Friday, July 4, 2008

Live from Daytona - Day 2

- Updated at 10:36p.m. -

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Happy Independence Day, everyone. Woke up around 8:30 a.m. and walked over to Friendly's for breakfast. Needed a few cups of Joe to shake off the Daytona Beach morning grog, but we're feeling a lot better now and getting ready to go to the beach. It's 88 degrees and there's not a cloud in the sky. Still haven't made our way over to the "swag trailers" yet, but I expect us to be over there before the Nationwide race. Check back for more updates.

Alright, back in the room with a great tan after four hours on the beach. Started out a little rough with my pasty white Western Pennsylvania skin, but I lathered up the sun screen and soldiered through. Daytona is great because you can drive your car on the sand and park just a few feet from the waves. Took some shelter in the car when the sun got a little too hot. Saw a married couple two spots over with yellow Terrible Towel beach towels. Turns out they're from Monroeville, Pa. That makes two yinzers I've met while down here. Small world, eh?

Looking out the porch, two guys are walking down the road with some race tires. I guess they bought them at the swag trailers just across U.S. 92 ... only in Daytona. Anyway, time to shower off the salt/sand and watch the Nationwide race. I'm ashamed that I've been in Daytona for 24 hours and still haven't seen a single freaking race car. I'm starting to wonder if this blog is about NASCAR or the ocean. Maybe we'll start calling it Jonesin' for Beaches.

Joe Nemechek just qualified fourth for tomorrow's race, meaning he'll start right next to Dale Earnhardt Jr. Does it get any better than that? Thank God we'll have someone to root for!

The Nationwide race was AWESOME! Congrats to Denny Hamlin, and thank God he beat that jerk Kyle Busch. We had lots of passing for the lead and sat just three rows from the catch fence. We usually sit high in the grandstands, so we don't get the sensation of being a few feet from the cars as they blow by at 190 mph. It's crazy. Unleaded Octane 110 fills your nostrils, dirt blows in your eyes and the wind nearly knocks you out of your seat. Try experiencing that on your couch while watching ESPN!

We also met some cool people who were NASCAR rookies. Kenny, Judy and their kids, Tom and Jerry, were at their first NASCAR race, but the crazy part is they came here all the way from Kansas. Oh, and they're HUGE Dale Jr. fans. Very nice people. And when we're walking back from the track, we met a Steelers fan from my hometown of Lakeland who lived in the neighborhood (Imperial Lakes) where I was born. He was sporting Steelers sunglasses and chanting "Here We Go Steelers" with me as we walked home. Alright, time to head to bed and get ready for the big race tomorrow.

5 comments:

Amanda Gillooly said...

You're missing out on our soggy Fourth, Jimmy. Hasn't rained yet, but it sure is threatening. Have fun, brother!

Roger said...

Mike,

Is finding a room difficult? How long ago did you make reservations? From your descriptions, you are close to the track. Rooms must be all full, and expensive for these big race weekends.

How about tickets to the events at the track? Did you get them long ago? What kind of packages are available, such as both days, single days, pit passes, etc.? I would assume the track is packed out for the race on Saturday night, but what about the other events?

Thanks, I enjoy reading your updates.

Mike Jones said...

Roger, tix are not hard to get, but the rooms are SUPER expensive. We're talking $450 bucks a night. But my dad has a deal with a co-worker to cut that price down a little bit. We are right next to track, though, so it too just a few minutes to walk home after the race. You can't find a better motel room. In the old days (1993-96) we had to show up at the track around 9 a.m. and head home immediately after the race (and sit in traffic for two hours). Thanks for reading, Roger.

Scott Beveridge said...

Go Nemechek

Scott Beveridge said...

Your links are killing me