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Sonoma Race Diary 2014 Part 1: Friday & Saturday

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

(I ended up breaking this post up into two parts because it was just too long once I added in all the pictures.  Enjoy and watch for Part 2: Sunday tomorrow–Amy)

As I mentioned in a post several weeks ago- I had really been jonesing for a race.  I LOVE being at a race track and Race Sonoma couldn’t possibly get here fast enough for me. Sonoma Raceway is slowly worming it’s way into my heart as one of my favorite tracks that we get to attend in person.  The weather is almost always beautiful when the NASCAR race is there and we seem to almost always find something fun to do off track as well as have incredible adventures at track. After all it was at Sonoma Raceway that Misty interviewed Jeff Gordon a couple of years ago.  Anyway- I had been looking forward to this race pretty much since March.

I love the smell of oil, gas and nomex in the morning.

Friday morning garage picture as tweeted on June 20th, 2014 from my phone. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Our Friday at Sonoma Raceway started bright and early. It’s kind of ironic to me that Misty and I spend a good majority of the vacation hours that we each earn at our respective jobs for our “racations” where we tend to be up and at it just as early (or in my case specifically – earlier) and just as hard as we do for our jobs.

Anyway- I had heard that both Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick were running patriotic paint schemes at Race Sonoma. So my first mission was to try to capture photos of them. My favorite place to do that is as the cars are being rolled out of the technical inspection tent. I caught them and a few more:

Kevin Harvick's Folds of Honor Paint Scheme at Sonoma

Kevin Harvick’s Folds of Honor Paint Scheme at Sonoma, rolling out of the tech tent June 20th, 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Tony Stewart's Star Spangled 14

Tony Stewart’s Star Spangled 14 Chevy rolling out of the tech tent June 20th, 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Side view of the Star-Spangled 14 of Tony Stewart

Side view of the Star-Spangled 14 of Tony Stewart as it rolled from the tech inspection tent to it’s garage stall. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Kyle Busch's colorful M&M car

Kyle Busch’s colorful M&M car rolling out of the technical inspection tent at Sonoma Raceway June 20th, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K Marbach)

Next mission was to attend some of the driver media appearances- which I always love doing even if I don’t ask any questions. There were some before first practice and then there was first practice so we were back down to the garages for practice.

Joey Logano addresses the media

Joey Logano addresses the media in the media center at Sonoma Raceway on June 20th 2014).

Jimmie Johnson smiling in the media center

Jimmie Johnson is all smiles in the media center at Sonoma Raceway on June 20th, 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

One of these days I would love to just sit quietly in the corner of a garage stall and watch them work on the cars up close.Their trade secrets would be pretty much safe with me since I can barely recognize a transmission out of a cup car- let alone other parts.

Transmission on a cart

A transmission gets hauled through the garage at Sonoma Raceway on June 20th 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Got Gas?

It bugged me immensely that Brian Vicker’s gas cans weren’t in numerical order. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Tony's Tires

It wouldn’t be a race without a tire picture now would it? These tires are sitting outside Tony’s hauler in the garage at Sonoma Raceway on June 20th, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K Marbach)

Tony’s media session was directly after first practice at the back of the 14 hauler.  As a short and fairly non-aggressive person I usually just end up frustrated at hauler media sessions because I usually can’t hear and I definitely can’t see. I have tried the hold my camera over my head deal- but I am so damn sort that I really just usually end up with goofy pictures of the tops of peoples heads. Since as Misty says, this ain’t my first rodeo, I decided to try a different approach to hauler media sessions. Instead of trying to worm my way through the throngs of media until I was close enough to listen I would just stay out of the area at the back of the hauler completely and wait to snap a few pictures of Tony as he walked from his garage stall to his hauler.

Austin Dillon

While waiting for Tony Stewart, Austin Dillon snuck up on me and I almost missed getting a picture! (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Chad Johnston

While distracted by Austin Dillon I almost missed Chad Johnston coming in between practices at Sonoma Raceway on June 20th, 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Tony had to leave his garage stall eventually right? There was a throng of media standing outside of his hauler waiting for him. I was determined but dang was it bright out there and I left my sunglasses in the media center and my hat in my car in the parking lot. I was quite red and squinty-eyed by this point.  I am surprised I didn’t get a sunburn. As Misty would say they don’t call me stalwart for nothing. My determination would be rewarded though:

Tony Stewart and Mike Arning

Tony Stewart walks towards his hauler with his right hand PR man Mike Arning in the garage area at Sonoma Raceway (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Tony Stewart and Mike Arning

Tony Stewart walks towards his hauler with his right hand PR man Mike Arning (get it? Because he’s standing on Tony’s right?) in the garage area at Sonoma Raceway on June 20th, 2014  (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Then it was back to the nice overly air conditioned media center for other driver pressers:

Jeff Gordon answers media questions

Jeff Gordon answers media questions in the media center at Sonoma Raceway on June 20th, 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Martin Truex Jr

Martin Truex Jr discussing how he hoped his luck for the 2014 season would turn around at Sonoma Raceway on June 20th, 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Then there was some more practice:

I see you Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon getting ready for practice at Sonoma Raceway on June 20th 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Dale Earnhardt Jr's Kelly Blue Book Car

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Kelly Blue Book Chevy in the garage at Sonoma Raceway on June 20th, 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Saturday was qualifying but we were actually off track most of Saturday so I didn’t get any pictures. Stay tuned tomorrow for our very interesting race day post which should be up tomorrow morning.

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