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Infineon Raceway Part 2- Raceday Wanderings and Wonderings

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

You can read Part 1 here.

I am going to admit something right here…Misty and I played hooky from Infineon on Saturday and played tourists in San Fransisco so I really have NOTHING to tell you of Saturday.  Valli has a post about Saturday though if you want to check out what she was doing (plus you can read about how Dale Jr tried to scare her just like Jimmie did to us the day before).

We were up with the chickens on Sunday- grabbed a quick bite in the room and headed right to the track on Sunday morning and it wasn’t even early enough because the race traffic heading into Infineon was in full effect!  I remembered this from the time we came in 2009 and thought we had left in plenty of time- apparently not.  Not that we were late- but we were later than we wanted to be. So we get into the track plop our stuff down in the media center (I LOVE having a place I can ditch my stuff at the race so that I don’t have to carry all my belongings with me everywhere I go) grab both of my cameras and we decide to spend the morning just wandering before the start of the race.  First we wandered over to the driver introduction stage to get some pictures of three greats: Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett and Bobby Allison. I have to admit…Misty got THE best picture of Bobby Allison:

Bobby Allison talks with PRN host before the race at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Ned Jarrett (photo credit: Misty Bethany)

The King- Richard Petty. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

My instinct was to say at the driver intro stage until driver introductions were over- but Valli kindly told us we should check out pit road instead.  And that is what we did.  We walked up and down pit road repeatedly.  It was crowded and I was starting to get hot and cranky with all the people because at the time pit road was a madhouse.  So Misty and I picked a random pit stall and sat down for a tad on the wall.  It just happened to be next to Joey Logano’s pit stall and the crew were  busying themselves prepping for the race when I got this AWESOME picture:

Pit helmet and Radio (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

Just getting that shot inspired me to get some other cool shots:

Under Pressure (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

Flammable (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

Three little gas cans sitting in a row...(photo credit: Amy Marbach)

No Ethanol For Carl Edwards (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

Tire shot- with US ARMY crew. Almost every race I get at least one tire shot- it's my thing. (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

Then after the track and event security cleared pit road of fans we continued to wander- only much more freely. It was at this point where I started feeling really conspicuous and kind of out of place.  Misty and I were trying to decide where we should go at this point. Obviously we have different favorite drivers so we started off over by Jeff Gordon’s car just in time to see his family arriving at the car:

Leo Gordon arrives for Pre Race ceremonies (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

Ella Gordon arrives for Pre-Race (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

So it was kind of fun to witness the filling in of the drivers families and crews to the cars on the raceway grid on pit road.  It was kind of weird because every time I would look up I saw SOMEONE.  Misty and I decided to move down pit road a bit at one point for instance and I look over at her to ask her a question and Misty is walking side by side with Gene Haas…and had no idea because she was paying attention to me and not who was next to her.  I didn’t snap a picture because Misty probably would have wondered what I was doing plus I thought it would be an odd thing to do at such a close radius without actually asking to take the picture.

We finally ended up near Kyle Busch’s car:

Samantha Busch stands by Kyle's Car. (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

Now we had three very good reasons for staying in the Kyle Busch area and none of them had anything to do with M&M’s.  One is that Tony’s car was on one side of Kyle.  then of course, Dale Jr was on the other side of Kyle.  And lastly, pre-race was about to start so we had to settle in somewhere and Misty and I felt most comfortable hanging off towards the side of Kyle’s car…I can’t explain why.

Dale Jr. stands next to his Amp Chevrolet on Sunday at Infineon. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Mr. Hendrick, Dale Jr., and Steve Letarte talk prerace on Sunday at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Tony was pretty much impossible to get a shot of before the pre-race ceremonies started. The reasoning for this?  He was pretty much surrounded by people and then by crew (Although I did miss my opportunity to get a great shot of the crew huddle/prayer circle whatever you call it as it was just breaking up when we got there). Also? He got in his car BEFORE pre-race.  I don’t know if he was hot or sick of people hollering at him for his attention (there was this one guy who was loudly yelling for Tony’s attention and unfortunate for my ear drums he was right next me- my right ear is still ringing- TONY TONY?! HEY TONY!)- it was kinda strange to see him already in his car before the ceremonies started but he was.

A NASCAR official talks to Tony Stewart who sits in his car prior to the race at Infineon Raceway on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

Then the pre-race ceremonies started.

PreRace Ceremonies. (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

Pretty much I was standing off to the side towards the pit wall between Juniors and Kyles car at this point.  We stood there looking  all somber as one tends to do during invocation and the national anthem.  As soon as it was over we started high tailing it back to the media center.  As soon as we got there we ended up catching Ingrid Vandebosch taking little Leo for a walk in his stroller:

Ingrid Vandebosch and baby Leo go for awhile while they fire up the engines. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Then we took our seats in the media center to watch the race.  We had a great view of turn 11 – which as you know is where the action was ALL day long.

We all know now in hindsight that Tony pushed Vickers on purpose because he felt he was blocking. I had no way of knowing that in the media center though- to me it looked like Vicker’s checked up and Tony accidentally spun him. I even tweeted it. And then promptly forgot about the incident and continued to watch the race. It was really kind of hard to hear the national broadcast in the media center actually.  That was my biggest complaint…and I coudn’t listen to my Sprint Cup ap on my phone because I didn’t have headphones and didn’t want to disrupt the entire media center.

Now for “THE incident” – I followed Tony’s drive down the straightaway and into the turn.  I glance back to the straightaway and saw Vickers flying into the turn way too fast. I knew no good would come of that.  Then, of course, was the retaliation hit.  All I could really see was tire smoke and then Tony hanging off the tires.

Tony in the tires at Infineon. (I DID NOT TAKE THIS PICTURE...I borrowed it from TonyStewart.com)

Now, I let a few not so nice words escape my lips.  I CAN’T HELP IT.  Really I can’t. I get wrapped up and I can’t help it when this happens.  The worst part was that, as I mentioned before, I couldn’t really hear the television that was airing the national broadcast, so I didn’t know what was going on and Tony seemed to be hanging on the tires a really long time. It was all I could do not to SHUSH the entire room so I could hear. The best thing? My Twitter peeps were keeping me informed as to what was happening for the most part there. My absolute favorite tweet I got while I was sitting there though? Was this one:

Branden Williams: I sure hope @badgroove isn’t at the track. Because Vickers better run if she is. #justsaying

He had no idea I was sitting in the media center.  My Tony Stewart fandom OBVIOUSLY precedes me- and I am proud of it.  Truthfully,  I actually did have an urge to run down to the garage area because I figured they would have to bring the car in and I honestly wanted to see how damaged Tony’s car was.  But a good portion of the media center was already down there trying to get a sound byte, so I figured I should stay put because I didn’t think they wanted MY sound bytes because invariably they would be flying and they wouldn’t be pretty.

After Tony’s day was pretty much crushed into smithereens in the tire barrier, the rest of the race seemed long and drawn out. That is until the end, when Jeff Gordon started flying through the field at the end. I am still not sure how he passed Carl Edwards there at the end…but I know Misty was quite pleased when he did.  After the race we packed up our stuff and headed downstairs to the press conference room and waited for Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards to do their post race:

Carl Edwards checks his voicemail before the start of the post-race press conference. (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards share a laugh at their post-race press conference at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Jeff Gordon is joined by his daughter Ella during his post race press conference at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach)

All this was going on while Kurt Busch was celebrating his victory in Victory lane outside.  They were still there when Misty and I left, trying to get an early start on the traffic. Our early start was not so early.  However, I will say that our new way leaving was much much quicker than in 2009 when we sat in nearly dead-stopped traffic for over 3 hours.  So YEY.

And there you have it.  This experience was great fun! There are some videos I will post soon as well.

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3 Responses

  • Charity says:

    BFL and I have a different term for Brian Vickers. This isn’t the first time he’s done something that ticked us off concerning one of our favorite drivers. :P

    Love the pictures, and you’re right, it is weird for Tony to be in his car when the pre-race stuff starts. He’s usually standing next to it, sometimes yakking instead of paying attention. :)

    By the way, who was singing at the pre-race stuff?

  • Amy says:

    Charity – I believe that was Stephanie Harwood from Beach Blanket Babylon….

  • Jeremy says:

    i have also some nice shot from the Sonoma race weekend, i would like to share them with you and possibly get to see yours, i you agree, just send me an email i will send you a link on my picasa picture webshare. I’m looking for nice pre race shoots in particular, i was close to the #88, 42 and 5 when the anthems played. Thanks ! Regards, Jeremy

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