Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

A Day at the Races

So I spent most of today at the San Jose Grand Prix, courtesy of dave_gallaher, who gave me his extra general admission/standing room only ticket. Dave had to work at the AT&T sales booth on the Funway Straightaway Alley. Those of you familiar with downtown San Jose or who attended ConJose will know it better as the stretch of San Carlos Street in front of the Convention Center.

We arrived around the time the Atlantic Series race was starting. I put in my foam earplugs and donned my newly-purchased Bose Quiet Comfort 2 noise-canceling headphones, which were to get a real workout today. The foam plugs turned out to be more important, providing primary protection. The QC2 helped, though, cutting out a lot of other sound and allowing me to listen to the Giants game except when cars were immediately passing by.

I saw Dave as far as his booth and then set out to explore the Redback Raceway in hope of figuring out a good place to watch the feature. Most of the really good places have grandstands where you had to have paid a lot more than general admission to get a seat. After walking around most of the course, I staked out an area in the straightaway past turn 1, near the corner of Almaden and San Fernando streets. This turned out to be a bad choice. While I did get to see a lot of cars whizzing past very fast, there was really no interesting action along here. In fact, when I went home, I watched the same race on tape to find out what happened. Most of the real action of the race actually took place around the hairpin at turn 1, just a short distance up-track from me, but I saw not one bit of it.

I took a lot of photos and shot a fair bit of video, some of which I may consider worth uploading. I did take the picture you see as the icon on this message, which was on the Civic Auditorium sign. Some of you may remember this as the sign that it took multiple attempts at ConJose for them to get our name right.

Oh, the race results? The winner was one-time Formula 1 driver Robert Doornbos, although I had no idea of that until I watched the race coverage later. I had recognized his name when they took the drivers around the track in pickup trucks prior to the race. I wonder if winning Champ Car races is better than driving back-of-the-pack cars in F1?

My impression of the race: LOUD. Wow, am I glad I was wearing double ear protection. And I seem to have put on enough sunscreen to avoid the worst of the sunburn. But the standing room areas simply don't give you a good enough view of the race. The grandstands might be okay, especially as they have views of the TV screens, and the VIP boxes that look out over the track look pretty nice. But as for enjoying the race, I got more out of the ESPN2 coverage I watched when I got home.

Not that I'm ungrateful for the tickets and the ride down to San Jose! I've never attended a big motor race before, and I'm glad I attended this one. I might even go again if offered free tickets. But paying $45 for that? No way.
Tags: san jose grand prix

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