First, I apologize for taking so long to write about Sonoma. Life, work, blah, blah, blah.
All posts tagged Infineon Raceway42 Posts
I woke up at 5am in order to get to Infineon Raceway by 7am (with a quick stop at Starbucks along the way) at the latest. I wanted to make sure I got a ride around the track in the pace car with NASCAR’s Brett Bodine. You think because you’re going in the pace car it wouldn’t be intense, but you’re WRONG. I sat in the back seat and proceeded to be bounced around the my seat and fellow passenger next to me.
When I arrived at Infineon Raceway on Friday I was late. It was only 9am but it was late. The garage opened at 7am and that’s when people showed up, so the media lot was full when I arrived. I was stuck in lot 1 which is next to the helipad. It’s not a big deal (there’s an awesome shuttle that takes you right to the media center no matter where you’re parked) but it’s funny to me how 9am can be considered late for anything. Anyway, Friday was the day of press conferences for the top-12 drivers.
Get your “awwww” face ready. A couple from Sebastopol, California (a little town in Northern California that I used to work in) got married at Infineon Raceway today. I’m all for getting married in a place that has meaning for the couple. It’s supercool. Which is another reason why I really wanna see the 10/10/10 weddings at Auto Club Speedway next month during their NASCAR race weekend.
Congrats to the happy motorcylin’ couple!
Sebastopol’s Danielle La Fave and Timothy Duffield enjoyed the ultimate day at the track on Monday – the high-speed couple tied the knot at Infineon Raceway.
The avid motorcycle riders, who met through the North Bay Sport Riders (NBSR) club and spent their first track day together at Infineon Raceway more than one year ago, returned to the track on Monday to exchange vows in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle. The couple enjoyed a morning on track during a Pacific Track Time motorcycle track day before the ceremony.
“We spent our first track day together at Infineon Raceway, which meant a lot to us. It was the first time she had ever ridden on this track, which she had always wanted to do,” said Duffield, 41, the groom.
The ceremony, which began with Duffield and LaFave riding down the aisle on their motorcycles, also included a poem, blessing and a song from friends in the NBSR. The couple traded traditional wedding attire for racing leathers, and were joined by nearly 50 fellow riders for the ceremony.
“It means the world to us to get married here. This is where our relationship started, and there’s no better place to be,” continued LaFave, 40, the bride.
(photo credit: Jennifer Imbimbo/Infineon Raceway)
One of the benefits of being unemployed is the ability to do anything anytime you want, and in my case it means that I can attend media events that occur during the day at a time when I’d normally be working. This Friday I’ll be at Infineon Raceway for Two-Wheel Thunder, a test session for motorcycle riders in the AMA Pro Road Racing Series.
It all begins at 9am and is completely free to the public. So if your schedule is open that day you should come out to Sonoma and check it out. There will also be riders from Supermoto USA and TTXGP electric motorcycle demonstrations.
This is all in advance of the West Coast Moto Jam taking place at Infineon on May 14-16. If you purchase a ticket for the West Coast Moto Jam during Two-Wheel Thunder you’ll get to take a lap around the the raceway’s road course on your motorcycle. For more info go to infineonraceway.com
In other news…
– ESPN’s Jamie Little became engaged to Cody Selman, Kyle Busch’s former go-to guy. Congrats to Jamie & Cody! Check out her ring, it’s spectacular! I saw her interviewing Danica Patrick with it on over the weekend and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Good job, Cody!
– Brian Vickers participated in a special NASCAR Tweetup at Martinsville where he competed against fans in an simulated racing challenge at the Sprint Experience.
Brian Vickers races Miss Sprint Cup and six fans from Twitter during a pre-race tweet-up at the Sprint Experience. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian Vickers congratulates Matt Dettelbach (@mdbach on Twitter) for beating him in the simulator race at the Sprint Experience. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
– JR Motorsports has joined forces with Lifetime Television for this weekend’s Nationwide Series race at Nashville. Be on the lookout for Scott Wimmer in the No. 7 car wrapped in a special Army Wives paint scheme.
I have to applaud this effort by Lifetime to recognize NASCAR’s huge female audience and the benefit of sponsorship. I WISH more brands and companies would realize the untapped power of female racing fans. Just email NASCAR, they’ve got all the stats (or ask for a ‘Fabulous’ media kit).
Oh and one request I have for Lifetime… Why not a Project Runway car? OMG! I would LOVE that… I would buy every piece of merchandise that existed, and Michael Kors could design the car and the firesuit! Heidi Klum could be the Grand Marshal for the race. Dude, it’d be so amazingly awesome on about a million different levels. Seriously, think about it.
More details, including info on a special sweepstakes where you can win an all-expenses paid trip for four people to a NASCAR race, from the press release:
Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray stopped by San Francisco this week for a victory tour through the city, hosted by Infineon Raceway. He took a ride in a cable car and everything, and I could of been in said cable car with Jamie but I couldn’t make it. So yes, I’m as sad as you’d expect about missing out! They had ice cream sundaes too! Grrr!!
Too bad because it looks like Jamie had an awesome time in the city by the bay.
Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray hangs off the side of a cable car during his victory tour of San Francisco on February 17, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
So, omigosh, there’s news! Jeff Gordon and his wife Ingrid are expecting their second child!! Woo-hoo! Why am I this excited about a stranger’s pregnancy?? I dunno! But I hope it’s a boy ’cause that’d be adorable.
In general, aren’t you all stoked that the 2010 NASCAR season is upon us? Budweiser Shootout on Saturday! It’s all starting up again and it’s fun. Although, all the PR emails I’ve been receiving this week have been crazy, I need, like, a day to just read everything.
And speaking of media, today was NASCAR Media Day where all the drivers were attacked by about 300 members of the various media outlets from all over. NASCAR.com had this funny little video clip show of the day’s activities.
On Sunday, last weekend, at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma when I arrived at the track, again at 8am, I realized quickly that there wasn’t much to do. I sat on pit road and watched as fans and VIPs took spins around the track with professional drivers from the Jim Russell Racing School. The whole thing made me wish I owned an Audi, the car of choice for the day’s hot laps.
Eventually, I ducked into Jennifer Azzi’s press conference. As I wrote a few days before the weekend started Azzi was on hand as the race’s Grand Marshal. It was cool to see her and I must admit that I totally missed my opportunity to introduce myself and tell her what an inspiration she’d been to me as a kid. I’m shy, OK. And I have to work up what I’m going to say in my mind before I actually do it and make sure it’s not lame. There never was a perfect time, but whatever, she’s on Twitter and I plan on saying something to her at some point over there.
– On Wednesday President Barack Obama played host to NASCAR’s champions in what I can only describe as the coolest thing I’ve seen happen at the White House in really, really long time.
I loved that in his interview with ESPN President Obama stressed the importance of NASCAR and its role in helping the automotive industry. It’s a very important marketing tool and I’m so glad he took the time out from his insane schedule to support the automakers and NASCAR.
In the months and weeks leading up to the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway I spoke to my co-worker/friend Dawn about the big event. This was the third year in a row that she’d attended the NASCAR race weekend in Sonoma with a super large group of people, about 20-30 (although this year the group dwindled to 10 because of the race falling on Father’s Day). They start tailgating at 6am and don’t stop until well after the race is over, usually around 8pm.
After one day of NASCAR fun at Infineon I already have new tan lines and am seriously tired. I’m not sure when my next post will be so if you wanna know what’s going on with me as it’s happening be sure to follow me on Twitter. You can also subscribe to my Twitter RSS feed of updates if you don’t wanna join in on the Twitter fun yourself.
Let’s see if I can put into words how excited I am about the upcoming Toyota/Save Mart 350 race weekend at Infineon Raceway.
Mmm. Okay, yea I can’t. This weekend means a lot to me for reasons I can’t specifically describe to you in this post. Let’s just say that I need this opportunity, now more than ever, to be immersed in the world of NASCAR and to think of nothing else for three whole days. NASCAR is my escape. It’s funny, this weekend I watched “Into The Wild,” a film based on the true story of one man who got rid of all material possessions except for a backpack and clothes and headed to Alaska to be with nature. I also read the Vanity Fair article about Johnny Depp (on newsstands now) and learned all about how he escapes (in short, he owns islands in the Caribbean and big boat). After taking all of that in I realized that I use this blog and NASCAR as my escape from all of the trappings of “the real world.” This blog isn’t work, it’s fun.
– I’m attending the NASCAR Toyota/SaveMart 350 race weekend at Infineon Raceway, June 19th through June 21st. This is so awesome! You have no idea how badly I need that weekend. It’ll be my chance to recharge. Just thinking about standing in my favorite picture taking spot in the garage makes me giddy. I’m not sure how much posting I’ll get done during that weekend, I’ll definitely have posts after, but I do know that I’ll a Twitter fool, so be sure to follow me. Oh, and also I’m pretty sure I’m going to dinner with a bunch of fellow NASCAR bloggers that same weekend, so that’ll be really cool too.
– Double file restarts! Ok, why did it take NASCAR so long to do this? It’s built in excitement and it takes out all of that useless drama with the lapped cars trying to earn their laps back. I’m glad that we get to see the guys that are leading the race duke it out. It’s going to be good!
– Okay, so I only have two things that I’m really excited about right now but still those two things are awesome and it’s nice to have anything to be excited about in general.
On Sunday I attended my first AMA Superbike Showdown race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma as a member of the media.
As is normal for me these days I compared the entire experience to NASCAR. Motorcycle racing couldn’t be more different, from the racers to the fans it was a completely different world.
The first thing I difference was in the insane amount of dudes in attendance. It was probably 80% dudeage. I had no problem with that fact because it was insanely hot that day, in the upper 80s to lower 90s, and lots of guys with great bodies decided to walk around shirtless. Hey, it helps. And, yes, there are tons of men at NASCAR races, but there’s usually just as many women to go with them.
While the size of the crowd on hand was no where near the amount of people that would show up for NASCAR on a Sunday they were all very passionate about the sport.
I didn’t know that much about any of the drivers, except that I could recognize a few of their names, like Mat Mladin and Tommy Hayden. Hayden of course because his brother is MotoGP superstar Nicky Hayden.
Once upon a time I wrote about how I saw a documentary on Nicky that aired on MTV called “The Kentucky Kid.” It was a great glimpse inside motorcycle racing. And from that I learned about the motorcycle racing family that is the Hayden’s.
While I was waiting for the Daytona SportBike race to begin, the first of the day, I stood under a non-descript tent posted on pit road. I stood there mostly to be A.) out of the way and B.) to stay out of the sun, which didn’t help all that much because my jeans were stuck to my body, totally should have worn shorts. But I digress. So I’m standing there, checking out all of the bikes that are lined up on the grid along with various crew members and those women whose only job is to hold an umbrella, wear a ridiculous outfit and look pretty.
So I’m standing there going, ok, where are the drivers? Being the SportBike division I know no one at all, at least not visually. The most notable names to me, and I know nothing, were Jamie Hacking and Roger Hayden.
I know of Jamie Hacking because he picked his number, 88, specifically because it’s Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s. “I chose the number, style and color because of Dale Earnhart Jr.,” said Hacking. “He lives close to where I do and I thought it would be a good way to represent North Carolina. Also since our sport is now owned by the France’s, it seemed good to tie in NASCAR with motorcycle racing. I ran the No. 2 for 11 years and I’ve already moved on and really like the No. 88 better.”
Although, one big difference between the two is that one of Hacking’s sponsors is Monster Energy, and we all know Dale belongs to AMP Energy. Hmm.
Okay, so back to the pits. I’m standing there, melting and these guys start showing up one by one, all with their racing suits unzipped halfway showing off bare chests and a wee little bit of their undies. I am not kidding about that last part.
So I got to watch as Chris Peris, who rides the No. 10 Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR, put all of his gear on and zipped himself into his racing suit. He’s a very cute kid (gorgeous eyes). He’s 22 and his bio says that he’s 5’7″ which I think has to be wrong. Here’s a tip for the ladies out there from your BFF Valli, men lie about their height the way women lie about their weight. Whatever he tells you just subtract 3 inches. The only exception is if he’s really tall, like over 6’2″ and above. I am a walking truth monitor because I happen to be 5’9″ and as a woman I don’t lie when it comes to my height. It is what it is, and I don’t aspire to be taller or shorter. So having seen Mr. Peris in person there’s no way he’s 5’7″. I’d say he’s more like 5’4″.
After Chris’ arrival on the scene a couple of the other riders came into view, a couple of them were interviewed for some television show right next to me. It was then that I noticed the older gentleman standing in front of me. It was none other than Earl Hayden. The father of Nicky, Tommy and Rodger! I thought that was so cool. I loved how he had a had that listed each of his son’s names along with their racing numbers. The Hayden mother, Rose, was there too holding a green umbrella which I realized was the same color as Roger’s team. Later in the day I spied Rose holding on to a blue umbrella during Tommy’s race, blue being the main color of his racing team. Very sweet.
Watching the actual races was very interesting. Each race, of which there were three, lasted only 20 laps each. In the second race, the AMA Pro SuperSport presented by Shoei, a couple of riders, Ricky Parker and Leandro Mercado, put on a great show playing cat and mouse for the first and second positions. It was truly exciting.
At the end of the day, and for the biggest race, Mat Mladin came out on top for the AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited. (That has to be THE longest race name ever) Benjamin Bostrom and Tommy Hayden came in second and third respectively.
I dig motorcycle racing. I think it’s crazy how incredibly fast they go and how close to the ground they get without killing themselves or skinning themselves alive. I want to do more with it, and hopefully I will someday.
All I can say is that it’s worth checking out if it comes to a town near you. The ticket prices are reasonable and you get a lot of access without having to pay extra for it.
The garage at the AMA Superbike Showdown at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on Sunday, May 17, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Starting grid for the Dayonta SportBike race at the AMA Superbike Showdown at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on Sunday, May 17, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
AMA Superbike Showdown at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on Sunday, May 17, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Roger Hayden before the start of his race during the AMA Superbike Showdown at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on Sunday, May 17, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Moto Garage Racing rider Scott Jensen at the AMA Superbike Showdown at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on Sunday, May 17, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Some things you should know:
– Clint Bowyer will appear on the March 24th episode of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” Isn’t it interesting that the guy that is sponsored by Hamburger Helper is guest starring on a non-reality-reality weight-loss game show? I don’t remember HH being billed as the healthiest thing you could make for dinner.
– Carl Edwards was in New York this week to film a commercial for Claritin. During the shoot he was interviewed by Beth Stern (radio host Howard Stern’s wife) for a segment on the celebrity news TV show “Extra.” Is anyone else bored by the fact that Carl and other drivers are so boring when they talk about stuff like doing commercials? It should be fun right? But like really fun, not implied fun. It’s the same line over and over with them, “It’s really kind of fun.” Wow, definitely sounds like it. I guess I believe you? I dunno.
– Infineon Raceway gave $5,000 to the North Vallejo Little League on Thursday. Jerks broke into the league’s concessions and storage building and stole all of the uniforms, equipment and $600 worth of candy last week. The nutjobs also decided to break computers and trophies and ransack the building before leaving. Vallejo, where this burglary occurred, is the hometown of Jeff Gordon. The good news is that so far the league has received more than $13,000 from San Francisco Bay Area companies and organizations like the San Francisco Police Officers Associations and the Oakland A’s. “With these checks we really should be able to get back to business,” said the league’s President Tony Hodges. “I feel grateful. We are in a bankrupt city in a disadvantaged area. I appreciate everything that everyone has done for us to help these disadvantaged kids.”
– Jeff Burton made an appearance on the soap opera “General Hospital” and all I really want to know is if he asked them why no one ever says “Bye” before hanging up the phone. I mean, really, what’s up with that?
– Tony Stewart will be meeting fans and signing autographs as a part of the 5th Annual “Mark Martin Fan Appreciation Days” event in Batesville, Arkansas on Thursday, April 9th from 3 to 5pm CST. For more information go to http://www.markmartinfordmercury.com
– Some news for the IndyCar fans out there: Versus will air more than 130 hours of IndyCar Series coverage throughout the season with a minimum of seven hours each week the network airs a race, the most ever during a race week.
“IndyCar fans have been asking for significantly more coverage of the sport and with our new partnership with VERSUS we have responded to our fans in a way that we think they will love,” said Charlie Morgan, president and chief operating officer for IMS Productions. “With the new VERSUS schedule it will be a weekend of IndyCar programming with Qualifying coverage, expanded race day coverage, and race encores. With so many great drivers, teams and sponsors, the time is right for expanded programming.”
The network will air 12 live IndyCar Series events in 2009 beginning with live coverage of the season-opener from St. Petersburg on April 5. Each of VERSUS’ race telecasts will last a minimum of three hours and will include extended pre-race coverage. VERSUS will also air one-hour preview shows at 6 p.m. ET the day before each race which will feature qualification highlights and all of the relevant IndyCar Series stories of that weekend.
And since I’m on the topic of IndyCar I have this message to send out to all of you: If anyone is interested in paying for me to fly down to Long Beach for the 35th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race drop me an email will ya? I would die for the chance to hang out with Keanu Reeves and Luke Wilson and give them the opportunity to realize that I am their future wife. So really you’d be doing them a favor as well.
Sunday was the IndyCar race day. Driving to the track was a considerably different experience than it is for a NASCAR race, there wasn’t any traffic. Leaving was an entirely different story. It still sucked and what should only take 45 minutes took 2 hours. But that’s the way it goes with race weekends. Although, next year I have a plan for a new route to take me home that should cut down on the time I spend in my car wanting to slit my wrists from all of the stop-and-go traffic.
Anyway, back to the track. It was firefighter appreciation day and as I walked into the paddock area the first thing I saw was this old timey fire truck with the cutest and smartest Dalmatian dog sitting on top of it. I couldn’t believe how obedient he was! He just sat there in the seat and didn’t freak out or bark at the people gathered around staring at him. There was another dog, whose breed I couldn’t tell you, that was barking a lot but the cute Dalmatian could not and would not be baited into barking back.
And then there were these big creamy-colored horses to pull the old timey fire truck. They were huge, but absolutely beautiful. They had a special moment during the pre-race festivities when they pulled the truck down the track and in front of the grandstands.
So I guess IndyCar has this reputation for being more upscale than NASCAR in terms of its fans and such. They’ve got Cristal and Izod for sponsors after all. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s all a bunch of hooey. Why is it that I saw more boobs during this race weekend than I ever have at any NASCAR race I’ve been to? And when I say that I saw boobs I’m not saying that women were flashing them, of course they weren’t but let’s just say they were on display. And why is it that I saw more fans wearing NASCAR gear than anything else? The Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans were out in full effect. Instead of trying to act all hoity-toity I think they should try to soak up some of the NASCAR marketing tactics and get some more butts in the seats.
Oh, speaking of butts in the seats, that’s exactly where they stayed when it came time to try and break the record for the most people doing the twist dance. Yea, that whole idea crashed and burned the minute the music started up. A group of people did dance but mostly everyone just watched. To make something like that work you really have to have a group that’s invested in its success ya know?
So I was totally right when I said that George Lucas would probably make an appearance at the race because Marco Andretti’s car was running the special Blockbuster/STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS paint scheme. George hung out with Marco during the pre-race festivities and then in his pit during the race. Marco’s race suit was made to look like a storm trooper uniform. I’m not a big fan of the whole codpiece detailing.
In the end, Helio Castroneves won the race, his first of the season and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan were mathematically eliminated from the field running for the Championship with only two races left on the year. This win was a sweet one for the Team Penske guys after having their primary cars go up in smoke (literally) earlier in the week. It’s amazing they were able to come back and finish first with Helio’s Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe coming in second. Briscoe has the most awesome accent by the way. I gotta get to Australia.
Danica Patrick walks to the garage after the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Marco Andretti gets ready for a warm-up session on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Ryan Briscoe chats with someone on pit road on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Fans gathered around victory lane to watch the first through third place finishers receive their trophies on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I thought this guy looked a lot like paparazzo/ex-Britney Spears boyfriend Adnan Ghalib only cuter, but I figured he was probably just a guy from William Rast. WR is the clothing company started by Justin Timberlake and his best friend Trace Ayala. The company was the sponsor of Townsend Bell’s car.
Some dude on pit road on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Saturday was IndyCar qualifying and the first of two IndyCar Lights races, the Carneros 100 and the Valley of the Moon 100.
For qualifying I hunkered down with $8 chili cheese fries in the lunch tent. They were absolutely delicious, although it totally didn’t help my self-esteem when the Infineon Raceway umbrella girls had to walk in with their skimpy outfits and fatless bodies while I was eating them. I got over it though because I was hungry and their job is to hold up an umbrella, so whatever.
This weekend was my introduction to the Firestone IndyCar Lights series. You should see the guys in this league. Ladies, these guys are serious hotties. They’ve got more eligible bachelors than you can shake a stick at. Yes, yes, the racing is all fine and good. But these guys are really cute. Have you seen Arie Luyendyk Jr.?? Richard Antinucci? Dillon Battistini? Raphael Matos? Logan Gomez? Dude, you need to. Get yourself to an IndyCar Lights race tout de suite! There’s only one race left this season, so uh it’s Chicagoland or wait till next year.
Okay, I’m laying it on a little thick, but not really.
Right before the IndyCar Lights race ended the apparent head of security for IndyCar barked orders to everyone in the area of the winner’s circle. I think watching him might have been more entertaining than the race itself. I have never encountered someone in NASCAR who has the same level of responsibility as this guy seemed to have. From a little Google search I gleaned that this guy is known as Security Chief Charles. His reputation and ability to corral and move the drivers along to their next destination seems to be the stuff of legend. He is pretty intimidating I must say.
So I have one funny story to share, well it’s funny to me. Not so much bust out laughing funny, but more ha-ha funny. After IndyCar qualifying concluded and Helio Castroneves received his pole award he was ushered to the media center (by Security Chief Charles of course). On his way over, he was followed by a woman yelling “Helio! Helio! Will you sign my shirt?!!?!” To which Helio responded in a loud boisterous voice, his arm up stretched with one finger pointed, “Yes! I will!” and walked right into the media center.
That tickled me. You had to be there. He eventually came out after the media press conference was done and signed the woman’s shirt.
Logan Gomez walks to the garage after finishing fifth in the Carneros 100 on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Raphael Matos speaks with the press after finishing second in the Carneros 100 on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Richard Antinucci speaks to the press after finishing third in the Carneros 100 on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Helio Castroneves heads into the media center on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Helio Castroneves leaves signs autographs on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Marco Andretti asks Danica Patrick’s husband a quick question after qualifying on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
And now for my IndyCar at Infineon adventure. Friday was dedicated mostly to practice for the IndyCar teams, and because of that it meant that the garage was dead. You’ve never seen a cleaner garage in your life. Things didn’t get interesting there until Sunday when the teams actually had to use it for preparation before the race.
So the really big deal was the press conference set up to unveil Firestone’s new “Magic Circle.” They’re the tires they created specifically for the top drivers who are still in the hunt for the IndyCar Championship. The tires have a white wall on the outside so that they can be easily spotted in the field during a race. Just another way the fans can keep track of the Championship contenders. Before Sunday’s race there were 4 drivers mathematically still in the hunt — Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves.
So I decided to stand outside of Victory Lane where the media had gathered for the announcement. I just wanted to try and get good shots of the drivers as they made their way over. What I didn’t know was that I managed to situate myself in the precise spot they were all going to stop their little motorcycles and scooters. Scott Dixon was the first guy to roll onto the scene right behind me. I find him to be incredibly cute and I can’t believe we’re the exact same age; he always strikes me as being a lot older. Then there was Helio who as far as I’m concerned seems to be totally over the whole Dancing with the Stars hubbub. Everyone loves to bring it up with him but he never goes into it and I can understand why. It’s been forever ago and he’s a race car driver, and that’s what he’s really about.
Finally Scott Wheldon rode up with his wife Susie on the back of his Target scooter/bike thingy. Instead of going around all the bikes where there was more room to walk, he had to walk on the inside of them causing me to try and squeeze myself against the Victory Lane fence. I think my bag hit him, but that’s what he gets.
Scott Dixon’s scooter on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Dan Wheldon and his wife Susie roll in for the ‘Magic Circles’ media event on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Helio Castroneves arrives at the ‘Magic Circles’ media event on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Scott Dixon walks in to the ‘Magic Circles’ media event on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan pose for photographers during the ‘Magic Circles’ unveiling on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
No outfit is complete without pockets!
Dan Wheldon speaks to the media on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
So apparently Ryan Newman is set to be announced as the second driver for Stewart Haas Racing. The official announcement is supposed to happen tomorrow. This is yet another one of NASCAR’s worst kept secrets. I really want someone to send me a NASCAR secret so that I can blab it to everyone.
In other news…
– I’m going to the Pepsi 500!!! I’ve got media credentials again and I’m super excited about attending this Labor Day race weekend at the Auto Club Speedway in Southern California. The Sprint Cup race falls on my birthday (August 31st) and do you know what the greatest present would be? Well, besides winning the lottery, the best present would be if one of my guys would win the race. So I’m putting David Gilliland, Travis Kvapil, Clint Bowyer, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on notice.
– And now for some random photos that I haven’t had the chance to post before today:
Oakland A’s pitcher Brad Ziegler gets a ride to his game on Wednesday from former IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton in a two-seat IndyCar. Hamilton drove the pair to the Oakland Coliseum from downtown Oakland, the drive was a promotional event in advance of the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County at Infineon Raceway, August 22-24, 2008.
(photo credit: Chucke Walkden)
Motocross star Travis Pastrana took in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono back in June of this year. He recently won the gold medal for Rally Car racing at the Summer X Games in Los Angeles.
Travis Pastrana in Pocono, June ’08, (c) David Vaughn (Courtesy of Red Bull Racing Team)
Infineon Raceway is really turning it on this year for the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County.
– First of all an IndyCar testing session is taking place there tomorrow from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Mario Andretti, Will Power, Tomas Scheckter, Jamie Camara, Enrique Bernoldi, E.J. Viso, Oriol Servia, Vitor Meira, Marty Roth, Alex Lloyd, Ed Carpenter, AJ Foyt IV and Townsend Bell will all be on hand. Admission is free for fans!
– As I write this Oakland A’s pitcher Brad Ziegler is being driven from downtown Oakland to the Oakland Coliseum in a two-seat, street-legal IndyCar by former IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton. Ziegler is being rewarded for his 37-inning scoreless streak.
– Saturday, August 24th will be “Firefighter Appreciation Day” at Infineon Raceway, and Sonoma resident Mitch Mulas has been named Grand Marshal of the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County:
The first 10,000 race fans that enter the raceway on Sunday will receive a FREE commemorative bracelet with the inscription, “Firefighter Appreciation Day,” and the date.
– For the first time this year fans attending the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County will be able to purchase an IndyCar Platinum Pass. What is an IndyCar Platinum Pass you say?? Well, it’ll allow you to meet drivers Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal, plus more! Read on:
Race fans will be treated to a special question-and-answer session on Sunday morning with the two drivers. This exclusive session will take place in a hospitality tent overlooking Turn 7 and is only open to Platinum Pass members. Moreover, the Platinum Pass is the only way for fans to get a garage pass, which puts race fans just steps away from all of the stars on the IndyCar Series circuit.
Castroneves (Team Penske) is a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, as well as past champion of the hit television show, Dancing with the Stars. Rahal (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing), son of legendary driver Bobby Rahal, became the youngest winner in open-wheel history (19 years old) when he took the checkers earlier this year in St. Petersburg (Fla.).
This deluxe package costs just $195 and includes:
- Meet-and-greet with Castroneves and Rahal
- Autographed hero card from each driver
- Full-event weekend pass (your choice of seats)
- Garage Pass
- Premium Parking Pass
- Platinum Hard Card
– And as if all of that wasn’t enough Infineon is also trying to break the world record for the most people doing the Twist. Ya know, that dance your parents did when they were teenagers. They’re loosely (and I do mean loosely) tying it together with IndyCar by linking it to Helio Castroneves and his stint on “Dancing with the Stars.” It has nothing to do with racing but it’ll still be interesting to watch!
Race fans will be invited onto the race surface at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 24, to perform a dance that best describes the most challenging road course in the country — the Twist. Participants will be required to Twist for five minutes in the style made famous by Chubby Checker in 1960. Checker will be unable to attend the event but will send a video message that will be played on the Jumbotron prior to the start of the record-breaking dance.
“I can’t be there but I wish the people a lot of luck in trying to break the record,” Checker said.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest Twist dance took place in Yorkshire, England, in 2004, when 1,691 high school students and staff danced to Checker’s classic hit. Infineon Raceway hopes to shatter that record on Aug. 24 right in front of the main grandstand.