If you are still on dial-up, come back in an hour while this post loads 😀
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!!
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.
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.
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.
I got in the long thick line to make my way down the single file steps to the track.
A couple cars weren’t in the line up yet.
#47 was having some work done in the pits.
#55 was on the far side. It looked like it was getting a new engine!
Here are some candid shots of the cars and drivers.
And here is the pace car!!
Here’s Scott Steckly at the front of the line.
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.
The checkered start/finish line!!
Woo hoo, Jason White’s car is sponsored by A&W again. Free root beer? Yes thank-you 😀
You should have see the line up for people to get Isabelle’s autograph!
And a quick look through the inside fence into pit row:
Time to get the track ready!
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).
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.)
The pit crews then were busy getting ready for the race to begin.
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.
Then we heard START YOUR ENGINES!!
Which means, hurry up and put in your ear plugs!!
The cars roared into action.
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.)
The drivers get a few laps to warm up and get their engines going.
Then they all get in their places behind the pace car.
Here is Scott Steckly behind the pole car.
One more lap!!
They tighten up their formation, two cars wide.
Here is turn 3, right before they hit the green flag!
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
It wasn’t too long into the race when #97 was in the pits.
Lap 73, Steckly is still in the lead! I can’t believe this, we’re still under a green flag!
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!
Lap 102. Oh no, he’s been passed again!
WHAT HAPPENED, WHAT HAPPENED?
Wow, that is stinky smoke!
Here comes the track crew to check for debris!
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!
The leaders head in for a gas up. A few got right tires changed. It looked like Steckly just got gas.
YES! Steckly came out of the pits in 1st!
Crap, what happened, now he’s in 2nd.
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.
And we’re back to green!
Wait, #55 isn’t moving!!
Back to yellow.
Whoa, looks like this car lost it’s flimsy hood in that smoke up earlier.
Yes! Steckly is back in first!
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.
They get so close!! Steckly is still in the lead!
Uh oh! He just got passed!
NO! He keeps getting passed! Now he’s in 5th.
New tires going on the right side of this car:
YIKES!! WHAT IS THAT?
A TIRE is loose on the track!
YELLOW FLAG! DON’T HIT THE TIRE!
It was the A&W car. He managed to drive back into the pits without his front right tire!
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?
More tire changes.
Steckly came in twice on the yellow to switch out all his tires.
8th spot! ACK!
OH NO, BACKWARDS Car! Looks like he just lost control on the turn, but I didn’t see for sure.
He just reversed back onto the track and rejoined the race.
And then security came for me and removed me from my seat.
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.
Have I ever made such a mistake?
This is why I shouldn’t leave the house without my husband.
So back to the race..
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.
Lap 162, Steckly’s in 6th. Sigh.
Heading for the green flag again!
YES! Steckly’s up to 3rd place! GO GO GO!
Come on you cars, get out of his way!
SECOND PLACE!! Lap 188.
Damn that #7. Get out of his way!
Seriously, let him by! He wants to win this race!
Lap 201 and Stecky’s ahead!!
Hey, this new seat gives me a chance for some close shots inside the cars. Here is a few (out of dozens):
And they finish the last 300 laps under a green flag!!
Woo hoo! Victory lap!
Announcer interviews the winners:
Steckly with his team:
Here’s the winners!
1st place – Scott Steckly
2nd place – Pete Shepherd III
3rd place – Donald Chisholm (Antigonish home town boy)
Time for Champagne!!
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!)