So, I totally forgot to include these photos in my regular weekend write-ups. Luckily they work all by themselves.
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I woke up at 5am in order to get to Infineon Raceway by 7am (with a quick stop at Starbucks along the way) at the latest. I wanted to make sure I got a ride around the track in the pace car with NASCAR’s Brett Bodine. You think because you’re going in the pace car it wouldn’t be intense, but you’re WRONG. I sat in the back seat and proceeded to be bounced around the my seat and fellow passenger next to me.
It was sunny everywhere in the Bay Area EXCEPT at the Golden Gate Bridge on Wednesday. It was the San Francisco cliche: totally foggy. I arrived at the the north side of the bridge to take part in the Cheerios Walk for a Healthy Heart event with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer (left). Over 100 fans showed up and received free commemorative t-shirts plus the opportunity to mingle with their fave driver.
As we all know by now, this year Kurt Busch has been arriving at the track without his wedding ring and without his wife, Eva. So last weekend at Pocono when Kurt was seen standing at his car for the invocation and National Anthem with another blonde that wasn’t his wife it sent tongues wagging. The woman by his side (seen here and here) is Patricia Driscoll, President and Executive Director of the Armed Forces Foundation. Sources tell me that the two met through Ms. Driscoll’s foundation’s work with traumatic brain injuries.
I have no idea if there is in any relationship there other than a professional one or plain old friendship. Kurt has yet to announce a divorce from Eva, so it’s anybody’s guess as to what’s going on there.
In other news…
Next week is the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway way in Sonoma. I’ll be there so I’m REALLY excited about it. But before any racing gets started there are a couple events you should know about:
– On Wednesday, June 22nd Clint Bowyer will meetup with fans for the Cheerios Walk for a Healthy Heart across the Golden Gate Bridge. The walk will depart from the north side of the iconic bridge at noon. If you want to join Clint for the event go to Ghirardelli Square at 11 a.m. for FREE transportation to the walk. I’ll be there too, so make sure you say “Hi!”
– On Thursday, June 23rd Infineon Raceway is hosting a parade of up to 50 NASCAR haulers through the streets of Sacramento under a full police escort. This will be the first ever hauler parade in Northern California, and will serve as the Sacramento kickoff to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend. The parade will depart from its starting location at 2 p.m., cross the Tower Bridge and do a loop around the State Capitol.
– Help me raise $125,000 for My NASCAR Year 2012 project. Just donating $5 helps me reach my goal. We raised $205 in one day, let’s keep it going! Learn More
“Shift. Shifting now. Lots of shifting. Why do I have to keep shifting? Shifting is fun! I hate shifting this much!”
I am so over shifting!! I hate that word and I never want to hear it again. Some drivers hated it and some were totally okay with it because they would have been bored otherwise. That’s all fine and well, I’m just glad it’s over.
My favorite part of the race was the in-car cockpit view of the drivers in action. I loved that so much because you get to see what these guys are actually doing. This is how they do it and it’s fun to see the different techniques. So I appreciated that a lot. TNT’s coverage is off to a great start.
Now that Conan O’Brien is on TBS, which is a sister channel to TNT, I fully expect a Team Coco integration to at least ONE of the TNT Summer Series races. We need Conan at a race or at least a bunch of the drivers on his show. This needs to happen.
Sorry ladies, another one bites the dust!!
Travis Pastrana (@TravisPastrana) proposed to his girlfriend, professional skateboarder Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins (@lynzskate), yesterday during the Nitro Circus show at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It’s all on tape, so check it out below. Very cute & sweet! Congrats to Lyn-Z & Travis!
(photo credit: supercross.com facebook page)
The image I created in my head of Richard Childress getting Kyle Busch in a headlock and beating him up far surpasses any actual image of the incident that you could show me (if one even exists). I can’t help but laugh at the whole thing. It’s just too much. Childress was fined $150,000 for the incident and put on probation by NASCAR. When they give fines I think they should be the same number as the person’s car number, so Childress should of been fined $180,000 for Kyle’s #18 truck. NASCAR should maintain a NASCAR theme at all times.
Ya know what’s annoying? Yesterday’s race was Brad Keselowski’s second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win, his first with Penske, and the commentators didn’t bring that up until he crossed the finish line. I find that annoying because I would like that information up front–with laps to go–so that I can get all emotional and worried for the guy. They do it for Dale Earnhardt Jr. ALL the time. They’ve got that “Races since last win” graphic queued up, always ready to go.
I feel like we didn’t get to really appreciate the fullness of the moment for Brad because nobody talked about the significance of it all that much. Kinda lame.
While I certainly don’t dislike the Fox broadcast team, I am REALLY excited about TNT’s coverage because I’m looking for a change of pace. It’ll be good to get a different perspective, until we get another perspective when ESPN/ABC takes over later this year.
My only question right now is: Can it be time for Infineon’s race now?? Please! I’ll be there and I cannot wait for that race weekend. I know it’s going to be superfun, but let’s hope this ridiculously cold & rainy weather we’ve been having doesn’t last through that weekend. I’m ordering perfect weather; not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
There’s a bunch of stuff to give you the rundown on today! But here’s a housekeeping note: My Richard Petty Driving Experience Race Ride contest ends on May 31st, so submit your entry now. Two lucky winners will get to ride shotgun in a NASCAR racecar around Bristol Motor Speedway in August.
In other news…
– Angela and Amber Cope, the twin nieces of Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope will attempt to make their NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway this weekend. They’re attempting to make NASCAR history in becoming the first set of twins to ever compete in a Nationwide Series race. Qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series John Deere Dealers 250 presented by Pioneer will air on ESPN2 at 4:40pm EST on Saturday, with the race taking place on Sunday at 2pm EST on ABC.
– IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves surprised a bunch of customers at a Shell station in Indianapolis yesterday. Helio showed up unannounced and filled their tanks up with Shell gasoline. He also got to talk to them about the Shell V-Power Fuel My Passion program. Of course!
The Fuel My Passion sweepstakes allow vehicle enthusiasts who submit photos of themselves with their rides holding the two-fingered ‘V sign’ for V-Power the chance to win great prizes, including free gasoline for up to five years. For more information, please visit www.shell.us/fuelmypassion.
– This past Saturday Window World, the primary sponsor of John Andretti’s #43 Indianapolis 500 entry, unveiled “The Stinger” — a 2011 concept show car as a tribute to the 1911 Marmon Wasp and the 100 years of Indianpolis 500 history. “The Stinger” will be on display in the MotoGP garage area near Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis Motor Speedway through the Indianapolis 500 weekend.
“The Stinger” is also raising money for charities through Window World Cares:
To further support the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, the Window World Cares foundation has invited each of the race’s former starters to autograph the car as it sits on display at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For each signature, Window World Cares will make a donation of support.
Since its creation in 2008, Window World Cares is responsible for raising more than $1.6 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is also a sponsor of the Veterans Airlift Command.
– Martin Truex Jr. and his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex hosted The 2nd Annual Catwalk for a Cause Fashion Show yesterday. MTJ Motorsports was transformed into a fashionista’s paradise with many of NASCAR’s familiar faces on hand for the event that raised money for the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation. The fashion show featured apparel from Lavendar Boutique, a women’s designer boutique in Mooresville, NC owned by Sherry Pollex. There are photos here and here. I was able to spot DeLana Harvick, Krissie Newman, Larry McReynolds, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s mom Brenda Jackson, Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo, Max Papis, amongst others.
I interviewed Shana Mayfield, the wife of suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield, in 2008 and I’m finally posting it today. We talked for little over an hour which is the longest interview I’ve ever done (what’s below isn’t even the entire conversation). For a couple reasons, which I won’t bore you with, I didn’t get it transcribed until this year.
Saturday’s Nationwide Series 5-hour ENERGY 200 was more entertaining than Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks because, ya know, stuff happened.
Not that you ever want to see anyone get hurt, but Saturday had some crazy crashes and all of the drivers walked away totally OK. Although crew guy, Glen Wheeler, for the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. team did sustain an injury to his left leg and was held at a hospital overnight for his injury. It’s crazy that the debris that hit him came from the car he works on. I couldn’t believe Clint Bowyer’s crash. That was insane. When incidents like that happen at Dover they’re always insane. Hopefully Mr. Wheeler will be A-OK.
Sunday was cool and all, who doesn’t love babies in Victory Lane? But it was one of those races where if you talked to me five minutes after it was over and asked me what happened, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Sometimes it’s like that and then sometimes it’s like last week at Darlington and you can’t stop talking about it. Nevertheless, congratulations to Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 WileyX team. I think that was the second WileyX sponsored race for the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team, so that’s pretty good for their second time out!
– This might be old news to some, but I just realized I’d never posted it here. David Stremme is poised to return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with the newly formed Inception Motorsports, but he’s also embarking on a new adventure as a husband! David proposed to his girlfriend, Ashley Deihl, during Thanksgiving last year and the couple plan to wed later this year.
– Do you love Kasey Kahne? I mean, really, who doesn’t? Do you adore Brian Vickers? Well put your face on their cars for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 29th. Well, not your face-face, but an image of your face. In fact you can put any–or as many–photos as you want on the No. 4 or the No. 83. Just send your pictures to [email protected] or upload them at www.redbullracingusa.com/shutterspeed by May 22nd.
– It’s time again for the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot” sweepstakes. It’s my favorite NASCAR contest and if you’re a small business owner you simply MUST participate! The national FREE advertising you’d receive as a result of just being a finalist is priceless in my mind, but there’s also the small matter of $1 million that could be yours too!
Office Depot (NYSE: ODP), celebrating 25 years as a leading global provider of office supplies and services, is teaming up with 3M® and NASCAR® stars Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford, to offer the exciting possibility of a $1 million payday for one small business owner through the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot” sweepstakes.
The sweepstakes runs from now through May 28 and small business owners can enter online and – new this year – via their SmartPhone at OfficeDepotRacing.com. Two small business owners will be randomly selected as finalists, earning them a $10,000 small business makeover from Office Depot* and a VIP race weekend experience for two – not to mention a chance at the $1 million prize! Plus, as an extra reward to small business owners who participate, Office Depot is giving away one $1,000 Office Depot gift card every day during the sweepstakes entry period.
(credit: Action Sports Photography)
Get all of the deets, and info on all of the other goodies you can win even if you’re not the ultimate winner, at OfficeDepotRacing.com.
– Dale Earnhardt Jr. unveiled the world’s largest HD TV screen today, which happens to live at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He tested out the ginormous screen with an iRacing.com simulator.
(Photo Credit: Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson)
For its operational debut, Smith and Earnhardt Jr. used an oversized remote to power on the 200 foot-wide, 80 foot-tall HDTV, created by Panasonic, to reveal a highlight video of past racing action
at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Charlotte sets the standard for the rest of the tracks,” said Earnhardt Jr. “They always do things first and do things the biggest and look, here we are today with another first from them. Charlotte holds a special place in a lot of drivers’ hearts, mine included and the big TV makes this place even more special.
“The Coca-Cola 600 is one of the best events we have all year long. Now fans can get a ticket to the race and have the experience of the live event with the comfort of their own TV at home with this big TV,” Earnhardt Jr. continued. “This place just keeps getting better.”
– INDYCAR had an unveiling of their own today. The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series concept cars–one model for ovals and another for road/street courses–made their debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where they will be on display throughout the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 on May 29th. These cars look… different, so it’ll be really interesting to see what the manufacturers come up with in terms of changes to the body kits. These mockups look like something out of a “Batman” or “Transformers” movie.
(Credit: INDYCAR/Ron McQueeny)
A rolling chassis – dubbed the IndyCar Safety Cell – will be the universal feature of the next generation car, with bodywork open to development and sale by any approved manufacturer. Three engine companies–Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus–committed for 2012 will augment the IndyCar Safety Cell and aero kit programs, creating its own buzz.
“The idea behind these is to show two totally different-looking vehicles that underneath are the same chassis,” Cotman said. “There is a lot of room for aerodynamic kit development and that’s what this platform is about – allowing people the freedom to design as they wish, dream as they wish and come up with a superior product than others. That’s what drives competition.
“So will these be exactly what Dallara’s kits are going to look like on road courses and ovals next year? No.”
Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya failed to bring what Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch delivered.
O. M. G.
The SHOWTIME® Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway was the greatest NASCAR race I have seen in quite some time. It was Ah-mazing!
First, congratulations to Regan Smith on winning his first Sprint Cup Series race (and congrats to Furniture Row Racing for winning their first race as an organization). He was emotional and his team was ridiculously happy. It was the perfect finish and I LOVED it. A first-time winner is the greatest thing. It was great to see him be congratulated by Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski.
But of course before all of that you had the driver’s moms, as usual, giving the command to start engines. How adorable was Jimmie & Chandra Johnson’s baby daughter, Genevieve, clapping during the National Anthem? That was too cute.
Then there was the race with David Ragan peeling back Brian Vickers car like it was a can of sardines, poor Clint Bowyer crashing out, and the most amazing series of events with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.
I think that Kevin Harvick should walk around with a speaker hanging out of his pocket playing the song “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty on a loop. It’s his theme song. He is no joke.
I know that fighting is frowned upon and all that but I loved it. When Kevin punched Kyle’s helmet/face and then Kyle pushed his car into his Kevin’s it was all TOO much for my brain to process. It was wonderful. I felt like a high school kid in the quad yelling “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
Does NASCAR really need to take action? I’m in a “Ah, whatever, let it gooo” kind of mood. They’re adults, they know what they did was wrong. Let’s not forget that sports are entertainment, they serve no other purpose than that (Yes, they can be inspiring and all that but still), and Saturday night’s race was PURE entertainment from beginning to end. So, NASCAR should send Harvick and Busch a “Thank You” card, some flowers & maybe some candy.
Here’s video of the last laps:
Carl Edwards is a dad again! His wife, Kate, gave birth to their second child, son Michael, on Wednesday. Michael weighed in at 8lbs, 6 oz. Carl & Kate are already parents to their daughter, Anne, who was born last year.
Carl was asked about his son’s birth during his media session held at Darlington Raceway today:
“It was amazing. Kate is an amazing woman. We had a healthy young boy. His name is Michael Edwards and he’s doing great, so it’s just a great week. It was unreal. We had a lot of fun. Annie is really excited about her little brother. I don’t think she quite understands what is going on, but we’re all doing really well, so it’s good.”
I was this close to feeling bad for Denny Hamlin for not sweeping the races at Richmond this past weekend until I came across the program from last year’s Awards Ceremony banquet. The program included photos of each winner of every race in 2010. Denny won EIGHT of them. You’re not going to find any sympathy over here, Denny.
But I do like The Denny (that’s what I call him) and his new Toyota Sponsifier commercial is my favorite out of the three featuring him, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Why is it my favorite? Because I love the little kid that tells him he drives like his mom, and I love the silly smile Denny makes after the kid says that AND I love that when Denny smiles like that I instantly think he looks like that actor on NBC’s “30 Rock,” Jack McBrayer (he was in “Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby,” too). Here’s a side-by-side comparison shot:
Tina Fey should get Denny to do a cameo on “30 Rock” as Kenneth Purcell’s brother. I’m just sayin’.
In other news… Elliott Sadler announced that he and his wife, Amanda, are expecting a child this year. The couple are already parents to a son, Wyatt, who was born last year.
So, first thing’s first, who stayed up late last night, or got up super early, to watch the Royal Wedding? I didn’t do either of those things, I just Tivo’d it and fast-forwarded to the good parts this morning. All I wanted to see was her dress and I was very disappointed. It was boring and it kinda looked like the dress my aunt wore in her first wedding back in the 80s. But I’m totally off topic with all of this because this isn’t a Royal Wedding style blog now is it?
I feel like I’m behind on a lot of stuff that went down this week and last, so here’s what I’ve got.
– Scott & Amanda Speed announced this week via Twitter that they found out they’re expecting a baby girl this year. This is the couple’s first child together.
– The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil crew took part in a tailgating cook-off and grocery bagging challenge at a local Kroger store in the Richmond, Virginia area this week. The event promoted a special program that Shell & Kroger created together to help people save money on gas.
Every time race fans in the greater Richmond area make a purchase at Kroger with their Kroger Plus Card, they not only save money on their grocery bill but also earn Fuel Points that can be redeemed at the pump for savings on fuel. Kroger customers now have the opportunity to instantly redeem 100 Fuel Points to earn a 10 cent per gallon savings, or up to 1,000 Fuel Points per visit to save up to $1 per gallon at participating Shell stations. This offer is valid up to 35 gallons of fuel per purchase.
– Elliott Sadler headed up to Canada to promote the Nationwide Series race, the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge, that will take place at Circuit Gilles Villenuve in Montreal this August. And his birthday was coming up, so they got him a cake! Awww.
– Kyle Busch saved the day by stopping some fake robbers from stealing the $1 million purse for the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race in Charlotte.
– Rachel Gilbert, a 100-year-old woman from Laconia, New Hampshire, took a spin around New Hampshire Motor speedway in the track’s pace car to celebrate her centennial birthday. This was such a cool thing, I love the photo of her sitting in the car looking over the steering wheel (see below).
Here’s more on what Rachel received for her major milestone birthday:
As part of this ultimate birthday celebration Gilbert and her family will receive suite passes overlooking “The Magic Mile,” where they will enjoy every lap of the LENOX Industrial Tools 301.
Gilbert will also have the opportunity to rub elbows with the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series during the Sunday morning drivers’ meeting.
The longtime race fan was surprised with this once in a lifetime opportunity from her family and Gappens. When told she would be riding around the speedway in the pace car, she was ready to leave for Loudon immediately.
Included in her birthday package was a race car cake, an official LENOX Industrial Tools 301 hat, NHMS jacket and birthday card. Her favorite driver Carl Edwards even signed and sent an official crew shirt and birthday wishes.
“My mom has always been a major race fan. She doesn’t miss a race on TV,” says daughter Marie Anne Mills.
Marie also had the opportunity to ride around the track with Gilbert. “I was more nervous than she was,” she said. “This was so wonderful.”
I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. Today I’ve launched a brand new website that will serve as a trusty companion to this site. The ‘Fabulous’ Girl’s Guide to Racing is a reference guide for all of the stats you want to know about your favorite drivers in NASCAR and INDYCAR. I think every major sports website has one of those guides where they list each player’s stats as it relates to their performance in their respective sport; things like sacks, free throws, averages and whatnot. So why not have one for racing that lists just the stuff that they usually bury?
This information isn’t exactly new–it’s already out there in different places all around the web–but now it’s housed in one convenient location that will be updated on a regular basis.
Yes, who a guy is dating or who he is married to has nothing to do with the sport they participate in, but I’m curious about it and I find it interesting. It’s not being nosey, okay, it sort of is, but I’m doing this from a distance with respect. I’m not posting rumors or gossip, I’m not making anything up. Everything that goes in the Guide will be confirmed before it’s posted, and if something’s wrong I’ll fix it.
To start, the Guide has profiles for the drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the IZOD IndyCar Series. Eventually I’ll be adding profiles for the men & women in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Firestone Indy Lights Series.
In addition to the profiles, I’ve finally got a great place to recommend racing-related products you can buy. So far there are books (I totally forgot about all the NASCAR romance novels!), cookbooks, and DVDs.
Definitely check it out, tell ALL your friends and let me know what you think!
Johnny Sauter won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville on Saturday, but he won on Tuesday, too! Johnny’s wife, Cortney, gave birth to the couple’s second child, a baby girl they’ve named Paige Gertrude Sauter (left). Paige joins her older brother, Penn.
Congratulations Cortney & Johnny!
In other supercute kid news…
– Just before the Auto Club 500 in California a couple weeks ago Jeff Gordon made an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres show and shared the cutest story about why his daughter, Ella, wants to be a racer driver one day. If your ovaries don’t weep from this one I don’t know what to tell you.
Ellen: I heard that Ella told you she wants to be a racecar driver?
Jeff: I get asked this all the time. Do you want your daughter to be a racecar driver? I just want to approach it the same way that my parents approached it with me and my sister. Whatever opportunities or passions you see as a parent your kids interested in, pursue that and see where that takes them. That’s what happened with me. We found racing at a young age. My parents introduced me to it and it just took off. I hadn’t thought about it a whole lot, certainly with my daughter, and we were driving down the road the other day and out of nowhere, she said, “Papa, I want to be a racecar driver.” And I said, “You do? Why do you want to be a racecar driver?” [She said] “Because I love you.” It just crushed me and at the same time, I thought, “Oh, now I’m going to have to get a racecar.” Laughs
(Paige Sauter photo credit: Cortney Sauter Facebook page)
Was the only thing that was interesting about the Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol the driver introductions that we didn’t even get to see? I would say “Yes.” They couldn’t show ONE of the driver’s walking into their song?? I know it costs money to get the rights to play the songs on air but Fox doesn’t have money for JUST ONE?!
I Tivo’d the pre-race show, as has become a new rule so that I can skip the crappy parts (80% of it), and I made sure I went through it TWICE to make sure I didn’t miss a moment where they might have shown an intro and I didn’t find anything. Instead, there was some thing with Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond and some diagram that looked like the board game “Operation” or something. I dunno, I was fast forwarding.
Anyway, Kyle Busch’s weekend sweep was impressive, of course. The deal that went down between Jennifer Jo Cobb and the owner of 2nd Chance Motorsports was far more interesting than anything either race had to offer. Jennifer Jo Cobb is all about racing, why would someone who has stated several times that her goal this year is contend for Rookie of the Year in the Nationwide Series ever want to “start & park”? I mean, c’mon, she’s all about racing. I sincerely wish her all the best and hope she can get something together that’ll help her reach her goal. What she did on Saturday took guts. It would have been way easier to just run the few laps and get out of the car, but she stood up for herself and I think that’s awesome. That’s a person I can root for!
Friday morning in Las Vegas started with me arriving at the track just in time to interview J.J. Yeley at his hauler. But I found out that he had been asked to drive the No. 27 car for Baker Curb Racing in the Nationwide Series race. So he was participating in their practice session and wouldn’t be available till later in the day (We did end up connecting later in the day and I got some great answers from him).