All posts in Notes

12 Posts

The Fast and the Fabulous webseries Kickstarter project!

I think I might have mentioned at one point or another that I was working on a plan/idea to make this blog bigger & better. Well, I’m finally ready to tell you about it!

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the 2012 ‘fabulous’ reader survey

It’s that time again. The time when you guys get to fill out a quick, handy-dandy survey that helps me figure out the best way to move this site forward. I REALLY appreciate your time & input. The fact that you read this site AND enjoy it means so much to me.

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a change of pace

As I seem to do every year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of this blog. I’ve thought about stopping. I’ve thought about stopping a lot because I feel like I’m not able to give the blog what it needs and that’s more of me at going to races. You know that I want to go to all of them and if I did I’d have enough content satisfy myself and, most importantly, you.

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a ‘fabulous’ 2011 year in review

The theme of 2011 for The Fast and the Fabulous has to be growth. We grew in traffic, content and opportunities. I am so incredibly thankful for everyone that reads this blog and receives any kind of enjoyment from it. You guys are the best! I had a “car thought” the other day (I do some of my best thinking while driving, this is also similar to “shower thoughts”) and I realized that the reason I read celebrity interviews & magazines in general is because I’m trying to learn something about myself or something that I can apply to my life. And I think that that’s something people can do when they read about my experiences at the track. You might find my stories funny but maybe you learn, or reinforce, something you already knew about yourself from one of my stories or from an interview I did with a driver. That’s what I hope, anyway.

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my nascar year: never give up? never give up

The end of the NASCAR year is quickly approaching. With only 5 races left in the Sprint Cup Series season I figured this was the right time to assess where I am with the “My NASCAR Year 2012″ fundraiser. We’ve stalled at $5,419 which, needless to say, isn’t equal to my goal of $125,000. I am forever grateful to everyone who contributed!

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dale earnhardt jr. doesn’t want to marry you

I am firm believer that honesty is the best policy. It’s gotta be one of the reasons why you guys like this site–because I tell you the truth about what happened to me at the track, even if I look like a dork. So, I felt the need to give you an update on the My NASCAR Year 2012 project. We’re still at $5,419 raised out of the $125,000 goal.

I’ve been contacting potential corporate sponsors and so far have received some interest, but nothing concrete yet. If any of these said potential corporate sponsors are reading this please call me and let’s discuss how we can work together next year. It’s incredibly hard to get across all of the possibilities in an email and hope that my passion and determination for this blog come through. I know that The Fast and the Fabulous is on to something good, and with a solid schedule of races in front of it, it will be GREAT.

You, the reader, can still help get me to my goal by donating money. Just $5 helps close the gap. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Read this.

In other news…

– I’ve extended the deadline to take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey to this Sunday. You can also enter to win the awesome Goo Gone prize package.

– The number one question I get asked is “When is your next race?” Well, this year it’s going to be sporadic at best. I know FOR SURE that I’m going to be at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway the end of this month (August 26-28) for IndyCar action. As for NASCAR, the next race for me is tentatively Kansas in October. And I’m planning on attending Champion’s Week in Vegas in December.

– As the headline says, Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t really interested in getting married, but if you’re a Junior fan you already knew that. Apparently he was on SPEED’s Race Hub show this week and restated his ambivalence towards marriage but he’s still open to having children. I guess the formula for a successful relationship with Dale is to find a woman who is down for that arrangement. Well, not “arrangement” but ya know what I mean, someone who doesn’t care about getting married. It’s totally possible, I mean, look at Brad and Angelina — they’re making it work. I’d be totally open to that as long as I could still have a big party where we invite all our friends and family, I get to wear an amazing dress and we profess our commitment to each other in front of them and then he gives me a (tastefully) ginormous ring. I don’t need to be “legally” married to the guy. Ha! :)

Brad Keselowski was on ESPN this week. Does anyone else get annoyed when they see Brad walking around on his broken ankle that he’s trying to heal? It bugs the hell out of me because he doesn’t need to stand on it. I saw him today during qualifying and I’m like, “Dude! Crutches!! You don’t have to be tough all the time.” Ugh. :)

Brad Keselowski was the big man on ESPN's campus in Bristol, Conn., on Thursday, August 11, 2011. (Credit: ESPN)

Brad Keselowski was the big man on ESPN's campus in Bristol, Conn., on Thursday, August 11, 2011. (Credit: ESPN)

Kevin Harvick threw out the first pitch before the start of the New York Yankees-Los Angeles Angels game in New York this past week.

Here’s Harvick’s take on his pitching skills:

“It was okay. I didn’t throw it in the dirt so that was my only objective. I had a lot of fun and go to see Geno and Joe and just kind of hang out for a couple of hours. So, that was fun.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick meets New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y. before the Los Angeles Angels-New York Yankees game. (Credit: New York Yankees)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick meets New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y. before the Los Angeles Angels-New York Yankees game. (Credit: New York Yankees)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick throws out the first pitch on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y. before the Los Angeles Angels-New York Yankees game. (credit: New York Yankees)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick throws out the first pitch on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y. before the Los Angeles Angels-New York Yankees game. (credit: New York Yankees)

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getting to know you: 2011 ‘fabulous’ reader survey & goo gone giveaway

It’s that time again! Time to take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey! All of this information is important to help me grow this blog and to help prove to potential sponsors that there’s value in partnering with me.

So if you’re like me and enjoy filling out surveys, have at it! It should be fun and easy peasy, I wouldn’t expect it to take longer than 5 minutes to complete.

AND to sweeten the pot this year there’s a giveaway attached to the survey. The truly awesome people at Goo Gone have put together a super-duper prize package for one lucky reader that completes the survey.


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The prize package (pictured above) includes the following:

(1) Goo Gone branded cargo box
(1) 8 oz bottle of Goo Gone
(1) 12 oz bottle of the Goo Gone Spray Gel
(1) 16 oz bottle of the Goo Gone Pro-Power Pump Spray
(1) 14 oz bottle of Goo Gone Painter’s Pal
(1) 8 oz bottle of Goo Gone Coffee Maker Cleaner
(1) Goo Gone Mess-Free Pen

Being a Goo Gone GooRu, I already own the Goo Gone Spray Gel so I can attest to it’s power and super usefulness–makes it ridiculously easy to get pesky sticker goo off my car windshield (The end result of affixing parking stickers to my car for race weekends at the track). And the rest of the products included are equally as helpful.

You can only fill out the survey once, so of course, only one entry per person is allowed. You don’t have to enter the contest if you don’t want to, you’ll have the ability to opt out at the end of the survey.

Thanks so much to Goo Gone for the awesome prize and to YOU the reader for reading this blog! Thank you in advance for the feedback!
:)

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your ‘fabulous’ guide to getting married at a speedway

I was browsing traffic reports for this site when I found that people searching the web with the keywords “get married at a racetrack” found my website. This got me to thinking about race fans and people that might be interested in hosting their wedding at a track and I figured that there probably wasn’t a lot of information on the subject on the web already, so why not create a guide?

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shortcuts: i’m a goo gone gooru

Goo Gone GooRu badgeSo awhile ago I was contacted by representatives from the Goo Gone brand. They found my post about presenting the Hottest Driver Trophy to Tony Stewart where I recounted how I used Goo Gone to get rid of those pesky hot sauce bottle labels. They picked me to be one of their Goo Gone GooRus (gooru = guru, get it?) and I was happy to oblige. This is seriously not an ad, I’m not being paid to say any of this. I just love their product. It’s one of those things that solves a really annoying problem in a simple way. I actually discovered it when I worked at a Best Buy a million years ago. I worked in the appliance department and we had to get rid of those stickers they attach to refrigerators and stuff, so we used Goo Gone and I’ve been a fan ever since. So needless to say I’m honored to be a GooRu! :) Go check out my GooRu of the Week slide on their Facebook page.

In other news…

– Here’s an update on My NASCAR Year 2012. So far we’ve raised $5,419, which is awesome but we’re still far from the $125,000 goal. If you can’t contribute please forward the original post to your friends, co-workers, strangers, etc. I’m looking for corporate sponsors as well, so tell them too. It’s easy (and secure) to donate online, you can do so anonymously if you choose, just check out the Donation page.

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give a little bit: my nascar year 2012

Valli HilaireThe one thing that I KNOW would make this blog GREAT (well, it already is great, but ya know, a lot better) is if I could attend all 36 races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. You, the readers, have said it yourself, the best part of my blog is when I write about my race weekend experiences. And I have to agree with you. Not just because it’s fun for me to have those experiences but the proof is in the analytics, Google Analytics to be exact. I get a lot of traffic from those posts, but because my race attendance is sporadic (at best) I feel like I’m in limbo. And I also feel like I’m not giving you everything that I could & should.

I’m one of those people that if I’m going to do something I want it to be great and I want it to reach its full potential. Since I finally married the two things I’m really passionate about, writing & racing, I feel like I can’t give up on it. I’ve been writing this blog for 5 years now and I want this to be my sole priority when it comes to the thing we call “work.”

I have tried everything I can think of to get myself to all of the races. I had an idea to travel to all of the races and document the whole thing on video, ultimately creating a documentary. That didn’t fly. I had an idea to shadow a race team & driver for a full year. Pitched it to EVERYONE (name a team, I asked them) and nobody was going for it. I had an idea to travel to all of the races in an RV and get sponsors to, you guessed it, sponsor the road trip. I pitched it and got nowhere. While I do reach thousands of people each month (and have a column in a NASCAR magazine), I don’t command the kind of numbers that an entire network of blogs might (think SBNation or Yahoo! or YardBarker, etc).

The reason why I can’t let this go is because I happen to be in the perfect position in my life right now to make this thing happen. Because of a series of unfortunate events I don’t have a real full-time job (although I do have a freelance web production gig) and I don’t have rent to pay (I’m living with my mom & her husband, while I love them it’s highly embarrassing to admit that). So if there was ever a time in my life to make the leap from just doing something that I’m good at to doing the work that wouldn’t feel at all like work — something I love — this would be the time.

The incredibly cool thing that I do have is a passionate, loyal audience of women (and some awesome men) that love NASCAR. You guys dig what I do and I am so incredibly grateful and thankful for that. Which is why I was hesitant to ask what I am about to ask of you. How would you feel about donating money to get me out to all of the races next year? I have a goal of $125,000 to make it happen. That is a lot of money but if you donated just $5 (or more if you want!) and your friends did too, I think it’s entirely possible to reach that goal before the start of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. So far this year over 40,000 people have visited this site. If all of those people gave $5 I’d have $200,000.

I’ve created a corporate sponsor level so that if a company wants to pitch in $5,000 they’ll receive static logo placement on the site and ad runs throughout The Fast and the Fabulous, ‘Fabulous’ News & The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Racing. There’s a $50 ‘Fabulous’ Friend level if you donate that or more. You’ll be listed on the “Fabulous Friends” page as a supporter and it’ll be linked to anything you want (within reason of course, think Twitter, Facebook or your own website).

Truthfully, I never wanted to have to ask you to do this. While you might read this site all the time I’m still just a stranger (learn a little bit more about me here) and you don’t owe me anything. But this is the best idea I have right now. I am committed to this blog and I know that I’m on to something with it and I can’t bare to see it fail. I’ve been to 2 races so far this year and I know I’ll get to at least one more (Infineon) for sure, but after that I have no idea when the next one will be and that makes me so frustrated.

The idea of getting to spend every minute of my time focusing on just this blog alone and telling stories from “the road” would be a dream come true. You — in a really simple & easy gesture — would be helping me live my dream, changing my life with just $5.

So please tell ALL of your friends, neighbors and strangers. :) We’ve got between now and the end of December 2011 to reach the goal.

Your support means the WORLD to me!

(Note: Donations are NOT tax deductible. You have the option to give anonymously, just select “Private” when you go through the donation page.)

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a ‘fabulous’ 2010 year in review

Doesn’t it feel like it was ten years ago that Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500? The NASCAR season is so long that it’s hard to keep track of time, or to feel the weight of it, if that makes any sense. That makes it much more important to look back at the year that was and remember the best moments. This is one of my favorite posts to write because I get to highlight all the posts that I loved writing this year, and remembering something happy makes you feel good. This has been THE hardest year of my life, to the point that I even thought about not writing anymore, and I want to make sure I remember those times that made me feel alive in a good way. Hopefully 2011 will bring more of them!

– Hard Card Credibility: I got one! Woo-hoo! Starting the year with “Get a hard card” checked off my list of goals was pretty awesome.

– Charlotte Adventure: Surreal is the best and only way to describe landing in Charlotte, North Carolina to attend the All-Star Race, the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony AND the Coca-Cola 600. I had a lot of fun exploring Charlotte and the surrounding areas. Other races/events I attended this year were the Pepsi Max 400 at Auto Club Speedway, the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon (Just realized that I never wrote about my second day at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, whoops!), and the 2010 NASCAR Champion’s Week in Las Vegas.

Tony Stewart and Me– Inside the Actor’s Studio with Tony Stewart: Thanks to Office Depot, While I was in Charlotte I had the opportunity to interview Tony Stewart for the very first time. It far exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds. My worst fear was that it ended up on the crappy end of the spectrum of Tony Stewart interviews (something like this), but it was the complete opposite and Tony’s comments seriously made my life. I’m so thankful for that day because it spawned a whole new feature for this site, “Inside the Actor’s Studio with…” Since Tony I’ve published interviews with Martin Truex Jr, David Reutimann, Regan Smith, AJ Allmendinger, Elliott Sadler, Chip Ganassi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose, David Gilliland, Travis Kvapil, Brad Keselowski, Brad Daugherty, Marty Smith, Shannon Spake and Jeff Burton. More to come in 2011!

– Favorite Things Posts: These were the posts that I loved because they were either fun to write, made me laugh or both:

– Nationwide Series Driver Interviews: Curiosity should be my middle name, it’s pretty much what drives me and it’s what motivated me to interview a few of the drivers in the Nationwide Series. For 2011 Michael Annett will join Rusty Wallace Racing, Brian Scott has moved to Joe Gibbs Racing and Scott Lagasse Jr. is working on his NASCAR plans.

– Speaking Up: I had two very awesome opportunities to speak on panels about sports blogging. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to talk about NASCAR and my brand of writing. I absolutely love it and I’m so appreciative of the opportunity that the guys at Blogs with Balls, and the women at Blog World & New Media Expo, gave me to be a part of their events. There’s video of my panel at Blogs with Balls in my post about the experience.

Another reason to “speak up” is when you encounter an actual nut-job stalker stalking someone, in this case Danica Patrick. I still can’t believe that happened, but I’m also glad that nothing bad happened.

– Reader Survey: Thank you to everyone that has taken the reader survey for 2010! I appreciate your time and insight into what I’m doing right and what I could do better with this site. It helps a lot to know who you are and where I stand with you guys. If you haven’t taken the survey, do it now!

– ‘Fabulous’ News: Another task I checked off my list of “things to do” was the creation of ‘Fabulous’ News which allows anyone to quickly post their motorsports press releases, photos and videos to The Fast and the Fabulous.

– TWLOHA: I had a lot of apprehension about sharing my experience with suicide & depression with you guys because it is SO personal and I had no idea what the reaction would be. But I have so much respect and appreciation for what To Write Love on Her Arms does for people that have been in my situation that I felt like I had to show my support and I’m glad that I did. Whatever platform you have to help the causes you’re passionate about–whether that’s Facebook, Twitter or your blog–you should use them.

Thank you for a great year! :)

If you’re new here I suggest reading my year in review’s for 2008 and 2009, too.

a new ‘fabulous’ look for the new year

If you’re reading this on the Fast and the Fabulous website then you can see that I’ve made some changes (If you’re not then you should come on over and take a look).

I think this look is a better reflection of who I am and what the blog is all about. Plus, I was just really tired of all of the orange. I’m so over that color. :) I’m excited about the awesome featured post slideshow on the homepage. It makes me so happy, I can’t even tell you. I love the big photos I get to use there and underneath in the “Latest Posts” section.

In addition to the cosmetic changes, there are a couple technical alterations, too. The first, that affects you directly, is the ability to reply to comments. So if you agree or disagree with something someone else said you can reply to them directly by clicking the word “Reply” under their name. Your comment will be nested under the original comment, keeping the conversation neatly organized.

And if you want to have your own special avatar/profile image to show up with your comments just go over to Gravatar and create one! It’s super easy and free, just make sure you sign up with the same email address that you use when posting comments.

At the top of every post are a group of buttons that allow you to share the stuff you like via Facebook, Twitter, Del.icio.us, or StumbleUpon.

I hope you enjoy the new and improved Fast and the Fabulous! :)