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50th running of the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona

What a crazy weekend this turned out to be. Let me start by stated this wasn’t my first trip and will not be last. The event as a whole was nothing short of insane and by insane it covers the highs and the lows which were all equally insane.

here are the liner notes

  • The three us left at 5am on Friday morning for the 8.5 hr trip, not knowing if we had a campsite that we paid for.
  • Trip down was fairly uneventful, the car was ok and got great milage 31mpg! loaded to the max. There was this one jackass pulling a huge camper and a rear bike mount attached to the front of his rig with two scooters on it, it was so unsafe and ridiculous.
  • Also on the trip down saw a hauler full of FISKER Karma’s. Very impressive.
  • Arrived at the track around 2:30pm in time to see the BMW performance 200.  We were also easily able to locate space for our camp site. Which we were told at the entrance it was full. (that sums up the staff at DIS)
  • We were going to get dinner at Shells but its gone, literally closed. Instead we hit up “Winghouse” a blatant Hooters ripoff but with way better food.
  • Don’t buy fire wood from retail. I knew this going in but we didnt have any options. We were originally going to take down some but thats when we were going to take the dodge and had massive room but also a massive gas note to spilt up. Took us 2 hrs to get it going and it smoked like a freight train from being so wet. Plus most of our strong juice was consumed during this time.
  • We did have the pleasure of conversing with some cool guys from Michigan, thats what camping is all about.
  • I weep the for future of Florida, if this group of underage alcoholics reflects the general teenage angst of Florida they are doomed. Seriously if you ask passersby “what grade they’re in?” theres some major issues. These out of control teens weren’t there for the event, hell they were gone by sunday at first light. They just there to get tanked, talk trash to teenage girls with little clothes on, and to talk trash to grown men that aren’t intoxicated and carry hydroshocks and cold steel. Self restraint was really tested within our group, even upon confronting these jokers there was denial. I thought there were Rednecks in NC, at least ours are polite and respectful of personal space.
  • Saturday = Race day: Bubba and Anna came to but met up with us later as they didnt have infield parking,  We had them grab us more firewood and some ice. The short of it is it took us 4 hours to get back to the campsite, because DIS is stupid. At least it was 2 hours before the start.
  • A bit before the start we head to the staging lanes my favorite place to be, screw the autograph session in the fanzone. The staging lanes has the Cars and the Drivers hanging out and you can feel the excitement. I check with the others and they really didn’t care for autographs but i always enjoy getting a couple so I head the turner bmws. I find #94 and get the full roster ( Billy Johnson, Boris Said, Paul Dalla Lana, and Bill Auberlen) plus another year and another pic with Boris. Should’ve have gotten Bill Turners, he was right be side of me didn’t notice till i looked at the pics later. However I think I Jinxed them, while waiting for the last sig I decided to to leave my own on the door of the 94 car.. damn it, the 94 did not finish. however the 93 turner car finished 27th.
  • Head to the grandstands upper level for the start and grab some food. Did I mention the weather? It was Amazing!
  • During the night the Oryx Racing R8 had a mishap and was towed right by our tent, Sweet!
  • Met a couple more peeps from Miami Saturday night they pitched camp with us and shared our fire. During the night on saturday while conversing with them, the teens couple sites over had a 40′ tall fire which contained furniture and xmas trees. This proved to be ill advised considering the Daytona PD decided to show up Saturday but not on Friday. Next thing we see is a full size fire truck followed by a large puff of smoke. Their weekend ended early thank god, towed and tickets… Awesome!
  • My Saturday night nap had some bad timing, and slept thru the massive fireworks display.
  • Garrett Slept 12hrs Saturday night. 12hr = half the race.
  • Sunday am Jay and I are standing round the fire brushing our teethlo. We notice the fuzz right beside us but think nothing of it as they made their presence known all weekend. As we’re watching we notice an unmarked van back into the site next to us and a gurney comes out the back! We instantly look at each other and say coroner?! Sure enough some dude went to sleep Saturday night and didn’t wake up, alcohol poisoning is what we were able to gather. The guy investigating didn’t like me taking a pic at all. Still nothing on the news about this, I bet DIS did what they could for that not to be public.. WILD!
  • We make our way to watch a good bit of the race on Sunday, did a lot of sight seeing around the grounds. Pack up the car and tent prior so we could make an easy getaway. Head to the Party Pad for the finish, it was the tightest finish I’ve ever heard of for this race the top 3 finishers were on the same lap and the top 2 in GT were as well. It may have been the angle but the finish was anticlimactic in a way. Maybe its because we knew the craziness had just abruptly ended.
  • Upon our exit hit up the 5$ Little Caesars large pizza and do lunch in the parking lot, retained the rest of the pies for a cold dinner.
  • We jump on the highway at 4:30pm and arrive in Welcome a little after midnight. On the way up, deer everywhere and smoke. Yea Smoke, smoke from the forest fire that claimed the lives of 10 others on the highway adjacent (hwy 75).. The air was horrid for the whole trip actually not just but a general stench.
  • Monday I took the day off, thank god. Its odd not having earplugs in anymore and having to come off of that adrenaline filled weekend. Biscuitville wasn’t a bad remedy to get me back to reality.



Video: The Start from UPPER grandstand


.photo credit: forgeline.

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