"Holy Toledo!"

July 29, 2007

Back Home Again

Filed under: NHRA — Bill @ 11:15 pm

(Your favorite blogger has finally returned! I’ve been having way too much fun lately, I will try to cool it.)

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It’s the feeling you get when you walk into your old favorite restaurant that for whatever reason you haven’t been in for years. A comfort is found in the old familiar surroundings, yet there is excitement in discovering what is new.

Such was the case for yours truly this weekend when I finally found my way back to the NHRA races at Infineon Raceway.

I couldn’t help but wonder why I had been away for so long. Although I had my many reasons none made much sense to me after about five steps onto the property. It really was like going back home again to a place I knew I belonged.

Friday night qualifying under the lights was spectacular. Words can’t begin to describe seeing a Top Fuel car thundering down the quarter mile in 4.5 seconds at over 320 miles per hour. For those of you who know, you understand when I say that the header flames were above the wing & the ground was pounding. And once you smell that old familiar whiff of nitro your heart picks up a beat and all is well in the world.

My hat goes off to O. Bruton Smith (& Speedway Motorsports, Inc.) for the incredible job they have done turning Infineon Raceway into a full-fledged major league racing facility. Not once did I feel as if the place was over-crowded, parking in & out was a breeze, the food was expensive but above average quality, and the sight lines off the race track were excellent from many different locations. Sonoma County can now boast that they finally have a first class major league sports facility.

We always used to avoid Sunday’s because “it was too crowded” & “final eliminations took so long.” Well today’s racing facilities are much more equipped to handle the 64,000 fans that showed up at Infineon. Also the NHRA does a great job of moving the show along, the new 75 minutes between rounds rule makes a huge difference.

A couple side notes of interest: We discovered a section called “Thunder Alley” which allows you to stand on the track level about 30 feet from the actual racing surface. We stood out about 500 feet from the starting line and when those boys thundered by you it was almost a religious experience.

Things seemed to slide right into place as if time stood still and I was right back where I belonged. My only regret was that it took so long for me to find my way back home.

Bill

P.S.- There is one more factor that makes Infineon Raceway among the elite of all the NHRA facilities, the weather: At Noon today when the 1st round began air temperature was 71 degrees, relative humidity 64 percent, barometer 29.99 inches, adjusted altitude 955 feet, track temperature 108 degrees. Nitro motors love this stuff!

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