Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 25, 2009...still in Chicago

July 25, 2009
The morning came much earlier than I was prepared for. Thank goodness I had showered and set up the night before for today, cause out the door Dave and I went and boy was it early. We were on our way at 5:30 am and on the road listening to the infamous voice of the GPS, who never fails to lead us astray. This time not into a body of water but into a newly planted cornfield. Dave and I found our way with little dilemma or inconvenience. After the 10 minute drive we became even more fortunate as we ran into Kelly the hospitality “hostess with the mostest’’ which made getting into the event as painless as possible. I had told Kelly rather late that I was going to have Dave on my guest list I expected a bit of turbulence about getting him in. All and all every thing was off to a positive start, including the track walk. Yeah, a 60- minute track walk of all 21 turns, I couldn’t believe it myself.
The morning drivers meeting ended early so from there I decided to seek out the guest drivers. One of the drivers, Glen Plake is on my dad’s list of heroes, and one of the most successful ski bums on the planet. Glen was actually the first man I ever saw who had a mo hawk. Anyways, after meeting the guest drivers I enjoyed a bit of relaxation planning out what way I wanted to attack the track at 10:00 am. From their Dave and I both agreed that my biggest problem was trying to go to fast in the beginning. I would simply over drive the car, then have to come back and slow everything down dramatically for the second session and start over from scratch. From there went out, under drove the car and just tried to build up a rhythm to the 21-turn Autobahn facility. However you guess I was not as successful as I was aiming for, but I did have some shinning qualities about my morning drive more like 4 of 21 turns. I was rocket quick the rest of it well, I was losing a lot of time. While my practice times were not what I would have hoped they would have been I felt surprisingly good about my 9 laps around Autobahn so far. I will say I was disappointed but with racing you have to keep that positive attitude otherwise you will find your lap times heading backwards fast. From there Dave and I sat down and went over my data from there we saw what was happening to all of my time. Which was fantastic to see because it was what I saw made me realize my in car driving instincts were correct. I felt in the same spots that I was over slowing the car and a few turns did not have the most proper line through some turns as well.
Our list was than created of things I was going to do differently. As the day went on and our break turned out to be a little longer then any other race we went to life was extremely simple. It gave us plenty of time to keep scrounging through my data looking for more time and keep looking and seeing what I was doing right and what happened to be going terribly amuck. However, being the Volkswagen Jetta TDi Cup you never get a chance to take a break for to long. They always keep you moving.
One of the major tasks I had, was to take some time out of our day and learn a bit about some of the VW vehicles that they have recently introduced, including two of my favorites those being the 2010 GTI which is a gorgeous car from the front to the back. It even had plaid interior, yes I am crazy but it was awesome. They also showed us the V6 Toureag and Jetta TDi’s along with the new VW CC. all phenomenal cars even though the CC is more of a luxury car which isn’t my style but still for a sticker of 29,500 not bad at all. Plus the car told me I was 2160 miles from my house in Los Gatos, which is always kind of surreal to know how far away from home I truly am. But that moment was shortly shattered by Joey Attabury and Ryan Ellis pulling some childish antics in the back seat. All of a sudden the hazard lights were on, the radio was blasting some sort of uncomfortable 90 slow rock jam, plus somebody had left a two way radio in the cup holder so half the time the poor call button was getting pushed.
I had a suggestion to VW to get the drivers for next year into leased TDI Jettas for their daily drivers, would be sticker up to look just like there racecars. Instead of just having the kids driving and promoting Jetta’s on the weekend they would be promoting it all season. This was my suggestion mainly because I kind of need a dependable car since my Camaro threw a connecting rod a week and a half ago. So I am getting a little desperate for transportation.
Getting ready for the next session! Qualifying! Which again all I was doing was going over my piece of paper and from there got me ready chatted with a few other drivers and peacefully got myself into my racecar. We pulled out of the 8,000 sq ft tech tent and lined up single file waiting for the track to clear. A few people stopped to take pictures of the cars even some VW staff considering we were so close. We then moseyed out to pit lane to line up for our session. At the start I let everybody by and began at the back looking for room to drive slow right and work heat into the tires. After a while I realized I was making the corrections I set out to do in my driving. Just as I began driving faster, I ended up doing a 2:48.6, which were 4 seconds faster then my morning session I found that to be fantastic. However from there I don’t think I improved very much after that lap. Mainly because I kept trying to over drive the car again. I guess I am a creature of habit however I did succeed and felt good even though 4 seconds was only good for 4 spots on the grid but who cares. I made goals I set out to make changes in my driving and I did just that I was thrilled. Except for one misstep I made that caused Mark Pombo to cover Juan Paublo Serria Lendle’s entire car with mud. At least as a favor I helped him clean his car because I felt bad but all only mud no rocks thank god.
The day winded down after that and slowly came to a halt especially after the chicken kabobs. Oh man did VW hospitality have the best chicken ca bobs ever tonight. So good I got a chance to skip dinner. And go strait to the hotel and type this. So that I where my night ended. Hope I have some exciting story for you guys later.
Until then Arevidarchi

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday's Travels

Today started a lot earlier then I thought when I woke up at 3:00am my time and was struggling to go back to sleep. I just could not believe I had slept so well with the hotel being part of the takeoff route for Chicago O’Hara International airport. I was very amazed that I got myself up and rolling a 9am I was fed and ready to attack the day. I enjoyed a nice complementary breakfast at the holiday inn express. After downloading the iphone update before I left the hotel and started wondering towards Midway Airport on the outskirts of Chicago to meet up with David Arken my friend and driving coach that was flying in later tonight.
After checkout however I met a man by the name of Berry who was a cargo pilot who was one of those guys who could through his life story in 15 minutes. But interesting lives involving starting his professional career as an aircraft manufacture building the 747’s for Boeing in Washington. But from there moved up to Alaska and became a pilot and worked his way into the freight industry. Now he is Captain of some of the airplanes he built for Boeing flying the 747’s with freight all over the globe. In the next three days he will have been in 4 country’s all of them being clearly across the globe from there home base in Anchorage Alaska.
Berry was also very interested in me and my racing ambitions and asked me the classic question. He asked me if I was ever scared and for the first time I could tell him yes. I have gotten scared in a racecar just at the last Ohio event with the Jetta TDi cup. I told him about how just by turning left I got my car to go from being happy on 4 wheels to being completely happy on 1 wheel. He was astonishes as I was using my body and words to best explain what was happening to me and just explaining that one turn which in reality only lasted about 15 seconds took about several minutes to explain the whole scenario to him. He was astonished with the fact that a car could get to that point and the only uncomfortable point about that was me seeing grass. He was impressed. He also was asking about our safety equipment and asked to see my defNder neck brace. From there he started talking about how this single device could have saved Dale Ernheartt Seniors life. We both agreed that it was a shame. But by this point we had arrived at his stop on the bus ride back to Chicago O’Hara and we said goodbyes and I left him with a card so he can brag to his niece and nephews that he met a racecar driver. Plus I had to drop the line that “In the future if your company could be interested in sponsoring a racecar hand them my card.”
The bus driver after chatting me up about racing cars and wanted to check out my website as well as he was dropping me off outside the Hilton O’Hara hotel. From there the ABC bus lines had a charter bus running to Midway International Airport that costs me $16. What was amazing after I was on board it turned out that I was the only one on the bus and it made me think. I hope this $16 covers this bus driver’s pay and the bus’s gas. Although the pretty young lady was walking down the sidewalk and ended up boarding my bus. She appeared very coordinated considering how she was managing 5 bags with her two hands wheeling them down the sidewalk with her snowboard bag over her shoulder and made it appear effortless. She hoped on the bus and after talking for a bit I found out she was just getting in from Argentina and Chile. I was rather impressed with how awake she was after a flight like that. Shortly after that the bus driver and she realized that she was on the wrong bus, so much for being awake and aware. But Mike the bus driver and I ended up having a good conversation without her. Especially considering he was telling me all about his life and the enjoyment and anguish he has seen. The commute to this job after getting laid off and beginning driving busses. So for him he has an hour and a half commute every morning and night. He had two kids that sounded like they were what truly mattered to him and was rather sad to listen to how he was struggling but doing the best he can. Mike had an accent that reminded me of something out of a movie and talked about his trip out to California and he was one of the few people I have talked to about California that had made the trip out to Yosemite national park. This for any body that has not really seen mountains at all turns it into a breathtaking adventure. He talked mostly about the road into Yosemite and how amazing that drive was with the wall next to you and the cliff to the other side. Its something you can only see in the western united states and thank god for it.
From there we finally arrived at Midway airport where I preceded to find myself a bathroom, a coke, and a power outlet where I could write all this while I wait for Dave’s plane. About six hours later after two PowerAde’s and a bag of Doritos Dave arrived and we rented our car and headed out to Juliet. During that drive I am still amazed seeing brick buildings which are all but extinct in California. Especially after the lomapreatta earthquake. Plus people in middle America people have some of the most impressive lawns I have ever seen. The largest lawns and front yard ever it’s really amazing and now I finally understand the need for a lawn mowing tractor. After about a 45 minute drive we arrive at what turned out to be the most confused front counter ever. This gentleman struggled for a half an hour to find out he was trying to check me in under the wrong guest. Oh well at least I was happy to see that my package had made it there that had all my driving equipment in it. After settling in the room Dave and I figured that out everything went smoothly and walked to a ____________ for a quick byte to eat. Boy I never though I could get a full thanksgiving dinner for two for less then $20 dollars. I was amazed and on that note wandered back to the hotel with Dave and called it a day after all 5:15am wasn’t to far away.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 1: Getting to Chicago

July 23, 2009
Chicago Trip Day One:
Today began with a blaring alarm clock and major concern in regards to my trip to Chicago. Wondering if I packed everything I was going to need, the typical last minute jitters anybody gets before their going somewhere on business had set in. My mother was not helping the situation what so ever on the way to the airport. Upon arriving I found that our initial look at the amount of passengers on United flights from San Francisco to Chicago had drastically changed from the night before. I listed myself the day before at 9am and from there the load list went crazy. However it was the card I was dealt and lead to actually being some time that I could just clear my head and get food in my system. I spent most of the time enjoying posts on FML mainly because I guess my day wasn’t so bad after all you know.
Thanks to a very nice gate worker named Olga, I ended up on a plane after nearly 11 hours in the airport. She handed me my boarding pass and I walked down the ramp towards my working vacation. Shortly after takeoff the announcement came over the intercom that we were on time and hopefully Air Force One’s arrival into Chicago wont cause too much of a delay.
Of course my bag was the last bag off the carousel, so after a long wait I headed over to the info kiosk and started looking at hotels my mother suggested for the evening. Found the Holiday Inn Express was willing to forward me a discount that my mother gets when she stays there. Talk about fantastic a king bed, breakfast, and free WiFi for $75 in Chicago, Beat that Price line. On my way to the airport I solved one mans life dilemma as to why his phone was not working. Turns out he left it in airplane mode. From there got on the bus to the hotel and saw the after math of our Presidents arrival. To add to my headache list, I learned that a taxi cab had ran over a pedestrian or two. But on the way I saw Air Force One and the C5 Galaxy that no doubt transported the President’s motorcade. Never the less seeing Air Force One for the first time was a unique feeling a mix of excitement, amazement, and awe. You wonder how just seeing a plane could be exciting at all but then again I have loved aircraft since I was a child so I know what is under that white and blue aluminum skin of that 747. Of course I will remain Gods comic relief till the day I die because after seeing Air Force One the bus pulls into the hotel and in the parking lot sits the Oscarmeyer Weiner mobile. Yet another veicle I have never seen in real life before and im not totally sure, but pretty positive that God is laughing with me. Finally checked into the hotel and ordered some pizza Chicago style. And I have to say after it arrived an hour later was not impressed with it. Sorry Chicago, California pizza is far superior then what you guys have. Cleaned up and enjoyed a relaxed evening with an early bedtime. All and all it was a good day. It’s always nice to end a day feeling better then you did when the day started.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Heading to Chicago

Hey Everyone,

I am getting ready to head out to Autobahn Country Clubnear Chicago for my next Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup race weekend. It is an incredible 21 turn, 3 and a ½ mile facility. I can't wait!
For the past few days, I have been reviewing video and trying to get my body in sync with Chicago time. I feel I've learned from the mistakes I made out at Mid Ohio and am expecting a successful and fun weekend in Chicago. Hopefully I will be able to keep you all updated as the weekend progresses. I leave Thursday and plan to get some news out starting Friday.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Weekend so far

As Perry's new director of marketing and PR I thought I would add a little bit of update from our weekend so far! Mike Hennessy has done an amazing job putting on Hot San Jose Nights and letting Perry, as well as myself appear with the cars. This entire weekend has been a great way for us to get Perry's name out there!! We have met so many interested, kind, fun people and this whole experience has been a great start to a wonderful business partnership! Tomorrow is our last day there, so if you haven't come down to check out the event yet, get on it! It is definitely worth seeing!!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hot San Jose Nights

If anyone is going to be in the Bay Area this weekend, I will be appearing at Hot San Jose Nights. I am bringing two different types of cars including a Stohr DSR as well as a Pro-Mazda. This will be a very exciting event that goes throughout the weekend, Thursday July 9th-Sunday July 12th. If you are in the area, come down and check it out! Just look for a guy in a Volkswagen Jetta Tdi Cup racing suit!

The event schedule as well as directions can be found on there website click on the link: