Doors opened at 7:00pm to a queued-up crowd stretching around three city blocks. After they entered and graciously donated at the door, guests went to the rooftop deck, where Bash host Will Buxton and NBC Producer, Jason Swales, were standing to welcome guests to the venue and thank them for coming.
Promptly at 7:30pm, event producer and Austin resident Kerri Olsen took to the stage to thank everyone for coming to the Bash before welcoming Buxton to the stage, complete with applause and cheers from the excited and lively crowd.
As always, the night kicked off with the NBC Sports broadcast team of Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs, and Steve Matchett joining host and colleague Will Buxton on stage. But new this year, the NBC show Off The Grid, which showcases the international cities hosting Formula 1 racing, visited Austin and filmed at the Bash! The show’s Producer, Blair Soden, is really pleased with the Austin episode and thinks it really showcases all of the awesomeness that Austin has to offer. It also showcases how much the people in the Formula 1 racing community love coming to Austin, Texas! Off The Grid: Austin premieres at 10:00pm CT Thursday, November 12, 2015 on NBCSN. The Austin Community is invited to join The Austin Grand Prix back at The Rattle Inn from 8:30-10:30pm Thursday evening to watch the premiere of the show with motorsport fans. This event is free and open to the public. Off The Grid: Austin will re-air on NBCSN Friday, November 13 at 11:30AM CT and Sunday, November 15 at7:30AM CT.
Back at the Bash, Williams Martini Racing’s Felipe Massa delighted the crowd, talking at length about his Formula 1 career and answering some tough questions from the crowd on his F1 rivalries with great humor.
Current Scuderia Ferrari reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez almost let slip his signing for the new Haas F1 team just days before the official announcement, with Williams Racing’s reserve driver Alex Lynn joining the fun and ribbing the Mexican over the “worst kept secret in F1.”
Alexander Rossi of Manor F1 Team took to the stage with enough applause and chanting to blow the roof off of The Rattle Inn! The American racer has taken to the stage at every Bash, and his continued support of the event over what was the busiest and biggest weekend of his racing career was hugely appreciated.
GP2 veterans and current IndyCar drivers Conor Daly and Luca Filippi rounded out the evening with tremendous stories of the US racing exploits.
Artist Paul Oz donated an original oil painting (numbered 6/100) of Aytron Senna piloting his Lotus 97T from the 1985 Formula 1 season. The piece brought in $3,000 for the charities by silent auction winner Paul Mulligan.
American Formula 1 driver Alexander Rossi signed a rear wing of his Manor F1 Team car before donating it as a door prize for the Bash. A member of the Austin media first won the piece, then graciously returned his raffle ticket to Buxton and asked him to re-draw a new winner from the guests’ tickets. Dennis Collins was elated to jump on stage and receive the piece from Buxton.
Jonathan Haggar won Graham & Leigh’s framed 3D laser cut model of the 2015 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix race track, the Circuit of The Americas.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, fresh off the heels of sealing the 2015 Constructors’ Championship in Russia, added to the festivities of the evening. Similarly to the 2014 Bash, Mercedes donated two 2015 World Championship jerseys signed by both Mercedes teammates, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, which guests Adam Hauser and Mark Jarvis each took home. A Mercedes hat signed by Hamilton went to Justin Reschke, and Tina Standard took home a Mercedes hat signed by Rosberg. Wave Robinson and Jess Gibbons each took home signed prints from Hamilton piloting his Mercedes in past races.
In addition to Massa and Lynn joining Buxton on stage at the beginning of the night, Williams Martini Racing donated a number of prizes for the evening, including a Massa signed racing glove, a Valtteri Bottas signed racing glove, and two signed team hats (Bryan Simons, Oscar Perez, Bryan Lamm, and Mikael Hatch took each item home, respectively). A couple lucky guests took home two pairs of Williams Martini Racing sunglasses at the end of the event.
After Scuderia Ferrari reserve driver Gutierrez joined Massa and Buxton on stage, one of his past racing jerseys, as well as a Sebastian Vettel and a Kimi Raikkonen signed racing jersey, went to raffle winners Eric Weiss, Jen Rassler, and Ty Pryor, respectively.
Daniil ‘Dany’ Kvyat of Infiniti Red Bull Racing donated a number of prizes to the Bash: Alen Moffitt took home his signed racing balaclava, Michael Abel won his signed racing jersey, and Sam Wells won his signed Red Bull hat.
Fernando Alonso of McLaren Honda donated a signed print, as did teammate Jenson Button (complete with certificates of authenticity by the team); Jeff Stamp and Troy Yoshinga, respectively, took each home. Having just celebrated his 250th Grand Prix at the preceding race in Sochi, guest Heather Atteberry received one of Alonso’s celebratory ‘250th Grand Prix’ bandanas, which the team distributed in the Paddock in Russia. McLaren Honda also donated hats signed by both drivers, and Kristelyn Kalchthaler took one of them home (the other winner was mistakenly unrecorded).
Sergio Perez of Sahara Force India F1 Team donated two signed racing gloves, which Brandon Fruzia and Jared Johnson each won as a door prize.
Both of the Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers donated signed team hats; Tim Blanck took home the hat signed by Max Verstappen and Maria Gaviria won the Carlos Sainz signed hat. A few Scurderia Toro Rosso team lanyards were also handed out to the crowd at the end of the event.
American Photojournalist Jamey Price donated a number of original prints to the Bash, with the majority of them signed by drivers (winners in parentheses): Alexander Rossi (Logan Riekenberg); one of Nico Hulkenberg piloting his Sahara Force India car (Damian Samuel) and another with Hulkenberg behind the wheel of his Porsche as he won this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans (Rattle Inn employee Mike); and Sergio Perez racing in his Sahara Force India car (Chris Grew). Other prints included close up detail of the nose of the Scuderia Ferrari car (Mark Christman), track action of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing car on track (Chris Richardson), and a photo of the Scuderia Ferrari race car next to a vintage Ferrari racecar (Lynn Ortega).
The staff at The Rattle Inn were bar none: they worked tirelessly to welcome guests to the event and shared in their enthusiasm for the night’s festivities. We’ve received numerous compliments about how professional, upbeat, friendly, and helpful the entire staff was throughout the night, a reflection of the incredible management team behind them. We’d like to thank Ashley Copeland for her ongoing attention to detail and leadership at The Rattle Inn; without her help the Bash would not have happened! We hope our guests will return to The Rattle Inn and take advantage of their massive rooftop deck that overlooks downtown Austin or enjoy live music downstairs at Ray’s Backstage, a live music and entertainment area decorated with Ray Benson’s (front man of the Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel) personal collection of pictures, mementoes, records and concert memorabilia throughout the room.
We’d also like to thank Collin Hardeman of Amaz1n Entertainment Productions and his fabulous crew of photo- and videographers for taking time out of their jam-packed racing weekend festivities to shoot at our event! Amaz1n specializes in media coverage of small, medium, and large-scale events; check out their website at Amaz1n.tv and they're on Facebook and Instagram. We’ll continue to share images from the Bash on The Austin Grand Prix website and social media channels (@AustinGrandPrix on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram).
For the fourth year, Buxton’s BIG TIME Bash was organized and co-produced by Austin resident Kerri Olsen, who started the website, www.TheAustinGrandPrix.com, with her brother Kevin Olsen in 2010. Since Formula 1 management announced plans to build the first purpose-built race track in the United States just outside of Austin, the sister and brother team focused on building a reputable, independent platform to educate and engage local and international F1 fans. Buxton’s BIG TIME Bash is an annual culmination of their efforts over the past five years. Their focus remains in creating inclusive, fan-focused events that also benefit the Austin community.
The annual Bash wouldn’t be possible without the tireless work and support of Will Buxton. Will’s dedication to the sport of Formula 1 racing, paired with his passion for motorsports in America, are exemplified in the energy he brings to stage and generosity in staying to the very end of the night to meet, talk, and take photographs with fans. On one of the busiest weekends as a Formula 1 broadcast journalist, he genuinely looks forward to sharing the night with fans and allowing them to get up close and personal with the sport of Formula 1. Thank you, Will!
We cannot possibly express enough gratitude to everyone that gives their time, donations, and support to the annual Bash. We look forward to welcoming everyone back for year five for what’s slated to be an even bigger and better Bash for Formula 1 racing fans joining us in Austin!
If you would like to donate to Meals on Wheels and More throughout the year, you can do so at this dedicated link: https://mowam.secure.force.com/donate/F1Helps.