All posts in Race Weekends

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champion’s week in vegas: after the lap

After the Lap presented by Tissot (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)After the Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony, I left the Venetian and headed back to my room so that I could change out of my “business casual” dress and into clothes that were much warmer. It was so cold in Vegas. I wished it would get into the 70s but it never got close. Friday night, the night of the awards ceremony it was in the low 50s with freeze warnings in effect.

So I changed my clothes and tried to walk quickly to the monorail at Harrah’s/Imperial Palace station so that I could get to the MGM Grand as fast as possible because that’s where the start/finish line was for the Victory Lap. I wanted to see the top-12 drivers doing burnouts, but it wasn’t to be. I missed the whole thing. What I did see, from the windows of the monorail, was the traffic that was backed up for at least a mile next to the Strip. That was kinda neat.

champion’s week in vegas: spreading ‘fabulous’ awareness

Getting ready for the 2009 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards CeremonyThursday, December 3rd was a big day full of events. However, my first event of the day had nothing to do with NASCAR but everything to do with moving from my $40 room at Harrah’s to my awesome not that much more expensive room at the Mirage. I loved my room at the Mirage so much that I took pictures of it. Which, I think, is saying something. For one, it had an iPod docking station & player so I could listen to my playlists while I got ready. The overall room design was modern & contemporary cool, complete with large flat screen TV with HD channels.

Anyway, after I got all checked in at the Mirage and waded through all of the authentic cowboys in town for the 2009 Wrangler National Rodeo Finals, I made my way over to the Venetian across the street for the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony.

Before the ceremony the top-12 drivers were available in an adjacent ballroom for Q&A sessions with media. I only had one question that I had any interest in asking any of the drivers and that was “Do you have any big plans for the off-season?”

Everyone was already engaged with media from various outlets: print, online, and TV. So I did a quick lap around taking pictures, and then chatted with ESPN PR.

champion’s week in vegas: beginning at the end

2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony table centerpieceInstead of starting from the beginning, I’m going to start with the end and work my way backwards.

Friday was of course the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony at the Wynn in Las Vegas. I woke up that morning with a slight hangover from the previous night’s festivities. I spent the majority of the morning willing myself to feel normal and to not vomit even though vomiting probably would have made me feel better, but whatever. I went down to Carnegie Deli and got their chicken soup, which helped tremendously.

That morning I had to go over to the Wynn (I stayed at the Mirage Thursday and Friday, and Harrah’s on Wednesday) to pick up my ticket to the banquet. Passing through the lobby I caught sight of Ron Malec, car chief of the no. 48 Lowe’s team, taking pictures with his girlfriend.

Along with the ticket to the event that told me my table number for the night, I also got to pick up the wristband to get me into the after party and a mini replica of the Sprint Cup Championship trophy. It’s as cute and cool as you’d expect, and it also doubles as a paper weight.

champion’s week in vegas: my schedule

2894632804_ecac5c3747_mI’m becoming such a grown-up. Ever since I found out that I was able to attend the Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony I’ve been all over the place. I’ve been excited, anxious, giggly, nervous, and geeked out. But then last week I told myself to just calm the eff down because before I knew it it would all be over and I’d be going home, and I don’t want to rush the whole going home part. So I’m learning to be all relaxed and chill about the upcoming events, but it’s really hard. :)

I leave for Vegas tomorrow afternoon, but as far as I’m concerned the trip starts early in the morning when I get my hair done. I’m one of those people that enjoys making the details of getting things together for the trip apart of the trip itself. So getting to find a “black tie” appropriate dress, scheduling my makeup session, finding the right accessories for the dress, and figuring out some questions I might want to ask drivers should I dare ask them, has been so much fun. The fact that just thinking about this stuff makes me happy is awesome.

So here’s the schedule of stuff that I’ll be attending while in Vegas for Champion’s Week. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, or just check back here and read my Tweets to the right in my sidebar for my updates. I’m not bringing my laptop ’cause I’m having enough anxiety about transporting my dress and I don’t need anything else to worry about.

jimmie johnson + kids = adorableness

Jimmie Johnson continued his Miss America-like tour of the country on Monday by visiting his hometown and handing over money to his alma mater, Crest Elementary School in El Cajon, California on behalf of his foundation.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation has given almost $1 million in grants to schools in California, North Carolina and Oklahoma, which is very, very cool. Our schools can definitely use the help. So even if you’re not a fan of Jimmie for what he does on the track, you should love him for what he does off of it.


Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, and his wife Chandra meet with students at his alma mater, Crest Elementary School on Monday in El Cajon, Calif. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, and his wife Chandra meet with students at his alma mater, Crest Elementary School on Monday in El Cajon, Calif. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

there was a race on sunday? really??

Jimmie Johnson celebrates winning the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix International Raceway, his seventh victory of 2009. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)Sunday’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix International Raceway was boring and I’m not saying that because Jimmie Johnson won. I’m saying it because it was boring, and the drama that involved Dale Earnhardt Jr. did not help things, like, at all.

Or maybe I thought it was boring because I was too caught up in trying on the dress I bought for the Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony. On Saturday, I went dress shopping with my mom and missed all of the Denny Hamlin/Brad Keselowski hullabaloo from the Nationwide race. On Sunday, I bought my dress, after starting with 10 contenders I found “the one” half an hour before the race started, and I really, really like it. I have to be honest, until I leave for Vegas this is all I’m going to be thinking about. I’m over Jimmie, and I’ve made peace with Dale’s season (Is it 2010 yet??!). I’m all about Champion’s Week; I’m counting down the days!

In other news…

– It’s safe to search the site again. There were issues with the Google Custom Search getting hijacked, but I’ve updated the code and the coast is clear.

And now, Phoenix photo fun time after the jump!

sprint cup awards ceremony: i’ll be there!

2009 NASCAR Champion's Week in Las Vegas LogoI’ve been invited to the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas!!!!!

Yes! I’m beyond excited about going to the Awards Ceremony (on December 4th) and a bunch of the other events leading up to it (on December 3rd).

I’m sure I’ll have a ton of stuff to tell you about, and photos to share, when it’s all said and done. The banquet is a formal “black-tie” affair so I’m betting on at least one post just about what I’m going to be wearing that night. I have to find a dress, and shoes, and a purse, and accessories! This is serious business.

I’m going to be geeking out on this one for a while. :)

because you should be there when jimmie picks up his 4th championship trophy

The little Las Vegas SignIs everybody done talking about Talladega yet? Let’s move on to talking about more important things like “What will Chandra Johnson be wearing during Champion’s Week?” and “Who will be Chad Knaus’ date?” or “Can I be Ron Malec’s date?” (I’m kidding, okay, sorta, no really I’m kidding, maybe.)

That’s way more fun isn’t it? And speaking of the Championship festivities there are a number of ways for fans to get tickets to attend the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony that is being held for the first time in Las Vegas on December 4, 2009 (my mom’s birthday!).

Here’s a handy-dandy rundown of all of the opportunities:

  • Bristol Motor Speedway will give four awards ceremony tickets to a selected fan who has attended every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol since the track’s 1961 opening (open to current ticket-holders).
  • Daytona International Speedway is using two different promotions involving two sets of two tickets. Fans should visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/awardsceremony to register for both random drawings.
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway also is using two promotions involving two sets of two tickets. One is well on its way; interested fans were to visit IMS’s administrative lobby on Oct. 14 to register to win. For the second promotion, fans should visit the track’s web site, www.brickyard.com, to complete an online registration form. Note: You can’t win both promotions.
  • Infineon Raceway is hosting a sealed bid auction for two awards ceremony tickets. The auction will benefit Speedway Children’s Charities. Visit www.infineonraceway.com for more information.
  • Kansas Speedway will use four tickets as part of an enter-to-win contest. Each fan winner will receive two tickets, plus spending money, airfare and hotel. Click here for more information.
  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway will use four tickets for its promotion. Visit www.lvms.com for more information.
  • Lowe’s Motor Speedway will use four tickets as a Speedway Club Members auction item, with proceeds benefiting Speedway Children’s Charities. Visit www.lowesmotorspeedway.com for more information.
  • Michigan International Speedway’s two tickets will be distributed via a drawing. Included is a trip to Las Vegas. Season-ticket-holders who renew are automatically entered in the drawing. Visit www.mispeedway.com for more information.
  • New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s promotion was a part of its ongoing “FansFirst” initiative. Anyone who purchased tickets for the Sylvania 300 on Sept. 20 was eligible to win a trip to Las Vegas – airfare, lodging, $1,000 in spending money and two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony.
  • Phoenix International Raceway is using two fan tickets as part of a ticket-purchase promotion. Visit www.phoenixraceway.com for more information.
  • Richmond International Raceway will reward one fan with two tickets, but if you want their seats, be prepared to do a little work. Fans must submit a video describing why they should be selected as Richmond’s Fan Reporter in Las Vegas, plus include their most memorable moment at the track. Visit www.rir.com for more information.
  • Texas Motor Speedway is using two pairs of two tickets in separate promotions. One pair will be part of a live auction with proceeds benefiting the Texas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. Fans must register for a chance to win the other pair of tickets. Visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com for more information.
  • Watkins Glen International is using a pair of tickets to reward a longtime fan of the track. Along with tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, the winner will receive a trip to Las Vegas, which includes airfare, lodging and rental car expenses. Visit www.theglen.com for more information.
  • Kurt Busch will auction off two fan packages during his charity golf tournament on Dec. 1 in Las Vegas. Both packages include two tickets to the awards ceremony and a meet-and-greet with Kurt. Visit www.kurtbusch.com/foundation for more information.
  • Greg Biffle is giving away a total of four fan tickets to the awards ceremony. He’ll give away two tickets during his weekly internet radio show, “Straight Talk With The Biff.” Fans are encouraged to call and tell Greg why they’re his biggest supporters. He’ll use the other two awards ceremony tickets as part of an auction to raise funds for the Greg Biffle Foundation. Visit www.gregbiffle.com for more information on both contests.
  • Ford “I’m Driving One” Online Sweepstakes — One grand-prize winner (and one guest) receives a 2010 Ford Taurus, plus an Ultimate NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week Experience, including an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas, two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, and special recognition during the NASCAR After the Lap presented by Tissot program. Visit www.imdrivingone.com for more information.
  • Bank of America (NASCAR RacePoints®) — Two Champion’s Week VIP packages were made available for redemption that included tickets and access to the awards ceremony. Visit www.nascarracepoints.com for more information on the NASCAR RacePoints program.
  • The NASCAR Foundation — Ten tickets will be auctioned as part of the Foundation’s Champion’s Week package fundraiser. The auction is from Nov. 9-23 and will be hosted on NASCAR.COM. Visit www.NASCAR.COM/foundation for more information.

my end to the pepsi 500

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, pulls into Victory Lane on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)And now my final, FINAL, post about the Pepsi 500 weekend at Auto Club Speedway!

Before driver introductions got started I met Heather, who is a friend of David Gilliland and his family, she’s also a Kasey Kahne fan. She reads my blog and we tweeted our locations and met up in the garage. We had a grrreat time hanging around, waiting to see which garage exit Kasey would use to go out to the driver intros stage. Because, really, you can never have enough Kasey Kahne photos.

There was no way I was going out to driver intros; it was a packed madhouse out there. I waited and then went out to pit road for the National Anthem. And I just so happened to stand near Kasey Kahne’s car ’cause it was near the exit I like.

pepsi 500: just call me the driver locator

Sprinkles Cupcakes for Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)So I’m finally wrapping up my posts about the Pepsi 500. It’s only a week overdue, but whatever. :)

Sunday was of course the Pepsi 500 and the morning was left open to do whatever made my little heart happy.

That weekend had been a celebration of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s birthday, which was October 10th, and Hendrick Motorsports 25th Anniversary. So it was only fitting that there was a Hendrick Motorsports hospitality tent, dubbed the “Party Zone,” where fans who bought tickets could eat, drink, be merry and ask Hendrick drivers, Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon, questions before the start of the day’s race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan Stan got to meet Dale Jr. on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Auto Club Speedway picked one fan that purchased one of the special Dale Jr. Birthday ticket packages to meet Dale himself on Sunday morning. The Speedway let me go along for the ride. Well, sorta. I met Stan (photographed at right), the lucky fan who was going to meet Dale and present him with special No. 88 cupcakes from Sprinkles. Stan was a very nice guy, who had been a fan of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and transferred his loyalty over to Dale Jr.

I rode with Stan over to the hospitality tent where we parted ways and I went inside to wait for the Q&A session to begin, and Stan went on to meet Dale just before he took the stage.

I don’t know how their meeting went down, but I’m sure it was cool.

It was while I was standing around watching some country music cover band perform that Erin, a very cool woman who reads this very blog, came up and introduced herself. It was soo nice of her to say hello. Even though I have traffic numbers from Google that tell me people come to my site everyday it still amazes me when I meet a real person who reads my blog and likes it.

I stuck around long enough to watch Dale take to the stage and watch people lose their minds over his very presence. He seemed kinda groggy. It was like 9am PST but back east that’s 6am, so I could understand why he might not be all bright and shiny.

After all that I went back over to the infield to go to the Drivers Meeting. I decided I was going to take pictures of drivers but that devolved into just standing outside of the meeting room and not taking pictures. :) At that point it just seemed like I’d taken pictures before and what was the point?

Racing fans Shari & Steve on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)It was there that I met Shari and Steve (photographed at left), a couple from Phelan, California who were on the lookout for Tony Stewart. I let them know that Tony was in the driver’s meeting room already and that he had to come out on our side of the building (there are two exits) because his PR guy was standing nearby. They had a Home Depot jacket that they wanted to get Tony to sign, they’d gotten Greg Zipadelli to sign it the day before. As the drivers meeting let out they were able to get Tony’s autograph.

Shari & Steve were super nice people and I was totally glad I could help them out in a little way. It’s actually my favorite thing to do at a track, help people stalk their fave drivers. Ok, not “stalk” but get their autograph or a photo, especially kids. At Infineon this year there was a group of little boys who were waiting near the garage with their mother to get autographs. Security had moved them behind a fence but next to the bathrooms. I saw Kyle Busch sprint to the men’s room just behind them but the kids hadn’t noticed. So of course I took it upon myself to tell them Kyle was nearby and to be on the lookout when he left the bathroom. It’s fun to help people check something off their list, or finish a really cool story they’ll tell their friends later.

So if you see me at a track and you wanna know where so and so driver is I might be able to help you out!
:)

joey logano wins and then his dad sticks his finger in greg biffle’s face

Joey Logano rolls into Victory Lane for the Copart 300 on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)I swear you guys, I’m trying to write-up my weekend at the Pepsi 500 as fast as possible, but between flying to Vegas and feeling sickly, I’m going as fast as I can. So bear with me, ’cause I want you to read this stuff! :)

Saturday at Auto Club Speedway was qualifying for the Nationwide Series race the Copart 300 that was taking place in the afternoon.

For qualifying I took the same tack I used for the Pepsi 500 quals and stood in the garage in the area where the top 3 cars would park. I used the opportunity to take a bunch of photos.

give auto club speedway a break

Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)A lot of attention that Auto Club Speedway gets is usually about their attendance numbers. Sometimes people call into question whether or not they should have two races since they never can seem to sell out the place.

I think everybody should get over it and move on. I think it would be an absolute shame to take their races away. Maybe they don’t need two, but you have to stay in the Southern California market. You just have to. Nobody else, except maybe the Daytona 500, gets the amount of celebrities out to their races the way Auto Club Speedway does. Of course it’d be really sad if they didn’t considering their proximity to Hollywood and all.

another awkward moment in press conference history

Juan Pablo Montoya answers the media's questions on Friday, October 9, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Finally, I’m sitting down to write the first of many posts about my weekend at the Auto Club Speedway for the Pepsi 500.

Friday was the usual routine of top-12 drivers press conferences. I was in a majority of them and some seriously interesting stuff went down. Okay, so it was only during Juan Pablo Montoya’s session that I had one of those Southwest commercial “Wanna Get Away??” moments. And I wasn’t even the one who caused the weirdness.

indy grand prix of sonoma: i want an audi and a scooter for xmas

Scott Dixon heads back to the garage after practicing on Sunday, August 23, 2009 at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)On Sunday, last weekend, at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma when I arrived at the track, again at 8am, I realized quickly that there wasn’t much to do. I sat on pit road and watched as fans and VIPs took spins around the track with professional drivers from the Jim Russell Racing School. The whole thing made me wish I owned an Audi, the car of choice for the day’s hot laps.

Eventually, I ducked into Jennifer Azzi’s press conference. As I wrote a few days before the weekend started Azzi was on hand as the race’s Grand Marshal. It was cool to see her and I must admit that I totally missed my opportunity to introduce myself and tell her what an inspiration she’d been to me as a kid. I’m shy, OK. And I have to work up what I’m going to say in my mind before I actually do it and make sure it’s not lame. There never was a perfect time, but whatever, she’s on Twitter and I plan on saying something to her at some point over there.

indy grand prix of sonoma: antinucci sighting does not disappoint

The garage on Saturday, August 22, 2009 at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Last Saturday I arrived at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma bright and early (8am to be exact) for the start of my Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend.

Not long after I picked up my credentials, got to the media center, picked up the necessary schedules and general information I’d need for the day I had my first driver sighting.

Graham Rahal was in Victory Lane with his No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team car for an interview with a local television station.

how do you pack for race day?

What do you bring with you for race day? A visual of some of the items from Dawn's listIn the months and weeks leading up to the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway I spoke to my co-worker/friend Dawn about the big event. This was the third year in a row that she’d attended the NASCAR race weekend in Sonoma with a super large group of people, about 20-30 (although this year the group dwindled to 10 because of the race falling on Father’s Day). They start tailgating at 6am and don’t stop until well after the race is over, usually around 8pm.

kasey’s winsome stare and dale’s magnetism

Kasey Kahne drives his No. 9 Budweiser Dodge to Victory Lane at the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, June 21, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Okay, so finally I’m telling you about my Sunday at last weekend’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway.

Saturday night I came home with a mighty impressive suntan/sunburn and you would think that would lead me to make sure I bring a hat and a put sunscreen on the next day, but that didn’t happen. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think to do either of those things. I’ve been to many races and I’ve never had a sunburn like the one I’m still dealing with to this day. I’ve been wearing a hat for the majority of the week to cover up my peeling forehead. Was that TMI (too much information)?

the one where joey logano takes his toys and goes home

The crowd on hand for the Bennett Lane Winery 200 at Infineon Raceway on Saturday, June 20, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Sometimes I think the only reason I write blog entries is to use the subject lines I come up with. Often I come up with the headline before I think of the actual content. hehe.

Anyway, this is the story of Saturday at Infineon Raceway during the NASCAR Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend.

So the big thing for me was watching the Camping World Series West race in which David Gilliland, Boris Said and Joey Logano were participants. I’ve never witnessed a Camping World Series race before (East or West) so it was a new thing for me.

I found a choice spot behind the pits next to the start/finish line. For a good portion of the race I was sitting indian-style on the second wall beneath the grandstands. It was the best place to watch the race from because I was directly in front of one of the Sprint Vision screens. I didn’t miss a thing. When the action wasn’t in front of me it was on the screen.

mark martin just wants to k.i.s.s.

Infineon Raceway - Friday, June 19, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Here’s a little known fact about me. I get seriously nervous driving to the racetrack on the first day of a NASCAR race weekend. I mean, I get butterflies and super anxious. I’ve learned that this is a good thing, because if I wasn’t worried about it then it means it’s no big deal and it doesn’t mean anything to me. If I’m nervous about it I’m doing something right.

So that was me on Friday morning driving the super short 30 minutes to Infineon Raceway from my new home in Sonoma County. I moved to the city of Cotati just to be closer to my day job and cut down on my commute expenses but in the process I received the huge bonus of saving my sanity by not having to sit in excruciating traffic leaving the track each day. It’s a beautiful thing.

When I arrived at the track I picked up my credentials and then headed straight to the media center to grab the necessary schedules. I had to park up top next to the helipad and I made the wrong decision to just walk down the hills to the garage instead of waiting for the shuttle. Luckily for me this super nice man offered me a ride in his golf cart. It was great to not have to walk the whole way, but that ride down the hill in a super open vehicle was frightening. The entire time I was mentally and physically bracing myself for the possibility of being catapulted out of it at any moment. Super fun.

follow me this weekend

After one day of NASCAR fun at Infineon I already have new tan lines and am seriously tired. I’m not sure when my next post will be so if you wanna know what’s going on with me as it’s happening be sure to follow me on Twitter. You can also subscribe to my Twitter RSS feed of updates if you don’t wanna join in on the Twitter fun yourself.