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Panoramic of Homestead-Miami before the race (Photo Source: Amy K. Marbach)

Just an fyi this post is going to be different because this is a first person race diary. If you are looking for just a telling of Tony’s race day experience you can read the official Stewart-Haas Racing post race wrap-up here. — Amy

It started back in February when Misty said to me- after hearing of her driver Jeff Gordon’s retirement announcement- “I wish we could go to the race in Miami“.  I responded with “Why can’t we? We can just skip Phoenix this year and head to Miami instead.”  She was surprised- I remember the exact words out of her mouth were “You’d go to Miami with me?” I said “Heck yeah I would.”  And so began our odyssey.  I found out that there was a list you could put yourself on to buy tickets for the race in Miami and I put us on the list to buy tickets as soon as they became available to non-season ticket holders. We didn’t buy anything else or plan anything else until I got a very early phone call from Homestead Miami’s ticket office when they were going through the online list of potential ticket buyers.  The ticketing agent was very helpful in getting us awesome seats (at the end of a row- our favorite spot) in our price range.  As a surprise to Misty, I sprung for the pre-race pit passes because we decided back in February that we were going to this race as fans. No media center for us at Homestead because when you are in the media center there are rules- like no wearing driver gear and there was no way we were going all that way for Jeff Gordon’s last race to have Misty NOT wear her Jeff Gordon gear proudly.  As a matter of fact- I had a great conversation with the ticketing agent about why I only wanted Sunday only tickets (because we wanted to spend the rest of our short time in the area sight seeing having never been to the area before).  After our tickets were secured Misty took over as our travel agent securing us a Hotel right on the beach, securing our direct flight from McCarran Airport (LAS) in Vegas to Miami International Airport, securing us a rental car. She did it all. She even bought us a guide book for Miami that we both poured over in the months prior to the trip so that we could decide in advance what we wanted to see while we were there.  We also knew that we were traveling an airline that charges to check bags and since we weren’t going to be there that long we (Misty) decided we could do this with just our carry-on. I am a notorious over-packer so I really had to limit myself to taking just what I thought I would absolutely need. It would also seriously hamper the amount of souvenirs I could bring home. I also decided for this reason- to only bring a point-and-shoot camera and my cell phone because I didn’t want my camera equipment taking up my clothing allotment in my carryon! (more…)

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.

Sonoma Raceway Grandstands

Sonoma Racway 2013. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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. (more…)