Tag Archives: Austin

String Cheese Incident at Stubb's BBQ Waller Creek Amphitheater Friday, November 1st and Saturday, November 2nd 2019

Jeremy and I try to get together a few times a year if we can. Often he comes up to my neck of the woods or I see him in Texas, usually Austin. I have been to Texas to see him several time but never actually to San Antonio where he lives. Searching for our next trip I found The String Cheese Incident was playing a three night run at Stubb’s BBQ Waller Creek Amphitheater over Halloween weekend for their 25th anniversary tour. They played three nights at Cuthbert Amphitheater in Eugene earlier in the tour but I was traveling that week and couldn’t make it. Because of my limited PTO I could only take a half day Friday and would have to miss the show on Halloween entirely.

I managed to find a direct flight from Portland to Austin which arrived a little before 7pm. It would be close but it was very possible we could make the start of the show. Doors opened at 6pm with the show starting at 7pm. Now they are always late so we had a little extra time baked in. Thankfully no issues with the flight but Jeremy ran into traffic on his way north. It was a Friday night and the USGP was the same weekend so everyone was heading into downtown. Once he picked me up we headed straight to the venue and parked. We almost walked in before realizing we didn’t pay the meter so that delayed us a little more.

Finally we arrived just after 8pm and the band was already on stage tearing it up. We debated how much we missed and by our calculations, at most 15 minutes. If we didn’t have to go back to the car to feed the meter we probably would have made it on time for the start of set one.

When Jeremy and I came to the inaugural event at the Circuit of the Americas I remember going to Stubb’s and seeing the stage in the back yard. It is a weird setup if you ask me. Right along Waller Creek and attached to the restaurant. If you get a dinner table you can walk right into a show because the bathrooms are in the basement and no one is watching the back door. The grounds are not very wide but long instead with plenty of beer and food vendors which was nice. Restrooms are all porta pots in the way back. Never used them but they seemed adequate for the size crowd. Also the VIP lounge is in the way back of the venue. Its elevated so you have good view of the stage but you are really far back. Gravel which sucks because there is no place to sit down during set breaks or before the show.

Friday was pretty amazing, even missing the first few songs. The entire show was great. The crowd was still a little hung over from the previous nights festivities so lots of people in partial customs which was cool to see. I gotta be honest, I spent half the show just watching the crowd or looking at the light show as it danced across the trees near the sound stage. The song selection was perfect. Good selection of songs and some really amazing jams. Even managed to throw in a few teases and covers post-Halloween which was cool. Another thing I would like to mention is the food. I got two BBQ sandwiches that night and both of them where pretty damn good. I got one shredded beef and one jalapeno brisket. Over priced for sure but still very good. After the long flight I missed lunch and this hit the spot.

After the show we walked back to the car and headed to the hotel which was only a few blocks away. I was really looking forward to walking Saturday and not having to deal with a car. A little after 11pm Jeremy had to run back to the car to feed the meter and I wanted to avoid that scenario Saturday.

Saturday and we didn’t have anything officially planned which was nice. Our first objective was food so we got some breakfast tacos from Tacodeli. I gotta tell you I was pretty disappointed with the tacos. The best one had black beans, bacon, avocado and a few other things. Sadly I thought Austin could have done better than this for tacos. Maybe its Portland that has made me jaded with all the amazing food we have here, including tacos.

After we headed down to the Colorado River to hang out. It was pretty chilly that day I must say. I thought it would have been warmer than home but surprisingly not. We hung out by the river till I wanted to smoke a cigar. We grabbed a few from the hotel and headed to Republic Square before getting kicked out. City park, can’t smoke, I get it. Thankfully they were some benches outside an office building so we just hung out there. Afterwards we grabbed food at Holy Roller a few blocks away. This was some amazing food and more than made up for the horrible breakfast tacos.

After our late lunch we headed back to the hotel to play several rounds of Magic the Gathering and watch qualifications. It was USGP weekend after all and while we could not be at the track, I wanted to participate even if just in a small way. I mostly got my ass kicked but it was a lot of fun. We had a TV right next to us which was perfect for catching up on qualifications.

We played Magic as long as we could before heading to Stubb’s to see the last night of String Cheese. Funny thing happened on our way out of the hotel. As we walked out the front door I saw Paul Di Resta standing outside with another gentleman who was on his phone. I was shocked and surprised. Here is a former F1 drive and current SkyF1 commentator standing outside my hotel. I immediately turned into a young school girl. All I could say was “Good luck tomorrow” and shock his hand. I didn’t get a picture or chat. I was just so shocked running into him I couldn’t think straight. Really was awesome running into him and honestly, it made the trip. So cool shacking his hand. Surprisingly tall with big hands. So cool.

We were less than 8 blocks away and we almost missed the start of the show that night as well. As we got through security and walked into the venue String Cheese took the stage and started saying hello to the crowd. It was only a few steps to the field and we posted up as they hit the first notes of the show. It was perfect timing even with running into Paul Di Resta.

The second night I think was a little better than the first night. The jam and song selection was more to my liking. One thing that was great both nights was the light show. For such a small venue the light show was really cool. The way the lights and colors play with the music was in perfect time. Being a smaller venue the lights also played off the surrounding environment.

After the show we had an appetite so we got some food on the way back to the hotel. We found a pretty good food truck village and Sabor Cubano caught my eye. It was the Cuban sandwich I saw and it really hit the spot along with some fried yuca. Jeremy got a grilled cheese and I finished my food by the time he got his. Not far from the venue it was the perfect late night spot after the show. Even though it was getting close to midnight the place was busy. All the vendors had hungry customers which was nice. You could tell lots of people out drinking that night. Having a good time grabbing a bite before heading home.

As soon as the trip started it seemed like it was over. Sunday I was flying back just as the USGP was about to get underway. We found a pretty damn amazing breakfast spot with Hillside Farmacy. We sat outside on the crisp morning and it was great. The food was absolutely amazing that morning. Fresh, local and well plated. It was not hard for either of us to finish out plates. Once the food arrived all conversation stopped which was another good sign. Our plates were licked clean that morning. So good.

I was home by early evening which was nice. Having a direct flight from Austin to Portland was ideal. The news that weekend was Hamilton possible clinching the title and he did it in fantastic fashion. I ready for another team and another drive but congratulations to Hamilton on his 2019 world championship victory which he secured in Austin. Originally we talked about attending the USGP but decided on Canada and I don’t regret that decision at all. Montreal was such a cool town and we still got to experience Austin during the race weekend which was really cool. Running in to Paul Di Resta was certainly the highlight with two nights of Cheese a close second.

String Cheese Incident
Friday, November 1st 2019
Stubb’s BBQ Waller Creek Amphitheater – Austin, TX

We arrived late. Got to the venue at 8:05pm and they were all ready playing.

  1. One Step Closer
  2. Born on the Wrong Planet >
  3. Can’t Wait Another Day >
  4. The Woods
  5. Water
  6. It Is What It Is >
  7. Can’t Stop Now
    9:05pm set over

Set 2 starts 9:44pm

  1. On the Road >
  2. 2001 >
  3. On The Road >
  4. Well You Needn’t^ >
  5. Black and White >
  6. Groove Is In The Heart >
  7. Black And White >
  8. Late in the Evening >
  9. Full Band Percussion >
  10. Late in the Evening
  11. Until the Music’s Over
  12. Into the Blue >
  13. Jellyfish >
  14. Rosie
    Set over at 11:16pm

Encore starts at 11:19pm

  1. Don’t Let Go
    House lights at 11:30pm

^ Thelonius Monk cover (last time played: Nov 03, 2001 11-03-01 Lexington, VA I was at this show)

String Cheese Incident
Saturday, November 2nd 2019
Stubb’s BBQ Waller Creek Amphitheater – Austin, TX

Set 1 starts at 7:45pm

  1. Black Clouds
  2. Got What He Wanted >
  3. Search >
  4. Falling Through The Cracks
  5. Pack It Up,
  6. Texas >
  7. Tinder Box
    Set over at 9:06pm

Set two starts at 9:36pm

  1. All We Got
  2. Cedar Laurels >
  3. So Far From Home
  4. Midnight Moonlight
  5. Hi Ho No Show
  6. Vertigo >
  7. Rollover
    Set over at 10:56pm

Encore starts at 11:02

  1. Deal^
    Encore 1 ends at 11:13pm

Second encore starts at 11:15pm

  1. I Saw the Light^
    House lights at 11:21pm

^ with Ross James on Guitar, Nicki Bluhm on Vocals, Scott Law on Guitar

United States Gran Prix 2016

Leaving the airport we flew right overtop the track which was awesome.
Leaving the airport we flew right over top the track which was awesome.

It has been five years since I last was in Austin for the return of Formula 1  to the US in 2012.  Let me tell you it’s good to be back. This time around Jeremy and I planned it out much better then the first trip and we also had a bigger budget. This time I flew into Austin and we stayed at the Marriott. No 24 hour driving marathon and staying with AirBnB this time.

My flight was a little delayed which sucked but since I had no checked baggage I walked off the plane and right into Jeremy’s car to drive directly to the track. We missed FP1 but caught the rest of the day’s track activities without issue. I must say I was very impressed with the track upgrades since we first attended the inaugural Grand Prix. That first year was all about getting the track ready for racing, since then they have been improving the fan experience. Traffic in and out was better, a lot more paved lots closer to the track, new stands, new walkways and the amphitheater was completed this time around.

Just like the first time around, Friday and Saturday we walked the track for different viewing angles for the various race events. Most of the time we would scope out an area, fire up a couple cigars and just enjoy the cars from whatever stand or hillside we thought was good.

Turn 9
Turn 9

Quals ended up kinda like we expected with Mercedes one and two. Hamilton took pole with Rosberg second and Ricciardo third. This was how they finished the race as well. While I didn’t want either Merc to win, it was nice seeing Hamilton finish ahead of Rosberg, narrowing the gap between them and statistically keeping Hamilton in the hunt for a fourth world championship. Another surprising drive was from Honda. Button I think qualified 19 and Alanso only a little better at 17 or 16. By the end of the race both were able to score points with Alanso 7th and Button 9th. They have struggled all year so having both drivers not only finishing but score points was pretty amazing. Our “official” seats were at turn 15 so we were able to catch probably 85-90% of all the passing, right there in front of us. Just amazing seats.

Austin Beer Garden Brewing
Austin Beer Garden Brewing

Our activities were not limited to just the track this time around. I spent and extra day in Austin to allow us more time for activities and not cram it all into a short amount of time. The race activities usually finish in the late afternoon so our nights were totally open to new adventures. Friday we had a great steak dinner at Bob’s Steak & Chop House right in downtown. We choose this place because of the rooftop bar that allows smoking. Unfortunately once we finished dinner the roof bar was smashed with people so no smoking for us. We instead hit Habana House Cigars across the river, really nice shop on the south of town to relax and decompress after our first day at the track.

Saturday Taylor Swift was the post race entertainment but we decided to skip it. All day we kept seeing Swifties walking around. I think half were there to enjoy the race but many were clearly there just for Taylor. We saw people lining up at the entrance to the field as soon as we arrived to the track. This was around 9:30 in the morning and the show probably didn’t start till 7 or later. That’s some dedication. Again, not a fan but I was impressed with the crowd she drew. It was estimated at 80+ thousand people, incredible.

Let me tell you its  a hike from turn 20 to the top of turn 1.
Let me tell you its a hike from turn 20 to the top of turn 1.

Instead of seeing Taylor we went to the Austin Beer Garden Brewery. You know me, always gotta hit a brewery when I travel. I was particularly excited to go here as it won Best Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year at this years Great American Beer Festival in Denver. This place really is modeled after a German beer hall with bench seating all over the place. The outside beer garden was truly amazing as well. When we arrived it was smashed with people which is always a good sign. I ended up trying three of their beers and bought a bottle for the following night. Just a great atmosphere and beer. Probably 7 regular taps and only one seasonal available but all pretty solid.

After the beer garden we headed downtown. We hit Stubb’s BBQ which was great before heading to FanFest. The brisket here was amazing but the service was horrible. Despite that I would still go back again. If you like bar hoping then FanFest is your place. For Jeremy and I it was rather boring. Maybe because it was late, I don’t know, they just didn’t have much we were interested in so we walked the few blocks roped off for FanFest and then went back to the hotel to enjoy a cigar night cap.

Whats left of my Avo Domaine cigar before the User and The Roots after the race.
Whats left of my Avo Domaine cigar before the Usher and The Roots after the race.

Race day and what a day it turned out to be.  The crowds all weekend I thought were pretty impressive but on race day you can throw all that out the window.  The track was a lively place as fans poured in to see the fight between Hamilton and Rosberg.  It was just a magical day watching the race and we had some really good seats.  After the race we stayed to watch User and The Roots.  It was going to be a made house getting out and we had no place to go on Monday so we stuck around for the concert. Usher I didn’t care much for but The Roots threw down let me tell you.  They opened the set with about 4 songs and ended the set as well.  What a great job considering The Weekend was originally schedule and backed out with less then two weeks before race day.

Monday was nothing but a lounge day. I wanted to spend at least one extra day in the city to really get a feeling for it. We ended up heading to  Canyon Lake for a hike which was nice. We tried to hike Emerald Point but the park was closed for a public hunt. Not wanting to get shot we headed to Canyon Lake instead. After he hike we continued to Jeremy’s house for dinner with his mother. I hadn’t seen her in a long time so it was nice to catch up with her. We went to dinner that night and afterwards we sat in the pouch talking. Jeremy and I smoked a couple Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey Especial Epicures which were great. I cracked open the saison I got from ABGB which Janet helped me finish and we just talked. It is so peaceful out that far in the country. I was hoping to catch the stars but it was pretty overcast that night. They tell me you can see so many stars out there when it is a clear night.


With the trip almost over Tuesday was really just a day to at catch up. We stopped at Wright Bros. Brew and Brew for some coffee and a bottle of beer. We planned on going to Heroes & Legacies on the north part of town and this being Texas, its BYOB. Jeremy caught up with his account and I was able to get a little writing done. Great place to sit, relax and smoke. The lounge is outta sight here. There is a membership fee but it’s worth the price if you want to really relax and enjoy a cigar. It was after three before we left there for the airport. Since I was not checking baggage and had an e-ticket, I breezed right through security to my gate.

Vacations never seem to be long enough. This was another great Formula 1 trip and I look forward to coming back in 2017. Austin really knows how to throw down and make a great race experience for the fans. There are still a few breweries I want to hit in the area and I can always spend time at the numerous cigar lounges around town. I think next year we might try to do a few more cultural things in addition to our normal activities.

US Grand Prix November 16-18th 2012 in Austin, TX

For five years Formula 1 has been absent from the United States.  When I started to get into F1, they had a yearly race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  My first race was in 2006 and I went again in 2007.  I will never forget my first experience, seeing the cars race down the front straight of Indy at 200mph, the noise, the smell, how it made my body shack.  My second and the final race in America, I went with my dad and that was an incredible experience we shared together.  So when it was confirmed that F1 would come back to the States, I jumped at the chance to go.

Gate 1, Circuit of the Americas. We finally made it!

I wrangled Jeremy to come along and we planned a road trip to the brand new, purpose built Circuit of the Americas in Austin.  We were trying to do this on the cheap so we decided to drive down and and rent an apartment using Air BnB.  He spent the night at my house on Wednesday and at 6:15am on Thursday, we were on the road towards Austin.  We knew what time we needed to be in Austin, first practice started at 9am.  Google said it would take 26 hours of straight driving, it would be close but we where on a mission and I was determined to let nothing stop us from getting there on time.

Let me tell you, 26 hours in a car and not much happens.  We had tons of music to listen to, lots of Starbucks and the changing countryside to keep us company.  We got to Memphis by dinner time and decided to eat at Corky’s BBQ.  It is a well known BBQ place in the city and was packed when we arrived, on a late Thursday night of all times.  We lucked out and got a spot at the bar and enjoyed some great Memphis style BBQ.  A quick bit to eat and off again on the road.

Friday Practice

Early on Friday morning we both were exhausted and found a Wal-Mart parking lot in Waco to rest for an hour.  It didn’t matter how uncomfortable it was, that quick nap was a much needed break.  As dawn broke on Friday we continued our trip to Austin.  With the sun coming up we made good time down I85 and arrived at the Q parking lot by 7:30am.  We had been up for 26 hours and driven 1500 miles, but we where excited to finally be in Austin.  A quick breakfast and off to the shuttle bus.

Turn 15 in the stadium section. A slower section of the track, great for getting a good look at the cars.

We had assigned seats at turn 1 but we both wanted to check walk around the brand new track.  All day we walked with purpose up to different grand stands to check out practice.  We started by going to the grandstand along the start/finish line.  This was the perfect spot for Jeremy to see the cars for the first time.  Along the straight you get the full speed of the cars and the nose as it reverberates off the grandstand and the paddock.  You can fell their power as they rush pass you at 200mph, engines bouncing off the rev limiter at 18k rpm’s as they climb 133′ to the hairpin turn 1.

This track is pretty amazing when you look at it.  The coolest feature, the climb to turn 1.  133′ doesn’t sound like much but when you see it in person, its an impressive climb the cars make going full throttle.  Later in sector 1 you have the fast chicane which lead to the blind turn 10.  On Friday we got close to this corner and it is crazy to see the cars come out of no where over the crest of the hill as they go to the hairpin turn 11 and the long back straight.  Then comes the slow stadium section where cars will turn around on themselves giving everyone a good look before hitting the three apex turn 16, 17, 18.  Finally turn 19 and 20 before crossing the start finish line.

Starting with the blind turn 10 on the left all the way to the hairpin turn 11.

All day on Friday we walked around the track sitting in different grandstands.  Of course we started on the straight away, then headed to turn the 15 to check out the stadium section.  While you can see a lot of action it is mostly slow turns which is not very exciting.  The best corner will be turn 12 after the back straight where you can get some passing action.  During the lul in driving, we got some lunch and lounged on the hill around turn 18.  I got a breakfast waffle from The Belgian Waffle Company and it was delicious.  We took the opportunity to smoke a cigar and I even took a nap before the vintage cars took the track for practice.

For the inaugural race they managed to get 30 or so vintage F1 cars from the late 60’s to the early 80’s.  When I was in Indianapolis, I saw many of these cars at the museum but there is nothing like seeing them out on the race track.  This was perhaps the coolest thing the entire weekend for me.  We saw vintage Ferrari’s, the Morgan six wheeler, John Player Specials, a Ragno that was quick as shit and many other famous cars.  Hats off to the drivers for putting on a great show all weekend and to the owners for allowing these historical cars to be race like they where meant to be.

From here we cut across the track and headed towards turn 11.  First stop was along the fence at turn 5 and the fast sweeping chicane.  Then to turn 7 which was pretty uneventful.  Turn 10 was really cool as it is a blind left corner.  The drivers come up a slight hill to the blind left hander and onto turn 11.  It was crazy seeing the cars appear out of no where at the top of the hill and down towards 11.  We eventually made it to turn 11 and finished out the second practice from here.  This spot was great as you could see the blind turn 10 and the slow turn 11 right in front of you before they dashed down the 1km back straight.

When practice was finally over we made it back to the car and headed into the city.  It was almost 4 and we still hadn’t been to our rental apartment or even seen the city.  As tired as we were it didn’t stop us from eating a late lunch at Habanero Mexican Cafe before unloading at the apartment.  By now it was about 36 hours since we left home and we both needed a shower.  We wanted to go to Fanfest in downtown but decided to just hang out and smoke a cigar at the apartment.  Saturday was going to be another early morning with the third practice starting at 9am sharp.

Saturday Qualify

Surprisingly, the track on Friday was packed with spectators and Saturday was more so.  Both prior races I went to there were of course people, but not nearly as many as in Austin.  You could tell the fans where here to support Formula 1’s return to the United States and I think we made a good showing after a 5 year absence.  For the first time we sat in our actual seats to catch the final practice and the qualification.  Turn 1 was certainly a great spot to watch the race.  We could see the cars come out of the pit lane and with turn 1 being so sharp, the cars really had to slowdown to make the turn successfully.  During the Ferrari Challenge race that day one of the cars skidded for 100 yards before hitting the barricade.  He just popped it into reverse and rejoined the race.  We saw lots of close call at turn one as well with racers doing their best to overtake but not hit each other.

Red Bull, Ferrari

By late afternoon the Ferrari and vintage F1 races where done for the day and we headed to The Salt Lick for dinner.  I was recommended this place by Tracy for some good BBQ in Texas.  We already had Memphis style and I was looking forward to some Texas BBQ next.  This place is pretty famous for their huge pit where they cook all their meat.  First off this place is in the middle of no where, literally.  It took almost an hour to get there from the track and when we arrived the place was smashed.  There must have been over 100 cars in the parking lot and policy where directing traffic.  The hostess said 40 minutes to get a seat, we had come this far we where going to wait.  The place is a large banquet hall when you walk in, large rooms have been built onto the original structure and it is impressive how many people were in there with just as many waiting to get in.

I got the Thurman’s Choice sampler with sides and for the most part I was not impressed.  The ribs and sausage where ok but I must admit that the beef brisket is possible the best I have ever tasted.  I got the wet version which has more fat on it and it was amazing.  The long slow cooking over the wood fire really makes it tender, juicy and with the perfect amount of smoke flavor.  It was so good in fact I brought some back for Nancy to try along with two bottles of wine from their vineyard.  I even got some peach cobbler with ice cream for dessert.  We where on vacation so I figured what the hell, unfortunately this too was disappointing.  The unique atmosphere and the brisket would certainly make me come back despite most of the food being mediocre at best.

Most of the cars on the grid before the race.

Fat dumb and happy we headed back to the apartment for a cigar and bed.  It was nice sitting outside as the neighbors where all college kids and more than willing to chat with a couple of strange random dudes smoking cigars.  I unfortunately had homework to finish and didn’t get to sleep that night till 2am, 6am was going to come early on race day let me tell you.

Race on Sunday

All weekend the track was pretty packed yet the shuttles worked really well.  The bathroom lines where mostly short but food and drink was always a problem.  Race day we knew things would be busier so we left by 7am to get there long before the crowds showed up.  There was a Ferrari and vintage support race before the 1pm F1 start so we had plenty of things to keep us occupied before the light go out.

Fly over by a great mix of airplanes: two P-51 Mustangs, P-38 Lightning, F16

For the Ferrari race we stood around turn one and smoked a morning cigar with coffee.  Saturday night I stayed up till 2am working on some homework so coffee and nicotine was just what the doctor ordered.  The race was pretty ho hum, it is rich people driving really expensive cars.  We were rooting for “Bob,” that was the nick name we gave to the slowest guy on the track.  All weekend he was dead last and in both races was lapped by several people, pretty amazing when you consider the race was only 10 laps long!

After our morning smoke we settle into our seats for the forthcoming races.  Next up was the Porsche GT3 race.  These guys were much more aggressive around the track with lots of wheel to wheel action, including a few scrapes.  For the most part it was pretty unexciting.

As 11 o’clock rolled around the pageantry that is Formula 1 started.  The pit lane opened for everyone with Paddock tickets to walk around.  Then the pace car and medical car take a few laps to make sure the track is ready to go for the race start.  It sounds stupid, but I love the way that V8 Mercedes SLS AMG sounds.  As it roars down the track it has this awesome low rumble, even the medical car sounds good.  Next was the drivers parade lap which for Austin featured all the drivers on classic American cars.  I have seen at many other tracks they will drive around on a flatbed, the classic cars were a great touch.

Turn 1 of lap one, not one incident. I won the bet.

When the pit lane finally opened things started to get serious.  The teams start releasing their cars onto the track to form up.  Excitement was building in the crowd of 117,000 race fans.  All the grandstands I could see were full and the general admission areas where absolutely smashed with people.  Jeremy had to make a pit stop and I was nervous he wouldn’t make it back in time for the race start.  We had a gentleman’s bet on the first corner.  Yes the drivers had all weekend to learn the track, none of them had been around in race conditions.  Turn 1 would be tricky but I was confident that everyone get through unscathed, Jeremy was not so certain.  My only fear was Grosjean barreling down the track and playing bumper cars with everyone.  Alonso started 7th and Grosjean 8th so I was ultimately worried he would take Alonso out.  To stay in the contention for the drivers championship, Alonso needed to finish as far ahead of Vettel as possible.  With Grosjean’s record of wrecking into people and Alonso not getting past the first corner, I was really concerned.

Fortunately Jeremy made it back with only a minute to spare before the start of the race, running into Governor Rick Perry was no excuse to miss the exciting start of the race.  When the lights went out it was race time and everyone raced up the hill towards the first corner.  There was some great maneuvering by Alonso up to turn 1 to gain three spots and edge closer to Vettel.

Panoramic view of the start/finish to turn 1 from the top row of the bleachers.

As the laps melted away the race progressed nicely with few incidents.  Webber had alternator trouble which let Alonso get another position and finish the race in third.  While Vettel had a better qualifier, Hamilton was challenging after a few laps.  Vettel was never able to gain a substantial lead like in previous races.  Hamilton was able to stay with him and was often fighting for position.  Finally about two thirds the way through the race Hamilton made a pass that stuck on the back straight to take first place.  When he drove pass our grandstand everyone jumped up and cheered.  I couldn’t tell if everyone was happy to see Hamilton leading the race or that Vettel was bumped to second.  I was happy to see Vettel loose points, allowing Alonso stay in the hunt for the drivers championship.

With no other changes in position, this is how the race ended: Hamilton, Vettel, and Alonso.  Both Jeremy and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and can’t wait to come back next year.  We checked out seats higher in turn one and realized the price for these tickets was certainly justified.  It was just a much better view of the track.  You could see further and didn’t have the annoying fence blocking any of our view.  I think next year these are the seats we will try and get.

After the race we walked back to our car. Long shadows from the fall setting sun.

For the award ceremony they opened the gates and allowed people to stream onto the track which was pretty cool.  We watched the ceremony from our seats and I was horrified to see the drivers emerge wearing cowboy hats!  Only in fucking Texas would they do something as stupid as that, they looked ridiculous up there in those hats.  To this day I still can’t believe it.

We waited a good hour before trying to leave and were shocked at the line to get back to parking lot Q.  Eventually we decided to hoof it to our car.  This started the long trip back home that night.  We drove most of the night and only stopped for about 2 hours just outside Arkansas when nether one of us could stay awake any more.  We ran into a little trouble in Round Rock which caused the trip to take 30 hours, getting to my house at midnight on Monday.  We made only one extended stop and that was for hotdogs at Cori’s DogHouse which had some amazing hotdogs.  If you are every passing through Nashville, its worth the stop.

Full Results

1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes561:35:55.2692
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault56+0.6751
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari56+39.2297