Sunday, January 27, 2013

Over, Over, Over

Another 24 Hours of Daytona is in the books. The watches have been distributed, winners and losers have dried their tears, and the teams are well underway in the process of breaking down and packing up. (Team trucks have to leave the speedway by noon tomorrow, and the garages will be closed from 7 p.m. tonight to 7 a.m. tomorrow. They've got to hustle.)

It was not a banner year for TRG. Not a single car technically finished the race, though the 66 came extremely close, with only the driver dissenting in the last two minutes (seriously, the last TWO MINUTES of a 24-hour race), saying "No, something's wrong. I'm not going out there in this." (Further investigation seemed to point to another broken differential, so kudos to Ben Keating for sticking to his guns. That's the beat-up car below. Note the irony of the winner's circle confetti as road-kill on the tire.)

But it was an epic race all the same. They always are, one way or another. This year for Audi's first GT win (and second) and for Ganassi's 97th. (I'm kidding, I don't know how many, but it was a lot.)

There was no rain. There were no epic, multi-vehicle crashes. No major injuries. But plenty of good, hard racing, plus some gamesmanship. To be expected.

What I didn't expect was quite how many pages of notes I'd take, or quite how long I'd be able to listen in on the team radio (the answer: as much as I wanted, which turned out to be about 16 hours).

I didn't expect (but should have, because I just wasn't thinking) was how many contacts I'd make and how many different people I'd really enjoy having long conversations with. Or how nice the drivers would be.

Or that I could really make it through a full day on only three hours of sleep (and a shower).

It was a weekend full of surprises and new friends. Racing data (tons) and plot ideas (a couple). But you know? This was the easy part, getting to Florida and sleeping so little. Now, to write....

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