I’m all apologies lately. I feel like I’m continually apologizing to you guys about being late and I hate that. I can say, with complete confidence, that I’m not going to be late anymore and I’ll be back on track posting stuff from here on out.

Auto Club Speedway, March 2012I despise the fact that it’s taken me this long to write about Fontana, which leads me to explain why that weekend was so important to me. I’ve been going through multiple transitions lately all of which left me feeling completely overwhelmed in the truest sense of the word. I’ve never felt that before. Have you ever felt like there’s so much going on, whether it’s multiple jobs, obligations or just not wanting to let people down, and there’s just not enough time in the day to get to everything and everyone and you feel like you’re going to break? Well that’s how I felt. I felt that if something didn’t give, I was going to crumble.

I knew that I HAD to go to Fontana because 1) I hadn’t been to any of the races I’d planned on attending up ’til that point and 2) I needed a moment to pause and not really think about anything in particular.

I also needed a reminder of why I love my blog so much and why I love NASCAR so much.

I planned on meeting up with my race weekend friend Heather, a mom & wife from the O.C. who’s a Kasey Kahne fan (I’m sure you remember our shenanigans from last year), who also really needed some time away from real life.

Her best friend died the week before during childbirth. I couldn’t fathom losing a friend like that and my heart absolutely broke for her. I would have totally understood if she didn’t want to go to the race, but she still wanted to because she needed an escape from the sadness and the chance to recharge.

NASCAR gave that to us. While my personal turmoil was far different than Heather’s we both got the chance to smile, laugh and put all our worries away while we ogled hot actors and took photos of race cars.

So let’s get to it. I arrived at the track at the ridiculously early time of like 7am. I wanted to put my laptop down in the press box so I could take a conference call I had at 10am for my day job. Once I was done with that I went out to the garage to meet up with Heather and her friend, Katie. It was just about time for the first Sprint Cup Series practice so most of the cars were out of their garages and in line ready to go out. Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer were hanging out with their crew guys next to their cars.


Clint Bowyer

Heather also served as my offfical photographer for the weekend, so I have a ton more photos than normal. Thank you Heather for the awesome shots! Like this one of Clint Bowyer checking his cell phone.

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin (right) chats with Nationwide Series driver & Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brian Scott before the start of the first Sprint Cup Series practice session at Auto Club Speedway on Friday, March 23, 2012.

Scott Speed

Scott Speed gives the thumbs up!

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya and The "Juan-tourage" :)

Kasey Kahne

Kasey Kahne


We wandered around taking photos and chatting. Later that evening after qualifying the DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Challenge was to take place. This meant seeing various “celebrities” wandering around the garage all day. I use quotes because some of the celebrities were barely famous. I saw Bruce Jenner and I had to do a double-take because I wasn’t sure if it was him or someone’s mom.

Dear Bruce Jenner,

Knock it off with the plastic surgery, the diamond earrings and the soccer mom haircut. It’s not a good look.

Sincerely,
Everyone

Other celebrities included Hank Baskett, a professional football player. He’s married to Kendra Wilkinson, a woman who once dated Hugh Hefner and posed nude in Playboy. They have a reality show together called “Kendra.” That’s literally the extent of his fame. We asked him where Kendra was and he said she was in New York. I would have rather seen her even though she’s not really a celebrity either.


bruce jenner - hank baskett

Bruce Jenner (left) listens as Greg Biffle speaks to his team for the DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Challenge at Auto Club Speedway

Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, speaks with Carl Edwards

Travis Pastrana. Giving the thumbs up is a popular thing to do.

Actor Geoff Stults (left) speaks with pro football player Hank Baskett. Both participated in the DRIVE4COPD Celebrtiy Challenge.


We went over to the No. 14 hauler for Tony Stewart’s press conference. I just wanted to get a photo, since the questions I would love to ask wouldn’t be appropriate in that setting “Why haven’t you found your soulmate yet, Tony?” (ha!), and I got a great one with my iPhone and the Instagram app. I am officially obsessed with Instagram. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s just like Twitpic or Yfrog in that it lets you Tweet photos and add them to your fave social networking sites, but it also lets you add filers & borders to your images to make them look supercool.


Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart is so cool thanks to Instagram


Right after Tony’s sesh, Carl Edwards showed up and held court in front of his hauler next door. He chatted with the celebrities participating in the race that night and gave them tips. At least that’s what I’m guessing he did, I was too busy wondering who this tall, super cute guy was that was with the group. We knew he was an actor but had no idea what his name was.

So Heather said I should go ask the guy that was ferrying him around the track who he was and I found out that his name was Geoff Stultz and was in the new FOX show “The Finder” (a spinoff of “Bones”). That really didn’t help me much ’cause I still couldn’t figure out what I’d seen him in. We wanted to get a photo of him, so we stopped him and asked if we could take his picture. He obliged and I then began speaking to him. I asked him what the last movie he was in and reassured him that we all thought he was a great actor even though we couldn’t remember him. Turns out he was that douchey guy in “She’s Out of My League” and the groom in “Wedding Crashers.” He’s in the new movie “Life Happens” with Krysten Ritter and I’m telling you way too much stuff that’s totally irrelevant right now.


Geoff Stults

This is me awkwardly speaking to Geoff Stults.

Geoff Stults

But apparently I did make him smile. Yay! :)


The bottom line is that he’s adorable and tall and looks EXACTLY the same as he does in photos and on screen (big or little). That surprised me because usually when you see an actor in person they’re always shorter.

Anyway, when qualifying rolled around Heather & Katie had to go home but I stuck around for qualifying. It was pretty uneventful outside of the usual qualifying action.


Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick

Joey Logano

Joey Logano

Kyle Busch, Joey Logano

The Joe Gibbs Racing guys argue about who owes who $100 because Denny Hamlin took the pole at Auto Club Speedway


I toyed with the idea of staying for the DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Challenge for, like, 5 seconds and then decided to head to Panera for dinner. I’m a regular there, I just love their chicken noodle soup (only 120 calories in a bowl!). I got in line and realized that the guy ahead of me was Scott Speed. He was there by himself and he ordered his food to eat there. Ya know, in reading that last line I’m super nosey, but it’s not like I was straining to hear or something. I got my food to go and went back to the hotel.

Coming up: Day 2 at Fontana! :)