No Direction Home

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!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Juan Pablo

March 30, 2015

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Juan Pablo

Last year, Juan Pablo Montoya made big news in the world of Indy Car when he returned to the series after 14 years away racing in Formula One and NASCAR. He had dominated the old CART Indy Car series during his time there capturing the championship as well as winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2000. Questions as to whether he would be able to live up to his previous glory hounded him especially early in the season as success did not come right away. 

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By the end of the season, he was getting back in to form and he won his first race back at Pocono in the fall. It remained to be seen if he was fully back or if that win was an anomaly and this season on the powerhouse Penske team would be the proof (or lack thereof) of his current ability. Qualifying for the St. Pete race was good as he started in 4th place until you consider that he was in last place among his four teammates. 

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Race day was warm and sunny and the excitement of starting the 2015 Indy Car season was palpable in the air as the grid was set-up. My pit pass enabled me to be on the starting grid prior to the start and it was a festive atmosphere as they had the TV reporters scurrying about, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers mascot and cheerleaders on the grid and the regular cast of Indy Car celebrities such as David Letterman on hand.

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 photo 270_zps8ieahqje.jpg David Letterman

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The race got off to a clean start as Will Power moved to the point, but soon drivers were knocking in to each other with frequency and the seemingly obvious became a reality as the new aero-kits would disintegrate into sharp pieces with each contact. Replacing nose cones and flat tires resulted translating in to many laps run under the yellow flag. It made for a lot of exciting re-starts but Power maintained his advantage until a poor pit-stop dropped him to third place and Montoya inherited the lead.

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Power would move to second and battle vigorously with Montoya, even running in to him briefly on one pass attempt, but he could not get by and Montoya scored his second win since returning to Indy Car. Power snared second followed by Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud giving Penske racing four of the top five.

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My pass also allowed me access to Victory Lane and I was able to enjoy watching the podium celebration as well as the many Columbian fans who were on hand to celebrate their hero’s victory. It was cool getting to watch the party as Montoya celebrated and to be so up close to the car and drivers as they enjoyed their success.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

” Me and my band, we all must agree, we like to get groovy with the sounds of the old time” -G. Love

March 29, 2015

” Me and my band, we all must agree,
we like to get groovy with the sounds
of the old time”                   -G. Love

 photo 493_zpsucpbhpau.jpg G. Love 

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 photo 058_zpsh17mggq6.jpg James Hinchcliffe 

 photo 447_zpsxymvcdu6.jpg Matt Costa

The second day of the typical Indy Car weekend features a number of support races as well as the Indy Car qualifying which sets the field for the race. I always enjoy the second day because it is such a busy and exciting day. At St. Pete the support races are always interesting. In the past they have had drifting demonstations, Indy Lights, Mazda Pro series, sports car racing and my favorite Robby Gordon’s Stadium Supertruck Series which was thankfully back again this year.

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 photo 043_zpsjcaspxf7.jpg Carlos Munoz

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 photo 070_zpszdunhl1c.jpg Kirsten

The supertruck series features modified pick-ups racing over a course that includes massive ramps which has the trucks flying through the air, often in tandem and lots and lots of bumping and rubbing. The field features divers such as Gordon, ex-Indy Car driver E.J. Viso and newcomers such as Brody Jenner of the infamous Jenner family of tabloid fame. 

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The racing is spectacular and exciting and the crowd goes crazy for it, it should be a required support event for every Indy Car race. There were two races this weekend and both were thrill-packed down to the wire finishes with all the excitement and drama that you would want in a race. I have no idea who won, though I did make it to victory lane, but it hardly matters, it was great fun.

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 photo 389_zpsbocm3l3e.jpg Marco Andretti

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The main event, the Indy Cars had their four rounds of knockout qualifying to determine the starting line-up for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as well. It was a team Penske sweep at the front of the field with their four drivers picking up the first four starting spots led by Will Power who grabbed the pole, followed by Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya. Takuma Sato and Sebastian Bourdais rounded out the fast six, which made for a disappointing day for Target Chip Ganassi racing and Andretti Autosports.

 photo 061_zpsp7exr904.jpg Pippa Mann & Conor Daly

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 photo 025_zpssatp8f9y.jpg Graham Rahal

 photo 050_zpswtdzp5uh.jpg Dario Franchitti & Tony Kanaan

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The qualifying was pretty uneventful, but enjoyable nonetheless and being in the pits during the qualifying was pretty awesome. A light rain began falling after the completion of qualifying, but it did not deter me from my next mission, which was to compete in the annual Firestone 5K race which utilizes the race track for much of the route.

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 photo 030_zpspplkin5f.jpg Simona DeSilvestro

Participating in the 5K is cool because you get to run around the racing surface literally with-in an hour after the cars were finished. Skid marks, chunks of rubber from the racing tires and other debris are on the track and as a race fan it is pretty cool to see. The rain wasn’t too bad and I did well in the race all things considered.

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After the race and a quick shower, I was off to Jannus Live, the outdoor courtyard concert venue in downtown St. Pete to see a double bill of Matt Costa and G. Love and Special Sauce. I have seen both before, but it was still a great diversion from the racing activities and a fun way to spend a Saturday night. I really enjoy Matt Costa’s music and G. Love is an energetic and exciting live performer.

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G. Love & Matt Costa

All in all it was a fantastic way to close out my second day in St. Pete and the show was really great, a long, late night of some excellent music as Costa played for close to ninety minutes and G. Love played at least that. 

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