18 hours ago
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Wow, what a weekend!! April, my mom, and I drove down for the Great American Race...the Daytona 500!! We met at the hotel in Jacksonville on Saturday night, then had some dinner at Whitey's Fish Camp, www.whiteysfishcamp.com It was some decent seafood, not the best, but good. Conversation and company was GREAT!
We got up early Sunday and headed down I-95 to Daytona Beach. We thought about grabbing a few geocaches along the way, but I am glad that we decided not too. Once we got to the designated parking lot, we realized that there was going to be a LOT of people here today. Boy were we right!! Waited in line for the bus to take us to the track - the good ol' yellow school bus!! Could not even begin to tell you how long it had been since I had been on a school bus....17 years maybe?
After we got off the bus and made our way towards the grandstands, the excitement of the race started to grow. I was able to get some free Sprint Fanzone passes, so we were able to get down onto the track and pit road. I knew mom would love this, and I was right! She was thoroughly enjoying herself!! After we walked the track (and me looking at the result of many many hours of sweat during the repaving project) we made our way to our seats. The sun was out and there was not a single cloud in the sky....total racing weather perfection! The pre-race concert by Brad Paisley was good, but I think we all just wanted those cars to fire up and get on the track!!!
Martina McBride sung the National Anthem - I think she has sung it for over 100 sporting events....maybe it is her way to get in free!!! When the command to start the engines came, I think the crowd was louder than the cars themselves! Everyone was primed and ready to go...RACING!
The green flag came out and things got crazy and stayed crazy. This race ended up having a record number of cautions, leaders, and total lead changes. Engines were blowing, cars were wrecking, drivers were putting theirs cars anywhere they thought it would fit! End the end, it was the rookie, Trevor Bayne in the famed #21 Motorcraft Wood Brothers Ford that took the checkered flag. Just turned 20 they day before....20 years old! The youngest driver to ever win the Daytona 500...5 years younger than Jeff Gordon when he won in 1997. I think the crowd was extremely happy to see him win....probably due to everyone's favorite having a beat up car! The race should have been renamed the Daytona Derby!!
After the race, we decided to drive up A1A and stop so April could see the Atlantic Ocean. Nothing beats the smell of salt water in the air. Decided to stop in Flagler Beach and have dinner on the Flagler Pier. Nice restaurant - very quiet on a Sunday night. Just a few people eating and talking about the race. Nothing but positive things about the track and the racing.
Once we got back to the hotel, it did not take long before the snoring started!! We were all worn out....but it was an unbelievable trip! Got up Monday, grabbed a biscuit, kissed mom goodbye, and April and I were on the road back home. Could not wait to see the kiddos!!