This weekend is The Roar Before The 24. It is a test session for the Grand-Am racing series out at the Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Rolex24 Hours at Daytona the end of this month.
I wanted to head out to capture an image or two of some of the race car transporters, such as this privateer GT transporter below,
as they arrived and went through the NASCAR Turn 1 tunnel. It is shown below after the tumulteous rain storms we had in these here parts the summer before last, the summer before the infamous Daytona 500 pothole incident.
And I knew that without one of these,
there was no chance in hell this olelongrooffan was going to be in the garage area at the Daytona International Speedway this Chamber of Commerce weather bearing Thursday afternoon.
As I was stopped in my Comanche at the intersection of International Speedway Boulevard and preparing to turn left onto Midway Drive to head over to that now dried out Transporter Tunnel, I noticed a line up of cars and trucks, apparently unimpeded by security checkpoints, entering the NASCAR turn 4 tunnel thereby gaining access to the infield of the track.
Well, as I had left my credentials for admission to the Roar a well as my credentials for entry to the Rolex24 back at the Taj Mahal and had no little green card on the windscreen, I was doubtful I would be able pull this one off. But like any Hoon worthy of being a Hoon, I pulled right up behind the last vehicle in that lineup. As we approached the security checkpoint just before entering that tunnel, my palms started getting all sweaty and I just knew that security dude was going to see through my ruse and bust the crap out of this olelongrooffan.
My fellows Hoons, that
So I proceeded to follow that lineup to a parking area in the grass, just outside the garages. As I parked, the parking attendent said something to me and I thought I was busted as crap for not having one of the requisite green cards. It turns out he merely wanted me to pull the Comanche forward another couple of feet. And I did.
All of the other guys and girls surrounding me were in team uniforms and were unloading laptop cases and other miscellanious bags and heading off to one of the closed and security monitored gates to the garage area. We just stood around a bit and I thought my game was up. I know from experience these dudes guarding the garage do so with a vengence and there is no way to talk your way in without proper credentials. Believe me when I tell you I have tried.
So here I am standing around and the security dude rolls that gate open and steps out of the way thus allowing me unrestricted access to the garage area, along with
about two hundred other folks. But they all had "hard card" credentials or team uniforms while I felt naked as a jaybird with nothing hanging from my neck.
Well Hoons, once inside not one official gave me a second look and I proceeded to just Hoon around checking out all the cool shit that is a part of the sports car racing culture.
While I was wandering around, I saw this truck driver for Stevenson Motorsports polishing the wheels on his recently parked transporter just this Truck Thursday here in the Hooniverse.
And lest my fellow Hoons think James Garner, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen are the only actors to be involved in motorsports, I submit the Patrick Dempsey (who?) Racing Team for your consideration.
TELMEX is the team Juan Pablo Montoya drives for during the Rolex24 for Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. Usually quite well I might add.
The Gainsco/Bob Stallings Daytona Prototype is one of my favorite teams in this series. A class bunch and they are always competitive. Last year at the Rolex24, I saw them tear down a transmission and rebuild it right on pit road during a scheduled 30 minute break between the warm up laps and the green flag. I asked one of the big shots overseeing this rebuild why they were doing this? Well, it turns out Alex Gurney, yes that Gurney family, was doing the warmup laps and thought he heard an odd noise and "we decided to play it safe and just rebuild the whole thing before we got underway." Yeah, sharing this information with an anonomous spectator ranks way up there on the class scale for this olelongrooffan.
The following image is of the Target/Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates race team transporters prior to them revealing the upper decks where the cars ride. The numbers on the cars of these teams are 01 and 02. Last year they finished 01 and 03 for the season with the Gainsco/Bob Stallings Daytona Prototype team sandwiched in between.
And the MazdaSpeed team will always hold a special spot in the heart of this olelongrooffan as they allowed the Kid and I to occupy some shared pit space about three o'clock in the morning at the Rolex 24, 2008. Besides my favorite number is attached to the side of that white Mazda RX8.
Even the parts vendors have their own transporters down in the garage area.
And just another image for Transporter Truck Thursday taken early upon my ill gotten arrival in the garage area.
Now I am sure my fellows Hoons are wondering if this olelongrooffan feels guilty or regretful for duping the Man and getting admission to this event.
Yeah right. I know every one of us would if the chance could be had.
And since I was there anyway and my committment for Hooniverse Truck Thursday fulfilled, I thought I would gather a few other images to share with my fellow Hoons.
The following image captures the way race tires and wheel are transported around the garage and pit area. This dude was on his way over to the tire tent to pick up some new shoes.
This is the first time I had seen a 1 series BMW in this race. The sister car, #14 was being unloaded off its transporter as I got this image. It will be interesting to see how they fare up against the RX8's, Ferraris, Mustangs, 6 series BMW's and the Camaros.
Following is an image I captured of Bob Stallings on the left talking with Hurley Haywood of Brumos Porsche about the used race cars they had available. Hurley Haywood retired last year after driving for Brumos for umteen million years. However, there is an exception to that story.
This year, for the first time since the inception of the Daytona Prototype into the Grand-Am series, Brumos Racing is fielding an entry in the GT Class and Hurley is going to do at least one stint in it. The woman in the following image is part of the Brumos team and is capturing the first image of Hurley Haywood with the new car at a race track. And you, me fellow Hoons, are the first outside of the track to see it.
And similar to Brumos, only in reverse, the Flying Lizard Motorsports team in fielding an entry in the Daytona Prototype class. What makes this interesting, as was revealed to me as I was speaking with a team member as this car was being unloaded, this is the virgin run for this Porsche powered Reilly chassised race car. Half the team, including the guy I was talking to had never seen the car previous to this unveiling.
And even cooler than that is the fact that Flying Lizard Motorsports doesn't even compete in the Grand-Am series, they field race winning Porsches over in the American LeMans Series! This is their first Rolex24 Hours at Daytona entry.
And last, but not least, an image of the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro I saw punting a tire down pit road at last years Rolex24.
I sure look forward to the Roar this weekend and the Rolex24 the weekend of the 29-30th and leave you with the following question:
"Would you let a Hoon dressed like this into the garage area?"
In closing, this olelongrooffan hopes you enjoyed this amended version of Hooniverse Truck Thursday and stay tuned for more from the Daytona International Speedway. BTW, all of the images and a couple brief, lousy quality videos can be seen at my flickr page.
And know Counters, this olelongrooffan still remembers how to