[phoenix - the photo travelogue]
A few months ago, it was decided that this weary librarian (LFM = La Femme Marissa) needed a vacation, stat.
Plans were made to meet up across the country with the girls (fellow Superagents Annie and Sky), plane tickets were bought, and before she knew it, Marissa was on a plane bound for Las Vegas! The plan? Explore all that Vegas has to offer before driving down to Phoenix for a weekend of sunshine, relaxations, and racing excitement...
Damn right. :-)
Look, Ma! I'm in Vegas!
Look Ma...I'm in New York - in Las Vegas!
We ran around the strip every night under the eye of our trusty tour guide (Sky), and I got to see so many great casinos, all the sights, all the bright lights, big city stuff that Tinytown simply can't offer to this small town girl...
(I'm not sure why I felt the need to turn into Vanna White for every Vegas picture, but there it is.)
We did decide to get pretty one night (helluva big stretch for LFM) and take in the sights of the big city. Ain't we cute? *evil grin*
(Sky's on the left, Goober's in the middle, and Annie's on the right)
But let's get to the good stuff...the weekend at the track!
Friday morning we arrive bright and early to catch practices before Cup qualifying. Naturally, I had to snap a picture of Working!Chad for this site. He's looking mighty serious - even Robbie is concerned that Chad is working too hard.
Either that, or
his eyes are drawn to the hotness, just like ours were. Hard to tell.
<~~ Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I wasn't actually this close to Chad.
I was this close. ~~>
We did take a little gander up and down pit road before the Truck race. Here's the obligatory "ain't we cute" picture in the pits...
Let's take a quick tour of some of the places we saw around the track...
(from left to right: the garage area, Victory Lane, and our seats for the CTS race, looking towards Turn 1)
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Peanut Man.
Peanut Man saved our asses, man. We were exhausted from our first day at the track and getting rather peckish. We don't know if it was Sky's megawatt smile, Annie's Wisconsin connection or my enormous boobs, but Peanut Man turned around for a chat, and before we knew it, was giving us loads and loads of peanuts to tide us over through the race. We made friends with Peanut Man, and we even bought him beer on Saturday during the Busch race. We heart Peanut Man.
Saturday morning we were back at the track bright and early (this whole bright and early thing got old in a hurry, by the way *grin*) to watch Happy Hour and the Busch race. The girls pause for a quick "diva shot" on JJ's show car...
(Yes, pink was the colour of the day for the Agents)
Once again (for the good of this site, of course), I snagged a photo of Chad hard at work on top of the hauler, where he seems to spend quite a bit of his day. No wonder the dude is so tan:
We decided to take in Happy Hour from the pits, where we got a great view of the cars screaming in and out while they checked tires and clocked times. When practice was over, we had a bird's eye view of all the drivers climbing out of their cars and chatting with each other. Here's a bit of Jimmie's arrival in the pits after Happy Hour...
<~~ Malec goes in for the high five.
The boys swarm the car as Jimmie pulls in. ~~>
<~~The gang's all here...
We saw this guy all over the track. We nicknamed him "God's Gift to Women", because we could tell that he thought he was. (He wasn't.) That dude was everywhere. ~~>
Now, this is perhaps my favorite Kodak moment from the entire weekend. Naturally, there is a sizable crowd of people gathered around watching JJ get out of his car and chat with his guys. Many of those people were women.
When Jimmie climbed out of the car, several camera shutters clicked on and off.
When Jimmie talked to the guys, several more cameras went off.
When Jimmie leaned into the car to help push, EVERY SINGLE CAMERA clicked on and off, with a collective sigh from all the women assembled. Not to mention all the comments, such as "Oh, that's *nice*." or "Damn." or my favorite, "My husband sure doesn't look like that."
Don't try to tell me NASCAR's isn't a woman's sport. ;-)
We also saw Diva!Bobby (check that pose, girls!) and DJ and ESad having a little convo as practice wrapped up.
Snapped a photo of the grid before the Busch race...
The race was a good time, though we did miss our Peanut Man. ;-) Night was already falling when we finally reached our parking space. Yeah, that fleck in the distance is the track. No matter how much "track food" I ate that weekend, I'm pretty sure the walk balanced it out...
Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!
Race day dawns bright and early (*yaaaaaawn*) and we head back to the track one last time - but we did score a closer parking spot than the night before, thanks to some awesome offroad driving by Agent Sky. ("Uh, tower? This is parking control. We have a Skymobile on the loose. Over.")
We spent most of the morning, almost right up until the command to start engines, on pit road. We first went and hung out with Murray Timm, a tire changer on Terry Labonte's crew. As we meandered down pit road, we decided this was the best decoration any of the haulers inside the track had on display:
In the course of the weekend, Dubya wore a CAT hat, drank a Bud, had on a Junior tee shirt, but we liked this show of fan support best. ;-)
We cruised down to say hi to Bobby Turner (front tire support on the 48 team) in the Lowe's pit once they threw open the tarp on the pit box. He was a total sweetheart, and he and Sky chatted for quite a while. I don't have a picture of Bobby, though. Sorry, Bobby. :-(
We boogied up and down pit road waiting to say hello to Caleb Hurd (catch can man on the 24 team) when he finally emerged from the garages. We had brought a bundt cake (damn good cake, too!) for the 24/48 boys, and we dropped that off with Ryan Pepe while Caleb was working. Eventually, we did catch up with Caleb and we monopolized his time from the other 24 fans for a while - much to their chagrin. ;-) Before we took off to let him actually *work*, Annie and I grabbed a quick photo with him...
As it was rapidly approaching driver introduction time, we decided to take a couple of quick snaps of LFM in front of the Lowe's pit before heading for our seats. Being, well, a dork, I decided to strike a pose:
Little did I know that Matt Clark, the Hendrick pit crew coach, was laughing his ass off at me. ;-) Either way, I convinced him to strike a diva pose with me:
Nice guy, that Matt. Thanks, Matt! :-)
As we're hoofing back to the other end of pit road for driver intros, we pass the NBC War Wagon, and lo and behold, Dave Burns is standing right there chatting with his camera gang. Now, I love Dave Burns. Naturally, I belt out the first thing I can think of in my loud voice:
"Dave Burns, you're a rock star!"
After convincing Dave (and several of the guys crowded around him) that he is, in fact, a rock star, I asked if I could have a picture with him. Dave, ever polite and obliging to all, agreed. Made my day - no kidding. :-)
We see the driver introductions from pit road, then decide we better cross the track to our seats before they close it up and we have to walk all the way around, because damn, that's a long way.
We grab a close up photo of Mario Andretti (the grand marshal, and famous face to this Hoosier girl)...
We finish our trek across the track, and as I turn around to look back at pit road, what do I see? Yup, the Chadster, walking with purpose towards his pit. Another two minutes of dawdling on pit road, and I mighta seen the guy. Oh well. :-)
The race was a *great* race to watch, the rain delay was a good time to stretch the legs, the parking lot was a hoot and a half (I was bartering for beers and became the "information maven" of our area of the parking lot by trying to get traffic reports from people) after the race, and before I knew it, our track weekend was over. *sniffles*
But I have a lot of awesome memories, a lot a great pictures, an unbreakable bond with my fellow agents, and a serious jones to go to a race again as soon as humanly possible. :-)