AutoClub Speedway in Fontana, an Event Destination

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AutoClub Speedway entrance

AutoClub Speedway in Fontana, CA is so much more than a 1-off NASCAR race. ACS is an event destination!

Motor Press Guild Event

I had the pleasure of touring the facility via another fantastic Motor Press Guild luncheon event. During the visit highlights were meeting key ACS staff, touring the awesome track facility, and taking a few hot laps around the 2-mile D-shape oval. The afternoon certainly turned into an event destination for me and was an experience that I’ll not soon forget.

Group MPG Photo at AutoClub Speedway

AutoClub Speedway is an Event Destination

Well, of course in March 2019 NASCAR will roll back into Fontana with a circus of motorsport that will WOW fans with all things NASCAR, but did you know there is a dragstrip at ACS too? And, it runs almost every weekend.

AutoClub Speedway drag strip

Holiday Lights

Last year saw the first running of the Magic of Lights. It was a HUGE success and will take place again this year. The dates are November 16 through December 31, 2018. It is a must-see drive-thru visual event for the entire family. Experience holiday lights in a uniquely ACS way that you’ll think about all year long.

Go-kart Track

Are you an aspiring racing driver? Do you want to get world-class exposure and experience? Do you want to drive hot little rockets around a karting track? Well, Auto Club Speedway has all that covered right next to the main race track. ACS provides the go-kart track and time to up’n’coming race car drivers that want to hone their race-craft and strive to be their best.

And, if the Lights, the karting, all the awesome racing weren’t enough… AutoClub Speedway draws in some of the biggest acts for live concerts. ACS transforms into a music destination for various genres of musical entertainment.

Statistics are always a great way to put things into perspective. While riding around the track facility getting the tour and seeing some cool “behind-the-scenes,” it was hard to get a feel for the actual size of the place. It certainly felt big but seeing the next image will certainly put things into perspective. It absolutely shows how massive the AutoCLub Speedway campus actually is…

ACS vs Stadiums Comparison

Come Visit ACS

AutoClub Speedway is a huge facility (it can hold 15 major sports’ stadiums) and so much more than a NASCAR race once per year. The awesome track facility provides the means for fans of racing to experience some levels of drag racing as well as world-class karting opportunities. And, to make it MORE of an event destination, come experience holiday lights or a concert delivered by a global artist. ACS is a place you want to come visit at some point in time for something spectacular!

BONUS VIDEOS:

Ever wonder what it was like to drive into AutoClub Speedway? Drive around the side of the track and then underneath the track to pop out inside the infield area. Or, take a lap on the track with a professional race car driver? It is a great drive in and on-track so check them out on my YouTube channel – driving in and partial hot-lap.

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Motor Press Guild – Reasons to Join

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MPG press pass TGPLB 2018Why I Joined MPG

The Motor Press Guild has afforded me great motorsport opportunities along with meeting some really great people. Those are the two main reasons for me to officially join the auto journalists group at the first of this year. I encourage anyone that writes about cars to learn more about and join the Guild.

My start with the Motor Press Guild (MPG) began with one of my first Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race month after moving to SoCal. I had the pleasure of running into Ed Jenks at a press event held by DHL for the first ever Formula E race in Long Beach. (Me and Formula E really hit it off well… read about my FE SuperFan experience) Ed welcomed me with open arms into the world of motorsports journalism. That warm welcome kept MPG on my mind.

Ran into Ed again the next few years and also met Tom Stahler. Tom is an outspoken character that is very passionate about all racing that requires gas. I was determined to join MPG after spending a few outings with the two of them. After expressing my desire to join MPG both of them offered to be my “sponsor”. The MPG application requires 2 active MPG members to vouch for you and also requires at least 3 published automotive writing examples. Yes, joining the Guild is a little more than paying money and saying you want in.

MPG Member Perks

Along with special outings at automotive events, MPG has monthly lunch-n-learns. These events are fantastic for meeting other like-minded car people. And, the topic choices are very relevant to anyone in the automotive journalistic world. March 2018 MPG luncheon topic was freelancing in the automotive journalist’s world. The panel consisted of both freelancer journalists and the editors that hire them. April 2018 is going to be based on the “Infotainment” options that are ruling the dashboards of new cars. Both topics are on point for what I want to know about in the car world.

Many more learning, driving, and networking activities are planned for the rest of the year. I look forward to using my MPG membership to broaden my professional automotive writing exposure and meet more great car people. Joining the Motor Press Guild is certainly a worthwhile investment and something I really wish I had done earlier. Don’t hesitate and join the Guild if you have even a small interest in the automotive journalism profession.

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BMWCCA Foundation is Always Amazeballs!

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Living on the West coast of the US makes visiting the BMW Car Club of America’s Foundation museum a bit more of a trek. I used to live just a short drive from the front doors of the always amazeballs place, but now the drive is a bit further. This is why visiting the magnificence of the BMWCCA Foundation Museum is that much more awesome for me!

Home for the Holidays!

This year I made it home for the holidays. The first place I visited was not family, much to their chagrin. The place I drove straight to was the BMWCCA Foundation museum building where Michael, the longtime curator and driving innovator at the museum, was waiting to let me in. He and I have known each other for many years now and it is always a pleasure catching up with him. Michael is a wealth of BMW knowledge and has deep ties with the BMWCCA. Getting “the tour” of the museum facilities from him is a privilege and time I highly value.

I highly encourage any BMW fan to research and then make an appointment to go by and experience the BMWCCA Foundation for yourself. The building is located adjacent to the BMW Performance Center near Spartanburg, SC and just on the outskirts of North American BMW mecca. Like any Bimmer aficionado needs an excuse to take a drive around the birthplace of many a BMW.

Extensive Collection at the BMWCCA Foundation Museum

The extensive collection of cars at the Foundation museum over the holidays was in preparation for the “Heroes of Bavaria: 75 Years of BMW Motorsport” exhibit. Featured were many past BMW cars from varied racing genre ranging from IMSA to Formula series. I took lots of pictures and share two of the prime ones below.

Here’s the full photo album on Facebook: BMWCCA Foundation 2017

This is a great shot of the front end of an E46… (one of my personal fav Bimmer liveries!)

Connect with me on Instagram (havarino) for all my latest car pics. I focus mainly on BMW (of course) but I don’t discriminate against automotive awesomeness. So… there might be some other car manufacturers shown, but they will be great eye candy.

I am a motorsport enthusiast through and through. My passions include seeing the latest automobile tech going fast. My background is in Internet technology. Admiring cars, along with following motorsports, drives my desire to experience more car greatness.

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United States Grand Prix YEAR 6 Fan Recap

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Fans at COTA USGP 2017Fan Recap with Race Results

Race action highlights included Lewis Hamilton winning the race with Sebastian Vettel in a close second. Some great on-track action was given to fans with the Mercedes and the Ferrari battling it out at the start and then later during pit stop rotations. During the closing few corners of the grand prix, Max Verstappen was able to maneuver past Kimi Raikkonen to take third place. However, Verstappen exceeded track limits and was immediately given a 5 second time penalty that relegated him to 4th. Overall an exciting race to watch and not the sometimes snoozefest of other F1 races.

Ferrari at COTA USGP 2017

The United States Grand Prix brings excitement to fans, both on track and after the racing is done for the day. Several support races in 2017 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) on the F1 weekend. There was FIA Formula 4, a feeder series for open wheel racing, and the Masters Historic Racing, which is comprised of classic Formula 1 race cars from the years of 1966 to 1985. Two wonderful open-wheel series that provide huge levels of car eye candy and racing action. But, the fun and entertainment were not just on the track!

Double Header Fan Entertainment

The USGP race weekend had big entertainment names on the roster. First, Justin Timberlake performed Saturday night after the F1 qualifying session. The concert was relatively brief, but JT didn’t underwhelm. Then on Sunday night following the GP, Stevie Wonder performed and entertained as he always does so well. As an added bonus at the track COTA erected a Fan Zone with a Ferris wheel and activities for the whole family. But, what appealed to me as a huge fan was the easy access to food and beverages along with little wait times for the bathroom. COTA does a good job of making sure the race fan has a good experience. Not everything is always smooth like butter, but I sincerely feel this track listens to fans and makes changes quickly to improve the fan experience.

COTA tower at night

I realized the true willingness to improve the fan experience by Circuit of the Americas when traveling to other Formula 1 races and other racing events in general. One big aspect that stood out to me at COTA is the ability to circumvent the entire track. As a fan, one can walk around the entire perimeter of the track with little areas off limits. This was quite the contrast to the F1 race at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City. I attended last year and was limited to a small area of the track inside the baseball complex. The food and beverage options were extremely limited and the entertainment off-track was nill. The two track experiences were night and day contrast. This is why I will recommend a COTA visit over another track.

No Downtown Austin Fan Zone

One thing that was missing for me was the absence of the downtown Austin Fan Zone Experience. It seemed like there was an attempt to be replicated on site at COTA with the Fan Zone and the two big name concerts, but it fell short in my opinion. Having F1 and all the circus and circumstance around it in the heart of Austin made me feel welcome as a race fan. To me having the downtown entertainment brought the entire race weekend from the track into the heart of the city. This only improved the experience for me as a fan. My hopes are that the City of Austin, Circuit of the Americas, and Liberty Media can come to a huge compromise and throw the ultimate Formula weekend party that encompasses COTA and downtown Austin.

This weekend in Austin saw Mercedes take the 2017 Manufacturers Championship, but left the Drivers Championship still alive. It will be difficult for Ferrari’s Vettel to make up the points deficit to beat Hamilton, but that’s why we are race fans and watch the events. COTA’s Fan Experience was fantastic and I hope that downtown Austin can be more assimilated into the F1 weekend festivities in the future. Having Austin in the middle of the F1 mix made it a “bigger” event to me. However, all-in-all, the USGP weekend did not disappoint in the least.

 

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Red Bull GRC Series Port of LA Season Finale, the Fan Perspective

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The Red Bull GRC Series made the final stop of the 2017 season in the Port of Los Angeles. It wrapped up another spectacular season of rallycross racing. As a recognized motorsports Super Fan, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to witness 600HP rockets fly around a dirt track and take jumps like racehorses. It was my third year attending and the GRC series never disappoints when making a stop in the Port of LA!

The Fan Perspective

As an up-n-coming motorsport fan journalist, I really appreciate the openness and ease of media relations that the Red Bull GRC Series enables. The entire staff are extremely helpful and honestly made me feel like they wanted me, as a journalist, to have an excellent experience. I feel this is also directly translated to the overall event and is extended to all GRC fans. Red Bull has once again conquered the event experience and provided a rich time for fans.

I thoroughly enjoy telling the story of a motorsports event from the fan perspective. Fans are what drive sports! (Pun intended). Showing and telling the fan story, as I experience it, hopefully, can show how motorsport events are a really good time. And, possibly encourage others to follow alternative racing events like Red Bul GRC Series, Formula E, and soon, Roborace.

Traditionally, the higher up the pay scale of the race series the more disconnected the drivers, team personnel, and overall series staff got from the fans. It gets close to the point (like in Formula 1) where the fans almost appear to be an inconvenience to the race event itself. Now, thanks in part to NASCAR’s success with fan interactions, other series are getting back to what actually makes them exist in the first place. Fans are basically why racing exists and continues, so it is quite invigorating to see other top-tier series embrace fans too.

Great Track View for Fans

This is a great panoramic shot of the entire track. It is the view that almost all the fans had to watch the on track action!

Season Finale Results

2017 Port of LA RBGRC podium

The entire Red Bull GRC series race season was dominated by the Andretti VW duo of Scott Speed and Tanner Foust. So it was no surprise that they ended the season on top of the podium. Foust took the Port of LA race win to finally get a race win in Los Angeles. And, Speed took his 3rd consecutive GRC Supercars championship.

Local Beer Perk

A great perk from the fan perspective was seeing 805 being served as the beer choice. Firestone Walker, a mid-California based craft brewery, was the sole beer provider. They came prepared with lots of attractive staff, 2 well tapped serving stations, and lots of swag to give out. I thought it was fantastic to have one of my favorite beers served and they are basically a local brew. This was good planning by Red Bull events to tie in a higher end beer choice with a local flare. My kudos to the team that decided to make that choice.

805 beer at Red Bull GRC Series in the Port of LA

The fan experience is only improved when access is granted to the paddock and pits area. Red Bull GRC Series has a very open pit and trailer area where lots of great inside shots can be taken of the 600 HP mini-beasts that scream around the course. I was fortunate enough to get a little behind the scenes and see some of the cars in their most stripped down, “DAMN! We gotta fix this thing!” condition Saturday after the Super Cars final.

RBGRC Paddock 2017 Port of LA - Tanner FoustRBGRC Paddock 2017 Port of LA - Scott Speed VW
RBGRC Paddock 2017 Port of LA - 1RBGRC Paddock 2017 Port of LA - 3

Red Bull GRC Series only improves from the fan perspective year over year. The cars are fast, the racing is dicey and exciting, and the Series gets what needs to be done for success. I encourage everyone who likes motorsports to check out this action-packed, “rocket” filled series. It starts all over again next year in April so put it on the racing calendar and tune in!

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