Try saying that three times fast!
Two weekends ago I went to the Roar Before the 24 and then wrote about it in my last blog post. This weekend was the real race – the Rolex 24, also known as the 24 Hours of Daytona. True to its name, it lasted a full 24 hours, from 1:40 PM on Saturday to 1:40 PM on Sunday.
Unlike last week, parking was scarce! I’m a fan of things that are free, and the free parking was at the Volusia Mall. It took a couple of laps around the parking lot for me and my friend to get a spot, and then we had to walk to the speedway. If you ever end up going to the races, be prepared for a long walk, and factor that in to the time it takes to get there. We entered on the east side of the speedway in Tunnel 4 only about fifteen or so minutes before the race started.
We ended up getting to the stands a few minutes after the race had started and they were packed. Everyone was excited to watch the race, especially since all of the cars were grouped up together. It was just a whiz of race cars one after another, and there was so much energy all around. It was definitely a thrill.
I watched from the stands for a bit and then noticed a normal-looking car go out onto the track. I later learned that it was the safety car which is brought out during incidents. Everyone else has to follow them, and it was odd seeing a bunch of race cars following a normal-looking car that an ordinary person could buy.
I had gotten the tickets for free as part of my involvement in the Women’s Ambassadors. The events coordinator at IMSA, who was running the race, had reached out to us asking if we’d like free tickets, and I was lucky enough to get one. The attending ambassadors met up with her at around 3:30, and it was awesome to see other women doing well in male-dominated industries like motorsports. She also brought up that there were several female drivers and a few all-women teams in the race.
One of the all-female teams was racing in this pink car, which was my favorite one in the race. The IMSA coordinator also explained about her job and how she got into motorsports before showing us around the infield. Part of her job included the logistics of the event, and it was cool to see everything come together and all of the empty car garages just waiting for cars.
After that, everyone went their separate ways. I checked out the food court with my friend who I had come with and watched the race on the big screens. It was news-style coverage following a car (or a group of cars) at once. The food was a bit expensive so I decided to not get anything and just eat at home.
Once we were done for the day, my friend and I walked back to her car, and somehow, the walk felt longer at the end of the day. I headed back to my apartment after that, and I unfortunately didn’t end up getting back to the race like I wanted. Since it’s a 24-hour race, admission is open- once you have a ticket, you can come and go as you pleased. One of my roommates went early in the morning to watch the sun rise at the race track.
The Rolex 24 was a great experience, even though I didn’t stay the whole time. If you come to Riddle, it’s definitely worth going to, even if it’s just once, for the experience. I don’t know much about motorsports, but I enjoyed the social aspect of hanging out with my friends, walking around, and learning a little bit about the sport. When I move for my new job I’ll also be keeping an eye out for any races that I could go to. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!