auto club 500: the hunt for sprinkles cupcakes

autoclub_sprinkles_bagIf you’re not from Los Angeles or you’re not a woman then it’s likely you haven’t heard of Sprinkles Cupcakes. Sprinkles is a cupcake bakery, that’s all they do, just cupcakes. They’ve been featured on The Today Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show, and you can buy their cupcake mix at Williams-Sonoma.

I have never had a genuine Sprinkles cupcake but I’ve always wanted to try them. I’ve baked some on my own with the mix but that’s not the same as getting the real deal direct from the source. I’m a baked goods freak. I love cookies, cake, and pie. You name it I’ll try it at least once.

So imagine my delight when I found out on Saturday that none other than Sprinkles Cupcakes were to be sold at Auto Club Speedway that very weekend. The Speedway folks put out a special press release about the cupcakes and other new, and supposedly affordable, food fare at the track this year. Sprinkles had it’s own special bullet point, listing the fabulous flavors that made them famous.

So that was it, I figured out a time (during the truck race) when I could catch the shuttle over to the Opportunity, California FanZone. I arrived in the middle of the ginormous FanZone area and started to wonder exactly how I was going to find Sprinkles amongst all of the attractions and options laid out before me. I looked for signs, and found one that listed every food available except cupcakes.

Undeterred I carried on. I stopped by the entrance to Apex the Wolfgang Puck restaurant and asked the staff there if they knew where the cupcakes were. One guy said that he’d heard they were “right behind them.” When I looked behind them, I found an ATM machine for Bank of America and a Philly Cheesesteak stand.

Still hopeful the cupcakes were within reach I walked in circles in the FanZone, zigzagging around the merchandise haulers and radio station booths. I stopped to ask vendor after vendor if they knew where the cupcakes were and still no luck. I received responses like “No, but that sounds really good” and “Everybody keeps asking me that, but no I don’t know.”

Frustrated and disappointed I bought kettle corn as a consolation prize and hopped on the shuttle back to the infield. I shared the story of my search for the cupcakes with the shuttle bus driver who I’m pretty sure must now think I’m absolutely insane. He was totally nice about it though.

I decided that on Sunday I would try again, and so I did. I came back to the track with a renewed sense of determination. I had an hour to spare before the drivers meeting was to begin. I hightailed over to the shuttle, where the same shuttle driver from the night before was on duty, and set off for the FanZone again. As I hoped off the shuttle he wished me luck. I definitely needed it.

I searched high and low. I scanned race fans to see if anyone was holding a cupcake so that I might ask them where they bought them, but there wasn’t a cupcake in sight.

I gave up again because I had to get back to the garage for the drivers meeting. When the Sprint Cup race began and then fell under caution for rain I decided to make one last complete sweep of the FanZone to make sure I hadn’t left any stone unturned. I had a map of the area and realized I hadn’t checked the eateries located directly underneath the grandstands.

I climbed what looked like one flight of stairs, but what actually felt like two and weaved in and out of gobs of people on line for margaritas and hot dogs. I pushed through huge lines of women and men waiting to use the bathrooms. I walked from one side of the grandstands to the other and still nothing.

In searching for the friggin’ cupcakes I probably expended all of the calories I would have consumed had I found them in the first place.

I bought some french fries and shuttled back over to the infield where one of the security dudes said to me “You went all the way over there for french fries??” I was all “No, I went for cupcakes!” I don’t think he thought that was a better answer.

I vowed to get to the bottom of this. Who would promote the fact that they have a great treat like this and not come through? No signs, no arrows pointing the way to cupcake goodness. It was a total sham.

Yesterday morning it hit me. Duh, why not go directly to the source and ask them what gives. So on my way to the airport I went to the very first Sprinkles location in Beverly Hills and bought 4 cupcakes. I told them my story of searching endlessly for their yummy trifles at Auto Club Speedway. I asked if they were really there and what was their response? “We were there.” Riiiiight.

Whatever! I have my cupcakes — Lemon, Vanilla, Black & White, and Vanilla Milk Chocolate — and they’re delicious. :)


Sprinkles Cupcakes (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

3 Comments

  1. February 24, 2009 at 11:45 AM ·

    Funny stuff…

  2. Mlynn
    February 24, 2009 at 2:43 PM ·

    Your cupcake adventure is about as bad as mine when I was trying to score some Pinkberry froyo or geez back in the day Kripsy Kremes when they first opened in CA.

    However, I believe that you’re up here in NorCal and I don;t know if you’re aware but Sprinkle’s opened a bakery in Palo Alto at the Stanford Shopping Center. Yeah that’s far but when you’re on a journey for a good cupcake sometimes you go to extreme lengths.

  3. Gillian Zucker
    February 24, 2009 at 4:21 PM ·

    They were at Tailgaters (the concession stand just behind Apex by Wolfgang Puck) and in the infield at the Pit Road concession stand. But for our next event, the Pepsi 500 October 11th weekend, fans can count on more locations. Turns out you are not the only one who loves Sprinkles Cupcakes.