Experience Racing At Watkins Glen This Weekend From Our Crazy RV

I hadn't been at Watkins Glen for more than a few minutes before a nice women told me to park the RV I'd been driving on the side of some random road and get in her car. Then someone handed me a racing suit and I got in a Daytona Prototype. This is going to be an awesome weekend.

Oh man, no full disclosure because the whole thing is going to be a disclosure of how strange and wondrous our lives are. Lemme try:

  1. We met a PR person for GoRVing.com — which encourages RVing if you couldn't figure that out — at the New York Auto Show and she showed us a 30-foot Fleetwood Storm.
  2. We were told it was available to borrow.
  3. We borrowed it and brought it to Watkins Glen because this quiet, pastoral piece of Western New York turns into motorsports heaven over the weekend with a number of races capped off by the big Sahlens 6-Hour TUDOR USCC race.

So yeah, Ballaban and I picked up the Storm in New Jersey and drove this vehicle, which is bigger than some apartments I've looked at and definitely has more televisions, and then made off for Watkins Glen. A few small notes:

  • I've never driven an RV before.
  • I've never been to Watkins Glen before.
  • Therefore, I've never been to Watkins Glen in an RV before.

So off we went, the wind at our back and sometimes at our sides when 18-wheelers went by causing me to yank the wheel to try and guide the vehicle back onto the road. Ballaban got to see his first Sheetz and I got to have a Whopper.

The plan was to get here by 7:00 so we could get credentials and get into a two-seat Daytona Prototype Michael Shank Racing brought with them but, thanks to some traffic, we got here at 7:25 pm today.

Thus, with no passes, we ended up following Watkins Glen's kind PR person, Betsy, past the gate and near the entrance to the track, ditched the RV, and ran (literally ran) to get a racing suit on, a helmet over my head, and climb into the car driven by Action Express' Brian Frisselle.

The Glen is a lovely track and it's a wonderful kind of mind-fuck to get out of an RV you've been driving for five hours, slowly, and then hop into a race car before you can get your bearings set and then get tossed around for a couple of laps. All I want to do is get back out there and do it again, especially as the sun began to set.

Say what you will about the way the DPs look on the outside, they don't feel slow on the inside, and I didn't get the impression that Frisselle was holding back much (sadly for Ballaban the car had a suspension issue during his laps and came in early).

Buzzing from the hot laps we pulled our RV into our slot and rested for a few moments before realizing that, honestly, we had no idea what to do next. No bother, RV people are great and very helpful and I walked up to the first group of people I could find and asked them: "Do you know how to use an RV?"

After a few laughs, Joe showed us how to connect the power without blowing up the electrical system, level the truck, move the slide-outs, hook up the water, and get the systems going. Thus Jalopnik Mobile Unit 1 (JALOP-1) is good to go with some help from our neighbors. Come back tomorrow as some great people stop by to chat:

  • 2:45 p.m.: Jordan Taylor
  • 3:30 p.m.: Ryan Dalziel
  • 4 p.m.: Ed Brown (driver/CEO of Patron)
  • 4:30 p.m.: Patrick Long

Yes, that's right, one of them runs Patron. We might be properly gone by the time Patrick Long gets here.

If you're at Watkins Glen this weekend drop us a line or a comment and we'll do some sort of meet up. If you're not, just hang out with us in the comments all weekend as Patrick, Ballaban, Andrew and myself take it all in.

Photo: Jim Cooke