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Race 5: Autoclub Speedway in Fontana (Or The Belated Birthday Win)

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

Autoclub Speedway 2012. Click mosaic to be taken to photo set on flickr. (photo credit: Amy K. Marbach)

My trip to the race at Autoclub Speedway was a gift.  The tickets were part of my Christmas present from Misty and the hotel was part of my birthday present from her (my birthday is about 3 weeks after Christmas).  We met in southern California on Friday and spent Saturday hanging out at the Victoria Gardens Shopping Center in nearby Rancho Cucamonga. It’s a really nice outdoor shopping village- and the two of us laughed probably way more than two grown women probably should.

Being the NASCAR fans that we are, we both kept track of the weather on our phones and on TV that night- knowing that there was a HUGE storm rolling in and that there was a pretty good chance that our race day would be plagued with rain. Again.  The last time we were at Auto Club (last year) it rained in the morning but cleared up so that the race could be run. This year it was the complete opposite. We got to the track and it was bright and sunny and nary a cloud in the sky (but instead they lurked over by Mt Baldy).  We had tons of fun that morning- visiting the haulers and such. I was a little sad because they didn’t have the Championship license plate frame that I wanted or the championship lanyard at the Tony Stewart Hauler….damn I should have buck up and bought em in Vegas- they had them there. Oh well- you snooze you lose.  That should be my motto.  They didn’t even have one of the new Office Depot hero cards…I REALLY want one of those. Sigh.

Anyway- I only brought a point and shoot camera because I didn’t want to risk getting my “good” cameras wet. Plus I knew I would be packing my heavy jacket just in my race pack and that there wouldn’t be room for much else after you add in the standard fair of sunblock, snacks, a diet coke and other toiletries.

By the time we got to our seats for driver introductions we were already cold because the track was already starting to cloud over.  By the time the cars were doing their warm up laps I was wondering if we would ever get the race going. It seriously looked like it was going to break out and rain ANY SECOND.  But the race went GREEN.

Now normally when I am watching a race- I am keeping track of my driver, Misty’s driver and a couple other people.  This time I am keeping track of my driver, Misty’s driver, the weather, and how many laps until the race was official (half way). That’s a lot to keep track of in the stands with just a cell phone (and whilst all bundled up- it was freaking cold).

Sunday night was our last night in the hotel AND I had a 5 and 1/2 hour drive home…so I wasn’t too keen on the idea that I might have to go back on Monday to watch part of the race. So Misty and I cheered when the race made it to half way and personally I felt I could relax (a little- it was a NASCAR race and Tony was doing so well).  It seemed to me like as soon as the half way point came and went Jeff Gordon’s race went from fairly excellent to fairly bad really quickly.  He had not one but TWO pit road penalties in a row (dragging equipment out of the pit box (gas can and gas man) AND then losing control of a tire).  Misty was frustrated and disappointed.

Tony on the other hand was LEADING (YEY) when I looked down at my phone and noticed that they said there was rain in turn three (we were sitting on the front stretch towards turn 1). The cars were first under yellow. Then we felt it. And started getting wet.  Misty and I looked at each other and simultaneously stood up and went for cover.

We talked it over and figured we could leave now- because we had heard that once the rain came it wasn’t going to stop for awhile.  No sense getting wet.  We left for the parking lot.  Tony was declared the race winner before we got to where we were going for lunch- I missed his burnout again- only because he didn’t do one though…I mean it was raining after all.  By the time we left for lunch? It was raining so hard it was wicked scary. Three intersections on the way to the hotel were flooded- scary.  It continued to rain the rest of the night…but TONY WON for my BIRTHDAY (even though it was belated). I am sure of it!

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