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is in-n-out burger the way to a nascar driver’s heart?

NHRA: POMONA WINTERNATIONALS FEB 14On Sunday, I was watching a bit of the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals that took place in Houston, Texas. Melanie Troxel, whom I totally dig because she’s kick ass and we have the same birthday (August 31st), is sponsored by In-N-Out Burger in both Funny Car and Pro Mod. She’s leading the points standings in Pro Mod, by the way.

Anyway… The In-N-Out Burger connection got me thinking. First about how yummy their burgers are and then about how every time the NASCAR drivers are in California or Nevada they can’t NOT talk about how they all have to stop by In-N-Out at least once during their stay in the West. So I was thinking why isn’t In-N-Out Burger sponsoring like, ANYTHING in NASCAR? At least for the races at Infineon, Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas and Phoenix?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers wax on and on about how they love In-N-Out.

And then I started thinking that maybe all those NASCAR groupies should forget about trying to dress all sexy in the garage & pits and just bring a bunch of In-N-Out burgers and fries (animal style, of course) with them instead. They do say that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, well there ya go. Nobody said you had to be the one doing the cooking.

In other news…

– ‘Fabulous’ reader Leila emailed me today and was all, “Wouldn’t Ron Malec be perfect for ABC’s next Bachelor? I would love to see it!” and I was like, “You’re totally right!” Ron would make an excellent Bachelor (as would Michael Waltrip) but I do know that as of the Sprint Cup Championship banquet last year he had a girlfriend. But still ABC should direct their attention to the world of NASCAR to look for their next Bachelor, for sure.

:)

rain ruins everyone’s parade

Cars sit covered on pit road during a rain shower that postponed the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The race will be held Monday at noon ET. (Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)Thanks to Mother Nature there was little to no racing today. Everything, and seriously, everything has been postponed to Monday.

The Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway has been moved to Monday where hopefully it’ll get started and run in it’s entirety. IndyCar had a race in the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida but that got rained out too and is supposed to take place tomorrow. And if that wasn’t enough, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte Motor Speedway had to move too, to Monday, because of rain.

Rain is not the friend of motorsports that’s for sure.

I must apologize for my lameness in not updating this site for two weeks. Trust me, I really, really wanted to but I’ve had stuff to deal with. Everything is settled for now so I’m back and will be writing as usual from now on.

:)

Here are photos from the weekend, so far, at Martinsville:


David Gilliland cranks his engines before Friday's practice for the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Gilliland cranks his engines before Friday’s practice for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

sadness, sadness, sadness

Scott KalittaI’m not a big NHRA fan and I don’t now everything there is to know about it, but I knew the Kalitta name what it meant to the sport of drag racing.

It was incredibly shocking and sad to hear that Scott Kalitta died today at the end of a Funny car race in Englishtown, New Jersey. He was only 46-years-old and he was one of the best drag racers around.

My heart goes out to his family, friends and fans.

force goes full throttle for her first win

Ashley Force won her first Funny Car title at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, in Atlanta (photo courtesy of NHRA)I must be cursed or something, first Danica and now Ashley. I missed out on watching Ashley Force win her first Funny Car race last weekend. She became the first woman to ever win a Funny Car title and she also beat her father, the legendary and always funny (whether he means to be or not) John Force in the process.

I actually tuned to the channel that had the NHRA racing on but they were in the middle of a rain delay and I started to channel surf, which is always deadly because I inevitably forget what I had told myself I would come back to later.

At any rate, I am so happy that she won, she totally deserved it and I’m sure there will be more titles to come and probably a championship. It was fun to watch the replay of John’s reaction to seeing his daughter win. That man never fails to disappoint in the emotions department. :)

And since I’m talking about drag racing stuff I should mention a tidbit of info I got this weekend. Next year NHRA’s top series will be known as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series instead of its current sponsor, POWERade.

From the press release:

“It’s one of the great synergies of brand and sport,” said NHRA President Tom Compton, who orchestrated the original deal with Coca-Cola North America in 2001. “To have a title sponsor for what will be, at minimum, 12 years by the end of this current deal is a tribute to a great relationship between NHRA and Coca-Cola North America, Coca-Cola Enterprises, the POWERade brand and beginning in 2009, the Full Throttle brand.”

NHRA’s top professional series, the second most popular form of auto racing in America behind only NASCAR (source: ESPN Sports Poll), holds 24 races from February through November, all of which are broadcast by ESPN2 in HD.


Ashley Force's Funny Car at Atlanta (Photo Courtesy of NHRA)

honoring eric medlen

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and are a big NHRA fan you should check out this chance to hang with some of the top NHRA drivers like Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps. The event is a charity dinner in honor of the late Eric Medlen, hosted by Infineon Raceway on Thursday, July 26th. Full details are as follows:

Race Fans Invited to ‘Eric Medlen Nitro Night at the Fior Charity Dinner’ in San Francisco

SONOMA, Calif. (July 6, 2007) — Race fans will get to rub shoulders with top drivers from the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, as well as honor the memory of the late Eric Medlen at the “Eric Medlen Nitro Night at the Fior Charity Dinner” in San Francisco on Thursday, July 26.

The sit-down dinner will feature NHRA Funny Car drivers Ron Capps (Brut Racing Dodge), Robert Hight (Auto Club Mustang) and Gary Scelzi (Mopar/Oakley Dodge) and Top Fuel driver Cory McClenathan (FRAM Dragster). The gala will be hosted by long-time NHRA announcer Bob Frey and is being held in advance of the FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway, July 27-29.

The charity dinner had its debut last year, and Medlen was one of the featured guests. The native of nearby Oakdale in San Joaquin County succumbed in March to injuries sustained from an accident during a test session at Gainesville ( Fla. ). He was 33. The event has since been renamed in his honor.

“I always agree to do the charity events not for anything other than I want to help,” said Scelzi. “The money always goes to a great cause and they are also really fun events. Whenever Infineon Raceway puts on an event you know it’s going to be first-class.”

Tickets to the affair are available for purchase to the public and will include a sumptuous four-course dinner at legendary Fior d’Italia Restaurant in historic North Beach (www.fior.com), followed by a brief program with the drivers and a tribute to Medlen. Cost is $125 per person.

All proceeds benefit Speedway Children’s Charities, the charitable arm of Infineon Raceway. The Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities has distributed more than $2.1 million to Sonoma County youth groups since 2002.

The evening will begin with a no-host cocktail reception at 6:30, followed by dinner and the program at 7:30. If interested in purchasing a ticket to this event, please email Denise Silver at [email protected] or call 707-933-3950. Only 100 seats are available, so act today.

bad talladega fans, bad, bad

I usually love the whole green, white, checkered, ending — now dubbed Overdrive — but this weekend it was pretty lame. It was very anti-climactic.

I’m not going to go into the whole Jeff Gordon-breaking-Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s-career-wins-record-fans-go-crazy debacle, except to say that I agree with tallglassofmilk in that if the Talladega fans can’t behave themselves ‘Dega should lose it’s second race. They should hand it over to Infineon, us Northern California NASCAR fans know not to throw things when we’re mad. We’d just make shirts that say things like “Anybody But Gordon” and call it day.

I’m still annoyed/upset about Casey Mears’ crash in the middle of the race. I thought he was going to make it this time and finally win one but alas it was not meant to be. He was so pissed when he jumped out of his car, seeing that emotion reminds you how much this means to these guys. It’s not just another day at the office. They go out there every race with the intention to win.

It was so very cool to see no-name drivers race upfront this weekend. Guys like Sterling Marlin, Kenny Wallace, David Ragan, Regan Smith, and David Stremme all led laps at Talladega. Congrats to them, I want to see more of that. Words cannot express how sick I am of seeing Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon winning these races.

The rest of my Sunday was filled with more racing coverage. After the NASCAR Nexel Cup race I caught the end of the IndyCar race in Kansas. Dan Wheldon was the winner and apparently there was some pit road debacle involving teammates Danica Patrick and Tony Kanaan. Tony took a page from the Tony Stewart PR handbook and left the race track without commenting on the events of pit road (Danica hit his car on her way out of the pits which ultimately caused Tony to fall 8 laps down, finishing 15th for the day).

Now everyone’s attention will turn to the Indianapolis 500, the race is on May 27th but the media hype is already beginning. Oh yay, a whole month of talking about the same things over and over and over again.

In other news…

Ashley Force went up against John Force for the first time in her burgeoning Funny Car career. She beat her dad in the first round at Atlanta Dragway.

The marquee match of the day was in round one when Ashley Force beat her famous father, John, by a 4.779 to 5.783 margin in the first father-daughter Pro-level race in NHRA history.

“Today I’m a proud father,” John said. “I’ve dreamed of this day for a long time, and it makes me emotional to think it finally came true. She’s a great young driver and she’s probably gonna whip me a bunch, but I’m okay with it because she’s my baby.”

Ashley went on to win her second round match-up but lost in the semifinals to Mike Ashley. All in all still a great day for women in the NHRA, it won’t be long until she’s a Funny Car winner.


talladega_dalejrgordon.jpg

Jeff Gordon is saluted by Dale Earnhardt Jr. after winning the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

talladega_fanscans.jpg

Fans throw beer cans onto the track as Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Dupont Chevrolet, takes the Sunoco checkered flag to win the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 29, 2007 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

talladega_ingridgordon.jpg

Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, poses for a photo with his wife, model Ingrid Vandebosch, in victory lane after after Gordon won the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 29, 2007 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

introducing carl edwards, record exec

Daytona is 30 days away and I’m getting more and more excited about it by the minute.

Teams continued to test at Daytona International Speedway this week, including Carl Edwards and his Office Depot crew. Turns out Cousin Carl is a bit of a music aficionado. He’s the co-owner of a new record label that he started with some friends. (photo credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Here’s more from a press release:

Playing a guitar is a bit of a project for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford), who reads chassis hiccups like sheet music and manhandles steering wheels.

But feeling his way through cords and riffs hasn’t stymied Edwards. As the creator — along with friends in his native Missouri — of new recording label Back 40 Records, Edwards hopes to provide a boost for unknown artists who need it.

“I like the people that write their own songs and are really singing about something that they care about,” Edwards said Monday prior to NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway.

“I tell you somebody I met the other day who was really cool was Danielle Peck, the country music singer. She was really nice and it was really cool to hear her story and how hard she’d worked, and then to listen to her music.”

Edwards knows the power of a big break: He has advanced from obscurity to stardom in only three years with Roush Racing. And as this week’s second session of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup preseason testing begins at Daytona, he’s searching for a way back to the top of the series charts.

“There were times last year where I thought, ‘Man, what am I doing wrong here?’” said Edwards, who followed 2005′s third-place finish with last season’s frustrating 12th-place effort.

A crew-chief change from Bob Osborne to Wally Brown, then back to Osborne for 2007 seems to have settled things, allowing Edwards to pursue a comeback — plus his new role as music mogul.

“We’ve got our record label going so I’ve been listening to that stuff — all the Back 40 artists — everything, man,” Edwards said. “The last really neat CD that I got — and I got to meet the guys — was the Robert Randolph band. I thought that was a great CD, so that’s probably what I’ve listened to the most, lately.”

Edwards, who jammed onstage with the band in December’s NASCAR Busch Series Awards Banquet performance, grew up listening to his father and two uncles strum guitars at family reunions. His own tastes took a historical turn — borrowing heavily from his parents’.

“When I was about 14, I found a record player and some records that they’d stacked away in the basement,” Edwards said, “and it was like John Denver, and Simon and Garfunkel — stuff like that. So for a long time, I never listened to current music. I was probably 17 when I started driving my car and I’d listen to whatever was on the radio.”

I like Carl Edwards, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, but I think I’m liking him more lately ever since Tony Stewart talked about how he thinks Carl is “Eddie Haskell”. I give Tony points for comparing Carl to Eddie, a name I’ve used for certain people in my personal life, but Tony kinda irks me so I still have to stick with Carl for the time being. Plus Carl is way cuter than Tony so there ya go.
:)

In other news…

Ashley Force announced that she’ll be racing in Funny Car this year. This is great news! I can’t wait to see her competing against the men — and her father — at Infineon later this year. In an episode of Driving Force (on A&E) they show her qualifying to get her Funny Car license. It’s one of the sweetest episodes. John Force gets so emotional when she finally hits the mark that it got me all teary-eyed (which really isn’t that hard, but still). Anyway, Go Ashley!


Ashley Force, 24, stands with her father, 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force, next to the funny car she will drive this coming season in the NHRA Poweraide Series Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 16, 2007 in Yorba Linda, Calif. (AP Photo/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Will Lester)

I’m not digging her shorter hair, she definitely looks better with it longer.

– He’s baaack. Jeremy Mayfield was back in the saddle testing his new Toyota ride at Daytona this week. *sigh* I can’t wait for this race season to begin. There are a million and one storylines to be watched. Hold on tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


Driver Jeremy Mayfield talks with crew members during NASCAR auto racing testing at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

she’s gonna set you free

You may have heard of a lil’ reality show called Driving Force on A&E. I’ve got a season pass for it on my Tivo and I try to watch it whenever I can. It’s one of those shows I have to be in the right mood for because, well, I just do.

The father is John Force, a drag racing superstar. He is so funny, and loud and just completely honest. He’s the first to admit that maybe he’s made some mistakes in his life, in his marriage in particular, and he’s aware of them. He kind of just talks and talks and then deals with whatever damage his words have caused later.

Overall I think he’s a great guy. His heart really seems to be in the right place, especially when it comes to his daughters, Ashley, 23, Brittany, 19, and Courtney, 17. He’s interested in them, in their lives, and he’s proud of ‘em too — even if he’d kill to have a son.

It’s a very cool show that gives great insight into the day-to-day life of a family whose world centers around racing. Oh! And they also have the best TV theme song ever because they use the Wolfmother song “Woman.” I love that song right now. Check out a clip from Driving Force below.