How I spent my weekend - Talladega Days

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georgegassaway

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This weekend I got to combine work with fun. In summer of 2010 I worked the Census and met a fellow Census worker named Tom who runs a very small sports travel business. Mostly shuttle buses to various sporting events. Some of those include the NASCAR races at Talladega.

He hired me to help him with one of the buses last April, and I did the same this past weekend. The “job” part is going to various hotels in the Birmingham area to pick up passengers, making sure people who paid get onboard, and being a sort of “host” and concessionaire (selling refreshments of various types) during the drive to the track and back.

The benefits of that are a reasonable base pay, tips, and getting to see a lot of the races (got to see Sunday’s race from start to finish). I’ve been a NASCAR fan since I was a kid, and watch nearly all the races on TV, but had never been to a race in person until October of 2008, when a few friends and I went to the AMP energy 500 in Talladega that year. Now, working with Tom, I get to go to them and make some money too.

Saturday, there was only one bus to the track, for the Camping World Truck race and Sprint cup Qualifying. There are not nearly as many people who go for the Saturday racing as Sunday’s. Tom hired me to work that bus while he stayed in Birmingham to take calls from last-minute customers. Sunday, for the Sprint Cup race, we had two buses and were filled to capacity (if not for a no-show, I’d have had to ride the front jumpseat along the steps)

The racing was good both days. My favorites didn’t win, but it was good anyway, and safe, no big wrecks either.

BTW - I made a website for Tom’s business, Southern Sports. But, another company has that name for a website so for the website the url is:

https://southernsportstours.com

Tom also wanted it to emphasize the Talladega race shuttle buses, so the site also has this url:

https://talladegaraceshuttle.com

photos:
1 - A photo of myself at the wheel of the #18 car that Kyle Busch drives. Well, not the actual car, another one with a door that opens, so the general public can get their photos taken at the Toyota display area. My sitting in “Kyles” car is not an endorsement, but it was the only car people could get into for a photo.... :)

2 - inside the track near the area where pit Lane begins. In the background is most of Pit Lane, the dogleg part of the Tri-Oval, and a view of a lot of the grandstand.

3 - I later made it up into the upper stands, getting several photos like this.

4 - A shot as close as you can get to the action, without a Pit Pass. Tony Stewart (#14) leading at the time, coming out of turn 4. He was one I was pulling for. The race was won by Clint Bowyer.

5 - A photo from the April races, from onboard the bus.

- George Gassaway

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hornet driver

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Great pics from a fun place. Glad to see your boy TS is still in it , mine JG looks to be out.Everyone should go there once ,even if your not a Nascar fan--for one reason-- You will leave with a new definition of BIG. Years ago I drove SCCA and was a starter/timer--went to Talladega--when I got on the starters stand the first thing I said was --How do humans build something so big ??
 

Sandy H.

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I never would have guessed you for a Nascar fan. Cool. I've never been to Talladega, but I have been to Daytona and Indy (F1 race, not Nascar). I can agree with the amazing size deal. Indy is just plain strange to walk around. Charlotte isn't nearly as impressive, but I thought it was huge before seeing Indy.

Glad you got to see the race and make some bucks on the side. Shame on you for spoiling the finish, though :)tongue:). Its on the DVR, as I was too busy all weekend celebrating my mom's 75th birthday.

Sandy.
 

georgegassaway

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Great pics from a fun place. Glad to see your boy TS is still in it , mine JG looks to be out.
Thanks.

BTW, I said "my favorites" didn't win. Jeff Gordon is also one of my favorites.

Here’s some proof, a video I shot of myself driving Gordon’s car in EA Sports NASCAR 2008 racing game, at the Sonoma track.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSubK0UhQLY

Tony Stewart is not TOO far back in the championship chase, if Carl Edwards has a poor finish then Tony will be right in the thick of it. Of course if Carl Edwards won, that'd be cool with me, but I'd rather see Tony win it (Or Jeff, but I think he's too far back).

Glad you got to see the race and make some bucks on the side. Shame on you for spoiling the finish, though :)tongue:). Its on the DVR, as I was too busy all weekend celebrating my mom's 75th birthday.
Whoops. Well, you had to figure if you open a thread that starts talking about a race whose results you have not seen.... maybe you should have waited to read it till after you saw the race on the DVR. :)

Anyway... I didn’t say HOW he won the race, so there’s still something left to enjoy.

I Tivo'ed it myself, to catch up on things once I got home. Though while at the race, those huge Sprint Vision video screens help a LOT in seeing what's going on when the cars are part of the track really far away, or replays of something that happened (like accidents, which I do not like but if they do happen I want to understand what happened). The screen image looks poor in a photo but the video screens look pretty decent live in person.

While driving back from NARAM in Pennsylvania 2 years ago, I made a stop at a friend’s in North Carolina. And that meant I drove past Charlotte Motor Speedway (Sorry, I call it what I grew up knowing it as, not what a company paid to change the name to). I was born in Greensboro, about 20 miles from where Petty Enterprises is located. When I was a kid, one “Sunday drive” we did, ended up outside of some track where a NASCAR race was being run at the time, which I now realize must have been North Wilkesboro. So, while I didn’t get inside to SEE a NASCAR race until 2008, I was “at” a NASCAR race more than 40 years before then (probably around 1965-67).

Anyway, at Charlotte when there are no races, they let people go inside the grandstands to see the track. I was impressed by how much better it would be to see all the action in person at that track, at 1.5 miles. Compared to Talladega at 2.66 miles where you really do need to watch the TV screen part of the time to see what’s happening (or use binoculars). Anyway, if I could win a lottery some day, I’d add Charlotte as a track I’d like to see a race at. And Bristol.

A few more pics:

- George Gassaway

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georgegassaway

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Some photos when I went past Charlotte in August 2009.

Pics at the Speedway. As I said before, it is possible to see the cars racing all around that 1.5 mile track (including the backstretch), better than big tracks like Talladega.

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georgegassaway

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Also stopped by Hendrick Motorsports about 1-2 miles away.

Last two pics are at the 24/48 team workshop, the actual race cars being worked on in the back.

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hornet driver

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Also stopped by Hendrick Motorsports about 1-2 miles away.

Last two pics are at the 24/48 team workshop, the actual race cars being worked on in the back.
And you chose not to invite me--Thanks a lot---Was the T-REX in JG's show area??
 

Sandy H.

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Also stopped by Hendrick Motorsports about 1-2 miles away.

Last two pics are at the 24/48 team workshop, the actual race cars being worked on in the back.
A good friend works in the engine shop at Hendrick. Last race I saw in person was the All-Star race a few years ago, sitting in the 'employees' section in turn 4. We parked at HMS, got a personal tour of the engine shop and walked through the woods to get to the track.

Pretty cool, but no pictures, as it was an unofficial thing. . . :)

Sandy.
 
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