Lights out Racing in Vegas-My First Press Credentials

Tom ThomasonCorrespondent ISeptember 27, 2009

My day in the sun was no fun. It was a miserable 100 degrees at the LVMS Las Vegas 350. The sun wouldn't quit and the lights wouldn't start in turn one.

Drivers and their pit-crew need to get off their high-horse and connect with the fans again.

Let me start off by saying that I have a new respect for the work that Journalist do.

Yes, I said work. They have to endure an incredibly long day and still try to say on top of their game. The first practice today was at around 9:00AM and the race didn't start until about 7:30PM.

The first thing that struck me was how much smaller the trucks are in person then on T.V. They remind me of a little Chevy Love that my Grandparents drove. A little more low to the ground of course.

There weren't alot of people in the media center when I got there but, a few started to trickle in as I was watching the Legends and other types race through the big window.

To be honest I felt a little uncomfortable in the Media center so I spent as much time as I could outside.

I would come inside to grab a soda and cool off. Then , after a few minutes, I went right back outside.

I was also surprised to see that Rick Allen is really tall. He was one of the few people that I recognised in the media center. Not that it mattered. All the media people were looking at me like a bug they needed to squash or something.

So eventually I decided to just stay clear of the Media center so I would feel more comfortable. I felt much more comfortable hanging around the garage stalls and tech inspectors.

I actually spent quite a bit of time watching the inspectors check front end measurements before qualifying. I never knew that they actually check the radius of the front bumper with a template!

Its no secret why I felt more comfortable around the garages. I come from a long line of mechanics. Growing up, Ive always been around cars and engines.

Its no wonder that I seemed to wander to that area of the race track every few minutes or so. I had to fight the urge to walk into the garage and start turning wrenches.

The only person who actually took a second to talk with me was the guy who films the tech inspections. I asked him an engine question about the trucks and he was very friendly and informative. If that fellow is reading this, I just want to say thank you sir. I wish there were more people at the track like you.

Most of the staff at LVMS was friendly enough but, it seemed like they were just forcing themselves to be civil.

Like when I wanted to make sure it was okay for me to go into the media center to cool off and look around, the lady at the front desk says to me "as long as you have a media pass".

Then, as I was walking away she says " don't forget their are people who are working in there".

I told her I would be a fly on the wall. She said that was what she wants to hear.

So apparently LVMS doesn't think blogger and on-line Journalist can behave themselves?

Did she think I was going to incite a riot in there?

I'm wondering if Nascar even knows how the tracks are treating the Dot-commers.

Did they invite us there to be ignored and marginalized?

I'm thinking this isn't what they had in mind. I actually tried to start a conversation with the guy standing next to me in the media center and he acted like I wasn't there.

I really enjoyed being able to see a closer look at the engines and how the teams work. Even though most of the view was from the upper level looking through the glass. I think that's a good metaphor of the way Nascar and the fans have distanced themselves.

I had the garage pass to get a better view but, I felt like I was doing something wrong.

Every person that saw me out there was either surprised that I had a media pass or just gave me a look of "what the hell do you think your doing here"?

So, eventually,the race actually got started after a malfunction with the turn one lights. It was a good race that was won by Johnny Sauter. Which was no surprise since he was running good at practice and qualified second.

I really thought Mike Skinner was going to take this one since he always runs good at Las Vegas. Johnny Sauter ran great all day and actually led 62 laps. Whenever he would lose the lead, he seemed to just make the rest of the field look like it was standing still.

So I was hoping my first press credential experience would be more positive but, I'm hoping something will get said to Nascar about treating dot-commers and bloggers with more respect...