(Editor’s Note: As mentioned before Kevin M. Boots is back with the first of two posts about his experience at Watkins Glen! Kevin also posted on BadGroove about the Tony Stewart/Lewis Hamilton Seat Swap last year. A big thanks to Kevin for blogging about his experiences over at Watkins Glen and for the great photos!- Amy)
It was dumb luck really, when I think back on it. I was just talking on Twitter about whether I should go to Pocono or Watkins Glen for my race in 2012 and tweeting pros and cons to each track. Surprisingly, both tracks have produced some of the best racing the last few years. WGI was, from the beginning, out to get me to buy a ticket from their track. They would reply to my tweets almost every time.
Then I tweeted something at the end of May that really got their attention. They replied and asked me to send an email to an address.
I was contacted by the WGI Director of Marketing & Fan Experience about calling me. Really? Me? I remember being nervous and excited about this. He called and we talked and he had an idea he had been thinking about; a fan tweeting at the track all weekend. The official WGI twitter account would then retweet me so others could see what fans could do at the track. So my mind was made up, WGI again for 2012.
Fast forward two months, Friday August 10, 2012. I left work and headed right up to the track. I had to pick up my credentials and they wanted to meet with me. I got to the track just before Denny and Burton had their run in. I had a meeting with a gentleman at 4:30PM in the Media Center. So I went and parked in the infield and headed over to it. First off, I always have parked outside of the track before this. Parking inside was different. There were race cars driving over my head at one point. I went and met with my contact and I then I was off. They wanted me to tweeter pictures of my adventures each day. I went to the midway area and started. It was getting late and most of it was closing so I headed to an area I had only dreamed about go in before: the Garage.
In 2002 I had pit passes for Phoenix. It was cool but I did not get to spend that much time there but this was so much better. I walked up one side and down the next. Didn’t see any drivers but I did see crew members working on the cars for practice the next morning. I, of course, sent pictures to twitter. Just as I was about to leave, I saw Kurt Busch and got him to stop for a picture that I also sent to twitter. You might be noticing how I keep stating the pictures were being tweeted. You’ll see why shortly. I decided to leave so I could come back early Saturday morning.
Saturday I didn’t get up to the track as early as I wanted too. When I did, Sprint cup practice was already going on. I took some pictures then and headed back towards the midway. I wanted to get something for my daughters since I had already bought something for my son the night before. I started to do my twitter thing, trying to show as much of the happenings as I could when it happened: I was put into TWITTER PHOTO LOCK DOWN! Apparently I had sent too many pictures in a 24 hour period and twitter wouldn’t let me send any more. “Well why didn’t you use another picture hosting site,” you’re probably asking yourself? Well I do not have a smart phone. I have a sort of dumb phone and this phone is not set up in a way where it can use those sites correctly. Needless to say this had a bad effect on my tweeting. I still tweeted but it was just not the same without the photos.
I decided to head to the Media Center to find an open WiFi hotspot so I could at least use my iPod. I did end up finding one but it was short lived. I then decided to take up a spot on the upper deck overlooking Victory Lane. It was a really good spot. I later went to my car to eat something and took some pictures of cars in the “Esses” along the way. I went back to my little spot and watched what I could from there. I was mostly alone up there until about the last 10 laps or so of the Nationwide race. Carl Edwards won and I got some great photos of Victory Lane celebrations. Carl did something twice that I thought was great of him, he stopped what he was doing and went over and spent time with some younger fans who had special challenges. It made their day and mine.
Next up was the Grand-Am Rolex races. Now for anyone who has not been to a Grand-AM race, what’s wrong with you? GO already! Not only are these awesome races but fan accessibility is unbelievable. You do not need a cold or hot passes to walk right up to their haulers, intact they encourage you to go and watch them. It was an awesome experience. I wish more people would pay attention to this series. I fully intend to go to the 6 hour race next year. The Daytona Prototypes look like they are from the future and the GT cars are street cars modified to race. There is a large speed difference between the two classes and they both race at the same time on track. Because they are both racing on track at the same time, it sets up some interesting racing to watch.
Since the next day was Sunday and I wanted to get on pit road when it opened, I left way before I would have normally left. I drove the 40 miles home from the track and went to bed so I could return again the next day and cover the Sprint Cup race.
(Note: You can see ALL of Kevin’s pictures from his experience on Friday and Saturday at Watkins Glen over in his Flickr Photo Album WGI 8/10-8/11-2012)
Be sure to read Kevin’s experiences from Sunday at the Glen here.
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