Here's a recap of the Indy weekend through my eyes for all you C2YC (Corner 2 Yacht Club) people who've fallen off the boat. It's a little long, but what the heck, I haven't written anything in a while.
I went downtown to pick up
my media pass on Friday afternoon. Then I went over to
Henry's and scored a good deal on an old Olympus SLR.
Couldn't afford a digicam. The service there was great.
It was about this time that Doug showed up
and got into the fun with new friends Rob and Geoff and
I. Shortly thereafter, Glenn took off and finally got in
to the party. I'm sure I had a good chance of getting in,
but I would have abhorred the ignominy of being turned
away. No matter, I was having a riot just being a gawker
on the outside. After all, this was a charity event, if
you have the 200 bucks, that's the better way to go. As
the sun was getting low, the drivers showed up on the
Harleys. TK, Tracy, Dominguez,
The next day I was slow getting up from the night before, but made it to the Go train in time to get to the Thunder Alley beer patio for 11:30 where I met up with Doug & Sonia. That is the centre of summer for me. Had a few there with them and others who we invited to sit with us. We really enjoyed the Led Zep tribute band Michael White, they are really good. With that we were easily able to work up a nice little buzz and soak up the race day excitement. It was time for Atlantic Qualifying so I headed over to the media centre. They had some nice food out so I had some lunch and had a nice chat with Monica Strak (Gridwork Photography). It was nice catching up with her. It was hard watching the Atlantic stuff though because the TV feed was really messed up. On the way out to the pit lane for ChampCar qualifying I ran into Neal Jones (PRN) and cheerfully gave him a hug. It was so good of him to get me that pass since I'm down on funds this year. He was teetering from a party the night before and was on his way home. In the pit lane I ran in to Jimmy RFM. Got caught up with him and took a few pictures. Came by Carpentier's pit while he was out of the car between runs. I called over to him, "Patreek! I still need a drummer for my band if you're available." He smiled and waived and went back into racing mode. Got out on the track and killed the provisional pole time by a second. I like to think I inspired him to rethink retiring from racing to play for a band that plays once a month. That lap time of course didn't last long as the track came around, it was all Newman Haas and Bourdais after that.
Then came the much anticipated event of the
day: Ron Fellows, thanks to last minute funding that
Wednesday from Molsons, was about to do battle in a
TransAm car against long time rival Tommy Kendal. I was
pumped. They gridded the cars and I went out and took a
couple nice shots (hopefully). Then I scrambled over to
the big screen at turn one to watch the start. Just as a
I called it, Ronnie got a good start and dove hard and
wide to take Tommy at turn one. It looked great, if not
somewhat contrived, but what the heck. Tommy retook the
lead a couple laps later and Ron settled in then started
falling back. I'll save writing the details of the race,
you can find that anywhere, but I will say that the field
was thin, only 9 cars, but they sounded like raging bears
echoing off the Automotive building. I was there at the
podium for the celebration though, Ronnie finishing 3rd
from Jorge Diaz and Randy Ruhlman. As he walked out onto
the podium and the cheers of his beloved, I yelled,
"Hey, nice part time job dude!". He smiled and
pointed in acknowledgment.
During the podium hat dance, I thought Ron would throw one my way, but was casting them aside to another group. One didn't make it over the fence though and I scrambled and came up with a nice Trans-Am hat. Scores!
Next up was the Cascar race. It proceeded quietly as I took the opportunity to check out the roof of the Automotive building. It was so neat to be atop one of my favourite buildings in the city. Quite the view too. It was there that I saw only one seating stand in corner 2. I guess they were expecting thinner crowds this year. Not at all like the heyday of the C2YC. Their loss.
I was having a hard time following the Cascar race, so I went back down to at least catch the finish. I wanted to be there to congratulate former ice racer Mark Swain when he pulled in after his race. Finishing 14th was a good outcome for this new team especially when Mark passed two cars on the last lap! He got out of the car beet red and soaked from the heat of competition - eyes out on stalks. He was happy to see me, though clearly exhausted. Way to go Marky!
Earlier I had toyed with going downtown to party, but I thought it best to find a beer back at the patio. Good call because the place was rockin with anticipation of the Miss Molson Indy finals. I felt a little like a letch being there, but the crowd was well behaved as we hooted and hollered our favourite contestants from all over Ontario. That one from Subury, ouch! And another from Ajax, whew! There was a couple guys from Philly there and we talked about how the Leafs suck and how I was getting sick of this I Am Canadian campaign. Big F_ckin deal. What have we done lately? But I digress.
Full of vitamin D and other nice things, I headed off to the Go Train to join the unwashed masses for the ride home. And didn't I wind up sitting with the same people who were at our patio table earlier that day! It's a small race.
Sunday morning I was a earlier off the mark but this time the GT let me down. No crew showed up to do the 8:38 train! Maybe Safety Officer Bob can shed some light on this? Anyway we killed time chatting to other people going to the race. It was a beautiful morning. Getting to the track late messed up my plan to do the motorfest because we had the Atlantic race at 10:30. Getting of the Train though I met up with long time track announcer (now on am 7:40) Jim Paulson. That was a treat. We hung out for a while watching the Champ Car warmup at the Go station where you see them through turns 8 & 9. I think I talked Jim into coming up to Mosport for the ALMS.
After a stop at the media centre, I headed out to the Atlantic pre grid. Those cars just flat out turn me on. What a perfect little formula - they JUST LOOK (and sound) SO RIGHT. And there was Jimmy RFM again, workin the grid, shooting the kids in their cars. I stopped next to one of the grid models and chatted her up. I told her about the series a bit and just soaked up her good looks while I tried to sound as smart as possible. The cars fired, and I got a rush. Jimmy and I retired to the pit lane access way to watch the race on the big screen where Peggy Haas later too came out for a smoke. After at least 3 yellows, the race settled into Andrew Ranger chasing the always fast John Fogerhty for the lead. Jimmy and I shot the shit about the current state of racing, including the thin Atlantic field that started that day - 12 cars. Ranger is quite the speedy youngster though, he was standing that car on it's nose at the end of the straight to try and get into John, and he came close, but not close enough to pass. I went over for that podium as well. Got another hat.
I went back upstairs for lunch with Ramesh Bayney (PRN shooter), and later spoke with race writer Sara Bohan. Sara used to put on the F1 parties in that bar at Young & St. Clair. Now it was time to figure out what to do for the race. I had a media pass, but no seating ticket. I had toyed with going home to watch the race, but just decided to go with the flow and wander. So out through the south end of the Automotive building I go, on and into the thunder alley. I stop at the Q107 / am 640 trailer where the Race Line radio guys are doing their broadcast. I see a pile of Speed TV t-shirts. They were giving them out to people who would go on air and give your pick to win the race. Hell yea! One kid picks Tracy (of course, what do kids know?). I wait my turn and the lady with the mic. comes to me. Eric and John fear all Corner Two Racing people based on our reputation as being loose cannons. So with Eric's finger no doubt firmly resting on the edit button I politely introduce myself as Counsellor Rick Corner Two racing Mosport and very soundly lay out that there is no one that is going to beat Bourdais today. I allude to his qualifying speed last season, and how he settled into some nice race strategies, and he's going to give Tracy fits for the rest of the season. John concurs with my my points and I got my 15 seconds of fame and a spanky new Speed Channel tee-shirt. Eric grudgingly nods as I bit him a waive goodbye. Next booth over is a new energy drink promotion. They were giving away shots. But they had some hi test stuff which equals half a bottle of the regular stuff for 2 bucks. What the heck. Tasty! And talk about gogo juice, I was zoomin off this stuff until well into the evening.
Onwards to destiny, I wander the perimeter of the infield through turn 3, 4 looking for a place to camp out. I finally decide to check out the old turn 6, 7 grand stands, and if I couldn't get in there, I would just trickle over to the Go Train and head 'er home. Once over the bridge (next to the food building), I walked up to the fence to watch the driver's parade. This is one time I like because I can yell all the stuff I want at the drivers. Just missed my chance to yell something at Tracy but got good words in on the rest of them... Jimmer Vasser: "Jimmy! Export A series, Mosport, I was there man!" He smiled and waived. I think it's fun for me to yell these types of things because in my own mad utopian world I actually believe I am making a difference. Who knows. Hey wait, who finished second? Ahhhh.
Now I approach section 31 - this strange outpost of the Indy circuit populated by mostly High Parkers and Etobicokers and showed the ticket lady my pass, "I'm with Performance Racing News, mind if I step in for a few minutes?" I guess I sounded professional enough because I had a great place to watch the race now. Diamond vision screen dead ahead, and the stands were mostly empty and hardly even became half full for the duration of the day. And indeed it was a tremendously fun race to watch. I had a friendly couple beside me to share comments with as we cheered and later booed the Weapon from West Hill. Aside from what you already know of the race... Carpentier was wild sliding out of turn 6 on many occasions until he got new shoes. That was fun. Memo Gidley crashed out at our turn, that was not fun. I was cheerin for him. I was pissed at Tracey though. Paul, if you're THAT good, why do you have to get into shit? Guess what? Maybe you're not that good and you should try to be better? OK I feel better now.
Thanks to that gogo juice,
I actually felt like hangin around for the FR 2000 race.
So since I'd hardly even seen one of those cars all
weekend, I went back down to pit lane to watch and
hopefully come away with a that Corona banner on the pit
wall. The Formula Renault race had some thrills and
spills, unfortunately at the cost of Greg Wilkins' son
Mark who's been really been at the front of this series
all season but keeps getting taken out. This happened
again that afternoon and Greg was fuming after the race.
Greg is pulling Mark out of the series because of the
unfairness of the officiating. Bummer. On the upside, the
second place finisher was a youngster from London
Ontario. Those cars look quick, but queer. Long, skinny,
too small wheels, engine too quiet. After checking out
the winning cars, I head up pit lane in my quest for the
Well I did rip the banner
a bit but oh well, it was a long day.
The circle is complete.