Day Two of the Music City Grand Prix

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Good morning from a now-sunny, but still slightly damp Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. Overcast skies were welcomed yesterday, as it kept temperatures down in the low 80s. Sunny skies and warmer temperatures were expected today, but it was raining as we woke up in our west Nashville home about twenty minutes from the track. While I’m all for cooler temps, I don’t want to see any more rain this weekend. An unexpected shower popped up around noon yesterday. That’s enough.

One thing I failed to mention last night is considered old news by now, but points-leader Alex Palou was given a six-grid penalty for tomorrow’s race, for an unapproved engine change that actually occurred during pre-season testing. No matter how well he does in qualifying later today, he will start six points lower on the grid. For the record, Palou was sixth quick in yesterday’s practice.

Most of you will not be surprised that Susan and I did not stick around for last night’s Brooks & Dunn concert. When we left the track last night around 7:30, we could see on the video boards that the concert area was rocking and the place appeared packed. It looked and sounded like everyone was having a good time, but I was happy to climb into our car and leave. We got home and watched the replay of practice on Peacock. I dozed off once or twice and looked over to see Susan passed out as well. We turned it off and went to bed around 9:00 pm. Old age is sad.

The Friday crowd gave every indication that Day One of the Music City Grand Prix was a huge success. Most everyone we saw seemed to be having a great time. But as you can expect from a brand new event, there were some hiccups. The biggest hiccup we’ve heard about is an incomplete grandstand.

Yesterday morning, we ran into fellow blogger, Mike Silver of The Pit Window. He said his grandstand for Sunday hadn’t even been built yet. That was the first we had heard of this. Afterwards, a friend of mine sent me a screen shot of a Facebook post a friend of his had put out. She went off on a rant that her $300 seats were not ready yet. The wording of her diatribe said that there was no guarantee the seats would be ready by Sunday. That made it sound like that came from track officials. I think it was more of her slightly intoxicated and enraged opinion. After all, until Sunday, fans can sit in any stands they like.

Still, it was not a good look and the story made its way to the local NBC affiliate, WSMV-TV4.

The only excuse I can come up with is that the labor shortage in this country has also made its mark on Nashville. I saw on Facebook last night that some local downtown restaurants were turning people away with only a 25% crowd. It wasn’t due to COVID, they had no staff to serve guests. I have an idea the crews counted on to erect the grandstands in time were grossly understaffed. If that wasn’t the case, then I can’t think of another excuse.

There were some other missteps that need some correction. The paddock area needs at least one other footbridge from the north end of Nissan Stadium. The only pedestrian bridge from the focal point of the stadium is way to the south of the stadium, crossing over the Turn Three area. That dumps all fans into the far corner of the massive paddock and fan concession area. Granted, a footbridge coming from the north end of the stadium would have to cross pit lane, but is that such a travesty? The other footbridges cross the track just after Turn Nine to get to the hotel areas, and just past Turn Ten to go into the hospitality area.

Concession prices aren’t cheap. After practice, we were really thirsty and went to get a Coke. They were $5 each and were barely below ambient temperature. FYI…like IMS this past May, all transactions were cashless. That was odd, because at our last race at Road America, few concession stands took debit cards.I did notice that this particular stand offered the always sought-after tenderloin, which are unheard of in the south. We didn’t sample it yesterday, but I plan to today.

Stands

A tenderloin for $10 is on par with what IMS charged in May, but a $12 burger and fries for $8 is a little beyond common sense. A burger, fries and a Coke will cost you $25 plus tax. For that, you get to sit on an available curb (no picnic tables to be found) and scarf it down.

Another thing we found odd was that there were no trash cans to be found, at least that we could tell. Susan had gotten some Kona Ice (which was a glorified snow cone in a plastic cup for $5) just before practice. Understandably, such items are not allowed in the pits. But after she was done, there was receptacle anywhere to throw the plastic cup. The overzealous guard at the gate (who would put any IMS Yellow-shirt to shame) would not allow her in even with an empty cup. She reluctantly had to leave it sitting beside a fence. Hint to track management: Multiple trash cans are needed at a big event like this.

Trans Am Qualifying is first on the schedule at 11:00 CDT this morning, then the NTT IndyCar Series will hold a forty-five minute practice at noon, available on Peacock. IndyCar Qualifying will start at 3:30 local time and will only be available on Peacock. Due to the Olympics, there will be no replay of qualifying on NBCSN this weekend.

We are going to go mill about and take it all in today. Fingers-crossed on the weather today. Susan will have something up here sometime today, and I may have a post here after Practice Two, but I’ll definitely return after Qualifying with a wrap-up and hopefully a review of the tenderloin.

You can also follow along on Twitter today. Follow me at @Oilpressureblog, and Susan at @MrsOilpressure for photos, videos and comments. Please check back later.

George Phillips

2 Responses to “Day Two of the Music City Grand Prix”

  1. James Thomas Says:

    No grandstand 6 for Saturday hopefully open tomorrow offering refund for Friday Saturday

  2. jollinger Says:

    I know concessionaires pay to be there and need to make a profit to make it worth their time and effort, but customers feeling bled dry is bad for business. How many people think about taking the kids to an event like this and then think, I don’t want take out another mortgage to pay for it.

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