Race 17: Annual Sonoma Race DiaryPosted by in General
Wow am I late with this race post- but as happens with nearly all races I attend in person- I go to the race- have a blast and then come home and slammed in the face by “reality” when I get back. Sigh. Plus I took 1800+ pictures myself, with Misty taking an additional 650+ pictures. I had to then weed through them and process some of them for the blog- which takes time as I am sure you can imagine! A big thank you to all of my readers for being so patient.
Misty and I get to Sonoma Raceway early on Friday, pick up our respective credentials, park in lot M as directed by the parking attendants (which in both Misty and I’s opinion seem to be the BEST at nearly any track we have been to thus far), shuttled to the media center- found our respective spots (schwing- right next to each other- no having to ask about swapping and BONUS we had front row window seats that looked out onto pit road and what would eventually be Greg Biffle’s pit stall) and then we headed towards the garage area before it got to crowded.
We did a walk down the length of the garages to the Sunoco gas station:
During the stroll Misty caught sight of Tony Stewart’s dad Nelson relaxing in the morning sun and checking his phone:
We landed ourselves for a good portion of the morning at the technical inspection tent. I was having a great time catching cars roll out of tech:
From initial inspection cars were then rolled from the inspection tent to the scales that are stationed right at the backside of the media center:
The #88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr actually rolling onto the scales:
Of course also on Friday are the pressers- which I love to sit in on.
Jeff Gordon and Danica Patrick had their pressers in the media center:
Some pressers are held in at the back of the respective team hauler during the break between practices. I don’t like these so much (but still go) because I can’t usual hear worth a dime nor can I see. I did get luck and catch a couple good ones of Jimmie Johnson however. Here is one of them:
Of course what you have to know is that I am kind of shy (I know a shocker right?) and thus I am not very pushy- so when it comes to the driver’s presser that I want to hear/photograph the most- Tony Stewart (and yes I did still want to photograph Tony even after his principalesque chastising of photographers at Las Vegas earlier in the season) this is the view I get:
I am not going to push my way into that fruckus – because I am just not a pushy person. Nor did I really have anything earth shatteringly original to ask him. I momentarily contemplated sticking around and seeing if maybe I could weasel in after the crowd thinned out a bit- but again- I didn’t anything pressing to ask him. We had requested an interview with him and were politely declined (hey I would rather be politely declined then ignored altogether which does happen
a lot sometimes) and I didn’t think it would be very polite to just stick my camera in his face especially after Vegas. So Misty and I wandered away…I am glad I did because I read the transcript of his presser later that day and it doesn’t sound like he was in the mood for fluffy questions. For instance here are a couple of quotes from the transcript:
Q: Is breaking the track record important?
Tony Stewart: Does it pay extra? Do we get anymore points or do we get a bigger trophy or do we get more prize money? If no then it doesn’t. No it doesn’t matter to me.
Q: Does the change in turn seven take some of the fun away?
Tony Stewart: What did they do? It’s news to me. I’ve been here for 15 straight years and I didn’t notice any difference when I got down to sever. I didn’t see anything. I don’t think it’s done anything.
These are just a couple of examples- but you must know that I always worry that asking him something at the track will get his dander up in a ruffle- so I tend to just stay quiet around him and shoot pictures. It’s better that way. The picture getting wasn’t any good so we wandered away.
But while on the subject of Tony Stewart specifically- I want to mention the Mobil 1 paint scheme he was running. It had a patriotic feel to it that I loved. Because of the harsh sunny lighting the pictures make the deep sparkly blue look black- but I promise you it was blue- and there were little stars at the bottom of the car. He probably wouldn’t like to hear it described as pretty…but it was very pretty and patriotic:
I did get some cool pictures of crew member working around the garage- which is one of my favorite things to get pictures of:
Also on Friday I caught sight of Sammy Hagar hanging out with Jimmie Johnson. I admit it- I nearly squealed like the girl that I am. I LOVE Sammy Hagar!
Saturday was reserved for qualifying in the new group qualifying format. It seemed to go fairly smoothly. From my perspective it was like watching little mini races. Personally I think if NASCAR really wants to keep up this format for the qualifying they might want to make the road course races like little heat races- it would be more exciting because some drivers would just do a qual run and pull right back off the track.
My favorite picture from Saturday was in the early morning as the cars where lined up to go through pre-qualifying technical:
The best part was Misty’s idea for a caption (which I am pretty sure she instagramed in a similar picture she took with her phone) and that was: Really Tony Stewart? Making your dad push the car out to the qualifying grid?
After qualifying was over on Saturday – we went to the Golden Gate Bridge and walked it- you can see my pictures for that in a set over at Flickr- they are cool but I don’t want to muddy up my race post with frivolous pictures of bridges.
If there is anything you have noticed about the pictures from Friday and Saturday- it’s that the weather was sunny and warm- with a little bit of wind on Saturday (but not too much). Well on Sunday when we got to the track the weather had completely changed and was very overcast and kind of damp. We got to the track much earlier…and crews work working already on changing their set ups that morning:
We were able to walk down pit road before they let the masses of fans in- and it was nice of Kevin Harvick to want to keep his crew toasty warm during the colder than expected weather:
Despite the questionable weather they did fit the race in. We watched drivers and their loved ones stroll by the media center on their way to the qualifying grid:
Drivers were introduced and paraded around the track in the beds of Toyota Tundra’s:
As for the race- well we know that Tony didn’t end up doing so well. Even he was disappointed in his run. Here is the little write up I do regarding Tony Stewart each week:
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr
Points After Sonoma: Dropped to 15th in the standings
My Mood After Sonoma: Sad Tony had a bad day- even sadder that he dropped so much in the points standings but happy to be in the media center for Martin Truex Jr’s Post-Race- he was a happy happy guy!
One last victory lane picture:
My absolute favorite part of the post race media session with Martin and crew? Actually happened after it was over. As Martin Truex Jr hopped off the stage, his long time girlfriend handed him her phone and the first words out of his mouth were something like: Holy Crap Mom! and then he looked at what media was left packing up and had a huge smile on his face and motioned towards the phone like yeah- I’m talking to my mom! Adorable!
There are plenty of pictures in this post so I will post a post tomorrow with the Gratuitous Tony picture and some other favorites from Race Sonoma which is quickly becoming a favorite in my eyes!
To see many many more pictures from the Sonoma race visit our Sonoma 2013 Flicker Set- including are all those in the post plus many many more- including those I instagrammed during the weekend!
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