Tag Archives: Honda

Cars & Coffee at Ray Catena Dealerships in Edison, NJ October 2017

A gorgeous day for a car show!

Today’s venue was advertised by Cars & Caffe of Bergen County at the invitation of Ray Catena dealerships in Edison, Central Jersey. RSVP’s very encouraged because of limited space but the event seemed quite small which allowed for decent pictures without too many people walking into a shot… yay!

Hey that’s a pretty bike with both HRC from Superbikes and a MotoAmerica sticker on it.

I love the look of that shift knob… the “Ferrari” look that I got going in my in Miata right now with an eBay black ball shift know I bought.

Demon’s are all the rage these days! And Hellcat’s too…

Glad I finally caught this Ford GT without anyone around to get a decent shot. Also happy that it brought some color to an otherwise very-suburbia event where everyone drives dull color cars, lots of silvers and grays, whites… etc.

Two of these beautiful Ferrari’s made it out today… Cool!

It’s incredible how these Gallardo’s already seem like such classics. They were the newest mass production Lambo just a few years ago.

Pretty incredible how bright a simple “white” color car can be!

Do these stickers really work?

Three of the new Civic Type R pulled in together… overheard people talking paying $50-$60k for these… really? Really? For a Civic?

The gold wheels really suit this car. I don’t know about getting/or painting my wheels similar color though. Nice to see though!

Nice side-by-side of a Range Rover vs. a Jaguar SUV. Silly me always thinking Jag made the cars while Land Rover focused on off-roaders, but things are sure changing.

I know McLaren has a rich history of Can Am racing, didn’t realize they had special edition cars commemorating that fact.

Post Card from Moto America Championship of New Jersey Round 9 at NJMP Thunderbolt Mega Photo Gallery

Greetings from a beautiful weekend in South Jersey volunteering for my only bike race of this season with MotoAmerica Championship Superbikes, Superstock and Supersport bikes supported by KTM RC Cup and Vintage Bikes.

Enjoy the over 100 pix from Race Day on Sunday… and stay tuned for more to come about this awesome event.

I got to work Turn 7 which is probably the best station at Thunderbolt and certainly for me, because during our long lunch hour I was able to just walk into the paddock area and check out all the bikes… spectator bikes, bikes for sale, racing bikes, etc.

The young kids riding… that is really inspiring!

notice the missing BMW engine behind the cowling…

These KTM spec series bikes are really neat!

Love seeing all these vintage bikes, many of them for sale!

And of course lots of new stuff for sale, Suzuki and others had a great test ride opportunity with customers going on a cruise in a convoy of new bikes around Millville, New Jersey

NJMP offered a good discounted lunch option for us, all for $5 bux

Philly Cheesesteak, fries, chips and drink.

By the time I finished my lunch, the grid walk was wrapping up… so I did some drive-by shooting of pix as the bikes were getting ready to grid up and race.

The kids riding area was super cool… I think a few racers actually joined them which looked pretty funny but must have been an amazing opportunity to inspire the young riders to pursue this hobby further.

Enjoy… more to come soon!

Red Bull GRC Driver’s Parade on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk

The coolest part of the whole Red Bull GRC Atlantic City weekend for me, was the driver’s parade along the Boardwalk.

Why was it so cool?

In my opinion any time the series takes it’s presence, the cars, the drivers, the ambiance out in the public and brings the show to the ordinary people… that I think is the best thing they can do to promote the sport. And I commend the Red Bull GRC folks for organizing their driver’s parade right in the heart of AC, the place where everybody goes… the Boardwalk!

Naturally, I took a million pix…

Team Red Bull Honda getting ready to leave the paddock on Bader Field for the driver’s parade on the Boardwalk.

I rushed out and found a nice parking spot a block from the Kennedy Plaza where the teams were to have an autograph session.

The Boardwalk to me brings a lot of memories. My family and I used to go to Atlantic City a lot. Especially in the summer time… back when my father had a mild gambling problem, and we all joined him to go out on the boardwalk for a slice of pizza, and some go-cart racing on the Steel pier. I got my first speeding ticket just outside of AC where the Parkway meets the Atlantic City Expressway. Good times… Although the current state of the city, and it’s major attraction is a bit sad. This place used to be packed, super crowded… and now, even the seagulls left (they used to swoop down and terrorize unsuspecting tourists, with food in their hands). But it is what it is. And I’m glad the Red Bull GRC is breathing a little life into this city. It’s worth pointing out that according to a local cop working security detail for this event, all casinos remain open except those that used to display TRUMP on their buildings. Go figure…

And then the crowds swooped in…

If the background looks familiar, you may have seen it on TV not that many moons ago… it was the venue for the Miss America pageant…

I love the fact that teams allowed spectators, especially kids, to climb in their cars and get a closer look. Get the fans involved!

There’s that 600+hp turbo east of an engine…

At most Motorsport events I focus so much on the venue and the racing I forget to check out the surrounding area. The main attraction of Atlantic City in the summer time of course is it’s beach… and while I didn’t get a chance to go for a swim, it was nice to at least walk by the water at sunset.

and take some selfies…

During the autograph session the first 100 patrons received weekend guest passes for the race along with other prizes from teams and the series. That was really neat! (and probably propped up the numbers in attendance for the weekend)

And as the sun set, it was time to get back to the paddock.

Fin

Registered for Red Bull Global RallyCross at Bader Field Atlantic City, New Jersey in August

I just registered for an event I sort of knew about but put on a backburner for so long I realized that I don’t know anything about it. And so after significant research about both the series and the venue, I decided I must take part in it as a marshal.

The series: Red Bull Global RallyCross or GRC

The venue: Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey

This event will take place in early August on the same weekend as the NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Mid-Ohio… so suffice to say I will not be driving all day to Ohio when I can go to South Jersey in just under three hours (or more since everyone will be heading down the Jersey Shore during the summer…)

What is it? I suspect it is a lot like Rally America event I participated in years ago at NJMP (which is also in South Jersey about half an hour away from Atlantic City). The cars will race part on asphalt and part on dirt. What’s different is that at GRC there will be more cars, I understand up to 10 cars at once. And there will be massive jumps involved. And having worked a number of races with the Robbie Gordon Stadium Super Trucks… it’s a no brainer that anything involving cars and high jumps brings the fucking crowds and makes them go wild. Mix in a little Red Bull and everyone acts like they got wings! … or so I speculate. Here’s an official promo video, which seems to put a ton of emphasis on the crashes:

I’ve been to Atlantic City a million times. Back in high school my dad had a gambling problem and I’d drive him there once a week it seems to feed the addiction. He’d lose money and I’d hang out on the Boardwalk. When the rest of the family would come down we’d go to the piers for Go Karts and everyone would have a jovial time. When I got a bit older I started going down to Atlantic City for conventions at one of the many Casino’s. It has been years since I’ve gone back and I am fully aware that the city has gone through major financial woes. But it is still a city on the ocean, with a beach, Boardwalk, and attractions for people to come from all over the area during the summer months. There’s a direct rail link with Philadelphia and so this GRC event will probably be packed.

(as an aside, Bader Field is an old decommissioned Atlantic City Municipal Airport with both air and seaport capabilities, that more recently hosted a minor league baseball team, a bunch of concerts and plays as home to South Jersey SCCA rallycross venue in the summer months according to Wikipedia hmmm!)

From the races I’ve seen posted about on Facebook the events are as popular as MotoGP or many Formula Drift events. Red Bull is involved so it’s hip as hell… And with personalities like Tanner Foust involved and Scott Speed, there’s the celebrity factor too. I am especially interested in seeing the Ford Fiesta ST looking things err… Supercars compete with all the VeeDubb equivalents and Subi’s.

I’ll share a spotter guide once it becomes available. It seems the series is completely on top of things doing great marketing for their events down to the important things (like the spotter guides for the fans)… which I applaud them for! Great job…

I also understand there are still spots open for marshals in case anyone else in the area is interested. The event is paid apparently and a hotel room is provided. (or so I hope)

Looking forward to it!

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg the debrief

What an amazing experience this year’s Firestone Grand Prix of Saint Petersburg was. I had a blast!

I signed up to volunteer as a pit & grid marshal and spend the entire event in pit lane near pit out. Occasionally during my off time I went to spectate at Turns 2 and Turn 10 as well as do a little bit of flagging from the amazing Turn 12. My favorite events of the race weekend were everything but IndyCar but since they were the big boys in town I did enjoy spectating their time on track. We didn’t have much to do during the IndyCar sessions because that series brings their own Pit people to work the event, so instead I took some pix…

So for this event the role I was assigned was more of an observer in nature than anything else. Having worked the Indy race at Pocono Raceway with Team Pocono, the paddock at Daytona for the 24 and as pit fire at VIR for IMSA, the pit lane observer role was familiar for me. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to do where I was stationed at pit out. It seems the St. Pete GP folks contracted the event “volunteers” – a separate group from CFR SCCA folks that I was part of, to do the crowd control duties. But I noticed the people were a bit timid and didn’t really stop anyone from crowding various pit boxes, or assisting much for teams bringing cars onto the pit lane from the paddock. The time went by slow because of the lack of duties, but there couldn’t be a better spot to watch what’s happening in pit lane other than maybe watching it on TV. I enjoyed the experience.

Post race we were right in the thick of things as the winning drivers walked past us towards the podium.

As we wrapped up and walked towards our worker shuttles I noticed this little Disney jem… a Mickey Mouse race car and boy do I think it looks sooooo much better than the massive billboards the actual Indy Cars have become. I’m not a big fan of the series. To me IndyCar feels a lot like the open wheel version of NASCAR where good drivers go to retire. And I’m sure the series could be improved greatly if it aspired to be more Formula 1 rather than NASCAR. Instead of one chassis supplier Dallara, there should be more variety. Optimize the wings and things for aero more than advertising space, and things would improve. Watching the crowds at this event though I can see they are not exactly struggling, so let them ride a wave of success and ignore my difference in taste of the outward appearances.

Besides the actual event, I am absolutely in love with St. Petersburg and the Gulf Coast of Florida in general. I would totally love to move to the Tampa Bay area, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, or even Brandenton… it’s far more laid back than South Florida/Miami area and just as exotic. I’m sure there are tourism and motorsport based businesses I could make a living at. And check out some of the murals and street graffiti around downtown St. Pete, it’s simply uplifting… I want to live here!

One final highlight of the trip. I had booked a cheap motel about 10 miles north of the track. It had horrible reviews and I was cringing at the idea of staying there. After much thought I decided to change my plans and reach out to people on CouchSurfing to host me. The fella that accepted my request turned out to be awesome and I had an absolute blast staying there… just a few blocks from the track. Before heading back to Daytona after the race I offered to buy my host dinner for his troubles and he chose a really tasty option, burgers at Engine 9 downtown. It was a great experience!

… another Florida event is next on my calendar: Sebring 12 hour!

Post Card from IndyCar at Pocono Raceway, The Tricky Triangle

Greetings from Day 2 of IndyCar at the Pocono Raceway… on the Tricky Triangle. What Turn 4?

So this time I’m doing something different, while still volunteering for a Motorsport event, it’s not quite marshaling. But I’m in pit lane, there are race cars around me, I’m happy!

A few weeks ago I worked with a guy from Pennsylvania at Watkins Glen who invited me to come volunteer IndyCar at Pocono… What? I didn’t know we could do that… I thought marshals weren’t needed on ovals… err… triovals.

They are not, but volunteers are always needed. I filled out my application… got a typical cryptic response that made me wonder if I was in or out, and tickets for the event showed up in my mail box a few days before the race. Cool!

The role for this event was: “Customer Service” with Team Pocono. Some would call it a security role, but there were actual security at the event that were hired help and were getting paid for their service. We worked for free, and we were the only ones in pit lane, where you know… it’s actually dangerous.

Our role was to check wristbands and paper tickets of spectators and VIP’s that were roaming around pit lane during all sessions of the event. I didn’t think this was even possible because typically the pits are off limits to spectators at other events I volunteer at. IMSA and F1 have a special Pit Walk for the spectators which is a watered down experience that lasts for about an hour or so primarily designed for spectators to take some close up pictures of cars in pieces and maybe grab an autograph from their favorite driver. Here, the pit lane was open to anyone who was willing to spend the extra money for this pit pass, and it wasn’t that pricey.

In many ways this activity is where IndyCar is most similar to NASCAR rather than other series like IMSA or F1. The other similarity was running the oval which meant there wasn’t to be any racing as soon as the rain hit the forecast. That combined with a time-certain TV schedule meant that despite the scheduled race for today, the feature activity of the weekend, the actual race got moved to Monday because of the rain (even though as usual the morning was nice and sunny with some overcast)… This was the first time I’ve ever had a race postponed to the next day of the week.

The actual role of customer service was really neat. I got to interact with a bunch of spectators, several crew / team members of the pits I was responsible for, and got to see several drivers up close. The first day of my participation I was absolutely rubbish. There was a person smoking nearby who I missed completely, which was one of my responsibilities. People kept on sneaking up towards the pit wall every time I would turn my back, which wasn’t meant to happen. Someone walked in with a beer, which again was a big no no… Someone brought their young kids in, again this wasn’t good. But on the second day I got the hang of it.

As usual we were not allowed to take any pictures of the cars, but I snuck a few selfies in.

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Only British flags were flying on communication antennas in pit lane to commemorate the one year anniversary of Justin Wilson’s death which happened at this event last year sadly.

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First day I worked the “South” pits watching over Alexander Rossi and Tony Kanaan pits. While second day I got bumped to the North pits looking out for Marco Andretti and Takumo Sato. Second day we really had nothing to do. (because of the rain)

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I was most impressed with the whole registration process at Pocono. Things were well organized, people were knowledgeable and things went very smoothly. Camping was provided right on the inner course where I had driven once when I volunteered as F&C during an SCCA event.

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Chits for food were provided both days, and food was tasty!

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For the second day there was a car show with some interesting things on display like these Jaguars.

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For support event we had Vintage IndyCar organized by USAC.

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There were also lots of stock cars and dirt track cars on display very popular in Pennsylvania and among the crowd who were naturally mostly NASCAR fans. The whole weekend had a very low key feel to it, almost like a club event. Not too many people in attendance which made the event feel very open and drivers super accessible.

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The days on post were quite long and my feet were burning by the end. Luckily I had enough wet weather gear with me to stay dry when the skies opened up on Sunday.

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As a keepsake we got a pin for participation and a program. Which is more than we normally get while volunteering for F&C.

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All in all I had a hell of a time and even though I left the track when the rain started because I was not going to camp in the bog that the water created, I’m very much looking forward to the 98 mile drive back there on Monday to finish what I started/signed-up to do.

It was a fantastic experience to be sure!

Postcard from Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas at COTA (MotoGP/MotoAmerica)

Well that was something completely different!

For a last minute trip it was much better executed than some of my longer planned in advance events. But of course I enjoy returning to COTA and thanks to my buddy Joaquin who’s been keeping my tent for me for a few years as well as  Jeanie Caulfied who always makes me welcome back in Austin (even on less than 24 hours notice) things went super smoothly.

I’ll write another entry when I have a little bit more time, it’s basically 1:30am and I’ve just flown in from Dallas via Houston and my alarm is set for 5:30am to go on the next trip to Long Beach.

But suffice to say I had my best time at COTA yet (I think I said this about the trip for PWC last month, but this one beat it by a mile!).

Instead of flagging or track marshaling I suggested to Jeanie that I’d be happy to deliver lunches. And she let me do it! How difficult could that job be?  right?…   well, I worked my ass off! I was absolutely gutted by the last day of the event and my body basically gave out. I burned myself out. But I had a blast doing it. The Track Ops position that I volunteered for is far more than just delivering lunches to 300+ marshals. I got to drive on track twice a day to deliver marshals to their stations. I got to drive the ring road more than a dozen times a day running errands, everything from delivering late comer marshals to drink and ice runs, to lunch deliveries. I got to fill in on flags when the flag chief was short on people. And I was even lucky enough to push a few bikes on the gator transports when there were incidents at stations I was either assigned to or happened to be in the area. It was such a blast. I feel like I had gotten to do it all, and then some… Definitely not a position I had ever the privilege of experiencing before and one I would love to do again… for F1.

But enough talk… I must get some sleep… in the mean time, here’s some photos:

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Every morning I got to do a lap around the COTA circuit to deliver marshals to station, and every afternoon I got to do another to bring them back to the mustering tent.

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Of all the rigs at our disposal for “Hospitality Operations Services” I got to wheel every one of them, from pick up trucks to golf carts.

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Was super glad we got to do the pit lane walk, although having to share it with spectators kind of took away from it being as special, that and of course it was too crowded to take some decent pix. (especially when the crowd in front of Rossi’s and Marquez’s garages was at least five deep)

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For MotoGP the paddock and garages was difficult to access without credentials (which we didn’t have), but MotoAmerica was far more welcoming and we made a number of rounds through it to pick up ice and run other errands.

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Ducati Islands in vendor village was like a candy store, so many cool bikes on display it was awesome.

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But most awesome was getting to watch the event from different stations and therefore get some amazing perspectives I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

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It was nice to see so many marshals passionate about Motorcycles, many rode their bikes to the event. Some showed up in Miata’s… like this Niseki Edition:

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Fantastic time! Can’t thank Jeanie enough for the opportunity!

A Challenge to the SuperGT Organizers to Accept a non-Japanese Marshal for One of Their Events

Why don’t some countries allow foreign marshals to participate in their events, when they clearly allow and promote foreign driver participation in the same events?

I want to marshal a SuperGT race in Japan.

And yet, the few contacts I’ve made in Japan at various circuits seem set against it to allow foreigners to marshal with the Japanese.

The photo above came from an article where the SuperGT (GTA) boss Masaaki Bandoh issued a challenge to WEC organizers to have three teams race their GT500 cars at the Fuji 6 hour event. The GT500 cars from SuperGT look far more GT-like than the LMP1 and LMP2 prototypes in the Word Endurance Championship series. According to the article the GT500’s are quicker than the pace set by the Audi R18 eTron, though slower than the Toyota or Porsche hybrids, but faster than the privateer teams like Rebellion LMP1’s. Anyhow, the quickness of the GT500 cars is irrelevant to the fact that the Japanese circuits I contacted only allow Japanese speakers to participate/volunteer in their events. Why not? Surely the multitude of foreign drivers many of them English speakers (but others whether French or German are still more likely to speak English then Japanese) don’t actually speak Japanese should they crash and need to interact with the local marshals.

Mr. Bandoh apparently didn’t stop with the challenges there, he issued another challenge to the German manufacturers to step up their game in the GT500 field (they currently participate in the GT300 field with GT3-spec machinery like the Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS, BMW Z4 GT3 or the Porsche 911 GT3). And the manufacturers are expected to comply, according to the article. Why not open up the doors to the opportunity for foreign travelling marshals to volunteer at Suzuka, or Montegi, or Fuji? It’d make perfect sense to me and plenty of other people too. I’m sure we’d all take the Japanese Automobile Federation up on their offer to work with our Japanese colleagues like we do with our German colleagues, or our French colleagues, or our Australian colleagues, etc.

I don’t speak many languages of the countries I’ve volunteered at. In Belgium French is the official language of the circuit, but many of the marshals, including many Belgians, speak Flemish. There were plenty of Dutch marshals there too. Plenty of Brits. Plenty of Czech’s, etc. I’m sure most of them don’t speak French but we all got along nicely and worked professionally as expected. I didn’t speak French working at Le Mans. I didn’t speak German working at the Nurburgring. French was one of the official languages in Canada even though the other official language was English. I didn’t speak fluent Singlish to work the Singapore GP. Definitely didn’t speak Bahasa Malaysia working at the Sepang Circuit. Or Korean working in South Korea. Point being, I don’t speak most of the foreign languages at places I have volunteered successfully. But I did my job the way I was supposed to, and I would love to return to work there again and again.

The excuse that the local language is required to work an event isn’t valid, and it’s a shame that the Japanese circuits I contacted use. Surely there are some marshals there who speak some English and I would partner up with to work under their supervision and some translation when necessary.

I suspect that the reason we get rejected as foreign marshals is that the Japanese organizers don’t want to babysit a foreigner. It’s a lot easier to say “NO!” than to accept a marshal and than have to worry about a myriad of questions like where that person should stay (lodging), how he should get to the track (transportation), what that person must eat and how prepared he should be (food). Communication in general. Following the dress code. Having a helmet that fits. etc. It’s much harder to say “YES!”

But I wish they would.

If there is anyone in Japan that would help me facilitate my wish to volunteer at one of the SuperGT events at Fuji, Montegi, Suzuka or any other track, please get in touch. I would probably need your help translating the application (and the whole process indeed). Some advice about transportation getting to the track, on time. Where to eat, where to sleep, etc. It would be most helpful!

One day I will do SuperGT… it’s at the top of my wish list,  like DTM!

 

Link to the quoted article: http://www.racecar-engineering.com/news/super-gt-challenges-lmp1-dtm-to-fuji-showdown/