Monday, February 27, 2012

A Rainy Day At The Not Quite A Race

So, this past Sunday, the massive communications system here at the Taj Mahal lights up signaling that someone actually wants to have a live conversation with this olelongrooffan. Given that I am responsible for answering email inquiries at my new job, it seems these days a majority of my interaction with others is via these innerwebs. Anyway, it was thehorsefarmer on the other end of that wireless, satellite based communication system reminding this olelongrooffan he was headed down so we could spend some time out at the Daytona International Speedway watching the Daytona 500. As if I was going to forget.

So, he swung on by and picked me up and we applied that gifted media pass to the windshield of his BigAssTruck and headed to the FanZone out in the infield of that storied facility. Once we parked, we decided to leave our sammiches in the BigAssTruck as we were less than 500 feet from the garage area and could easily make the trek back when we got the munchies.

Once inside, thehorsefarmer took off like a kid in a candy store. He couldn't get enough of it. This olelongrooffan had a helluva time keeping up with him. Yeah, thehorsefarmer was stoked that day.

As an interesting aside, I had two passes courtesy of thejeepjunkie. One was good for HOT PIT access for every race from the Rolex24 through the Daytona 500. The other was a garage pass which we thought was good for the garage area of each race. I used that pass at the Rolex24, the Bud Shootout and another race but I forget which one. On the day of the Daytona 500, this pass was mysteriously not good for the garage area. Well, thehorsefarmer went on into the garage area, hooked up with this olelongrooffan just down out of sight of the security dudes and did the official pass swap and this olelongrooffan strolled right on into the garage area.

Well, Counters, after we had been there for a while the sky opened up and teardrops started coming down from all those angels watching over us. Yeah, it was plenty wet.

When thehorsefarmer arrived at the Taj Mahal, this olelongrooffan, a big fan of besides longroofs, mentioned that "We are going to get wet." "It's not going to rain longroof," was thehorsefarmer's reply.

A little later, thehorsefarmer headed off to pit row and this olelongrooffan, totally without an appropriate pass, managed to slide on through behind him. But let me tell ya, it was wet. We were appropriately clad in rain gear and managed to stay dry for the most part. But we weren't as dry as those covered up race cars.

We were able to observe the Furniture Row ride undergoing tech inspection. This is where they do the wheel base measuring to make sure there is not a bunch of cheating going on.

Yeah, did I mention it was wet?

And of course, what is a NASCAR post without the obligatory Danica Patrick inclusion. Ironically, the 500 just got underway and Danica crashed and is headed to the garage for repairs.

While the teams were waiting for the race to get underway, thehorsefarmer spotted the pit crew leader that Lowe's loves so much staying dry and chatting it up underneath the awning of his transporter.

And while this olelongrooffan strives to limit By The Numbers to mimimal political content, I can only wonder if this is the first time in history that a US Presidential candidate has sponsored a NASCAR racecar? By the way, Mitt Romney also made an appearance at the track on Sunday.

This olelongrooffan can only presume that basketball is a huge favorite sport of NASCAR teams as this is the second time I had seen a pit box television tuned to a bball game.

Meanwhile, thehorsefarmer wandered out to the pit wall to see what could be seen out on pit road.

So, of course this olelongrooffan had to wander up and see what was up. A bunch of covered up race cars and standing water on pit road.

There was a boatload of Toyota Highlanders out front of those NASCARs on pit road.

Meanwhile, thehorsefarmer was able to autograph the START/FINISH line, despite the wishes of that rude security dude trying to get us off the tri oval area of the track.

Well, as it turns out, that security dude was in error as we were able to watch the safety crew parade from either side of it.

We had a great view of it from adjacent the safer barrier just outside the "ball field" area.

Of course, in the meantime, this olelongrooffan had to autograph that safer barrier, just for posterity's sake. Or until that barrier is painted once it dries up around these here parts.

I'm not real sure why the airport had to send over this truck for the parade. This olelongrooffan had never seen it within the confines of the Speedway previously.

I guess there is a new movie about to be released called The Three Stooges, and in totally cheesy NASCAR fashion,

The Three Stooges actors drove up in some go carts to deliver the green flag for the start of the 500.

On the way out of the ball field, I spotted some cool flags along the driver's introduction boardwalk. This Mario Andretti one was pretty much the coolest.

I also captured this cool old Poncho race car from back in the day when NASCAR actually raced stock cars.

A tad bit later, thehorsefarmer and I were walking by the pace cars parked outside the Sprint Cup trailer. I remembered that usually these cars were left unlocked and today was no exception. So, of course, I had to grab an image of thehorsefarmer getting ready to climb into one.

And he grabbed an image of this olelongrooffan as well. Luckily, the keys weren't in those cars or there would be one parked in front of the Taj Mahal as you read this.

A little later we passed by the racer's general store and once I mentioned it was thehorsefarmer's first time at the 500, the proprietor of that store let thehorsefarmer go in and check out all that could be seen.

See those raindrops on those Hendricks Motorsports racing rims? That pretty much set the tone for the day out at the track.

We passed by the tech booth again and this time saw the old Red Bull cars, now racing under BK Racing livery, undergo wheelbase inspection.

Lenny Kravitz was the band of choice and this was as close as we got to that group although they were broadcast over every speaker in the infield.

So, thehorsefarmer and this olelongrooffan decided to take leave of the area and grab a bite to eat. On the way back to the BigAssTruck, I spotted this tag on the rear of this highly desirable Caddy. Thought you might enjoy it as I did.

As we were cruising around the infield so thehorsefarmer could see all that could be seen, we spotted this totally lust filled camper.

And in this image, you can see why we decided to call it a day and head out.

Even though it was a soggy day out at the track, thehorsefarmer and this olelongrooffan were both able to

Celebrate Life.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

No Longer A Daytona International Speedway Virgin

Appropriately enough, I gathered this image last evening prior to the Bud ShootOut.

So earlier today, this olelongrooffan was sitting on my skinny white *ss in my favorite chair in my Taj Mahal trying to figure out how I was going to approach my blog about attending the Bud Shootout last night at the Daytona International Speedway (still working on that).

Suddenly, the massive communications system lights up letting me know that someone in my rather limited world wants to have a real life conversation with me. That occurrence is a relative rarity these days.

Anyway, it was thehorsefarmer calling to let me know that he and thebarngoddess were making an appearance at the internationally famous Daytona Flea Market today. "Where are you now, horsefarmer?" "LPGA and 95," was his reply. About two minutes from that flea market. "Sh*t Man, let me grab a shower and I'll hook up with y'all."

And I did.

The three of us spent a couple of hours wandering around that cool place and I was able to score a cool old Nash badge for my collection of obscure old automobile related crap.

So, after thebarngoddess conveyed to this olelongrooffan that my flea market was the best one in the northeast part of the Sunshine State, we all had a cold sody pop and decided we had seen all that could be seen. As usual, thehorsefarmer suggests lunch and we, separately, headed out to International Speedway Boulevard to see what food serving joint we could find. As thebarngoddess's Bull was the chase vehicle, I kept an eye on it in my rear view mirror. I noticed thehorsefarmer flipped on his turn signal and just a bit later we pulled into the Waffle House parking lot. thebarngoddess had a quick snooze while this olelongrooffan and thehorsefarmer enjoyed a delicious greasy cheeseburger. Bonus #1, Waffle House does not own a fryer so my potatoes of choice were hash browned. Bonus #2, this was the first time I had ever eaten at a Waffle House. Honest to God. Bonus #3, thehorsefarmer refused to accept any Washingtons from me for my four dollar meal. Thanks horsefarmer.

So during lunch, thehorsefarmer and I were discussing our afternoon plans. His included getting a tire relocated from the right front of the Bull to the right rear as thebarngoddess' daily driver seems to be having some alignment issues. Mine, as I related, was to head to the Daytona International Speedway, utilize one of the two freakin' awesome passes thejeepjunkie was able to scam score for Speedweeks down here and check out the qualifying session for next week's Daytona 500.

After we had finished up that meal, we were chatting it up with thebarngoddess out in the parking lot and thehorsefarmer mentions he would love to go to the track with me for a short time. As he and thebarngoddess commenced to figuring out what she would do while we were there. I replied, "Hey I have a media pass that will get us, in your Bull, into the infield and thebarngoddess can hang while we wander around."

And that is exactly what thebarngoddess, thehorsefarmer and this olelongrooffan did. We Hooned it right on through that tunnel under NASCAR turn 4 that is the same age as me and rolled right up to the Media parking area. You can see an image of how close we parked to the action in the following image as my Comanche was in nearly the same location last evening.

Yeah, those racing transporters just over the roof of my Indian are parked in the garage area. We were parked that close.

So this olelongrooffan and thehorsefarmer assumed thejeepjunkie's identity and wandered around the FanZone and the NASCAR garage area for a bit.

I was so excited for thehorsefarmer. We were there on a day when all of the drivers are around and we got to see quite a few of them. Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards among them.

This was the first time thehorsefarmer had visited the track during a race related event and, Counters, he was like a kid in a candy store.

I had to gather the above image of him behind the Bass Pro/Jamie MacMurray Chevrolet just because that driver is one of thehorsefarmers favorite as well as for all my kinfolk up there in the Ozark Mountains.

But it was even cooler just a tad bit later when we spotted Carl Edwards during a MRN interview after capturing the pole.

We even got to see the "hat shuffle" for the professional photographers following that interview.

It's funny how it works. Major TV networks get first grab at an interview (FOX), then the radio guys get their chance (MRN) then the still phototogs get their chance.

And today, thehorsefarmer got his chance. And I mean it when I tell you that I am standing in the background observing something I have seen a bunch of times before and watching my older brother being exposed to something he has seen on TV a bunch of times and just having a blast watching him. For that, I am grateful to thejeepjunkie and the Powers Above for aligning all of this for us.

And yeah, that is "The Cat In The Hat" Jack Roush to right in the above image.

Yeah, it was a great feeling. Then and now. How often have you been able to introduce a sibling to a much desired experience? Especially an older one. Yeah, all is good.

So anyway, after that photo op with the Daytona 500 pole sitter, and a few sightings of some team owners, this olelongrooffan and thehorsefarmer were following Carl Edwards, who was in pursuit of his race car, down to Gatorade Victory Circle.

At first, I was a bit concerned as I noticed the gate from the garage area to Victory Circle was open (and we had exited the garage area) but when we approached that hallowed area, the security dude at the gate must have noted the look of awe on thehorsefarmer's face and motioned us right on in.

We gathered up a few images of the proceedings, and yet another "hat shuffle" and then in typical Lee fashion, thehorsefarmer says, "Okay, I've seen it." and we head on out.

As we were leaving, he mentioned he would love to have an image of him with the grandstands in the background. We were outside the fence at the time and he said we could just get it with the fence in the background.

Bullsh*t, this olelongrooffan replied, let's go to the pits. And we did and here is the image of him

sitting on the pit wall of the Daytona International Speedway this afternoon.

and a gratuitous one of this olelongrooffan as well.

But wait, I haven't even related the best part. Remember back when we were in the garage watching Carl Edwards getting interviewed?

Well, as it turns out, thehorsefarmer was captured by the FOX TV crew in the backround and was broadcast on national TV, if only for a brief time.

Even better?

His daughter, the Shark, some 1,200 miles away on Haven Lee Farm in the Ozarks, just happened to be watching that broadcast and saw her Dad on national TV, an occurrence that was totally unexpected and is just awesome as Hell.

That, my friends, is how we Celebrate Life down here in the Sunshine State.