Being a fan has its perks when your team wins national championship

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What a night in Tampa, Florida. 

As I've mentioned before, when you cover sports for a living, you rarely get to attend events as a true "fan." I flew Sunday to the Sunshine State and last night, for the first time in nearly 30 years, I saw "my" team win a championship. Having temps over single digits was a bonus. 

And how about Robert Gue, the Clemson alum who serves as James Hinchcliffe’s race strategist at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports? In a Verizon INDYCAR Mobile app story previewing his trip to the college football championship game (read it here), Gue correctly predicted the Tigers to win and the final score – exactly! That has to give Hinch confidence in Gue’s ability to make the right calls from the pit stand this season.

Time for a Rolex? Speaking of Florida, I've never done the Rolex 24 at Daytona. I'd love to attend. I'm a night owl, so the thought of watching racing and having a corn dog at 4 a.m. is right up my alley. 

Dario Franchitti will be the grand marshal of this year's Rolex 24. I heard Dario comment that such an honor is a sign of getting older. I know he was a three-time Indy 500 and four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champ, but on that thought about getting old, Dario should slow his roll – he's eight months younger than me!

A toast to Dario and Bono: Speaking of Dario, when he won his first Indy 500 in 2007, he was sent a pack of Guinness beer from Bono of U2. I could make a crack about having Guinness to celebrate making the record books, but I won't harp on it. (See what I did there?) At any rate, I'm a huge fan of U2's "Joshua Tree" and would love to catch the upcoming tour. Smart move. Stick to the classics! I hope it aligns with an INDYCAR weekend. 

Swinging for the ‘Fences’: I saw the movie "Fences" last week. I enjoyed it. It runs a little long and slow at times, but it features some amazing performances. Sometimes in movies, you watch a clip and have the thought: "This is the scene they'll use during the Academy Award introductions."  "Fences" contains those scenes for Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. 

Jones will benefit from Bourdais: How big a break did 2016 Indy Lights champion Ed Jones receive? I don't mean by landing a ride with Dale Coyne in the Verizon IndyCar Series, he earned that. To have a teammate in Sebastien Bourdais who has 35 wins and four Indy car championships? That's a huge resource for a young man who has already shown plenty of ability. 

I enjoyed taking in St. Petersburg (Bourdais' hometown, by the way) this week on a non-race weekend. It's exciting to think I'll be back in just over two months to kick off another year of INDYCAR racing. Who's with me?! 

Veteran broadcaster Jake Query is a member of the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network team and will offer his musings Tuesdays on IndyCar.com.

From the fans