After all of our walking around, we made our way to our seats. One of the nice things about this track is that they let you bring in your coolers of soda and such. (In fact, there are a lot of helpers on golf carts driving around to assist older people and those who need assistance walking. While we were bringing our cooler up the hill, one stopped and said that he was not driving anyone at the moment, so we could hop in and he would take us up to the track from the parking lot since we had a big load to carry!) It is a long time in the sun, so having water and soft drinks on ice is a good thing. They also let you bring in snacks, sandwiches, etc. The crowds are generally families so it is safe to leave your cooler and seat cushions at your seats. We were in one of the tight turns, Turn 7, and were glad to sit down and watch the Blue Angels perform their aerial acrobatics. Breath-taking!
It was very cool to see the driver introductions. First they are introduced on the Jumbo-trons, and then they are driven around the track for the crowds. Tony, Jr, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmy Johnson are huge crowd favorites and get huge cheers. Kyle Busch, not so much...LOL So here are Tony and Jr during driver intros. I think Tony saw me in the crowd and made sure to wave.
The next thing on the agenda was the Invocation and National Anthem. The posting of the colors was done by driving it around the track while everyone was standing.
The Star Spangled Banner was next, during which we had our fly over. It was so cool!
Then John Ratzenberger (Cliff from Cheers) got to say the most famous words in motor sports, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" and it was time to race!
Here they come with the pace car in front:
And there they go!
Here is Smoke leading laps. Unfortunately, it was short lived. If you watched the race you know that Tony got wrecked and had to sit and wait for his car to get pulled off the wall. His crew tried to restore the car to finish the race but it was not to be. He made another lap and almost barely made it out of our turn. He did wave to us in the crowd, which I thought was pretty awesome of him, given that he had to not be very happy at that point.
Kurt Busch ended up winning the race. The cool thing about NASCAR fans is that you do not see them walking away mad because their guy did not win. They put that aside and cheer for the winner. Everyone stood and clapped as Kurt made his victory lap. Here he is going the wrong way with the checkered flag.
The race was cool and we had such a good time. But it was not over yet. There was still tailgating! Infineon (the old Sears Point Raceway) has one road in and one road out. If you get into your car afterward, you are just going to sit for an hour or more without getting out of the parking lot at all. So make the wait fun!
This year my friends had just bought a new travel trailer so they brought that with them. After sitting in the sun and heat, it was so nice to go into the air-conditioned trailer and relax on comfortable furniture. We barbecued, and ate a wonderful dinner that we had all contributed to. It was the perfect way to end the day. We talked about the race and waited out the traffic so comfortably.
It is about a 3 to 3 1/2 hour trip back to the Monterey Peninsula. I got in at 10:15 (and my head hit the pillow at 10:20!) I have to say the very best part of the perfect day, was coming home to puppy kisses and cuddles. (for those who wonder how Liesl spent her day, you can read about it on my daughter's blog. She took some lovely photos of Liesie, too!)
If you have ever wanted to go to a NASCAR race, I encourage you to do so! The prices are actually quite reasonable in comparison with other sporting events. NASCAR is a family sport so they keep the prices down so the whole family can go. There are lots of packages. I still have to save for several months for my ticket, but it gives me something to look forward to. It is a full day of activity, too! It is so much fun and great to share with friends!