I woke up ridiculously early Wednesday morning to catch my 6am flight to Las Vegas. I received media credentials to attend the 2011 Motorsports Marketing Forum presented by Sports Business Journal/Daily. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get see the entire program for that day, but I wanted to get in as much as possible.
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NASCAR driver Regan Smith, who won his first Sprint Cup Series race this year, married his longtime girlfriend, Megan Mayhew, on Saturday, November 26th in Florida.
And he kept fighting ’til the end!
What a race. The Ford 400 was pretty ah-mazing considering there wasn’t serious wreckage. It was all about Tony Stewart driving it like he freaking stole it to the win. Not only winning the race but his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. I’ve never seen anything like that, and it makes me wish we could have a race that looked like that one every weekend. I dunno but Tony certainly put on a show, his restarts were pitch perfect.
I’m oh so very happy for the Office Depot team, and I’m not just talking about the pit crew and Tony, I mean the PR peeps from Office Depot. They’re genuinely some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and have been so good to me over the past few years. All of my awesome moments & interviews with Tony have been because of them and I am so grateful. They totally deserved this win and I can’t wait to see ‘em all in Las Vegas!
Hats off to Carl Edwards for being his usual classy self. I know losing this Championship had to hurt, but he’s gotta be proud in knowing that he’s an elite driver in NASCAR. He’s come so far in following his dream, and like the awesome song “It’s Amazing” by Jem says, “Nothing can compare to deserving your dreams.”
Obviously Tony winning the Championship means that Jimmie Johnson didn’t, and of course leading up to Sunday’s race everybody was talking about how amazing Jimmie’s 5-peat was, and it is, but the thing that annoys the hell out of me is when people say that no one will ever be able to do that again. I just don’t like it when people rule things out. It’s possible. Anything’s possible. It’s also ridiculous to say that Jimmie will never win another Championship (insane that anyone even thought that). I feel like people say stuff just to say things because they have to fill in air time. Whatever.
And to all the douchebags that booed First Lady Michelle Obama you should be ashamed of yourselves. Regardless of your political beliefs she and Dr. Jill Biden were there in support of our troops and their families, show some respect. Idiots.
Anyway… I’m just going to put this out there: I really think that Tony winning this year’s Hottest Driver Tournament was a good omen for him. I might be slightly biased in that opinion, though. The 2012 Hottest NASCAR Driver Tournament will begin right after New Year’s on January 2, 2012. So stay tuned!
Up next… Champion’s Week in Las Vegas!
Here’s my round-up of fun/interesting quotes from some of today’s press conferences at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
Have you ever run three races in the same weekend?
“Never. Nice birthday present from Kyle (Busch).”
Earlier you were asked about your motivation for next year after this year, how expensive was that shopping trip with Chandra (Jimmie’s wife) yesterday?
“She did well. (Laughs) She can win trophies for her shopping skills. She is good at that.”
Carl Edwards (just after Jimmie made the comment above):
“I went to the outlet mall last night, so I feel for you, Jimmie. I’ve never been to a Coach bag store before. We got caught looking at little baby clothes at The Gap as well, but it was fun.”
Who is organizing the party if you win on Sunday?
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do. People are asking me who is organizing the party after this deal on Sunday. I don’t have a party organizer. Maybe Jimmie could be my party organizer. I knew when I went back to the motorhome, I think it was last year or the year before, and Nick Lachey and his entourage came out of Jimmie’s motorhome and they got in a limo and went somewhere, I thought, ‘That’s gonna be a party there.’ I don’t know what I’ll do. That might be one night you’d see the other side of me. That might be kind of fun. I need help with that, though, guys. You have to keep me in order.”
Is there someone that you would recommend others should follow on Twitter?
“No. There’s nobody on Twitter that you need to follow.”
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler and his wife, Amanda, welcomed their second child into the world today. Their daughter, Austyn Rose, joins her older brother, Wyatt Herman Fritts, who was born in February of 2010.
Elliott made the announcement, along with an adorable photo of Austyn, this afternoon via Twitter.
This is a sort of “bonus” interview I got to do with DeLana Harvick, wife of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver & 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship contender Kevin Harvick, during the Kansas Speedway race weekend last month. You can read my long-form interview with her here.
I’m so happy I got to go to New Hampshire and Kansas over the past month or so. Getting to attend those races reminded me why I love writing this blog so much and how awesome it is to interact with you and hear your thoughts on my experiences. Your feedback means a lot to me so don’t hold back. Let’s just hope that someone reads this site, believes in what I’m doing and steps up to help it grow. I might create a quick link for you to click to Tweet brands that tells them to sponsor me. Ha! I seriously just thought of that while writing this and now I need to make it happen.
In other news…
– Today was the first ever Better Half Dash at Charlotte Motor Speedway, featuring the wives and girlfriends of NASCAR drivers, crew guys and personalities. The inaugural winner was Jacquelyn Butler, the girlfriend of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan.
“That was crazy,” Butler said from the frontstretch victory celebration, which was complete with a trophy presentation, interviews and a champagne shower. “That was fun. I’m ready to go out and do it again next week.”
Better Half Dash Finishing Order
1. Jacquelyn Butler (David Ragan)
2. Trisha Mears (Casey Mears)
3. Ashley Allgaier (Justin Allgaier)
4. Patricia Driscoll (Kurt Busch)
5. Wendy Venturini (Speed Network)
6. Beth Baldwin (Tommy Baldwin)
7. Sabrina Simpson (Joey Logano)
8. Jami McDowell (Michael McDowell)
9. Michelle Gilliland (David Gilliland)
10. Kristen Yeley (J.J. Yeley)
11. Nan Zipadelli (Greg Zipadelli)
12. Angie Skinner (Mike Skinner)
13. Shannon Koch (Blake Koch)
14. Melanie Self (Motor Racing Outreach)
– Better Half Dash Honorary Starter Kelley Earnhardt is expecting her third child. It’s her first child with her husband & race car driver, L.W. Miller III (who you can see in that Richard Petty energy drink commercial). Kelley has two daughters, Karsyn & Kennedy, from her previous marriage to NASCAR crew chief, Jimmy Elledge.
“Obviously as a former race car driver, I would love to be participating with the other ladies in this event,” said Earnhardt, co-owner and general manager of JR Motorsports. “But with a baby on the way, I am thankful they found a home for me as the honorary starter to be a part of the fun.
“It is fulfilling to be doing something positive while raising awareness and funds for Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) and Speedway Children’s Charities. MRO is a staple to our sport and NASCAR family and SCC has done so much for our community.”
– Montgomery Lee, daughter of former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Petty (and granddaughter of NASCAR legend Richard Petty) announced this week via Twitter that she and her country music artist husband, Randy Montana, are expecting their first child. The couple are expecting a daughter on February 29th of next year.
I had the awesome opportunity to meet and interview DeLana Harvick at Kansas Speedway last weekend. DeLana is married to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick, who pilots the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Kevin is currently 2nd in The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship points standings, just ONE point behind the leader, Carl Edwards. Needless to say, this has been a big year for the Harvicks, one that included moving the racing side of Kevin Harvick Inc. over to RCR.
Saturday morning, with my iPod blasting The Civil Wars (don’t get me started, their song “To Whom It May Concern” perfectly explains the state of my love life right now), I headed to the track. Well, I should say that I was headed to Starbucks. Now here’s the weird thing about that area around Kansas Speedway which has everything from a full on mall to Target, Hooters, a movie theater, Chipotle, Red Lobster, the LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, a baseball field, and a bunch of other restaurants — there’s no standalone Starbucks. The only Starbucks is tucked inside Target and we all know that the Starbucks inside of any other store is not a REAL Starbucks. If I can’t use my Starbucks card there it’s not a real Starbucks.
‘Cause he won the race, you guys. I don’t miss playing Red Rover in elementary school, although Steal The Bacon was my absolute LEAST favorite game. I’m more of a Hopscotch/4 Square girl, no annoying boys yelling at you if you do something “wrong.”
Anyway, Kurt Busch’s win of the AAA 400 at Dover International Raceway was one big piece in the changed up Chase standings. I love that everything is still up in the air and we have no idea who will ultimately walk away with this year’s trophy. I hope Brad Keseolowski is right, he posted the following tweet last night:
After today’s race. It’s obvious the chase winner will be decided on the last lap at homestead. Every one is so close.
Did you see all of the babies on pit road during the pre-race coverage on ESPN? Adorableness times a million.
The best quote of the day (in my opinion) came from Jimmie Johnson. I like Sassy Jimmie
Q. You both (Carl Edwards) talked about essentially mistakes that you made today that prevented you from winning. How do you get over that? How long does that take? What’s that process in moving forward?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: If I was Carl, I wouldn’t get over that mistake.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I maybe wouldn’t show up next week.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: (Laughing). Not sure we answered your question.
I woke up at 6am Sunday morning in New Hampshire and willed myself to get up so that I wouldn’t get stuck in race day traffic. SYLVANIA gave us a tip that we (their invited media peeps) should get on the road by 7:15am at the latest in order to miss the traffic melee. It worked because the drive to the track only took 25 minutes. I have to say that NHMS is by far my favorite track to drive to because the scenery is beautiful, but more importantly it was (basically) a straight shot from the hotel to the track, with one left turn and one stop at the drive-thru Starbucks on Loudon Road.
So Jeff Gordon won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is totally great but he missed his daughter Ella’s first day at school. For some reason, for me, that overshadowed everything else he said in Victory Lane on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, winning the race is HUGE and it looks like he’s in a great position to contend for the Championship this year–which I love–but when you think about it from a personal/family perspective a part of me goes “Awww, he didn’t get to take her to school.” He probably would have had the race happened on Sunday when it was supposed to.
Anyway, congrats to the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger team! It was great to see the car that was CLEARLY fast all day win the race in the end.
There are things that I want to say about this next race at Richmond–the last race to determine the 12 drivers in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup–but I’m not going to because I’m afraid I’ll mess it up. I can’t even say/type/think the “J” word because I’m afraid just saying it will have some effect. Just know that there are certain drivers that need to keep themselves and their teams together to keep things good.
(Wait, now that I’ve written “’til tuesday” I can’t stop thinking about their song “voices carry.” Great, now that’s stuck in my head. hush, hush, keep it down now… voices carry!!! )
It’s crazy to think we’ll be watching a NASCAR race on Tuesday this week. I guess it’s what you have to do when Mother Nature won’t cooperate. It sucks because I was REALLY looking forward to seeing the outcome of the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway today, because there’s SO much on the line. There’s the matter of the $3 million Sprint Summer Showdown, that if you hadn’t heard about until today’s rain delay coverage you’ll never be able to forget it now, and the $1 million that could go to the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, presented by Office Depot” should Tony Stewart or Greg Biffle win the race.
Then there’s all of the Chase implications and you’ve got one race with a ton of responsibility.
Anywhoo, since I can’t talk about the race I’ll talk about other sort of random things I came across this weekend:
– Harrison Burton, the 10-year-old son of NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, has taken up his father’s profession as a racecar driver. Harrison’s parents made it clear yesterday at Atlanta Motor Speedway that his decision to try his hand at racing was ALL his idea and not something that they wanted him to do.
“I was hoping he’d be a lawyer and I could hang out at the country club,” Kim Burton said laughing. “It’s hard watching your baby out there, but he loves it.”
Harrison races quarter midgets with the United States Auto Club (USAC) in an all-oval series for 5-16 year-olds, and he’s leading in points in a lot of divisions.
“I have a passion for racing, and I love it, but he doesn’t have to,” Jeff said. “If he ever wants to quit, we quit. If he wants to play lacrosse, we play lacrosse.”
At the press conference today, father and son shared the stage with Harrison donning a Caterpillar firesuit just like his dads. It’s too cute.
– Samantha Busch, wife of NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, has launched her own official website–samanthabusch.net. The site contains tons of photos, news and tips from everything from fitness to fashion.
– The following photo is just adorable. It’s too friggin’ adorable. That’s all I wanted to say.
I don’t even know if people call Brad Keselowski “Bad Brad” but I needed “B” words and it sounded about right, so there ya go.
How did you feel about his reaction to winning the Bristol night race? I thought it was great. Except for the jumping off the car part, because his ankle is still HURT. I don’t know why I have such a complex about him not using crutches or sitting down when he doesn’t need to stand. It’s CLEARLY working alright for him. I wasn’t expecting him to be such a big winner this year. It’s pretty amazing stuff and this is just his second year in Cup.
If you follow me on Twitter then you already know the fabulous news that I’ll be going to at least TWO more races this year FOR SURE. It’s all thanks to Sylvania and Hunt Brothers Pizza. Sylvania is the title sponsor of the New Hampshire Cup Series race in September (the second race in The Chase for the Sprint Cup) and they’ve got some fun activities planned around that weekend that I will be attending & covering. Can’t wait to write about it all. I’ll also be at Kansas, where I will be hanging with the Hunt Bros. Pizza group for the Nationwide Series race. Be on the lookout for a great interview to come out of that!
On a very personal note… It’s my birthday tomorrow. I turn the big 3-1 and the greatest birthday present you could ever give me, besides just being yourself and reading this blog (which I totally appreciate), would be to donate to My NASCAR Year 2012 project (or get your company to do it!). Read all about it and donate here. You can give anonymously or not, it’s up to you. Even $5 helps me get to my goal of $125,000!
The race at Watkins Glen–the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen to be exact–had it ALL. Let’s go through the list shall we?
– Close racing at the end where you had no idea who would come out with the win? CHECK!
– Crazy, gnarly crashes that thankfully left no one seriously hurt? CHECK!
– An emotional it’s-about-frggin-time first-time winner? CHECK! (Congrats to Marcos Ambrose & the No. 9 Stanley team!)
– Punches attempting to be thrown in the garage post-race? CHECK!
– Amazing post-race quotes from pissed off drivers? CHECK!
Loved this race, it was crazy, especially this quote from Boris Said about about his issues with Greg Biffle:
“It was crazy. I mean…the last lap; the No. 6 car (David Ragan) was getting into me a lot. I didn’t want to wreck him, but I had to stay on the track and he didn’t give me any room. We both collided. That is the only thing I feel bad about.
“I’m more upset with Greg Biffle. He is the most unprofessional little scaredy cat I’ve ever seen in my life. He wouldn’t even fight me like a man after. So, if someone texts me his address, I’ll go see him Wednesday at his house and show him what he really needs. He needs a…whooping and I’m going to give it to him. He was flipping me off, giving me the finger. Totally unprofessional. Two laps down. I mean he is a chump.
“I went over there to go talk to him. He wouldn’t even let me get out of the car. He comes over and throws a few little baby punches and then when I get out, he runs away and hides behind some big guys. But, he won’t hide from me long. I’ll find him. I won’t settle it out on the track. It’s not right to wreck cars, but, he’ll show up at a race with a black eye one of these days. I’ll see him somewhere.”
And to top it all off Watkins Glen International was left with a serious issue of getting safer barriers on their course before the next NASCAR race. It doesn’t make sense to not have them at all the tracks on the schedule. Why hasn’t this been done yet? Elliott Sadler is right.
I’m not one to begrudge people their happiness, but did you catch Kurt Busch making out with his girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, in victory lane on Saturday? Was that really necessary? It just seemed like a bit much.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 13 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I love this man. Nooo, not Dale Jr. but Man vs. Food host Adam Richman. I LOVE that show and when I go on my NASCAR adventure next year I plan on bringing a list of all the places he’s visited on his show so that I can check them out too! The food always looks soo yummy & amazing.
Adam Richman (right), host of Man v. Food, talks with Dale Earnhardt Jr.(left), driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet, on the grid during pre race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 14 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Joey is supposed to film an food challenge for a Man v. Food Nation episode today (Wonder if that’s still happening) that’s set to air Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. ET on Travel Channel.
Joey Logano (left), driver of the No. 20 The Home Depot Toyota, and Adam Richman (right), host of Man v. Food pose in the garage area prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 14 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Congratulations to Paul Menard and the No. 27 NIBCO/Menards Chevy team! This season has definitely been the year of the first-time winner and I couldn’t love it more. My favorite part is waiting for the Victory Lane interview and hoping the guy cries. Well Paul didn’t cry but he ALMOST did! Tears or no tears, it was really cool to see a guy win something that clearly meant a lot to him and his family.
I have to thank ‘Fabulous’ reader Tara for sending me this screen capture of a Twitter convo between two spotters talking about Paul Menard’s girlfriend, Jen. Start at the bottom.
P.S. – Can Rascal Flatts sing the National Anthem at every NASCAR race, puhleze? Love them.
Above: This melts my heart. That kid had to be losing it (keeping it all inside of course)!
Below: Watch those hands Kasey!!!
– Take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey and enter for your chance to win an awesome Goo Gone prize package. Contest & survey ends on August 10th, 2011. More info
– Help me raise money for My NASCAR Year 2012. More info
Lots of caution flags made the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway very interesting. I dug it.
I was happy to see Ryan Newman score his first win of the season, even if it was just to see his adorable daughter, Brooklyn, celebrate with him in Victory Lane. How cute is she??! Were you as surprised as I was to see him get choked up like he did? People should not cry, because it just makes me cry! It was a great moment though. Love to see a physical reaction in response to what a win means to a person.
But enough about the race, here’s some news I JUST received: I’ll be a guest on the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show “Manifold Destiny with Mojo Nixon” tonight! If you’ve got SiriusXM it’s channel 90 and I’ll be on at 8:30pm PST / 11:30 EST. Read that twice to make sure you’ve got it right. I met Mojo for the first time during the NASCAR race weekend at Infineon Raceway. He’s a riot, so it’ll be really interesting to see what goes down on the show tonight. If you’ve got a subscription I hope you’ll tune in!!
Congratulations to Greg and Nicole Biffle! The couple welcomed their first child –a daughter, Emma Elizabeth, into the world today.
The official announcement:
Mooresville, N.C. (July 6, 2011) – Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, and his wife Nicole welcomed their first child, a baby girl, late this afternoon. Emma Elizabeth weighed in at seven pounds and six ounces and arrived just before 5:00 p.m. EST. Both mother and daughter are doing well.
Congratulations to David Ragan and the No. 6 UPS team on winning the COKE ZERO 400 at Daytona! It’s been a long time coming! And if there was ever a driver that NEEDED to win right now it was David Ragan. I loved his post-race interview where the TNT reporter (can’t remember who it was, Matt Yocum?) tried EVERYTHING to try and get some sort emotional reaction from David and nothing happened. It was kind of anti-climactic. We love an emotional winner, and you’d think a first-timer would have brought something to the party.
Oh welly, David doesn’t need to cry for me to know that it means a lot. I’m happy for the guy.
Must talk about the sight of Andy Lally driving all by his lonesome during the race. Having a “partner” is the only way you’re going to do anything at Daytona these days and Andy didn’t have anybody for a while there. It brought me right back to junior high school P.E. class and dreading having to be picked for someone’s team (for some dumb activity that all the boys always took WAY too seriously). Ugh, it made me sad for him. I understand why guys didn’t want to work with him because they didn’t know what he was capable of, but still it was hard to watch. It’s the nature of the beast, though.