Saturday, October 11, 2014

2014 U..S. Vintage Racing National Championship

Yesterday was a day to mark on the calendar. FINALLY, after 45+ years of being married to Dan, I agreed to accompany him to a car race, at the Circuit of the Americas, near Austin. He has wanted me to go with him forever, and I think had given up hope. But on Thursday he asked me if I would like to go - he enticed me with words like "old", "vintage", "beautiful" - all of those words modifying "cars" of course. He even compared the event to the Balloon Fiesta, in Albuquerque. And to his utter surprise, I simply said, "Sure."

I had a good time.

It was a very nice day. The steady breeze kept the heat from being too much of a problem, although by late afternoon it was 96 degrees. From the start, I had one goal in mind - to get to the top of the tower. It has fascinated me, ever since we viewed the track from the outskirts, before it was actually open to the public.

So, after a short sit in the main grandstand, and a brief introduction to the venue, by Dan, I was hoofing my way to that tower. It was quite a little hike, mostly uphill, but turned out to be well worth the effort. They charged $15 to go up the elevator (the stairs were closed). And I couldn't hand over my money fast enough. (Okay, to be honest, the money came out of Dan's wallet, but I did the handing over.)

Notice, when looking up at the platform, that there is a section, toward the front, that is glass. The tower is 251 feet tall, but the platform is only at 231 feet. That's not even half -- a little more than a third -- of the height of the Gateway Arch which we visited back in May. But I thought the view from the tower was more awesome than from the Arch. Also, being able to be outside in the fresh air made it a more enjoyable experience.

Here you can see the glass in the platform. The railing around the edge is also clear glass, which adds to the rush when you walk out there.

These two photos are taken while I was standing on the glass, looking down through it. The first one is the structure of the tower itself, from above.

This is looking down on one of the two paddocks and pit areas, which we later walked through and admired some of the cars up-close.

At the base of the tower is a stage and amphitheater, where performers come throughout the year. This is looking down on the stage area from the top of the tower.

Dan walked with me to the tower, but didn't have any desire to go up to the top. He waited for me below, in this "very crowded" grandstand. That's him - the little reddish dot at the point of the arrow. Well, you'll have to trust me on this. When I look at the photo at full size in full resolution, I can see him sitting there. I am told, by Dan, that during the Grand Prix races, the grandstands are all full of people, but this was a smaller race, and it was a weekday. So we had no crowds to contend with.

Once I'd gotten my trip to the top of the tower, we went to the paddock to see some of the cars. These, of course, were what Dan came to see. It was fun seeing some of these vintage cars all dressed up for the prom, so to speak.

Dan seemed to be most interested in this Benetton Car - what he called "a true F-1 car." He might have been a wee bit prejudiced, though, considering what kind of engine was inside  (below).

I was looking for pretty, shiny cars to photograph, but Dan kept wanting me to take pictures of things like this, which I did, and which he says is a "great picture." Hmmm. I guess it might be, if I knew what I was looking at.

Here's the car that the above belongs to.

A Selfie!

 This fellow was a little reluctant to pose with his Porsche, but Dan talked him into it for me.

Finally, we sat down in the grandstand and watched a race. Those cars are LOUD and FAST. I should have taken my Nikon with me, because my Panasonic bridge-type camera just isn't as responsive as a DSLR, making it hard to snap the shutter at the right time. But I caught a few of them as they zoomed past me, including Dan's favorite, with the Judd engine (leading in the first picture).

It was a fun day. And it was a good thing we went yesterday, because the rain moved in over-night, which would have been a spoiler for going today.


Bingse Gabriele Young said...

That is so coool!!! Nice photos, too. The wait and funds to get to the top is well worth it.

Lois said...

What fun! Being vintage car race fans and never having seen this track we were very interested your photos.