GRAND-AM sports car racing...and McDreamy too

Laura Keeley, a columnist for The Chronicle's opinion pages, had the chance to travel to Alton, Va. for the Bosch Engineering 250, a race on the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal. Charlie Lee, The Chronicle's design editor, also made the trip last Saturday and brought a camera to photo document the experience.

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What do you think of when you hear the words "sports car racing?" Well, if you are like me, you think of NASCAR and the redneck festival that is a NASCAR race (never been to one? You are missing out on a true life experience, my friend). So when the sports editor, Gabe Starosta, pitched the idea of someone going to this race last Saturday and writing a column about it, I jumped at the chance. As Charlie and I navigated down one-lane backroads the entire trip, I was fully expecting GRAND-AM racing to be NASCAR's similarly appearing younger cousin, or something like that.

Boy was I wrong.

Instead of an endless field of RVs and pick up trucks full of beer-bellied men drinking cheap beer, we saw rows after rows of ridiculously nice sports cars - BMWs, Porsches, Corvettes, Mustangs and more - with men in polo shirts drinking imported beers as their wives held their cute expensive designer lap dogs. Needless to say, my initially expected stereotype was shattered quickly.

Oh yeah, and I met Patrick Dempsey, aka Dr. McDreamy on Grey's Anatomy, because he is a driver on the series. Gabe failed to mention that in the pitch. No big deal.

Below are some of the pictures Charlie snapped throughout the day. To get the full story of what exactly GRAND-AM racing is  (and to hear about what Patrick Dempsey and I chatted about!), tune in tomorrow night when I post the full story. You won't want to miss it.

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No large grandstands here. In fact, you can't see the entire 3.27 mile track from any one vantage point.

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Charlie and I decided this was "country club racing."

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Shots like these only furthered that notion.

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A certain Dr. McDreamy's car...

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