Tuesday, 6 January 2009

RLB - Taking a stroll down the grid

"Wow, look at those crowds" was the first thing to come to mind as I walked out of the AGR pitbox and up towards the grid. The sun was beating down, warming up my overalls which were already making me quite hot due to the many layers of fireproof material. Clutching my helmet with gloves and balaclava inside and HANS device in one hand and a drinks bottle in the other, I wander down the paddock, my attention is caught my the many flags and banners waving in the gentle breeze. The atmosphere at a place like this simply has to be seen and experienced to be believed. The fans who come here year in, year out are some of the most devoted and die-hard Indy supporters you could ever meet.

I acknowledge a few people as I near the gap in the wall which opens up to the pit apron and then across from that the main pitwall where the circuit lays just beyond it. As I cross, I look to my right and see the blue and white car of Ryan Carter. He gives me a scathing glare as he goes by, obviously still bitter after the exchange we had before qualifying. Walking out on the circuit to find my car, a cheer from the stand goes up. I wave to them to show my appreciation. It's only fair to do that. These people give up their weekends to come and watch 20 cars and 20 drivers run round in circles for 200 laps, so saying thanks that way at least gives me satisfaction.

I find Bradley, my race engineer who came over from Force India with me, making some final checks on his laptop. He tells me everything is good to go and the car has a clean bill of health so to speak. That's what I like to hear. I take a sip from my drinks bottle and set my things down on the sidepod. From the corner of my eye I notice Daryl Wickham, my fellow compatroit from Norwich coming over.

Daryl: Sup bitch.
Scott: What's goin' on, slag.
Daryl: You know I'm starting behind you right?
Scott: Yeah I know. Hopefully you'll stay there for all 200 laps.
Daryl:Me? Stay behind you? You crack me up sometimes, Wiss.
Scott: Nice to know someone finds me funny for something.
Daryl: So what's your strategy?
Scott: Run on one set of tyres for 200 laps and just come in for fuel all day.
Daryl: Good luck with that then. You know that's impossible.
Scott: I know. I that's why I'm giving you a fake strategy to throw you off.
Daryl: You b**tard, Wiss.

I laugh as Daryl walks back to his car and take another sip of drink. Daniel then runs over for a chat.

Daniel: Hey Scott.
Scott: Sup Daniel my teammie *we shake hands*
Daniel: How's your car running?
Scott: Brad says it's all good in the hood here. What's the deal with yours?
Daniel: Same, same. Strategy's all set then.
Scott: Oh yeah, I'm all set.
Daniel: Good good. What do you reckon our chances are today?
Scott: I say we're gonna smoke 'em all and get a 1-2.
Daniel: Sounds like a plan. Catch you out there.

Before I get a chance for another swig of drink, one of the ESPN pit reporters comes over and asks for a chat.

Reporter: Scott, you're starting 5th, what are your chances?
Scott: Yeah I think where we are on the grid gives us a great chance to go for the win. Top 5 is where you want to be and I'm there so I'm happy.
Reporter: What kind of strategy are you looking to run today?
Scott: We've decided on something that's for sure. *smiles*
Reporter: Can you tell us anything about it?
Scott: *smiling* Errr, it's top secret. You'll have to wait and see.
Reporter: Before qualifying yesterday you had an altercation with Ryan Carter who starts 18th. Can you tell us any more on that?
Scott: No, not really. I don't want to go into that if you please.
Reporter: 'K, thanks Scott. Good luck today.

Man, am I busy with people today or what? Can't get a chance to relax. Sure enough, I don't. Over the tannoy the words "Would all drivers please get into their cars" is heard. Ah well, it's showtime!