CoTA Construction Progress, Detailed Numbers

Entering the front straight construction progress of Circuit of The Americas (mid May 2012)

Here’s the latest progress report form Circuit of The Americas, with solid, detailed numbers & facts (our thanks to AutoWeek.com):

Construction is ongoing at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.  Several upgrades are being made, and the project is expected to be finished in the fall.

Here are a few of the updates that are being worked on:

Pit Building

-Window frames are going in

-Approximately 75 percent of the exterior walls are complete

-Approximately 75 percent of the roof is complete

-Painting interior walls

-Getting the garage level ready to pour concrete

Main Grandstand

-Approximately 75 percent of the steel has gone up

-Approximately 100 percent of the pre-cast seating area is done

-Steel on the back of the main grandstand is expected to begin going up next week

-Top floor (suite level) of grandstand expected to be poured by the end of next week

Other updates

-Foundation for pedestrian bridges at T16 and T3 are approximately 75 percent complete

-North parking lot (T11-12) rough-graded, meaning it is ready to receive flex base

-COTA Blvd. from Elroy Rd. is expected to receive flex base by the end of the week, after which paving can begin

-Work continues on the south parking area

-Remainder of piers expected to go up in amphitheater by end of this week

Construction Progress by the Numbers

-3.9 million cubic yards of dirt moved

-870,000 cubic yards of dirt brought to site

-736 tons of steel erected at the Grandstand

-79,000 yards of concrete have been poured

-Approximately 575 workers currently on site

Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20120517/F1/120519831#ixzz1vAtNZf9Z

Aerial view of CoTA front straight area construction progress (mid May 2012)

Lots of good stuff to review here.  Racing Ready is also looking forward to Formula Expo™, on June 16-17, 2012.  If you’re truly serious about attending the Austin Formula 1 USGP racing event this coming November 2012, you WILL attend this event.

Be there – RACE ON !

Dan

CoTA 3-Day Passes Ticketing Survey

I recently participated in Circuit of The America‘s 3-Day Passes Ticketing Applied Surveys.  After having tried to exhaust the PSL (personal seating license) scheme, they are now trying for the “low hanging fruit”.

CoTA - Please Complete a Brief Survey

Here are the comments I submitted along with my survey answers:

I have been planning for this event for almost 2 years now, first blogging about it at http://RacingReady.com & now facilitating a Formula 1 race watch party series via http://SanAntonioF1Club.com.

Besides the grassy areas for General Admission, I would like to be able to wander around the track during those 3 days & not be restricted to JUST those 3 grassy areas.  My plan has been to gather further photographic, & interview data to publish on my blogs.  This will be to further promote the sport, as well as the current & upcoming events planned at Circuit of The Americas.

Also, you make no mention of any sort of Pit Pass access – is that not open to any sort of consideration?  And what of the different buildings’ access, accompanied with the different pricing levels?  This almost feels like we are being subjected to a caste system of ticketing!

I hope you are well represented at the upcoming Formula Expo.  I’m sure I, as well as many other passionate F1 fans, will be plying you with many of these & other pressing questions.  Please be prepared…

Remember, grassroots race fans (many of whom are amateur racers, themselves) might not be able to pay the higher ticket amounts you are proposing.  But they have a STRONG online voice that will strongly influence what many prospective fans will think of Circuit of The Americas & its future successful growth.

Click here to see the reviews on some of the best convertible baby car seats released.

Thank you – RACE ON!

One way or the other, I’m planning on being there.  I’d really like to be represented as some sort of contributing blogger, but they might consider me small potatoes.  I’m sure this impression would be better & more positive if Tavo Hellmund was still truly part of all this!

We’ll see if this might rustle some CoTA feathers – we here at Racing Ready shall see…

Dan

Speed City Podcast, Motorsports Resource

Speed City Podcast logo

For all sorts of information about the interaction of Formula 1, Circuit of The Americas (CoTA) & other motorsports-related activities in the Austin & South/Central Texas area, this is the podcast (weekly, more or less) you will need to listen to.  Go to:  http://speedcitypodcast.com

Red Bull F1 (with David Coulthard) at Turn 8, in 2011!

Les & Jon do a great job of describing automotive/racing happenings, they even mention the SAF1C race watch parties! (Select podcast #5, 22:12 in…)  Here’s what they have to say about themselves:

Jon and Les are pure and absolute motorsports nuts who consume anything motorsports related.  From month to month our focus shifts to the current hot topic, whether it is worldwide or centric to Central Texas.

Both have participated as drivers and spectators numerous times in motorsporting events, be they club, private or open to the public. On any given day, during our non-corporate hours, we can be found wrenching on something fun, learning about new technology, attending car/bike shows or watching races.

In our pod casts, we will do our best to provide reliable information, as we become aware of it.  We will reference direct quotes and legitimate media sources as the source. We are not here to perpetuate rumors or make inflammatory statements, neither are we lawyers!

We hope you enjoy our pod cast and look forward to hearing from you after you have listened to them.

Racing Ready supports Speed City Podcast & you should, too!

Dan

SASCA 03/2012 Novice School & AutoX, by Eric

Once again, my contributing blogger Eric, has done a very nice job of autocross journalism.  Here he reports the trials & tribulations of SASCA‘s March 2012 Autocross Novice School & Event.  These both took place on the same weekend, March 3rd & 4th, 2012.

(I apologize for the delay in getting this posted.  I had been busy coordinating efforts initiating the SAF1C Formula 1 race watch parties.  For details regarding our first successful F1 race watch party here in San Antonio, TX, click here!)

After feeling like my autocross performances have been stuck at a certain level (and, in some cases, worsening), I decided to participate in the annual SASCA novice school this past weekend.  The school attracted a wide range of participants, ranging from rank novices who’d never even autocrossed before to drivers who were in the hunt for trophies at last year’s SCCA SOLO National Championships.

SASCA AutoX #3 - Sunshine awaiting autocross fate - 2012-MAR-04

One of those hardware hunters, John, along with regular Honda CRZ hybrid racer Jeff and I were teamed with multi-time national champion and Grassroots Motorsports Magazine contributor Andy Hollis.  From the moment we embarked on our course walk I knew we were in for some serious learning, as Andy pointed out some visual cues that would aid us in navigating the course as fast as possible, not the least of which was waiting for slaloms to “open up” before turning into them, and beginning the slalom as early as possible to maintain speed and smoothness, and to keep from getting behind.

Autocross cone confusion... ya think !?!

Once we took the wheel, the focus became looking ahead.  My first couple runs were jerky, and then Andy took the wheel and had me look at least one element ahead while he drove.  All the time spent aligning, weighting and adjusting shocks and tire pressures must’ve paid off, because his only response when I asked him what he thought of the car was “don’t change a thing.”  When we switched back, he talked my eyes through the course, and I was amazed at how much slower everything became just by changing where I looked.  I was driving the course instead of reacting, and naturally staying closer to the cones without even trying.  The result was the following 28.9 on the morning course, which was more than 1.4 seconds faster than my first runs.

Sunday’s regular event brought yet another large turnout, with 109 drivers taking to the course, which made for quite the sprawling crowd during the driver’s meeting.  Vivek came up with a design that was both challenging and fun, with a long slalom broken into two offset halves, some sweepers and several tight turns leading into an even tighter finish.  Unfortunately, due to a complaint about noise, first car out on course was pushed back to 11 a.m., but no one seemed to mind.

SASCA AutoX #3 - Drivers Meeting - 2012-MAR-04

Jay would once again be my co-driver, and as we were the only Super Stock car on R-comps, he would be my main barometer, along with club president Ricky and his new “smurf blue” S2000CR, picked up in his relentless pursuit of a jacket (and some free tires!).  There was plenty of other fast machinery on hand as well, as you can tell by this snapshot I stole from Jon of his fully built 914 next to Federico’s super 3.2L Boxster.

SASCA AutoX #3 - Autocross preparation on grid - 2012-MAR-04

Right away, I knew the instruction I received was paying off when Jay’s iPhone mount, which was never an issue in the past, was restricting my ability to look down the course.  After running a 38.16 and picking up a cone, I asked him to remove it for my runs and clicked off a 37.45 and then the following, a 37.21 on my third, and fastest, run.

Meanwhile, Jay was stuck with his first run, a 37.55.  He would also run the slightly slower 37.55 below on his fifth, and final, pass.  Our times were pretty close, but if you look carefully he got a little behind on the slalom, which enabled me to eek ahead of him by a nose.

Just as telling were our relative times compared to Ricky who, on tires with a similar number of runs, posted a 36.89.  Why is this telling?  Because while I was about .3 slower than he was this month, last month I was over a second off his pace, and I was on relatively fresher tires to boot.  Hats off to Andy and his instruction, cause pretty soon I’ll be able to run with the B-Stock cars and take the (virtual) N for Novice off my car – LOL!

SASCA AutoX #3 - Eric enroute from grid to his autocross start - 2012-MAR-04

We’ll see what happens in two weeks at the SCCA Solo National Tour, where we’re all gonna be on fresh rubber.  And if Dan lets me, I’ll write all about it right here.

Racing Ready is thankful for Eric’s candor & style in blogging about our shared autocross passion – hope you enjoyed the read as much as I did!  I look forward to his next post.  GO RACE!

Dan

 

1st F1 Race Watch Party in San Antonio!

F1 Austalian GP - Melbourne, Albert Park - March 18, 2012

San Antonio Formula 1 race fans – finally, this is what we’ve been waiting for!  This coming Sunday (March 18th, 2012) will be the first F1 race watch party in San Antonio.  It was a challenge to find a sports bar location that already had DVR capability & watcher friendly TV screens with good audio capability.  This is the first Formula 1 race of the 2012 season, taking place down under, in Melbourne, Australia.  (per Formula1.com, this race is officially titled the 2012 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix)

Lion & Rose British Restaurant & Pub - general logo

Yes!  The first San Antonio F1 race watch party will take place at the Lion & Rose British Restaurant & Pub in Alamo Heights, at 1:30pm, this Sunday March 18th, 2012!  Thanks to a referral from Tim Rooney, of Waxy O’Conner’s Irish Pub (on the San Antonio Riverwalk), I met Gregg Morgan of the Alamo Heights Lion & Rose.  They currently DVR a multitude of soccer & rugby matches from around the world.  Gregg stated there are already some Formula 1 fans that frequent his pub.  In addition, since it will be the day after St. Patrick’s Day, the pub will be like a ghost town.  He said we’d almost have the place to ourselves. GREAT!!!

Lion & Rose British Restaurant & Pub - the main bar

In addition to the pre-recorded F1 video feed, Gregg will put the F1 race audio over the general pub BOSE speaker system.  This location will be a great venue & a good first effort at a San Antonio-based social activity revolving around watching Formula 1 racing.

San Antonio F1 Club (SAF1C) logo

I hope you can make it to experience Formula 1 world class racing, with your friends.  Please note, this will be great preparation for learning what’s new this year in Formula 1 (once again, new rules & regulations).  This could be considered a primer to help you get ready for (& more excited about) the upcoming Formula 1 race just south of Austin, coming up on November 18th, 2012 – the Austin F1 USGP, at the Circuit of The Americas (CoTA)!

CoTA signage - announcing the Circuit of The Americas race site - Home of the Austin F1 USGP! (Courtesy of Sutton Images)

The Lion & Rose pub offers a great selection of hand drawn pints of beer. In addition, they have a full menu with a broad variety of food that should please most anyone’s palate.

WE WILL SEE YOU THIS SUNDAY at 1:30pm, at the Lion & Rose Pub, Alamo Heights, 5148 Broadway, here in San Antonio, Texas.  🙂  With a good showing, we can continue at this location, unless some of you can suggest a possibly better location for the next Formula 1 race, scheduled the following Sunday, March 25th…  Here’s a map to the party! (Click to enlarge…)

Lion & Rose British Pub MAP!

I & Racing Ready look forward to seeing & meeting ALL of you!!!

Your San Antonio F1 Club, race watch party facilitator,

Dan

Lion & Rose British Restaurant & Pub -Union Jack logo

Tejas Miatas – Jester King Brewery & Salt Lick BBQ Run

 Tejas Miatas logo

This past weekend my wife, Isa, & I enjoyed a brisk, pre-spring, sun-filled drive around the southern environs of Austin, TX.  What prompted this was an announcement from the Tejas Miatas, one week prior:

Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2012
Subject: [tejasmiata] Jester King Brewery-Salt Lick BBQ run Sat Feb 25th

I have been talking about going out to the Jester King Brewery for awhile so I have decided to plan a run out there next Saturday and then head over to the Salt Lick in Driftwood for some BBQ afterward.

You can read about the brewery here:  http://www.jesterkingbrewery.com
and The Salt Lick here:  http://www.saltlickbbq.com

We will meet at 2:00pm at the Y at Oak Hill which is the intersection of Hwy 290 and Hwy 71, in the Planet Fitness parking lot,7100 W. US Highway 290.  We will leave at 2:30 sharp so that we make it to Jester King by 3:00, have some time to look around and then take the last tour at 3:30.

As most of us know about the Salt Lick, it is CASH ONLY.  No credit cards.  No separate checks.  I do think they have an ATM but I would get cash before the trip just in case.  It is also B.Y.O.B. so bring your ice chest and favorite beverages unless you just want water, tea, coffee, or sodas that they have.  Please RSVP by Thursday Feb. 23rd so I have an idea of the size of our group for the brewery tour.  Don’t fill up on lunch since we will be having an early dinner as we want to beat the crowds.

Kirk
President – Tejas Miatas
2006 Galaxy Gray GT

Since it had been a couple months since last traveling up the Austin-San Antonio corridor, I decided it would be good timing to make some visits.  I spent some time to visit my racing friends at H2R, now known as the Mazda Raceway at Harris Hill.  Although there was no event going on, there was a good amount of activity in the clubhouse, & on the track.  In reviewing raceway events progress with Philipp, things are moving forward well.  A lot of their growing exposure has been due to the sponsorship brought onboard with Roger Beasley Mazda – it’s been a win-win for both parties!

MAZDA Raceway at Harris Hill logo

Continuing north, I was able to assess the construction progress at the Circuit of The Americas (CoTA), from Piland Triangle.  As the November 18th, 2012 Austin F1 USGP event gets closer, I’m sure somebody influential will get that little triangular road renamed.  Any suggestions?

Austin USGP Formula 1 Track Site - Piland Triangle STOP sign.  This was prior to track construction, dated 14-NOV-2010.

Check out the latest vertical construction along the future CoTA front straight!
(Click to enlarge – click twice for best detail!)

CoTA Construction Progress panorama - 25-FEB-2012

As is usual for my visits to CoTA, I stopped in for lunch at Wild Bubba’s Will Game Grill.  Isa & I split a very tasty Southwestern Grilled Chicken Sandwich.  It was the least “wild” item on the menu, but both my wife & I agreed it was VERY tasty!!!  In addition, I was able to visit with my friend, Wild Bubba (Wyman Gilliam Jr.), & discuss future promotional opportunities that may be forthcoming.  I ALWAYS enjoy my visits there!

Wild Bubba's Wild Game Grill

Next, we traveled west to where Highway 71 & 290 split, at a Planet Fitness parking lot.  This was the starting spot for this Tejas Miata Run.

Getting organized for the Tejas Miatas run - 25-FEB-2012

Karlino awaiting the Tejas Miatas run start with clubmembers - 25-FEB-2012

The first leg of our run was drama free & taken at a leisurely pace.  We had little trouble keeping our mostly Miata group of about 14 cars (I think) together.

The Tejas Miatas run group, dominating the road to Jester King Brewery - 25-FEB-2012

Part of the Tejas Miatas run group, enroute to Jester King Brewery - 25-FEB-2012

From there we headed out, as a group, to the Jester King Craft Brewery.  This, to me, was the highlight of this afternoon’s run.  Located to the southwest of Austin, this craft-style brewery is following their brewmeister passion.  They are garnering a strong & growing fan base for specialty craft-brewed beer.

Tejas Miatas run parking, at Jester King Brewery - 25-FEB-2012

The Jester King Brew House, visited by Tejas Miatas - 25-FEB-2012

Tejas Miatas run, at Jester King Brewery parking lot - 25-FEB-2012

Josh gave us a tour which really explained their passion, which does not follow standard logic.  He is a former graphics designer (Josh is responsible for the unique brewery graphics & artwork); the founding partners are a former lawyer & a former investment banker.  Regardless of the practicality of their brewing direction, in less than 2 years in business they are doing well!

Josh, explaining their brewing process basics at Jester King Brewery - Tejas Miatas run - 25-FEB-2012

Josh, sharing the barrel room fermenting passion at Jester King Brewery - Tejas Miatas run - 25-FEB-2012

Here’s some of Tejas Miatas run group after Josh’s barrel fermentation room explanation.  Thanks Jon!

Partial group shot of Tejas Miatas at Jester King Craft Brewery - Courtesy of Jon Etkins

Later, once Josh found us out to be Miata driving enthusiasts, he confessed to enthusiast driving urges of his own.  He blamed viewing past episodes of Top Gear.  There’s nothing wrong with that, I say!  We even encouraged him to consider getting into autocrossing with his daily driver Honda Civic.

Josh, of Jester King Brewery, admiting his reawakening car passion with Tejas Miatas run participants - 25-FEB-2012

After having sampled some of Jester King’s unique brew libations, we then traveled further southwest to the Salt Lick BBQ, in Driftwood, TX.  We had only to wait 20 minutes for our 2 & 1/2 tables of seating.  (Again, click to enlarge…twice for more detail!)

Salt Lick BBQ casual seating - Tejas Miatas group to the left...

Everyone enjoyed a variety of Texas BBQ’d meats!  They had this interesting circular pit where the succulent meat fixin’s originated.  I hear you could order “burnt ends” – that’s what I’ll hold out for, next time.

Salt Lick BBQ's smokin' fire pit, a Texas meat lover's paradise - a great way to end the Tejas Miatas run!

This was a beautiful day to get out & about to see different things, reacquaint & make new friends.  Racing ReadyKarlino enjoyed this day immensely.  It was 217 miles well spent!

Karlino, my 1999 Mazda Miata, basking in the fun of a Tejas Miatas run...

Thank you Tejas Miatas!

Dan

Respecting What a NASCAR Driver Has To Do, Via Kart Racing

Thanks to a kart racing experience, at high speed (60+MPH is fast on a ProKart with your butt 1″ above the ground), on a banked circle track last year, I can appreciate what a NASCAR driver has to do to be competitive & win.  I felt it appropriate to discuss my revelation now, since NASCAR’s inaugural race of the 2012 season, the Daytona 500, runs today.

2012 Daytona 500 - The Great American Race

If you are a frequent reader here, you know my previous opinion for NASCAR racing was not of the highest regard.  This post title is contrary to my previous point of view of NASCAR.

I now have an improved change of opinion about the NASCAR series & their respective drivers. That came about last Fall.  I shared with you the Chevy Volt & OTX (On Track Xperience) blogger/racer promo I participated in last October 2011.  Russ, the fastest of the three of us bloggers, wrote this nice piece about the Chevy Fast & Fuel Efficient event.

I learned that to succeed on a banked circle track race, in a ProKart, you need to stay on the gas…whatever you do, never lift.  For me, that was very hard!  My tendency was toward self-preservation.  It was a very insecure feeling to to be tucking into the bottom apex of a corner, at speed, with the kart’s rear end consistently on the verge of spinning out.  I tried, but lack of confidence, fear, centrifugal force, driving on a lit up track at night, the 50 degree cold weather – all conspired against me.  Even with the assurances of my kart racer partner Jeff, with multiple seasons of league karting experience under his belt, I wasn’t sure I could do this.

Proper (& brave) NasKart bump draft racing with OTX at Thunderhill Raceway - Chevy Fast & Fuel Efficient, by DrivingTheHeartland

Fast forward 2 weeks.  Through the goodwill of the winning racer of this event, Russ, I received & made use of tickets to see NASCAR racing at the Texas Motor Speedway (for 2 races & a hotel stay).  This was on Friday & Saturday, November 4th & 5th, just north of Dallas.  It was a long drive, almost 5 hours in Karlino, to get to the hotel & make my way to the track.  Ya gotta love Dallas’ constant challenge of highway construction, fooling you as Google Maps shows you the “right way”, regardless of the menacing lane switching detours.

My Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR Races tickets - Thank you Chevy/GM!

To make a long story short, I got to experience 2 NASCAR racing events:

  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing on Friday night
  • NASCAR Nationwide Series racing midday on Saturday

The Texas Motor Speedway complex is, in a word, vast!  Even before going into the track entrance gate (one of many), I was impressed by the sheer size of the facility & free parking.  I kinda felt out of my element, not wearing any gear that identified me as a NASCAR fan.  I was still proud to wear my AMSOIL colors, although AMSOIL is not all represented in NASCAR.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway - November 2011 - Panorama

Arriving late Saturday morning, I could see SO much more!

Texas Motor Speedway facade & parking lot, November 2011

NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway - November 2011 - Panorama

So, you ask, how does this huge track & NASCAR event have to do with my karting last year?  Although the comparison is weak, the ProKarts handling felt like the racing stance through that TMS track at speed.  It’s a very slight, but steady controlled drift, looking as if it’s ready to scoot out from under you at any minute & scarily head for the wall!  I realized then & there that the NASCAR racer’s job is to go fast, turn left (mostly), but keep it at the ragged edge of control.  I respect that!  In addition, I saw a lot of the PR activity the NASCAR racer has to go through for both their fans & their sponsors.

See the moving stance of the NASCAR racers at speed - it's a very slight, but steady controlled drift, at Texas Motor Speedway - November 2011

The spectacle of the “side show” around the phenomena know as NASCAR is also quite something, too!  The promotional aspect of the race is a well-oiled machine, offering hearing protection, special radios for the fans to follow the action throughout all the noise & other NASCAR-themed paraphernalia fans just cannot live without.

Hearing protection which made NASCAR watching almost bearable...NOT!

NASCAR race scanners & more - a good example of the NASCAR-specific technology for the race fan, at Texas Motor Speedway

Check out the pricing of the scanners, etc. from sales trailer of R.E. Racing Electronics!

Again, I offer my thanks to GM for inviting me to participate in the Chevy Fast & Fuel Efficient event last fall.  Thanks to them, I experienced part of the NASCAR world in person & gained an appreciation for it.

Racing Ready is always open to learning & forming new opinions.  Although I will have to say I’m still not really a fan (except at the NASCAR road races of Watkins Glen & Infineon Raceway), I now very much appreciate the skill, ability & risk involved in driving within the world of NASCAR.

Dan