This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
The Great American Race
February 27, 2015
The Great American Race
I am a huge fan of racing, mostly open wheel Indy Car racing
but I also enjoy other forms of motorsports to varying degrees even the
occasional NASCAR race, but despite having attended literally hundreds of races
in person, I had never been to the crown jewel of NASCAR, what is known as the
Great American Race, the Daytona 500.
Jimmie Johnson & Jeff Gordon
A few years ago, I purchased tickets and traveled to Daytona
and did all the pre-race activities, but it just so happened to be the first
and only time in the race’s history that it got rained out and was postponed
until the next day. I was unable to stay over for the race and spent the
majority of my time there trying to avoid the torrential rain showers. The
experience soured me from trying again for a couple of years, but when I heard
this was going to be Jeff Gordon’s final run at Daytona I thought it was worth
I have attended a number of NASCAR events, a few Brickyard
400 races and a good number of races at Michigan International Speedway when I
was younger, but my true passion is always Indy Cars. Still I was willing to
give Daytona another chance, I think in many ways it is similar to the Indy 500
in that it is as much an event as it is a race and I always enjoy attending big
I arrived pretty early in the morning because I had Fan Fest
passes, which is a pretty cool deal. Not quite Paddock access, the Fan Fest
pass allows for access to the track, most of pit lane and a large fan area of
the infield which includes windows into the actual garages and a raised
platform that is literally on the roof of the garages that allows fans to look
down and see work being done on the cars. It is a pretty cool set-up.
There was a lot of excitement as the countdown to the start
of the race started and I wondered around taking in all the action as they
prepared the cars, sending them through technical inspection and then rolling
them out to the pit lane in their respective starting positions. I was able to
watch a live tv interview with the Grand Marshall, actor Vince Vaughn before
grabbing a spot in the VIP section for the pre-race concert featuring Kid Rock.
Kid Rock- “First
I have never really seen, or really been much of a fan of Kid
Rock, he did perform at an Indy 500 Carb Day concert a few years back, but I
left quickly to avoid the drunken masses at that show. This time the crowd was
not too bad at all, it was after all pretty early in the day. Kid Rock was
actually pretty entertaining. He played just a few songs but he was good, the
crowd was appreciative and I had a great spot up close to the stage which was
I made it up to my seats, which were high, high above the
main section, only about 5 rows from the very highest point and with an
incredible vantage point to see everything, in time for the driver
introductions and the command to start engines. It was a pretty awesome
panorama laid out before me, under mostly sunny skies with a few puffy white
The race was really good, far better than I would have
imagined. I can’t abide watching long NASCAR races on TV, but in person it was
pretty cool. Jeff Gordon started on the pole in his final Daytona 500 and
dominated the early going before falling back a bit midway in while Jimmie
Johnson, Dale Earnhart Jr. and Joey Logano traded places at the front.
The final 30 laps or so were thrilling with cars stacked
three wide row after row as they jockeyed for position with Logano eventually
establishing the advantage and coming home for his first Daytona 500 win ever.
It was fun to watch and perhaps even more so since his pit stall was just
across the track from my seat.
It was a great day all around and I was happy to add the
race to my ever-growing list of major events that I have had the good fortune
to attend. Not sure if I will rush back any time soon, but I certainly would
not rule it out either.
About Us- We are Kathy Kilroy and Michael Blades and this blog was created to document our summer travels around the nation in 2006 and we have opted to continue posting to keep our friends and family informed of our lives. We each have lived in Key West for over 20 years and met and were married here in October, 2003.