Sunday, February 27, 2011

thejeepjunkie Sure Gets Around

A while back this olelongrooffan did a blogpost about a bunch of early Broncos, Scouts and CJ's out in the desert mountains.  You can review it here.

Well today, during a break from power washing the interior dusting the interior of the massive Taj Mahal, this olelongrooffan was reviewing some stuff on By The Numbers to see if I could put something up in the Hooniverse.

While I was looking at that post, I spotted this
and realized that those old Willy's photos of thejeepjunkie in Turnback Creek the Bus posted have made the rounds on these interwebs.

Check this out to see what is helping this olelongrooffan

Celebrate Life.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NASCAR Speed Weeks, 2011

So, over the past 15 days or so, this olelongrooffan has been immersed in all things that are NASCAR.  thejeepjunkie was able to score some killer tickets and nearly every spare moment of this olelongrooffan's time has been spent either spending time out at the Daytona International Speedway or blogging about it.  The first blogpost was about the ARCA race and the Bud Shoot Out that occurred on Saturday, February 12.  It appeared both here on By The Numbers. as well as over in the Hooniverse, a blog this olelongrooffan is fortunate enough to be able to be a contributer on.  I did a couple more over there, one for Hooniverse Truck Thursday, one for Last Call, and another for Weekend Edition.

Now Counters, this olelongrooffan was on my expansive cellular communications system the other night having a wide ranging conversation with an old friend with whom I have not talked to in way too long.  She brought up the subject of my blogging over in the Hooniverse and I related how it made me feel good about myself that total strangers, other than those of you Counting Along With Me, enjoy my ramblings and comment positively about them.  I don't mean to sound conceited but my writing style had gotten off to a rocky start over there but my fellow Hoons have come to accept it and even comment positively about it now.  This olelongrooffan, due to my employment situation over the past few years, enjoys having my ego stroked every so often and with the Hooniverse and By The Numbers, that happens often.  I used to get that from my job and it is nice to know that I can derive even better satisfaction from a more personal effort on my part.  Thanks Counters.  Sorry for the diversion but I Mean It, Thanks Counters.

So, anyway, this blogpost combines many images gathered over this past couple weeks and somehow, my host site decided to move around some of the images to where it thought best so please be patient as we move on.

If you have clicked on through some of the links above, you might recognize the pass this olelongrooffan got from thejeepjunkie was pretty awesome and allowed me some spectacular access.

Here I was standing on pit road observing the "Biff" having a prerace conversation with Jack Roush.  If you were watching the Fox broadcast of the Daytona 500, you probably saw Jack come out to congratulate race winner Trevor Bayne on his victory while the latter was in the grass in the infield having gotten out of his car prior to reaching Victory Lane.  Follow that link and note the NASCAR official in the left portion of that image.  Each car is assigned an official and they track those cars like an old style coon dog.  Nothing misses their observation.
Yeah, this is the kind of mix up I am talking about.
This is what the camera on the rear of NASCAR racecar looks like.

Then back to some on track action, this time during a pit stop for the UPS sponsored racecar.
And as this olelongrooffan was walking around the garage area one day, I spotted Roger Penske, in the center of the above image with NASCAR president Mike Helton walking just behind.  Yeah, a fairly significant amount of NASCAR power in that image.
After the Duels, this olelongrooffan saw this NASCAR donut spare, even a Kumho, on a wrecked car
that didn't make the race and was being loading on its transporter for the long trip home.
And as happened during the 2009 Daytona 380, those powers that be left the Camaro pace car unlocked and this olelongrooffan got an image of the interior of it.
And then blogspot must think pace cars are boring as it sends us back to some more on track action.
In the garages of the 500 winning Wood Brothers 21 after the Gatorade Duels, all was not joyous.  I spotted a lot of long faces and many anxious Ford shirt wearing dudes were around.
But those guys with Wood Brothers and Jack Roush racing did a jam up job getting the sheet metal in spec for the 500.
Oh yeah, this is the Camaro as this olelongrooffan remembers it.
On Saturday, thejeepjunkie showed up with an infield access credential and we hooked up and got out and about in a relatively popular area.  Yeah, follow that link and this olelongrooffan is surprised not to see a bright yellow Willys in it.
We then bolted out of tent city and thejeepjunkie commandeers this parking spot just across the street from the Nationwide garages.
And we stroll on in, catch the race and see thehorsefarmer's heartthrob giving some post race interviews.
And on the way back to the Taj Mahal, this olelongrooffan's massive mobile cellular device lights up with a distress call from thejeepjunkie.  And that call resulted in a rare rescue mission this olelongrooffan was able to provide thejeepjunkie.
As I was heading back through the Nationwide garages to thejeepjunkie's favorite ride, this olelongrooffan spotted these slightly out of balance wheels and tires abandoned in the nearly vacant garage area.  This olelongrooffan has no extra room in the Taj Mahal so I passed them up in favor of
a NASCAR Restrictor Plate gasket, providing yet more wall art for my living room.  I had forgotten to mention those wheels and tires to thejeepjunkie at the time but when he saw them on the Hooniverse in the form of a Last Call blog, he commented that this olelongrooffan should not make that mistake again.  And know this Counters, I won't.
So, it was then on to the Daytona 500.  thejeepjunkie arrived a bit before I did and we didn't meet up until later in the day.  In the meantime, this olelongrooffan headed as far into the inerds of the 500 as I could get.
I am fairly certain that this olelongrooffan couldn't get anymore inside the "Daytona 500 Experience" than standing at the beginning of pit road, almost on the track observing the trucks destined to carry the 500 drivers around for fan viewing.
And Kenny Chesney, one of my favoright country singers was the prerace entertainment.  This is as close as this olelongrooffan got to him though.  Sh*t, they had ropes set up to keep me on pit road as opposed to gaining access to the grassy area and the grandstands.
And that is NASCAR Turn 4 in the flesh.
Much like Flying Lizards Motorsports I mentioned in this blogpost (Counters read the comments in that link to see what this olelongrooffan was referring to earlier with reference to "my ego boost"), TRG (The Racers Group) is crossing venues and entered NASCAR racing over the last couple seasons.  However, where Flying Lizards chose to go race DPs in the Rolex24, TRG chose NASCAR.  I had not previously known of this but recognized the name of the driver of the number 71 machine, Andy Lolly, posted above the drivers window.  I am sure you those of you Counting Along With Me know this olelongrooffan struck up a conversation with the two TRG shirt wearing dudes and queried them as to whether this is the same TRG that runs Porsches over in the American Lemans Series (ALMS)?  They looked surprised and responded in the affirmative.  I asked if they were new to NASCAR and they mentioned "No, we have run a few races in each of the past couple years."  I then asked if Andy had been their driver then also.  "No, we just put him in this car this year."  This olelongrooffan responded with "Well, hope you guys do as well with this Impala as you do with your Porsches over there."  They both laughed, shook my hand, and said "Thanks" as I took my leave.
And Counters, remember NASCAR, while slowly advancing on a more technologically enhanced world, is still a low tech racing series.
And now, just a few obligatory images of some of the celebrities of the NASCAR world.  Michael Waltrip.
Richard Childress in black slacks this weekend instead of the usual starched and creased Levis ala Dan McClernon back in the day.
And this olelongrooffan is sure those Counting Along With Me from the Ozarks know this is last year's 500 winner Jamie MacMurray, driver of the Bass Pro sponsored racecar.
And a general image down pit road this olelongrooffan was able to gather that day.
I have seen this before but I thought I would share this golf cart sized UPS truck with ya'll once again.
And this is an image of the driver's motor coach area.
And of course, these are a couple What I Saw Today images of this
drop dead gorgeous Cutlass W-30 ragtop that I absolutely lusted after.  I saw this just outside the garage area a couple different days and suspect it belongs to one of the gatekeepers.  It was badged locally and I will keep my eyes open for it in the future.
Finally, the Bus's brother in law's daughter's boy friend, Pride, had a (upon review, this olelongrooffan must insert the word "amusement" here) ride down here at the Daytona International Speedway during Speedweeks 2011 and thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan kept an eye open for a Pirate Ship Ride the entire time.  We spent some time driving around looking for it and it wasn't until the last day of Speedweeks thejeepjunkie spotted it just below the Budweiser Party Deck on the backstretch and he noted this on the way out.  Well, of course, anytime you can say hello to an almost relative, especially when you are 1,200 miles away, you gotta do it so thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan headed over to find him.  And this is the parking spot thejeepjunkie got while we struck out to find Pride.

We had left the 500 at about lap 150 of the 200 laps scheduled and headed back to thejeepjunkie's garage to catch the remainder of the race.  We were able to catch all of the drama of the last few laps via FOXSports and this olelongrooffan and thejeepjunkie, once again, realized the best place, after having attended a bunch of them, to watch a NASCAR race is in front of your back porch or garage TV.

But know this Counters, thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan had a blast over the course of those ten days but the look of surprise on Pride's face when thejeepjunkie told him who we were really allowed us to

Celebrate Life.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Birthday to TheGentlemanFarmer

This olelongrooffan sure misses you.  Thanks for making me labor over those essays when I was a kid and, well, everything.  Give my love to Mom and all your friends.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Day At The Races, February, 2011

With all respect to the Marx Brothers.

This olelongrooffan was lucky enough to score a killer pass to the NASCAR Speedweeks and I thought I would share with those of you Counting Along With Me my experience on Saturday out at the World Center of Racing, the Daytona International Speedway.

First off, I must thank thejeepjunkie for hooking me up with that pass as well as those dudes over at
for hooking up thejeepjunkie with that pass!

Yeah, thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan are going to stop in
here to express our thanks in person while we are out at the Daytona 500 next weekend.

As usual for NASCAR events, there is no way this olelongrooffan is going to pay those outrageous parking prices so I parked, free, at the US Post Office a mere 12 minute stroll north of the Speedway on Bill France Boulevard (thanks to my fellow taxpayers for this privilege). I arrived at the information booth just outside the NASCAR Turn 4 and grabbed a ride on a stretch golf cart to the FanZone and strolled on into the garage area to begin the festivities for the day.

The first thing this olelongrooffan did was capture an underhood image of a Chevy V-8 carborated NASCAR race car engine for your viewing pleasure.
And the cockpit of the same race car.

And I was able to get this image of Michael Waltrip's #15 Toyota Camry.  The Bud Shoot Out, as well as the Daytona 500, is one of the few races he is planning on running this year.  Good luck in qualifying today, Mikey.
As Sprint Cup practice was going on when I arrived, the Chip Ganassi/Juan Pablo Montoya dudes were atop their transporter taking in the on track action, both visually and electronically.
And this is this olelongrooffan just trying to get artsy-fartsy for all my fellow Counters out there.
After wandering around the Sprint Cup garages for a while, this olelongrooffan finally meandered out onto Pit Road and gave a note of thanks to thejeepjunkie once again.
As the NASCAR practice session was coming to an end, I tried to capture a few images of the cars exiting the track and
the above image is the only one I was able to get with a car in it.  Just to let you Counters know how slow my digital is, the #20 had just entered pit road when I started taking this image.  The pit lane "Commitment Cone" can be seen in the center of the above image.
As I was walking down Pit Road, I noticed someone, at some time, had been shaving tires alongside the fence.
And this is the view I had of the grandstands, ironically, the only place where my HOT PASS would not allow me access!
In  the ARCA race, the Lucas Slick Mist 200, the Venturini Motorsports team fielded a total of five cars out of the 38 cars that started that race.
And here are a few of them lined up in the ARCA garage area (also home to the Continental Challenge race cars during the Rolex24) waiting to head out to the track for their race.
Of course, a mandatory image of the transporters in the ARCA garages.
I took these couple images to compare the differences between these ARCA cars and the NASCAR Cup cars.
Other than Hoosier tires, they look pretty much identical to me.
And that generator above?  Like all of this type of circle track race cars, it powers a device to heat the motor oil prior to starting up these cars.
A couple of pace cars.
and some of the templates ARCA uses during the tech inspections.
The ones in the above image are used to check the "roundness" of the rear window.  Those pointy pieces on each side fold out and "hook onto" the top of the rear window and the longer part fits a few inches down the window.  The inspectors then have a gauge they use to determine the acceptable variation of the curve of the rear window.
And this dude from Venturini Motorsports, giving this official an earful, sure enjoys a nice spaghetti dinner every so often.
And who says a day at the races is all about
race cars?
These images I got while they were pushing the ARCA cars out onto pit road for the line up prior to starting the race.
These folks were part of the security team surrounding the logo painted grass sections of the infield so as to not allow my fellow race fans to walk across those logos.  Although, it is perfectly acceptable for Carl Edwards to slide across them, backwards, at 150 miles per hour!
And an image taken of the Daytona 500 Club Tower from across pit road.
Some black steelies clad in Hoosier rubber.  Orange tape on the right, green tape on the left.
And of course, this bin of lug nuts reminded this olelongrooffan of my olestationbus.
The DeWALT drill shown in the following image is used to scrape the paint from around the holes in those wheel so the glue used to attach the lug nuts stays adhesive.
And yeah, the gratuitous image of my signature on the start/finish line, just below the yellow line that cost Denny Hamlin his victory in the Bud Shoot Out.

The ARCA cars lined up as seen from the start/finish line.
Again it's not all about race cars.  Hey what are you thinking?  This is the spectator side of the driver introduction bandstand.  A side I had not previously seen.
It seems in races past, I was always on the business side of this bandstand.
And over at Bob Schacht Motorsports, racing is not the only thing on that team's mind either.
Over in a post this olelongrooffan did in the Hooniverse (to be published Valentine's morning) about my experience at the Rolex24 race, I commented they, as well as NASCAR, use these grooved tires to set up the car for tech inspection.  They are only used to roll around in the pits and are not utilized for racing purposes.
This is an image of Kurt Busch's new ride for this season.  Seems Roger Penske (saw him in the garage BTW) shuffled up his drivers and added Brad Keslowski to his Cup team in the #2 Miller Lite car and put Kurt Busch in the #22 with the newly acquired Pennzoil/Shell sponsorship.
And DuPont went from being a primary sponsor of Jeff Gordons
and the "Drive to End Hunger" became the primary sponsor.
And Kevin Harvick, after losing Pennzoil/Shell, picked up Budweiser for his Richard Childress race team.
I can only wonder how much these owners spend to rebadge all their race cars, not to mention crew apparel and the transporters.
And of course, for all of my family and friends up there in the Ozarks,
this olelongrooffan had to get an image of Jamie McMurray's Bass Pro machine.  That Toyota truck in the background has a hopper designed to dispense stay dry on the track when needed.  And today it was needed alot!
As Ryan Newman's #39 was going through tech, the wrenches flooded it and when they were trying to get it started, smoke just poured out of the exhaust pipe and a shot of flame erupted from it when it fired!  Pretty cool and all of us spectators jumped back when it happened.
I then headed back out to the pits to watch the start of the ARCA race.
And this olelongrooffan, while not being a big fan of wrecks, decided to go to the garage to see the #94 which had just previously wrecked.  As I approached the gatekeeper, I asked him which way did the #94 go?  "Just follow the fluids," was his response.  And I did.
And turned the corner to see this DIG, Dead In Garage, race car.
It was surrounded by all of these ARCA red shirt wearing dudes who were just standing around as if something was going to happen.  So in typical olelongrooffan fashion, I asked one of them what was going on?  "We are just waiting for a hook to come and get that car into a garage so the crew can get our stuff off of it."  What stuff?  "Well for a few races during the year, specifically the high speed courses, ARCA provides shocks to the teams and we then get them back so they can be returned to the manufacturers for testing.  We also provide transponders to track there position on the track.  They are in that big box and cart over there."

Well, if you Counters out there know anything about this olelongrooffan you know what transpired next.

Yep, I thanked that official for the information and headed over to see those shocks and such.
After that, I headed back to the Cup garages to see what other cool sh*t I could find.  It didn't take long.
I spotted the UPS sponsored team's generator and its cart was in the shape of the ubiquitous UPS truck!
Over in the Tracker garage, I spotted them working on a pair of Jamie's cars, other than the one that is still going through tech for the Bud Shoot Out.
Apparently Jamie had bounced off the wall in his 500 car during practice and they were getting a back up car ready to replace it in the 500.  This is an image of the "passenger" side of it with the skin removed.
This is the removed skin, appropriately enough, leaning up against some trash cans. Uncharacteristically for this olelongrooffan, I did not get an image of the entire car with its side skin removed.  Sorry about that Counters.
I did, however, get an image of some more of the cars and trucks used during the parade portion of the races.
I then headed down to the aero portion of tech inspection and got a couple images of the application of some of the
templates used by those inspectors
to gauge the acceptability of the design of those Cup cars.
When I was down on the far end, it was all pretty much serious business but on this end, the atmosphere was quite jovial.  The reason?  Well the boss of this crew, seen in black clothing at the right front of Joey's Home Depot car, is a pretty funny guy and he keeps the atmosphere around him pretty light hearted.  Several teams passed through while I was loitering about and all of them greeted him with hearty handshakes, a few hugs and lots of laughter.  So of course, this olelongrooffan struck up a conversation with him.  Turns out he has been doing this for 15 years and was the most senior of any of the officials on the NASCAR Sprint Cup team.  I had to ask him what were the credentials of these inspectors and how did they get on the crew.  Most of them have worked in lower level series as inspectors and we promote from within and that's how they got here.  They all travel from race to race and NASCAR picks up the tab for pretty much everything.  During the week, the majority work in the NASCAR offices in Concord, North Carolina.

And yeah Counters, the lower level series these guys started in are all based out of North Carolina or out west and short of moving to either of those places, the possibility of this olelongrooffan becoming a tech inspector is remote.
After concluding that conversation, I decided to continue to wander about.  I spotted these gas cans belonging to Greg Biffle's team.  There covers are certainly more upscale that the Gatorade cups I spotted on the ARCA team's gas cans.
And after completion of their tech inspections, the teams park the cars just inside the entry to the Pit Road in the garage area.

Now all of these teams have covers for the cowl intake area of their race cars and some of them are pretty clever.  For instance on the Caterpillar sponsored machine, has this
mini track hoe as a device to provide assistance in the removal of that cover.
While I was there, I spotted the #10 ARCA car crash into the wall right at the start finish line and these trucks are pulling jet blowers to clear the track of any remaining debris.  And yes, they are as loud as a jet engine but do a jam up job of clearing that surface.
I then headed over to the ARCA garage and spotted some of the carnage that accident caused.  Yeah, sawzalls abounded over there.
As well as a whole bunch of "kitty litter."
I am not sure why these guys are working so feverishly to get this machine back on track.  The entire front end is shot and there was less than 10 laps remaining.  This olelongrooffan  would have merely loaded it on the transporter and headed for the house to get it ready for Talladega in April.
And this tire was the cause of that multi car pileup.  Right after I got this image, three Hoosier apparel clad dudes showed up and carried it away.  I suspect their tire engineers have their work cut out for them this week.
And while the only difference I could see between these ARCA cars and the Cup cars was the number of turnbuckles on the rear spoiler (ARCA=6, Cup=5) on this Venturini owned Camry, it no longer matters.
Out at the Hollywood Hotel used by Fox and SpeedTV for their broadcasts, I was able to get an image of their props and yes, this olelongrooffan did try out that shifter!
And, presumably, this is what the foam section inside a race car should look like.
And this shows the cockpit of that cutaway used for demonstration purposes.  Is that a cup holder I see?

Then it was time for the driver's introduction for the Bud Shoot Out.  For about 45 minutes before the introductions for a race, the powers that be at the Speedway set up some staircases to the grandstands along the front stretch to allow fans to come down to the infield and check it out.  Credentials be d*mned.  They are then hustled out immediately after the introduction and only those of us with adequate credentials are allowed to remain.

Well, during the introduction of the ARCA drivers earlier, the fans were permitted to wander along pit road almost undisturbed during this time.  However, for the Bud Shoot Out,
most of Pit Road was roped off to keep the spectators away from the cars and in controlled locations.  Of course, this olelongrooffan asked one of the supervisors of that security detail why that was the case.  He basically said that very few fans actually know who the ARCA drivers are and less security is required for them as opposed to the Cup drivers.

This olelongrooffan has long since realized that during this time of spectator over load, I need to find someplace else to be and this time was no different.

As such, I was able to spot this on the cowl of Jamie MacMurray's Bass Pro car.
Yeah, his secondary sponsor is McDonalds and that is
Ronald McDonald hooking a big future Fish Fillet sandwich.
And of course on the cowl of Kyle Busch's M&M sponsored
race car was this big green one.
Driver introductions were over and I was able to get a few images of Pit Road while those uncredentialed spectators filed back into the grandstand area.
After Jeff Burton finished putting on his "fire shoes" this olelongrooffan engaged him in a brief conversation revolving around his tenure at Richard Childress racing, his relationship with teammate Kevin Harvick and
his relationship with Jeff Gordon after that race in Texas last year.  He got a chuckle when I brought that up and mentioned it was a heat of the moment deal and he was lucky Gordon didn't kick his b*tt!  We laughed and then I asked him about his political aspirations once he left the Caterpillar team.  He looked at me with a bit of surprise and asked me if we had had this conversation last year.  I replied yes we did and you evaded the question that time.  "Well consider that my answer this time also," he replied with a gleam in his eyes.  "Good Luck in the Shoot Out," I said as I took my exit.

Right after that image of Jeff Burton was taken my elcheapo 28dollar ebay digital decided the 114 images it had on it was enough for the day and stopped working.  It was okay though.  I knew once it settled down it would be fine, and it is.  Anyway this olelongrooffan was planning on heading back to the Taj Mahal as the 8+ hours I had been out at the Speedway was plenty and I was a bit chilled due to the mid 40 degree weather.

So, right as I was leaving Pit Road and heading toward the garages, who do I see but thejeepjunkie heading right at me.  "H*ll longroof, don't you answer your phone?"  Well, as I had been around rather loud noises all day, the fact I didn't hear my cell ring is no surprise.

Well, Counters, as tired and cold as this olelongrooffan was, I certainly was not going to abandon thejeepjunkie in the pits for the Bud Shoot Out so we hung out a bit.   We watched a couple of laps and decided to head on out for our respective abodes.

As we were walking out, we came to the place where the golf cart had dropped me off earlier in the day.  I told thejeepjunkie that I had asked the driver of that shuttle cart earlier in the day when they quit driving and his response was about midnight.  So, I knew we had a chance to catch one out of the infield to the area where thejeepjunkie had parked.  We waited a few minutes and one didn't show so I asked the waiting bus driver if he could get us a cart and he, erroneously, replied they had all gone home.

So I resigned myself to walking through that tunnel and beyond to thejeepjunkie waiting ride.  Unbeknownst to me, while I was over talking to that tram like bus driver, thejeepjunkie had spotted a tour bus with the baggage compartment open.  Inside was a cooler and a few 24 packs of the blue canned beverage thejeepjunkie so desires.  As I am walking across the street to where thejeepjunkie was waiting, I see the driver of that tour bus hand thejeepjunkie a couple cans of that cold St. Louis based beverage!!

We hoofed it through that tunnel which is the same age as this olelongrooffan, got to the other side and proved that tram bus driver wrong as there were 3 or 4 limo golf carts sitting there with their drivers shooting the bull. We climbed into one and asked for a ride to thejeepjunkie's Ranger and were delivered safe and sound.

And during that ride, this olelongrooffan heard thejeepjunkie pop the top of one of those cans and he said to the driver of that limo cart and this olelongrooffan

"What a way to Celebrate Life!"

And this olelongrooffan concurs with thejeepjunkie's observation.