Man what a great weekend! Luckily Hurricane Michael had just passed through on Wednesday night (just a drink in the van kinda night) and it was all sunny, smooth sailing from there. I couldn’t have asked for any better weather with sunny warm days and sweatshirt nights by the fire. Who cares about any of that when you have gas guzzling loud thumping cars on track nearly all day? Well, me actually.
Clearly here the cars are the highlight and the American Le Mans series keeps cars on track and everything running on schedule. There may be 5-10 minutes between the sessions on track with multiple classes running together which reminds me of a karting weekend. At a car race weekend I am most impressed with the faster classes but in karting I always tended to be the slowest class in the race group so I feel those drivers pain.
Petit Le Mans is a special race because of the work of the late Don Panoz. Known for his work in the pharmaceutical field for founding Mylan with Milan Puskar (WVUs football stadium namesake), he created the transdermal patch. But all of this was unknown to me until the race weekend, I only knew about his Panoz cars with badass engines and comical styling.
He is the founder of the American Le Mans Series and previous owner of Road Atlanta, Sebring, and Mosport. He wanted the fans to be able to get close to the action by allowing everyone into the paddock all weekend long and instituting the grid walk for fans to get up close and personal with all the cars and teams one hour prior to the flag drop.
Aside from the racing, the off track festivities were just as loud and bright. I was welcomed (or rather I invited myself) into the Clemson Tiger den where I met Chris, Blake and Rod. Between their golf cart, their Blackstone flattop grill, and their hospitable attitudes we managed to have a good time (go figure!).
I couldn’t have lucked into a better camp spot with not only the Tigers but also the turn 13 group who have been partying this event for years and years. A big part of the year was about the people I met along the way and these folks down south are the nicest people all across the country.
Since there were so many photos to share I decided to split it between day and night. Stay tuned.