July 7, 2008

In search of a Red Cat at the Watkins Glen Race Track

WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL RACE TRACK, Watkins Glen, NY, USA - Most of the people at the race track over the July 4th weekend were totally in tune with the IndyCar Series. Every conversation seemed peppered with remarks about fuel tank capacity, tire durability and sometimes whether a particular driver was up to the task of driving for hours on end.

And the Admiral and I were impressed with the roar of the cars (and the speed!) and even took a few peeks at the races from several vantage points around the big raceway grounds.

But we went to the track mostly to see what the fuss was all about, do some people watching, and to stop by the Hazlitt Winery tent where our amigo Brad Phillips (director of marketing for the winery) was running the show, making sure the winery's sponsorship of various events (including a concert by Gavin DeGraw) was all going smoothly.

It was, as was the wine tasting going on inside the tent with Hazlitt's and a half dozen other local wineries dispensing tastings while the cars roared on the track as occasional background noise.

Admiral and Brad with Red Cat
Admiral and Brad by the stage

Paw print of the Red Cat
One of the Hazlitt servers - with the mark of the Red Cat

Red Cat is the name of a Hazlitt wine that has taken off wildly in the past couple of years, becoming nationally known and basically absorbing Brad's life during the season. Red Cat is also the reason that we are the proud foster parents again this summer of Brad's dog Arnold. During the summer, Brad's marketing duties keep him, well, at his marketing duty station and so rather than leave Arnold at home, Arnold comes over and stays with us. Kind of like doggie day camp, except most nights he gets to stay over.

He is snoring on the couch behind me as I write this. Yes, snoring. Yes, on the couch. (Don't say it. I know!)

Before you assume we spent all afternoon in the wine tent, (we were there for awhile) we did march about the race track and shot photos of everything, a small representation is below. We also got a golf cart tour around the pit area from Scotty Welliver, a local business owner and a racer himself who was camped out for the weekend at the track. Scotty saw us wandering around lost (the race track area is huge) and after a ceremonial beer with him, he took us through the pits on the way to Hazlitt's. At Hazlitt's tent, we each had a ceremonial glass of wine to celebrate our trip. A local custom, I understand.

Pace car
One of many pace cars

Monster truck
Not your average panel truck

Not your average tow
Quick & Easy Towing Service

Hat shop
Souvenir heaven

A mini-tour, the wine tent and our amigo, Brad

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