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The misadventures of a pint sized man.

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Posts Tagged ‘Continental Tire Challenge’

Oh, To Hear those Wheels Spinning.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on September 23, 2011

As a parent, it is hard not to want to do things with your kids that they enjoy.  When Little Man informed me that he wanted to go see real race cars, who was I to argue.  Last year, I took both kids to Mid Ohio for the Emco Gears Classic, a Grand AM Rolex series race where multiple classes compete against each other.  As with any race weekend, there are multiple support races to go along with the main event. Last year, we only got to see one of those support series, the Continental Tire Challenge.  It was the middle of June and it was hot.  While Little Man was in his glory, Kid Kid was not so excited to be there.  She really wanted to go but as the day went on and the sun got hotter, her enthusiasm left the building.  As any good parent would do, I brought them home and called it a day, but not before Little Man made me promise to take him back next year to stay for the entire day and see both series that make up the day.  Lucky for me, this race is held less than an hour from my house.

The year had come and gone and it was time for the race weekend to kick off again.  This year was a little more exciting for me than last since Mazda was planning to draw in as many owners as possible for the Owners Corral.  As a proud and vocal owner, who was I to argue.   This particular race weekend is a steal if you have young kids.  For $30, I was able to get a weekend, all access pass with infield parking and get Little Man in for free. We also took my Father-in-Law with us for his birthday. A great guy and an avid race fan who has been coming to Mid Ohio since he was a small boy.  Mid Ohio is a wonderful track where the entire midfield is open to the spectators to walk around and watch the action from just about anywhere on the track.  We would spend most of our time in the aptly named Thunder Valley. Unlike last year, this event kicked off earlier in the day so we needed to get out of the house bright and early if we wanted to do the pit walk and meet the drivers.  There was no need to drag Little Man out of bed on this day, he was up and ready to go.  After a quick breakfast, I got the car loaded, we were ready and Little Man could not get in the car fast enough.

After what seemed like a thousand ‘Are we there yet’ like questions, we finally made it to the track.  Morning practice was going on and Little Man was straining to see the cars in action as we made our way to the Mazda Owners Corral.  After parking, we headed up the hospitality tent to get him a shirt and some goodies.  The night before he wanted to set out his clothes so he could get dressed quicker in the morning.  Last fall, I went to New York for work and got him an M&M t-shirt with several stock cars on it with various M&M characters. He was all set to wear that for the day until he got the ‘cool’ shirt that everyone else was wearing. He got to be like everyone else in the corral and was quite excited by it.  The shirt was just simply green, short sleeve, and had Freedom Autosport across the front. They were a sponsor of the Corral and fielded two cars in the Continental Tire Challenge.  After he let me take a few pictures of the cars and talk to a few owners, we were ready to get to Pit Lane and walk around the cars.  Little Man was the proverbial ‘kid in a candy store’.  So was my Father-in-law once he found out there were several Mini Coopers in the field.  As we made our way though, we would walk by and wave to Boris Said, and stop to look at just about every car on the grid.  We would even stop by the Riley Racing entry and talk to the Riley brothers, AJ and Jameson, for a few before we were ushered out of the pits, so the race could get going.  Little Man knew exactly where he wanted to go, an area know as Madness, turn 8.

Once settled in, the action on the track began.  This may be one of the few times in his short life, the Little Man was speechless. Well, at least for a brief time he was.  Eventually the questions would start to flow and I would have to constantly remind him that Daddy could hear him when the cars were going full speed and his head was point in the opposite direction.   I was not ready to argue with a five year old enthralled with the action on the track.  We hung around Madness for the first few laps, then wandered up to turn 1 and the pit lane exit.  Eventually we made it over to Thunder Valley where his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. This particular area is down in a small valley like area and allows spectators to get real close to the action.  One has no idea how loud a group of Rolex series RX8s can be until you stand a few feet from them as they fly by on track.  At one point he would take his ear muffs off to see what the cars really sounded like and was in awe at how loud they were.  That lasted just a few seconds. During the Continental Race, we got to see a Civic Si get spun right in front of us.  Debris would go flying but don’t worry, there are several safety barriers and fences there to protect those not on the track.

While I could write for hours about the action on track, I was more engulfed by my son’s desire to be there.  He was very excited to learn that he would be able to see both races, the Continental and the Rolex.  One of the hardest task in the life of a parent is to get a kid his age to sit still for more than five minutes.  He sat still for large chunks of time and just watched.  Sometimes he sat next to me, other times he would go off just a little bit but still in sight.  Watching your children fall in love with things that you love is something special.    I tried to figure out what was going through his mind during the race.  I would ask but he left me with few clues.  I could only try to watch the pretend I was five and go from there. I can only hope that this will remain an annual event for us. Maybe even have Kid Kid come back with us, but I have my doubts.

Posted in Auto, Mis-Adventures of Little Man & Kid Kid | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Weekend that Wasn’t. A Rant for Race Fans.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on March 21, 2011

Now that the snow has melted and there is this big ball of brightness in the sky, Little Man wakes up every weekend and asks what race is on today.  This weekend was the 12 Hours of Sebring, the start of the American Le Mans series.  The both of us were pretty excited about this.  That was until I found out that I would not be able to watch it on TV.  After finding out from the boys over at Speed:Sport:Life that the race kicked off at 10:30, I went to the cable guide to see what channel it would be on, with the first thought being SPEED. Nothing. OK, maybe they will have it on later in the day since Chop, Cut, Rebuild is must see TV for a Saturday morning.  Wrong again.  I looked over the guide for the entire day only to find a crap ton of NASCAR reruns and reality TV.  I was upset to say the least.  The only way to catch this American race classic was to either have an XBox or log on to the interwebs and hope my cable company would let me watch ESPN3.com.  In the words of Little Man: “Whaaaat? We can’t watch the race on TV? That’s just not right.”  My thoughts exactly.

What the hell has become of American motor sports lately?  During the weekend of the 24 Hour of Daytona, I sat at home on Friday, working of course, but thought I would turn on the ole’ TV and catch the Continental Tire Challenge support race.  I later found out that I would have to wait till the following weekend to watch that.  What I want to know is why, with all these series out there,  the only time we as race fans can watch them is a week or two later.  Ever since Fox took over the SPEED channel, the ability to watch racing in general has gone down the tubes.  Series like the SPEED World Challenge and the Trans Am series are a mere shadow of their former selves.  I get that NASCAR is popular. It is hard not to go anywhere and see something NASCAR associated.  Its kind of hard to miss when it is on every weekend, all weekend from February to November, with only a few weeks off in between.  Maybe it is just me, but the thrill of watching 30 some cars chase each other in a oval for four to five hours every weekend does nothing for me.  I can sit through about 20 laps or so, then by the fourth caution, I am done.  What I want to see are cars battling it out in the corners and are not trying to be something they are not.  As well, not a reality show that is a marriage of America’s Got Talent and a late night at Walmart. Reality TV was cool, ten years ago.  Now it is overwhelming.  Same with news and analysis.  How many ways can we pick apart the race weekend.

When I moved out on my own and got a real cable company that had the SPEED channel, there was racing on all day almost everyday.  I loved it.  I was able to see cars of every make and model battle it out.  Many of the drivers we watch today were just getting their start, and there I was watching them take their rookie knocks.  There were even hours devoted to the series in Europe.  Even a little sprinkle of rally tossed in for good measure.  Is the channel whose sole purpose was to showcase racing now gone the way of MTV?  Well there is SPEED2.  This on-line network looks great but unless you have Time-Warner cable, go put your hopes and dreams back to bed.

One of these days I will be able to give Little Man a good answer as to what race is going to be on. Thankfully Formula One is just days away. If that gets pushed to the side for something else, people better start running cause it will get ugly.  Maybe one of these days I will scrap my already perfectly good TV and go with something Internet capable so we can go on-line and watch TV.  Personally that sounds a bit moronic to me.  Why should I go to the Internet to watch television? I thought that is why I have cable.  Maybe I should bite the bullet and get a dish and hope to hell the wind is calm and there are not any storms in the tri-state area.  That could work.

I just want someone to tell my why.  Is that so hard? I have heard the same argument about money and rights from both sides.  Quit the finger pointing, it is not working and fans are leaving.  In fact, I am point a finger myself, but it is not my index finger.

I am not trying to single out NASCAR in this rant of mine.  But it should be easy to see why someone who is not a big fan of the series can get a little bent when it is shoved into his face at every corner.  Some of those guys may want to take some acting lessons as well, they are making dumb commercials even worse.

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