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Far and away the most amazing thing about Race 3 in Las Vegas was Jimmie Johnson’s runner-up finish after crashing in Happy Hour Saturday and having to start from the rear of the field in a backup car.  Within minutes of Jimmie losing control and hitting the wall Saturday afternoon, Chad and the 48 team were unloading the backup car. Amy and I had the privilege of witnessing much of the hardwork that went into getting the car race ready – I am sure it was a long night for the 48 team, but it paid off with that awesome finish.

Where There's a Chad , There's a Way (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Now, the messy moment of the race for me probably didn’t even make it into the TV coverage, but it was a moment that brought out my potty mouth and made me bite my nails literally.  I think I may even have embarrassed Amy by my exclamation!  About 80 laps in, my driver was racing mid pack for P15 (I think) and a certain driver that I have had issues with before decided to go three wide into turn 1, causing my far more sensible driver to fall back a few places, where he then seemed to struggle the remainder of the day!   I wish that someone would pass out my “space bubble memo” at the next Driver’s Meeting, so that my driver can maintain a safe space bubble in which he can freely race however he wants and the heck with the other 42 cars.  :)

My racecation at a glimpse by the numbers:

Miles Driven: 1000+

Mountain Passes transversed: 2 each way

Best Friends Visited: 1

Races attended: 1

Cameras Taken to Vegas: 3

Cameras Used in Vegas: 2

Pictures taken: 837

NASCAR Drivers Interviewed: 1 (TONY STEWART!!!!)

Interviews needing to be transcribed: 1 (see above)

Voices Lost: 1

Annoying squeaky noises made attempting to talk: 1 million

Beagles starved for attention: 1

How she showed she was starved for attention: She sniffed my luggage for a couple minutes then went to take a nap

Loads of  vacation laundry to do: At least 2- possibly 3 depending on how I sort

Loads of laundry actually done at this writing: 0

Needless to say I am back!!!  And jumping right back to work tomorrow. That and hacking up a lung with this cough I recently developed. Fun times.  Look for more detailed post on the trip coming as soon as possible.

Leaving…

Posted by Amy in General - (1 Comments)

Tomorrow morning I leave for Vegas.  My bags are mostly packed save for a couple of things I need to throw in at the last minute.  The HHR has been serviced (last week) and fueled.  I am hoping it doesn’t storm massively because no one likes driving 500 miles in a storm- Misty did it the weekend after my birthday on her way home from visiting me and can attest to the fact that IT SUCKS!!  I think it will just sprinkle here and there (fingers crossed).

Anyway, this means that I won’t be blogging until after I get back.  I will probably have lots of pictures to share with you and lots of stories about what I did in Vegas both at the race and outside the race.

I might twitter now and again while gone so feel free to check my twitter (twitter.com/badgroove) to see what I am up to but remember that I refuse to pay for the data plan or unlimited texting plan so I might not get your replies until later in the day.  I might also update my facebook if you happen to by my FB friend.

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Also- here is a link to a contest where you can enter to win a VIP racing package for 4 that includes weekend tickets for saturday and sunday, hotel accommadations, spending cash, and other goodies.  Unfortunately if you are from CA like I am you can’t enter (you also can’t enter if you are in AK, HI, ME, MT, OR & WA). But hopefully one of my readers will win. Good luck.

So as many of you know I left December first in my HHR for Vegas. My friend and I were SO excited about Champions week that even though I had just driven/ridden 1700 miles round trip two weeks ago for the Phoenix chase race I was READY! My drive to Vegas was problem free and my BFF and I spent the rest of the day hanging out and planning our week’s schedule.  It started on Wednesday at FanFest- which was being held at Las Vegas Motorspeedway.  In our excitement we got their a little early and sat in the car, parked in the infield of a mostly empty race track. It was actually kinda creepy feeling.

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The trucks sit in empty stalls in the garage area post-practice and pre-qualifying.

The trucks sit in empty stalls in the garage area post-practice and pre-qualifying.

The Trucks are pushed out onto the qualifying grid.

The Trucks are pushed out onto the qualifying grid.

The wreckers take to the track pre-qualifying.

The wreckers take to the track pre-qualifying.

Johnny Sauters truck gets pushed onto the qualifying grid.

Johnny Sauter's truck gets pushed onto the qualifying grid.

Hart and Huntington

Hart and Huntington were represented at the track by TJ Bell. This is their merchandise hauler and Carey's bike.

The trucks are lined up and we are ready for pre-race.

The trucks are lined up and we are ready for pre-race.

The crews line up for invocation.

The crews line up for invocation.

The announcer said this was the most expensive car to ever be a pace car at a NASCAR race.

The announcer said this was the most expensive car to ever be a pace car at a NASCAR race.

Trucks are parked on pit road during the warm up laps when the lights in turn one (including the ones in the stands) went out.  Took about 20 minutes to fix.

Trucks are parked on pit road during the warm up laps when the lights in turn one (including the ones in the stands) went out. Took about 20 minutes to fix.

Turn Two at LVMS in the Evening with mountains as a backdrop.

Turn Two at LVMS in the Evening with mountains as a backdrop.

The evening before the race a lot of the drivers did an autograph session at the Statosphere Casino:

Johnny Sauter, who was the race winner.

Johnny Sauter, who was the race winner.

Aris Armirola was driving Kyle Buschs number 51.

Aric Armirola was driving Kyle Busch's number 51.

All in all we had a great time, but we got to the track WAY too early.  Next time we will know!

As humans some of our personality traits are things we can not control- and for me one of those is a slightly anal quality when it comes to planning things out.  I can only speak for myself here- but I have a need to feel like I have some control over a situation and part of that control is planning. That being said I LOVE to plan a trip.  And when I say I love to plan a trip- 98 percent of my travels beyond spontaneous day trips involve planning things out months and months in advance of the actual date.  Case in point- BFM and I purchased our tickets to the Shelby 427 nearly as soon as the tickets were opened up for sale.  Now because BFM lives in Vegas I didn’t need to worry about hotel- but if I had- you can be sure I would have reserved a room at about the same time.

We should have learned our lesson last year with the fall Fontana race.  Once we decided to work in the Fontana race into our year last year- I was calling the box office as soon as I did a little online research about track and it’s facilities.  BFM’s favorite driver might be Jeff Gordon but I knew her second favorite driver was Jimmie Johnson- and I knew from my internet research that sometimes Fontana has a special Jimmie Johnson ticket package that includes not only race tickets but usually some kind of Q&A session with Jimmie and part of the proceeds of the tickets actually go to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.  Sounded like something that would be fun- something that we would definitely be interested in.  When I called the box office I inquired about if there would be a Jimmie Johnson package for that particular race because I did not see anything about it on their website. The ticket agent told me that he wasn’t pulling anything up but that sometimes these special ticket packages weren’t set up right away. He kindly suggested that I wait about six weeks and call back to see if they had heard anything.  And that is exactly what I did.  Don’t think it wasn’t torture for me and my anal/control freak ways- let me tell you.  I waited six weeks on the dot and called back. Again I asked about the Jimmie Johnson Foundation tickets.  Again I was told that they did not have anything and that maybe I should wait. Well I had waited about as long as my obsessive nature would allow so I got us tickets and was finally at ease. Race Tickets? Check. Hotel? Check.  It’s all good. I am sure that you can tell what is coming up next.  Yep you guessed it- the Jimmie Johnson package came up for sale two or three weeks later.

Learn from my mistakes race fans. If you are like me and plan things out way in advanced- that isn’t always the best way.  While so far the ticketing offices that I have worked with have all been extremely helpful and willing to exchange tickets for others (I did this for the first race in Vegas actually- I had initially ordered up neon garage passes for Sunday and changed my mind- deciding that passes for Friday might let us see more action in the actual garage stalls- and the ticketing office was more than willing to accommodate my request for a change) sometimes it pays in aces to just wait to buy your tickets.  Especially now that tracks aren’t selling as many tickets as they would like- often facilities are forced to drop ticket prices closer to the date of the actual race.  Many tracks, in an attempt to drawn in more fans, are offering special ticket packages that might include things like driver Q&A’s or appearances, special food or hospitality discounts, and other deals on track amenities but these ticket packages are often last minute deals (or last minute to people like me who like to plan everything out well in advance).  Keep in mind that sometimes you will end up sacrificing better seats for some of the package plans- it is still something to consider because it might be that one time you get to get closer to your favorite driver.  So learn from me- sometimes it pays to NOT plan so far ahead.  Case in point,  I personally got a great deal on tickets for the Phoenix race (yes the next race) by going against what is natural to me and not planning the trip until about a month before the race.  By waiting we got seats in a section that was previously earmarked at a higher price for a lower price.  Now there were reasons we waited so long- and that was just one of them. And this whole upcoming trip to the race in Phoenix is going to be fodder for another post I am planning on writing after that trip- so expect this to be revisited a little in a couple of weeks.  But just be aware…sometimes it pays to procrastinate a little.

If you were keeping track- last year when we decided to go to the Vegas race, BFM woke up Thursday morning really sick- as in throwing up sick.  We were going to go see Tony Stewart’s driver appearance at the local Home Depot and at her insistence I went anyway with her brother instead.  That was the only driver appearance we got to that race. This year- however was quite the different beast.  To begin with no one was too sick to go.  Also there were tons of driver appearances – unfortunately it seemed that 85 percent of them were all at the same time (what is it with the Thursday from 4-6 time slot that the drivers love to use for their appearances?).  I told BFM that since I got to see Tony at both races we went to last year that this year she could pick our driver appearances.  So she picked:

Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Casey Mears.  The major problem there? Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch were doing their appearances at the same time at separate ends of the Vegas Strip (Kahne was in the Stratosphere and Kyle Busch was at M&M World which was just down from the MGM Grand).

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Walking in on Sunday Morning

Walking in on Sunday Morning

I honestly don’t remember what time we got to the track on Sunday- but I want to say probably around 9:00 again.  We perused the midway- partaking in free COKE ZERO samples as well as getting free Bobby Labonte flash drives preinstalled with the ask.com nascar tool bar wiget thingy mabob.  Mostly though we scoped out a place by the SPEED stage and waited.  We were there solely to see Jeff Gordon’s interview by the PRN guys- but be cause we also got to see Richard Childress and Kyle Busch during their interviews and we got to watch Hermie Sadler film one of the cut-away car segments-which was fun too.  I got a few mediocre pictures of Richard Childress and one of Jeff Gordon:

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