Sunday morning I woke up ridiculously early so that I could get to the track in time to get a ride in the pace car with Brett Bodine. This was my second time getting to ride around the Sonoma Raceway track but it had been long enough since the first time I’d done it to not remember what it felt like. Let me tell you this, Brett Bodine doesn’t lay off the gas pedal just because you’re not a race car driver. That guy went flat out and it was insane.
All posts tagged Alan Gustafson15 Posts
I’m over Jeff Gordon’s mustache. And apparently the mustache is over itself too because it did NOTHING to help out Ella & Leo’s dad this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t hang your hopes on facial hair.
Thursday was decidedly less cab filled than Wednesday. I walked next door to the Bellagio for the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon. My table, number 31 (my fave number because it’s my birthday), was the designated NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps table. We were a couple tables behind the Joe Gibbs Racing table where JD Gibbs and Kyle Busch were seated.
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).
‘Cause he won the race, you guys. I don’t miss playing Red Rover in elementary school, although Steal The Bacon was my absolute LEAST favorite game. I’m more of a Hopscotch/4 Square girl, no annoying boys yelling at you if you do something “wrong.”
Anyway, Kurt Busch’s win of the AAA 400 at Dover International Raceway was one big piece in the changed up Chase standings. I love that everything is still up in the air and we have no idea who will ultimately walk away with this year’s trophy. I hope Brad Keseolowski is right, he posted the following tweet last night:
After today’s race. It’s obvious the chase winner will be decided on the last lap at homestead. Every one is so close.
Did you see all of the babies on pit road during the pre-race coverage on ESPN? Adorableness times a million.
The best quote of the day (in my opinion) came from Jimmie Johnson. I like Sassy Jimmie
Q. You both (Carl Edwards) talked about essentially mistakes that you made today that prevented you from winning. How do you get over that? How long does that take? What’s that process in moving forward?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: If I was Carl, I wouldn’t get over that mistake.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I maybe wouldn’t show up next week.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: (Laughing). Not sure we answered your question.
What would have made Jeff Gordon’s win at Phoenix better? Ella and Leo, of course! Sucked they weren’t in Victory Lane with their papa but the win itself was great. I always love seeing a driver get emotional after a win. I’m always looking for something real, and by that I mean just something genuine to remind me that these guys really love what it is that they do and that it means more to them than just fame and money.
To me it’s easier to see the lows and the highs in this sport, than it is in others. A basketball team might lose one night and then win on another, or maybe go 5 games without a win but eventually a win comes up in that same season. But in NASCAR these guys can go YEARS without a win. It just makes it so much sweeter when it happens.
I cannot wait to get to Las Vegas this week. I’m driving down there on Wednesday, it’s my first race of the season and it feels like I’m going to summer camp or something. On Thursday I’ll be at Tony Stewart’s autograph session at Office Depot (1435 West Craig Road, North Las Vegas) at 12:30pm. If you want to get something signed ya gotta get a wristband first (one per person), which they’re distributing to the first 600 people starting at 8am the day of the event. Then you have to get on line for the autograph sesh no later than 1:30pm. This is all local/Las Vegas time.
Before Tony signs stuff for fans I’m presenting him with the 2011 Hottest Driver Tourney “trophy” and I sincerely hope he likes it. I already have anxiety about that whole thing. I’m sure it’ll be fine, though.
The 2011 NASCAR racing season is fast approaching and that means I’ve finally got new photos to share with you guys from the Preseason Thunder testing that occurred last week at Daytona International Speedway. It was our first chance to catch some drivers wearing their new sponsor’s firesuits, a time to welcome back Brian Vickers (yay!) and an opportunity to see new driver/crew chief pairings (Gustafson & Gordon = Too much hotness for one team, I’m just sayin’).
I’m excited about the year to come, as I always am, and I know that I have at least ONE very cool, super awesome, off-line deal coming up that involves you guys! So stay tuned for that announcement.
Remember to check out ‘Fabulous’ News for press releases and random photos throughout the week. I’ll have a wrap-up of the media tour taking place now posted later on in the week.
But for now enjoy these photos!
Brad Keselowski recorded the fastest lap of the day at 45.316 seconds Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during Preseason Thunder testing.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Red Bull Racing teammates Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers talk as they sign autographs for fans in the garage area during Preseason Thunder testing on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. laughs during a Preseason Thunder Fan Fest Q&A Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Truex turned the second-fastest lap of the first day of testing with a 195.776 mph circuit. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Marcos Ambrose smiles in the garage Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during Preseason Thunder testing.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards signs autographs for young fans during the Preseason Thunder Fan Fest following testing Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers signs autographs in the Sprint FanZone Thursday during Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. smiles during a break on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart looks on as his crew makes adjustments to the No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during Preseason Thunder testing.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
A new look Kevin Harvick participates in testing Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon works with Ormond Beach, Fla. native Alan Gustafson in the Garage Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Joey Logano who was third fastest with a lap time of 45.757 seconds signs autographs for fans during Preseason Thunder Fan Fest on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clint Bowyer signs autographs for fans during Preseason Thunder on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Last week was pretty hectic for me, hence the lack of posts. Between making the turkey (using a brine is the only way to go) for Thanksgiving and then helping my mom get married on Saturday I’ve been a busy little bee!
So I haven’t had much time to think about all of the ramifications of the changes that were announced at Hendrick Motorsports last week.
But my reaction went something like this:
I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting to use that animation of Pee Wee! Cracks me up every time I see it and in this case it totally sums up my feelings when I heard the news. On one hand I was thinking it might be better for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to get Alan Gustafson, but I trust that Rick Hendrick knows what he’s doing. I love all of the new pairings and I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes of it. The teams of the 88 and 24 can definitely use the new energy, so I’m excited.
No. 5 Chevrolet
Driver: Mark Martin
Crew Chief: Lance McGrew
No. 24 Chevrolet
Driver: Jeff Gordon
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
No. 48 Chevrolet (duh, if it ain’t broke why fix it?)
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Crew Chief: Chad Knaus
No. 88 Chevrolet
Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Crew Chief: Steve Letarte
Saturday is always my favorite day in the garage because it’s all about practice and we haven’t reached the max level of wandering people that will be around come Sunday.
Something I hadn’t realized about the garage at Infineon is how perfect it is before the cars roll out for the first practice session of the day. Infineon’s garage stalls are all in one long row. You walk a straight line and you get to see everyone. This is especially eerie when all the drivers are sitting in their cars with their visors up just waiting for the call to drive out to the track.
It’s the only time when they’re basically a captive audience. You could jump out in front of their cars and do a little dance or hold up a big sign saying whatever you want and they have to watch because they can’t go anywhere. I didn’t do a little dance, I just tried to take pictures but I recommend that if you’re going to get a garage pass make sure it’s on a day when the guys are practicing. It’s the best time.
ESPN on ABC’s Countdown pre-race show could have been oh, I dunno, about 45 minutes shorter than its scheduled full hour. I am an ESPN fan, truly, but I can’t take the pre-show anymore. The only useful things are the 5 second driver interviews and that’s about it.
There are no features, no special interviews, nothing. Why does it need to be an hour? I don’t wanna see a recap of the last race I saw it already. And if I didn’t see it on TV I caught up on it online. So there’s no need to rehash the whole thing. And please, for the love of God, stop asking Rusty Wallace his opinion on who can win the Championship. I’m sure he’s a very nice man, and obviously he has a lot of NASCAR knowledge but sometimes I don’t know where he’s coming from.
If I were to become a NASCAR Sprint Cup series driver I would have Alan Gustafson as my crew chief and Ron Malec as my car chief. Why? Because they’re both smokin’ hot!
Seriously, I’m awarding them both with the first ever I-totally-just-made-this-up-on-the-fly Fast and the Fabulous hottie crew & car chief awards for 2009. In case you’re not in the know, Alan is the crew chief for the No. 5 Pop-Tarts/CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevrolet driven by Mark Martin and Ron is the car chief for the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson.
I mean, hellooo, just look at them. I’ve had the great opportunity to see both of these gentlemen in person. A race weekend is simply not complete without one of my obligatory Ron Malec photos, and seeing Gustafson in street clothes is mind blowing.
Congratulations to Alan and Ron! I’m sure Hendrick Motorsports, extremely honored that two of their employees were selected for this illustrious honor, will frame this post and and hang it in their lunchroom. hehe
(Photo Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
(Photo Courtesy NASCAR/Getty Images)
Ron Malec (left)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by The Fast and the Fabulous)
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.
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)
I refuse to accept this Chase as it stands right now. No, no, no! This is lame people! Jimmie Johnson can’t walk away with the Championship. The other guys within mathematical distance of the lead need to step it up and make something happen. I was delighted to see Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton with positive and upbeat attitudes about the coming races. I hope they battle and fight and snatch the Sprint Cup out of Jimmie’s hands.
Think about it like this too, we’ve seen Jimmie’s wife Chandra all decked out for the Championship week in New York. That’s all fine and well and she’s got a great fashion sense but it’s about time another wife had the chance to show off. Kim Burton and Nicole Biffle totally deserve the opportunity.
Back to the racing: What good is having a teammate if you’re not going to use each other? I’m just saying, how hard is it to take a guy out for the sake of a co-worker?? Hmm??? Hehe. Do with that what you will. It’ll be so boring if nothing happens to Jimmie in the next 4 races.
In case you were wondering, the female comic book character on his helmet is saying “Did my boyfriend just punch me in the side of the head?”
Scott Speed improved from 32nd-quickest in the first practice session to 19-quickest in the final practice. Speed will be making his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut Sunday in the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne signs autographs for fans following the final practice for the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Was I the only one who thought that Chad was going to pull Jimmie’s head off??
Crew chief Chad Knaus congratulates his driver Jimmie Johnson on winning the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsvile Speedway on Sunday, October 19, 2008 (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 Pop-Tarts/CARQUEST Chevrolet, started 23rd and finished sixth during Sunday’s 500-mile event at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Here he confers with his crew chief Alan Gustafson (far right). (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Jeff Gordon (C), driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, stands on the grid with his wife Ingrid Vandebosch (R), and daughter Ella Sophia (L), prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 19, 2008 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Johnny Benson and his crew celebrate winning the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway. The win moved Benson into first place in the point standings ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So here’s more thoughts & things from the Pepsi 400 at Daytona last weekend, and some stuff leading up to Chicago this weekend.
– This exchange between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his crew chief (and cousin) Tony Eury Jr. is just funny, so I felt like sharing:
Running 26 laps behind the leaders, the team needed one more stop for fuel to make it to the finish. The yellow flag flew on lap 116.
Eury Jr.: “Pit the second time by. We’ll just take fuel and we’ll be good the rest of the way.”
Dale Jr: “You ain’t gonna give me tires?”
Eury Jr: “You only have four laps on those.”
Dale Jr: “Well, if you like this set so much, you can take them home with you. I need tires. This place is like Darlington now.”
Eury Jr: “Alright, we’ll pit for four tires, second time by.”
As for Chicago, I think Junior is right:
“I’m beginning to think I should just not slow down when I see a crash in front of me. I hope that theme doesn’t continue. We’ve been taken out of two chances to win a race this season by getting hit from behind while trying to avoid a wreck (at Texas in April and last Saturday evening in Daytona). I keep saying that we’re due to have the breaks start going our way, and when they do, we’re going to enjoy it.”
– Are you like me and a need a new laptop? Well here’s the perfect contest for you to enter. You can win Carl Edwards‘ laptop. An autographed Toshiba Notebook. Go to www.officedepotracing.com for details.
– Another note about Jamie McMurray’s win last week at Daytona. After the race, while Jamie’s crew chief Larry Carter was being interviewed he looked as if nothing happened. The look on his face was priceless, he did not look or sound like a man that had just won a Cup race. In fact he looked like he had lost the thing. All of that changed, a little, once he was in victory lane with Jamie and the rest of the team. He finally cracked a smile! I counted at least 2 or 3. Maybe he just needed to be there in the winner’s circle before he could relax and enjoy it.
– After this weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway drivers Reed Sorenson, David Stremme and Juan Pablo Montoya will attend a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The game on Monday, July 16th is against the San Francisco Giants. Sorenson is supposed to throw out the first pitch (don’t mess it up Reed, you’ll never live it down) and then go sing “Take me out to the ball game” with Stremme and Montoya during the seventh inning stretch. Uhm… Interesting. If you can’t make it to the game in person it’ll be broadcast on ESPN.
– Try on this quote from Kyle Busch’s crew chief Alan Gustafson:
“There’s been a lot of speculation about the equipment we’re getting and what Kyle is getting. I’d like to set the record straight that there is no discrimination as to who gets what at Hendrick Motorsports. It’s the same as it’s always been. We finished second last week — I’d say we were the best car out there. We are here to make the Chase and win a championship. That goal won’t change regardless what the 2008 plans are. I expect the Kellogg’s/CARQUEST team to win this weekend. We’re right on the brink, like we were last year at this time. We have a lot of momentum and I think Chicago is as good a place as any for another win.”
Uhm… Where did this come from? I’m just thinking out loud here, but has he talked to Kyle about this? ‘Cause I think he’s probably the one that started all of the speculation.