Baltimore Wrap rap; yo…..word

8 Sep

Before I begin, I really, positively, ABSOLUTELY need to say thanks to my homeys in the ROBO unit in the TV compound at Baltimore. They toil away in the trenches on behalf of VS and hardly ever get air time. Today’s photogenic lead shot is a screen cap of their excellent work. Thanks to Coy, Rob, Compy, Ryan and K-Roge for allowing me and my niece to visit during Lights practice. They tried to convince Mike Wells that they were working, but we know better….I’m just sayin. Seriously, graphics and robo are really the seldom recognized among the inner workings of a race broadcast.

I am not too down with non-oval (road) racing in the Izod Indy Car Series, nor am I enamored with street courses, either. I usually spend a ton of my time within the confines of the Mother Ship IMS during the month of May, like for the past 30 years. Baltimore totally ‘eFfed me up. I am not kidding. Large, totally humongous props and personal thanks to the fine peeps at Client Services for their accommodation of my credential request. I was given a chance to expose a new world of motor racing to a previous NASCRAP kinda, sorta fan. Oh, my niece did grow up near Penn State and knows where Williams Grove is and has attended a few events there but….still, NASCRAP at Po Ko-Oh No was her major experience to date. Then came the show in Baltimore….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUjNTD_FJSM

By now you have seen the YouTube sensation “Kannan gets MAJOR AIR, Helio saves his life”, or, “Rahal almost meets his Maker”. TK”s air video had over a MILLION hits by Wednesday so I am sure IICS got major wow factor as a result. But the street atmosphere in BWI? Oh my. At Indy, a typical fan can get about 30 feet from the track surface as a best vantage point say, in the short chute between turns 3 and 4. If you can score handicapped seats (or if you are cool enough to support a handicapped friend to see the race real close) the viewing from that vantage point can be mind numbing. At the Grand Prix of Baltimore, you could get that close to the catch fence while sitting at a corner bar, watching cars go by with deafening sound. For the recently initiated (read BGP spectator) to Indy cars close up, they look fast sitting still. These stick and ball sport fans really could not eat up enough of the sights and sounds. Believe me.
Props as always to Speed TV and the incomparable Marshall Pruett for this link:
http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-baltimore-rewind

I witnessed Randy and his minions pulling out the stops on Free-not much track activity- Friday at the track; there must have been 3000 fans walking around the convention center paddock. Several hours were spent watching teams killing time in s l o w m o t I o n and the fans were freakin loving it. That was the best good will gesture IICS could have ever made, especially with the track just a smidge away from completion. Some of my posse madly tweeted that it looked like an IICS Trade Show at the convention center. With no action on track, the series participants did HUGE interactions with the crowd. Case in point, I am an unabashed Hinchtown fan and feel James is part of the future of the sport. I spent a lot of time hanging like a skool gurl around their hauler. James was signing everything in sight for an hour and Oriel Servia was inviting little kids to sit in the car while he posed for shots taken by totally awe struck parents of said little kids. This type of good will generated for the series cannot be bought at any price. I mean, stick and ball guys would never do this on a rain delay.

A special thanks to the_Race_gIRL for providing the spark to blog and for the advise she offered at BWI. I hope to follow in her foot steps one day and do advertising for a race team. Nah, my goal is techie IT stuff for them. Thanks, Monica! I also had the pleasure of the BEST hotel room on the Bay. Here is what my view looked like as I slept for 5 nights in this unique hotel “room”

The “Gorgeous Facility” that makes up the water front street course called Baltimore’s Inner Harbor blows away anything I have seen before in a race facility. I even own property in St Pete and that place wishes it could get the love shown in BWI for their event. Granted, there were a few, well maybe many, locals that do not share the venue’s positive vision with the soon to be re-elected mayor, but there would absolutely be nothing going on in downtown BWI Labor Day weekend otherwise. Baseball games at Camden Yards notwithstanding, most of the locals that can, do go south to Ocean City, Maryland for the last summer fling. Most of my observations reflected a ton of party people doing stuff I can do in Indy but with a different atmosphere all together. I mean party people with a capital P! Stop off at the Hilton, INSIDE the center of the track, have a cocktail at the bar with the Lights teams and their staff while watching the race in real time on the big screen. Step outside the Hilton and you are at the start of the back straight just past turn l. Do that somewhere besides Long Beach.

This week’s comments on Baltimore sure ended up being a touchy – feely kind of love fest for the crab samm’ich capitol. However, the vibrancy of the event all weekend is a bright spot. With the safety vheicles in the way, Tony flying and Seabass qualifying so well, all the things that went, or could have gone very badly for the series were washed away in the reception Indy Car received. Kudos to Mr. Angstadt and Mr. Bernard. On to 4 more years of upward trajectory for the series in Baltimore.

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