So I started off the New Year with spending a day in the woods with the Kid and thejeepjunkie, then the next day getting a free cell phone, today the Kid and I went to the Daytona International Speedway for The Roar Before The 24. It is a practice session for all of the Daytona Prototypes, GT Cars, and the Koni Challenge Series racecars.
As I have mentioned previously, practice sessions are cheap to attend and the action is just as competitive. It's not as crowded as race day, it is easier to get around to several different areas for viewing and the unrestricted access to the garage and pits is awesome.
And it's only 10 bucks!
As the Kid had basketball practice most of the morning, we planned to hook up at thejeepjunkie's shop and go from there.
On the way there, I saw this going the other direction but had to turn around a get a shot of it. Smart.
When I got to the shop, thejeepjunkie was doing what he loves to do most, work on old Jeeps. Seems there was a need to repack the wheel bearings on the hub that didn't want to disengage after our day in the woods.
And the Kid and I stood around watching.
After that, it was on to The Roar!! the Kid let me drive his CJ5 while he drove my oleragtop.
Following is an image of the layout these cars run. It is nearly all of the NASCAR track, as well as the infield portion, with the turns numbered. The NASCAR track corners are referred to as NASCAR 1, NASCAR 2 and so on. the Kid spotted this taped inside one of the prototypes. That is carbon fiber in the background.
We headed out to the deserted bleachers
situated at turn 4 of the infield.
We watched the remainder of laps the Koni Challenge cars were running and when they broke for lunch, the Kid and I headed up to the garage area.
Before we got to the garage though, I stopped to shoot this video.
And on to the garage.
And once there, we just checked the whole scene out.
The items in the images below are some replacement noses and tails for a Daytona Prototype. They even have their own custom made luggage on wheels.
These GAINSCO dudes were working on a rear end up there on that lift gate.
the Kid liked the Brumos Porsche parts runner shown below. While we were in the Brumos Garage, I asked one of the crew members if Red Bull was going to sponsor them this year. The dude replied in the negative. I mentioned, What, they taking all their money to NASCAR? All of the crew members started chuckling. I guess I need to find something else to mix with my hurricane supplies when I occasionally use a mixer.
A general view down transporter aisle.
This is the interior of the DP where the Kid saw that track map.
The DP below is a sample of these constructor's work. These are entirely made up of carbon fiber.
Parked next to it was this blinged out golf cart.
And those constructors let this tattooed chickadee sit on that beautiful car.
The Make A Wish DP, owned by Richard Childress, suffered a tire failure and struck the wall a little later this afternoon. So Sad. Pirelli FAIL.
Last year, this Corvette was sponsored by ReMax.
the Kid loved this Pontiac.
Another shot of that Corvette. Alot of the cars were without sponsorship decals. I don't know if they just hadn't put them on yet or they are still looking for sponsors. I'm afraid the latter is very likely.
In the shot below, there is a spare Pontiac nose on the roof of that transporter.
The lone Ferrari at today's practice session.
TRS Racing has a combined seven Porsches in the two series.
And the Mother Office on wheels.
The image below is of last years class winner from Mazda Speed. You might remember it here and here.
And another Mazda with the driver's door off while the dudes bleed the brakes. That dude sitting inside the roll cage? That is my job when thejeepjunkie bleeds the brakes on our toys.
the Kid had a Texas Longhorns ball cap on today. One of the #42 Corvette crew members jokingly made a snide remark about it. It seems they are from Ohio State and I guess there is a big football game coming up between them. And that Corvette has been around the block several times. It is a good 20 footer. And the cars on this team have Grassroots Motorsports decals on them. My favorite print publishing company based just south of my hometown, the Birthplace of Speed. Sweet!
This is the only Challenger here. I got to talking to the dude at Black Forest Racing, and he mentioned it was delivered bone stock to them less than 4 weeks ago.
Of course, gratuitous shot required.
And when I shot this image of the interior, I could still smell the paint. I asked the dude from Black Forest if they had much seat time in it. He said, yeah, about 30 minutes just a little while ago!!
I have to tell you, by and large, every team member and official we came into contact with today was openly friendly toward us. Maybe we asked intelligent questions and stayed out of their way and possibly, this is practice, not the race. Although that Mazda dude was pretty good to the Kid during last year's race.
Before we left, I asked the Black Forest dude, Didn't you race Mustangs last year? He replied in the affirmative. I asked him why they switched. His comment, with a sh*t eating grin on his face, "Why Not?"
the Kid pointed out the only Honda race car we saw today.
I shot this shot for the Kid's sister.
One of two Mini's here practicing for the Koni Challenge.
and a Breast Cancer Awareness entry.
and a Miata, oh sorry, as the Kid corrected me, MX5.
We headed down to another garage and came across the cars used for the Richard Petty Driving Experience there at the speedway.
The dudes in the above image are filling fuel canisters. Note the fire suits and the upright dude on standby with a fire extinguisher.
While we were in the garage area, I shot the following two videos. They are about 3-4 minutes each.
We actually took two trips down the DP garage row. The first I took images and the second I took video. You can tell who the team big shots are. The wrenches on the team wear the team uniform where the big shots wear a logoed team golf shirt and slacks.
This is a video of the teams heading out after lunch. As we had shorts on, we couldn't get into the pits today. the Kid and I were talking about that and realized at the 24 it is usually a bit brisk out and we always seem to have on jeans. That oversight will never happen again.
With about 23 seconds remaining, Chip Ganassi, the team owner of the winner of this event three years running, driver Scott Pruett walks by. I said "Good Luck, Man" and he replied with a "Thank you". Common courtesy all around. Oddly enough, on the video I have loaded on my laptop, Juan Pablo Montoya walks across that pathway and gets into Chip Ganassi's trailer. The timing is different on it and that portion did not load onto Photoshop.
One of the security guards at the east end of the horseshoe, turn 3, had this classic old Mercedes. the Kid spotted it before me!
I shot this brief track view video. The Mercedes shown in the previous image is located on the far side of the track at the East Horseshoe, infield turn 3.
Getting ready to head back out to the bleachers at the West Horseshoe, infield turn 5. We watched for a couple hours and it was a blast!! I shot some totally crappy video and won't bother to post it. The 24 Hour race is broadcast on FOX and SpeedTV if you are interested. We'll all be waving at you from the speedway!
Just as the Kid was getting ready to leave, the track goes quiet and the emergency lights go on on all of the track vehicles. We zip over to the entry to NASCAR 1 and find out that Make A Wish car had wrecked. Total Bummer.
We then headed out and at the corner of International Speedway Boulevard and A1A, beachside, I saw this rare old mini motorhome.
Ironically enough, as I was turning north on A1A, another one, heading south, was stopped at the light.
I took a quick drive down the beach and headed over to the Taj Mahal. I have been asked by several of you Counting Along With Me why I drive on the beach most every day. To quote that friendly Black Forest Racing dude, "Why Not?"
All in all, another fantastic day with the Kid and I can't wait until the 24 on the 24th.
And if the past three days are what I can expect in 2009, Hot Da*n! If I can just find a company who is hiring, my world would be complete. Still keeping my head up as I