I have fabulous news! I get to go to the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Grand Prix of Sonoma County on August 22-24 at Infineon Raceway. I dig the IndyCar races ’cause the atmosphere is so different from NASCAR and I’m looking forward to it mostly because I haven’t been to a race since my first one in 2006. Now that I have a better understanding of how things go down at races in general I think I’ll be able to get more good photos and have a better experience in general.

And speaking of my first IndyCar experience in 2006, it was then that Marco Andretti won his first (and so far only) race. I was glad I was there to see it in person and I hope he can do it again. This time his No. 26 IndyCar will feature a special design from Blockbuster and Lucasfilm promoting the first-ever animated feature from Lucasfilm STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. It makes extra sense because the Lucasfilm headquarters are here in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I would expect an appearance from George Lucas himself. I have no idea if he’ll actually be there or not, I’m just sayin’.

In other news…

— Last year’s winner of the IndyCar race at Infineon, Scott Dixon made an appearance at the track this week to help promote this year’s event. He learned how to carve wood with a chainsaw and made a replica of Infineon’s special trophy:
IndyCar driver Scott Dixon poses with Chainsaw Chick Cherie Currie at Infineon Raceway

Dixon got the rare opportunity to build his own trophy on Tuesday in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle at Infineon Raceway with the use of a chainsaw and assistance from “Chainsaw Chick” Cherie Currie. The event was held as a promotion for the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County, Aug. 22-24.

Dixon carved a replica of the raceway’s signature Champion’s Cabernet Goblet, which he toasted in 2007 after taking the checkers for his first-career win in the Sonoma Valley. The replica, which was created from a five-foot piece of redwood, was carved in high-horsepower fashion with an Echo chainsaw under the tutelage of Currie, a professional chainsaw artist. Dixon and Currie worked together to create the trophy during a 20-minute demonstration before media members and race fans.

“I think I know what I want to do after racing now. I think I found a new hobby,” said Dixon after completing the carving. “It’s something I’d never thought about doing, and Cherie was a great instructor. I’m just glad I didn’t chop the thing in half.”

All equipment was provided by Echo, a sponsor of Currie. Echo produces hand-held landscaping equipment for both the commercial and residential homeowner markets, and prides itself on setting the industry standard (www.echoincorporated.com).

“He did an amazing job, actually superb,” said Currie, who has been carving for seven years. “I told him he’s going to get the carving bug, because once you start you just want to keep doing it.”

IndyCar driver Scott Dixon carves wood with a chainsaw at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: Gary Phillips)
(Photo Credit: Gary Phillips)