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By

Jerry Goose

 

11-15-11

Phoenix

 

It was great weekend at Phoenix International Raceway with the Nascar, Nationwide, and the K&P Pro Series!  Upon arrival, after a day and a half on the road, I took a big, deep breath thinking, “Oh God, I made it!” 

I’ve never been at the camping city where all the RV people stay.  I needed some ice and groceries and discovered there’s one in the RV Park!  I found the grocery store, pulled up outside, and I just sat and watched people for a little bit.  Then I thought:  “you need to get your camera out and start shooting.”  These people come out to party.  There’s thousands of RVs parked there.  They rent their spot, fire up their grills, fire up the open fires with wood…I mean they camp out and just party. They are having fun.

So that was my next project…covering the vendors and the fans that are having a party.  This is Sunday before the races, and the outside of the race track just fills up.  It’s interesting how many people wear their favorite drivers’ colors.  This is a colorful, colorful deal.  Chevrolet’s got a big display, and so does Ford and Toyota.   There was also the semi tractor trailer bbq pit.  It’s a semi!  I was hungry and walked up and decided I needed a hamburger.  It was $9.75 for a hamburger, but the hamburger was a ½ inch thick.  It was hot.  I had mine with cheese one it.  It was a great hamburger!

I started working my way back to the pits.  Then I started talking to these people from Boulder, Colorado!  I had to go get my computer and camera, and then I head to the infield.   I go to put my stuff in the media center…there are only 87 photographer seats…and it’s a situation where seniority matters.  I was in late and didn’t have a seat, but I know the lady in charge of the media center, who is from Loveland, Colorado.  My grandson and her son race quarter midgets together.  So, when I got there she told me what to do:  be here at 10:30 in the morning for the photo meeting and then she’ll give me a pass. 

A handful of racers were upstairs: Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon.  At the time, I was walking through the pit area I meet two kids from Colorado.  They told me I need to get upstairs and get the Kyle Busch interview, so I did that.  Joe Gibbs, in the interview, said that they went from a high position in the top 12 in the points system…to 11th.   He said, “This is a big deal!”  But being a great driver and the great athlete that Busch is…he was sticking with it.  That’s when they announced that M&M pulled the sponsorship, and continued on to say that Interstate announced they’d be the sponsor.  Also, Jeff Gordon is a very dedicated individual.  He’s on top of his game at answering questions off the cuff.  They announced another sponsor on their team.  

So then it was time to go to the mandatory photo meeting.  Then I got my vest at that counter, and as I’m standing there Deb offered me a chair in the photographers’ room.  This is great because it means I can put my computer up and load pictures when I need to: it means you’re a big deal.  It was a great feeling to go to Phoenix International Raceway and be welcomed and treated well and respected as LuvRacin.com, a photographer, and also as a veteran.  There’s one empty stall where they come out of the pits.  That pit stall is for the safety people, and two of those safety folks are Vietnam Veterans.  They allowed me to stay in that open pit area.  The one pit stop was the 43 team.  Their stop was on schedule, and their second one was of them coming in for a pit stop.  I’m clicking away and one of the pit guys grabs the tire post and falls back.  So the 13 second pit stop ran into 17 seconds.  Within the next minute or two the UPS over-the-wall team took over that pit – there was a pit crew change… UPS over-the-wall boys came over the wall!!

That was exciting to see a pit crew …this was intense! 

Kasey Kahne goes on to win this race with Carl and Tony right behind him.  Everyone goes to get the trophy shot, but there’s so many people so instead of going over there I stood up on the wall at the entrance to the pit.  They bring these cars to fill up the gas tanks.  One car, the gas man throws the can of gas up in the air and gets underneath it so fast, but does a good job because of his technique.  Ryan Newman’s gas can man throws it on the shoulder and fills it up like he’s a lineman.  It’s heavy!    

K & N pro series was won by Ryan Blaney.  His Dad is a racer, and his uncle is a dirt racer.  Bill Elliot’s kid was racing, too.    This is the training ground to go to ARCA!

 

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