We're up for the day here at the Joliet Super 8, temporary WORLD Headquarters for the pressdog empire. A few tidbits to share before I depart for a lovely brunch with MyNameIsIRL.com contributor mmack and mrs. mmack and then back to Des Moines.
Plenty of rage communicated over start time. If you're pissy over the start time of the race (10 p.m. Eastern) don't worry, the league got an earful over it. Terry Angstadt popped into the media center and had a little cluster up with the Big Hitters -- Cavin, Miller, Olson, Oreo, Bruce Martin, Trackside Online's Joe Berkemeier -- and talked about sundry issues that came up at the owner's meeting Saturday.
Chicagoland Speedway is acting like someone with a hangover -- very slow to awake, groggy, staggering around.
This night race is kind of throwing me off. I got to the track around 10 a.m., which is like showing up at the track at about 5 in the morning for a regular 2 p.m.-ish start. It's blustery here, about 61 degrees right now, headed into the mid-50s by tonight.
Giancarlo Fisichella's winning the pole for the F1 Belgium Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps is apparently having repercussions thousands of miles away in Joliet, IL.
Track officials here Saturday issued a "Locust Watch" in effect through tonight's race (9 p.m. eastern on VERSUS).
"The saying 'when Giancarlo wins the pole' used to be like saying 'when pigs fly,'" said a Chicagoland official. "So now that he HAS won the pole, seriously, we're wondering if it might not just be the coming of a new age."
Ensconced in the Super 8 with the day over, it's time to consider just what we have learned so far?
The rain stayed away. I'll take full credit. There was some very light misting during qualifications that even delayed things for a bit, but other than that we stayed dry. The forecast for Saturday says "Windy with a few clouds from time to time. High 66F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Low 48F. Winds NW at 10 to 20. Low 48?
Qualifications are done and the 2009 Chicagoland Bullpen is history. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
To recap, the "bullpen" is an area along the pit wall where many of "the media" stand during qualifications. Then the team PR people bring the drivers over one at a time and we quiz them up. Usually it's like a sea of digital recorders stuck into the faces of various drivers.
When you're out on the road all the time, inhaling ethanol fumes constantly, you start coming up with nutty stuff to keep yourself entertained. For Vision Racing, it's the giving and receiving of "banan-o-grams." Vision PR Super Star Michael Kaltenmark just presented me with this banana. (Note: I said THIS banana, not HIS banana. Simmer down.) Manly tears were wiped. Pretty sure they are trying to get me to buy them beer. It's working.