I wrote last week about getting ready to go to the Indy Racing League event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, as well as going fishing with two of their race officials. Those were two really cool days I’ll never forget.
The race was amazing. My buddy Robbie Floyd, who is on-screen talent for the IRL on Versus Network, hooked us up with VIP passes; we could go anywhere. We went to the VIP Paddock Club, to the pits, around the trailers and even on pit row before the race started. The whole experience was totally unreal.
I stood next to Marco Andretti during the national anthem and got to watch much of the race from behind the wall of the pits. I can’t believe they can change tires and fuel a racecar as quickly as they do. Seven seconds is not an unusual time to see those cars back on the track — and I thought our service crews on the Elite Series were fast!
Dario Franchitti got the checkered flag, and I walked away with a new appreciation for the drivers and crews of the Indy Racing League. I also got a signed helmet; every current IRL driver signed it, with something like eight different Indy 500 winners on it.
I took two IRL officials to Clear Lake on Monday, following the race: Brian Barnhart (president of race operations and competition) and Kevin “Rocket” Blanch (technical director, a rules and enforcement guy — basically a professional dictator, like our Trip Weldon. I’m kidding, of course. Hi Trip!).
We caught between 25 and 35 fish on frogs, and I caught a 7-pounder off a rockpile on a jig. Both of those guys love to fish, follow the Bassmaster tour, and Kevin has even competed on the Opens level a few times.
The fish were bunched up in little areas of grass, and Brian caught the biggest frog fish — a heavy 6-pounder that rolled under the mat on his frog. He tried to cast back to the same spot but was off target to the edge and wound up with a 3-pounder. Brian cast back to the spot and caught the fish; “Rocket” was pissed, but we all laughed about it.
They got to use my new Wright & McGill Skeet Reese Senko and Toad rods, as well as my Skeet Reese Revo reel and Spiderwire Ultracast braid. Both of them told me later that they would be buying setups for themselves. I love it when people get enjoyment from products I helped bring to the market; it’s a great feeling.
I’ve got a full story on my Web site ( www.skeetreeseinc.com) about both days. Check it out.
I also want to touch on the situation revolving around the California Delta. I’m not a scientist, but it seems to me that there has to be a more effective way to solve our problems than pumping a bunch of the freshwater out of the Sacramento River before it gets to the Delta. It’s going to kill our state’s best fishery if this goes through.
Bassmaster.com ran a story about the situation earlier this month. If you’ve ever fished the Delta or wanted to, call your elected officials and voice your opinion.