Welcome to Road America!

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Good morning from a cool, but sunbathed Road America!. It is currently 60-degrees, with a projected high of 71. The Elkhart Lake Chamber of Commerce could not have produced a better day to welcome track-goers to the famous four mile road course just to the southeast of town. I really think Road America may be more closely situated to Plymouth, just south of the track – but Elkhart Lake gets the credit, even though Plymouth is a quaint little town in its own right. But I digress…

After a fairly uneventful travel day yesterday, that included us waking at 2:30 to catch a 5:45 flight – the only potential hiccup appeared to be the line at the rental car area at the Milwaukee airport.

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But Susan is a Hertz Gold Card member at Hertz (which costs nothing other than the time it takes to sign up). We bypassed this madhouse of grumpy people to take the elevator to the second floor, where the Hertz Gold office had no customers. We walked up to the counter, produced our drivers license, picked out our car (a black Chevy Malibu) and left. My guess is that as we were driving off, the line had not moved.

We went to the hotel first and unpacked, then headed to the track and arrived around 1:00. We went to the admin building to get a special pass for the golf cart. They had a very interesting wall decoration hanging over the front desk, as well as the first-place trophy displayed on the front counter.

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We’ve never been here on a Thursday before. I knew there was track activity on Thursday, but I assumed the place would be empty. It wasn’t the normal weekend crowd, but there was a surprising number of fans on the grounds. People were setting up their campgrounds and many were just sitting in lawn chairs taking in the sunshine and track activity. While there, we saw the MX-5 Cup and the Radical Cup practices. I was not familiar with Radical Cup, but those are some good looking cars. Unlike some sports cars, they sound a lot like Indy cars when they are on track.

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You may have heard that Graham Rahal is running a special throwback livery this weekend, reminiscent of his father’s Miller Genuine Draft livery of the early nineties.

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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has brought one of Bobby Rahal’s 1994 Lolas for display this weekend. They probably chose that year because 1994 was the only year that livery ran a Honda engine, as they do now. The 1994 Lola was not a good car (and the ‘94 Honda engine was worse). The 1994 Lola won only one race that season, but I always thought it had the most graceful lines of any race car in that era.

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Of course, no trip to Road America would be complete without a bratwurst. There were two concession stands open yesterday, so I had a mid-afternoon brat at the St. John the Baptist stand for my first brat of the weekend. It was as good as I remembered.

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The first IndyCar practice will be at 11:05 CDT (local time) this morning. It will be available on NBC Sports Gold. Practice Two will start at 3:00 this afternoon.

That will do it for now. Susan is working on a post about our fun at yesterday’s Track Walk. That will post either today or tomorrow and I will post a wrap-up later after Practice Two. In the meantime, please follow us on Twitter for photos and videos throughout the weekend. You can follow me at @Oilpressureblog and Susan at @MrsOilpressure. Please check back later.

George Phillips

6 Responses to “Welcome to Road America!”

  1. Ron Ford Says:

    A very enjoyable read George. Thanks for the photos. I’m going crazy trying to fill my time before Sunday and “Green-Green-Green”!

  2. Ron Ford Says:

    I hope this does not cause you to choke on your Spotted Cow beer, but after all my complaints about social media in the past, I have been following you at RA on Twitter and liking it. Perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks.

    • Twitter is only bad if you make it bad. On Twitter I pretty much only follow motorsports/automobile related stuff, racing drivers, and auto personalities like Chris Harris, or Leigh Diffey, a few breweries and local businesses, so my Twitter feed is full of all kinds of things that make me happy! I’ve been seeing pics of cheese curds, brats, and race cars all day…what’s not to love about that?! 🙂 I have no friends/family on there and George is one of the few people I ever actually interact with, I mainly just use it to read and learn about things I like or that make me laugh.

      For me the main key to a happy social media experience is to generally stay away from the comments. On rare occasions you can find brilliant discussions in the comments but mostly it just makes you lose hope for humanity. On George’s Twitter stuff the comments are fine and just like a little slice of OilPressure, but that is not common.

  3. billytheskink Says:

    I miss that old RC Cola associate sponsorship at Newman-Haas.

    Also, I miss Newman-Haas.

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