2015 Buxton’s BIG TIME Bash Presented by The Austin Grand Prix

2015 Buxton’s BIG TIME Bash Presented by The Austin Grand Prix

2015 Buxton’s BIG TIME Bash Presented by The Austin Grand Prix

October 22, 2015 // The Rattle Inn

For the fourth consecutive year, Formula 1 fans came out in droves to experience a kick off to the grand prix weekend like no other: Buxton’s BIG TIME Bash Presented by The Austin Grand Prix. For a suggested donation of $10-20 at the door of The Rattle Inn, guests’ generosity surpassed our hopes yet again, with $25,511 raised throughout the evening and private donations taking the total to well over $40,000, with the money being split between Meals on Wheels and More of Austin and the Justin Wilson’s Children’s Fund. Both charities were elated with the generosity! The four-year total donation to Meals on Wheels and More, which serves home-bound seniors across Austin with daily nutritional meals, now totals over $60,000 from the Bash!

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.

Buxton's BIG TIME Bash Again an Epic Night for Austin

Buxton's BIG TIME Bash Again an Epic Night for Austin

Thursday night in Austin, Texas, proved to be more magical than any of us could have ever imagined.

Fans started lining up outside of Brazos Hall around 4:00PM to ensure they could get inside for the Third Annual Buxton’s BIG TIME Bash presented by The Austin Grand Prix with Will Buxton, Formula 1 seasoned journalist and Pit Lane Reporter for NBC and NBCSN, as our gracious and entertaining host. Following the format for the past two years, local non-profit Meals on Wheels took up a suggested $5 donation at the door, with a number of guests generously giving even more.

After a short history of how we first connected with Will over the Austin race at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix, Will took to the stage, welcoming the crowd to a jam-packed evening of surprises and entertainment. But first, we all took a moment to pause for injured Marussia Formula 1 Team driver Jules Bianchi, who remains in all of our thoughts and best wishes for his speedy, full recovery.

First to join Will on stage was his entire NBCSN Formula 1 Crew: Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs, and Steve Matchett. If you think this group is entertaining on TV, when they get together in person, their energy just multiplies. Cracking jokes, sharing stories, and taking digs at each other gave the guests a unique opportunity to get a little closer to their favorite American Formula 1 presenters.

Will then welcomed Matt Bennet, director of Road To: Mercedes, to introduce the show before its world premiere at Brazos Hall. It was amazing to hear about the behind the scenes work and passion that went into the show first hand before airing it.

The premiere of Road to: Mercedes was a huge hit with the crowd. The show highlighted some of the most storied and revered history of the Mercedes-Benz legacy. Will and his producer, Jason Swales, traveled far from their UK homes to Affalterbach, home of Mercedes AMG, and along the ride documented the deep passion and intricate sporting history of the legendary car manufacturer. To the satisfactory applause of the crowd, Will thanked the guests for their support of Road To: Mercedes and then introduced his NBCSN team that made it possible: Ron Wechsler, Blair Soden, and Jason. Similarly to Will’s on-air F1 presenters, guests appreciated hearing about what makes the team work so well together, as they shared stories on stage before tossing a bunch of NBCSN gear into the audience. The premiere of Road To: Mercedes offered guests of Buxton's BIG TIME Bash a rare chance to preview the show before it aired on NBCSN that night, which proved to be a proud moment for Will and Jason and the entire production crew, who were delighted to join in the fun and share it with guests at Brazos Hall.

Next on stage was Caterham F1 Team driver Marcus Ericsson, the Swedish driver who would later be announced over USGP weekend as a 2015 Sauber F1 Team driver. Marcus and Will shared insight into the Formula 1 Paddock before welcoming American Formula 1 reserve driver Alexander Rossi to the stage. Alexander again vocalized his gratitude for the out pour of American Formula 1 fan support. Alexander has been in Austin since Wednesday’s Fans’ Forum, meeting with fans, posing for photos, autographing memorabilia, and getting a nice chunk of air time. One thing that is clear, Alexander is incredibly passionate about making Formula 1 more accessible for the fans and making it a hit in the United States. But it wasn’t just Formula 1 personalities in attendance: Italian IndyCar driver Luca Filippi hopped up on stage next with Will to share personal stories, which was another treat, as any of Will’s followers know that he is a big supporter of the IndyCar series.

Throughout the evening, Will and his special guests handed out dozens of unique door prizes, including Formula 1 driver-autographed hats (including a couple made especially for cowboys), shirts, racing gloves, jackets, posters, a Pirelli book, an Alpinestars kit, Felipe Massa’s left mirror from his Williams Martini Racing car drive in Monza, a Pirelli T-shirt signed by Max Verstappen as the first autographed item he signed after being announced as the 2015 Toro Rosso driver, a TW Steel Watch, and a number of driver-autographed, professional F1 photographs donated by American motorsports photojournalist Jamey Price. To add to our amazement, the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team had three "2014 World Champion P1" signs from their 2014 Russian Grand Prix win signed by drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to give out to three lucky guests. These three signs were signed immediately after the Mercedes AMG Petronas Team won their first ever World Constructors' Championship last month in Russia, and are also priceless mementos of the epic 2014 season.

A huge thank you is due to all of the Formula 1 teams, drivers, sponsors, and friends who donated priceless prizes that the winning guests will treasure forever: Mercedes AMG Petronas, Scuderia Ferrari, Infiniti Red Bull Racing, McLaren Formula 1 team, Lotus F1 Team, Williams Martini Racing, Sahara Force India, Pirelli, TW Steel, Alpinestars, “Lines” by Graham and Leigh, Jamey Price, and NBCSN.

But before the night was over, Will received a call on his mobile phone from the living legend Mario Andretti. Mario was finishing up dinner in a nearby restaurant and wanted to stop by Buxton’s BIG TIME Bash to say hello to the crowd and show his support for the fundraising initiatives for local non-profit Meals on Wheels. We later learned that Mario knows firsthand what a vital difference Meals on Wheels makes to home bound individuals in need, as he has delivered meals himself in New York.

Will was beside himself after speaking with Mario and shared the news with guests. When Mario took to the stage, Will bowed down to the Legend on stage, quipping “We’re not worthy!” to the roar of the crowd as hundreds of cameras flashed to capture the surreal moment on camera. Mario and Will were electric on stage, again sharing intimate stories of past experiences and a number of jokes with the crowd. It is still hard to believe Mario Andretti and all of our special guests took the time out of their busy USGP weekend to join us at Brazos Hall to raise money for Meals on Wheels.

The final door prize looked to be ready to go home with a winning guest: a 3D display of Circuit of The Americas enclosed in a shadow box and autographed by Mario himself. But Will had something else in mind, as he called us back to the stage for an amazing surprise. Will presented us with a check made out to Meals on Wheels in the amount of One Thousand Dollars from Ross Garber, who generously matched the door donations taken last year to help increase our 2013 donation to Meals on Wheels to $13,000+. This year, Ross Garber, Ferrari Challenge driver #66 for Ferrari of San Francisco, rallied support throughout the Ferrari Challenge paddock and raised a whopping $19,000 with Mark McKenzie, James Weilland, Chris Ruud, the Garber Family Foundation, Darren Crystal, and MG1 Motorsports donating! The 3D carving of Circuit of The Americas will be presented to Ross Garber as a small token of our gratitude and amazement at his support of Buxton’s BIG TIME Bash and making a huge impact with the local Austin community.

We are incredibly pleased to announce that at time of publication, the donation to Meals on Wheels totals $23,547.35, however that may well increase as a number of people have told Will that they want to donate to the amazing cause as well. You can continue to donate at the Meals on Wheels website at: https://mowam.secure.force.com/donate (please choose "In celebration of" Will Buxton, Austin Grand Prix, or Buxton's BIG TIME Bash so we can add your donation in our tally!).

Will recapped the night in shock:

The Bash continues to grow year on year and I’m so delighted that our third annual event proved to be such a huge success.

I want to thank Kerri Olsen and Kevin Olsen for putting it all together, and Brazos Hall for giving their venue for the night and allowing the money raised to go directly to charity. The support and donations from the F1 teams, Pirelli and our good friends TWSTEEL, Graham and Leigh, Alpinestars and Jamey Price ensured an incredible array of wonderful prizes were handed out.

I’m so glad that Matt Bennett was able to be present to introduce the world premiere of Road To Mercedes, and that is was so well received. I’m indebted to my NBCSN colleagues, and to Marcus, Alexander and Luca for giving their time. And I am truly humbled and frankly gob smacked that Mario turned up to wow the crowd with his personal and hilarious stories.

Ross Garber is one of the most wonderful and caring people I’ve met since F1 started coming to Austin. Racing in the Ferrari Challenge this weekend, he nevertheless took the time to round up his rivals and friends and deliver the most incredible donation to the event. Words cannot express my gratitude to him, and to the Ferrari paddock.

And finally, I want to thank the fans who came out. Without them, we have no event and no sport. I’m so happy everyone enjoyed themselves and that they were generous enough to see our total donation for the event reach just under $25,000.

Thank you for making this event a raging success for the Austin community. It wouldn’t be possible without the energy and support of Will Buxton, who graciously gives this his all to make it a huge evening. We especially want to thank Brazos Hall for donating the amazing venue and last but not least, our family and friends who volunteer their time to make sure the event goes off without a hitch. Thank you for your generosity and support, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds and we hope you will be a part of future memories.

// Visit the Gallery to see more photos from #BBBash 2014


Mario Andretti Speaks about the future of Formula 1

Mario Andretti Speaks about the future of Formula 1

Early Saturday morning, Formula 1 World Champion Mario Andretti sat down with a small panel of journalist to discuss the state of Formula 1, the future of American drivers and the addition of an American team in 2016.

Friday at the 2014 USGP

Friday at the 2014 USGP

Thursday at the 2014 USGP

Thursday at the 2014 USGP