Awww, man! The only NASCAR drivers included in the Gillette Young Guns “Class of 2011″ are Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. Nothing against them, of course. I’m just sad that Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards aren’t included.
Still, I think Denny and Kyle do a good job of representing NASCAR.
Here’s the video introducing the new Young Guns and after that is a behind the scenes video with Denny and Kyle.
This year’s crop of racing-related commercials found drivers singing, professing their love of love and playing poker with Big Foot. Here is my list of the best commercials of 2010:
Tony Stewart Burger King Employee
My absolute favorite commercial of the year because it was real. Tony really did work at a Burger King and the result was really funny. I know it would be copying but I really think Lowe’s should put Jimmie Johnson to work in one of their stores. He’d be great at selling appliances, dontcha think?
The Sponsifier program was a big hit this year and it’s gotta be because their commercials were hilarious. I will never be able to get the line “I want Kyle Busch in a pink car and a pink suit” out of my mind or Joey Logano’s chainmail outfit and that look of utter disgust on his face.
Gillette Young Guns & Big Foot
Because Big Foot is a sore loser. I find that idea to be really funny.
Mario Andretti Honda
How adorable is Mario Andretti? Like, really adorable. All because he says “I’m hungry.” I love it.
Coca-Cola Drivers Sing it Out
People who can’t sing (or aren’t known for singing) and then unexpectedly start singing is a recipe for hilarity.
Honorable Mention: Gillette Young Guns Wedding
Because I just like Clint Bowyer in this one. We need more commercials with Clint flexing his funny bone in 2011!
– On Wednesday President Barack Obama played host to NASCAR’s champions in what I can only describe as the coolest thing I’ve seen happen at the White House in really, really long time.
I loved that in his interview with ESPN President Obama stressed the importance of NASCAR and its role in helping the automotive industry. It’s a very important marketing tool and I’m so glad he took the time out from his insane schedule to support the automakers and NASCAR.
When I was watching the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway last Sunday, I couldn’t help but think of a Seinfeld episode called “The Jimmy.” Pretty much everything in life can be related back to a Seinfeld episode as far as I’m concerned. Anyway I had a fun time imagining what Jimmie Johnson would be like if he referred to himself in the third person like “The Jimmy” does in this episode, it cracks me up every time:
Did you get your copy of the September 22 issue of ESPN The Magazine with New Orleans Saint Jeremy Shockey on the cover? Well why the heck not? I loved the Shockey piece (I’ve been dying to know how he felt about sitting on the sidelines for the Super Bowl), but I also bought it because of the article featuring Joey Logano and his racing buddies Mark Davis and Chase Austin. All three guys are up and coming in the world of NASCAR racing, but of course Joey is waaay ahead of his friends on the NASCAR totem pole of success. It’s a good read and I recommend it.
Oh and check out this little video (below) of Joey, Mark and Chase at their photo shoot for ESPN The Magazine:
In other news…
– You might have noticed the new logo gracing the back of Carl Edwards‘ No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion at Kansas this past weekend. If you didn’t, you’re just not paying attention now are you? Anyway, the logo I speak of was for the Mystique Salon & Spa (located in Boise, Idaho) owned by Julie Catalano*, which is this year’s “Official Small Business of NASCAR, courtesy of Office Depot.” Julie was flown out to Kansas for the race weekend and will receive a $10,000 small business makeover from Office Depot, plus her company logo will stay on Carl’s car for the remainder of the season. Now how’s that for great advertising?!
“This is an amazing opportunity for any small business owner, and I am thrilled to have the Mystique Salon and Spa logo featured on the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion,” Catalano said. “Office Depot helps me take care of my business every day and having that kind of support, along with hard work, has been very important in expanding my business during the past eight years.”
Edwards, who also created his own small business, Back 40 Records, said he was impressed by the hard work and dedication Catalano had put into her company.
“As an entrepreneur myself, I know how hard it is to run a small business,” Edwards said. “It takes a lot of time, effort and creativity to build and operate a successful small business, and Julie (Catalano) has done an incredible job — Mystique Salon and Spa truly deserves to be the Office Depot ‘Official Small Business of NASCAR.’”
*Okay, so this is beyond off topic but her last name reminded me of the character Jordan Catalano from the awesome show “My So-Called Life” from the mid-90s that I absolutely LOVED when I was in high school. Jordan Catalano was played by the insanely hot actor Jared Leto (who also fronts a band called 30 Seconds to Mars). Anywho, I just had to share that totally irrelevant piece of sort-of trivia. Ha! This is seriously how my mind works.
Last week the top 12 drivers in The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship were in New York City for Chase Media Day. For the drivers it meant making television appearances and conducting a bunch of interviews with various media outlets.
All twelve drivers appeared on The David Letterman Show to run down Dave’s “Top Ten List”, or in this case, a top-twelve list:
Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson hung out on The Early Show with host Harry Smith:
Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards went on Tony Stewart’s show on Sirius Satellite Radio and they addressed their “rivalry.” There’s a clip of them discussing exactly that over on Tony’s page at Sirius.com. Look for the section on the right-hand side with the “Sounds of the Show” heading.
And now for the photos, I’d like to point out Dale Earnhardt Jr. and how much I loved his sweater/button-up combo. That’s a very good look for him. In fact all of the guys looked really good, kudos to them and anyone that helped them pick out their outfits.
I caught the majority of qualifying today and Jimmie Johnson walked away with the pole for Sunday’s race at Pocono, but the really cool thing is that David Gilliland qualified third! You could have knocked me over with a feather. I’m sure the Gilly Gang is super stoked about this development!
It’s truly great for him; I hope he can turn it into something awesome. I don’t want to say exactly what I want him to turn it into but ya know what I mean. Everyone would freak out and I seriously can’t wait for that day to come. Momentum my friend, momentum!
So here are a few other things I learned while watching the ESPN qualifying session telecast today:
1.) Clint Bowyer doesn’t know much about the Olympics (summer or winter).
2.) Kasey Kahne is a dude and he likes watching chicks in bathing suits. Shocker, I know.
3.) Jimmie Johnson proposed to his wife Chandra on the side of a mountain while they were snowboarding, when she least expected it.
In other news…
Just found this video of Michael McDowell driving on a precision course that cops use for training. He, uh, does some damage.
This is sort of old but it’s still a fun thing to watch. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and country music star Dierks Bentley are interviewed at Dale’s new bar/club/music venue Whisky River in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Yesterday I went to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma for the NASCAR Sprint Cup testing sessions. Let me tell you it was really cool!
First of all, it was free and you can’t beat free.
Second, everything was open. By open I mean seriously open. I parked my car in the garage area, literally next to the haulers. The garage stalls were right across from my car. When it’s a race weekend, everything is blocked off and you have to have a garage pass. There was none of that yesterday. There were no Hot or Cold garage warnings. If I had the balls to do it I totally could have walked right into someone’s garage and been like “Hey, what’s up? How’s the car handling today?”
That being said you really had to watch yourself ’cause the guys were coming in and out of the garage left and right and there was no one around with a whistle to tell you to get out of the way. Case in point a man with two kids was walking towards me in the grandstand/victory lane area completely oblivious to the grumbling race car right behind them.
I always wonder how drivers feel about having the fans right there looking at them, getting in their way, etc. It’s not like I can walk into the Chicago Bears locker room and stare at Brian Urlacher before a game, although if the NFL decides to start doing that sign me up! Just kidding. Sort of. Ok I’m not kidding.
Anyway, back to yesterday. I stood in the victory lane above pit road and realized that this was exactly where I wanted to be at that exact moment. It was so awesome to just be there, taking pictures and watching the cars drive by. There weren’t a lot of people on hand, although more started to come in as I was leaving, but all in all I probably saw less than 15 people all told — lots of grandparents, fathers and sons.
Travis Kvapil, David Ragan, J.J. Yeley, Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish Jr. and David Gilliland were all there to test cars in anticipation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. J.J., David Ragan, Marcos and Travis tested in GT America stock cars provided by Pioneer Motorsports from Lake Oroville, California (outside Sacramento). David Gilliland drove a NASCAR Camping World Series West car. I seriously couldn’t tell who was who ’cause the paint schemes were not their own, except for Sam’s.
Of the drivers that were present I only saw J.J., David Gilliland and Sam outside of their cars. I got a photo of Sam on his cell phone. It was so odd trying to take a photo them. I felt like a paparazzo. You feel like you should be able to say something but you can’t.
I took some very, very bad video of a couple cars on the track. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of video taping live action events, so forgive me.
Here’s a quote from David Gilliland talking about the importance of Infineon:
“People used to think, ‘This is Sonoma, a road race. I’m not good at road races.’ But now, with the points so close, you can’t give up on one race,” said Gilliland. “You can’t have a bad race anymore and expect to be up front. It’s too competitive now, so people are starting to take it more seriously.”
Sam Hornish Jr. chatting on his cell phone during the testing session at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
This is the back of J.J. Yeley discussing stuff with his crew at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
And now the back of David Gilliland talking one of his crew members at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Dale Earnhardt. Jr.’s new adidas JR Nation gear went on sale Friday at the Sports Authority in Daytona, Florida. Before I share these photos with you let me just say that Dale was not actually at the store. It was just the clothes, clothes that will be on sale and available for the foreseeable future. No joke, people camped out. Now, I am a Dale Jr. fan too — I’m already having anxiety attacks about the race tomorrow — but I’m not camping out to buy clothes. However, that being said, I do think it’s cool that there are people out there that are that dedicated and wanted to get the new stuff the second it was available.
Excited NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans began lining up at 10:30 p.m. outside Sports Authority in Daytona, Fla. on Thursday night, February 14 to be among the first to purchase the new adidas JR Nation fan gear. The adidas JR Nation Gear, which features the same adidas ClimaCool technology that keeps Dale Jr. cool on the track, made its debut in Daytona and is available nationwide. (credit: adidas)
Ron Heintz Jr., from Vancuver, Wash. shows off his new adidas JR Nation fan gear. Heintz Jr. lined up outside Sports Authority in Daytona beginning at 5:00 a.m. Friday, February 15 and was the very first fan to purchase the official adidas JR Nation gear. (credit: adidas)
Oh and one more thing of note:
Throughout the season, new products, including footwear, accessories and other exclusive gear will rollout in conjunction with special events like All-Star in Charlotte this May. To learn more, they can text 88 to adidas (234327) or visit www.sportsauthority.com/88.
If you haven’t already you’ve gotta check out the trailer for the movie “Speed Racer.” It’s based on the popular cartoon series of the same name. It looks awesome, which is to be expected when it’s been directed by the Wachowski brothers. They’re the dudes behind “The Matrix” film series.
My first intention was to post a bunch of photos from the NASCAR Champions Week in New York. But the majority of the photos are basically Jimmie Johnson around the city — Hey there’s Jimmie and Chad Knaus hanging off a light post! — and who really wants to see that? Exactly. So I picked just the photos that featured Jimmie’s wife Chandra. Why? Because the woman is always so stylish and put together. She looked great the entire week and in every photo so I wanted to give her props for making the best of her situation. I’m sure she adores her husband and is incredibly proud of him, but I bet that whole going to New York and having to plan your wardrobe and probably buy new stuff just for the occasion is so tiring… Wait, what was I talking about? Who am I kidding, she’s so friggin lucky. Gah. Ok… Without further adieu the photos:
Chandra and Jimmie Johnson pose for a photo at the 2007 Champion’s Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
New York Stock Exchange Chief Financial Officer Nelson Chai (left) talks with Chandra and Jimmie Johnson during their tour of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie and Chandra Johnson pose for a photo in Times Square. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and wife Chandra smile for the cameras on the yellow carpet at the Waldorf=Astoria for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony. (Photo Credit: Brad Barket / Getty Images for NASCAR)
In other news…
– The Aussie take on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s trip to Australia.
– The Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals are being televised for the first time ever, but there’s one little catch. It’s going to televised on Pay-Per-View with a suggested price of $24.95. 250 drivers will spend 4 days trying to qualify their 800-hp midgets for this race so I guess it’s worth the cost. Notable NASCAR Cup drivers participating this year include Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and JJ Yeley. Check out the commercial below: