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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What an incredible weekend... PREPARE FOR A LONG POST!

DAY 1

The weekend started over a month ago (early Dec.) when I mentioned to my dad that I would be going to this race. We had been to several NASCAR races together in the past, which I always felt was more of a suggestion of fatherly support on his part rather than a genuine interest in racing - he lives for fly fishing rather than track days. After hearing me talk about this race, he actually expressed some genuine interest in going with me. On Christmas morning, I was pleasantly surprised by two tickets in an envelope - this would be the first father-son time we've had in quite a while.

Before I get to the trip (and the pics) - I have to give more background. After researching the various ticket packages being offered, I came across the Milestones package which gives you all sorts of access as well as a parade lap of the circuit in your own car Friday afternoon. It turns out that after taking my car in Mon for a drivetrain issue I've been having (http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=98911), I learned Wed afternoon that I wouldnt have it back in time for the weekend grrrrrrr. The white lining on this dismal cloud was that I was able to sell the ticket to board member Cantresjr the day before the race and he told me he would be happy to have me join him for the parade laps :cheers:.

We got to Daytona around 8 am Friday morning. I have been here before at last years 500, but had never been in the infield.

Heading in through the tunnel at turn 4:



Once we parked, we walked around for a bit and checked out some of the car displays - we couldnt get into the Sprint Fan Zone (where all the cool stuff was until 9).

The new Pontiac GXP-R (looks like a race spec G6):



I would later learn how much respect these cars deserve... I believe they all finished the race and they unbelievable to listen to. After this weekend, I will no longer be shocked at the site of a Pontiac passing a Porsche GT3 for Ferrari F430 on the track... cause it happened alot in the course of the weekend.

Here are some shots we took of past winners... its easy to tell who my favorites were:









We then wandered over the garage to take some pics of some of the GT cars... Like many young children I often pondered what exactly Heaven might look like. Could this be it this overwhelmingly disorganized scene - cars coming and going, engines revving, wrenches turning, eager fans peering into garages, conversing with one another, asking questions, everyone enthusiastic and extremely friendly. Yes, this was certainly Heaven, or at least the way it should be.

Here are some shots of cars through the glass of their stalls...



More pics of cars in the garage area... I will never get tired of the lines on P-cars... in full race spec they look (and sound!) so mean :eek:.



I was really eager to see these RX8s on the course... I know the history and was eager to see the rotary engine prove the naysayers wrong again (bad reflection off glass here).



And finally some Porsche ear candy - turn your volume up (or down if your at work):

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Finally it was time to go meet up with Jorge (Cantresjr) to give him his ticket... He was coming up from Miami. He told me on Thurs night that he would be leaving around 6 and would look to be there around 9 (do the math, that is 266 miles in 3 hrs meaning he would have to average 89 mph - not too hard, but certainly aggressive). After I had called him to see where he was he told me he had hit traffic due to a wreck but should be there in 30 min. No problem I thought. We decided to leave the infield so we could meet him somewhere outside the venue, which was starting to fill up quick.

After 30 min of waiting (damn you Jorge! :p) he pulled in with his Lemans Blue M5. Upon his arrival something immediate caught my eye (aside from the AA looking intake vents - would later learn they were the "HD" ones) - he had rubber molding sticking out one of the cracks in his hood. He hopped out, we introduced ourselves, and he immediately popped his hood to fix the problem. "Guess she didn't like 155," Jorge said. I knew we would get along beautifully.

I gave him his ticket and we decided to head back into the venue. Before entering, I decided I should hop in Jorge's car in case they direct him to his reserved parking area which could make it tough to track him down later - this place is huge! I told Pops I would catch up with him later and was surprised to hear him say, "Take your time... I got plenty of things I want to do." He was already getting the itch!

Jorge and I were directed to the Southwest corner of the infield where we parked among some exceptional company. Here are a few of our "neighbors."







Jorge and I both knew that all you guys would appreciate this baby...



He bought his car as a rusted heap like a year ago...



The owner of this car was buddies with one of the Automatic Racing BMW drivers (who was going to ride with him on the lap), so we decided to get a picture - John Miller I think his name was. His daily driver is an Audi A4 Wagon... interesting.



Some GM jewelry...



Apparently, there was a twin-turbo C6 corvette here as well sporting ZO6 badging, but I never got a pic of it.

We were approaching our 11:00 departure time for the parade laps, and on schedule, someone came over and told us to get in our cars and to be safe - no stupid stuff! Apparently we werent allowed to get on the banking either and passing was prohibited. When we were pulling out we were sure to get behind our new buddies in the 2002.



The captain was ready to go... with his M racing gloves and all (I will be looking to buy these now - damn you Jorge).



The track experience was pretty funny - there were some seriously fast cars with Chevy Silverados, PT Cruisers, and even Tahoes mixed in. The fast cars would wait for the slow ones to go way ahead and they go at it for a bit. We did the same. At this point Jorge will hopefully post his videos we took in his car. I wont spoil the fun, but lets just say that the driver of the red 2002 didnt follow the rules too well and was escorted off the track. Hilarious. He even let me drive one of the laps in an incredible gesture of kindness - thanks again Jorge - your the man :applause:!

After it was done we walked back over to the Sprint Fan Zone - I went and caught up with my dad and Jorge headed off to enjoy the lavish lunch in the Daytona 500 compliments of his newly acquired Milestone ticket. How was that by the way? Good food? Free beer?

My dad and I walked around a while more - got some food and then figured out where we would sit to watch the final Rolex Series practice. We settled on a row of bleaches after the first horseshoe in the infield. Caught a quick vid of the Automatic Racing M6 going by... I almost got a tear in my eye :sad2: when I heard it... seriously. It was like watching my son execute a perfect heel-toe downshift.... except I dont have a son and I cant even do perfect heel-toe downshifts myself. Anyway, it was good.

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Another video from the same spot... listen for the RX8 - the high pitch from their rotary motors was audible from anywhere in the complex.

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After the practice was over, we decided to go to the main grandstand for the Koni Series race so we could actually see the whole track and follow the race. We sat on the lower level, just to the left of the main grandstand, right in front of where the cars turned into the infield before returning back to the track 100 yards up.

Here is a shot of our view:



It was alot of fun seeing Acura TSXs (one RSX), Miatas, a Mazda 5, a Honda Accord, BMW 330s, Minis, BMW Z4s, Pontiac G6s, GTIs, Mustangs, GTOs, M3s, RX8s, and several others compete against each other. The ST division consists of basically stock cars prepped for racing. Motors stay the same (minor work for cooling and exhaust) and thats it. Pretty cool really... I wont even look at RSXs the same. I think this one won the ST division actually...



The Mustangs were also fun to watch and for a while they ran up front for the GS class - dad actually got emotional saying how happy he was to see American cars (after all the gloom and doom of the American auto industry) running up front. He's so patriotic! I ended up cheering for the Mustangs too - they were damned fast and sounded great... at least until they both left the race (and didnt return). I took this opportunity to explain to dad exactly why the american auto industry is in a perpetual downward spiral - I dont think he was paying attention - he was too distracted looking at pit lane hoping his precious (and severely broken) mustangs would return. Once he realized they were done, he said, "Oh, the hell with those piece of $h!t Mustangs. I like the Pontiacs now." Whatever...

After the race we headed to Hooters to dominate some hot wings and cold beer (I was actually hoping I would have an opportunity to dominate one particularly waitress... but it didnt work out). 30 wings and 4 beers (yummy!) later it was time to head back to our condo (about 30 miles north in Palm City) to take much needed showers.

I had just settled down on the couch when I get a text from Jorges saying that he is meeting up with Alex Roy and that I needed to be at this restaurant, Chops, at 9. Dammit, I was exhausted (hadnt slept the night before) and the thought of taking a nap was EXTREMELY appealing. However, I reminded myself that life was short and that I knew I would regret not going, so, up and at em! Dad was a trooper too. We drove 45 min to get there, and upon pulling in, we were greeted by the Polizei M5 sitting out front. Wow, I thought, I finally get to see this beast.



There was a guy standing by the car we talked to for a while - cant remember his name but he was part of the Fastlanedaily.com crew. He said he helped outfit this car (think he might have said his background was in engineering). He told us to go inside - everyone was in there. We walk in and immediately we realize we are totally under-dressed - I still hadn't changed from my racing garb (never showered) but realized with this group wardrobes would probably not be on the agenda. We walked to the back where I saw Jorge sitting in the corner next to a man I would meet moments later - the great Machtig! Alex was wearing his white leather Polizei jacket with a teal scarf - interesting combo. You can tell this guy is a character before you even talk to him. Jorge immediately introduced my dad and I and we all proceeded to shoot the $h!t for a while. I also quickly met Dave Maher (the copilot of his record run) and talked to him at length. I was shocked that all these guys seemed like normal dudes - you could tell they were all wealthy, but they had no need to impress and seemed to judge no one. Alex eventually invited me (and my dad) to come sit with him while he ate. I had asked if I could buy a book (he immediately produced one) and after I paid a nominal fee he informed me that I needed to figure out what he should write in it. I didnt know - and after discussing it, he admitted that he never knows what to write either. Him asking me to sit was his way of trying to get to know me, so he could learn something to write in my book that would be relevant and personal. Impressive that a guy with so much going on goes out of his way like this for complete strangers. He asked several questions: "What is the worst ticket you've ever gotten?" I thought, and told him, "26 over." Pretty good I thought, he wont think im a total dork. "26 huh? And what was the speed limit... your not gonna tell me 25 or something." Dammit, I was screwed. "Uhh, 45?" I immediately tried to regain some self-respect: "I have gotten tickets in 7 different states however." No luck. He wasn't impressed. After getting half-way through his book, I understand why. I was still in the kiddie pool of moving violations. Not sure if the adult pool is one I want to jump into - at least not until my bank account can handle the hit of a new car after mine gets impounded. Only time will tell...

Anyway, despite my efforts, he decided that I was still a dork in the world of outlaw driving (I think its the fact that I am still ticket free - knock knock - in the M5 that made up his mind), and decided to sign my book with the following: "Dear Mr. Mitchell Jr., Please read this closely. It may put some salsa on your salad. Best, Alex Roy."

Who the hell puts salsa on their salad anyway? Not sure I want salsa on my salad ever... although I understood his point. I'm not living life until I've committed a felony moving violation. I'll have to think about that one... Anyway, here is a pic of me and Alex. I'm all sunburn from watching the races all day.



After some more talking and swapping of stories, I said goodbye to everyone and pops and I headed home, concluding the best day I can remember having... probably ever.

DAY 2 (WILL CONTINUE TOMORROW)
 

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I love that tunnel picture, The guards just before it are always intresting to deal with.
Hopefully you guys went to the speedway museum just to the right of the entrance.

How wet did you guys get? I know it wasn't bad as a few years back when we had the super long red flag.
 

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So who got all the 2002 crazyness on track on video? The owner, Scott, told me one of the M5 guys got it on video and was going to post the video on here. I'd love to see it!
 

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Excellent photo journal. I was there as well (also doing the father/son thing, interestingly). We decided to catch the Koni challenge and the start of the 24 from the grandstands as well, but we were a little farther to the left -- in the the Roberts section, I think. We had something very similar to the milestones tickets, with the reserved parking (fat lot of good that did when we found out the reserved area was completely full Saturday by 10:30am) and access to the Champions Club (thank goodness for that bit of dry/warm heaven).

I thought I hit the lottery Saturday afternoon when I saw Alex Roy drive by on the infield access road and I got a wave after shouting to him, but clearly you won it with dinner and a real conversation. Oh, and I counted 3 separate e39 M5s during the weekend (should've left notes) and also noted several of the cars in your pictures. Saw that gray 335 rolling by Sunday with a kid in a carseat in the back with shades on looking every bit as badass as his pop in the front.

Loved the experience, but gotta tell you, it might be one I just check the box on. I am still so exhausted my eyes hurt. Would you do it again?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So who got all the 2002 crazyness on track on video? The owner, Scott, told me one of the M5 guys got it on video and was going to post the video on here. I'd love to see it!
Hopefully Cantresjr will chime in and add his videos... it really was funny. Was Scott the driver? He was a funny dude. Seeing the motorcycle cops tear after him was hilarious...
 

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i have the video just gimme a little while(got to make wife happy first) and i'll post. Scott is actually a sponsor (or the sponsor) for automatic racing. so i learned later.
sorry for the short post, but i am at work.
thanks,ccm41 and will see you soon.
 

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Very nice post.
Wish I had been there. I watched most of it on my DVR with a lot of fast forward...
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
DAY 2 - SORRY ITS LATE (M5board hasnt been agreeable these past 2 days)

On Saturday morning I struggled to wake up from a mostly sleepless night - spent most the night thinking about how much I wished I was in the racing business. Anyway, we got out to the track at around 12 - weather was bad again - damp, windy, and pretty cold. We decided again that the grandstand was the best place to actually see what was going on, and parked in the main lot next to the biggest tent I've ever seen (setting up for the 500 already). We made our way up to the very top level (after about 500 steps) and parked ourselves in the padded seats with a full cooler of beer and food - again, I knew it would be a good day.

Its amazing how long the staging for this race took - they went through a pre-race ceremony similar to what I've seen at the 500. I guess I thought sports car racing was more straight to the point, but I guess pomp and circumstance is important in creating allure. The teams were introduced one by one along with a reading of each team's "bio" as they walked their cars from the garage to the starting grid. Fans were also allowed to leave the grandstand and line the rope of pit lane as the staging took place - it was really weird to see people standing (and lounging) all over the track. The drivers and their teams posed for pictures as they found their respective spots. Heres some shots:

Not everyday you see people sitting on the track...







Almost ready... notice the shiny new G8 pace car - maybe I should get a Pontiac? Just kidding.



The start of the race was pretty cool - love how they do it in two groups. Here are some random pics then on to the good vids...

Early pit stop... notice the Mustang which wouldnt see the finish line waiting next to the Ganassi machine.



Your supposed to brake before you turn!



Theres actually people in the stands in this shot... wouldn't be the case later on!



Does anyone really ride this ferris wheel?



Enjoying the Miller Lite, although whiskey probably would have kept me warmer...



Getting dark... seeing cars with lights coming down the main straight was different.



Fireworks at 10 pm... had to be distracting to the drivers considering they went off right next to the entrace of the chicane...



After telling Pops about the track side experience along the straight (I've done it for a restart at the 500 and it was ridiculous!) he finally insisted that we go down. Here are a couple videos... note my reaction on video 2. That was the eventual winner right up against the wall at 195... Again, turn your volume up (down if your at work!).

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The good one!

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Thats all I got... this thread will get much better when Cantresjr posts his vids! Overall great experience - I will definitely make this a yearly thing. We should try and do something more organized for next year... theres no reason to get shown up by the Porsche guys like that. Cheers!
 

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we deffinetly have to do a M5board.com group for next time.
central florida bmw.org had thier members and camp site at the races.
great bunch of guys.
i know you are waiting for my pics and vids but lately this board has been a little busy. but hopefully tomorrow i'll hook you guys up.
 

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I'm still impressed with the sound of the air the car can move before it comes by(you hear it before the exhaust).
 

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THAT was bloody hysterical, those banks are no joke. What was his estimated speed, and how badly did you want to follow him? :)
 

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ohhh! i almost did follow but i held back, good thing though.

his speed i cant't really tell maybe 90-100 or less
 

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Seriously, there are two classic stories now. The one that you told about the guy in the 2002 on the bank at Daytona, and the one he is telling. Classic.

For the record, i am too much of a chicken to do what he did.
 

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lol - unknown, but sure would be interesting to hear what the heck he was thinking.
 

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Discussion Starter #19

Here is the video of the 2002 on the banking at Daytona.

sorry for the wait, between work, wife and kids it took a while.:thumbsup:
:applause: Haha... there it is. Just as funny as I remember...we should have followed him - maybe even made a pass. Do you have any of the others?
 
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