Wakeboarder.com had the pleasure of being the guest of Red Bull at the NASCAR Dickies 500. You might ask yourself, 'What does NASCAR have to do with Wakeboarding?' .....Well, not much other than we have worked with Red Bull on wakeboard events in the past and thought it might be fun to share with you a different kind of event. Our gracious host was Shag, (Jayson) Red Bull North America, accompanied by Chanelle, Team Manager Red Bull Austin, and Trey, Red Bull Pinzgauer Operator....you might have seen this contraption on Wakeskating.com.
There was a group of 14 of us going so we all met up for lunch at a great restaurant in Austin called Wahoo's Fish Taco. The owners, Gary and Jourdan, were part of the crew going with us. We all enjoyed lunch and got to know each other. As always, the food was fabulous and Gary and Jourdan made us all feel welcomed. After lunch, we piled into three vehicles and set out for the Hotel Palomar -Dallas...in true NASCAR fashion we tried out a few racing moves on the way up. We had the honor of having Chanelle as our driver. She was so great and took magnificent care of us.
We had the pleasure of riding with brothers Yann and Jamie, owners of Skate Park of Austin, Gallery Mail Order, and the winning team of Flugtag TX. They were so interesting. They have created one of the most successful and best skate parks in the area. These two guys were very impressive. We also had the pleasure of riding with Andy, owner of Freeride Fabrication in Austin. Andy does all kinds of custom fabrication work. Andy kept the ride lively and amusing. He is a talented guy so check out some of his work. We also met a few other interesting people who kept the weekend entertaining, Lucas who is the regional manager for GameStop, Jeff and Kati who are the Volcom reps, and Brandy who is Jourdan's fiance'.
On our drive up, we made a few snack stops along the way and arrived at the hotel in time to check in and pick up our Welcome Pack and VIP credentials. We then went to our rooms to freshen up before dinner. We met in the hotel lounge for a few pre-dinner cocktails then off to Campisi's Italian Restaurant. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and went back to the hotel for some post-dinner cocktails (does anyone see a pattern here??) After a few more cocktails, it was time for us to call it a night....well for some of us anyway. I heard others continued to party until the wee hours of the morning. We took the advice of our fearless leader who informed us we did not want too much of a hangover on race day so we heeded his advice and took it easy. It was a fantastic start to our trip.
Day 2 - RACE DAY:
Well it was race day and I could hardly contain my excitement. I grew up around the sport because my father raced in the Central Texas area when I was young. I love the sound, the smell, the way my heart races when I hear the engines start, the whole atmosphere...the anticipation was mounting and I was anxious to get to the track and take it all in. This was my first NASCAR race and I didn't want to miss a thing!!!
We left the hotel early so we could stop and have breakfast. Shag insisted the only breakfast for a true NASCAR fan was a Denny's Chicken Fried Steak and Egg breakfast. Due to all the previous nights' activities, this scrumptious sounding breakfast seemed a little more than any of us could stand. Therefore, we opted for something a little less 'NASCAR' and headed for the track.
The traffic was already crazy and it was only 9:00am. I was amazed at all the RV's camping at the site. Since we had a Red Bull VIP tag, we found our way to the front of TMS. I felt somewhat guilty we were able to park so close while others had to fight their way through the crowd....but the guilt didn't last long!! Red Bull sure hooked us up!!
Once we entered the gate, we found the Red Bull check-in. We were golf-carted to the Red Bull Energy Deck. There, Christina from C.J.'s Models and Talents, several of her girls, and the Dallas Red Bull Team greeted us. (Now this is where the fun begins! The Red Bull Energy Deck was THE place to be.) There was food, Red Bull, and unlimited adult beverages. There was a DJ playing great tunes, a dance floor, couches to relax on, plasma TV's, and a prime spot to watch the race located between turns three and four. It was too much!
About an hour and a half after we arrived, someone informed us we would be meeting the Team Red Bull drivers. Brian Vickers, #83, and AJ Allmendinger, #84, entered the Red Bull Energy Deck and made their rounds signing autographs and taking pictures with everyone. They were both laid-back and very personable. It was surreal getting to meet them.
After they left, we hung out at the Red Bull Energy Deck for a while and then the Red Bull girls escorted us down to the pits. The Red Bulls girls catered to us all day long. On the way to the infield, we passed an area we so affectionately referred to as the 'Redneck Palooza' area (Oh come on, how could I do an article on NASCAR and not use the term 'Redneck' at LEAST once). Now that was a sight...that is all I am going to say....I am leaving it alone. We toured the garage area, the team pit box, and met some of the crewmembers. It was an experience!
We headed back toward the Energy Deck to hang out some before the race. We had lunch, enjoyed more adult beverages, and met some sensational people.
The start of the race was approaching. The drivers started their way around the track. We were sitting so close I could see the drivers faces. Before too long we heard the famous words "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines." At that moment, I think it finally sunk in I was really at NASCAR. The drivers were heading towards turn three...as they raced by I could feel my heart racing as fast as their cars...it was CRAZY how loud the engines were...how forceful ...how powerful they seemed. It was a HUGE rush!!! It was almost unreal to me. It was an amazing feeling I will never forget. A few laps into the race and I could literally feel the tire rubber on my face...it was exhilarating!!!
The race did not go the way we had hoped for our Red Bull Team. Brian Vickers, #83, finished 23rd after dealing with brake problems all day and AJ Allmendinger, #84, finished 39th. Jimmie Johnson earned the checkered flag after a hard fought battle between him and Matt Kenseth. It was a dramatic finish and a great way to end the race.
After the event, we decided not to fight the traffic so we hung out at the Red Bull Energy Deck. The after-party was about to take off. The Red Bull girls kept us entertained, to say the least. We never knew whom they were going to grab next and drag on the dance floor. Everyone was dancing with each other. Girls were dancing with girls and other girls were dancing with their skirts hiked up. Lots of bumping and grinding...ohhhhh the bumping and grinding...I heard I was even out on the dance floor bumping and grinding and I am not a 'bump and grind' kind of girl. (You know, alcohol DOES make people think they can dance.)
Nevertheless, we had an unbelievable night. We drank too much, danced too much, and partied too much. It was the best time I have had in a long time. I could not help but think of my dad this whole weekend. He would have loved to have been there. So in true 'Kirby Voigt' style...I made the most of the experience...savored every single minute of it...and enjoyed it like there was no tomorrow. (But I sure paid for it the next morning!!)
Thank you Red Bull, Shag, and Chanelle for a great weekend and an experience I will never forget!! You guys are first-class all the way! Check out all the photos from our NASCAR weekend in the Wakeboarder.com Photo Gallery. Don't forget to check out all the after party pictures.