Back on August 10, 2017, we interviewed Doug Thorton and he described the atmosphere at the Rolex 24 as “going to bed to race cars” and “waking up with race cars”, and to a fan of racing – that is heaven. It was decided, rather late, that we would end up going. So after work on Wednesday, we packed up the Honda and hit the road, driving straight through and arriving at Daytona Florida approximately 10 am. I’m trying to put everything down, but it’s just an amazing experience, sorry in advance for the rambling…but to be fair our post-race episode is the same way.
Night racing is amazing. Seeing the lights on the cars streaming past with different headlights and different led lights on the cars. I can’t describe how cool it is.
The race was something I had never really experienced before. I’m used to a single-car race (i.e. in IndyCar everyone is driving IndyCars) and this had three different classes of cars on the track at the same time. It added drama to see the faster Prototype cars weave in and out of the other two classes. The winner of the race drove over 2,876 miles in 808 laps, crushing the record. They had maybe three cautions. Also Scott Dixon won! Chip Ganassi got their 200th win as an organization.
Shout out to Katherine Legge her car came in second in their class!!
We, of course, stayed with the Speedway contingent in the infield, where the guys showed us their way of experiencing Daytona. Which is a great way involved being at special places at special times to experience the start of the race, the fireworks, and the crowds. We were also blessed with Doug Boles (IMS President) and Chip Wiley (Daytona President) stopping by, our love for Doug notwithstanding, Chip is a great guy with a similar level of enthusiasm and knowledge of the sport (his resume is pretty impressive!).
I will be critical in one area, if you camp in the infield, it’s a little hard to keep up with what’s going on in the race. Now we had a great spot, you stepped out of your tent, and turned to your left and voila – race cars. But there were no screens around to keep us updated on what was going on. That’s hard for the infield, you don’t really know what’s going on (because you can’t hear the announcers over the cars that are…fifty meters away). So next year we’ve decided on a slightly different strategy that combines both camping with the Speedway contingent and camping out on the seats of the stadium.
It was my first experience at the Daytona track. It was my first experience at an endurance race…and I think the Tequila Patron North America Endurance Cup has a new fan. There’s something about this epic struggle of machine and crew and drivers against time. We are all fighting time, aren’t we? Except in this instance, the teams are not only fighting time…but each other and it can get a little aggressive at times.
Who else is ready for IndyCar season to start?