An Early Evening Stroll At The Budweiser Shootout

This olelongrooffan has been called a Hoosier so many times in my life that I just had to share this image of the official tire of the ARCA race car series I gathered up Saturday night while out at the Daytona International Speedway.

Is this the only image I captured? What do my fellow Hoons think?

I have relayed previously that my brother, thejeepjunkie, was able to score two separate, but unequal, passes to Speedweeks down here in the World Center of Racing. As he said to me when he gave me the one that was officially, at least to us, mine. “Sorry longroof yours is only good for the garage area. I’m keeping the HOT PIT PASS for myself.” Yeah, I am quite aware that a garage pass good for every automobile and truck race from the Rolex24 to the Daytona 500 is highly desirable on most people’s list, mere access to just the garage area was somewhat of a disappointment.

Until that Saturday at work when he came over to the trailer side and dropped that HOT pit pass on my desk and mentioned thesungoddess had made dinner plans for the two of them and the Shootout was off his list for this year.

Well my fellow Hoons, this olelongrooffan wasted no time in getting out to the track, arriving just in time for the end of the ARCA race.

Once it was over, I headed over to the ARCA garages to check them out. On the way, I saw one of the Hendricks racing team’s pit box being hauled to the nearly vacant pit row.

And I guess when you own the team, you really do get to sign everything and have a reserved seat, trackside.

Once I arrived at the garage area I realized that after the checkered flag had flown, a few cars ran out of fuel and a whole lot of them had gotten together.

There were half naked race cars all over the place. The sawzalls were busy that evening my friends.

Yeah Hoons, there was the sad sight of this carnage all over the garage floor.

And it was not confined to just one garage area.

This olelongrooffan is not really sure who the MILF in the above image is but she gained my attention when she

walked up to the above machine and hauled off and kicked the shit out of it. I won’t need to be reminded not to piss her off should we ever cross paths again.

By this time my stomach was asking for some attention. As I had come directly from work, and not knowing I would be coming this way this evening, I did a rare thing and came to the track without some of my traditional grocery provided sammich material. I headed over to the packed FanZone to see what overpriced stuff I could find to fill my belly. Surprisingly, I was able to acquire a delicious huge turkey wrap and fresh hot potato crisps for only nine bucks. I had brung along a few diet sodey pops so all was good on that front. Now just to find a place to sit.

Since there wasn’t an empty table, chair, nor bench to be had, this olelongrooffan commandeered this unused Goodyear tent and had me a bite to eat sitting on the bar stool, uprighted of course. Had me a healthy meal and a cold pop and all was good in my world. I did, notedly, return that bar stool to its found by me position and gathered up my leftover rubbish upon my exiting that welcoming tent.

I then decided to head over to the NASCAR garage area to see what could be seen. Toyota figured heavily in this evening’s action as they will the remainder of this week.

I then checked out the gas lines out in the lot where the GrandAm series garage is located when they are here for the Coke Zero race in July.

On the way there, I spotted this six door Suburban limo, one I had not previously seen. I hung around for a bit to see who would be riding in this thing.

Just a moment or so later, this olelongrooffan spotted Mike Helton, the President of NASCAR, stroll from his race office over to this beast, climb in and be wisked away for what I presume would be dinner as I spotted him later in the evening in the pit area.

I then moved on to the overflow garage area and spotted this race car having some work performed on it.

This image I grabbed of its pilot’s compartment doesn’t convey just how cramped it is. The driver is nearly horizontal when strapped into this seat.

Kurt Busch, famously, has a new ride this year with Phoenix Racing in a car sponsored, at least for some races by Hendricks Motors, another company owned by Rick Hendricks. I observed team owner James Finch down on pit road a little later being on the receiving end of many celebratory handshakes from a bunch of NASCAR muckity mucks.

And all of these cars resting comfortably under their blankets? Why aren’t they on pit road getting ready for the Bud Shootout? These are the cars prepared especially for the Daytona 500. As the Bud Shootout is usually, and was again this year, a crash fest, most of the teams have a separate car for the Shootout and the 500.

So this olelongrooffan utilized thejeepjunkie’s HOT pit pass and wandered onto pit row where I promptly climbed over that concrete barrier and began my trek around pit road taking in the sights.

I’m not really sure that pass allowed me onto pit road but I was there and nobody attempted to kick me to the curb.

All of these race cars have cool little covers for the vent to the rear of the hood, Stanley included. This olelongrooffan is just glad my Fat Max has been retired for the next long while.

See the dude in the khakis and white shirt to the right of the above image? He, and a bunch of others just like him, were staffing a rope keeping the grandstand seat ticket holders off pit road. Yeah, sometimes it’s good to have connections.

I wandered down to the entrance to pit road to capture this image of the Budweiser Clydesdales and the horsecrap scooping golf cart behind them.

That golf cart was put to use as I was standing next to the dude to the left in the above image. As it finished up its responsibility, he and I looked at each other and started chuckling. I commented that “I sure like my job.” He laughed and said he liked his too.

And these NASCAR officials are just standing around waiting for the driver’s introduction making sure that no one messed with the now inspected race cars.

And this MILF snuck across the pit wall and her husband grabbed a similar image. She was standing next to Smoke’s car wearing a twinkly printed shirt that had Kevin Harvick #29 printed on it. Got a kick out of that. Yeah, that’s just the kind of crap this olelongrooffan notices.

I gathered up this shot while standing on the concrete where the cars actually stop for their pit stops. Those boxes behind each of the cars are actually generators with oil heating pumps connected to the cars to keep the oil near the correct temperature for racing.

I headed over to the grassy portion of the the tri-oval area to catch Little Big Town doing a few songs and to see where driver introductions were held.

I then got back on the other side of the rope and wandered down to the exit of pit road, just because I could.

While there I spotted this perch for some unlucky photographer. I can’t imaging spending the entire duration of the Daytona 500 standing on top of that twelve foot ladder. Hell, this olelongrooffan is not a big fan of any sized ladder, much less this one.

And while down on pit road, I gathered up this image looking back up pit road. Note some of the 25 Tundras present to give the fans a view of the drivers and to provide Toyota with some much needed positive publicity.

As I was walking, back behind the wall, up pit road, I noticed the above imaged monitor on Jeff Gordon’s pit box. It is of the pit stall immediately out in front of it. A lot of the teams film their pit stops for review by the crew immediately afterward.

When they are not catching a basketball game on another monitor that is.

In the meantime, I exited the garage area to have a smoke and a coke and the arrival of these flames noted to me that the driver’s introductions had begun.

While there I saw yet another Toyota with this across the ass end of it. This just goes to show the breadth of the Daytona 500 and NASCAR. There is not a Kroger grocery store within 150 miles of the Birthplace of Speed and it is up in Waycross, Georgia.

And talk about product placement. The entire side of that Camry was covered some of the various products Kroger offers. This olelongrooffan couldn’t help but wonder if those product manufacturers helped to underwrite the cost of this sponsorship.

Well, this olelongrooffan headed back out to pit road to see what else could be seen and one of the most memorable things was captured in the above image. Although she is most likely young enough to be my daughter, I thought some of my fellow younger Hoons would enjoy this race suit.

Not only that but I caught Jeff Gordon and his family checking out his rolling office.

Joey Lagano by his.

And the driver who received the loudest applause during driver introductions, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

“The Cat in the Hat” was giving the Biff a pep talk

while his other driver chats it up with Florida Governor and First Lady, Rick and Ann Scott.

Jeff Burton received his pep talk from his wife

while Rick Hendricks conversed with some Chevy racing big shots.

And the Smoke gave me an evil eye as I captured this image. He probably was thinking about that MILF in the Harvick shirt.

And I never realized Delana Harvick wore anything but a fire suit.

So, I watched Dale, Jr. lead a couple laps and

then watched a replay of the first “big one” on the big screen just behind pit row.

Got to see the FEDEX choo choo train come steaming into the pit area

and receive some custom body work while the officials were observing this hammer wielding team member. Yeah, How To Repair A NASCAR 101? “Bubba, get me a bigger hammer and hold my beer, will ya?”

I jest, kind of.

About this time I thought I might wander around a bit and spotted Chad Knaus observing the happenings in his pit stall.

I saw this hood/fender combination and later realized

Michael Waltrip could put this to good use.

I headed over to the garage to capture this shot. I really am curious to see how well Danica does in this series. Not alot of open wheel drivers have had much success in NASCAR. Some, but definitely not all, have done well. She certainly garners attention wherever she goes though.

During the mandatory ten minute break, this olelongrooffan gathered this image down pit road. I then decided to head on back to my Taj Mahal.

What? I can hear my fellow Hoons asking. Well, it’s like this. The passes I possessed for this event are only good for the infield, garage and pits area–not the grandstands. As such, my viewing of the actual race is limited to only about 3/4’s of a mile of the track right in front of the pits. To view the race itself, I am relegated to watching it on the big screen TV’s that are scattered around. I have always said, once you’ve experienced the experience of attending a NASCAR superspeedway race, the best place to watch one is sitting on your couch. This is not true of road racing but that is another whole ball game. So I walked the few hundred yards to my old beater pickup truck, fired the trusty beast up and headed on home.

But not before catching sight of a real stock car on a vintage wedge truck on the way out. All in all and I can’t wait to do it again next weekend.

This time however, I am going to make it a totally free event and bring me along a sammich or two.

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