Thursday, April 9, 2015

Daytona Speedway!

Arriving at the Daytona Speedway...the excitement was palpable!
We noticed this gas station across the street with the only two necessities race fans need... Fuel and Buttwiper. 
Oh- I meant Budweiser. Ha!
This is the birthplace of NASCAR. It was created in the 1940s by a guy named Bill France. (You may need this tidbit in case you're ever a Jeopardy contestant.) 
The speedway is currently undergoing a HUGE $400 million renovation at the moment so that it can be ready for The Rolex 24 Hour Race in February of 2016 and will coincide with the 58th running of the Daytona 500. 

Luckily there were cars running on the track today. They were all "exotics" (Lotus, Ferrari, Audi, Porsche, Benz, etc) which was fun to see as that was some serious torque on the track. (Should I ever produce a racing show I just decided it should be called "Torque on the Track".) ha! A completely different engine sound than a Nascar could be heard as soon as we pulled up... Brad noticed it from the parking lot. 
One thing I found intriguing were the sheer vertical bank turns on the track. I've seen them on TV hundreds of times, but seeing it in person gave it a completely different perspective. It's insanely steep and almost impossible to walk upward on. To imagine cars stacked 3 wide and a packed group of them running at approx 200mph, it's hard to fathom there aren't more accidents than those that occur. 
How Brad used to manage this as a professional driver is astounding & impressive. To think you put yourself into a fire suit, then a quilted racing & internal cooling suit, a balaclava so you can look like a bank robber, a tight helmet that fits into a chair that doesn't let you turn your head (awesome for claustrophobics), your wrists tethered to your suit (so that you don't lose a limb when crashing) and then rock it out inside a steel cage on a hot day on a sizzling asphalt track & cross your fingers that your cooling suit doesn't give out?! (Which happened to Brad once... He vomited.) Boggles the mind. All the while, keeping yourself in the top ten qualifiers...Good night Irene! 

They've done a great job with the infield. 
   These are the garages for each team.          
There are only 44 of them. 43 cars are allowed in a NASCAR race and one extra just in case something fires up. 
     One had a car inside taking a nap. 
This is the "media" room where journalists come to file their stories and watch the race. It's a hub of activity on race day. 
              We made the podium!
                 Action on the track. 
    The view from the grandstand seats where you can sear yourself up in the sun
        And most important... Pit row! 
   Notice how the grandstands look full 
                        of people? 
That's because they use various colors of chairs so that it looks like the track is at full capacity on TV. 
        The "exotics" in a practice race.
This is the winning car from this past Februarys' Daytona 500 driven by Joey Logano. The champagne stains and confetti have been left intact.  
     All in all, a great experience to see!

We got back to the marina and took a long walk to the beach. Here in Daytona you can drive on the sand... We can't even have a beer on the beach at home. So unusual to see this and looks fun!
Lifeguard on duty... Looking for violators. 
There's ice cream / food trucks all painted yellow along the beach selling everything from a corndog to t-shirts. 
 A great day was had and we are looking forward to some old friends coming over for dinner tonight and Bish is cooking up something scrumptious. Can't wait!
Our great evening & 3 course meal was capped off by a fireworks show right behind our boat in the marina. A perfect day!

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