The last laps of last night’s race at Richmond were chock full of WTF moments I’m not quite sure where to begin.
All posts tagged Brad Keselowski90 Posts
Yea, I don’t know. I’m just going with it.
Congratulations to Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team on their win at Michigan this weekend.
I don’t know why but lately I’m finding it hard to find things to talk about when it comes to NASCAR. Kyle Busch won at Watkins Glen, so there’s that. Tony Stewart’s out of the hospital, glad to heard it. And now Austin Dillon is filling in for Tony at Michigan, good for him.
You know me, I hone in on the IMPORTANT news. While Brian Vickers was in victory lane celebrating his win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway today he dropped the news that he’d gotten engaged to his girlfriend, Sarah Kensington.
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.
When I got to the Cup garage at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday the inspections process was in full-swing for qualifying.
Kristen attempted to explain to me how NASCAR started using lasers this year at one of the inspection stations to measure the car. It’s kinda neat how it’s able to find the center of the car. It’s all completely computerized.
First, I apologize for taking so long to write about Sonoma. Life, work, blah, blah, blah.
Because I honestly don’t remember a whole lot. Anyway, the image gallery is going to be the best part of this post, so enjoy!
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.
Matt Kenseth is a great race car driver and it’s cool that he won, and as my mom said when I told her that, “well it’s nice that someone different won,” I couldn’t disagree with her. It’s true, but why I am not super excited when Matt Kenseth wins? I have no idea. It’s not personal.
Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 and in the distance I could hear the sound of the saddest trombone sighing “waaah, waaah, waaaaaaah.”
NASCAR drivers reported to Daytona International Speedway yesterday for two days of Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing. This was supposed to be an extra-special testing session because they were driving the new sixth-generation car.
"No, I don’t keep trophies at my house. I don’t believe in building a shrine to myself. It’s kind of weird."
The 2012 NASCAR Champion’s Week is over and here are the photos I was able to use for the site. Enjoy!
Since I’m not in Las Vegas (*sniffle*) for NASCAR’s Champion’s Week festivities all I can do is post photos. Above is what I’ve got so far from Tuesday and Wednesday. I’ll post everything else on Saturday.
I was going to write a whole paragraph about how traveling sucked but I figured what’s the point. You guys have been there, you know what I was dealing with on my flights from San Francisco to Charlotte and then on to Miami. Although I have to say I have NEVER been on a flight so full of babies & toddlers as I did that Saturday. It was crazy and it made me vow that if I ever have kids I’m not flying anywhere with them until they’re adults.
I don’t know if you heard but there was a little incident at Phoenix International Raceway yesterday. It was so small that it caused #NASCAR to be a trend nationally on Twitter and for The Today Show to mention it this morning. Just a bunch of dudes getting in to a fist fight in the garage that’s all.
So we’re really doing this? I can’t express to you how incredibly boring and soul crushing it is when Jimmie Johnson wins AND continues to lead the points in the Chase.
Nothing important changed after the race at Kansas yesterday. Brad Keselowski still leads the points standings by 7 points over Jimmie Johnson. Denny Hamlin is still third. Sooo yep, that’s about it.
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.
I think Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s comments after yesterday’s race at Talladega were right-on:
I had this weird feeling while watching Brad Keselowski win yesterday’s race at Dover. It felt like the dudes in the booth calling the race weren’t all that excited by Brad’s win. I’m not saying they were rooting against him I just got this general feeling that there wasn’t a sense of “Oooh, this is interesting!” When it IS in fact interesting.
I watched the start of the SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at my boyfriend’s apartment. He doesn’t have cable (I know, insane!) but I do. Because I had my handy dandy iPhone, the Watch ESPN app I’d downloaded the day before and Apple TV, I was able to watch NASCAR Countdown and the first handful of laps on my boyfriend’s television. Technology is WONDERFUL and I highly recommend it.
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.
I watched some of the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway from a bar known to be frequented by cops and firefighters in Oakland. I was there for something had nothing to do with racing OR cops/firefighters, it was a gathering of my boyfriend’s friends. Anyway, I couldn’t hear anything but I saw the red flag come out and some of the racing. The night was about Jeff Gordon fighting his way into the top-12 and ultimately in to The Chase, which meant that Kyle Busch had sit this Chase out.
Shouldn’t he be reacting to the pepper spray more?? I dunno.
I think pretty much everyone in agreement that the finish to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International was crazy, right? I scrolled through my Twitter feed and all it showed were a series of tweets that said “Wow.”
I feel like I should send Carl Edwards a care package. Or at least a nice handwritten note that reads: “Buck up, kid! Everything happens for a reason.” Seems like the right thing to do since he hasn’t won a race this year and crap keeps happening to him.
I have to admit that I didn’t see the race yesterday. I know! I know. It really sucks to miss a race it feels like I’m missing an episode in a soap opera, even if nothing particularly huge happens you still feel like you need to see the story lines they use to set up other story lines to stay up to date.
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.
My recollection of Talladega includes Brad Keseolwski winning, Kurt Busch in his Talladega Nights themed “ME” car and Jimmie Johnson sitting in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit box after his car clunked out of the race.
I’m not sure what I can say about Kansas except that it was a race and Denny Hamlin won it. So let’s leave it at that shall we?
I woke up early Sunday morning to clear skies and no rain. When rain is a possibility during a race weekend I’ve taken the stance of not talking about it. At least not in the negative. You don’t know for sure what the weather is going to do, so why stand on negative side of the fence and go on an on about how it’s going to rain and we’re not going to get the race in, blah, blah, blah. I’d just rather not and deal with what’s actually happening.
Where the hell have I have been? I keep asking myself this. Maybe you’ve noticed I haven’t written anything about the Budweiser Shootout or the Daytona 500 that turned out to be Mister Toad’s Wild Ride or even Phoenix.
I’m SO excited to be posting MORE wedding photos! TJ Majors, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spotter for Dale Earnhardt Jr., married his longtime girlfriend, Tamela Berry on December 10, 2011 down in Key West, Florida.
Over 600 votes were cast and now we’re ready to reveal the drivers that have made it in to Round Two of the 2012 Hottest NASCAR Driver Tournament. Brian Vickers & Jeff Gordon were randomly seeded in to Round Two when the brackets were created, so that’s why they’re in. One of the closest results from the first round were between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton. Burton snuck past Dale Jr by just 2%. David Gilliland did the same thing in getting past Juan Pablo Montoya.
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.
This post is really about everything that I forgot. It wasn’t until I started unpacking that I realized I’d forgotten my evening bag/clutch. This was important because there was no way I could carry everything I’d need for the Awards Ceremony without a bag and taking my regular purse would have been ridiculous.
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.
I woke up ridiculously early Wednesday morning to catch my 6am flight to Las Vegas. I received media credentials to attend the 2011 Motorsports Marketing Forum presented by Sports Business Journal/Daily. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get see the entire program for that day, but I wanted to get in as much as possible.
And he kept fighting ’til the end!
What a race. The Ford 400 was pretty ah-mazing considering there wasn’t serious wreckage. It was all about Tony Stewart driving it like he freaking stole it to the win. Not only winning the race but his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. I’ve never seen anything like that, and it makes me wish we could have a race that looked like that one every weekend. I dunno but Tony certainly put on a show, his restarts were pitch perfect.
I’m oh so very happy for the Office Depot team, and I’m not just talking about the pit crew and Tony, I mean the PR peeps from Office Depot. They’re genuinely some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and have been so good to me over the past few years. All of my awesome moments & interviews with Tony have been because of them and I am so grateful. They totally deserved this win and I can’t wait to see ‘em all in Las Vegas!
Hats off to Carl Edwards for being his usual classy self. I know losing this Championship had to hurt, but he’s gotta be proud in knowing that he’s an elite driver in NASCAR. He’s come so far in following his dream, and like the awesome song “It’s Amazing” by Jem says, “Nothing can compare to deserving your dreams.”
Obviously Tony winning the Championship means that Jimmie Johnson didn’t, and of course leading up to Sunday’s race everybody was talking about how amazing Jimmie’s 5-peat was, and it is, but the thing that annoys the hell out of me is when people say that no one will ever be able to do that again. I just don’t like it when people rule things out. It’s possible. Anything’s possible. It’s also ridiculous to say that Jimmie will never win another Championship (insane that anyone even thought that). I feel like people say stuff just to say things because they have to fill in air time. Whatever.
And to all the douchebags that booed First Lady Michelle Obama you should be ashamed of yourselves. Regardless of your political beliefs she and Dr. Jill Biden were there in support of our troops and their families, show some respect. Idiots.
Anyway… I’m just going to put this out there: I really think that Tony winning this year’s Hottest Driver Tournament was a good omen for him. I might be slightly biased in that opinion, though. The 2012 Hottest NASCAR Driver Tournament will begin right after New Year’s on January 2, 2012. So stay tuned!
Up next… Champion’s Week in Las Vegas!
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).
Saturday morning, with my iPod blasting The Civil Wars (don’t get me started, their song “To Whom It May Concern” perfectly explains the state of my love life right now), I headed to the track. Well, I should say that I was headed to Starbucks. Now here’s the weird thing about that area around Kansas Speedway which has everything from a full on mall to Target, Hooters, a movie theater, Chipotle, Red Lobster, the LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, a baseball field, and a bunch of other restaurants — there’s no standalone Starbucks. The only Starbucks is tucked inside Target and we all know that the Starbucks inside of any other store is not a REAL Starbucks. If I can’t use my Starbucks card there it’s not a real Starbucks.
‘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.
“Who’s That Girl?,” starring one of my heroes, Madonna, stuck in their brain. Louden was the uptight husband, that needed to loosen up, of the insanely rich chick in the movie that Madonna’s bad girl, Nikki, (but she’s really nice) character ends up with. Anyway, they said his name about a million times, so I guess it makes sense that I’d remember it. Loudon, New Hampshire is where New Hampshire Motor Speedway is located and it was the home of the 2nd race in the The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the Sylvania 300, on Sunday.
Tony Stewart claimed the first win in The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup yesterday. I have to say that was a pretty satisfying race. I’m not going to lie I watched it from home and kind of dozed off halfway through it but the ending was great. I, mean, hello, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 4th. How can you not love that? Now the points standings are all jumbled up and it makes going to New Hampshire this week all the more thrilling. I feel like I’ve mentioned this a ton already (on Twitter for sure) but I’ll be at New Hampshire this week, I leave on Thursday, and I’m beyond excited. It’s so early on in The Chase and the Championship is still up on the air, I can’t wait to get there and see what happens next. Although, I’ve been checking the weather forecast and there’s supposed to be rain on Saturday but not on Sunday. So let’s hope it stays that way.
During the rain delay coverage on Sunday I left the house to do something and I was listening to Claire B. Lang on SiriusXM’s NASCAR channel. She mentioned how people had been asking her what was going to happen in The Chase, who was going to win, etc. I wondered why people do that? Like, what’s the point? Have you ever watched the Super Bowl and thought “I’m SO glad I knew that the Packers were going to win because Terry Bradshaw said so.” No one EVER thinks that. (I have no idea what Terry Bradshaw’s actual prediction was, it’s just an example) So why should I say that I think this person or that person is going to win? I’m not psychic and I don’t want to be. I like not knowing and watching it unfold. Of course there are people that I’d rather see win than other people but that’s a given. Maybe it’s just because I don’t like counting people out because people constantly count me out and I don’t like that.
In other news…
Regarding the Camping World Truck Series race:
– How do you feel about Austin Dillon’s new celebration practice of sliding on the infield grass? I’m not really a fan because it doesn’t look that fun. It looks like it kind of hurts.
– Actor/singer Tyrese Gibson’s performance of the National Anthem was WONDERFUL. It was subdued but totally on point. The fact that I’m mentioning it at all is saying something.
Regarding the Nationwide Series race:
– Uh, I got nothin’
Regarding the Sprint Cup Series race:
– I feel bad that the Geico Caveman had to wear all that makeup and stuff for a SECOND day just to give the command to start engines.
– Loved the exchange over the radio between Carl Edwards and his crew chief, Bob Osborne, when Carl said that the sun was coming out and Bob sang back to Carl “Here comes the sun!! bababa!” So funny.
Monday night Clint Bowyer was in one of my dreams. I have no idea why he would be but there he was confiding in me about his contract talks with Richard Childress Racing. I distinctly remember him being upset at not being able to seal the deal on a new contract and the number 4 was mentioned (don’t know what that means). I was telling him not to worry, that there were plenty of other teams that wanted him and would snap him up. I remember in the dream asking myself “Why are you telling him that?? You don’t know anything!” LOL
And then Tuesday morning there’s a report saying that Richard Petty Motorsports, who was reportedly interested in him if RCR wasn’t, is now reportedly NOT interested in him anymore. (That sentence alone is why silly season is so freakin’ silly). I remembered my dream and I felt bad that I gave the Clint Bowyer in my dream such bad advice.
I’m sure you guys have gone to sleep and had NASCAR drivers invade your dreams, please feel free to share what’s happened in yours so that I don’t feel like such a geek about mine (keep it PG!).
In other news…
– The top-12 drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, AKA The Chase drivers, were a bunch of busy little bees this week promoting themselves, NASCAR and The Chase for the Sprint Cup everywhere. I figured it was worthy of a photo spread. My favorites are the ones of Jimmie Johnson at the high school pep rally (Jimmie has to take that girl to the prom!) and Carl Edwards with the lobster (because he finally shaved off that goatee thingy, but now that it’s gone I kinda miss it).
I don’t even know if people call Brad Keselowski “Bad Brad” but I needed “B” words and it sounded about right, so there ya go.
How did you feel about his reaction to winning the Bristol night race? I thought it was great. Except for the jumping off the car part, because his ankle is still HURT. I don’t know why I have such a complex about him not using crutches or sitting down when he doesn’t need to stand. It’s CLEARLY working alright for him. I wasn’t expecting him to be such a big winner this year. It’s pretty amazing stuff and this is just his second year in Cup.
If you follow me on Twitter then you already know the fabulous news that I’ll be going to at least TWO more races this year FOR SURE. It’s all thanks to Sylvania and Hunt Brothers Pizza. Sylvania is the title sponsor of the New Hampshire Cup Series race in September (the second race in The Chase for the Sprint Cup) and they’ve got some fun activities planned around that weekend that I will be attending & covering. Can’t wait to write about it all. I’ll also be at Kansas, where I will be hanging with the Hunt Bros. Pizza group for the Nationwide Series race. Be on the lookout for a great interview to come out of that!
On a very personal note… It’s my birthday tomorrow. I turn the big 3-1 and the greatest birthday present you could ever give me, besides just being yourself and reading this blog (which I totally appreciate), would be to donate to My NASCAR Year 2012 project (or get your company to do it!). Read all about it and donate here. You can give anonymously or not, it’s up to you. Even $5 helps me get to my goal of $125,000!
I am firm believer that honesty is the best policy. It’s gotta be one of the reasons why you guys like this site–because I tell you the truth about what happened to me at the track, even if I look like a dork. So, I felt the need to give you an update on the My NASCAR Year 2012 project. We’re still at $5,419 raised out of the $125,000 goal.
I’ve been contacting potential corporate sponsors and so far have received some interest, but nothing concrete yet. If any of these said potential corporate sponsors are reading this please call me and let’s discuss how we can work together next year. It’s incredibly hard to get across all of the possibilities in an email and hope that my passion and determination for this blog come through. I know that The Fast and the Fabulous is on to something good, and with a solid schedule of races in front of it, it will be GREAT.
You, the reader, can still help get me to my goal by donating money. Just $5 helps close the gap. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Read this.
In other news…
– I’ve extended the deadline to take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey to this Sunday. You can also enter to win the awesome Goo Gone prize package.
– The number one question I get asked is “When is your next race?” Well, this year it’s going to be sporadic at best. I know FOR SURE that I’m going to be at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway the end of this month (August 26-28) for IndyCar action. As for NASCAR, the next race for me is tentatively Kansas in October. And I’m planning on attending Champion’s Week in Vegas in December.
– As the headline says, Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t really interested in getting married, but if you’re a Junior fan you already knew that. Apparently he was on SPEED’s Race Hub show this week and restated his ambivalence towards marriage but he’s still open to having children. I guess the formula for a successful relationship with Dale is to find a woman who is down for that arrangement. Well, not “arrangement” but ya know what I mean, someone who doesn’t care about getting married. It’s totally possible, I mean, look at Brad and Angelina — they’re making it work. I’d be totally open to that as long as I could still have a big party where we invite all our friends and family, I get to wear an amazing dress and we profess our commitment to each other in front of them and then he gives me a (tastefully) ginormous ring. I don’t need to be “legally” married to the guy. Ha!
– Brad Keselowski was on ESPN this week. Does anyone else get annoyed when they see Brad walking around on his broken ankle that he’s trying to heal? It bugs the hell out of me because he doesn’t need to stand on it. I saw him today during qualifying and I’m like, “Dude! Crutches!! You don’t have to be tough all the time.” Ugh.
– Kevin Harvick threw out the first pitch before the start of the New York Yankees-Los Angeles Angels game in New York this past week.
Here’s Harvick’s take on his pitching skills:
“It was okay. I didn’t throw it in the dirt so that was my only objective. I had a lot of fun and go to see Geno and Joe and just kind of hang out for a couple of hours. So, that was fun.”
How much did you LOVE the racing between Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch? And how much did you ADORE their post-race face-to-face (with respectful distance) argument? Probably not as much as me! It was brilliant and just added to an already excellent race finish. Why don’t they turn up the mics and let them hover close to those guys when they’re arguing like that? I know there’s potential for foul language, but can’t they just risk it? I was straining to try and hear something.
Congratulations to Brad Keselowski! Maybe everybody should get injured more often? I mean, he won the race with one properly working ankle and Denny Hamlin won races after his knee issues. Crazy, but very cool.
Did you see Carl Edwards‘ finish line crash with Ricky Stenhouse in Iowa during the Nationwide Series race? More craziness. Never seen anything like that before, but it seemed like a fitting end to a race that saw those two getting into each other and Ricky didn’t appreciate it at all. The two had history from ORP last week and now this new wrinkle. During the post-race coverage they showed Carl talking to Ricky’s crew chief, Mike Kelly. You could clearly hear Mike say to Carl “Well, you tell him that. He thinks you hate him.” Finally some actual truthful feelings. Whenever the guys talk on camera you don’t always feel like you’re getting to true thoughts, and this time we got some via Ricky’s crew chief.
– Take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey and enter for your chance to win an awesome Goo Gone prize package. Contest & survey ends on August 10th, 2011. More info
– Help me raise money for My NASCAR Year 2012. More info
What a letdown. The racing was boring and tons of fans couldn’t even get to the track to see the boring race.
Kentucky Speedway apologized today and announced a ticket exchange offer. Meanwhile other tracks have offered up rants and comments about the weekend’s traffic debacle giving Kentucky Speedway crap for not figuring out how to deal with the traffic issue ahead of time. Just check out what Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis wrote today.
Here’s the statement NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France released yesterday:
“While NASCAR was thrilled by the incredible response to our inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Kentucky, we also are extremely disappointed by the traffic problems and inconveniences endured by fans who wanted to be part of our races at Kentucky Speedway. NASCAR will be in close communications with Kentucky Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc. to see that they work to resolve the issues. This situation cannot happen again.”
And now Indianapolis Motor Speedway has created a special offer for fans that had tickets to Kentucky’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race:
Fans who present a ticket from the Kentucky Sprint Cup race at the IMS gate will receive one free admission to Brickyard 400 practice Friday, July 29 or will be admitted to Brickyard 400 qualifying Saturday, July 30 for just $5.
Fans holding tickets from the July 9 race at Kentucky also can park for free Friday and Saturday at IMS Lots 1, 2 and 3, conveniently located on the south, west and north sides of the iconic facility. The regular price is $10 per day to park in those lots.
“As an urban track, we offer a fan experience inside a vibrant city that provides restaurants, nightlife, cultural activities and top-rated hotels in addition to the history and tradition of 100 years of racing at Indianapolis,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and CEO. “We have easy, efficient access to and from the track that allows our fans to participate in activities at the track and, in just a matter of minutes, enjoy all that the city of Indianapolis has to offer or be well on the road toward home or the hotel.”
I woke up at 5am in order to get to Infineon Raceway by 7am (with a quick stop at Starbucks along the way) at the latest. I wanted to make sure I got a ride around the track in the pace car with NASCAR’s Brett Bodine. You think because you’re going in the pace car it wouldn’t be intense, but you’re WRONG. I sat in the back seat and proceeded to be bounced around the my seat and fellow passenger next to me.
“Shift. Shifting now. Lots of shifting. Why do I have to keep shifting? Shifting is fun! I hate shifting this much!”
I am so over shifting!! I hate that word and I never want to hear it again. Some drivers hated it and some were totally okay with it because they would have been bored otherwise. That’s all fine and well, I’m just glad it’s over.
My favorite part of the race was the in-car cockpit view of the drivers in action. I loved that so much because you get to see what these guys are actually doing. This is how they do it and it’s fun to see the different techniques. So I appreciated that a lot. TNT’s coverage is off to a great start.
Now that Conan O’Brien is on TBS, which is a sister channel to TNT, I fully expect a Team Coco integration to at least ONE of the TNT Summer Series races. We need Conan at a race or at least a bunch of the drivers on his show. This needs to happen.
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.
Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya failed to bring what Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch delivered.
O. M. G.
The SHOWTIME® Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway was the greatest NASCAR race I have seen in quite some time. It was Ah-mazing!
First, congratulations to Regan Smith on winning his first Sprint Cup Series race (and congrats to Furniture Row Racing for winning their first race as an organization). He was emotional and his team was ridiculously happy. It was the perfect finish and I LOVED it. A first-time winner is the greatest thing. It was great to see him be congratulated by Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski.
But of course before all of that you had the driver’s moms, as usual, giving the command to start engines. How adorable was Jimmie & Chandra Johnson’s baby daughter, Genevieve, clapping during the National Anthem? That was too cute.
Then there was the race with David Ragan peeling back Brian Vickers car like it was a can of sardines, poor Clint Bowyer crashing out, and the most amazing series of events with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.
I think that Kevin Harvick should walk around with a speaker hanging out of his pocket playing the song “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty on a loop. It’s his theme song. He is no joke.
I know that fighting is frowned upon and all that but I loved it. When Kevin punched Kyle’s helmet/face and then Kyle pushed his car into his Kevin’s it was all TOO much for my brain to process. It was wonderful. I felt like a high school kid in the quad yelling “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
Does NASCAR really need to take action? I’m in a “Ah, whatever, let it gooo” kind of mood. They’re adults, they know what they did was wrong. Let’s not forget that sports are entertainment, they serve no other purpose than that (Yes, they can be inspiring and all that but still), and Saturday night’s race was PURE entertainment from beginning to end. So, NASCAR should send Harvick and Busch a “Thank You” card, some flowers & maybe some candy.
Here’s video of the last laps:
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.
Friday morning in Las Vegas started with me arriving at the track just in time to interview J.J. Yeley at his hauler. But I found out that he had been asked to drive the No. 27 car for Baker Curb Racing in the Nationwide Series race. So he was participating in their practice session and wouldn’t be available till later in the day (We did end up connecting later in the day and I got some great answers from him).
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)
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)
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!
There are no words. I have no words.
But I do have pictures.
Jimmie Johnson (L) kisses his wife Chandra as she holds their four-month-old daughter Genevieve, after winning the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at the Ford 400 race in Homestead, Florida November 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)
I’m not going to lie, watching the 48 Lowe’s team experience failure in real time was fun. No, I don’t wish them ill and, really, really, who cares if I do? Dude, they’ve won the Championship 4 times in a row, they’ve got their place in history sealed for-ev-er. A little schadenfreude never hurt anyone.
It was clear that the 48′s cage was rattled with that pit crew swap happening in the middle of the race and watching Chad Knaus’ post-race interview was amazing. We got to find out what he looks, and sounds, like when he doesn’t have to pretend that the Championship isn’t a lock yet, because it really isn’t this time! (Ok, ok, so it’s not that different from when he’s on top, but there was a difference!)
Ya know what really irks me though? It’s when I think about what could have been had Clint Bowyer’s team not received that 150 point fine. Things would be so different, it’s so frustrating! Would I prefer that Kevin Harvick won the Championship over Denny Hamlin? Yes, but I’ll take what I can get. I so wish I was going to Phoenix this week, and hell, Miami too. Just promise me that when I do get to go to every NASCAR race the Championship is as close then as it is now.
Uhm, Denny? What are you doing? What is that face?
Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Office Toyota, shoots a Turnbull Revolvers in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 7, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So this was my favorite driver interview with the ITAS questions, so far. Brad Keselowski drives the No. 12 Penske Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series, and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge in the Nationwide Series for Penske Racing. With only 3 races left, Brad is on track to win his first NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship this year (he’s 485 points ahead of Carl Edwards, so this is a lock).
I met him outside of his hauler after his qualifying attempt at Auto Club Speedway for the Pepsi Max 400 last month. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him, I guess I thought he might be kinda boring. I don’t know why I thought that but he was really fun and gave some interesting answers as you’ll see below. I guess I was surprised by how relaxed and conversational he was, there were no walls up or some sort of facade. He was really nice and now that I know how he is, I want to ask him, like, way more questions.
Saturday morning at Auto Club Speedway found me inside the Nationwide Series garage watching as drivers qualified for the CampingWorld.com 300. Driver after driver made their qualifying run and I stood by in the media bullpen area where they keep the top-3 cars. Cars shuffle in and out (and drive by) as the numbers on the pylon change order.
There weren’t a lot of fans milling around in the garage and only a handful actually stuck around to watch drivers get out of their cars and maybe ask them for an autograph. I noticed David Reutimann, in regular dude clothes, standing with the guys from Michael Waltrip Racing. He had on a hat and sunglasses but I still couldn’t get over the fact that people didn’t notice him. I guess it was good for him to not be bothered, seeing as how he’d just come off the weekend before and his infamous incident with Kyle Busch.
As qualifying progressed I watched as Carl Edwards got out of his car, spoke with various members of the media, signed autographs for fans, met with a large group of employees from his sponsor, Copart, took pictures with them, and then went off to the media center. All of that took place in the space of like 10 minutes. Now that’s multi-tasking.
Something I’ve noticed as I go to more races is that I take less pictures. In the beginning I was taking photos of everything; tires, cars, etc. But now that I know the pain of uploading those photos to Flickr and having to write a title for each one, I’m a lot more discerning when it comes to choosing a photo subject.
My Friday at Auto Club Speedway (ACS) began with me walking from my car to the garage and happening to see Travis Kvapil walking out of the drivers/owners motorcoach lot at the same time. I was set to interview Travis a little later on that morning, but he noticed me then. He must remembered me from when I interviewed him at ACS in 2008. This was, and still is, a big deal to me. He knew we had a scheduled interview for that day and he ended up having time right then so we went ahead and got the Inside the Actor’s Studio questioning out of the way.
Because I feel like the underdog pretty much all the time, it felt like a super cool “win” to walk through the garage, past crew members and whoever was around, with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver who actually REMEMBERED ME. Which is why Travis Kvapil is a super cool guy in my book. He really is genuinely nice and I cannot wait for a Sprint Cup win to come his way. I’ll talk more about him when I post the interview. He was the first driver to answer a particular question a particular way. How’s that for cryptic?
It’s only Friday and I already have so much stuff to share with you guys! It’s awesome. Needless to say I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday. David Hasselhoff is singing the National Anthem and, like, 56 couples are renewing their vows along with 16 couples that are getting married on the start/finish line of Auto Club Speedway. Superfun! Oh and there’s a race or two happening. Jamie McMurray (seen at left post qualifying) is on the pole for one of them, the Pepsi Max 400.
Of course I’m not writing a full post because I’m tired and I have to get up early again tomorrow and I didn’t get a full night’s sleep yesterday (my room makes weird noises at night and trains pass by here). But I can tell you that I had fun watching people flip out when they caught sight of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and I interviewed Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland, Marcos Ambrose, Juan Pablo Montoya, Brad Keselowski and Brad Daugherty. Whew! There’s a lot of great content coming up for sure.
I missed the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday because I was busy driving two of my nephews (ages 9 and 11) from their home in Los Angeles to my mom’s house in the SF Bay Area. I love my nephews more than words can say but spending 7 hours in a car with them is not something I really want to do again. Who knew that doing word search puzzles could be a competitive thing??
Anyway, I did catch some of the race action from SIRIUS Satellite Radio’s coverage with MRN, but the boys were more interested in hearing music from Drake and, amazingly enough, Katy Perry’s song “California Gurls.”
In between pop music stints I did learn that Kevin Harvick won and that Dale Earnhardt Jr. dropped a couple curse words while being interviewed by ESPN’s Marty Smith.
So this post is going to be super duper photo heavy. Enjoy!
Delana Harvick takes a photo of her husband, Kevin Harvick (29), after he wins the Carfax 400 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Don’t you just want to eat him up? So adorable! I’m talking about the baby, not Tony.
Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot / Old Spice Chevrolet talks with Gavin Grubb, son of Stewart’s crew chief Darian Grubb,during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jack Roush during the Carfax 400 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Martin Truex Jr. (L), driver of the NAPA Toyota, and Sherry Pollex, stand on the grid during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the Cheerios / Hamburger Helper Chevrolet and guest stand on the grid for the National Anthem during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the Philips Norelco Chevrolet, talks with his wife Christy grid during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Greg Biffle, driver of the 3M Ford, stands on the grid with his wife Nicole for the playing of the National Anthem during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Nationwide driver Brad Keselowski celebrates with his mother after winning the Car Fax 250 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.
Joey Logano (20) and girlfriend, Sabrina Simpson, before the start of the Carfax 250 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Carl Edwards stands with his wife, Kate, and mother, Nancy Sterling, during pre-race ceremonies for the Carfax 250 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
The second Brad Keselowski got into Carl Edwards in turn 1 at Gateway International Raceway on Saturday I knew it was only a matter of opportunity before Carl got Brad back. So I wasn’t surprised in the least when Carl nudged Brad before the checkered flag.
Maybe what I’ve thought about Carl is all wrong. Maybe he’s just an “Eddie Haskell” smiling and being the nice “Aw shucks” guy in front of the cameras, doing all the right things you need to do to get a ride, get a sponsor, and get fans. But then once it’s time for the competition he’s clearly out for himself, he’s out for the win and I think in the case of Brad Keselowski it doesn’t help that Carl has had many issues with him in the past. Oh and the fact that it was a race at his home track also didn’t help matters. He couldn’t let this win slip out of his hands if he had a shot at it.
I guess I was the only person who wasn’t surprised to see Joey Logano sticking up for himself on pit road this weekend at Pocono. He had a similar, albeit less obviously confrontational, show of anger last year at Infineon in the Camping World West Series race when he sideswiped Patrick Long with his car on his way to the garage.
So if I had to pick a theme song for Joey it would be Britney Spears’ classic “Oops, I Did it Again,” because he’s “not that innocent.” Don’t let the big, cheesy “aw shucks” grin fool ya. The kid knows how to be pissed off.
Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the day of the Nationwide Series race, the TECH-NET Auto Service 300 powered by CARQUEST. It was also the day that I forgot to put my sunscreen on and got a nice little tan.
The two days that hold the Sprint Cup Series qualifying and Nationwide Series races are always my favorite days during any race weekend. It’s because there’s always, like, 50% less people running around the garage. I know it’s silly but I love feeling like I have the garage all to myself. And practice is always the best time to get pictures of the cars as they exit and enter the track.
On this particular day I witnessed something that has been going on forever but I only discovered it last weekend. I’m not sure what the process is but some cars come off the track and before going to their garage stall to make adjustments they stop at some designated area near or in the garage and the guys from Goodyear check out their tires. There’s also a crew member from their team checking stuff and taking notes.
Yesterday’s Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400 was a rousing success because Tony Stewart had a new blonde girlfriend with him on pit road during the pre-race ceremonies. It’s not everyday Tony has a woman with him on pit road. Actually it’s been quite awhile since we last saw him with his arm around anyone. So yes, I’m that friggin’ nosey.
I wonder if Tony knows that there are thousands of women out there that think he should get married and have babies already. And I’m sure half of those women think that he should do all of that with them. I, for one, think that he would make some cute kids so he should get crackin’.
There is soo much going on in this photo that it’s making my head hurt.
(Left to right) Anheuser-Busch Sports Marketing Manager Brian Dunlap shakes hands with Darrell Waltrip, who also raced this paint scheme at one point during his career. Kasey Kahne will drive the No. 9 Ford at Richmond International Raceway this weekend. (Credit: Harold Hinson)
Dear Talladega Superspeedway,
I love you. I just do. You make me crazy and mental and while I always feel like I need a brown paper bag to breathe in just to make it through one lap, I still freaking love you!
Kevin Harvick’s amazing pass just before the finish line to take the win away from Jamie McMurray was one for the highlight reel. This win was HUGE for Kevin since he hadn’t won anything in the Sprint Cup Series in 3 years. I’m still shocked it’s been that long. I loved how his wife, DeLana, couldn’t watch the last lap. I don’t blame her, you’re such a nerve-wracking track! I’m so happy for them. We always expect such great races from you and you never fail to deliver.
Yes, I wish you could of gathered up some of that Native American burial ground mojo and used it to help Dale Earnhardt Jr. get the win instead but I’m okay with how things turned out. He’s still in the top-12 in points.
Oh! Before I forget, thank you for throwing another wrench in the relationship between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. I know I shouldn’t get excited when one person is mad at another person but it’s so freaking fun to watch Jeff Gordon get so pissed off. I wonder why it fascinates me so. I can’t get enough. I’m loving this season so far.
I can’t wait to see you again at Halloween! *JUAD* (that means I’m jumping up and down)
Sooo freaking close!
Kevin Harvick beats Jamie McMurray to the finish line by .011 seconds, the eighth-closest margin since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993, to win the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
So I know everybody is putting a lot of thought into Carl Edwards actions this weekend at Atlanta. Was he justified in bumping Brad “I Have No Friends” Keselowski into flight or should he have found him after the race and gently slapped him across the face with a white glove?
I’m in two minds about it, but I know for sure that it was fun to watch. I’m glad Brad was OK after the wreck (and we should never take the strides they’ve made in keeping the drivers safe for granted), but we know that Carl didn’t intend for him to flip around like that.
Now let’s talk about the other disaster in this race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets the pole and then proceeds to lead not a single lap in the ENTIRE race. How is this possible? Holy crap, I love you Dale. I really, really, really do, but what the heck?
Big shout out and congrats to David Gilliland for putting on a great show on Sunday! He led laps and ran up front a whole heck of a lot. Good things are coming for that No. 38 Charter Air Transport / Taco Bell team! It’s so nice when you support a driver and they do good things to remind you why you pull for them in the first place. Seriously, I cannot WAIT till David wins a Sprint Cup race. It’s going to be AH-MAY-ZING.
Fellow Toyota drivers Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers talk in the garage during Friday’s practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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)
Sunday’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix International Raceway was boring and I’m not saying that because Jimmie Johnson won. I’m saying it because it was boring, and the drama that involved Dale Earnhardt Jr. did not help things, like, at all.
Or maybe I thought it was boring because I was too caught up in trying on the dress I bought for the Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony. On Saturday, I went dress shopping with my mom and missed all of the Denny Hamlin/Brad Keselowski hullabaloo from the Nationwide race. On Sunday, I bought my dress, after starting with 10 contenders I found “the one” half an hour before the race started, and I really, really like it. I have to be honest, until I leave for Vegas this is all I’m going to be thinking about. I’m over Jimmie, and I’ve made peace with Dale’s season (Is it 2010 yet??!). I’m all about Champion’s Week; I’m counting down the days!
In other news…
– It’s safe to search the site again. There were issues with the Google Custom Search getting hijacked, but I’ve updated the code and the coast is clear.
And now, Phoenix photo fun time after the jump!
Ever since Nationwide became a series title sponsor they’ve been working on giving fans more information and access to drivers.
They’ve been posting some great candid photos of drivers and crew members on their Flickr account as a part of their behind the scenes Twitter coverage of races. A couple of my faves are below. Make sure you follow the Nationwide Series on Twitter (@nationwide).
When Tony Stewart announced his plans to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and owner I was skeptical. I had no idea what would happen but I can tell you that I definitely wasn’t thinking he would be leading in the points standings and winning races. Yea, I thought things would be “interesting” which is code for “not winning.” I didn’t think he would stink up the place but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to contend for the Championship like he is now.
His success is great though. I’m happy that Tony is leading and that he won this weekend’s race at Pocono. I know I’ve talked smack about Tony in the past, and I totally stand by it, but there’s something about him that I do like. I couldn’t tell you what it is right now but there’s something.
And because I’m a sucker for emotional things I love, love, loved it when TNT showed Tony’s dad in the pits. I loved seeing him wipe away tears as he watched his son drive into Victory Lane for the first time as a driver/owner. That’s a very sweet moment and those are the things that add that personal, sentimental touch to this sometimes impersonal, corporate sponsorship driven sport.
On Saturday I watched the Nationwide race at Nashville. No, I’m not going to talk about Kyle Busch’s ill-conceived plan for breaking up the race’s trophy into pieces to share with his team. (I basically agree with what Kyle Petty said about it during Sunday’s broadcast.) I want to talk about Brad Keselowski. Is it just me or does Brad seem a lot more mature and manly this year? He seems a lot less goofy (and I mean that in a really nice way!) and more sure of himself. Does winning a race make your voice change? Hmm, if so, maybe there’s hope for Joey Logano.
I kid, I kid. Photos after the jump!
I’ve had DirecTV for not yet a month and I finally remembered to watch the race this weekend on one of their HotPass driver channels. I picked the Dale Earnhardt Jr. of course.
– It’s free this year
– When there’s a commercial break you still get to watch your selected driver’s in-car cameras.
– I can’t mute the TV broadcast and just listen to Dale’s in-car audio, and vice versa. You don’t know how many times I was telling DW, Larry Mac and Mike Joy to shut up so I could hear what the hell Dale was telling his new interim crew chief.
Overall though I love DirecTV’s HotPass and I will use it every single race weekend that I watch from home. Brilliant idea! Although I’d pay an extra 5 bucks a month to be able to selectively mute stuff.
But let’s talk about the race itself. Do you really think it’s remarkable that Jimmie Johnson came from the back and beat Tony Stewart? I do not. I think it was great racing, yes, but I expect those kinds of shenanigans from Jimmie. He and Chad Knaus are always doing amazing things, winning all kinds of races in new and intriguing ways.
I think something strange is happening to me because I was actually screaming at Tony, attempting to will him to not let Jimmie pass him. I’ve seen Jimmie win and I’m over it. Really, it’s been done. I think it would be far more interesting if Tony starting winning race after race because Tony is single and then we’d probably starting seeing a bunch of new lady faces in Tony’s pit box. Riiiiight? I don’t know, but I like to think of new and different ways to make race day interesting for myself.
Everything is fine!
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, finished 12th at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and improved to 18th in the driver standings. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Aww! Too bad he didn’t make the race!
(center) Jeffrey Earnhardt stands between his stepmother Rene and father Kerry before Jeffrey attempts to make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Earnhardt was off of Kertus Davis’ time by two-tenths of a second in qualifying Saturday at Dover International Speedway and was the only driver not to make the race. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I like this photo because Miss Sprint Cup is so posed. It’s like she’s sayin’ “Ta dah!!! Here’s our race winner!!! What prizes do we have for him Bob??!”
Jimmie Johnson celebrates his fourth win at Dover International Speedway and second win of the season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheese Sunday at Dover. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski douses JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. with champagne Saturday in Dover International Speedway’s Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Heluva Good! 200. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
This kid refuses to take a bad photo. And he’s not even trying! I think he should do some professional modeling. Don’t waste the pretty! I know that’s not what Greg Behrendt meant when he wrote the book, He’s Just Not That Into You, but it’s my prerogative to use it in this manner.
Kasey Kahne was one of three Richard Petty Motorsports Dodges to qualify in the top seven on Friday for Sunday’s Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheesen at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Wanna know what my reaction was to the end of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway?
Jaw. On. Floor.
I couldn’t believe it. Here I was thinking that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was going to win it and then Brad Keselowski comes from outta nowhere — after getting in the way all day — and takes it.
Only seven laps in we got a “Big One” that took out guys that I like, including Bowyer and Gilliland, which was highly disappointing. But I still had Dale and the hope that he had read my post and had taken it to heart. Ya never know. Plus well, Talladega is a really good track for him so I’m sure it had everything to do with that and nothing to do with me, but because he left there with a top-three finish (which is what I asked for) I like to think it was mostly me.
Anyway, I congratulate Brad on his first Sprint Cup win.
I’m so glad that Carl Edwards is A-OK and that his crash only looked absolutely horrible and didn’t result in anyone’s death. Actually because of that insane fly through the air Carl will be a guest on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” that airs tomorrow (Wednesday, April 29th, check your local listings).
Apparently Ellen thinks that Carl should take it easy from now on and gives him a new ride, a “Cruzin Cooler”, to be exact. It’s a cooler on wheels. Niiice.
I don’t know the answer to the safety questions surrounding Talladega. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t like watching cars run 3 or 4 wide. It’s pretty cool. And yes, seeing the “The Big One” happen is interesting to me. It’s also crazy to see two cars hook-up and push each other past the entire field. It’s so unique and I like it. Whatever NASCAR needs to do to make it so that people don’t get themselves into the situations that Carl and Matt Kenseth found themselves in this past weekend they should do, but hopefully that doesn’t involve taking the banking away.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left), driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet, congratulates Brad Keselowski (right), driver of the No. 09 Miccosukee Chevrolet, in Victory Lane on his first Sprint Cup Series win at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marcos Ambrose (right), driver of the No. 47 Little Debbie/Kingsford/Clorox Toyota talks with team co-owner Brad Daugherty (left) during Friday’s first practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates his first NASCAR national racing series win Saturday in Victory Lane after capturing the checkered flag at the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice Chevrolet, waves to the fans following driver introductions and before the start of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Mike Skinner and his No. 5 Bad Boy Mowers Toyota team celebrate winning the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway. The win was Skinner’s first of the season and the first for the team since becoming Randy Moss Motorsports last summer. (Photo Credit: Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet chats with former teammate Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota in the garage during Friday’s practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Earlier in the day, Stewart held a news conference about the 2009 Prelude to the Dream. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Upon hearing the news that David Gilliland might be the odd man out at Yates Racing I became deeply pissed off.
I know that this is yet another result of the economy but that doesn’t make it suck less, actually it makes it suck worse. Because you know that if everything was ok, he’d definitely have his ride.
I seriously hope that David gets something together in time for the Daytona 500. It was nice to see that he posted a message to his fans on his website to let them know that he’s not giving up. I would expect nothing less. And I’m sure he knows that his fans are not giving up on him either. If I had it my way he’d be in the No. 38 sponsored by Starbucks and that’d be that.
In other news…
– Elliott Sadler got married yesterday, but he may not be able to go on his honeymoon. Elliott spoke with the media last week and apparently he’s having passport troubles:
I’ve had a pretty interesting week. Y’all haven’t asked me the good question yet. The wedding is Saturday. If I have two minutes, I’ve got to tell you something. We’re planning this honeymoon to go out of the United States, so I need a passport. Well, my passport was out of date, so I sent it in to get reinstated, but somehow my passport has been reported lost or stolen. So they’ve got a red flag up on security on my passport, so here I am three days before the wedding, we’re supposed to leave Sunday and fly out of the country on our honeymoon, and I don’t have a passport and don’t know if I’m going to get one. So actually the questions you guys are giving me today are pretty easy to the questions I think my wife is going to ask me Sunday if I’m not allowed to go on the honeymoon.
– Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing might be pared down to just two cars this year. Gag me.
– Out of all of the famous people that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has met, were there any that he was surprised to learn were racing fans? On a recent news conference he sort of answered the question, but the quote that stuck out to me was this one regarding Dave Grohl, lead singer for the Foo Fighters. Said Dale, “In 2000 I sent Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters a guitar, and he got the guitar two days before my dad was killed, so he played the guitar after he found out about the whole story, he played it on a couple shows the next several months, and then he called me, left me a couple messages, and I was too scared to call him back. I regret that one.”
– The dude in the music video for the Toby Keith song “God Love Her” looks just like Kevin Harvick, except with long hair. I’m just sayin’.
Tony Stewart chats with members of the media during the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fanfest at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
“I kind of relish the underdog role,” said NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski during a news conference Saturday at the Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway. “It’s inspiring to me. It drives me to prove that we can do it.” (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
(Right to left) Carl Edwards signs an autograph for a fan during NASCAR Preseason Thunder Daytona Fan Fest Friday at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked about everything from barbeque ribs and driver Brad Keselowski to racing in Talladega and what he names his cars in a news conference Saturday at Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Doesn’t Denny look a lot thinner now? I dunno, he looks cute though. He’s growing on me.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin shares a laugh during a news conference at the Sprint Sound and Speed Fan Festival Presented by SunTrust Saturday at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. (Photo Credit: Steve Green/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Jeff Gordon thought a fan just wanted to whisper something in his ear, but what he got was a kiss on the cheek on Saturday at the Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Defending Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman starts the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Philadelphia Flyers with Lightning mascot Thunderbug saying ‘Let’s Play Hockey’ at the St. Pete Times Forum on January 15, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. (Photo Credit: Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
I was watching the practice sessions at Texas Motor Speedway today and ESPN put up a segment dedicated to the creation and evolution of their Draft Track technology. While I have the deepest respect for the people who made this stuff possible, if I’m being honest I have to say that it’s not that useful. I’m sorry.
I understand how the draft works, that’s enough for me. I don’t need to “see the draft” to know it’s there. Sometimes I think networks come up with stuff hoping that we as fans are going to fall all over ourselves to tell them how fabulous it is, and in this instance I can’t do it. Stick with the in-car cameras. I love seeing the drivers hands on the wheel turning left and right, and their feet pushing the gas and the brake. Show how bumpy the ride really is, they’re not driving around in a Lexus ya know.
I’d rather they put together great stories about people instead of showing me what wind looks like in color. Go ask Carl Edwards about his engagement. Ask Casey Mears and Sam Hornish Jr. what it’s been like to be a new father this year.
And for the record when I saw Carl and Jimmie Johnson talking in the garage during today’s practice session coverage I knew Jimmie was congratulating Carl on his engagement. When I saw Carl say “Thank you, thank you” I knew it. Yes, I read lips.
In other news…
– Jeff Gordon scored his first-ever pole at Texas Motor Speedway today. That’s awesome and I truly hope he can overcome his bad luck in Texas and come out a winner this time around.
– I found out that I’ve received media credentials to the Phoenix race weekend next week, which is awesome. However, I lost my day job due to our crap economy and so I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to go which hurts my heart more than you can ever know. Of course the “I Love Lucy” area of my brain (there’s gotta be a way I can still get in the show!) is working overtime trying to figure out a way to make it work, but I wouldn’t bet on it producing any viable plans.
– This just popped into my head: things that I’m excited about for next year’s NASCAR season. Namely, Scott Speed and Joey Logano in the Sprint Cup Series full-time. I think they’ll be fun to watch and talk about. That’s pretty much it. Oh and David Stremme will be back too! Yay Stremme!
Brad Keselowski focuses in practice Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. A NASCAR Nationwide Series regular, Keselowski qualified 37th for Sunday’s Dickies 500 as he’ll make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sitting in second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Carl Edwards straps into his car during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. Edwards was third-fastest in practice and qualified 16th for Sunday’s Dickies 500 at the track. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
After lunch on Friday I made sure I was in position to hear and see everything during Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s media session outside of his hauler. The crush of media wasn’t as thick as it could have been because Carl Edwards was having his session at the same time at the hauler next door. Obviously in a situation like this Dale overrides Carl.
Now, I feel like I must share something with you before you can understand the immense importance and weight of the moment I had that day. See about four years ago, way before I started this blog, I was a full fledged NASCAR fan but I wanted more and I didn’t know how to go about getting it. I hated my job, let me say this again, I hated my job and I knew that I had to figure out something to do in my life that was totally me — something that was made by me, for me, about me.
I’ve always wanted to do my own thing in business, seriously just ask my mom, whose kid wanted to buy a “Business Kids” kit when she was 8? Whose kid went dressed as a business woman for Halloween when she was 10? And whose kid was obsessed with cash registers and was ecstatic when she finally got a real one when she was 13? So you could say I was just sort of interested in becoming an entrepreneur.
Anyway, when I started this blog I finally realized that writing was really my thing, it’s something that I’ve always loved and until then had done just for myself. But in writing about NASCAR I found that maybe I could use it as my bridge to independence.
Plus I knew that I really wanted to be at the races. I wanted to be a part of it but I didn’t know how I was going get there. And obviously because Dale Jr. has been my favorite driver ever since I became a true fan of the sport, I always wondered how I could get myself in his proximity.
And I don’t mean that in an icky, groupie, pit lizard kind of way because that’s not what I’m about. To be clear and I don’t know how much more clearer I can get than this — I want to have a career writing and talking about NASCAR, I’m not a skank and I don’t aspire to be one.
So back to the situation at Dale Jr.’s hauler, I wedged myself in between two other reporters, mostly dudes, if not all, and propped my arm up on top of the AMP beverage refrigerator so that my digital tape recorder was within a reasonable distance of Dale. He started off answering a question about his thoughts on the reconfiguration of the Budweiser Shootout, and then commented on how he felt about Brad Keselowski’s opportunities for the future.
I had a clear question that I could ask, that no one up until that point had asked, at least not that I’d heard. He was scheduled to go to the set of the NBC sitcom “The Office” on that previous Thursday and I was going to ask how that had gone, after all it’s one of his favorite TV shows. Well the guy from the L.A. Times got to it before I did. Turns out Dale hadn’t gone to the taping. For some reason he went to the DirecTV offices.
He proceeded to tell us how he complained to the folks at DirecTV about their remote controls and how the positioning of the numbers so low on the remote isn’t very comfortable when you’re trying to change the channel. He’s apparently dropped the thing when trying to switch the channel to a specific number. I had to agree with him on that one, I have had DirecTV in the past and the numbers are so low that you have to change your whole hand orientation in order to switch the channel to a number you know by heart.
Anyway, he was funny and made everybody laugh multiple times. But the coolest freaking part was when he was talking about the DirecTV remote and he was looking at all of us asking if we knew what he was talking about and he looked right at me, like straight at me. I had to say to myself, “How the hell did I get here? This is amazing!”
It was so awesome, and I’m glad I didn’t have a moment like that until my 7th race as a member of the media. If it had happened sooner I might not have appreciated it as much as I did. It sounds really silly, the guy just looked at me for two seconds after all, but for me it represents more than just that. It means that I’m headed in the right direction and that I can make whatever I set my mind to happen.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks with the media assembled oustide his hauler at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Ha! That’s what I have to say about Carl Edwards bump & run move on Kyle Busch at the end of the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. It was awesome.
To be totally honest with you, I didn’t want either of them to win. I’m still jonesin for new winner to step up this season.
But back to the end of the race, and Kyle losing after leading for 415 laps, I have to say it’s a bit of karmic justice. I mean, I’m sorry but the guy is a freaking tool. See, I didn’t forget what happened back at Richmond this year. I don’t feel sorry for him. He’s won 8 friggin’ races this year. Yes, it sucks to lead all of those laps and have the race taken away but such is life.
I’m glad Carl didn’t apologize. He made it clear that he meant to do what he did. It makes things more interesting I think in the long run and more specifically for the Pepsi 500 on Sunday (yippee!). I’m so glad I’m going to be there.
I really, really, really want to go to Bristol next year. It looks like so much fun and because of the lack of space in the infield, you’d get to really be in the middle of it all.
Kasey Kahne’s crew works on his No. 9 Budweiser Dodge after a seven car accident on Lap 216. Kahne finished 40th and dropped from 11th to 14th in the standings. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carl Edwards celebrates winning the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The win was Edwards’ third in the last four races and secured his spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrate winning the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway, their second victory of the season. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I get back from Chicago and what happens? I get sick! Ugh. I have a cold but I’m getting better, I think the worst is over.
In other news…
– Jimmie Johnson won the ESPY for Best Driver. The show doesn’t air until this Sunday, July 20 at 9pm EST on ESPN and ESPN HD. Apparently word has it that Justin Timberlake killed as the show’s host, and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick appeared to be really, really short when standing next to really, really tall people. Who knew?
– Hendrick Motorsports driver Landon Cassill and I have something in common, we’re both still trying to get comfortable with being in the NASCAR garage. On how he feels he’s grown since his first Nationwide series start last year, the 19-year-old had this to say: “I feel like I have a higher level of confidence than I did a year ago. I know my way around the garage a lot better, and I know NASCAR race procedures so much better. Just to have that seat time is pretty important, and, obviously, I’ll be better next year than I was this year, too.”
– Did you know you can buy prints of ESPN The Magazine covers? They’ll even frame ‘em too! Yea! I know, I’m all over it. There are 6 NASCAR driver covers and 3 of the six are of course Dale Earnhardt Jr. but I’d be inclined to pick up the Carl Edwards cover too (see left) for obvious reasons. Ahem.
– Here’s the “no duh” headline of the week, from FOXSports.com: “Keselowski enjoys racing, competing for wins.” Please show me the driver that hates racing and has no desire to compete for wins.
And so begins the television coverage of NASCAR from the fine folks at TNT. I really wish NASCAR could just be on one channel. One. Uno. But what can ya do right?
So TNT excitedly announced their new RaceBuddy feature on NASCAR.com, I didn’t bother to check it out — at least not yet — but the image that kept jumping to mind every time they mentioned it during Sunday’s race was the doll My Buddy from the 80s. I keep singing the theme song to myself “My Buddy, My Buddy, My Buddy, My Buddy and Meeeeeee!” and then I followed it up with “Kid Sister, Kid Sister, Kid Sister, Kid Sister and Meeeeeeee!” Bonus points to you if you remember My Buddy and Kid Sister and triple quadruple points if you actually had one!
Brad Keselowski, how can you not be happy for this guy? He raced his butt off and got his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win ever and I couldn’t be more excited for him and the Navy team. You could see the genuine relief and happiness in his eyes after the race. It was just so cool that his mom and dad were there. Those are my absolutely favorite moments in sports in general. Getting to see the family that has been with these guys from the beginning and getting to see them sharing that moment when they have their first taste of success, that’s pretty awesome. It’s another one of the million reasons why I’m so anxious for the Olympics to start.
Furthermore, didn’t it suck that Dale Earnhardt Jr. wasn’t there to be with his team for their first win? He didn’t even get to see it live on TV. DirecTV had a blackout and so for the last ten laps he had a friend relay the information to him online. Crazy.
Ok, so the Cup race at Pocono. Speaking of Dale Jr. what was up with him during his post race interview? I know that he’s not a super talkative guy after the races in general but that was less that usual. I’m sure it had to do with the heat, and it seems like all of the guys were feeling the affects of it after the race, except for Jimmie Johson who said he was totally fine. Right.
Kasey Kahne won another race and that’s great for him. I’m still miffed about the lack of attention that the Yates Racing guys have received. I want them to get a friggin’ top 5 finish so bad just so the media will have to talk about them for longer than 10 seconds.
In other news…
– Speaking of Yates Racing, both of their drivers will be here in the Bay Area tomorrow for testing at Infineon. I will be there too, taking pictures of whatever I can see. Hopefully something will be going on while I’m there, I won’t be able to stay the whole day.
– David Ragan will be on an episode of “Lawrence of America” on the Travel Channel tomorrow (June 10th) at 11pm EST. Check your local listings. “It was fun filming the show with Lawrence last fall,” said Ragan. “I think he learned a lot and it will be a great way to hopefully introduce the sport to some new fans to the sport. We had a good time at the go-kart track, but next time we’ll go the big track and see how he does.”
– There’s still plenty of time to enter the contest for a free copy of the NASCAR Full Throttle Adrenaline DVD set.
– I don’t know what it is about Brian Vickers but every time I hear him speak I’m surprised by his southern accent. It’s like I forget that he has one every time I see him. It’s cute though, I like accents. There’s no big point to this, I’m just over sharing.
Brian Vickers finished second in the Pocono 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, moving up two spots to 17th in driver standings (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mark Martin qualified third-fastest for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, where he’s finished second six times. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Fellow Ford drivers, Jamie McMurray and David Gilliland, talk about their cars during a break in Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott Sadler share a laugh in the garage during Friday’s practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m glad that Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600. It’s a great boost for him and his team and Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM — truly, truly outrageous!). I didn’t think it was going to happen since Tony Stewart had that commanding lead at the end, but his misfortune was Kasey’s good luck.
About the photo of Kasey to the left: I seriously challenge him to take a horrible picture! He’s not even trying for gosh sakes.
I have to give NASCAR kudos for all of the pre-race festivities involving the troops. I got all teary-eyed when the trumpeter played Taps and I got chills from the bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.”
But here’s where I got irked during the pre-race show. During the Gas ‘N Go segment where Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond answer quick fire questions asked by Chris Myers. They failed to include a question about the swapping of the deck chairs on the titanic that has been Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
Why oh why did they not talk about Jimmy Elledge’s firing, after he had been moved from Reed Sorenson’s team over to the crew chief position for Juan Pablo Montoya? That’s interesting. That’s something about which I’m actually curious to know DW’s opinion. What I’m not concerned with is the obvious fact that there’s no way that NBA star Yao Ming could fit into a race car.
Ya know, for a moment there when I heard about the crew chief swap at Gnassi and Juan Pablo’s frustrations that I actually felt for the guy, but then I read this exchange between him and Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer and I all of that went out the window:
Q: They call last weekend the biggest weekend in racing. Monaco, Indianapolis and the Coca-Cola 600 — of all three, which do you think is the biggest?
JPM: Um, the one I’m in.
Q: Do you mean the one you are in now (NASCAR), or the one you are in that particular year?
JPM: Both. I don’t know. As a show for the fans, the best one is this one. As far as tradition, the other ones have a lot of tradition. In Europe, the Monaco Grand Prix is a big deal. I think it’s such a big deal because it’s the only street course Formula One does. The other races you can actually see cars hitting walls and screwing up. I guess people like that.
Q: Which victory did you prefer, Monaco or Indy?
JPM: Don’t put me in that position.
JPM: I am not going to answer that. You know what the answer is, so don’t ask it.
Q: I don’t know the answer. That’s why I asked the question.
JPM: Next question.
Q: I’ve got nothing else.
Why is this guy such a tool?? Okay, I actually do feel for him in terms of the crew chief situation and everything, but I still maintain that he’s got an icky, egotastic attitude.
Yao Ming (L) talks with Kyle Petty (R) prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 25, 2008 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Joey Logano addresses the media during a news conference to celebrate his 18th birthday. Logano will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut next week at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Z-Line Designs Toyota (L), and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #88 NAVY Chevrolet, speak to the media in a press conference following the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on May 24, 2008 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Travis Kvapil, driver of the #28 Lumber Liquidators Ford, sits in his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 22, 2008 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
After a road trip that consisted of over 500 miles, one prison, and 50 Lance Burton billboards, I made it to Las Vegas on Friday.
I checked in to the hotel I went straight to the track to pick up my credentials. Traffic was crap.
Here’s the thing you should know about me. I’m a rule follower. I don’t like to break rules. It bothers me when others break rules. If we all say we’re going to do it one way I don’t like it when people disregard all of that and do whatever they want. So with that being said, I thought I was prepared. Well as much as I could be given the fact that when you’re given credentials nobody tells you anything about where anything is. It’s all up to you to figure it out. Of course you can ask (and I have), but I don’t understand why they don’t have some sheet that just outlines basic stuff, like here’s how you get to the media center, here’s what those symbols on your credentials mean and what they give you access to, here’s why you’re not getting a parking pass, etc.
So back to Friday, My first mistake was getting off at the exit for general parking, there was another exit designated for people picking up credentials but I didn’t find that out until yesterday when I was on my way to the track again.
After exiting the freeway, I went in the direction that should have taken me to another road where I should have been able to turn left. Mm, no. All of the cops in the world were out in force and were diverting traffic to the right. So I went right. But I still needed to get to the credential office before it closed. So because my hands were tied, I did what the other people who were pissed that they couldn’t go left like they needed to did, I made what I’m sure was an illegal u-turn and headed back up the road. I crossed in front of oncoming traffic to turn into the credentials gate, no help from the cops there.
After I got my credentials I decided to just go back to the hotel. There was no way I was going to figure out how to get into the track at that point. Besides, I was tired and qualifying was over.
The navigation system in my car said that it should take 25 minutes to get back to the hotel. It actually took an hour. Traffic in general on the city streets was slow and then once you were on the highway there were two accidents to contend with.
So that was Friday. Saturday I made sure I got up early to be at the track as soon as the gates opened so I could get a good parking spot. Here’s the problem with that plan. There’s like thousands of other NASCAR fans who had the exact same plan. My spot ended up not being that bad but it was still a bit of a walk to get to the track entrance.
This was my first time to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I was in awe of the Media Center. In the first floor lobby there’s this big wall of glass looking out at the start/finish line and pit row. I think I might have actually said “whoa” out loud.
It’s a beautiful, pristine building. But you know there’s a gripe coming right? The Media Center has three floors. The first has a lounge, a big meeting room (for drivers meetings and the like) and direct access to pit road. The second floor is where the deadline media have their view of the start/finish line and it’s where all of the PR materials, schedules & stat sheets live. The third floor, complete with roof access is where the VIP suites are situated. I’m not deadline media so that means I can sit in one of the workrooms and watch the race on a TV. I just think there’s something off about that. I’m here at the race with all this access and yet I still have to watch the race on a TV? Why not let me have access to the roof with the high rollers? I’ll promise to not eat anything from their platters of food.
I have no idea where I’ll be watching the race from today, but I can guarantee you it won’t be solely from a TV. The more I think about that the more it irks me. Ugh. Anyway…
Below are photos from Friday and Saturday. I’m posting my photos tomorrow as I forgot to bring my USB cord with me today. Lame.
Kasey Kahne retreats to his hauler after he was one of six Dodge drivers to find the wall during Friday’s practice for the UAW-Dodge 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)
Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Indy Racing League Indy Car Series champions Jimmie Johnson and Dario Franchitti chat while looking for shade from the hot Las Vegas sun during qualifying for the UAW-Dodge 400. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart motions to his crew what he’s experiencing on the track during practice for the UAW-Dodge 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne was fastest in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice on Saturday for Sunday’s UAW-Dodge 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Doing the double this weekend, Greg Biffle qualified his NASCAR Nationwide Series car and then hopped in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride for two practices before racing his Nationwide car on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mark Martin (No. 5) slides by after making contact with Carl Edwards (No. 60) who collided with Brad Keselowski (No. 88) late in the Sam Town’s 300 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates the first win for JR Motorsports with Mark Martin taking the No. 5 to victory lane. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images)
About two weeks ago (yes, i’m late on this one) JR Motorsports announced that they re-signed with the Navy as the sponsor of their No. 88 Nationwide series car. Brad Keselowski, who drove the car for the last half of the final Busch series season this year after they ousted Shane Huffman for specific reasons still unknown to me, will drive the all white ride next year.
I’m posting this info mostly because I think the car looks suhweet in all white. It’ll definitely stand out in the crowd and under the lights.
JR MOTORSPORTS RE-ENLISTS WITH NAVY
Keselowski signed to drive JRM No. 88 Navy Chevrolet
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2007) – JR Motorsports announced today that the U.S. Navy has re-signed with the team to field the No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with driver Brad Keselowski through 2008. The team also unveiled a new “Dress White” paint scheme for the Navy Chevrolet.
“The Navy has been a great partner of ours since we formed the team two years ago,” said team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. “Everyone at JR Motorsports takes a lot of pride in the fact that we represent some of the best servicemen and women in the world each weekend on the track. We’re all excited that they’re back on board with us.”
JR Motorsports first joined forces with the U.S. Navy in 2005, fielding the No. 88 Navy Chevrolet in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in preparation for the 2006 season. In 70 races together the JRM Navy team has scored three top fives, 16 top 10s and 35 top-20 finishes.
“On behalf of the Navy’s 467,000 active and reserve Sailors, I am pleased about the continuing partnership between the Navy and JR Motorsports through the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series season”, said Capt. Thomas Buterbaugh, Director of Marketing and Advertising for Commander, Navy Recruiting Command. “We are excited about increasing the Navy’s awareness through our relationship with JRM and its owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“The Navy has used our association with NASCAR over the past four years to increase America’s awareness of the opportunities to serve our great country, and our Sailors are strengthened by public support represented by NASCAR’s large fan base. The 2008 season promises to be fantastic and Brad will continue to be a major contender.”
Keselowski, 23, was recruited to join the Navy team midway through the 2007 season. In 13 starts in the No. 88 Navy Chevrolet he has accumulated five top 10s and eight top-15 finishes.
“Brad jumped in our car back in July and has shown a lot of promise in a short period of time,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We’ve signed him to a two-year deal to continue to develop his talent.
“It’s kind of like the way the Navy develops new recruits into sailors. We’re starting out with a younger guy who has the skills and we’re going to give him the equipment, training and other resources necessary to get the job done.”
Keselowski has already embarked upon the Navy’s “sailorization” program in preparation for his tour of duty with the team. Last week he spent a day at Naval Medical Center San Diego touring the facility and meeting with some of the Navy’s Wounded Warriors. In addition to testing during the “off season,” Keselowski will continue to expand his knowledge of the Navy through additional trips planned to various naval installations.
“I’ve worked really hard for many years to get an opportunity like this with JR Motorsports and the Navy,” Keselowski said. “JR Motorsports is a solid organization with incredible resources, and as a driver you can’t ask for much more than that.
“It’s also a great honor to represent the U.S. Navy and to know that I have more than 400,000 sailors around the world cheering for me. I’ve gotten to meet a number of sailors at the track and on some of the trips I’ve made with the Navy and I have the utmost respect for the courage and commitment that all of those men and women show every day as they protect and serve our country. I’m looking forward to continuing to represent them on the track and I plan to keep the Navy Chevrolet up front.”
For the 2008 season the No. 88 Navy Chevrolet will sport a special “Dress White” paint scheme. Modeled after the Navy’s summer uniforms, the car will be white with flat black Navy logos on the hood and quarter panels.
“My friend Kevin King does all of our car designs and he and I went back and forth with a few ideas before we came up with this one,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “It’s a very clean look that I think will really stand out on the track.”
The new scheme will make its debut at Daytona International Speedway in February.
“The Navy car really looks sharp and it will stand out even better on the track,” said Buterbaugh. “Next season will be awesome with Brad at the wheel, Dale Jr. as the owner and the new paint scheme.how can we lose?”
(All Photos Courtesy of Harold Hinson Photography/JR Motorsports)