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Today I went to the Komatsu 300 race, part of the Canadian Tire NASCAR series at the James River International Speedway.

I was a little hesitant to go, because Jeff is away, but why sit at home and pine away for my husband when I could be breathing in the exhilaration of a stock car race!!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

It was a BEAUTIFUL afternoon for a race. Mostly sunny, but with a brisk cold wind!

I wanted to get there early enough to watch the time trial for pole position. I missed half of them, but now I see how they do it. They get a couple laps to warm up, one by one, and then they get two laps. Their best lap is ranked against the other drivers for starting position.

Now remember that last year I found someone to root for in the race! Scott Steckly, #22, is from Milverton, Ontario – down the road and around a couple of corners from where I grew up! This year he’s been leading the standings for the entire season. Today’s race is the second last of the season, so the pressure is on!!

Before I left home, I saw Steckly tweet that he had the fastest car in practice, and he came up with the best qualifying time to secure the pole position!!

There was still plenty of time before the race was to start, so checked my ticket and then I eyed my seat. I decided not to sit down yet, and instead I figured I’d walk around and see what was going on first. I paid a few dollars extra for a real seat again, a seat with a back on it. We learned how much of a difference that was after sitting on one of their benches for hours during a tractor pull delay a couple years back.

So I kept the camera out and walked around.

I got a hot dog at Wilma’s Pit Stop.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

The announcer kept telling everyone they shouldn’t miss seeing Don Biederman’s car. I have no idea who Don Biederman is, but I checked out his car.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Soon it was time to meet the drivers, check out the cars, get autographs, and walk on the track! Woo hoo!
It was evident really quickly who the most popular driver was. There was a lady driver!! She’s a French woman named Isabelle Tremblay.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

I got in the long thick line to make my way down the single file steps to the track.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

A couple cars weren’t in the line up yet.
#47 was having some work done in the pits.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

#55 was on the far side. It looked like it was getting a new engine!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Here are some candid shots of the cars and drivers.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

And here is the pace car!!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Here’s Scott Steckly at the front of the line.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Every driver has a thick stack of cards to autograph for the fans. I still don’t know what to do with the one I got last year, so I skipped out on the autographs and stuck to my camera.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

The checkered start/finish line!!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Woo hoo, Jason White’s car is sponsored by A&W again. Free root beer? Yes thank-you šŸ˜€

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Supply wagon:
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

You should have see the line up for people to get Isabelle’s autograph!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

And a quick look through the inside fence into pit row:
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Time to get the track ready!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

A chopper was circling the track for hours! I don’t know if they were selling rides, or if it was for the broadcast on TSN (next Saturday).

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Time for the National Anthems!! Take off your hats! (oh man, do girls have to take off their hats too? I put my hat on when my hair was wet, oh dear this isn’t going to be pretty, but I better be patriotic. Hey driver 07 Isabelle didn’t take off her hat. Don’t worry, I’m sure no one is looking at the disgrace I have on the top of my head.)

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

The pit crews then were busy getting ready for the race to begin.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

The track crew went out to get the last of any debris and garbage off the track. It was pretty windy so paper and litter was blowing around the far end of the track.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Then we heard START YOUR ENGINES!!

Which means, hurry up and put in your ear plugs!!

The cars roared into action.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

They zigzagged as they sped up to warm up their tires. (No, I don’t really know what I’m talking about. It’s half assumption, half guesswork based upon my annual Indy 500 viewing as a child.)

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

The drivers get a few laps to warm up and get their engines going.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Then they all get in their places behind the pace car.

Here is Scott Steckly behind the pole car.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

One more lap!!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

They tighten up their formation, two cars wide.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Here is turn 3, right before they hit the green flag!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

As they all speed up to racing speed, you can feel the noise in the center of your chest, rattling your ribs. What a THRILL! I could get so hooked on this.

(Yes, I did watch uncensored footage from Reno last night, just a couple hours after a racing plane crashed into a grandstand. Yes I saw a spectator with a severed, bloody, leg. That could never happen here. The cars are on the track. I’m way up in the stands. There is a cement wall. And a fence. I’m sure stock cars on a 1/3 of a mile track is a perfectly safe sport. I’m in. For spectating. The drivers are nuts.)

Steckly holds his lead. You can see the current positions on the digital board in the back. This is lap ten, and Steckly (#22) is in the lead! WOO HOO

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

It wasn’t too long into the race when #97 was in the pits.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Lap 73, Steckly is still in the lead! I can’t believe this, we’re still under a green flag!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Aww crap, lap 88, Steckly was just passed! He’s now in second! This isn’t good. That damn #7 kept so tight on his ass, I wonder if he let him pass just so he couldn’t get nudged. Being so close to the end of the season, he needs to finish this race for his point standings!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Lap 102. Oh no, he’s been passed again!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

OOOH! SMOKE!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

WHAT HAPPENED, WHAT HAPPENED?
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Wow, that is stinky smoke!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Yellow flag!
Here comes the track crew to check for debris!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

The drivers took advantage of the yellow flag to zip into the pits.
I don’t remember knowing this before, but the announcer said there were pit rules. Each car could only have 1 of 3 things done per pit stop – gas top up, left tires changed, or right tires changed. If the car needs two of these things done, he has to zip back out on the track and come back in again!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

The leaders head in for a gas up. A few got right tires changed. It looked like Steckly just got gas.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

YES! Steckly came out of the pits in 1st!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Crap, what happened, now he’s in 2nd.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

There are still cars zipping in and out of the pits and we’re still under a yellow. I can’t figure out who’s leading or what is going on.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

And we’re back to green!

Wait, #55 isn’t moving!!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Back to yellow.

Whoa, looks like this car lost it’s flimsy hood in that smoke up earlier.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Yes! Steckly is back in first!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Pace car pulls back into the pits, and the cars tuck in close as they come around the 3rd corner, about to hit the green flag.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

They get so close!! Steckly is still in the lead!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Uh oh! He just got passed!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Damn!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

NO! He keeps getting passed! Now he’s in 5th.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

New tires going on the right side of this car:
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

YIKES!! WHAT IS THAT?
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

A TIRE is loose on the track!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

YELLOW FLAG! DON’T HIT THE TIRE!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

It was the A&W car. He managed to drive back into the pits without his front right tire!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

It looked like his car got pretty damaged so he was stuck in the pits for repairs underneath his car.

OH NO, Steckly’s in 6th spot now! It’s already lap 146, is there time to fight his way back? Can everyone in front of him crash?

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

More tire changes.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Steckly came in twice on the yellow to switch out all his tires.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

8th spot! ACK!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

OH NO, BACKWARDS Car! Looks like he just lost control on the turn, but I didn’t see for sure.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway
He just reversed back onto the track and rejoined the race.

And then security came for me and removed me from my seat.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Seriously. After 160 laps, it turned out I was in the wrong section in someone else’s seat. Where had they been for over half the race? In the beer garden?

Security led me away from Section D Row B Seat 37 over to Section B Row B Seat 37.

How embarrassing.

Have I ever made such a mistake?

This is why I shouldn’t leave the house without my husband.

So back to the race..

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

I missed a little bump up and the cars were still in a yellow when I sat in my new seat. Now I’m right down near the 3rd corner. Not sure I like this angle, but there sure are a lot less idiots walking in front of me. (Seriously people, you paid how much for your ticket? $40? $50? The race is just 300 laps on a third of a mile track. Do you REALLY need to walk around, get food, buy food, eat food, stand in front of me, walk around, TAKE A CELL PHONE CALL (HOW CAN YOU HEAR ANYTHING), and hold your stupid dumbass little camera 2 feet from your face and in my WAY while I’m trying to watch this race?)

Sorry, where was I.

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Lap 162, Steckly’s in 6th. Sigh.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Heading for the green flag again!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

YES! Steckly’s up to 3rd place! GO GO GO!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Come on you cars, get out of his way!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

SECOND PLACE!! Lap 188.
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Damn that #7. Get out of his way!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Seriously, let him by! He wants to win this race!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

YES!!!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Lap 201 and Stecky’s ahead!!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Hey, this new seat gives me a chance for some close shots inside the cars. Here is a few (out of dozens):
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

And they finish the last 300 laps under a green flag!!

Steckly wins!!!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Woo hoo! Victory lap!
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Announcer interviews the winners:
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Steckly with his team:
Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Here’s the winners!
1st place – Scott Steckly
2nd place – Pete Shepherd III
3rd place – Donald Chisholm (Antigonish home town boy)

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Time for Champagne!!

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

Komatsu 300 - James River Speedway

What a great race!! Can’t wait until next year! Hope Jeff will be home so he can go too! (and he’s in charge of finding our seats next time!)