Hooniverse Weekend Edition: A Stroll Through The Rolex Series Garage

By this time, every other website that is going to cover the Roar Before The 24, occurring down here in the World Center of Racing last weekend, has done so, this olelongrooffan decided I would chime in with my take on it. Yeah, I am just full of yesterday’s news. Now, if my fellow Hoons are looking for a statistic filled post about which cars were the fastest (Corvette Prototype), who was accused of “sand bagging” their testing to disguise their actual speeds (Chip Ganassi) or what Micheal Waltrip had to say about entering his first Grand American Road Racing event (too much to list), my fellow Hoons would do well to consider other sources for that information. In my usual “pseudo folksy” style, come take a stroll though the Rolex Series garage with this olelongrooffan last Saturday. Just after seeing what could be seen in the parking lot out in the grassy infield area, I headed into the Fan Zone and stopped by the Continental tire booth, filled out a questionaire with totally bogus absolutely factual information and received a free one size fits all cap. Incidentally, I did the same on the way out. I would suspect one of these hats will make its way to a fellow Hoon next Hoonimas. Just adjacent to that booth babe filled tent was this set up for changing tires on race cars. I believe every race I have ever attended has had something like this. As I had, previously that day, been busy working on “The Charles Barrett Special” this olelongrooffan decided to, once again, take a pass on this automotive experience. As I was headed to the garage area, I spotted Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas chatting it up with Bob Varsha on the “SPEED stage.” These two Chip Ganassi drivers, combined with Graham Rahal and Joey Hand, will be defending their 2011 series victory during this year’s 50 anniversary running of this race in their #01 Daytona Prototype. This olelongrooffan stopped just long enough just to grab this image and moved along. I usually pass on these type of events as most of the time the answers are merely canned responses thought up by marketing types. It’s alot more fun to quiz these guys in the garage, more “by the seat of the pants” responses seem to be gotten that way. Anyway, I headed through gate 413 and into the garage area. As has been the norm the past few years, the first two garage stalls were the aforementioned Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabantes Daytona Protoypes. I am always in awe of the size and the complexity of design on these pieces of carbon fiber which make up the bulk of the bodywork on these machines. And by the fact they are so light that two normal size people can move them about with ease. Just a few garages stalls down, I spotted the Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing new Corvette Prototype undergoing some scrutiny from a couple wrenches while a third grabs a drink to go with his lunch stacked atop those coolers to the right. Yeah, this olelongrooffan had arrived during their lunch hour and, as a result, the racecars were in the garage and the crew members were relatively relaxed. And grabbing a bite on the run seemed to be necessary for the wrenches while the drivers and other muckity mucks had a leisurely lunch in the shade of the ramp on the rear of their transporter. And if any of my fellow Hoons feel as if the Boss at work is always peering over your shoulder to make sure you are being productive, how would you like to have these hooligans peering through the window watching you all the time? For some reason this olelongrooffan can’t really define, I have always liked the Krohn Racing team. Tracy Krohn formed this team in 2006 and has done rather well in the Rolex Series although an overall season title has thus far eluded him. But to have a smallish, one car team stay competitive with the Chip Ganassi sized organizations which surround he and his team is pretty impressive to this olelongrooffan. Just feeling a little artsy fartsy here. Move on. Move on. As an aside, Krohn Racing teams have, in the past few years and in Ferraris, competed in the 24 Hours of Lemans, the 12 Hours of Sebring, as well as the Petit Lemans in the ALMS series with some degree of success. Luckily, these rain tires weren’t necessary on the Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce bearing weather Saturday in early January. However, a set or two are usually necessary during the running of the Rolex24. It seems Camaros are everywhere this year, both in the Rolex Series as well as the Continental Tire Series. I remember a couple years ago (or whatever year it was) when this new Camaro body style was introduced, I happened to be in the garage when I spotted my first Camaro race car still smelling of fresh paint. I asked one of the team honchos “hadn’t they had previously run the new Mustangs?” He answered in the affirmative and this olelongrooffan asked him why the switch to the Camaro? His response? “Because we can,” with a grin from ear to ear. And this Corvette, other than the Prototypes, was the only Corvette I spotted on the track that day. I asked one of the team members if this was the same #46 Corvette team who used to run under the ReMax real estate banner? He said yes but it had been a couple tough years and they were happy to be back albeit with a different sponsor. “How many team members does it take to put tape on the front of a race car?” Three it would appear. Down the road a piece, this olelongrooffan spotted this gentleman climbing into the cockpit of one of the Patrick Dempsey racing team Mazda RX8s, the sister car to the one without brakes our beloved Kamil saw at the NAISAIS (or whatever) show last week. And yes my fellow Hoons, carbon fiber factors into the construction of these race cars also. Now, if this olelongrooffan may digress for a moment. (not that you really have a choice) I have a friend whom I have known for nearly 20 years. She is one of these women who reads every People, US, Entertainment Weekly and every other such celebrity based rags published. She is friends on facebook with every celebrity who will accept and anytime this olelongrooffan needs to know who a celeb is, I just drop her a text or give her a call and she educates me with more about that particular celebrity than I really even care about. How does this relate to racing and this olelongrooffan? Well, she is a huge fan of Patrick Dempsey and would do anything to be in his presence, even if for just a moment or two. Anyway, last year when I mentioned “Dr. McDreamy’s” race team held a charity function just before the race to my little sister type of friend, she went all GaGa and said if the same thing happens this year, she is coming up to attend. Recently, I told her it was happening again but she would have to buy a ticket for the race as well as cough up a few bucks to attend that event. “John,” she said to me, “I don’t care what it costs, I’ll pay anything to meet Patrick Dempsey. He hangs my moon!” Well, I guess this Hoon will have a house guest at the Taj Mahal that weekend and in a most likely manner, have a spare ticket to the race while my friend heads back to Naples after having her moon hung. Sorry for that digression but I find it humorous. “Get Back To The Garage LRF!!!” I can hear my fellow Hoons screaming at me across these interwebs. You got it. Turner Motorsports has two BMWs in the Rolex series as well as another pair of identically clad M3s in the Continental Series. They have a great Facebook page and have posted some images of their team in action at the Roar Before The 24 on that site. In addition to Krohn Racing, another perennial favorite team for this olelongrooffan is the Brumos Porsche team based out of Jacksonville, Florida. Last year was the first time since the inception of the Daytona Prototype in 2001 (?Brad, ?Brad) that Brumos did not enter a DP. They have devoted the efforts of their organization on fielding a 911 in the GT category as it better represents the products they sell through their series of Porsche dealerships. Next to their garage stall, I spotted this kid applying old school weatherstrip adhesive to those lug nuts to hold them in place, one of the few things this race series has in common with the NASCAR racecar series. A further piece down garage road, this olelongrooffan spotted this matte black finished Mustang that just looked menacing. I’m curious to see how well they fare against those Porsches, Corvettes, BMWs and these Audi R10s R8s sporting V10s. There were several of them parked within a few adjoining garage stalls and they were gearing up to head out on to the track as the lunch hour was winding down. After these cars had vacated the area, I stopped one of the “suits”, although in this case it was an embroidered polo style shirt and khakis, and asked what Audi Sport customer racing is. He mentioned, in his German accented voice, it turns out it is a service offered by the Audi factory that provides race support to customer teams. Basically, the customer buys a fully prepared R10 and Audi provides wrenches, spare parts and transportation of the race cars to selected venues. And, of course, this olelongrooffan asked how much this service costs. He mentioned he wasn’t sure of the costs in the GrandAm series but in the European GT 1 series it was 350,000 euros for a 12 race schedule. Now, this olelongrooffan is not sure what the GT 1 series is nor if nearly 30,000 euros per race is a bargain or not. But kudos to Audi for providing this service so these Hoons can get out and have fun in their machines. One guy who opted out of that experience is this privateer Audi R8. This was a rare car as it was not covered in sponsorship decals. It certainly is a clean looking race car but I would suspect that it is possibly a fairly newish team as a tad later, out at the east horseshoe, its driver got this car a bit out of sorts with the ass end wiggling all over the place, much to the amusement of we spectators in the adjacent viewing area. By this time, this olelongrooffan was getting a bit weary so, after a quick trip to Victory Lane to view the trophy for this year’s race, I headed up to the upper deck in the Fan Zone above the garages to enjoy a sammich and a coke. After lunch this olelongrooffan decided to head over to the Continental Series garages and see what could be seen for that venue. But that’s another post. Til then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here