Friday, July 07, 2006

First day - Friday July 7, 2006

Early Friday we are back at the race hotel in downtown Toronto to take the media shuttle to the exhibition grounds - site of the race and at 8:35 AM we pass through the entrance and are immediately hit up to get a free shirt and hat if only we would sign up for a new credit card. Somehow we get by and head to the automotive building where the media centre holds court

We pick up some media guides, some free liquid refreshments and proceed to the pits. A Champ car Atlantic Championship practice is underway. We walk the pits taking pictures of the Champ setup and some of the Atlantic racers.

At about 9:45 AM the Champ drivers start to show up for their scheduled 1 hour practice run at 10:15 AM. They walk, are driven, or drive bikes and scooters into the pits. The drivers that walk are busy signing autographs and getting their photos taken. Riding into the pit frees them from having to sign anything. For some famous drivers it is quite a production, for some of the less well know drivers it is like a stroll in the park - a very nondescript entrance devoid of drama.

The tight pits are bursting with equipment, hoses, tires, crews and mini command posts. The drivers pull up their coveralls and place their colourfull helments and hans (head and neck safety) on and squeeze into the cockpits. The tight fit requires the steering wheel to be removed for the drivers access.

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