Friday, June 26, 2009

Sonoma! Or Why I still love road courses.

I ventured out of Iowa last week to attend the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway.  I've always liked road courses, mainly because it looks like it would be (a) a lot of work to drive and (b) more fun than driving in circles for hours.

Attending the race there confirmed for me that Nascar needs to keep both road course races and add one to the Chase.  First, TV does not do justice to the steep inclines and sharp corners on the track.  And the TV coverage does not get all the action going on all over the track.

The facility itself is great, as I would expect from SMI, but the seating in the Start/Finish Grandstand was intriguing.  The chairs were hard plastic (like patio furniture), but had a fold down individual seat.  I love it!  I didn't feel like I was sitting on the people next to me and had room to stretch my legs. 

The seating in the other turns is concrete block with a terraced walkway built into the side of a hill.  You'd definitely want a soft cushion if you intended to sit there for the whole race!

I was amazed how well I could see portions of the track, although not all turns were visible from where I was seated.  I doubt all turns are visible from anywhere you could be seated.  But if I go again (more a question of time and money than desire), I'd probably sit in Turn 7.  Turn 7 features the sharp right hand turn down into the esses and was where most of the punting action occurred on Sunday.

Getting in and out was very easy.  I did hang around after the race to talk to friends and to participate the the track walk.  I still left the track for my car within 60-90 minutes of the checkered flag.  My car wasn't parked too far away, and the trams and other transportation were still running when I left.  However, I basically got into my car and drove out of the parking lot!  I've only done that before after a Nascar race at Darlington - Indy doesn't count since I don't park in the lots.  I know several other people who got stuck in the other lots or on the highway, but my experience was great as far as the parking went.

Overall, I'd highly recommend a trip to a road course.  You'll have a lot of fun, learn a few things, and be one of the few fans who gets to a Nascar race at a road course.


klvalus said...

You hit on a lot of things I love about Infineon. Turn 7 is amazing to watch from and I dont think you can really get the scope of the elevation changes on that track.

Had tons of fun with you! So glad you made it out...

RA6AN said...

Hey, it's the Hot Rock Girl, Iowa! Great observations. Turn 7 was a cool vantage point, but I'd definitely have to get a seat cushion with a back. Maybe Rear Gear.

I'll let you know when i get my photos together and we'll hafta swap. I'd like some of the pix with Valli.

Iowa-Girl said...

KLV - I had a ton of fun too. We'll have to "reunion" again sometime!

Ra6an - I'd love to share photos - I know you have some awesome ones. I think I'll try to get mind posted on snapfish sometime soon and send a link out to everyone.