_Captains Log, StarDate 2007.08.04-??.??_
This weekend, Montreal hosted the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series stock car race (amongst others). But we never intended to be there. All we wanted to do was stand on the bridge spanning Saint Lawrence river and part of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (the same one that hosts the Formula 1 race) and take some long-distance photos of glimpses of cars between the trees. But like the Matrix, no one can be told what a closed-circuit race is like. You have to feel it for yourself.
The first thing that everybody remembers is the sound. The sound of 43 race car engines screaming at the edge of their physical limit. The closest sound I can think of is the Su-30 doing the cobra maneouvre at Aero India. Sound so loud that you don’t hear it, you feel it. That was also the last thing everybody remembers from the bridge. 15 seconds later all of us were sprinting to the ticket counter.
We entered the spectator stands, and I was within 5 feet of the ground that Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton have drove on, and Robert Kubica has (presumably) walked on (earlier this year). The race was reasonably interesting and it got really childish towards the end, as drivers desperate to win ruthlessly shoved each other out of the way. In fact, it got pretty crazy, with the lead car getting black-flagged at the finish line. Read more about it here.
I always prefer open-road rallying to closed-circuit racing, I mean who wants to watch grown up men chasing each other round a track in brightly painted cars, right? 😉 Closed-circuit is pretty much the same thing over and over again, and you end up getting desperate for something bad (exciting) to happen. Formula 1 is in a different league altogether, to me it is more of a lesson in management (time, technical, strategy, people, team, fuel, aerodynamics, stress… all types of management) than anything else.
Budweiser was one of the official sponsors so there was a lot of beer flowing around. I got myself a Circuit Gilles Villeneuve T-shirt and a 1:43 NASCAR scale model to add to my collection. After the race we headed to the Ste. Elisabeth “Europeen Pub” with a local friend. The place has a so-called terrace which is basically an open-air space enclosed in tall walls covered with vines. They are renowed for their beer (and Guinness). I got my first taste (and view) of the [in]famous Montreal nightlife… trust me, it is quite a sight to see Ferraris stuck in a traffic jam!