Last summer I posted a wonderful article: Sailing on Lake Norman: A West Coast Perspectiveby Brett Hemphill in which he shared his insights about sailing on Lake Norman. Brett’s wife is from the Lake Norman area and her family still lives in Mooresville so Brett knows quite a bit about life here in Race City USA.
NEVER RAINS IN CALIFORNIA…..NOT!
“Nobody has better chocolate cake than Mickey and Mooch” said one of Carl Edwards mechanics as the car went through the inspection process. The discussion went on for a few minutes discussing the merits of other offerings on the menu. Not a shocking conversation unless you are standing in the rain next to these guys listening to a discussion about one of your favorite restaurants that is 2500 miles away.
Yes, I was at the rain soaked NASCAR race in Fontana, California (affectionately known by the Southern California locals at Fontucky). I don’t care how NASCAR wants to market this race. Fontana is nothing close to Los Angeles in terms of distance, history, entertainment, shopping, etc. It would be like referring to Kernersville as Charlotte. Besides the race track, Fontana is a large industrial area which includes major distribution centers for UPS, WalMart, Ferguson Enterprises among others. Not too strange until you see an area of residential housing plugged around this dusty area.
I was a guest of Bank of America’s Champions Club. I managed to collect 175,000 points by paying invoices from my floor covering business to get VIP treatment in the Turn 4 trailer suite. The event started with NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace giving a short talk and answering questions. I then was escorted via golf cart in a heavy mist to the Drivers Meeting. It was the beginning of what turned out to be a very soggy day.
A tour of the garage and inspection areas followed. And the rain kept falling and I was getting soggier. Thankfully, the Champions Club setup featured a lounge to get dried off and warm up. The mobile lounge, which goes to most of the tracks, offered six flat screen televisions, hosted bar and food. Not too bad of a place to hang out waiting out the rain delayed race.
Finally the race got underway after a brief delay when Michael Waltrip’s car dropped oil on the track. We enjoyed 20 something laps of green flag racing before the race suffered it’s first of many cautions.
Thanks to the Spring Fan Scan, we knew every detail about the race. This piece of technology allows race fans to watch various video feeds including on board camera angles of many drivers. There is an audio component that features the conversations between drivers, spotters and crew chiefs.
As the day turned into night, I wandered down into the pit area. Talk about action! There is no better place to get a feel for the teamwork that takes place. Television can’t come close to creating the scene no matter how many cameras are set up. Because of the multiple rain delays, the crowds had thinned out and it was easy to get right up next to the pit boxes.
At around 7:15 Pacific time, the rain really came down hard. There was no way they were going to get this race off. Therefore, I headed back to my car and drove home to Newport Beach which is about an hour away. I would bring my four year old son, Pierce, back to the race the following morning. He would be excited since I brought he and his brother, Will (age 2) out to the track on Friday only to have all on track activity cancelled. We spent the afternoon purchasing 1/64 die cast cars from the souvenir haulers instead. That activity got rained out too as a torrential downpour got to us.
Pierce and I returned to the track on Monday morning. What rain? The sun was out. The mountains in the distance behind the track had their peaks covered in snow. Finally, the weather that we expect from California was back. The rain delayed race was underway. Thankfully, it finished on Monday so that we could enjoy a great father and son outing together. If only we could have had a nice slice of Mickey and Mooch chocolate cake to enjoy while watching the race. Next up : The Long Beach Grand Prix.
Thanks so much Brett for this great story!
OTHER FUN ARTICLES!