Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Super Saturday At The Brumos Porsche 250

So Saturday morning the massive communication system here at the Taj Mahal lit up and started making all kinds of noises. Turns out it was the usually at work on a Saturday jeepjunkie calling this olelongrooffan to let me know he was on his way to the Daytona International Speedway for today's events.

I'm just heading out myself and I'll see you there.

Now as this olelongrooffan related my parking situation on Friday, I figured I would need a new place to park my oleragtop on this Saturday. Well, as it turns out, as I was leaving the track on Friday, I spotted a new Bug parked on the island at the side entrance to the NASCAR office complex, without a ticket, so I knew where the oleragtop was parking on Saturday.

I did so, walked the short block to the entrance to the turn 4 tunnel. It was a shorter distance than I had walked yesterday from my illegally parked oleragtop to the GM powered shuttle.

As it was not quite 9:00 am, I wasn't sure the shuttles were running yet. I walked up to the information booth and inquired as to the pickup location for the shuttle. The elderly gentleman standing there gestured to a nearby stretch golf cart and told me to climb in.

And this olelongrooffan did. He drove me through that tunnel and, once inside, stopped in front of a Chrysler minivan, telling me to climb in the front seat of that van.

And this olelongrooffan did. The driver of that minivan asked me where I was going. I showed him my Super Deluxe Pass and said "The pits." That driver proceeded to shuttle this olelongrooffan to the pits section of the Daytona International Speedway early that Saturday morning.

Can't beat your own personalized transportation at the track and not one red cent was expended by this olelongrooffan! Another reason this olelongrooffan loves thejeepjunkie.

Before I get really going on the race car portion of this post, let me try to demonstrate the scale of the Daytona International Speedway complex.
I got these images from the top of the Sprint Cup garages accessible from the Fan Zone with the full zoom on. The shot above is taken to the west looking at NASCAR turn 2. That white ribbon is the outside wall. The backstretch grandstands are just to the left of this image.

The image below is looking due south over the top of and row of transporters and over looking the tops of the driver's motorcoaches. The blue ribbon is the catch fence with the Daytona International Airport air traffic control tower beyond. The backstretch grandstands are to the right of this image and turn 3 is to the left.
Looking southwest at the backstretch grandstands. The two story building on the top of the grandstands contains 32 private suites.
This is looking east toward NASCAR turn 1. The building to the left in the background is Halifax Memorial Hospital.
And just a gratuitous look at the NASCAR transporters with the front stretch bleachers in the background.
Well, thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan hooked up and we made d*mn sure we took advantage of those Super Deluxe Passes with which thejeepjunkie hooked us up.
Today's major event for us is the Grand American Racing Series Brumos Porsche 250. These are the cars that run in the much beloved Rolex24 at Daytona. Now in this race series, the race is on regardless of the weather. Yeah, they run in the rain. In dry weather, they run slicks but in the rain, they run grooved tires as seen above in the 01 Chip Ganassi pit stall.

As the weather this Saturday was iffy as far as rain goes, Gainsco Racing had a set of slicks ready for the next pit stop but the rain tires were patiently waiting close by should they be called to duty.
Prior to the beginning of the race, the teams lined up on pit road for
photo opportunities and TV interviews.
Although they are at different angles, check out the difference between the noses on these two cars. When I first spotted them, I thought possibly one was a different generation model but when I queried the #6 team, they mentioned that different chassis require different locations of air intake hence the big opening on theirs.
This #28 Corvette is also owned by the guy shaving those tires I spotted yesterday. He also owns the #31 Corvette to be piloted by Boris Said.
What happens is the teams line up, head out onto the track for a few warmup laps and then come back in to do a bit more sorting out. When they return to pit road, it is opened up to all with the Super Deluxe Pass to come on out and look around. I got the following image after we had been run off pit road and the cars were getting ready to start the race. The numbered signs those stewards are holding represent the starting rows.
The powerplant on a random Mazda RX8.
The 69 is a teammate of the 70 MazdaSpeed sponsored RX8.
I'm not sure who this guy from SpeedTV is but he is waiting to interview the driver of Wayne Taylor's #10 SunTrust Daytona Prototype.
And the lead car of the benefactor of today's race.
Chip Ganassi's 01 Telmex DP.
MazdaSpeed's #70 in front of their pit box.
The Pirelli girls posing with the SunTrust DP.
Here they are with the Gainsco #99 prototype.
Just another random image of pit road.
It seemed to thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan that those girls kept moving around to get into every image I took.
See what I mean? By the way, that dude squatting down beside that DP? He is Alex Gurney, son of the none other than Dan Gurney.
The Gainsco crew members lined up and ready for the national anthem.
Finally that interview.
A couple GT Porsches after they had run their warmup laps were up in the air being attended to by their respective crews.
This Grand Am dude was explaining to a group standing to the left of this image about how the aerodynamics work on a DP. Mmmm....Crown Royal.
Now those girls are starting to piss this olelongrooffan off. Hey they were way to young and way to skinny. But, admirably, not a tramp stamp in sight.
The legendary Hurley Haywood being interviewed by some TV personality.
Here the crew of the #94 Turner Motorsports BMW are hard at work. This is the only BMW in the series this year. During the 2009 season, there were two. Usually Boris Said is one of the drivers of this car but he was loaned out to the #31Corvette for this race.
And he was to pilot it but it blew an engine during the warmup laps and never started the race. Here is Boris Said and the #31 team pushing it off pit road. I'm fairly sure Boris was a bit upset over this revelation. I was too as I am a fan of his.
Here Wayne Taylor walks up to his driver prior to that interview to make sure he knew all of the required "talking points".
And this is one of Wayne's sons, Jordon, who drives for the #30 Mazda team.
During the warm up laps, two teams found something so problematic that they decided to tear apart their transmissions. Ten minutes before the race was due to start!
One was the #6 DP and the otherwas the Gainsco #99 DP.
Yeah, gears, gear oil and sweat all over the place.

While just up pit road, these two dudes were changing out a punctured radiator.
in the #90 Daytona Prototype. Again, ten minutes before the start of the race. See that guy in the wheelchair in the following image? He is their boss.
And I thought I would share with you the two of the different types of disc brake rotors used.
Not much interest to some of you but this olelongrooffan thought it was pretty cool. The above image is of one of the Camaros while the one below is on one of the Prototypes.
The race finally got underway and in all the excitement, this olelongrooffan didn't get any images of the start! Sorry Counters but my new $28 ebay digital was able to capture some pretty good images of the cars at speed, even zoomed in.

Yeah Counters, as much as this olelongrooffan loves and appreciates that sometimes trusty Polaroid (thanks again Bus), in the past few months it had started to become rather unreliable doing stuff like going out of focus for several images and it would have to be turned off and then back on to make if operate correctly. Well, I thought about toughing it out until, one time on ebay, I spotted a HP photosmart 6 pixel for a buy it now $28 including shipping price. So I did and the much beloved Polaroid is working back up duty. If these things get any cheaper they will pay me to take them!

Anyway, HP and this olelongrooffan were able to get some at speed images. One of them is of the Stevenson Camaros running through the tri-oval on the front stretch of Daytona.
They had just crossed the start/finish line and that grass between me, pit road and them is where all the NASCAR dudes do their donuts after a victory.
thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan alternated back and forth between pit road and the east horseshoe throughout the race.
I had stepped up onto the rear bumper of a Rusty Wallace Racing golf cart and got a few images of the passing racecars across the roof of that mag wheel equipped ride..
While this olelongrooffan missed capturing images of the start of the race, I did get one of one of the restarts. The Porsche pace car is coming down pit road, to the far right of this image, as the Prototypes get back up to speed.

Another shot from Rusty's cart. Incidentally, if you double click on these images they are a ton better.
One of the cool parts about our Super Deluxe Pass? Pit Stops!

We kind of camped out between Krohn Racing and Brumos Racing pit boxes.
Check out this next series of events. thejeepjunkie thought he had to point this out to this olelongrooffan.
As you can see, one of those Camaros hit a discarded tire from its teammate sending it careening out into the traffic area of pit road. Notice the crew member in the above image looking to get out and retreive that tire?
Well, the Grand Am official sure thought differently of that idea and he was sent back behind the wall.
While that wheel rolled across pit road and it was retrieved by yet another official and returned to Stevenson Motorsports.

The calm after the storm, at least with reference to pit stops in this race series.

And back to the east horseshoe.

And while we were there, thejeepjunkie spotted Papa John's Camaro passing us by. Sorry no images available but know it was cool.
And one of only two permanent casualties that day. Boris's Corvette
and this Daytona Prototype sponsored by Flex-Box, which according to Google is a pretty intense computer application or a shipping container from a company in Philadelphia.
I'm gonna go with that computer thing.

And lest you Counters Out There think this two and half hour race was filled with non stop excitement, well to this olelongrooffan it was, but on the Spirit of Daytona team,
it was just another day at the office. Actually this race is the shortest one of the season in this series.
This is a shot of the roadway behind the pit boxes. The black building to the right is the Goodyear Tower and just in front of it is Victory Lane from which this olelongrooffan has been asked to leave on more than one occasion.
While I am not a huge fan of Porsche's (the roofs aren't long enough) I just plain ole like Brumos Porsche and their history of legendary sports car racing.
This guy is just waiting around for his time out there having fun!
And a few spare parts.Command central for the Stevenson Camaros. That big screen on the left received a closed circuit broadcast of the entire race, yeah, without commercials. This olelongrooffan would love to have that ability in the Taj Mahal.
And the Gainsco team readying for another round of pit stops.
Oh Yeah!!
Can you say wheel spin?
The scent of burnt rubber and burnt racing fuel, two of my favorite things. Yeah this probably explains my current romantic situation!
These three images are in mixed up in the order of occurence but you get the picture.
Super fast paced but deliberate action.
When this Brumos Porsche would come into pit, at about this point it would take a sharp left and come directly toward me. Every time, this olelongrooffan would take a couple steps back.
And back to racing action.
This olelongrooffan has this to say about that. I think for 28 bucks, I got a pretty good deal.

Check out the skies to the north of the speedway. That, Counters, is why there were rain tires present that Saturday morning.
And, of course, the ever popular jeepjunkie had to commandeer an unsuspecting golf cart to use as an office while out there by the east horseshoe.
Now Counters, this is a pretty motivational highlight to the race and kudos to MazdaSpeed. The number 65 Mazda RX8 was staffed by an entirely Mexican team, both wrenches and drivers. And I mean Mexican as in from Mexico, not emigrants from Mexico, but live in Mexico.
One of the team members must be pretty well connected and MazdaSpeed has hooked them up with the use of an RX8 and provided them with non-race support, specifically transportation for the car and equipment in one of their haulers to the different events.

Well, they had a couple different problems with their car while out on the track. The first time they pushed it off the track and into the now vacated Nationwide garage area. thejeepjunkie and I were returning from Rusty's golf cart and noticed they were confused about where to perform their repairs so they just pushed it up to a garage, got the repair done and then back to the race.
We never did find out what their first problem was but the second time they pushed it off the track we saundered over to find out. Turns out this time they had punctured a radiator and were replacing it. We saw them finish up and get back out on the track. They finished the Brumos 250, albeit a few laps down, but when I walked by their pit box as they were tearing down, everyone of them had a smile and an occasional high five. This olelongrooffan gives you an "A" for effort, Amigos.
Well, the 01 of Chip Ganassi won the DP class of this race with the ever classy Scott Speed behind the wheel while the #66 Porsche won the GT class.Each winner in class headed to Victory Lane while the remaining top five in each class hung out as all ten of those cars are required to pass through "tech" after the race.
I am fairly certain Boris Said is bummed to have gotten "loaned out" for this race.
I do like the look of those Camaros in race trim but I remember hearing over the loudspeaker, while the racecars were on the other side of the speedway that they suffer a weight disadvantage of several hundred pounds over the others in the GT class.
And the TRG sponsored GT winner being interviewed by SpeedTv. This was the only time I saw any Grand Am official without his helmet on all day.
And not a Pirelli girl in sight!
The Brumos team is heading back to that remote garage area to head on back to their Jacksonville home.
And click on the above image to see the debris that collects on the nose of these cars. Just imagine after 24 hours of racing what they look like. I'll try and get an image of that in February.
And after that Brumos DP headed out, I took a look at their pit lane parking spot. The teams always put down tape to provide the drivers a reference point in which to come to a stop.
Yeah, just a little bit of rubber was laid down on pit road today.
And if you think this is a walk in the park kind of race, check out the
gathering of grass in the air intake on the McDonald's Ford.

By this time, thejeepjunkie had headed out to attend the Kid's sister's softball game. As it was now after 2 pm, NASCAR officials had opened the impounded garage area to the general public and this olelongrooffan headed over to our benefactor's garage to express both his and my appreciation at being the recepients of those Super Deluxe Passes.
I was able to hook up with TheMan and expressed that appreciation. His response was no problem, have thejeepjunkie give me a call in January and I hope his daughter does well in her softball game.

You can bet this olelongrooffan will make sure thejeepjunkie does just that.

So, unlike that Saturday morning, a private shuttle was not available so I hopped onto a GM powered one and arrived back at the turn 4 tunnel in no time. I hoofed it the block back to my ticket free oleragtop and headed back to the Taj Mahal.
Now this olelongrooffan has been asked by some of you Counters Out There, via email and, now, texts, yeah, I'm getting sucked into texting, why I did not attend the Nationwide Race or the Coke Zero 400.

Well Counters, it's like this.

And know this olelongrooffan is not trying to be blase about it....

My Super Deluxe Pass is not good for the grandstands, although I'll bet ya a buck I could get in, and the top row of the grandstands is the best place to watch a NASCAR race....actually the private suites above the top row is the best place....at least at the Speedway.

From the infield it is just an, almost, nauseating drone of engine noise going round and round. And the glare of overhead light reflecting off those racecars reminds this olelongrooffan of the original movie TRON, in that it is almost computer generated.

Then let's factor in drunk rednecks late at night trying to stumble onto those shuttles to get out to their cars and drive back to their hotels.

Additionally, let's think about a three hour rain delay while surrounded by drunk and wet rednecks!

Plus the security staff and officials at a Grand Am event are much more relaxed, probably because of the lack of the presence of the above two items.

Plus the fact that in order to get to the Taj Mahal which is north and east of the Speedway, when leaving said Speedway after a NASCAR event, I have to travel south and west.

But trust me on this one Counters, other than possessing the experience of attending a NASCAR event with some 100,000, or so, other race fans, the best place to watch a race is on TV in your living room or back porch or any other place with just a few friends around. You get to hear the commentators insight, speak with your friends about the action on the track at less than a full out scream, walk to the fridge for a cold one, have a free snack, watch all the replays and the bathroom is just a few steps away.

But for this television deprived olelongrooffan, the best place for a NASCAR race is sitting in the massive living room of the Taj Mahal listening to the Atlantic Ocean breakers and the race on the MRN racing radio network and trying to envision, through the words of those announcers, the action on the track.

It reminds me, with extreme pleasure, of listening on the radio, with TheGentlemanFarmer all those years ago, to Jack Buck announcing the St. Louis Cardinal baseball games and envisioning the action on the diamond.

And that Counters is how this olelongrooffan, in the smallest and most obscure way, is able to really

Celebrate Life.


Anonymous said...

WAy to go...

good post, glad you didn't get a yellow slip


d5thouta5 said...

another reason the best place to watch a race is the Taj Mahal, the true suround sound of those cars racing around the track....from your own house.

Busplunge said...

I went to one nascar race, a busch race in StL.

It was horrible, noisy, bleachers were hard and I was surrounded by fat drunks who couldn't stay in the lines of their seats.

BUT, I did get to the garage area, took a lot of photos and had the "NASCAR Experience".

I too prefer watching the races at the B's Nest or sitting on the back porch, for the same reasons you do.

Good post.