Watkins Glen report (PERSONAL)

----------------------------- Bud at the Glen -- "Seen It Live" notes ----------------------------- I've been going to the Bud at the Glen since 1985, except for twice, once we got married and once when we had our 2nd child. The later of...

----------------------------- Bud at the Glen -- "Seen It Live" notes ----------------------------- I've been going to the Bud at the Glen since 1985, except for twice, once we got married and once when we had our 2nd child. The later of which was just last year, so we were pretty excited about going down to the Glen this year. besides, it was a much needed break from building our new house!

My wife, Kim, had made the accomodations for us at the Glen this year. We were going to kill three birds with one stone: 1) My wife has wanted to stay at a Bed & Breakfast, 2) I didn't want to drive back and forth from the Glen to Rochester everyday like we've done in the past, and 3) we were going to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary (one week belated though). So, we had planned on spending four full days at the Glen, but we were delayed getting down there with some details concerning our new house. We arrived at our B&B very late on Thursday, so we were unable to attend the Thursday night deal in Corning. We also missed This Week In NASCAR with Eli Gold because we were on the road at the time. I was able to get some chocolate cake and milk before I went to bed, though.

Friday morning we got up and were served a wonderful breakfast of fresh fruit, pancakes, breads, juices, coffee and more. We headed out to the track after breakfast, parked near gate 4, and went into the track. We spent some time just walking around, shopping for my wife's bumper sticker "I'm not tailgating, I'm drafting," and then headed out to watch the Winston Cup practice. We walked along the backstretch to the inner loop area, then headed towards the bleachers, and just sat down when practice was red flagged due to rain. We rain for cover, using the trees to dodge the rain, and then found cover under the roof overhang from of the hamburger stands. After the rain stopped, we walked around the midway area doing some more shopping, still looking for my wife's bumper sticker. We then made our way over to the front stretch grandstands to watch the Winston Cup qualifying. We were quite dismayed to find out that Mark was going out around 36th place for qualifying, but we were confident he could still pull it off. We all had a good chuckle when Earnhardt got asked about his qualifying time, and he whined about the track having "heated up" which slowed him down. Then Martin went out after it warmed up some more and knocked Elliott off the pole - so much for the track having heated up. After qualifying, we headed down the hill to the Seneca Grand Prix go kart track, where I tried out the NASKARTS. These are go karts that have psuedo NASCAR bodystyles and paint jobs. You sit way down in there, get strapped in by a 3-point harness, and then they close the roof on you. I ended up getting the #7 Exide car, which my wife thought was pretty ironic. Once they gave us the green flag, I floored it and started passing cars. One guy spun and they remotely cut off the ignition in all the cars by radio control, which surpised me. Once we got going again, I started passing again. I was able to pass the other three cars in front of me, and came within a couple kart lengths of lapping them. When I got out of the kart, I realized that I just finished racing against Dick Morano, Jeff Barner (sp?), and his brother, whom work at Xerox and are on the NASCAR DL. After the karting, my wife and I headed to Montour Falls to the Jamesway parking lot, where they had show cars, a simulator, vendors, and Ricky Craven signing autographs. There, my wife finally found her bumper sticker, thus ending her mission and making her very happy. (Note: the prices at the vendors here were much better than those at the track.) (FYI - I picked up some extra Kyle Petty & Kenny Schrader photocards if anyone is interested.) Then we headed back into town and ate dinner at Mr. Chicken - yummy!! Afterwards, we headed back to our B&B and then later went searching for ice cream. From our B&B, we could hear race cars on the other side of the lake, which we later determined were from a short track in Dundee.

Saturday morning we got up and were served another wonderful breakfast of fresh fruit, apple pancakes, breads, juices, coffee and more. And we don't have to do the dishes! During breakfast, we got to chat with the other couples staying at the B&B and found out that one couple was a part of the Butch Leitzinger team, and the husband would act as a spotter during the WC race. Since it was raining, we took our time getting to the track, and went antique shopping in Montour Falls. By the time we got to the track, there were several reports that Dale Eanrhardt and Mark Martin had taken some laps in special Goodyear rain tires designed for Winston Cups and road courses. The BGN Burnham 150 race was rain delayed and we caught the restart while walking the around the track. We sat up in the grandstands at the top of the esses for quite a while, which proved to be a very interesting viewing spot. As we walked along the inside of turn 2, we noticed a NY State Trooper that had his radar gun pointed out the window up the esses. We didn't stop to ask how fast they were going, but I saw numbers near of 100 MPH. After that, we checked out the new grandstands near the inside of the 90, which were okay but nothing special. We then walked up behind the pit area near the paddock and ran into several Trans Am teams and drivers, and then onto the winner's circle to see Joe Bessey take the trophy. (If you see a guy in a pink Ford Motorsport hat, glasses and a moustache standing next to a blond with a Mark Martin shirt on, thats us!) We decided to head into to town to catch a bite to eat and then over to the Watkins Glen High School to hear Ernie Irvan speak. Boy, talk about disappointments. The event was sponsored by the local Assembly of God and Motor Racing Outreach, which should have been our warning. Max Helton, from MRO, stood up first and addressed the audience of only a hundred or so people. Then, Ernie's talk consisted of his testimony regarding how MRO & Max Helton in particular, were responsbile for him giving his life to Jesus Christ. He rambled on without any real direction for, a while, about how he went to church as a child, and then how he got involved in MRO. He then focused in the day when he gave his life to Christ at Pocono some years ago, and how he thought that was the reason why he was still here today. He said that he has learned to respect and appreciate life more now than before the accident, that nearly took his life about one year ago. After Ernie's evangelical appeal, Max got back up and told people that there would be no pictures or autographs, and asked security to take Ernie out of the room. He then asked for people to devote their life to Christ then led the group in prayer. We left quite discouraged, and so did quite a few others.....

Sunday morning we were up bright and early with another great breakfact prepared and served by our hostess. (We're doing this B&B thing again next year!) We took the patented back roads to the track, but still caught a heavy line of traffic on Rte 16 near the track, and it was still before 8:00 am! We found a good parking spot near gate 4 (won't devulge my secret on this one) and then went to stake out our claim for a spot along the fence outside the 90 at the end of the front straight. We ran into a bunch of great guys and one gal who were there courtesy of Budweiser. One of the guys worked for Bud, so we got free beer and Bud can coolers. He wasn't able to get passes to the Bud tent though, but he said he was working it for next year! This year we watched the race from one spot, instead of walking the track as we normally do, because my wife had an injured hip. We witnessed several spins in the 90, which is always an exciting place to watch the race, especially at the start when 3 or 4 cars try to get through the corner at the same time. Our new friend was quite dismayed when I told him that the Budweiser car & Kenny were out of the race :-( My wife, being a big mark Martin fan, was worried that Mark wouldn't be able to come back up through the field after taking on fuel near the end of the race. But I assured her that if anyone could do catch Wally Dallenbach, it was Mark Martin. It was interesting to note that the MRN announcers (including Eli Gold) didn't realize that Wally had ran in last year's race, and had finished 2nd to Mark as well. They kept saying that it was his first Winston Cup race, which was incorrect. After mark took the checkered flag at around 3:30 pm, we hustled out of the track to my truck, got into the line of traffic leaving the Glen, and headed home. Since I take the back roads, we were out of traffic by 4:00 pm and home by 5:30 pm. Not bad at all. That night we listened to John Kucko on 990 AM radio, who was broadcasting live from the Glen.

What a great weekend, and terrific weather on Sunday! After the rains on Saturday, I thought for sure we'd see a repeat of the Mud at the Glen from a couple years ago. Glad I was wrong :-)

Happy Motoring :-) =Ken=

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Series NASCAR-CUP