroll from this spot. If you enlarge the following image, those palm trees are on the berm just above NASCAR turn 4 of the Speedway. Just to the right of this image is the turn 4 tunnel that is just a huge drainage pipe I referenced in an earlier post about NotSoLilJim and his fun family.

In the above image, you can see the some of the Speed equipment required to bring you the Big Show while below,

this is a shot of us hoons crossing International Speedway Boulevard at its intersection with Bill France, Jr. Road.

And a special thanks to the title sponsor of the 400 this year.

So this is the gathering, I earlier referred to as a Circus, but really should be referred to as a Carnival. It has all the hype and like those Barkers trying to draw me into their $60 parking spots it has everything every hardcore NASCAR fans needs to Celebrate Life.

And the only automaker represented here this year was Chevy and they pulled out all the stops.

They had a bright red-orange Camaro present

but as I had seen one of these in Pace Car form earlier this year, these are the only images I got of it.

But I will tell you this, they had

about 8 or 10 cars and trucks there and all of them were open for inspection.

Except for, of course, the ones I really wanted to see. This the GT1 Corvette

and Dale Jr's show car. Regardless of all the bucks spent, GM still is missing it.

And, by the way, did you notice how no one is looking at the Corvette but Jr's car is being looked at by some hoon in a sleeveless Tshirt?

And, seriously, Sprint..WTF is this thing? Maybe some part of an ad campaign this TV-less person knows nothing about? This assinine ad campaign makes me want to change my internet cellular provider right now!!

Average weight of the people I saw today. North of 200 lbs.

Maybe it is because of the types of food served. Or is it the type of food served is what is desired by the average NASCAR hoon?

But, yeah, it is a midway.

Every driver has their own trailer selling the same stuff just with different logos and decals. Even Digger has its own trailer. Who is Digger by the way? I didn't care enough to go check it out.

And check out these hoons below.

No further comment is available about that shot.

And over at the Fast and Furious Booth, redneck hoons prevail.

I guess I am just to old to get it.

I mean check out the front wheel covers on the front of this horsefarmer's Big Mule wannabe.

Although this built up 70's Chevelle was done tastefully, if that trips your trigger.

And this old rodded out Charger wasn't too bad either.

But I will have to pass on a BRIGHT RED Bentley.

and this 64 Chevy ragtop was alright but I could make out a ripple on the passenger's door where the door handle had been shaved off. I thought about going back to all the other cars to do a quality check but there were just to many rednecks around and, besides, it was nearing 2:00 pm, the start time of the Brumos race.

But on the way out, I did see the Air Force booth...check out the tat on the arm of that dude...

as well as the Border Patrol booth.

So, I left the carnival and got inside the Speedway proper and started hoofing it west, for the first time, in the Grandstands.

I entered on the extreme east end of the grandstands, right where NotSoLilJim and the youngsters and I had ventured to check out the track and my seat? Well it is out of sight in the following image, around the pits and on the extreme west end of the Grandstands.

It took me longer to hike down there than to hike from my free parking spot to the Speedway.

Oh, this is what a SAFER barrier looks like.

And a shot of pits just about where Tony Stewart took out Kyle Busch.

At the Nationwide race in February, the Kid, thejeepjunkie, TheGoodAttorney and this olelongrooffan were sitting on the top floor of that black building on the left in the following image.

Finally, this olelongrooffan arrived at my seat and this is the view I had. Yeah, love that trash can too.

But, actually, this is a pretty good seat for Rolex racing. I was situated right at the spot the race cars left the infield and reentered the NASCAR portion of the track.

I had a great view of most of the infield as well as NASCAR turns 1 and 2.

Furthermore, I was close enough that I had to dig a few minute pieces of rubber out of my eyes more than once. And while it was hot, yes it is Florida and it is the 4th of July, there was a nice breeze blowing across the infield and the partly cloudy skies, along with a cooler filled with ice cold bottle water, halped to keep this olesportscarracingfan cool. Incidentally, the above image is the GT winning Porsche followed closely by the #70 Mazda.

It was a great race. The #10 Suntrust and the 99 Gainsco DP's, two of my favorites, we head to toe for the final 20 laps with the 10 car, shown above, prevailing at the finish. In the GT class, the #86 Porsche and the 70 Mazda had a hard fought battle to the finish also. I was holding out for a Mazda victory just because that team was so nice to the Kid a couple years ago but to no avail.

On the last lap, another Pirelli FAIL on the right rear of this prototype and it was unable to finish the race. On the way out, I got this image of it as it rested on the tarmac just shy of the entrance to NASCAR turn 1. Beyond the vehicles in this image is the entrance to the infield portion of the Speedway.

And while my cheapo Polaroid (thanks again Bus) is not the best video camera, I did get these shots.

This one just as they were heading out for their warm up laps.

And this one standing just in front of my seat. That cop in the following video was keeping the hoons away from the catch fence. And know that when those race cars when by, the aluminum stands I was sitting on were humming with vibrations.

And while this free StateTrooper provided seat would suck for a NASCAR race, for the Brumos Race it was fantastic. Thanks Jay.

By the way, the high pitched GT cars in these videos are the Mazdas.

And I hope all y'all had a great 4th of July, as I did, and were able to

Celebrate Life.

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