At first I had been told by another Assistant Director that I would be stationed with him at Center Gate for the day. But, as usual, that was changed. So I ended up stuck, well not really stuck, I ended up working the exit of turn 10 at the main fire lane where the cars come off the track. I figured, NO PROBLEM! It wasn't a problem at all, it was just a very very busy place to be all day. That's really a good thing I guess. I thought it would be a pretty simple task. My head Director, who happens to be the person that got me started here in the first place back in 2008. He stopped by and asked if all was good. Of course it was! He then told me that I'd better take it and own it, then he left. I didn't quite get it at first, but then it all began. What did he mean by "own it"? Well as I originally thought, I would only really be dealing with the cars exiting the track. Boy what a very quick wake up call that turned out to be for me. Then I knew what he meant by "own it".
It ended up being that I was dealing not only with the car exiting the track to go back to their assigned area, but I can pretty much say I can qualify to be a traffic officer in New York City. I not only took ownership of the task, I ran with it. Now to explain. Not only was I dealing with the cars exiting the track, I had to deal with the ones that were coming out of their rows to head down the main fire lane to head to Center Gate where they entered the pit lane to go onto the track. Then there was the chore of dealing with trying to keep the fans, I.E. spectators from walking in from of the cars. I did learn something pretty fast, no matter how much you blow a whistle they still just don't listen. Oh wait! I think the mentality of a lot of the spectators is this - I'm at a car show! Yeah! well it is in a way, but, HELLO! This is a racing event more than anything people! I really appreciate those that did actually listen to those of us there to keep you safe, but then there was the few that really didn't care, or really weren't paying attention as to what we were doing there. But, no one did get injured. Thanks to all 6 of us keeping ours eyes open at all times. They did get it after we did get them stopped, and moved back out of the way. OOOOOH! A RACE CAR! The other obstacle was trying to get the regular cars, and the golf carts stopped. But then no sooner do you do so that someone behind them doesn't realize we have car exiting at that time that they think it's okay to try to go around the ones that are stopped. Once again, it was a keen aware of the 6 of us yelling at these ones to realize what was going on here. It was so busy the entire day that it went by pretty fast.
Now besides dealing with that fun task, I really did have a fun time doing it. Then there was the occasional cool spectator to talk to. Besides being around these awesome cars all weekend, one of the reasons I do this is to meet fans and spectators from around the world. Other than the regular, you do come across some pretty famous drivers and entertainers. First one that came along on Saturday was some race car driver. I say it that way simply because I did recognize him, but could not remember his name. Then I started to talk with him. He was here to drive a very fine example of a Ferrari. I told him "I always see him here", and he said "Yeah, I'm out here all the time". Then I proceeded to say "I thought so, but I can't remember your name". He then replies "Brian Redman"! Boy did I feel a little stupid. But I can't remember them all right. Then as the busiest day I ever worked went on I saw this really cool guy walking across from me. It was none other than Michael Anthony. He was walking with a group of guys from BonspeedCarolla, and Brian Johnson of AC/DC.
Then Sunday came! It wasn't anywhere close to as busy as Sunday was. The day went fairly easy to. I started doing the same routine as the day before with less hassle. Then I see Brian Johnson needing to get by. He did have to stop briefly to wait for the cars to finish exiting the track, then he went by. As the morning went on, those of us Assistant Directors that were working this area did manage to get some downtime to run around. Mine just happened to be during the lunch break, so I really didn't get the extra spare time that the others did. But no big deal. I ate my lunch, then grabbed my camera and ran to find Brian Johnson. And, fortunately I got there just in time. He was about to leave. I got a quick pic with him, grabbed my video camera and started to record. Then not only did my card fill up, the battery died. Away it went and out came my camera. I started shooting as he was leaving on the door of a Mercedes 300SL convertible. Not in the greatest shape, but hey, it was a 300SL Convertible. He saw me and gave me the finger. No, not the middle finger. He pointed at me as my finger was clicking away when they were pulling out of the tent. Wow! what a cool experience this ended up being. He was definitely a cool guy. Then I headed over to the pit garages to find someone else. I was looking for a friend that had his Ferrari F1 car there for the event. Then I found it. I walked up to Bud and said hello and then began to drool at the site of his ride. The ride in particular was a 1980 Ferrari 312 T5 that was driven by Gilles Villeneuve. This car was awesome. And as when Bud was here for Ferrari Racing Days back in May, I had to ask that one question again, "Can I sit it it?" And he gratefully replied, "Absolutely!" As I prepared to get in, I had another friend, Keith, on hand to capture a photo as he had when I sat in the F2003-GA that Bud had brought out in May. Then one of the Prep Mechanics said to that I'd better take off my shoes. I gladly did just so. Why take the shoes off though? So I could actually get my feet into the cockpit. As I took the directions of Bud to place my hands and get in, I slid my butt into the car and then I didn't quite fit. Man what a tight fit. But I didn't care one bit if my butt fit or not. I was sitting in another Ferrari F1 car. Twice in 1 year! I couldn't believe it.
Once I got myself out of the Ferrari, it was time to get back to Turn 10 and get ready for the afternoon races. I went through the afternoon and since I had my camera on hand, I was to get a few shots of a few cool cars at the end of the day. But before that came, the second to the last race ended and I stepped away for about 10 minutes. I asked one of the other volunteers to come with me to take yet another photo. I went over to see Adam Carolla and get a pic with him after he had gotten out of the Datsun 2000 that he had just finished racing. This car was beautiful too. So I got my picture and headed back. Then I came across Rick Knoop. I had met Rick and spoke to him last year when I was helping out to get all the trucks and trailers into the designated spaces. I Talked with him briefly and got a friendly photo and back to Turn 10. After a short bit, the day was done and I was relieved. I took off and headed over to the Souvenir Store so I could grab the Event Poster and Program. I always make sure to get them before I miss out on them. Once I was done there, it was back to the trailer to get ready to head out. I grabbed a few more photos of some cars that were still out before they got loaded into their haulers. After a few more hours, I finally headed home. Another awesome event was over. Now to wait for the next one. The American Le Mans race in September. I love this event as well. Since the race is 6 hours, I get to run around and put the camera to use. Until then, hopefully other things come for me to write about.
|Sitting in the Ferrari 312 T5|
|Me with Brian Johnson of AC/DC|