Monday, October 27, 2014

The Tomaso Files: Buddy, Peter and Eleven 'lil IndyCar boyz - Fini!

On the ROAD once again at thy crack 'O Dawn; CRIKEYS! As the non-winding Russian River road is far more pleasurable to drive in our Topsy-turvy Minivan, even if we Don't have any Zoom-Zoom' Californian's on our Tail-feather's Six first thingy in the morning; Hooah!

Having awoken at 6:20AM; Aye Karumba! Off we drove in our PJ's' once again towards Sonoma Raceway, which for Mwah, as previously mentioned, will forever be indelibly known as Sears Point Raceway... As it still seems overly strange that I'd actually been behind the wheel driving one of the countless "Plain Jane vanilla" non-descript white Ford Taurus rental car's dotting the Bay area to I-T from San Fran' some 19yrs ago! Which seems totally foreign to Mwah these days, since I NO longer have a valid Driver's license! Like, really dude, You drove to 'N from Sears Point Raceway via the Golden Gate bridge? Aye Karumba!


While the few remaining shreds 'O memories from attending the Shelby American Daytona Coupe's 30th Anniversary honouring their triumphant defeat of “Il Commendatore,” nee Enzo Ferrari and his 'Uber rare & priceless 250 GTO's for the 1965 FIA World Sports Car Championship, (GT Class) along with the AWESOMENESS of four of the six Daytona Coupe's being present still linger...

While for reasons unknown; Hmm? May because it involved driving was the  stretch along Highway 37? Across the Sacramento Delta? As it just plain reminded Mwah of driving across our Highway 520's floating bridge, which Claudio pointed out to me upon the start of our drive home. While I also tend to recall staying some where's in Novato; but I digress...

Thus, we arrived 'Uber bright 'N early for race day, as there was virtually NO traffic on race morning at 7AM-ish! As we zoomed into our Handicap parking lot and were immediately "preyed on!" By the pleasant, cheerful parking lot attendants circling in Golf Karts to take awaiting passengers to wherever desired in said racetrack; as this really is the ONLY way to Fly; Hya! Telling the waiting golf kart driver it'd be awhile, since I still needed to change, etc.

Earthquake; What Earthquake?
Back at Guerneville, which I'm told is approximately 1hr NW of Sonoma Raceway, Claudio & Mwah were "Snug as Bugs in Rugs;" Hooah! As  nary a thing was felt from the strong earthquake jostling the Napa valley at 3:21AM! (Or at least this was what I was led to believe what time it occurred...)

Hence, whilst latherin' up with some toxic suntan lotion, we were still completely unawares', having totally SLEPT thru thee earthquake Sunday morning before leaving for the track at 6:30AM.

Thus while I was busy preparing, a  car parked alongside us - with a very pleasant Chap' exiting the vehicle resplendent in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team kit, whom Claudio struck up a conversation with, by casually asking you're from Columbus, Ohio, right?

Nope, as Thom introduced himself, he replied I'm from Minnesota. Which for humour, I retorted: I've got a brother who lives in Minnesota. Oh really, where?  Hopkins. Where in Hopkins, as it went on 'N on like this... As Claudio & I chuckled A-L-L the way home about what were the odds of my riding 900+ miles to meet somebody who turned out to be my brother's next door neighbor in Hopkins, MN! As what a small world it is indeed!

Graham Rahal's "Hero Card" garnered at this year's IndyCar autograph session at Sonoma.  (The Tomaso Collection)
Yet before this enlightening discovery, Thom asked: How are you Guys doing? Fine; NO! really, I mean how did the earthquake effect Yuhs; HUH? What earthquake are you talking about?

As Thom incredulously asked: "Where have U Guys been?" When we finally got our first mention of said 6.1-magnitude earthquake... The largest since the Bay area bridge buster 'Wayback in '89; Aye Karumba! As both of us completely slept thru I-T & never felt a thing!

Although I did enjoy the fact that Team Penske had to evacuate from the Marriott in Napa @3:30AM & weren't allowed back in. While I heard somebody walking by at the track - while still getting ready saying how their room's ceiling had caved in w/water gushing around!

For Sunday, Claudio proclaimed he just wanted to sit in our seats, where we watched a very enjoyable Indy Lights race - the season finale and championship decider!

As although rising Brit' talent Jack Harvey once again ran away and hid from the majority of the competitors, except for title protagonist Gabby Chaves who ran alone in second place. Which was all Chaves needed to do to win the Indy Lights title!

As it was really fun hearing Balardi Auto Racing's team on Pitlane directly in front of us Hooting 'N Hollering, screaming 'N shouting with delight over winning their first ever Lights championship. Since although I was pulling for Harvey, I'm ecstatic that a new team won the  title instead...

And doesn't karma have a mysterious way about I-T? As have I told Y'all 'bout where our seats on the front straightaway along Pitlane were situated? As Guess Who? We were seated directly in-front of? Can Y'all say 'HULIO; FUCK!

As when we'd been seated Saturday I asked Claudio if he could see the No. 3 Team Penske timing stand? Yep.  Can you see a man with snow white hair? Yep. Is he wearing a headset? Yep. Well then, that's Roger Penske. He's a Billionaire who they call "The Captain," although I now prefer calling him 'El Capitano...

And although I couldn't SEE I-T! Especially since we'd sought refuge underneath the shelter of a nearby food vendor's massive awnings in order to eat our lunch. For the very first time I'm aware of at a race track, Sonoma Raceway put on a Pre-race Airshow!

Interestingly, I already knew of this acrobatic team called the Patriots Jet Team, as they'd been pressed into service in Seattle the year that the Government canceled military airshows because of the "Sequester," uze do remember that BULLSHIT right?

The Patriots fly the Czech built Aero L-39 Albatros, and their six plane group's signature maneuver is the Tail Slide, where they actually slide backwards!

Yet alas, with NO disrespect  to these  fine Aviators, the Patriots are simply NO match for our revered Blue Angels! Having previously scribbled how Seattle's Seafair  attendance had plummeted nearly 30% in 2013 due to the cancelation of the Blue Angels!

Then again, the Patriots Jet Team pilots aren't NO slouches either, as their 2011 roster included two ex-USAF Thunderbird's, one ex-RCAF and one  ex-USN Blue Angels "Flyboy's," along with two ultra accomplished Aerobatic fliers...

We milled around our seats during the elongated Pre-race hyperbole before meandering down to the start/finish line in order to watch the race's start, which saw the start aborted a few times due to some driver Hi-jinxes - which reminded me of the time at Portland International Raceway where they'd gone yellow for eight laps in a FREAKIN' row trying to start the race! Hmm? May be 2002? Since I tend to recall that Kenny Brack was flyin'  the Target  colours...

Returning to our nearby seats, I delighted in being able to "Talk Smart" by explaining why various "Backmarkers" were already topping off their ethanol, etc. Really enjoying being able to witness what the camera's eye fails to pick up sometimes...

Mike "Ice-Ice, Baby!" Conway's "Hero Card" garnered at this year's IndyCar autograph session at Sonoma. (The Tomaso Collection)
As we watched different race strategies unwind, with Mwah guessing Taku-san's going off-strategy since he's so far behind 'N Viola; SHUHZAMM! Takuma Sato was up front when the  first yellow flag flew and ultimately finished P4.

And if Yuhs haven't figured out yet? I'm totally NOT a fan of thy OLD-est IndyCar Blogger Geo. Phillips (Oil Pressure)  boy Helio Castroneves, who I call 'HULIO instead.

Thus, naturally I took 'Mega delight on seeing Castroneves in so early, lap-2 me thinks? Albeit we didn't know it was for a front wing change - as I just thought he was languishing at the rear once again; Hooah!

We couldn't see anythingy, 'cept for Claudio describing the Mondo' dust cloud caused  by Pole-sitter and race leader 'DJ WillyP's (A long ago My Name is IRL euphemism for Will Power... Thanxs Jeffie!) miraculous 360-degree spin up in Turn-7? As I jokingly muttered how may be he was sleep deprived from having to exit his hotel room that morning during the earthquake; Hya!

Then the unthinkable occurred! As I crossed all four of my fingers on both hands and actually started rootin' for Graham Rahal to win. Holy Allegiances Change Batman! As I thoroughly despise their sponsor, yet told Claudio how much of not only a career boost it'd be for whom I call "Grahamcracker," along with helping RLLR's impending title sponsor search...

As I was so excited that I could not only S-E-E the first four cars running nose to tail, but! The incredibly close trio of P2-3-4 running in virtual lockstep every time  they passed our vantage point on the front straightaway! As it looked like Graham was gonna finally get the proverbial "Monkey Off his Back!" As thy young Rahal was actually pulling away with the lead!

Yet, with four laps remaining, Rahal was inexplicably out of it! As I extolled to Claudio how he'd cracked once again, hence thy moniker 'O "Grahamcracker!" As somehow, all along I'd secretly known he wouldn't win.

Poor Graham, who's now gone six torrid year's without victory, but that was ok, since another  really kOOL Cat picked  up the lead, with Mike "Ice-Ice, Baby!" Conway taking over the point  in the Fuzzy-Wuzzy's (ECR) machine,  with Scotty "Iceman 2.0" Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay on his tail. As the latter was definitely the crowd's favourite in our section - which I ARSE-sume is somewhat connected to his California association, i.e.; his "Better Half," eh? As the women around us  were going Ga-Ga for him!

Then, as Dixon pounced, Conway utilized his "P2P" (Push-to-Pass) one final time to no avail! As Dixon was thru into the lead while Conway's extra  gas  guzzlin' maneuver caused him to run dry of ethanol before reaching the stripe, while  Y'all know the rest of the story, right? With RHR second, "Symone Pagenoe" (Simon Pagenaud) coming outta nowheres for third. Taku-san P4 and Monty' (Juan Pablo Montoya) rounding out the Top-5, which was a marked improvement over his 19th place starting position.

Yet in Graham Rahal's defense; it wasn't 'til I'd gotten home 'N read George's thoughts upon the Sonoma race that I learned that the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team had run Graham out of ethanol, and hadn't cracked after all! As just how many times have RLLR and Bobby Rahal gambled on fuel strategy/yellow flags and come up "Snake-eyes?" As perhaps that would make an entertaining story?

And with the chequered flag flown, we immediately left for our vehicle, as a really nice man driving the "Special Busses," i.e.; Handicap inquired where Y'all parked?  I'll drive Yuhs to your car; SWEET!

As we needed to make a Beeline back to Tacoma for Claudio to resume his 'Awntie Harriet Caretaking duty Monday evening. Since at 95yrs "young," but with a severe case 'O Dementia, she can no longer be left alone.

Thus, in our pursuit of driving nearly 900-miles in less than 24hrs; Crikeys Mates! As mentioned, we left the track immediately at race's end, i.e.; 4PM. Drove for 6hrs to Redding 'N slept another night who knows where? Other than next to some sorta Semi-truck compound w/continuous Semi's driving in-out A-L-L nite!

Then made it all the way from Redding, CA to Tacoma by 2PM Monday afternoon & then I bussed home Tues morning & have felt tired ever since; and since home, I've been playing massive 'Ketsup forever! As suppose I should  really go thru my mail (Bills) one of these days, eh?

Alas, those were my sediments' during the week in-between poondin' A-L-L of this out 'N getting ready to trek off to thy "Other" Florence... Having since visited Florence, Oregon's magnificent Sand Dunes, made my debutant appearance at the local Rods "N Rhodies car show + camping and visiting our friends; Blah-blah-blah... Although NOBODY offered me any S'mores; CRIKEYS!

As what's a visually impaired 'Vurd Botcherer to do, eh? Having gone stark raving KURR-RAZY poondin' my nucels' Bloody on my various Mondo' trip stories, Rooskie' features and Oh yeah, Somme-thun' called Formula 1! As I've gotta GO pack 'N get ready to Jet off to Austin for another memorable F1 race weekend...

KUDOS to "SEEING EYE GUIDE GUY" Extraordinaire Claudio' for the MOST Bitchinh' Roadtrip in Years!

To read the 'Mega Florence  Car Show recap, see; AUTOS: Rods 'N Rhodies Car Show a Low  Key affair in the "Other" Florence...