Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sonoma Race Report 2011 - Friday

Cheers from wine country!   Another weekend of perfect weather and good times with my fellow bloggers – Tez, RA6AN and CR Racing.   Here’s the scoop from Friday and Saturday at the track…

The best part of my race weekend is coming into the garages for the first time and getting big hugs and hellos from my crew and my friends in the garage.   Unfortunately, the 22 crew went through some changes in the last month and one of my fav’s “The Dream Maker” Dave Winston is no longer the race engineer.  He is apparently still employed by Penske for the moment but replacing Dave at the track are Steve Reis and Jonathan Hassler.  I am working on an updated crew blog for the #22 so look for more on them coming soon. 

Speaking of the engineering department, I also learned that Dave Demvicki (sp!?!) a long time Penske engineer has assumed the “got to guy” role replacing the new student Tom German with Travis Geisler and Mike Nelson in management roles under him.  The two race engineers report into Mike and Travis.  This weekend Travis is covering the NASCAR race while Mike is covering IRL.

After getting the scoop on our crew changes I tagged along to Kurt’s media time. 

As usual, Kurt was the utmost professional answering the same questions over and over about road course racing.    Speaking of questions…KBNation tweeted asking me to ask Kurt how many times he shifts during a lap at Infineon.   He went through every gear shift in every turn as we mentally went through the course and we came up with 13 – but he quickly said that was a bad number so we landed on 12!   12”ish” shifts per lap, 110 laps = repetitive stress injury.

While Kurt is definitely a driver to watch at the road courses, no trip to the garage at Infineon would be complete without a Boris Said spotting…

Friday was indeed a marathon day in the garages…we started with qualifying practice.  The drivers lined up early and then most of them got out of the cars.  Here is Kurt climbing back in.
While Kurt was busy building up to nailing the fastest lap in practice in the last two min of practice I found my friend and official “NASCAR Citizen Blogger” Valli getting ready for Smoke’s media time.   If you don’t follow her already you should!   Find her fantastic blog at

I also found “Punchy” and tried my best to get a shot of the infamous watch he took off but alas, all I could zoom in on was his big ring.

I also headed over to our Penske teammate’s garage stall to check out Miller Lite’s latest witty slogan on the back of Brad’s car.   They have a new one every week so look for it!

Of course, I had to tag along through inspection and used the time to interview the crew for my blog and get to know the new guys.   Billy even let me pull that tool box around and feel special again…along the way Jeffrey, our car chief, couldn’t help but pose for this photo op…with cardboard girls…since his run-in with the drunk pit lizard last year he’s taking the safe route this year.

Now for a little “I Spy”…cue ZZ Top please...

And those *cough* sexy legs belong to…(of course this is way too easy for Speedbeagle!) 

Pretty sure I got stink eye again from him for taking this picture but he has to know there is just no where to hide from the pumpkin-headed blogger with weird hair.   

Speaking fellow bloggers managed to catch me (thanks!!) doing my informal job as the tool bag girl as we headed through inspection.

So all was fine and dandy through inspection since we were going out last we let lots of other teams skip ahead of us in line until the very last inspection station where the officials deemed the Pennzoil Dodge a fraction of an inch too long on the left side.  So the guys had to pull over and fix it…and then go back through the height sticks and weight inspection stations again as well as the last one.

Kurt headed out to the car to qualify with his new girlfriend, Patricia, who is the President of the Armed Forces Foundation and has a particular interest in vets with Traumatic Brain Injury.  She and I talked “shop” briefly and look forward to being resources to each other in caring for our troops.
Our fearless leader was a solitary figure as he took in the lap times of our biggest competition near the end of pit road…
While TR and I took a break on the pit wall…

 And last but not least on this long race day – a public service announcement to all the girls out there who continue to insist on wearing fashionable as opposed to sensible shoes!   Victim #1  - meet Amanda girlfriend of Darin our engine guy…

Well Amanda decided to walk to turn 7 and back…(not a terribly good idea)…but she is pretty dang resourceful!   After desperately looking for flip flops to buy with no luck Ms. McGuyver bought a beer cozy and cut it in half and wah’la now she is gel’in.

Trust me ladies – its much easier to just wear the sensible shoes…

I met up with RA6AN and Tez behind the Trackside stage where they were patiently waiting for Marcos Ambrose to finish his interview…he did and went right up to Tez (who smartly hung his Aussie flag on the fence) and had a proper chat with his fellow countryman.    Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!


  1. Yes but... Where's Kyle???

    Great stuff Kristen!

  2. Very cool stuff! The garage and pits in your pics look a lot better than they do on TV.

    Good for Tez, hope you have some more pics of Marcos and the flag.

  3. Kyle, Kyle Kyle! I've got about 800 pics to go thru between everyone's photos, I am *sure* I have one of Kyle somewhere Dwindy!

    As you'll read in Tez's blog - we got some GREAT "pikkies" with Marcos!

  4. heck yeah! Between the four of us, we got some fantastic shots all weekend!


Tell me what you think race fans!!