Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spontaneous Race Day

(Avon Park, FL)  Hi 78  Lo 47 – This will be a “guy” blog today. Dee has the day off from writing. I happened to find out while surfing the web yesterday that the Izod Indycar Series teams are conducting winter tests at Sebring International Raceway this week. Say what??!! Guys like Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti, Dario Franchitti, and Tony Kanaan, here in Sebring, and only 20 miles from us? Hey, we’re there!

If you recall about a month ago Dee and I went to the raceway to watch the American Lemans Series cars practice and tune up for the upcoming 12-Hours of Sebring. That was fun, but they don’t have the star power of the Indycar series. So we had our breakfast, checked emails, and took off for the half hour drive to the track. It was sunny, and it warmed up to the high 70’s, but it was very windy. (We pulled our awning in before we left.) After paying $10 each at the front gate we drove toward the engine noise. Sebring is a 3.7-mile long course, but today they were using a 1.8-mile “short course”, which is basically the north portion of the track.

We were limited on where we could drive and walk, not nearly the total access we had during our last visit. We parked in a grassy area near one of the turns and walked around and enjoyed the action. (Click on photos to make them bigger.)

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This is one of the mounds that are scattered around the race course. They’re great for viewing as you get a little higher view of the action. As you can see, the crowds really came out. :)

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There are very few grandstands at Sebring, and the few they have are very small. (We’re talking little league ball field small.) I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be attending the 12-hour race. All you can do is walk from turn to turn, and it’s a BIG track!

Here’s some action shots from the various viewing areas we got to. As you can see, we got pretty close to the action!

Helio Castroneves, one of the top drivers in the series. Drives for Team Penske.
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Will Power, another driver on the Penske team. I love his name. :)
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Simon Pagenaud. Don’t know much about  him.
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James Jakes. Coming…
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And going.
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This is James Hinchcliffe. He took over the “Go Daddy” car that Danica Patrick drove the last few years. Danica left the series to drive in NASCAR full time.
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If only she hadn’t gone to NASCAR, I could have seen Danica.  Sigh…

We met two guys, Ted and Allen, who drove down from Lakeland. Allen is a “club racer” who drives in local sports car races. They were fun to talk to, and we joined them for lunch just outside the track at J.R.’s Runway Café. It was a little upscale for lunch, but the food was good and so was the conversation.

We hung around until around 2:30 then headed home. We made a quick stop at Walmart and Dollar General on the way. All in all a pretty neat day, especially since it was totally unplanned. That’s the nice thing about not having many plans… you’re free to do things on the spur of the moment. Life is good!


Mike and Terri said...

Looks like a great day to me, sorry I missed it! I spent some time at Sebring many, many years ago. I actually rode my bike around the course. Are you going to the 12 Hours?

GGuncle said...

love all your pic's. still enjoying tumbleweed.

Tumbleweed said...

Mike, We're not going to the 12-Hours. Too expensive, and too much walking and standing. :) Jim

Speedy said...

Miss you guys more and more every time I read your post! Don't use up all the fun till we can meet up with you.

Joe and Sherri