The big news in Austin this week is the first F1 race on the newly-built track, Circuit of the Americas, out near the airport. It’s the only F1 track in the United States. Over 150,000 visitors are in town this weekend for the big event, with practice events on Friday and Saturday and then the real races on Sunday.

When I arrived at work on Friday I had no idea I’d be attending the event, let alone sitting in a VIP hospitality suite. But after a couple other higher-ups turned down the free tickets from a vendor, I was among those who jumped at the opportunity to use them and skip work for a day.

Seth, Douwe, Walt, and I were in the suite at Turn 20A, with a free open bar and buffet along with great views of the final turn on the track for the practice rounds. We assumed we wouldn’t really need earplugs but after the first two minutes my ears physically hurt and I had to put them in. After two hours of the F1 cars, the Ferraris took the track.

The race itself was only mildly interesting to me and the others, but it was still a cool experience and believe you me, we took full advantage of that open bar.