All posts tagged A.J. Allmendinger

53 Posts

a change of plans for the coca-cola 600

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 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)

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)

(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)

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)

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)

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)

allmendinger gets his wings back

Talladega Cartoon by Buck Jones (courtesy of Red Bull Racing)

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.
New No. 84 silver paint scheme (courtesy of Red Bull Racing)

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)

aj allmendinger: ‘this year sucked’

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:

so tony stewart used a bad word

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 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.

braces, knee highs and a stoner

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)

wishin’ for a red bull win

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 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!

missing infineon, shirtless marco found

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.

courtesy of Red Bull Racing

– 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.

just remember his legacy

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)

i’d like to buy the world a coke

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

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 Superstar John Cena

WWE star Jon Cena (left) meets with NASCAR Busch Series Director Joe Balash. (Photo Credit: David Griffin/NASCAR Scene)

toyota could use some wings

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…

redbull_marchiando.jpgAt 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!

the car of annoying

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. :)

running with the bulls

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!

new kids on the block

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)

Go Colts!