Last weekend Reliant Park was transformed into a temporary 1.7 mile race track to host the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers. Let me first begin my complaint with the heat that Houston beams down on us. I have lived in Houston for most of my 27 years of existence, yet my body refuses to accept/adjust to the violent rays of the sun. I grabbed a handful of bottled water, my quick-wicking golf polo, my 30 lbs backpack filled with camera gear I probably didn’t even need, and walked though the infernal gates of the Grand Prix of Houston to endure another summer event.
After taking a quick stroll through the section that had a group of tents occupied by sponsors marketing their products, I decided to search for the media center that was rumored to have catered BBQ for the press. If you know me, you know the relationship I have with food. After a few half-assed directions from people (maybe I was just delusional from the heat) I assumed were working there, I found the almighty media center. I must admit, the Grand Prix of Houston sure knows how to take care of their media- air conditioning, reliable Wi-Fi, cold drinks, and food. I was in media heaven. We took a moment to get our camera gear, mind, and bodies ready to head out to the Indy races. This year they seemed a little more strict on the areas a photographer can actually go, so we weren’t really able to get the shots we were hoping for. I guess the crash with Dario Franchitti last year was the cause of the tightened security. Danger is a photographer’s middle name, but rules are rules.
Let me stop being Vic for a second and be Frank. What happened to the GT class races from last year? No more Audi, Cadillac, and Porsche screaming down the straightaways? In all honesty, that was the biggest selling point for me every year the Grand Prix has been hosted in Houston. Indy races are OK I guess, but I like seeing street cars turned into freaking space shuttles. There was a lot of empty spaces in and around the event that once was filled with super cars. Not only did I get sunburned, dehydrated, and mourn the loss of Mexico vs Netherlands game, I didn’t get to see GT cars!! Like a kid that had his ice cream fall off his waffle cone and splatter all over the hard concrete floor, I was moping around the rest of the day.
All-in-all, the event was a bit lackluster in the entertainment region as far as variety in race classes and displays in the reliant arena, but the Miss GP Pageant partially made up for that. Hopefully they bring back the GT class next year so I can forgive the absence of them.