Monday, February 16, 2009

At The Daytona 380

So, I woke up Sunday morning around 6:30 am. Don't ask me why, I didn't mean to and, if I had my druthers, I would not have. But I did. So I gathered up the bike the Kid and thejeepjunkie have so graciously allowed the olelongrooffan to use, as they already have about 8 other bicycles in their garage and I got the oldest one...but all is good. So I took that old bike out to the beach. D*mn, am I out of shape. But still a fun ride along the beach at the Birthplace of Speed. I arrived back at the Taj Mahal about an hour later and served myself up a helping of soft boiled eggs, coffee and orange juice, sans vodka, in anticipation of a fun filled day out at the World Center of Racing for the Daytona 500.

So I headed out in the olestationbus going to the track and I called thejeepjunkie to see what was up. He was looking around for a long 1/2" socket extension so he could fix the Kid's CJ5's brake lights without removing the master cylinder. I mentioned I would whip a Uee in the olestationbus head back to the Taj Mahal and see if I had one. Well, of course, while I am sure I have had one of these in my past life, I don't have one now and informed thejeepjunkie of this. He was bummed but commiserated with me about that.

So I popped by Old Mill Run and realized that I had just barely escaped a total control freak in action.

Please understand, I am not perfect in my relations with members of the opposite sex and tend to have difficulty in any degree of success in my relations with them. All of my brothers and nephews have done significantly better than I have in my relations with members of the female persuasion. Crap, I can't even seem to get along with my sisters, but that is another blog, and probably a bunch of very expensive therapy sessions.

So, as it turns out, thejeepjunkie and the Kid realized that thesungoddess needed them to mow a winter lawn, clean a small pile of the neighbor's dog's poop out of the front yard all the while the Kid's sister was shooting hoops in the front yard and, when she missed a bucket, the ball bounced off the folded down windshield of thejeepjunkie's CJ2A.

As I have previously stated, I may not be the most successful at relationships, but DAMN!!

I will always work at getting better, but seriously, this is the Daytona 500 weekend. Can't the lawn wait until Monday, when the Kid and his sister will be off school for President's Day? But then, a whole lot about me is unemployed and maybe I just don't get it.

So I headed out to The Speedway, solo, and had me another look around. This was the third, out of four, days of racing so I thought I might have seen it all. Nope...not even close!!

One of the first things I noticed was all the paraphernalia the race commentators use when describing stuff about the NASCAR racecars, as well as the "Hollywood Hotel" which serves at the broadcast studio on the NASCAR circuit.

I then just strolled around the pits

watching all these guys prep for the race

and noticing it was a helluva lot more crowded at the Daytona 500 than any of the previous days of racing I attended this SpeedWeeks.

Oh yeah, there is one goofy f*ck in every crowd, and No, I do not know him.

I was able to get fairly close to the cars as Governor Charlie "I Am Not Gay" Christ told those boys to start em up.

and that was just after

these jets came cruising overhead. Always an awesome sight.

And you think your gas lines are long. I wonder how long these dudes had to wait to fuel up at one of only two Sunoco gas stations in the infield.

and I don't mind telling ya, it was nice to see the grandstands were packed. As the Daytona News Journal mentioned in their Sunday front page headline "Racing Stimulus".

And as the pace laps were run, I got a chance to see the two new Camaros in action.

And the race is underway!!! Look at all the spotters on the rooftop of those suites on top of the grandstands!!

And only for my family and friends in the Queen City of the Ozarks.

I guess in honor of GM offering up a couple Camaros for pace cars, I guess they do have a few bucks for marketing, after all, I will presume that Camaro was the featured marque at this year's 500.

Although I am not a huge fan,

I believe nearly

every generation

of this car was in this specially marked lot for these Camaros.

and then around the corner, down near our benefactor's, Goodyear, garage, I spotted this.

Now I have to tell you, this was parked just beside the NASCAR trailers, three semis that comprise the travelling road show I pay attention to. Well, if you Have Been Counting Along With Me, you know what I did. Pulled on that drivers door handle and opened it up to get you some shots of

new Generation

Camaros' interior.

Following is a shot of one of the two pace cars out on the pit road prior to the start of the race.

Although I did not get a shot of it I stopped by the Goodyear garage and asked one of the dudes working there, "where is the boss?", Center office, his name is Jim, was his reply. I stuck my head in the door and asked the two gentleman "which one is Jim" That would be me Jim replied. I mentioned thejeepjunkie and the fact we had gotten our tickets from someone at his organization and I just wanted to say Thanks. He stood up, shook my hand and said you are welcome young man! Then he laughed and said I even looked like my brother. I laughed and said I was better looking!! We shot the breeze for a few minutes and as I was getting ready to head out, the other dude asked me if I was hungry. Starving was my reply. He motioned to the other end of the garage and told me to go on down there, there is tons of food. So I said thanks again and went down and fixed me up a plate of grub and grabbed a diet coke! Thanks Goodyear! I did not tell thejeepjunkie about this until Monday nite. He laughed and said Yeah, I called Jim today to tell him thanks and he mentioned you had stopped in to say thanks. thejeepjunkie continued on, Yeah Jim told me to call him in June and remind him to put us on the credentials list for the July races in Daytona!! Yes!!

I then was just booking around the garages and got a shot of the 83 Red Bull garage

and some of their replacement stuff

prior to the scuffle between the 88 and the 83 cars.

Just a couple random shots

of the hauler and garage areas

Oh yeah, Baby!!! I want to drive the Big Brown Truck!!!----and the little one too. The roof is just long enough for me!!

And around the garages, I spotted this Golden Corral sponsored car up on jackstands in the garage.

I got these shots off just before NASCAR came over and told me to, basically, "Get the H*ll out of here!!" I just plead ignorance. One of the many areas I had gotten thrown out of that Sunday.

I mean, what the heck, there are a ton of guys there just looking on, what difference does one more make?

A while later, I headed out to the carnival like staging area just outside the old tunnel under turn 4. This is the original tunnel installed when the track was built in 1959. They are basically steel drainage pipes, approximately 12 feet in diameter that they have paved the base of and you drive on through. They are a bit clastrophobic, especially for me as I tend to have that problem...probably from my 420 influenced spelunking days of my late teen years in the Ozarks. Boy!!!! How the H*ll did those memories pop up?

Anyway, out in that carnival, which I caught just at tear down, next year, I need to go during the full boat action, but in addition to the Dale Jr. Edition Camaro, I got to see something even better than anything I had seen thus far.

And that would be this ALMS Corvette.

It is a sweet ride and the only Corvette I have ever lusted after.

I am not sure if this is last year's model in GT1 or this year's model in GT2. You see, as there is only one current participant in the GT1 designation, GM decided to move to a reduced power GT2 category to compete with Ferrari, Lamborgini, Aston Martin and others, in an effort to provide a more marketable product differentiation. But trust me, it is a hot ass ride.

And, of course, one more look at the pace car with some hoon who didn't notice it was unlocked!! Guess I am the only guy who does that type of stuff. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention, that uniformed officer was standing in that same spot when I opened that door earlier. I am certain GM needs to do anything it can to move a car or two. Even one that has been around for a couple years and still not released. Let Bob Lutz loose in the marketing field will ya?

I have no idea of why I shot the above image or the sequence of events but here it is anyway.

I do know why I shot this one though. First of all, those dudes looking through that window are out in the FanZone and I am in the garage area. THANKS JEEPJUNKIE!!!!!

Second, notice the two tire/wheel combinations closest to the racecar? I know the angle of the shot makes it difficult to ascertain, but they are smaller in diameter than the racing slick to the right. The reason for this smaller diameter tire/wheel is so the cars will fit in the upper deck of the transporter. I feel as if I have blogged this before...if so, and you remember, you have probably forgotten and if not, there is a bit of knowledge that I know will never earn me a dime!! But with three cars at the top of that transporter, it has got to be a handful to drive. Plus you have to be a chef. Well, I must say, I read a newspaper report about the fact that the NASCAR transport drivers are also the team chef but no matter how much I research, I cannot find a reference to them. But know, that most of the main transport drivers on the NASCAR teams are also the team chefs. Good luck on that Google search. But great homestyle recipes.

I spotted these Ford Fusion front end parts on a rack just outside one of the NASCAR haulers. Standing with my back to that hauler to take this shot, immediately after I got this, I saw Jack Roush whisk past me from inside that hauler with his daughter in tow!! I wanted to say something to him but he obviously had something on his mind and I doubt he wanted a nosy fan questioning him about his time in that hauler.

And, whatever you do, don't mess with Dale Jr.!!

They sure use up alot of metal Sawzall blades during the course of a week down here!

And this is Joey Logano's hauler headed out. Their race ended early and they bolted on out of dodge. Oddly enough, though, a little later over on pit row, I spotted their big pit box and a few other items in their now abandoned pit stall.

As I was walking down pit row, I looked over at Victory Lane and saw this and walked right through that open gate and went over and got this shot of that Harley Earl designed trophy! After I shot this, a woman approached me and asked if I was with the press and I responded in the negative. Then she told me I had to leave. Oh well, got the shot I wanted anyway and got thrown out of another spot at the track!

And then the rains started. This is a shot of Jack Roush's Carl Edwards pit box. Check out that big, custom tarp on the top of that thing.

And while there, I saw Jack Roush again, this time on his cell phone. You can see the cars parked on Pit Road due to the rain delay.

Shortly after I shot this image, as I was standing there in the drizzle, I saw Jack give the "cut the throat" motion to his team and they started gathering up equipment. I knew then that NASCAR racing had finished at Daytona Beach until July.

So, I headed out to catch a tram out to where I had parked and while I was riding on it, I saw the fireworks shot off near Lake Lloyd marking the end of the race and knew I had made the correct decision in getting on out of there.

And even though I was one of the first cars out of the lot, it still took me an hour to make the normal 20 minute drive back to the Taj Mahal.

All in all, a great day, a great week and wishing thejeepjunkie could have made it out with me but there is always July. I can't wait!!


Lil Jim said...

Wish I could've been with you...must've been a great experience.

Horse-farmer said...

I think next year we should get press passes...
I will work on that......

Remember one time Nixon came to Spgfld campaigning and Dad got me a press pass, was that interesting or not.

Later dude

Jason said...

Awesome again! Thanks for sharing all those pictures.