All posts in NASCAR California Weekend (09/06)

4 Posts

so close and yet so far

The layout of California Speedway is simplistic in theory but not really when it comes to actual application. Walking from the media center in the infield around to the midway section behind the grandstands is a trek indeed. When you add in the heat you’ve got a serious cardiovascular workout. I swear I lost 5 pounds on Friday just walking from my car to the pits.

After the seating debacle on Friday I was hesitant to ask if there was space upstairs in the press box during the race. ‘Cause here’s the thing, I didn’t fly to La La Land and then drive an hour and a half to watch the race on TV. So I asked and of course there was already a seating chart in place, which is totally ok, I get it, but the thing I didn’t appreciate was being treated like the complete nobody that I know that I am. I will say this, certain staffers were very nice but others were not. The thing about it was that the attitude from certain people was so unnecessary, so I have to mention it.

Once the race started I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting in the room downstairs all night, so I went up to the press box to see if I could stand in the back. Turns out the whole back row was empty. I sat there for the entire race with a great view of the start/finish line.

The race wasn’t that exciting in terms of crashes & cautions, but it was extremely fun to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. continually move up through the field every lap. Usually the top three finishers are available after the race for a press conference. This was my best and LAST hope of seeing Junior in person this weekend. On Friday before and after qualifying he bypassed the fans assembled outside the garage during qualifying. He also managed the same feat on Sunday before driver introductions. I did a couple laps around the garage and couldn’t catch a glimpse. So all my hopes were pinned on him getting into the top 3 and being in the press box after the race.

My Hopes = Dashed

They held the press conference with Clint Bowyer, who came in third, and Junior in a room I had yet to find but knew that it was in somewhere in the garage. Unfortunately for me the garage area was hot at that time and I couldn’t get in because I only had a cold pass.

The only driver that I saw in plainclothes after the race was Tony Stewart. He’d just hoped on a golf cart and was being whisked away to a helicopter or plane somewhere. Was it too much to ask for that to have been Junior? C’mon! :)

One of the bright spots of my trip was getting to meet tallglassofmilk, the woman behind the website/blog Answer This. I’ve mentioned her site’s plentiful details on the love lives of NASCAR drivers before, and on Sunday we got to dish in person about the latest scandals.

Overall I had a great birthday weekend at the races. There were pluses and minuses but I still love NASCAR and what it’s about. I can say that this experience renewed my spirit to do more with my blog. Stay tuned.

Oh! This has nothing to do with the race at California specifically, it’s just good stuff. Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

what would Earl do?

Ack! There’s so much to tell you. First off once I arrived here this afternoon the track was completely opened up the fans. I’ve added photos of this to the photo gallery. It was so incredibly cool to be standing where they’re going to be racing tonight.

I walked around the garage area, but there wasn’t that much going on. Cars were going through inspection and trying to find a driver is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Although, I did see a small crowd standing in front of Matt Kenseth’s hauler. He was sitting there eating and people were just staring at him. I find that a bit odd. He’s not a monkey in zoo for you to stare at, he’s just a guy.

I completely missed the Kelly Clarkson press conference but I caught a glimpse of her in the garage area. Kelly is the Grand Marshal of tonight

Junior’s on the pole! oh… wait…

Yes, for a brief moment in time Dale Earnhardt Jr. was atop the pole for the Sony HD 500 tomorrow. He was knocked off of it by Kurt Busch. If you’ve read my previous blog posts you know how much that pained me to see. At any rate, I’m still excited that Junior will start the race in the 6th position. That lends great hope to him securing a place in the Chase this year.

In other news…

Bill Lester, who’s originally from Oakland, Calif., ended up not making it into the field for the race tomorrow. He flat spotted his tires and spun out, but still tried to make it around the track for his second qualifying lap. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get into the top 43. It’s a tough break, I was really rooting for him, but I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of him in Nextel Cup racing.

I now have a photo gallery of my weekend at California, I’ll be updating it periodically tomorrow as well.

hot, tired, and irked


So I had this sneaky feeling that once I got to the media center here at the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. that there would be no spot designated for me. I was completely right.

I am now sitting in a spot meant for someone else. I pray to God that they don’t show up and need their place. Keep your fingers crossed. And to make matters worse I didn’t get an exactly warm reception when I asked about my non-existent space in the seating chart. No one was rude, but they seemed kinda annoyed that there were more people here than they had space for. To which I can only say that they should have limited the credentials. Ugh! Or make people RSVP and tell you a couple days before the race exactly who is coming.

This makes me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m staying here and I’m going to be here tomorrow and the next day. :) I now love and deeply appreciate Infineon Raceway sooo much more than I already did! Their media center faces the track so that ALL of the media on hand can see it, that’s not the case here. The building itself looks like a prison block and the media rooms only have like one window each that face the track. So if I’m going to see the race in here, it’s going to be on TV. Hmm… Not exactly the race experience I was hoping for.

In other news…

It’s incredibly hot here. 99 degrees! It’s too hot to live. I really want to go outside and check out the garage, take photos and whatnot but that heat is so not inviting.

Outside the entrance to the California Speedway