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.