Racing Madness

Trip Start May 12, 2012
Trip End May 19, 2012

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Flag of United States  , New York
Monday, May 21, 2012

Well, here we are, back in Buffalo where we started.

This morning started with a drive out to the Watkins Glen International Speedway, just to make sure we knew where to go for Dan's 12:00 tour around the track. We were about an hour or so early but had a nice chat with the gatekeeper, who told us to be back by 11:40 a.m.

We hadn't eaten, so we went back to Watkins Glen and had a very good breakfast at the Seneca Family Restaurant. We've noticed that you can't get hashed browns around here. All the menus offer home fries, which we don't like very well. So this morning we both passed on the potatoes. A real rare event!

A word about Watkins Glen. The downtown is still the center of everything. On the main street through the town, we saw two car dealerships, insurance offices, medical supply stores, restaurants, cafes, etc. It was really nice to see a downtown that wasn't all boarded up stores.It's not the prettiest town, but is pleasant.

After breakfast we took a ride to the next little town and looked around for a bit then headed back to the race track. When we got to the track, we were the second car to line up for the tour. A total of 5 cars were on this particular tour.

We were supposed to pull out at 12:00 noon. About 20 minutes to 12:00, an ambulance pulled out of the race track with lights and sirens blaring. Someone probably got hurt, but it probably wasn't a NASCAR fan, who was driving his rental car around the track, right? Anyway, nobody left the line, but the tour was about 20 minutes late getting started.  

A Watkins Glen shop truck came roaring out of the track, made a U-Turn and got in the front of the line of 5 cars.  He got out and said something to the guy in the first car (a Ford Flex with Louisiana plates), jumped back into his truck and off we went. 

Donna hadn't really expected to be IN the car while Dan went around the track, but since we just took off toward the race way, it was apparent that anyone in the car was going to be part of the tour.  (She should have known she was inclulded when she had to sign a release when we checked into the tour...)

The line of cars pulled up to the edge of the track.  Again, the guy in the Watkins Glen truck got out and talked to the first car.  He took off and, appparently, took one lap around the track to make sure it was clear.  He came back and led the line out onto the speedway.

The guy at the gate when we first pulled up told us that we would not be going fast, and not racing. He said that maybe we could expect to go highway speeds, but no faster. Dan was all set to go and Donna was filming the action.

Well, we did not just go highway speed. The guy in the truck started right off at around 60 and went from there. Dan did a good job keeping up with the pace car and the guy in front of us, reaching speeds as high as 75-80.  The other three cars lagged quite a way back.  We got 2 laps on film, and let me just say that it looked a lot scarier on film than it did from the car. 

After the first 2 laps, we stopped on the start-finish line and everybody got out.  The people in the Ford Flex were really nice, as was the guy from the track.  The other 3 cars pulled up, but hung back from the conversation, clearly humiliated by the superior drivers at the front of the pack.

   NOTE You Can See The Video Below................

After hanging out at the start-finish line for a little while, we took one more lap around the track and roared out to the gates. We stopped so Dan could take a picture of the gate, then we headed into town to pick up some souvenirs from the Shop.  The people from the Ford Flex were in front of us, and stopped at the Shop as well. They wanted to talk about the tour and asked Dan to forward the video. We exchanged email addresses and he's going to mail them a thumb drive with the video.

We walked over to the Seneca Station  Restaurant for a drink, and sat down and watched the video.  The barmaid had driven the same track and she wanted to see it too.  It was a reallly cool adventure, and Dan was thrilled that he got to do it.

We drove up Seneca lake, through Geneva and on to Buffalo.  We stayed at the Clarion Airport Inn in Buffalo, which was the worst place we've ever stayed in. The Internet access was so weak that we couldn't maintain a signal, the plumbing didn't work very well and the windows were filthy, but the bed was good, and that's what counts.

We walked down to a nice place called Protocol, and had a great dinner.

Home tomorrow.

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