26 November 1999
DATELINE: Homestead-Miami Speedway NASCAR Welcome back race fans to another exciting adventure of "Reflections from the Seats" by your roving reporter ACE. Today's adventure is brought to you from site of the NASCAR race November 14, 1999 at the Homestead Miami Speedway. After numerous attempts to secure my payment in beer from the prior articles I have written for this distinguished web site Mr. Gordon the head of theautochannel.com has relented to my suggestions to go to Southern Florida and cover this race In case this is your first time reading the "Reflections" articles. It is my attempt to give the readers an insight of what it is like being an attendee to a race event reporting on off track activities and events that I encounter during the race weekend. I have with me for this event an old gearhead friend of mine I usually call Picklehead who will be performing the role this weekend as the photographer for theautochannel. Being that his mother will most likely be reading this article I will refer to the Pickle as " Mitch". Look for photos by Mitch to appear in this section in the upcoming future. Please refer to the photo archives Ok Ace enough of the preamble. Homestead Miami Speedway is a 71,763 seat, 434-acre facility located in Southern Florida. Opened in 1995 by local motorsports enthusiast Ralph Sanchez. Now owned by the International Speedway Corporation [ISC]. I have been to this venue before to see the CART races. [Mitch broke his foot here in a prior visit, which is a classic Ace story of drunkenness and mayhem; you should have seen the look his mother gave me after that incident. "If looks could kill" - but that another story]. I'd been to a number of racing venues in the United States and in my opinion it doesn't get any better than this, OK. It sets the standard when I see motorsports events at other venues. It's a pleasure to see a race at this facility. If you haven't been to Homestead Miami take the time and plan on seeing a race here, you won't regret it The racetrack has everything a fan needs to make ones outing a pleasant experience. Plenty of accessible parking. Points go to the person responsible in dealing with the Florida Turnpike Authority. The toll near the track exit was removed on race day to speed up the flow of traffic in and out of the area. Give that person a raise. Someone is thinking smart. The track has plenty of food vendors offering a wide variety for ones taste. An interesting feature at Homestead is the " Brugal Rum Pavilion"; the Pavilion is a permanent structure built during the Sanchez days. It offers an interesting selection of alcoholic beverages versus the usual beer selection. The menu included a variety of frozen rum drinks with such names as "Gear Grinders", as well as other hard liquor drinks. Your diligent reporter took the liberty of checking out the local drink offering so that you, the reader, can be better informed. What's really missing since ISC has taken over the facility are the cigar girls selling cigars. I remember they once had a cigar roller available during race day, this was a true reflection of the South Florida culture On the food front an interesting selection is "AREPAS" which consist of grilled sweet corn bread and mozzarella. I have only seen this at Homestead - Miami, this is a treat that fans should check out the next time at this track Out Witting the Winston In my quest for that great American marketing tool known in my previous articles titles "Tits, Ass and the Beer Wars", your trusty reporter set his sights on this aspect of the event. Here where things got a bit confrontational. The race series sponsor is the RJR Tobacco Corporation, which sponsors the "Winston cup" race series. Due to the ongoing current state of affairs in America today regarding tobacco, advertising and general promotional activities, it's fair to say the RJR is a bit on the defense side. As Mitch and myself are walking in the vendor area I set my sights on what I thought was the Americas perfect marketing vehicle. Attractive women in tight outfits advertising Americas latest and greatest consumer needs. As I approach the Winston girls thinking this would make a perfect photo opportunity for a picture as well as an addition to the Ace beer girl achieves [coming soon] here's where the situation got a bit confrontational. The Winstonetts were far from friendly to have their picture taken and even called over Winston security to clarify the situation. After stating our intentions of just having ones picture taken. I believe NO was their response. At this point Mitch decides he will enter Winston's promotional giveaway. This is were if your over 21 years of age and have valid I.D and produce a pack of RJ Reynolds cigarette [not sure on if all RJR brands are valid or just Winston] you will get a half a carton of cigarettes with a racing video tape included. Well at this point in the events we were not very welcome. As Mitch gives try's to get some cigarettes the security personal asks Mitch to produce a pack of Winston or another RJR brand. To their surprise I happened to have picked up a pack of free cigarettes in the media center. Well all hell breaks loose as they claim that the cigarettes that I have produced is a promotional giveaway pack and therefore is not usable for this giveaway. It seems there are cryptic writing on a side of the packs [unopened in cellophane] that the Winston guardians are highly trained to detect. Well we get a stern and rather unpleasant warning that were not welcome at this booth. At which time I have retrieved my media center promotional cigarettes and leave. We outwitted the Winston by removing the cellophane wrapper and proceeded to go to another Winston booth none the less wiser. I pick up my half a carton of cigarette with video tape included titled " Straight Talk Video Magazine". Mitch has decided to take up smoking with this newfound booty [I am sure his mother is thrilled to hear this] First let me state that I think RJR has done a fantastic job as sponsor of the Winston cup. Their attitude reflects pressure applied on them from the government and trial hungry lawyers. Unfortunately they are not a bunch of happy campers, as we witnessed at Homestead. Please Mr. Beer company increase your Winston cup viability, bring on the beer girls, bring back the smiles! The Business of Racing NASCAR is the major league of racing. It's at a serious level and the business sponsors who are involved are serious as well. A number of companies this weekend have made announcements to increase their presence in NASCAR. NBC ups the Ante Just prior to race weekend the unified television package was announced for a total $400 million per year. NBC, which has lost the NFL television rights, is looking to tap into NASCAR's vast viewing audience and solid rating on Sundays as a programming alternative to football. The network had already negotiated the rights to this Homestead race prior to the TV package announcement. I guess they view this as a warm up until 2001. The NBC personnel stood out in the crowd, I guess it's the blue blazers that gave them away, not your usual race day attire [I would have stolen the hubcaps on their cars for coming to a race dressed like that]. Not only did they seem out of place they were kind of uptight looking. My advice to them is to lose the blazers and maybe have some NBC marketing girls with peacocks on their chests to really catch the crowd's attention. On local front, the NBC Miami station has an interesting reporter named Neki Mogham who does reasonably good commentary reporting from the track. Keep your eye on her in the future GOD, COUNTRY, NASCAR, GO MARINES MARINES- Team Marines Chevrolet - new sponsor of the Hank Parker Jr. Bush car First, let me state that it's not your tax dollars being spent here, the sponsorship money is being put up by a sponsor who was in the Marine Corps. It a pleasure to see the armed forces increasing their visibility in motorsports Also to note the Coleman Corporation the proud manufacturer of camping equipment has also announced that they will increase their visibility at the RV sites as well as camp grounds around the racetrack. Nothing like getting close to the people who use your products. Best of luck. Race day- you know the results, Dale Jarrett wins the championship and Tony Stewart wins the race. The view from our seats were fantastic, we sat up high with no obstructions whatsoever. Also MRN broadcast the race, the reception was superior. If they could just get rid of the commercials it would be better. I believe a good time was enjoyed by all. If you can see an event at this facility take the time and go. You won't regret it. Ok race fans that brings you another adventure in the " Reflection from the Seats" by ACE. If you like the article please tell Mr. Gordon, I am still trying to secure by payment in beer from Old Bob. To all race fans and their families, happy holidays, till then see you in the seats - ACE LONG PUBLISHERS NOTE: The ownership and management of The Auto Channel assumes no responsbility(at all) for the views taken in these "FROM JUST ANOTHER FAN TO YOU" articles. We at TACH believe in a strong first ammendsment and that all viewpoints have a right to see the light of a CRT. I hope the powers that be/are can rest their personel animosity long enough to let ACE take his tongue out of his Cheek (although I really think that the ideas spouted forth within are heartfelt and were made after years of experience in the sooty world of Motor Sports) ...happy NASCAR NBC and to all a good night.