The Excellent Adventures of Deep Throttle
Rochester, N.Y., April 19 — The current Deep Throttle staff that covers racing has been around awhile. Angelo and myself cover the races in the East while Jeff, Lisa, and Julie have done an excellent job covering the Western races. Though, some of the left coast folks have ventured as far eastward as Wisconsin, both Milwaukee and Road America, in all the years the two regional staffs have never met.
An honest to goodness M&M souvenir poker chip. We weren't the only ones who thought they were doomed. (Photos by .)
This year, we aimed to change that. Thus, the two of us from the Empire State planned on taking a trip to the first two races of the year. The planning didn't go very smoothly. For various reasons, I didn't make the reservations till a bit late in the game, thus costing us a few more bucks as well as more headaches for the trip. Over the course of the weeks leading up to the races, various items, including the concern that we would see barely a dozen cars in Vegas if we were luck, conspired against us, prompting Angelo to start the mantra that we were doomed.
As the weather looked to turn bad in Western New York, it did appear we were doomed. Then, the morning of our flight, I awoke to snow covered ground. We were picking up our initial flight from Buffalo instead of Rochester, thus making the conditions on the NYS Thruway a concern. I immediately called Angelo at work and left the message, "Omigod, look at it snowing. We're doomed! WE'RE DOOMED!!"
The Plaza Hotel, our home base in Las Vegas.
We did indeed make it to Buffalo. While that flight was delayed, our connection in Cleveland was similarly delayed and then it needed to be de-iced, so we did make it to Las Vegas, albeit a bit late. By the time we got our luggage, took the shuttle to our hotel, The Plaza, and got to bed, it was 1:30 in the morning local time, which was 4:30 A.M. for us.
However, we slept well and were rearing to go Friday morning. In the press center, we met the southern Californians for the first time. We gave each other warm hugs. The Deep Throttle gang was finally all together in one place.
Best of all, we got along wonderfully. We always felt our personalities would mesh well. After all, to work for our site, you have to be a bit off beat to begin with. We pride ourselves on not being the norm in Champ Car coverage, and as Robin Miller said, we do have some fun.
Russell enjoys the fruits of freedom.
The Las Vegas weekend went well until the very end when it looked like we would once again be doomed. Security Chief Honcho and Homeland Security wannabe Scott Dennison decided during the very last race action at the very end of the weekend that there may be terrorists walking along trackside with credentials that actually say "Trackside Access." Thus, he threatened me with arrest, removal of my trackside access credentials for the sin of actually accessing trackside, and probably a picture of me in compromising positions with a snarling dog hovering over me.
Luckily, I didn't need one of the many, many bail bond facilities that seemingly appear on every street corner in Las Vegas. Thus, with my freedom secured, Angelo and I were able to enjoy Sin City for a few days while Jeff, Julie, and Lisa headed home on Monday.
Just one of the many shameless items in full display in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is a fascinating town. This adult playground has no shame in having a strip joint right next to a souvenir stand right next to a casino right next to an eatery right next to who knows what. Granted, Downtown is a bit cruder than the Strip, but as the old saying goes, you can dress it up as nicely as you can, but it doesn't hide the true nature of the beast. Or, something like that...
Being that we explored Downtown enough over the weekend, it was time to check out the Strip. Glittery is an understatement. The last time I was in Las Vegas, they were building New York, New York. So, it's been awhile. With many more casinos and a slew of new stores, the whole Strip is literally bursting at the seams. Las Vegas Boulevard is jammed packed with traffic. It took the bus an entire hour to go from Downtown to the far edge of the Strip. We walked almost the entire length of the Strip hopping into almost every casino along the way.
Famous landmarks of New York City including the Statue of Liberty are condensed together at the New York, New York casino and hotel.
For me personally, New York, New York took the cake. What an amazing place. It really gave you the look and feel of the greatest city in the world. From the outside, it had the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, FDNY tug boats, to name a few. It's the inside, however, that really blows you away. Cobblestone floors, recreated downsized streetscapes authentic all the way down to the balconies and fire escapes, the theater with the Radio City Music Hall facade. Then, there were the "neighborhoods" -- Little Italy with nice Italian restaurants, Irish pubs, a Kosher Deli, etc. Overall, it was my favorite.
The Wynn Las Vegas is beautiful on the outside and inside.
That's not to say that Caesars Palace still isn't one of the best. Paris was also extraordinary. Then there is the Wynn, by far the ritziest casino of them all which included a Ferrari and Maserati dealership (unfortunately owned by Penske) that you have to pay to get into if you are not a guest. Speaking of guests, none of them wore clothes like you and I do.
All this money poured into these casinos brings up one obvious fact about Las Vegas. The house always wins. Always! Anybody who actually thinks they can break the casino should take one hard look at how much it costs to build one of these places, and then think again.
A proper Deep Throttle review would not be complete without a mention of the cocktail waitresses. Las Vegas is the only place in the world where Hooters Girls can be outdone. Oh, they certainly came in a close second, but the Venetian took the top prize. Following closely behind were Hooters, Imperial Palace, and Caesars Palace.
So, we survived Las Vegas and headed to Los Angeles via Greyhound on Wednesday were we were going to once again hook up with the West Coast gang. In fact, we stayed at Jeff and Lisa's place.
The buildings of the Nethercutt Collection are as impressive as the collection itself.
Thursday, Jeff was kind enough to bring us to the Nethercutt Collection. If you have an opportunity to check it out, do so. Best of all, it's free. And, don't forget to reserve a spot in the guided tour of the building across from the car collection. It's a fascinating place.
With the four of us under one roof for the entire weekend, this was really going to be a test of our friendship. Once again, we survived each other. Quite frankly, the only thing that nearly doomed us was the inability to breath for long periods of time because we were laughing so much.
As the weekend progressed, weather reports coming from the East were dismal. Words like "historic April snowstorm" made us wonder if we were going to make it home. When I heard that Rochester could potentially get 1-2 feet of snow, I once again told Angelo, "We're DOOMED!" When I heard that many travelers were stranded in LaGuardia Airport sleeping on the floor, I felt for sure we were doomed.
After an easy flight from Los Angeles to Denver, our plane from the Mile High City to LaGuardia developed a "problem" just as it left the gate. The pilot didn't like a message he saw, so he shut the plane down and restarted it. Then, when three error messages appeared, he rebooted it again. I kid you not. What is this, a Microsoft system? It did finally clear itself, and we made it to NYC.
Amazingly enough, our flight to Rochester was on, though a bit delayed, which was a good thing as we got to the gate barely in time. There was snow in the Flower City when we landed, but the temperatures stayed warm enough for enough rain to be mixed in preventing any significant accumulation.
When I entered my house, I discovered the furnace was broken. Once again, it appeared I was doomed.
Perhaps our trip was very much like Champ Car and it's repeated pattern of offseason woes. Every year, it appears that Champ Car is doomed. And, every year, they always somehow find a way to answer the bell with enough cars, neat tracks, and great racing. Granted, there are still issues with the series, and we will continue to point them out.
Yet, just like it first appeared our trip was doomed many times over, in the end, the trip was a complete success despite some bumps along the way. We had a great time just like Champ Car, despite some bumps along the way, is always able to present a great series.
Copyright © 2007 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.