The layout of California Speedway is simplistic in theory but not really when it comes to actual application. Walking from the media center in the infield around to the midway section behind the grandstands is a trek indeed. When you add in the heat you’ve got a serious cardiovascular workout. I swear I lost 5 pounds on Friday just walking from my car to the pits.

After the seating debacle on Friday I was hesitant to ask if there was space upstairs in the press box during the race. ‘Cause here’s the thing, I didn’t fly to La La Land and then drive an hour and a half to watch the race on TV. So I asked and of course there was already a seating chart in place, which is totally ok, I get it, but the thing I didn’t appreciate was being treated like the complete nobody that I know that I am. I will say this, certain staffers were very nice but others were not. The thing about it was that the attitude from certain people was so unnecessary, so I have to mention it.

Once the race started I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting in the room downstairs all night, so I went up to the press box to see if I could stand in the back. Turns out the whole back row was empty. I sat there for the entire race with a great view of the start/finish line.

The race wasn’t that exciting in terms of crashes & cautions, but it was extremely fun to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. continually move up through the field every lap. Usually the top three finishers are available after the race for a press conference. This was my best and LAST hope of seeing Junior in person this weekend. On Friday before and after qualifying he bypassed the fans assembled outside the garage during qualifying. He also managed the same feat on Sunday before driver introductions. I did a couple laps around the garage and couldn’t catch a glimpse. So all my hopes were pinned on him getting into the top 3 and being in the press box after the race.

My Hopes = Dashed

They held the press conference with Clint Bowyer, who came in third, and Junior in a room I had yet to find but knew that it was in somewhere in the garage. Unfortunately for me the garage area was hot at that time and I couldn’t get in because I only had a cold pass.

The only driver that I saw in plainclothes after the race was Tony Stewart. He’d just hoped on a golf cart and was being whisked away to a helicopter or plane somewhere. Was it too much to ask for that to have been Junior? C’mon! 🙂

One of the bright spots of my trip was getting to meet tallglassofmilk, the woman behind the website/blog Answer This. I’ve mentioned her site’s plentiful details on the love lives of NASCAR drivers before, and on Sunday we got to dish in person about the latest scandals.

Overall I had a great birthday weekend at the races. There were pluses and minuses but I still love NASCAR and what it’s about. I can say that this experience renewed my spirit to do more with my blog. Stay tuned.

Oh! This has nothing to do with the race at California specifically, it’s just good stuff. Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.