Shifting Through The Muses

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Location: Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

Saturday, September 30, 2006

...And On Friday We Had...

There were way, way too many people here on Friday. Way too many.

This was driven home during the mandatory Driver Autograph session that was taking place on the main paddock.

The lines were OMG way too fucking long, and there was no way I could stand in one place for very long.

Walking, I can do. Standing in one place, no.

I did get to see David and Boris during this as their lines weren't all that long in comparison to the lines for Corvette Racing, or Audi, or *sob* Aston Martin. Yeah, this year, Aston Martin Racing had a hell of a long line for people to talk to the drivers and get things signed. So, alas, I did not get the chance to speak to Darren Turner or Tomas Inge like I wanted to. That's okay, though. I'm sure I'll catch up with them again before the weekend is over. While I am happy that they are enjoying an increase in popularity, I do miss the ease of interacting with them like I did last year.

Want to know something great about having Media credentials? Access. Within reason, I can go anywhere I want here at Road Atlanta and talk to almost anyone I wish to. I don't get access to the private Hospitality areas, but that's okay with me. I can get close to the track where most people cannot to take pictures. I cannot go into a pit area during a race or a practice because I don't have a firesuit, but I can pretty much access anywhere else on the property.

Which makes talking to crew members and drivers of my teams much easier. My badge designates me as media and allows me to go into the garage areas and take images if I wish to. However, I had interesting words with another photographer yesterday. I stood at the entrance of the Aston tent and was taking pictures from the outside. I was waiting to get the attention of one of the crew members to ask permission to come into their area and shoot some images. The other photographer looked at me and then gave me a helpful smile.

"Just go on in," he said. "Your badge gives you that permission."

Okay, but no. That's not how I do things. Why? Because, if you show the team members that no matter what your credentials say, you respect their space and what they're doing, you end up getting better access --- and great conversations with them.

Most of the media here just wander right in. I do not. Ace does not. There are a handful of others who do not. Petit LeMans is a big race for the American LeMans Series. Getting your cars set up for this race is a big thing and there is a lot of work for the teams to do this weekend for this race. They appreciate it if you don't get in their way --- especially when it gets down to crunch time. I'd rather ask for their permission to come in and shoot images than take a chance of getting in their way or ostracizing an entire team. they appreciate the courtesy and I usually get more information and extra access when I use common courtesy and politeness.

There are worse things in this world than to be remembered as someone who is overly considerate and very polite.

Point in fact... among the excitement of yesterday, I happened to catch sight of an old friend of ours... Tracy Krohn. Some of you who were reading me back then may recall that I met Tracy when he was a co-owner of the Krohn-Barbour Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT team for 2004 --- right before Lamborghini screwed them over. Anyway, I saw him and went to speak to him and was immediately given a hug. He remembered me and asked about Ace and what we were doing now.

I highly doubt that I would have received such a warm greeting or be remembered so fondly by him if I had been less considerate and respectful of their space during a stressful time at Petit Lemans 2004.

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