Thursday, March 1, 2012

Daytona 500 Personal Experience

Oh boy, so Feb. 29th was my birthday and I spent most of it doing XML homework for class.  Thanks teacher, glad to know I enjoyed my special b-day which comes once every 1461 days.

I got a lot to talk about (like Sega & school stuff) and little time to do it so let's make this brief.  Feb. 27th was the Daytona 500 and here's how it went down.  Race began at 7 pm so me and my dad left super early (about 2 pm).  Now unlike last time, we strayed away from the free overflow parking.  The south side of Daytona is nothing but empty fields while the north side is a boulevard with businesses & stuff.  So Daytona Beach is quaint little town...there's a Best Buy, a Burger King, a Chick-fil-A, a Home Depot.  Oh, and there's a huge-ass race track in the center of all of it.  We just parked by the Lenscrafters and walked a half-mile to the track.  Beats the hell out of parking in a non-descript grass field.

We got tickets for DePalma, Section H, Row 3, Seats 9/10.  You could take the seats close to the track or you can take the ones up-high.  Obviously, if you want to observe the entire field, then take the high-up seats.  But if you're like me and you want to feel the adrenaline, take the low seats.  Doesn't matter too much since you can get up and walk near the fence and witness the action for yourself.  There were fewer people in the lower seats so we had a bit of space down where I sat.

BTW, during the pre-race intro when all the drivers were announced, the crowd flipped out when Dale Jr. was announced.  Everyone loves Junior.  If Junior wins a race, then the whole grandstands would collapse to the ground.  Also, the old guy who said "Gentlemen, start your engines" was underwhelming.  And those jet dryer trucks that made their rounds before the race are so loud and obnoxious--it's the most annoying sound ever.

Being up-close to the race in person: OH MY GOODNESS IT'S THE GREATEST THING EVER.  You can just feel the horsepower.  Unlike TV broadcasts in which the cars just "zip" by, here there's just this loud rumbling roar you can't hear anywhere else.  And when there's a pack of 20+ cars passing by...holy cow.  It was like soothing music and a body massage in one.  You couldn't get too close to the fence or this patrolling security guard would ask that you step back.  Though I cannot express in words how cool it was to be there.

I also brought my sign that I made an hour before leaving.  Had the race been on Sunday, I wouldn't have taken those cool pics.  Thankfully, no one from security confiscated it from me.  I waved it a few times though no one really knew what Daytona USA was, really.  I had a 0.000001% of appearing on TV/websites with it but my own pics were outstanding and, as ridiculous as the sign was, it completely made bringing it worthwhile.

I didn't follow the race results too much.  All I know is that Kevin Harvick won, Danica the troublemaker wrecked on the 2nd lap (she would later finish 50-laps behind), and two cars ran out of gas.  This happy truck gave the empty cars a push so they could roll into the pit.  Good Guy Truck Driver.

But best of all, Juan Pablo Montoya set the track on fire.  He took out that noisy jet dryer truck but delayed the race.  Scumbag Montoya.  When that happened, everyone around us was calling him a dumbass, to be polite.  The drivers parked their cars far away from us (along the back stretch far from any of the stands) and walked around, just chilling out as usual.  Would've been cool if they parked near us!  For about an hour, we stayed in our seats wondering if the race would even continue.  During the wait, the stands to our right started doing the wave repeatedly.  We got it over halfway across the entire grandstands (past the finish line)!  After two hours, the green flag came out and our patience payed off.

There was one car I was rooting for and that was Aric Almirola in the light blue-white #43 car.  Because his first name is one letter off of mine, his number is also my favorite number, and I liked the paint job.  He hung in the Top 10 up until 20 laps to go when his car was totaled.  What a bummer.

There weren't any wrecks near where I sat.  However, there was a spinout when the silver #32 car spun out and that was about it.  This race was relatively low in terms of "car"nage--only 11 of 43 cars DNF'ed.

The race ended at 1 am.  Kevin Harvick came 1st, Dale Jr. came 2nd.  I really didn't follow much of the action--I just liked to check out the cars in action.  After the checkered flag, there was this mass exodus of people towards the exit.  I wanted to check out the victory lap/celebration but my dad was in a hurry to leave.  It was late (thanks to Montoya's blunder) and everyone was pissed that Dale Jr. lost another close race so I can't blame 'em.  We walked back to Lenscrafters and drove home.  Made it home at 2:30 am on a school night...doesn't get better than this.

I'd go back to another race but that's some heavy-duty stuff right there.  I'm nuts-ed out when it comes to racing right now.  It was a great experience but back to boring-old programming for me.


  1. So you're a Leap Baby? Happy [belated] birthday! That race was insane. Would have been even more insane if the #41 Hornet High-Class team was racing it! :)

  2. Yeesh. And to think...

    I've recently had two groups of guys who want me to help with art for their games (apparently I've got one hell of a reputation at the school, and I'm just about done with the hippie game, YAY - still 97% of it is my work), but I was telling someone that because I haven't worked in a team with different roles for everyone, I joined to experience that, but neither team has a solid process of how to make a game, so I told him, "It's like putting gasoline all over the place and see what happens."

    Then I see this post. I think the big man upstairs is telling me something.

    And yes, your big bold letters fill me with envy. That's the kind of excitement games need to deliver. Scripted sequences just don't cut it for me.

  3. Thanks John, I saw your blog post on Leap Babies too, giving us props...

    Glad to see you are dominating at school. Speaking of which, when I saw the cars zip by for the first time, I thought the same thing you did. The only games that really conveyed that kind of excitement are Daytona 2 and others. I wish more games did a better job of that.

    And cutscenes...I recently saw a Super Mario 64 speedrun. Stomp on the Thwomp in 26 seconds. The top rated comment--"In a modern game, this would be accomplished with QTE's."'s like we've taken legit skill out of the hands of the players.

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