Wednesday, January 5, 2011

End Road Work

So, this olelongrooffan has been working on this blogpost for about three months.  I just couldn't get into it enough to gather it all together.  Last week when I was having lunch with my Golden State based blogger buddy down in FantasyLand, he asked me if this olelongrooffan ever got "Writer's Block"?  I mentioned that I did and even had it now based on many reasons, most of which are not worthy of publication here on By The Numbers.

Know that this olelongrooffan is doing all I can to work through those issues in the only manner I know how...repress them....wait...address them head on and I have been doing so just getting through them one at a time.  In my own way this blogpost is providing me the ability to address another issue, this time it's writer's block. 

And please let me point out that I have edited this post 3 or 4 times and have upgraded to the new template my blog provider offers and I have yet to conquer the new HTML style so the formatting of this post is pretty much up for grabs.

So anyway Counters, here is another rambling, drawn out, kind of all over the place blogpost so go ahead and refresh those cold beverages, this olelongrooffan ain't going nowhere anytime soon.

If you Counters, especially you NASCAR fan Counters, remember, during the running of the Daytona 500 last February, gosh another year has flown by, a pothole developed and then developed again in between NASCAR turns 1 and 2.  This olelongrooffan had blogged about it a couple different times, both here on By The Numbers and over in the Hooniverse.

The powers that be over at International Speedway Corporation decided that rather than merely repair the area of the "patch" they would repave the entire surface of the track, runoff areas and pit road.  To the tune of nearly twenty million bucks!

Well, starting the day after the Brumos 250 Coke Zero 400 last year, Lane Construction, the firm who has also repaved several other ISC tracks over the past few years, began dismantling the track accessories to commence that road construction project.  This olelongrooffan blogged about my first visit to the repaving extravaganza here, back in July, 2010.

I followed up with another visit the day I sold Bert's car and got what I think is one of the most intimate images of the repaving that I captured during the entire process.  And here it is.

That is the repaving of NASCAR turn four.  That Cat is holding up the paving machine up against the wall.  I shot this from the Oldfield grandstand out at the Daytona International Speedway.  Incidentally, all of the grandstand sections are named for race car drivers including Oldfield, Earnhardt, Johnson (that would be Jr.) etc.

Now, I must admit there are a ton of images around these tubes of this repaving and Jesse over at JustaCarGuy has a whole post dedicated to the equipment used in the above image.  (In that first image, Oldfield is in the background.) But with all due respect for JustaCarGuy, this olelongrooffan was there LIVE in person and that is something I will never forget!  It was pretty cool to see this road building equipment in action here on NASCAR turn 4, especially when you see what is coming up once this olelongrooffan finally shuts the h*ll up and gets on with this post.

So, anyway, a few weeks later this olelongrooffan was out and about and decided to head out and check out the latest on the only road construction I like to be around.  Bonus!  They were reinstalling the catch fencing on NASCAR turn 4 and I was able to get this image of those dudes in d*mn near the exact location as the Cat above.  I captured this one at "ground level".  That road you Counters see was the one being constructed during my first visit out to the repaving festivities.
Meanwhile, they were still tearing up the pavement in the runoff area of the tri-oval.  Those tall signs just over the top of that pavement removal equipment are at the beginning and end of pit road.

There were only a few other Hoons out there interested in observing the repaving process, usually 4 or 5 fans there each time I visited.  I spoke to (of course) a few of them on different occasions and they were always from out of town.  A couple dudes I spoke to were on their way from Savannah to Miami for a business meeting the next day and decided to take a break from their I-95 based drive to head east for a few minutes to catch this process.  Like this olelongrooffan, they will have a memory that will last forever.  And they are truly fellow Hoons.I must point out that Lane Construction, economically, did not remove all of the catch fencing surrounding the Speedway.  They just removed it in the areas of NASCAR turns 1-2 and NASCAR turns 3-4 where the use of that Big Cat was necessary.  (sorry, in high school i had a buddy with the nickname Big Kat and just had to slip that in there.  RIP Frank.)

And just to get the scale of just what was involved in replacing the catch fencing around NASCAR turn 4, I got this image from up in Oldfield.

Note that at no time was any of that equipment allowed on the newly resurfaced track surface.  H*ll, even when this olelongrooffan attended the Turkey Rod Run swap meet out at the track, we had to walk across sheets of plywood laid upon the new track surface.

So this olelongrooffan is confident that you Counters are saying to yourselves, "Okay Longroof, what the h*ll is this post all about.?"

Well Counters, just a short three weeks ago, NASCAR held its first testing of the new pavement out at the Daytona International Speedway and this olelongrooffan was there, LIVE and in person.
Along with a whole bunch of other fans.  (here is where I can't seem to figure out the formatting so hang in there.)  Anyway, I am once again in the Oldfield grandstands along with many other folks and enjoying this Goodyear tire test session.
So, as you can see, substantially more people were interested in the test session than in the repaving process.  And it was pretty cool in and of itself.

As you can see in the first image of these crowds and in the above image, we were able to stand pritnear the catch fencing to observe this test session.  During a race, there is a Volusia County Sheriff's Deputy monitoring the catch fence area and informing we fans that we cannot stand right where we were standing that day.  H*ll, the Speedway even had free coffee and soft drinks for we Hoons who chose to attend the events of that day.

I captured the following image from high up in the grandstands, an area this olelongrooffan seldom visits. I observed something interesting during this practice session. 
Most of the cars in this session were outfitted in primer grey colors but in addition to their numbers, not surprisingly, ALL of them were sporting their primary sponsors decals.  NASCAR is a business after all.

And just for fun, I got a couple videos with my elcheapo 28 dollar ebay digital camera which is definitely not a video camera. The first one is from high up in the grandstands and the cars don't seem to be traveling all that fast.
I then moved down to the area at the catch fence to get another.  To paraphrase Robin Williams, this olelongrooffan loves the smell of expended race fuel and burnt tire rubber first thing in the morning.
Yeah, those cars, I found out later, were doing around 190+ miles per hours as they zipped past!

When this olelongrooffan arrived, all 18 of the Goodyear test session attendees were on the track at the same time and were running in a pack.  It was awesome, coming around NASCAR turns 3-4, they were 3 and 4 wide at speed.  Something I had not previously seen either in person or on the boob tube.  I also observed that, and I don't know whether this was on purpose or not, but it seemed to me that individual racecars could accelerate to pass the leader, even when the leader was running in a two or three car draft formation.

It should be an exciting Speedweeks down here in the home of the World's Most Famous Beach!

Anyway, after about twenty laps or so, Goodyear called the cars in to check tire wear and for about the next hour, as long as I stayed, there were at most one or two cars running individually on the track.  I soon grew bored of this display and decided to move on to racier images, so to speak.

However on the way out, I noticed they were putting a shiny coat of paint on the rear of the home of the Daytona 500 Experience (oh sh*t, there is a whole nuther blog I forgot about).

After I cut through the gift shop and the home of the Richard Petty Driving Experience,
this olelongrooffan spotted this license plate on the rear of:  Can you Counters out there guess what it was?
If you guessed the 2010 Camaro pace car then you win the prize.  Not sure what that prize is but you win it.

Why a Pace Car would need a license plate is beyond the grasp of this olelongrooffan but this one had one.

I'm just curious. Who pays the insurance?

Anyway, even though this post has been a writer's block h*ll and a formatting nightmare, know this olelongrooffan's going to pull on through and I hope you Counters will too.  And remember to join me in 2011 as this olelongrooffan continues to

Celebrate Life.

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