I haven’t missed a Fontana race in 5 years, so it really sucked when I realized I wouldn’t be able to go this year. All the action & drama that happened on Sunday made it that much worse, but then again there’s no guarantee that it would have happened had I gone so I’m using that to make me feel better about the whole thing.
All posts tagged A.J. Allmendinger53 Posts
Good job, Clint Boywer, good job.
There are five races left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship and I’m wondering exactly how much can change in that time.
AJ Allmendinger told ESPN’s Marty Smith that he tested positive for Adderall, a prescription drug for the treatment of ADHD. AJ doesn’t have ADHD, and apparently he told a friend he was tired and the friend gave him a pill that he said was a workout supplement. Right.
I’m so ridiculously late with this post, I must apologize. The Coke Zero 400 came through with some interesting events, including one bombshell that happened before the race even began.
First, let me apologize for my serious delay in writing about Sonoma. The Monday following the race I came down with a cold and subsequently felt like crap ever since and didn’t feel like doing anything at all except breathing.
Did you know that April is National Safe Digging Month? Well, it is and if you’re going to plant a tree (Earth Day was last weekend, but it’s still a good idea to plant a tree!) you should call 811 to make sure you don’t put yourself or others in danger.
Where the hell have I been?? It feels like forever ago since I’ve written anything but there’s a totally awesome reason why: I met a guy! Yep, I went on a coffee date and the guy, his name is Jack, turned out to be pretty amazing, so amazing that we spent the next four days together. So, needless to say, I like him A LOT and he likes me A LOT. I wasn’t expecting it and it’s been the best thing ever. However, it’s totally thrown my whole schedule out of whack. I always had a ton of time to myself, pretty much any time I wasn’t working was my time to work on this site or do whatever. But now that I’m with Jack that’s pretty much all I want to do–be with him–so I’ve been prepping the 2012 Hottest NASCAR Driver tournament in bits and pieces, in small chunks of time, over the last few days and now I’m FINALLY ready to launch it.
Yep, he was at it again this weekend. Tony Stewart won the Indy Karting Classic on Sunday at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis beating both NASCAR and INDYCAR drivers in the process.
Sunday morning I got up super early so that I could get to Starbucks (a ‘real’ one that I scouted the night before) and beat any race day traffic that might rear it’s ugly head. I was delighted to find that there was no such traffic to fight and I even had time to take a couple pictures of the road I was on so you guys could see what I saw every morning. I did see a dead dear on the side of the road but I didn’t take a picture of that because it was sad (and gross).
On Saturday, my first order of business was to head over to SYLVANIA’s tent in the fan mid-way area for a demonstration on how to change out your headlights. I was particularly interested in this because I’m one of those people that will go to the dealership, or to whatever car repair place I’m going to these days, and have them do it because I’d rather it be done right for sure than by 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.
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 was a point during the last 30 laps of the Aaron’s 499 where I told myself to just let go of whatever outcome I was hoping to see and just let it happen. Is it funny or sad that I get so wrapped up in these races that I need to tell myself something like that? I have absolutely nothing at stake but I still get so caught up in wanting a certain person, or persons, to win that I’ll stress myself out over it.
Anyway, I couldn’t believe Jimmie Johnson pulled off that win; I was sure it was going to go to one of the Richard Childress Racing guys. Clint Bowyer had been running up front all day and Kevin Harvick has been, well, winning.
When I saw Jimmie trying to give the checkered flag to Dale Earnhardt Jr. I knew Dale wasn’t going to want it. It was a really classy move by Jimmie, I must say. As much as I would have been ridiculously thrilled for Dale Jr. to have come away with the win I’m still insanely excited that he’s 3rd in points right now. That’s just fantastic. O! And another fantastic thing: Huge congrats to David Gilliland and the No. 34 Taco Bell Ford team for walking away with a 9th place finish!
Every week when the latest points standings are published I read through them and then create my own “fantasy” top-12, it’s the list of drivers that I think would make for a super entertaining Champion’s Week. So it’s not a “Who do you think WILL make The Chase?” list, it’s a “Who do you WANT to see in the Chase because you know they’ll be superfun to interview during Champion’s Week?” It’s really early to be thinking about Champion’s Week but I can’t help it, it’s my favorite time of the year.
My current list is as follows (in no particular order):
1.) Tony Stewart – He has to host his annual “Stewie Awards” from Vegas, it wouldn’t be the same with him.
2.) Clint Bowyer – He needs his own talk show to host during Champion’s Week. I’m just sayin’.
3.) Kasey Kahne – He’s adorable
4.) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – People will lose their minds
5.) Kevin Harvick – Another guy with personality
6.) Denny Hamlin – Denny adds a layer of honesty and he likes to instigate drama (or at least he did at last year’s After the Lap event)
7.) Brian Vickers – Because he had some good stories to tell about Jimmie Johnson, and I’m sure there has to be more right??
8.) Jimmie Johnson – I’m including Jimmie because he’s a good sport, not because I want him to win a 6th straight championship.
9.) Brad Keselowski – I think he’d have a ridiculously good time to Vegas and would be very entertaining at the various events.
10.) Jeff Gordon – Jeff has that honesty vibe too, and he’s also very chatty. Chatty & honest are two ingredients for good times.
11) AJ Allmendinger – He’s someone that can definitely bring a lot of comedy relief.
12) Kyle Busch – Another honest guy with a personality that lends itself perfectly to the Champion’s Week festivities. Plus he’s the hometown guy.
I’m driving down to Southern California for the Auto Club 500 race weekend at Auto Club Speedway on Thursday. Eaaaarly Thursday morning, to be exact. Clint Bowyer is launching “Speedway Day L.A.” on the steps of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles, and then immediately following that he’ll go on a tour of L.A. with media and race fans on a double-decker bus. I’m getting on the bus! You know how much I enjoyed my time on the double-decker bus in Vegas during Champion’s Week, so there was no way I was missing out on this opportunity.
The festivities will start at Noon at City Hall (200 N. Spring Street at 1st Street in Los Angeles), then we’ll stop by Elvis’ star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame around 1:30pm (Southeast corner of Hollywood Blvd and N. La Brea Blvd. in Hollywood), then walk down to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre between 1:30 & 2:10pm, and then we’re going to In-N-Out Burger where Clint will serve ice-cold Coke to people around 2:15pm, and then we’ll return to City Hall.
Fun right? Totally looking forward to it, and it makes up for the fact that I’ll be missing out on Tony Stewart’s appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area that’s also taking place on Thursday (more about that below).
I was checking out the weather forecast for Fontana on Weather.com and it looks like it’s supposed to rain on Friday. So there’s a 40% chance that qualifying will be rained out. I would rather that it didn’t.
In other news…
– Grammy award winning artist Richard Marx (right) will perform the National Anthem before the start of the Auto Club 500 this week. I, for one, am SO EXCITED about this news. I LOVE Richard Marx! I mean, hello, “Endless Summer Nights,” “Right Here Waiting,” “Hold on to the Nights,” “Should’ve Known Better,” “Now and Forever,” and my personal extra fave “Hazard.” The man is a musical genius and I adore him.
– Another dude that I loved from my days as a pre-teen/teen is Christian Slater. “Heathers,” you guys. Oh! And “Untamed Heart”, that movie was, like, the most romantic movie to me until I saw Leo DiCaprio in “Romeo + Juliet.” Do I need to say more? He’s in a new TV show for FOX so I’m sure that’s why he was named the Grand Marshal for Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway. I’m not mad about that at all.
– Like I mentioned Tony Stewart will be stopping by the Bay Area on Thursday to hang out at the Oakland Zoo. He’s going to give the resident male elephant, Osh, a “pedicure” with the help of the Elephant Manager Jeff Kinzley. There will be a fan & media Q&A session with Tony held in the Marian Zimmer Auditorium and it should start around 1:15pm. Fans can get a $2 discount on admission to the zoo (for this Thursday only) by mentioning “Infineon Raceway at the ticket booth.
– Another Thursday driver event is taking place at the Stonewood Center Best Buy Mobile in Downey, Calif. Casey Mears and AJ Allmendinger will be on hand with Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo from 6pm to 8pm to take photos, and sign autographs for fans. On Sunday Casey and AJ will be racing each other in a “race within a race” in order to win $5,000 from Sprint for the charity of their choice. Casey has selected Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and AJ has picked Paralyzed Veterans of America.
– IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon and his wife, Susie, welcomed their second child into the world this weekend. Their son, Oliver, was born on Sunday and joins older brother Sebastian, who turned 2 last month.
I’m sad I missed the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte this week. But, if I’m being honest, it’s only because I just read this article about all the swag the media received, that I missed out on. There were cupcakes and cookies and wine!
Anyway, here are photos from the week. It’s one of my favorite things to post photos of the teams wearing those annoying long sleeve shirts. I don’t know why I hate them so much but they just look wrong. I say this every year and no one listens to me.
It’s just like bridesmaid dresses: it’s really hard to pick on dress type that works on every body type. Which is why brides have started letting their maids pick a fit that suits them individually and then just going with the same color and/or print for the group. I think NASCAR teams should adopt this same principle. Some teams have, but definitely not the majority.
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler, (second from left) speaks with the media, as drivers (left to right) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason Leffler, and Aric Almirola look on, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Michael Waltrip’s familiar No. 15 NAPA car is on display during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)
(Left to right) Bobby Hutchens, director of competition for Stewart-Haas Racing; Tony Gibson, crew chief of the No. 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car; Ryan Newman, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver; Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner and driver; and Darian Grubb, crew chief of the No. 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, pose for a picture during the 2011 Sprint Cup Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Regan Smith stands in front of his No. 78 Furniture Row ride during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(center) NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty stands between his two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers AJ Allmendinger (left) and the newest addition to Richard Petty Motorsports Marcos Ambrose during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Jack Roush (center) poses with drivers (left to right) Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, speaks with Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Richard Childress, team owner; Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet; Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet; Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Chevrolet, and Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Menard’s Chevrolet, pose for the media during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Richard Childress Racing on Tuesday in Welcome, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, owner Rick Hendrick and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. pose for a team picture Wednesday at Hendrick Motorsports Media Day during the Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, speaks to the media as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Penske Racing on Monday in Mooresville, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Joe Gibbs (third from right) poses with J.D. Gibbs (third from left), Joe Gibbs Racing President, Joey Logano (left), driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, Kyle Busch (second from left), driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, Denny Hamlin (second from right), driver of the No. FedEx Toyota, and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brian Scott (right), during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, on hiring Tony Stewart: “For 1997, we wanted to form a second team. We asked all the guys to write down the name of the driver they wanted the most and put it in a hat. There was one name on every piece of paper. That was Tony Stewart.”
Team owner Joe Gibbs (center) speaks about the 20th anniversary of Joe Gibbs Racing, as (left to right) JGR President J.D. Gibbs, former JGR drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, JGR senior vice president of racing operations Jimmy Makar and Interstate Batteries CEO Norm Miller look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The No. 21 Motorcraft Ford proudly displays the new American Ethanol sponsorship around the fuel hole during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)
(Left to right) Juan Pablo Montoya, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, team owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates and Jamie McMurray, defending Daytona 500 champion, pose for a picture during the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing stop on the 2011 Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at the Hilton Charlotte University Place in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
It’s time for Round Two! But first let’s find out what happened in Round One.
Kyle Busch (68%) defeated Jeff Burton (32%)
Juan Pablo Montoya (62%) defeated Brian Vickers (38%)
Tony Stewart (97%) defeated David Reutimann (3%)
Paul Menard (71%) defeated Jimmie Johnson (29%)
Casey Mears (73%) defeated David Ragan (27%)
Regan Smith (86%) defeated Kevin Conway (14%)
This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).
And now, I think this is when things are going to get even MORE interesting. Round Two is the largest group, it’ll be fun to see who makes it into Round Three. I was going to let Round Two last for two weeks but I have decided to run it for just a week. Votes poured in for Round One and I can only expect it to get crazier for this one, so I’m trying to contain it. Plus I’m highly impatient and two weeks sound like forever to find out the results.
So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Two! You can vote as many times as you want each day until voting ends on Saturday, January 15th.
UPDATE: Round Two voting has ended. Stay tuned for the results and Round Three!
|Jamie McMurray||Kyle Busch|
|David Gilliland||Joey Logano|
|Clint Bowyer||Bobby Labonte|
|Kurt Busch||Travis Kvapil|
|Ryan Newman||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Scott Speed|
|Sam Hornish Jr.||Tony Stewart|
|Carl Edwards||Kasey Kahne|
|Kevin Harvick||Casey Mears|
|Elliott Sadler||Reed Sorenson|
|Greg Biffle||Martin Truex Jr.|
|Jeff Gordon||Marcos Ambrose|
|Brad Keselowski||Paul Menard|
|AJ Allmendinger||Matt Kenseth|
|Robby Gordon||Regan Smith|
|Mark Martin||Denny Hamlin|
UPDATE: Round Two voting has ended. Stay tuned for the results and Round Three!
No, I’m not talking about Brett Favre’s penis.
While AJ Allmendinger’s crashy-crash on the last lap of the AMP Energy Juice 500 at Talladega was indeed a gnarly crash it didn’t add up to a “big one.” I choose to believe it’s because the usual ginormous crashes that take out large chunks of the field were talked up so much that that is why one didn’t happen. So I think next year we should all act like Talladega is just like Michigan and not say boo about anything “big.”
How excited are you that Denny Hamlin is only 14 measly points behind Jimmie Johnson going to Texas this week? And Kevin Harvick is right there, just 38 points behind. This is awesomeness and I’m afraid to talk about it for fear that it won’t stay awesome. So I’m leaving it at that. This is great, this is interesting, this is fun and it’s what we need.
On another note in regards to Jimmie. Don’t you think he looks like Elvis when he’s not wearing a hat? That hair and that beard, I just keep thinking about Elvis when I look at him.
Krissie Newman (L) and DeLana Harvick pose on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AMP Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 31, 2010 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m starting something new this week. SPEED’s TV show, NASCAR Race Hub is giving you the opportunity to interview their guests each week. All you have to do is submit your questions to me and I’ll pass ‘em along to the powers that be. They’ll get the questions answered — on video! — and I’ll post it here for you to view.
Really cool right? And this week you’ve got the chance to ask Kasey Kahne or AJ Allmendinger, ANYTHING you want.
So hurry up and submit your questions!!
UPDATE: Submissions are no longer being accepted for this week’s guests. As soon as I get the video of the questions being answered I’ll post it!
Here’s how I feel about the David Reutimann/Kyle Busch incident: Boys will be boys.
I love the idea of throwing that dumb cliche back in the face of people who like to use it to explain away bad behavior.
But seriously, I don’t really care. Reutimann was pissed and he decided to take action. The fact that Kyle is in The Chase is totally irrelevant. Everyone is trying to do the best they can no matter what, if they’re in the top-12 or not. That’s why I hate that Chase commercial where the drivers talk about all the stuff they have to compete against to win the Championship. Never once do they mention the fact that they still have to deal with 42 other drivers, not just 11 other guys contending for the Championship. That’s why winning the Sprint Cup is a big deal. The guys not in the Chase shouldn’t be expected to roll over, on the contrary, they should be getting in the way.
It’ll mean more for the the guy that ultimately wins the thing.
Congratulations to Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M team! I’m so glad the standings within The Chase are still up in the air. Hopefully we can keep it that way for at least a few more races!
Jeff Burton, driver of the Caterpilliar Chevrolet, stands on pit road with his wife Kim prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 on October 3, 2010 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Christa Thomas/Getty Images for NASCAR)
It’s funny when you don’t realize you want something so bad until there’s a chance it can actually happen. For me that was the possibility of AJ Allmendinger getting his first win at Watkins Glen yesterday. He was chargin’, running up front with those guys and it really seemed like it could of been his day.
Well, he didn’t win, Mr. Juan Pablo Montoya did, but I had a lot of fun cheering for AJ. I don’t have anything against Juan Pablo, but during the race when I was imagining who would have a better, more fun, reaction to winning in Victory Lane AJ won hands down. You know he would be waaaaaay more excited and happy and thankful if he’d won that race than Juan was. I love a first-time win, what can I say?
Anyway, congrats to Juan Pablo and the No. 42 Target Chevy team. And bonus congrats to crew chief Brian Pattie for his first Sprint Cup Series win, it was sweet to see his emotions post-race.
Even though I’ve never been to Watkins Glen I think it’s beautiful there. From what I can see on TV it looks fabulous and I really, really wanna go to the next race there. Hopefully that’ll happen next year. Watkins Glen is right up there with Bristol, Daytona and Talladega as the tracks that I want to visit the most.
I know the drivers might not agree but I really wish there were more road course races in the Sprint Cup Series schedule. I love ‘em. It jumbles everything, in terms of the race itself and the points standings. I guess as a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan I shouldn’t wish for that but I have confidence in my driver no matter what, and one day that guy will prevail at a road course.
Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Freight Toyota, stands on the grid with girlfriend Jordan Fish prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Driver Jamie McMurray of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing sits on the steps of the Sprint Cup Series hauler on Friday before practice for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen, New York
Ryan Newman, driver of the US Army Chevrolet, and his wife Krissie, stand on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Boris Said, driver of the Red Bull Toyota, stands on the grid with his family during the National Anthem prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
(left to right) Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott Sadler hang out together before driver introductions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International.
Juan Pablo Montoya clowns around with Tony Stewart prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International.
Mobil 1 driver Sam Hornish Jr. holds his daughter, Addison, before climbing into the car during qualifying for Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY.
Marcos Ambrose (47) celebrates winning the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY.
Martin Truex Jr.’s (56) helmet sits on his car during qualifying for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY.
Bo Bice looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 7, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Max Papis, driver of the GEICO Toyota, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 7, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
A.J. Allmendinger (L), driver of the Insignia HDTV Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 7, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I didn’t attend the premiere of “Racing Dreams”, the movie I told you all to go see ASAP, but there are photos from the event in Charlotte in May and the film’s debut at the Tribeca Film Festival last year where it won Best Documentary Film. I know this is late but better late than never I always say. Plus it’s another opportunity for me to remind you guys to figure out a way to see this awesome film.
And I’ll be honest about the fact that I also enjoy getting to look at photos of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who was a producer on the film. I think I’m going to add meeting him to my list of things to do before I die. I’m serious. Have you seen his arms? Holy… Okay, I’m stopping. If you’re an AJ Allmendinger fan you’ll enjoy these pics too, he’s wearing a suit! And there’s bonus Kasey Kahne.
Go see “Racing Dreams”! And if the film isn’t showing in your area why not tell your local theater they should carry it.
(L-R) Producer Dwayne Johnson, racer Annabeth Barnes, racer Brandon Warren, racer Joshua Hobson and producer Dany Garcia attend the premiere of ‘Racing Dreams’ during the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theater on April 25, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
At Infineon I interviewed fellow Bay Area native AJ Allmendinger, asking him ten questions from Inside the Actor’s Studio and he had some good answers.
AJ drives the No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion for Richard Petty Motorsports and he was a very nice & very funny guy. There is a photo of me with AJ but I have made an executive decision to not post it for the very simple reason that I look like crap in it. My eyes were closed too. So I’m sure you all understand why I can’t post it. But wait till I post my interview with Elliott Sadler, that photo came out great. I look respectable in that one.
Without further adieu, here are AJ’s answers:
I know I’ve used that title before but I love it.
Friday at Infineon Raceway was day one of the Toyota/SaveMart 350 festivities. It was a pretty big day for me because it held actual things for me to do. My usual shtick is to just show up and let things happen but this time I setup interviews with drivers. Since things went so well with Tony Stewart and the Inside The Actor’s Studio questions I decided to make it my “thing” for now and to get as many drivers to answer the same questions.
On my schedule for the day were one-on-one’s with David Reutimann, Regan Smith, AJ Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler. I’ll write about each of those experiences in separate posts. Stay tuned for those.
Back in the media center I sat in on press conferences for Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, and a little bit of Denny Hamlin.
Tony Stewart’s presser was, of course, by far the most entertaining of the bunch. His session was after practice and he wasn’t very happy with his car. I think that Southwest airlines should use his press conferences as the basis for one of their “Wanna Get Away???” commercials. I had this uncontrollable urge, every time someone asked something cringe-worthy to look down and start playing with my cell phone. There are always a few questions that bug Tony and after sitting in on a few of his pressers I’ve learned that Tony is a lot better when you ask him questions that are very real to him. He laid it out pretty plainly that he only cares about racing. He wasn’t in the mood to get all theoretical or philosophical about racing after having a crappy practice session. It wasn’t helping that people were asking the same questions they’ve asked year after year, my favorite being “Should there be a road course race in The Chase?” That was the one that really bugged him and got him to eventually say that he had no interest in giving his opinion on such things, he just wanted to race.
Good for you, Ryan Newman. It was awesome to see him in victory lane after such a long drought. I loved his post-race interview and the one comment that stuck out the most for me was when he said that, when Tony Stewart came to congratulate him, he told Tony he loved him and that Tony said he loved him too. Isn’t that sweet? Men who are friends, openly declaring their love for each other without being all weird about it. Isn’t that cool? That was fun.
Here’s the video of it, in case you missed it:
Photo fun time!
John Wes Townley inspects the damage on his No. 21 Zaxby’s Chevrolet after an accident in practice. Clint Bowyer will take over driving duties in the No. 21 for the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200.(Credit: Christian Peterson/Getty Images)
This week was the annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. I wasn’t there (trust me, I’m crying inside) and so all I have to share with you are these photos of drivers sitting in chairs. Enjoy!
(Left to right) Richard Childress Racing’s Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, owner Richard Childress and Jeff Burton take part in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson Photography)
I don’t know about you but I’m a total sucker for photos of kids and babies getting autographs from drivers. It’s gotta be in the top 10 of cutest things on the planet. And since I’ve been slacking on posting photos here’s a bunch from some of the NASCAR events that have taken place this month.
If these pictures don’t make you smile you need to see a therapist.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver AJ Allmendinger waves to a young fan Friday in Daytona Beach, Fla. at the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway. (Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick poses for a photo with a young fan during autograph sessions on Saturday at NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. (Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
A young fan meets NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Elliott Sadler and gets an autograph on Saturday during the Sprint Sound and Speed Fan Festival at Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. (Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
A young fan gets an autograph from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan on Saturday during NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. (Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. meets a junior JR Motorsports fan Friday in Daytona Beach, Fla. at the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway. (Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer takes a picture with a young fan on Saturday during the Sprint Sound and Speed Fan Festival at Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. (Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Associated Press reported that Jimmie and his wife Chandra are expecting their first child in July.
It’s funny how excited someone else’s pregnancy has made me, considering I don’t know them at all. But I’m super excited for them. This is exactly what we need, more babies on pit road! I’m not making a joke, I’m serious. After baby Edwards and baby Sadler arrive baby Johnson will be future NASCAR driver number 3 for 2010 (so far). Did someone spike the VitaminWater or what?
In other news…
– AJ Allmendinger went go-karting with Jamie McMurray down in Florida last week during the annual Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket events at Daytona International Speedway. This was the third straight year that Jamie participated in the event and AJ’s first time.
Because the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono was postponed from Sunday until Monday because of rain I couldn’t watch it live, on TV, from the comfort of my home. Since I was at work, I casually kept track of what was happening by using ESPN’s race widget in between doing work and sitting in meetings.
Once the race was over and I found out that Denny Hamlin had won I was stoked. Really, I was happy for him more than anything just because it had been what, 58 races since he’d last won a Sprint Cup race? So yes, this was a big deal, and like I’ve said before, I like the Denny.
It wasn’t long after I learned of Denny’s win that I received a text message from Tara, a young woman from Arizona who reads my blog and is one of the biggest Denny Hamlin fans around. She even won tickets to a race at Phoenix by professing her reasons why Denny is her favorite driver. Tara told me that she watched the final laps of the race while having lunch at T.G.I. Friday’s with her grandmother.
Since I never wrote up my thoughts on the Coke Zero 400 last week I’m doing a double-double this weekend and including them with my write up of last night’s LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland.
First the Coke Zero 400, I felt that Tony Stewart did nothing wrong to Kyle Busch in the last lap. Apparently when Kyle ends up wrecked it’s whiney time, but when he does it to someone else he’s just racing. Whatever, dude. I do not understand Kyle’s logic, seriously.
With Tony’s win, Burger King definitely got their money’s worth for their sponsorship of his No. 14 right out of the gate. If they don’t do more next year, I think that would be a mistake. But I still think the BK King is creepy.
Now, I should say that I wasn’t all that thrilled that Tony won. I really wanted Denny Hamlin to win, and this weekend too. I’ve never been a Denny fan but he’s really growing on me. I’m not sure why. Well, maybe it had to do with seeing his episode of Cribs on CMT awhile back. He had this piece of paper in his bathroom that read: “I Can, I Will.” I guess it struck a cord with me that he even thought enough to post an affirmation like that, and then to let it be filmed. So I want the guy to win something, that and I want to hang out on the little beach he has in his backyard. It just seemed so relaxing.
That was the goal right?
So about that whole All-Star Race thing that was on Saturday.
I loved it! If NASCAR hadn’t brought back the 10-lap shootout at the end it wouldn’t have been nearly as awesome as it was.
It’s kinda weird how happy I was for Tony Stewart to win the thing, when I’m not really a Tony fan. I just think it’s great for Stewart-Haas Racing and it just goes to show that his two-car race team will be a force to be reckoned with, and it’s just a matter of minutes before he or Ryan Newman win a race that has points on the line.
I think that I had more things to say about the All-Star Race but because I’ve waited insanely long to write them down I’ve lost them. Hmmm.
Let’s think about this, what happened at the race? Dale didn’t win. Tony did. Jeff Gordon wrecked.
Oh! What was up with Joey Logano winning the fan vote to get into the All-Star race? He wasn’t on the radar, like, at all! I did not see that one coming. mind = blown. Where are Joey Logano’s fans? Where are you people? It’s not that I think he doesn’t have any, or that he shouldn’t, I just don’t understand it. He’s been around for 5 seconds and he’s getting voted into the All-Star race?
Denied!!! I guess the vote for A.J. t-shirt campaign just wasn’t enough.
AJ Allmendinger is all smiles after posting the quickest time during NASCAR Sprint Showdown practice at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon battled Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman three-wide during the 10-lap shootout before spinning and hitting the wall, ending his night eight laps short of the finish. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images)
Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Joey Logano was announced as in the top 10 in votes for the Sprint All-Star Vote. Logano needs to finish in the top two in the Sprint Showdown or win the Fan Vote to make the All-Star Race. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The crew members of Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet climb the fence to salute the fans after winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The NASCAR All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is tonight and I am prepared for the occasion because I bought Creamsicles. What does ice cream have to do with the All-Star race you ask? Absolutely nothing. I just like sweet stuff.
I should like AJ Allmendinger more than I do because he’s a local guy, well to me. Both he and Scott Speed grew up here in the Bay Area, and yet I’m not that intrigued by either of them. What’s wrong with me? I’m not saying that I dislike them; I just don’t feel “it” for them yet. I know that probably makes absolutely no sense but I don’t know another way to describe it.
I bring this up because it seems like everybody is voting for AJ to make it into the All-Star Race on the fan vote. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Until then, check out these photos from the All-Star week that was:
In the shadows of the Charlotte skyline, NASCAR fans gather for NASCAR Rev’d Up in Uptown Charlotte to kick off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week on Wednesday. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)
O.A.R. thanks for the fans for coming out Wednesday in Uptown Charlotte for NASCAR Rev’d Up, kicking off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)
Sprint welcomes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Casey Mears to the stage Wednesday in Uptown Charlotte at NASCAR Rev’d Up, kicking off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)
Everfine/Atlantic recording group O.A.R. learn how to perform a pit stop from the defending champions of the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman, the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota team, on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip celebrate winning the Media Pit Crew Challenge after pushing their car across the finish line Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning Media Pit Crew Challenge team celebrates its victory on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Top, left to right) SPEED’s Rick Allen, FOX’s Tony George, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio’s Claire B. Lang, SPEED’s Phil Parsons, Lugnut, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael Waltrip and Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo; (Bottom left to right) O.A.R. drummer Chris Culos and SPEED’s Ray Dunlap. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Left to right) The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Caterpillar team defeats the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Air Force team in the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman Final Thursday at Time Warner Cable in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Caterpillar team, including Jeff Burton’s wife, Kim (right), who drove the car, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. at the Time Warner Cable Arena. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
How to make me cry at the end of a race:
1.) Be a respected driver and a generally nice guy.
2.) Be the oldest man to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race since 1993.
3.) Climb out of your car and head straight to your crew chief, a man that has idolized you since he was a kid, and thank him for getting you to Victory Lane after 4 winless years.
4.) Look into the television camera and thank your wife for letting you go racing again after you said you’d retire.
5.) Greet all of the drivers and crew members who come over to Victory Lane to congratulate you with a warm smile.
Yes, Mark Martin knows how to make me cry. I wasn’t bawling but I did get weepy. It was a special moment and I am so incredibly happy that I got to see it. Congratulations to the No. 5 Car Quest Kellogg Chevolet team for putting on an awesome show last night.
AJ Allmendinger shares a moment with team owner Richard Petty after the team announced Allmendinger has signed a contract to remain at Richard Petty Motorsports through the end of 2010. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Crew members for Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Ford celebrate winning the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Subway Fresh Fit 500 Grand Marshall Michael Strahan and Carl Edwards share a laugh in the media center before the race. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
The cacti always look like they’re flipping me off.
Track conditions changed drastically as the sun set and the final portion of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway was run under the lights. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Here’s my recap of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway this past Sunday: It was boring.
That is all. Now it’s photo fun time:
(L-R): Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and AJ Allmendinger are introduced before the Wii Boxing tournament during Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
Elliott Sadler celebrates beating Kasey Kahne in a Wii boxing tournament during Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin and Delana Harvick celebrate winning the Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kevin’s first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory for Kevin Harvick Inc. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Race fan Wessa Miller presents a penny to Dale Earnhardt Jr. prior to the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Miller gave Dale Earnhardt a lucky penny before he won the 1998 Daytona 500. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch does a burnout on the frontstretch of Bristol Motor Speedway to celebrate his Food City 500 victory. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Gosh, where do I begin?
Let’s start with Thursday night when I arrived at LAX and picked up my rental car from Thrifty. I usually go with Hertz, but this time around Thrifty was cheaper and I was, well, trying to be thrifty. It was sort of a mistake. There was drama from the second I walked in the door. Some woman was trying to pay with quarters and one dollar bills and some other dude was trying to cheat the rental company out of money which ended with the Thrifty employee telling the dude to never come back there again.
What a glorious way to start a trip! Actually it wasn’t all bad, when it was my turn they got me out quickly, and I was able to pick the car I wanted. I ended up with a black Dodge Caliber. I’ve never driven one of those before and they said it was a compact car, but it totally doesn’t feel like it. I feel like I’m driving a boat.
Anyway, Yesterday morning I set off for the track with more butterflies in my stomach than ever. I always get nervous because I have no idea what is going to happen and I’m always seriously afraid that I’ll look like a nut job. How I would make myself look like a nut job I will never know, but I fear it nevertheless.
I arrived at the track, picked up my credentials and grabbed the press conference schedule. So I’m used to having to go from hauler to hauler for each session, but this time around the majority of the gatherings were in the drivers meeting room in the garage. So I just sat there as driver after driver came in and took a seat behind the table on the stage.
Here is a quick rundown of things that occurred to me as each driver spoke:
– Kurt Busch is kinda growing on me. I used to dislike him a lot but now, eh, not so much.
– I was dying to ask Matt Kenseth point blank whether or not his wife Katie was pregnant, but I do not have the balls to ask that kind of question. It’s none of my business, of course.
– A.J. Allmendinger is talkative, friendly and funny. He joked that he told USA Today that he might be doing steroids in an effort to get them to write an article about him.
– Kyle Busch talked about the incident at Daytona a little bit, all without actually saying Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s name. A reporter called him on it and asked why he wouldn’t say his name, Kyle replied (in a sort of annoyed tone) that he didn’t say the other guys’ (Brian Vickers) name either.
– I really liked the Kobalt Tools hat that Jimmie Johnson was wearing.
– Kasey Kahne kinda looks like the actor Robert Pattinson, who played the Edward character in the movie “Twilight.” They’re not dead ringers, but c’mon there are some similarities.
– When you ask Jeff Gordon a question he will never, ever answer it with just one word or one sentence. It’s not a bad thing, he just tends to go on more than others.
– David Ragan is my new favorite driver! Why? Read my next post!
When I wasn’t listening to drivers talk about the track and their feelings about the upcoming race I spent time in the garage Twittering and taking photos. Oh, and I monitored the Port-A-Pottie usage of a few drivers like Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan. These are the kinds of important updates you get when you follow me on Twitter.
…and things are definitely different.
Is it Daytona yet? Seriously, is it? It feels like the longest off-season ever and I am counting the minutes until the 2009 NASCAR season is here.
I can’t help but feel a little uneasy because with everything that’s happened (and not happened) to our economy in the last year it’s left me feeling like the rug has been pulled out from underneath all of us.
I guess all of this craziness just proves how much we need NASCAR. I don’t know about you but I covet the time I spend on Sundays yelling at my TV screen. It’s how I relax and how I escape. I think we could all use a little escape right now.
So take the economy and then add in all of the Silly Season stuff that is still playing out and my head is spinning. Elliott Sadler is out at Gillett Evernham Motorsports? Petty Enterprises no longer Petty Enterprises?? What the ??
I don’t know about you but the Petty/GEM deal made me sad. I think it sucks that Petty Enterprises couldn’t keep it going on their own. They’ve been around for 60 years. It’s odd, and it’ll take some getting used to.
So about Elliott, he’s reportedly set to sue GEM for breach of contract. I say more power to him. I’ve run the whole ditching Elliott for A.J. Allmendinger through my head and I just can’t understand it. It seems like people change drivers these days like they change their underwear.
In other news…
– Jamie McMurray went karting. Yea, that’s all I’ve got.
Jamie McMurray takes a spin in his kart during Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Motorsports Images & Archives)
Jamie McMurray shares a fun moment with a member of his team during Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Motorsports Images & Archives)
Jamie McMurray works on his kart at Daytona International Speedway during Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket World Karting Association races. McMurray upgraded his pit area from last year with a new trailer that he purchased from fellow NASCAR competitor Jeff Burton. (Photo Credit: Motorsports Images & Archives)
I guess I am.
It’s time to take a break. It’s time to take a breath and get ready for next year, for fans, teams and drivers alike. We have three months to familiarize ourselves with all of the new teams and driver changes that happened this year. Someone should make a cheat sheet ’cause I can’t seem to wrap my head around all the changes that’ll be in place next year.
The DEI / Ganassi merger that was announced this week is not helping things. When I read about it all my first thought was what happens to Regan Smith? And why does Aric Almirola have a ride for sure and Regan doesn’t? That’s not a knock against Aric but I’m really curious about how that determination was made. Regan is still in the running for that fourth team along with Scott Riggs and AJ Allmendinger. It’s gonna be interesting to see how this all plays out. I don’t expect the new Earnhardt Ganassi Racing organization to start kicking butt and take names next year, all of this is just an attempt to stop the bleeding.
In other news…
– Have you seen Sporting News’ special collectors issue “60 Most Beautiful People in NASCAR”? I just flipped through it today, haven’t read it completely yet but it’s got some in depth interviews with drivers like Brian Vickers, Kasey Kahne, Casey Mears and Clint Bowyer, plus drivers wives like Krissie Newman, Chandra Johnson and Katie Kenseth. I find it odd that Kyle Busch didn’t make the list, I really do.
– One thing I must state, yet again, Ingrid Vandebosch was not/is not a supermodel. She’s referred to as one in the Sporting News special NASCAR issue. To be a supermodel I have to be able to know who you are by just hearing your first name. Think about it, if we’re sitting around talking about models and I say Tyra or Cindy or Gisele to you, you already know whom I’m talking about. If I said Ingrid you’d be like “Who??” I’m not knocking the woman; I’m just knocking the people who throw the supermodel moniker around like it’s nothing. It’s my personal pet peeve. To be called a supermodel you have to have done many things in your career to take you above and beyond the average working model. OK, I’m officially off the soapbox and I’m never talking about this again.
– Tony Stewart was named the Grand Marshall of this year’s Fiesta Bowl. The announcement took place last Friday in Phoenix and I had to share this photo of Tony at the press conference. I just think it’s funny/cute. He looks awkward in that coat. It’s not a good look; actually I don’t think that jacket is a good look for anybody.
Tony Stewart (center) is introduced as the Grand Marshall of the upcoming Fiesta Bowl by Chairman of the Board Dave Tilson (left) and Executive Director John Junker (right). (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I love living in Northern California. I’m very proud of my home state, but last night I had to shake my head in disgust. One of our local sports broadcasters referred to David Gilliland as Jason Leffler.
The guy runs through the highlights of the race at Phoenix and hits on the crazy wreck that put David and his car on top of Scott Speed, and then proceeds to say it was Jason — not David — with his tires on Scott’s windshield. It’s sort of an easy mistake to make because Gilliland and Leffler have the same car number (the No. 38), but in different race series. So really it’s a stupid mistake and someone wasn’t paying attention. I wanted to call the TV station and tell them they’re nerds but I figured it wasn’t worth it.
Anyway, even though the outcome wasn’t what I had hoped for I did find the race enjoyable. Who doesn’t love a good red flag every now and again? Was Carl Edwards eating an Arby’s sandwich during the first one?
With the season rolling to an end I really don’t have much to say about Phoenix. What can I say that you don’t already know? It’s highly unlikely that something crazy is going to happen next weekend to take the Championship away from Jimmie Johnson. I guess that’s OK.
I have to give props to the No. 26 and the No. 2 teams and their drivers Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch for putting together great runs on Sunday. I really hoped one of them would be able to give Jimmie a run for his money at the end. It was great to see some different faces up front for a change.
It’s Phil, Captain of the Cornelia Marie! I love Deadliest Catch!
David Reutimann shares a laugh with Phil Harris of Deadliest Catch. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch poses with Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb before taking him on a pace car ride around Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m diggin’ the scruffy look on him.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, started fifth and finished sixth during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #10 McDonald’s Dodge, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2008 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Hello! Today has been insane let me tell ya, but the one awesome thing has been writing up this final post of my interview with Kyle Petty. Again, this interview was done last week during Kyle’s promotion of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.
Me: In regards to Prostate Cancer Awareness, a lot of the readers of my website are women, what’s the most important thing that they can do for their husband or father to help them to go out there and see a doctor about this?
Petty: When had our STAY ON TRACK for Better Prostate Health booth set up at Michigan I was surprised at the amount of women who came through and would bring their husbands, or would say “My father had prostate cancer, it runs in our family and I’m trying to get my brothers to go and I really appreciate you guys speaking up on it.”
I think prostate cancer for so many people and especially guys, guys just are afraid to go be checked. And just like I said before, as my father uses the example of putting together a pit crew for his prostate cancer, I think so many guys will baby their car, change the oil, do everything they can with their car and their lawnmower, and their fishing boat or whatever it may be but they disregard their body.
Sunday, August 31st was the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, but it was also my 28th birthday. I still can’t believe I’m 28. I sometimes wish they had a version of Tivo for our lives but oh well. Until that day comes I have my mom. She called me while I was at the track to wish me a happy birthday and to tell me about everything that happened on the day of my birth.
I’m sure anyone who saw me on my cell phone standing in the garage with tears streaking my face were probably wondering what was wrong, but everything was totally right.
For the majority of the morning I spent my time stationed in front of a moving mister in the garage. It was situated next to the final inspection station teams had to pass through before parking themselves on pit road. This particular inspection took a look at the distance between the tires from the left and right and between the front and the back. It’s obvious if a team doesn’t pass muster, they just have to go back through it again, but I think they need to implement some sort of horn or a big flashing sign that says they didn’t pass. A little theater couldn’t hurt.
This inspection area also happened to be right next to the drivers meeting room and I wanted to get a good spot for photos. Well they started blocking it off and I got shuffled into the crowd. Yet another reason why I love the Nationwide Series ’cause they don’t bother with blocking anything off. But whatever, I caught sight of all of the VIPs on hand for the race.
Max Siegel, the president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc. pushed past the crowd along with actor Blair Underwood, who is on a really great show on ABC that everyone should watch this season called Dirty Sexy Money. It’s really good, trust me.
Tom from MySpace was at the race! Tom Anderson, who is on the cover this month’s issue of Fast Company, started MySpace and if you sign up for the social networking site he’s your first “friend.” Anyway, he was there, looking shorter than I’d expected with a skinny blonde chick on his arm.
Drew Carey was walking around like the mayor of the garage looking far older than I’d imagined. I saw American Idol alum Bo Bice, who sang the nation anthem, walking around but I didn’t realize it was him until later. He’s way shorter than I’d thought, but I guess that’s how it goes with people that you’ve only seen on TV.
Actually, maybe that doesn’t apply if you’re an athlete because I saw Olympic swimmer Jason Lezak and he’s definitely 6’4″ like it says he is on the USA Swimming website.
Now, I begrudgingly, and I do mean begrudgingly, have to report that Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, so-called stars of the MTV reality show The Hills, were in attendance. I don’t like them. I felt sorry for Jamie McMurray having to show them around and speak to them. Although there was a moment of sweet justice when they were introduced to the crowd and they were summarily booed. It was brilliant.
Ok, so back to the drivers meeting. I stayed on the crowded side for a bit but decided to take a chance and head on over to the other side where there was a second exit. I was sure some slick drivers might decide to sneak out undetected. The only people on that side of the garage were team PR people. It was a good idea because I ended up walking right behind Jamie McMurray and A.J. Allmendinger.
The No. 84 Red Bull Toyota goes through inspection at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The Price is Right host and comedian Drew Carey walks through the garage at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag from the MTV reality show “The Hills” take a tour through the garage at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Olympic gold medalist Jason Lezak heads into the drivers meeting at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
MySpace president Tom Anderson (center) drinks something and checks out the inspection process at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I’m gearing up for my trip to Chicago tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m going to attempt to document my trip with video but we’ll see how that goes.
I checked the weather today and there’s a 40% chance of rain at Chicagoland on Saturday. There’s supposed to be isolated thunderstorms in the evening. Ew.
So, did you know that Carl Edwards was once a substitute teacher? I just found that out. Carl will be at the Office Depot store in Frankfort, IL (11145 West Lincoln Highway) tomorrow at 11am, in order to help The Office Depot Foundation with their “Back To School” event. The Foundation is donating 3,000 backpacks to local organizations that work with kids in the greater-Chicago area. There’s also an opportunity to meet Carl and get his autograph at the same store from noon to 1pm. Get there early though, they start passing out wristbands at 8am, one per person with only 200 available.
One more thing about Carl, his No. 99 Office Depot Ford will have a special super cool paint scheme this weekend:
The No. 99 Office Depot Ford piloted by Edwards will feature a one-of-a-kind “Taking Care of Business” paint scheme this weekend, featuring the individual signatures of close to 8,000 Office Depot associates from around the world. The signatures – collected from Canada to Korea, from Slovakia to Spain, from the United States to the United Kingdom – are representative of the fact that Office Depot associates in more than 40 countries across the globe help customers “take care of business” every day.
In other appearance news:
– In association with Jim Beam, Robby Gordon will be at the Cadillac Ranch in Bartlett, IL (1175 W Lake Street) tomorrow night from 10pm to 11pm.
– The crew of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet (including Tony Eury Jr.) are taking in a Cubs game tonight at Wrigley Field.
In other regular news:
– Jimmy Elledge is joining Red Bull Racing as the crew chief for AJ Allmendinger and the No. 84 team. AJ seems to be happy to have the help: “Of all the crew chiefs in the Cup garage, Jimmy is one of the only ones I’ve spoken to and had a chance to get to know. When I drove a few Nationwide races at Ganassi last year, Jimmy was always helpful. He’s a guy with a lot of crew chief experience and has a good knowledge of these race cars, so I’m looking forward to turning this season around together.”
Good for them, I hope it works out.
Ok, so here is the bad news. I’m not going to Charlotte this week for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. There are a few things that contributed to me calling off the trip but the biggest thing is that I’m suddenly moving next week and I couldn’t justify using the money on the trip when I could really use it for the move.
So it sucks that I won’t get to meet people (Penni!) and visit the race shops but I know I’ll have another opportunity to visit the Charlotte area in the future.
But the good news is that I’m moving into my own place again (awesome!) and that I got word that I was approved for credentials to the races at Infineon in June. I’m super-duper relieved that I will be able to go the Toyota/Save Mart 350. It’s going to be fun. Oh and now this whole thing allows me to watch both the Coca-Cola 600 and the Indy 500.
In other news…
– I’m not writing for Examiner.com anymore. There’s no big story except that it just wasn’t the right thing for me. The thing that I love the most about my blog is that it’s mine and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. If you check this site regularly you know that I don’t have a set schedule and I don’t write everyday. I would love to be able to have something relevant to say everyday but I don’t. Plus I love writing about my experiences at the races or watching the races on TV and not needing to be an expert. I don’t know everything there is to know about NASCAR and I’m not trying to act like I do. I just write about the things that occur to me and that’s what I’m going to keep on doing. So there. Just kidding. I have absolutely no ill will towards the folks at the Examiner. I appreciate being given the opportunity. I think the new design they have is great.
– I’ll be doing another DVD giveaway soon and by soon I mean hopefully this week. I watched the DVD last week and I need sit down and remember all the great things I liked about it. This time I’ll have three copies to give away (unless they tell me I have to give two of ‘em back).
– I finally got to watch the full episode of Cribs that featured Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the western town he built on his property, Whisky River. They’ve been playing it on CMT along with the old segments Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray filmed a long time ago (Casey was still with Gnassi Racing). I loved seeing inside Dale’s house and of course Whisky River. If I was a kid and I was related to him I’d want to hang out at his place like all the time. When I was a kid I loved to make believe and I don’t think it would get any better than having a place like that with an actual working jail you could lock your friends in and then go faux marry someone at the chapel. That’d be so freaking fun.
– The All-Star Race happened and I missed it. Marc from Full Throttle was awesome to give me a great tip on how to watch the race online but I had to miss out on that too ’cause I went out to meet a guy. Plus for some reason I had it in my head that the race was on Sunday and not Saturday. At any rate it’s awesome that Kasey Kahne got the win. Hopefully it’ll light a fire under his team to win a points race.
– I’m stoked that the Red Bull guys had a good weekend. First by winning the Pit Crew Challenge and then by getting A.J. Allmendinger into the All-Star race. It’s all awesome stuff.
The No. 83 Red Bull Toyota pit crew of Brian Vickers pushes their car towards the finish line during the Craftsman 40-Yard Push. The crew won the championship, setting a new speed record along the way. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(L-R): Individual winners Caleb Hurd, gas man for the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, Jamie Frady, catch can man for the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, Dave Smith, rear tire changer for the No. 17 DeWalt Ford, Jason Binger, rear tire carrier for the No. 17 DeWalt Ford, Nick O’Dell, front tire changer for the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, Brad Donaghy, front tire carrier for the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota and Eric Wilson, jackman for the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge pose in Victory Lane. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates winning the Sprint Showdown. Allmendinger’s win transferred him into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I love this photo, the expression on Kasey’s face is priceless.
Kasey Kahne celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Kahne was voted into the race by a Fan Vote and raced his way to victory from the back of the field. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
AJ Allmendinger will be back in the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry this weekend at Talladega, taking over for Mike Skinner who had the ride for the last 5 races. That’s good for him, I know having to sit out “for the good of the team” must have been a hard thing to do. But really, maybe the time off lit a fire under his butt and a serious urge to prove himself, we shall see. Oh and his car will have a new silver paint scheme which I think is a brilliant idea, it’ll make spotting him out of the crowd a lot easier for the fans and his spotter alike.
Allmendinger still faces the dreaded go-or-go-home qualifying situation, and this week it comes at a track where driver is at the mercy of machine.
“After seeing Mike drive the No. 84 car and seeing him struggle with some of the same problems I had been having,” Allmendinger said, “it was a little bit of a relief for me to realize that while I had plenty of room to improve as a driver, we also have a long way to go as a team. Collectively, we still need to get better.”
In other news…
– Travis Kvapil and his Yates Racing team have a sponsor for this weekend’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. Northern Tool + Equipment stepped up to sponsor the No. 28 Ford Fusion:
“I’m thrilled to have Northern Tool + Equipment as the sponsor of our No. 28 Ford Fusion for this weekend,” commented Kvapil. “This is a very exciting time for our Yates Racing organization because we’ve had some really great races to open the season with, and because of that, we’re able to showcase our strengths and the benefit that a sponsorship with our team will entail. I’m very flattered to represent Northern Tool + Equipment this weekend and I know that our team is going to do them proud on Sunday.”
So go on over to Northern Tool + Equipment’s website and buy a Go-Kart.
– Jon Wood will make his Sprint Cup debut at Talladega this weekend. I post this because it is an interesting thing, someone to look for this weekend to see how he does, but I’m also posting it ’cause he’s driving the No. 21 Honey Buns Ford Fusion and I just think that’s funny. (Nutty Bars are better in my humble opinion, but whatever)
What follows are audio interviews with A.J. Allmendinger and Brian Vickers of Red Bull Racing. They talk about about how they’re spending the off season and then preparing for the 2008 Cup season. Enjoy!
WARNING: Check your computer’s volume level before playing.
Bull Chat with A.J. Allmendinger:
Bull Chat with Brian Vickers:
Are you shocked? I’m not. There are worse things he could do.
And now I give you some things that you might want to know:
– If you’re a San Francisco Bay Area IndyCar fan you’ll be happy to know that Fior d’Italia Restaurant is giving $25 gift certificates to the first 40,000 fans that enter Infineon Raceway for the Motorola Indy 300, presented by Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel on Sunday, August 26. So make sure you get there early!
– NASCAR driver Ryan Newman will be a guest on the “Best Damn Sports Show Period” live from Lowe’s Motor Speedway on August 7th to announce the finalist for Kodak’s “Ink Ryan’s Ride” contest.
– Walk the track with Kurt & Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Ernie Irvan at Pocono Raceway on Saturday:
Kurt will join brother Kyle and four-time Cup champ Jeff Gordon in Saturday’s LAPS Walk with Ernie Irvan at Pocono Raceway. Irvan, Gordon and the Busch Brothers will unite with NASCAR fans, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors, and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard for a walk on the racetrack to raise awareness and needed funding to conquer TBI in America. The LAPS Walk festivities will kick off at 2:15 with a Q&A session and presentation to the top fundraiser of a signed helmet to recognize his/her outstanding effort for TBI awareness and prevention. Following the Q&A session, all participants, including Irvan and Kurt & Eva, will move down to the track where they will be joined by members of the National Guard for the opening ceremonies and a walk on the racetrack. For more information, please visit www.lapswalk.org or call the Brain Injury Association at 800.772.4323.
– I find this quote from Jimmie Johnson to be very interesting indeed. It’s about the resetting of the points once the Chase kicks in for the final ten races of the season.
It certainly looks like I’ll be a big beneficiary of it (resetting the points) and with the way that it is, I’ll take that forgiveness the way the point system is structured right now and try to capitalize on it. But when you look at Jeff’s (Gordon) point situation and how strong he has been, deep down inside there is still a part of me that says, ‘Man, the guy’s had a great year and deserves to be the champion and have it re-racked with everybody on top of him again probably isn’t fair.’ But it’s the way it is. The Chase does a lot of positive things for our sport. I’m in a position where I could capitalize on a tough summer. So you deal with the situation, as it exists. Just falling back on the way racing has always been and the way we’ve all raced through the season and had every point add up to equal a champion, if Jeff doesn’t win the championship I’m sure he’ll have a lot of heartburn over it. And I think us racers, deep down inside, might not think that it’s exactly right. But it’s different racing today than it was years back.
– Greg Biffle will be running a special “Dog the Bounty Hunter” paint scheme on his No. 16 Ford Fusion at Pocono. Uhm, yea, I’ve got nothing.
– All I can say about this is that I hope either A.J. Allmendinger or Brian Vickers can make it into this race or else this visit will be kinda awkward and embarrassing. I got my fingers crossed for ‘em!
Two members of the New York Red Bulls, the MLS team that plays its home matches at Giants Stadium, will make the 90-mile journey from East Rutherford, N.J., to Pocono Raceway to absorb the sights and sounds of NASCAR racing.
Midfielder Joe Vide and midfielder/forward Clint Mathis will get a true taste of what stock-car racing is all about. They’ll hang out on the grid and in the pits, and the fleet-footed duo will meet Red Bull Racing’s two drivers for lunch Sunday morning.
I have been so bad this week about posting new entries. There have been a bunch of things that I’ve wanted to write about and just get out of my head but I haven’t had the time.
So in anticipation of this weekend’s race at the Brickyard, I give you my comments on random photos:
A.J. Allmendinger spent part of his weekend off from not qualifying for another Nextel Cup race by driving his No. 84 Red Bull Toyota around Laguna Seca for the US MotoGP event. Australian Ducati rider Casey Stoner won the race, and I have to say that he has the coolest name by far… dude, your last name is Stoner. That just tickles me.
No. 84 with girls @ Laguna Seca, (c) Rich Van Every/Red Bull — Courtesy of Red Bull Racing
Look closely, I think those are braces on young Landon Cassill
Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 24 National Guard Chevrolet, talks with a media member out on pit road prior to the start of the NASCAR Busch Series race at Gateway International Raceway on July 21. (Hendrick Motorsports/Autostock)
I am including this photo because I think it is just really cute. Yes, I am a girl and sometimes I can be sentimental that’s all.
Casey Mears, driver of the No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet, celebrates with his father Roger (left) and grandfather Bill (right) after winning the pole for Sunday’s NEXTEL Cup Series event at Chicagoland. (Hendrick Motorsports/Autostock)
Do you feel that? It’s pressure… Who knew all of this pressure would be mounting for this year’s road course race at Infineon?
There are so many names being thrown out of potential winners it’s getting crazy. I almost wish I could ditch my nephews birthday party to see it in person… almost. I have some serious objections to Juan Pablo Montoya winning this puppy. Why? Because he won’t appreciate it. After he won in Mexico earlier this year (a road course track) he said he wanted to win at an oval next. So given his charismatic and warm attitude (that’s serious sarcasm folks) I’m sure he’d be oh so ecstatic to get a win at another road course. I’m sure he’d be happy in general about winning but he’d still whine that he hadn’t won at a super speedway yet. So I don’t accept that. I don’t even want to imagine it happening.
I’d much rather see AJ Allmendinger pull out a miracle win instead. The kid can do it, if he can qualify. Keep your fingers crossed because that would just be too much fun to watch. He’s got stiff competition from ringers like Boris Said and Ron Fellows, but also a cup regular like Robby Gordon.
In other news…
– Wanna know more about Crew Chiefs? Check out the Crew Chief Club website. I just stumbled upon this site today via Larry McReynolds’ column on FoxSports.com. There isn’t a lot of daily changing information on it (except for a link to Larry Mac’s weekly columns), but still you can get some background info on some of the top Crew Chiefs in NASCAR.
– A big thank you to all of you who have filled out my quick ‘Fabulous’ survey. I really, really appreciate it. If you haven’t filled it out yet, you should… I’ll be your best friend!
I walked into my local grocery store last night and saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. I did a quick double-take but it was only a cardboard cutout of him. I was seriously tempted to find the store manager to see if I could put down dibs on taking the cardboard Junior home with me. If you could live in my brain you’d be adequately entertained by some of the thoughts that run through it.
Anyway… It seems that the real Dale Jr. is feeding his love for Elvis by hosting the first night of the “Elvis Music & Movies” series at Graceland on August 13th, 2007 (that’s a Monday for those of you thinking about going). They’re going to show one of Elvis’ movies “Viva Las Vegas,” which happens to be my favorite Elvis movie. Not so much because of Elvis but more because of Ann Margaret and her song “My Rival.” I love that part, you should rent it.
So Infineon is this weekend and I’m not going to the races. This is the only race that comes to my area but I have to pass on it this year so that I can attend my youngest nephew’s birthday in La La Land (aka Los Angeles). This is how great of an aunt I am, I am sacrificing the chance to see my fave drivers up close in order to celebrate the day my nephew turns 6. Family is important to me and honestly I can get better views of this particular race by watching it on TV.
Infineon is a very fun place to watch a race, but you really have to be in shape in order to get around that place. It’s hilly and only certain locations around the track give the best views. And if you’re going to try and track down the drivers after the race for autographs, be prepared to hike up the hill to the helicopter pad.
I’m sad that I can’t go, and I’ll be extra miffed if Dale Jr. manages to pull out a top 5 finish and I wasn’t there to see it. I like this quote from him about Infineon:
“This weekend is important to me because I’m sick of hearing people say ‘oh, he can’t drive on a road course.’ We’ve been so close here before and have always come away with some sort of issue that takes away from what we can really do. I want a top-10 so bad here, I can taste it. We finished 11th two years in a row and led some laps. It broke my heart that I didn’t get to race the Corvette there in 2004 because of the crash during the morning warm-up. I was angry because it cost that team a chance to race after they had been so good to me, but also because I was really learning a lot and had improved my road racing skills.
Then, in 2005, we had a car I thought had a chance to win the Cup race but we were trying a new transmission and it locked-up on the first lap and I was in the wall. That was so disappointing – and it was even worse when we fixed the car and I went back out and was still as fast as anyone in a car that was beat-up and taped together. It was frustrating, but it was another sign that I can do this. Last year, we passed more than 15 cars on track, moved into the top-10 and then got taken out by a ringer who was driving like a madman. We tested for a day at VIR (Virginia Intl. Raceway) a few weeks back, and I think this is the weekend we get can get a finish that this team deserves.”
In other news…
– Here are the things I wish for AJ Allmendinger: 1.) He qualifies for the race at Infineon this weekend and 2.) He places somewhere in the top 10 at the very least.
– NASCAR.COM’s Duane Cross writes about Liz Allison’s soon-to-be-released book (September 7th to be exact) The Girl’s Guide to Winning a NASCAR Driver (Secrets to Grabbing His Attention and Stealing His Heart)… The book provides info on how drivers met their wives and how to grab a drivers attention. Check out the article it’s a fun read, especially the part about Kurt Busch and a horse’s behind.
– Thanks to a reader I now have a link to a photo of Marco Andretti Shirtless… Your endless Google searches can end here.
– Another Infineon bit… Wanna meet Clint Bowyer? Here’s the lowdown on how you can this Friday, June 22nd in Petaluma, Calif.
On behalf of Jack Daniel’s, Bowyer will appear on the mezzanine above the Tolay restaurant at the Sheraton Sonoma County – Petaluma Hotel on Friday, June 22 from 7-8:30 p.m. The hotel is located at 745 Baywood Drive in Petaluma. Bowyer will be on hand to greet race fans and sign autographs.
This week has been a rollercoaster of emotions for NASCAR fans. First you have the great high — the victory for Martin Truex Jr. at Dover, his first-ever Cup win.
And then the great low of losing Bill France Jr. the former chairman of NASCAR. After his father (NASCAR’s founder) died, France took charge of his family’s business and grew NASCAR to be the national, ever-growing and highly profitable sport we know today. You have to respect someone who took risks and was dedicated to seeing this league grow. I don’t know the complete history of the France family (of course I’m learning more and more every day) but you’d have to think that building this sport/company must have been a fun ride.
In other news…
– In what I think is the most current issue of ESPN The Magazine they have an article about the new ABC show “Fast Cars & Superstars.” The show comes on tonight and features various celebrities attempting to race stock cars. Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, and Kurt Busch serve as coaches. Serena Williams, Jon Cena, Tony Hawk are some of the celebs participating. This should be fun to watch. I like seeing people realize that it really is harder than you think to “drive around in circles all day.”
– I never got around to writing about Dover. There really isn’t much for me to say about it since I didn’t get to watch it live. A note to Mother Nature: Please stop raining on NASCAR! Some of us have jobs and can’t stay at home on Monday to watch the race.
– At any rate I was very happy to see that Martin Truex Jr. won Dover. I always knew he could do it, and it bothers me to see headlines saying things like “Truex shows DEI’s more than just Junior” because everybody knew that there was more to DEI than just Junior. I don’t remember saying that, do you remember saying that??
And now for some photo goodness:
Ryan Newman carries a piece of his car after a wreck during the Nextel Prelude to the Dream on June 6, 2007 at Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Eldora Speedway)
Carl Edwards #99 leads Jeff Gordon #24 on the pace lap prior to the start of the Nextel Prelude to the Dream on June 6, 2007 at Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for Eldora Speedway)
Aric Almirola gets ready to drive during the Nextel Prelude to the Dream on June 6, 2007 at Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Eldora Speedway)
Martin Truex Jr. sprays champagne on the trophy for winning the Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Visa at the Monster Mile, Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland / Getty Images for NASCAR)
AJ Allmendinger takes a break during practice at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
This is my long overdue follow-up post to my initial comments about the Coca-Cola 600 last weekend. I am still so excited that Casey Mears has finally won his first Nextel Cup series race even though he’s apart of Hendrick “We Win Everything, Suckers!” Motorsports.
So there are couple things I must point out… first off, in this photo of Casey, in victory lane with his teammate Jimmie Johnson, he looks to be on the verge of tears. It’s gotta be one of THE best photos this year.
The photo below proves how much of an emotional win this was for the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet team; one guy (on the far right) is actually doing a cartwheel! A cartwheel people, I haven’t done one of those since I was in elementary school and I’m a girl. Anyway, it’s still cute… in a way.
(Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
It’s amazing to me what a difference one race can make. People make it seem like Casey Mears didn’t exist before this race. You can have all the potential in the world but until you deliver on it you’re not really anybody. I’m not saying I agree with this but I know that evidence speaks volumes and that’s what some people focus on.
I always knew that Casey had it in him; it was just a matter of time. The same goes for Clint Bowyer, J.J. Yeley and Martin Truex Jr. They need to figure out a winning recipe ASAP.
Ya know how some people can go so long without doing “it” that they feel like they’ve become a virgin again? Well I think that might be happening to my guy Dale Earnhardt Jr. I’m just sayin’. He hasn’t won a race in what feels like FOREVER (Actually it was last year at Richmond in May).
So besides the whole awesomeness that was Mears’ win at Charlotte I was very happy for Team Red Bull. They managed to pull out a top-5 finish after it seemed like everybody and Jesus was out to get them. I wouldn’t even want to drive my regular street car without power steering, but Brian Vickers managed to do it at over 180 mph.
It was crappy that AJ Allmendinger was taken out of the race so early in that crash with Jeff Gordon, but at least Brian was able to pull something together. This is great for Toyota. Vickers was able to lead more laps in that one race than all of the Toyota teams put together so far this season.
And now for the fun stuff, photos of hot dudes:
Actor Chris Evans races fellow “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” cast members in a race simulator at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
WWE star Jon Cena (left) meets with NASCAR Busch Series Director Joe Balash. (Photo Credit: David Griffin/NASCAR Scene)
I am invested in the success of Toyota’s NASCAR race teams.
Why you ask?
Well I own a Toyota (a cool and fun Toyota Matrix XR named “Trinity” my homage to the lead female character in “The Matrix” film franchise) and I like the company. So if Toyota isn’t a winner I’m not a winner! Well, sort-of. I don’t take it that seriously but you get my point.
My first car in high school was a 1970-something Toyota Corolla named Betsy (right) that every member of my family drove before it got handed down to me in the late 1990′s. I loved that car, it was old but it lasted for a long time. Toyota knows how to make great cars that last, that are reliable. But now they need to make some race cars that can win, heck, just qualifying would be nice.
While Dave Blaney is currently ranked 3rd (David Reutimann of Michael Waltrip Racing is in 4th) in the points standings for the Busch series — which is really awesome — his teammates at Bill Davis Racing and the other Toyota teams are seriously lagging.
As much as I was annoyed with Brian Vickers for stupidly spinning out Dale Earnhardt Jr. last year (I have a hard time letting things go, can’t ya tell?) at Talladega I’m starting to root for him again. Part of that is because I dig Red Bull (eventhough I’ve never drunk a Red Bull in my life, I appreciate great marketing) and of course Toyota in general.
I feel bad because AJ Allmendinger is completely new to this NASCAR thing and he’s not getting the opportunity to really prove himself, show us all what he can do. Jeremy Mayfield is back but you can hardly tell because he’s only been in 3 races so far this season. I’m looking forward to him racing — competitively — against his ex-Evernham teammates.
Then there’s Michael Waltrip. Only one race under his belt this year and the rest of his race teams are seriously struggling. Dale Jarrett is out of provisionals, so if he doesn’t qualify on time for Richmond he’s not going to be in a Nextel Cup race for the first time after 424 previous starts. Maybe there’s an early retirement ahead for Dale? He’s really good at analyzing the Busch races on ESPN.
In other news…
At least someone at Red Bull Racing is winning… Today they announced that 20-year-old mechanical engineering student Matthew Marchiando from the University of California-Davis won the first-ever Red Bull Velocity Lab internship. He’ll be spending his summer at the Red Bull Racing race shop in Mooresville, N.C. I post this because he’s local to me (Davis, Calif is an hour north of me in the San Francisco Bay Area). Marchiando’s internship application included a plan on how to perfect “how the front splitter limits front-end travel” on the Car of Tomorrow. Good luck Matthew!
Even though Kyle Busch won, Sunday’s race at Bristol was great. I loved that it ended in a green, white, and checkered; you didn’t know who was going to win it until the very last lap.
There were other reasons to happy with this race:
– A.J. Allmendinger finally got to race in the NEXTEL Cup Series! He finished in 40th after starting in the 43rd position. So he wasn’t exactly a contender but at least he got to participate, and in that really pathetic sense he won! But really, I am happy that his Red Bull team got to compete. Now if Michael Waltrip can get his act together maybe we can get all of the Toyota teams on the track at the same time.
– Everybody can stop talking about that damn Car of Tomorrow. Bristol was the debut for the new, somewhat ugly car that ups safety and headroom for the drivers. I don’t know about you but I don’t like that “wing” they’ve added to the back of the car, it just looks odd and out of place. I can appreciate the value of adding safety features for the benefit of the drivers but anything else is over my head. I can’t really have an opinion about its effect on the competition since I’m not the one who has to drive it every weekend. But I can say this: Please, no more montages, specials, cut-away cars about the Car of Tomorrow. We got it! We know what it is, what’s different, what’s good, what’s bad, we’re over it! Move on!
– Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished in 7th place after starting in the 31st position. This is such a huge boost for his team and for my sanity. Hopefully they can keep this momentum going into Martinsville this weekend and continue his move up in the points standings.
– While watching some of the Busch race coverage at Bristol I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was extremely weird to have Brent Musburger covering NASCAR. He does basketball, football, heck even golf, but NASCAR? Uhm, no. It just doesn’t seem right to me. It’s not that he’s bad at it so much as it’s just not what he’s known for. It’s like if they moved Dick Vitale from covering college basketball to women’s gymnastics. Ok, maybe it’s not that severe, but you get my point.
– Here’s another reason why my nickname of “Teddy Bear” for Casey Mears is on point:
Roger Mears, father of Casey Mears, drives his son’s motor coach from race to race during the NASCAR season and is a familiar face at the track. However, the former off-road racer won’t be so easy to find this weekend in Martinsville. Roger Mears, who celebrated his 60th birthday last Saturday, will be at the Barrett-Jackson auction — also known as the “World’s Greatest Collector Car Event” — in Palm Beach, Fla., from March 28 to April 1. The younger Mears, driver of the No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, arranged for his father to attend the event as a birthday present and even slipped a blank check in with the ticket. “I still don’t know what to say,” said Roger Mears, who rarely misses SPEED Channel’s Barrett-Jackson Car Search program and plans to make the trip south with his brother, open-wheel legend Rick Mears. “It’s a pretty amazing thing to do for your dad. I was speechless.”
Isn’t that sweet? Good job Casey.
A couple weeks ago I attended a press conference at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. In attendance was Scott Pruett (who didn’t know it at the time but would later be screwed by his own teammate at the Busch race in Mexico), NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Rider Angelle Sampey, IndyCar Series driver Marco — Grandson of Mario — Andretti (sporting some interestingly decorated & detailed jeans) and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rookie A.J. Allmendinger, a native of Los Gatos, Calif.
Poor A.J. He has yet to qualify his #84 Red Bull Toyota Camry for any of the Cup series races this year. I sincerely hope that his team can pull it together, at least in time for the race at Infineon in June. Since he is from the Bay Area it would be nice to qualify and run in front of his hometown crowd.
I’m really bringing up A.J. for another reason. At the press conference there were media materials laid out representing all of the drivers in attendance. If you watched the special they ran before the Daytona 500 this year about Toyota’s entry into Cup racing you would have seen the photo shoot for this booklet. The results are great. They made ‘em look tall! The Team Red Bull booklet stood out and is by far the best piece of marketing for a race team that I have seen in quite some time.
I’m sure Brian Vickers is much happier now hawking an energy drink instead of womens shampoo. Bye Bye Garnier Fructis!
See for yourself in the photos below…
These are little cards that you can take out of the booklet and do with as you please. Nice touch!
I have to let you in on something that severely hurts my heart every time I think about it. Maybe by writing about it it won’t hurt as much.
I could have gone to the NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this week, but for reasons I won’t go into here I wasn’t able to attend.
This makes me severely depressed. I mean, what could be better than spending three days in Vegas with Dale Earnhardt Jr.?, I mean, with all those NASCAR drivers and their teams? Right, yeah, that’s what I meant.
But I’m moving on and I’m looking forward to the season ahead. There are a bunch of new faces to watch this year, for example, Ricky Carmichael and A.J. Allmendinger.
Ricky comes from the world of motocross and A. J. is from Champ Car. Carmichael is only 27 but yet his name is synonymous with motocross (and local Morgan Hill company Fox Racing). He won’t be in the Nextel Cup series anytime soon though, he’ll work his way up from the bottom, starting with super-late-model and Arca races. Which I think is the totally right way to go. I don’t like the idea of people being able to just jump into Nextel Cup races straight outta the gate.
That’s like a famous pro football player switching to baseball and being the starting picture for a major league team. Ridiculous. They should go down to some minor league team, learn and prove themselves.
But apparently Allmendinger is good enough to roll right on into Cup racing. He’ll be apart of Team Red Bull in a Toyota Camry ride.
In other news…
Oh how I wish I had DirecTV right now. DirecTV is launching a new premium service called HotPass that will allow you to watch ONLY your favorite driver during a NASCAR race.
Each channel has its own announcers dedicated to that driver, real-time stats and six different cameras. At any given time, two of those angles are shown — along with the network feed — on a triple-split screen.
NASCAR’s entire 37-race season costs $99 for DirecTV subscribers. And starting in 2008, everything will be available in high definition.
”It’s the home-team channel for your driver,” said Chris Long, the executive producer for HotPass. ”You’re going to hear driver audio. You’ll have the ability to listen (to the team), or you can listen to the announcers.”
The access is amazing, but I wonder how much longer it’ll be before we’re watching our fave drivers 24/7, while their showering or eating dinner. Read more about this by clicking here.
Jimmie Johnson poses with two young fans on Jimmie Johnson Day in San Diego on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at the San Diego Hall of Champions. (Photo Credit: Kent Horner/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, left, talks with Dale Earnhardt Jr., right, during NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing. (Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images for NASCAR)
AJ Allmendinger takes a break during NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Jarrett talks with the media during NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images for NASCAR)