All posts tagged Brian Vickers

73 Posts

my supercool predictions for ‘the chase’

It is my duty as a sports blogger to have an opinion on everything and to make bold predictions. Normally I’m against this, everything doesn’t need to be said, but I thought it could be fun to make predictions about the outcome of The Chase, predictions that even I don’t take that seriously. Enjoy!

(in the order of the current points standings)

Mark Martin (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 1.) Mark Martin – I have believe that Mark Martin will win the Championship, unless something happens that makes it so that he doesn’t.
Jimmie Johnson (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 2.) Jimmie Johnson – Jimmie will definitely not win the Championship for a 4th straight year, because that would just be greedy and show-offy.
predictions_dhamlin 3.) Denny Hamlin – Denny will continue to be my sentimental fave for the year, and also my favorite Cribs episode featuring a NASCAR driver. Oh! He’ll also continue to get on people’s nerves.
Juan Pablo Montoya (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 4.) Juan Pablo Montoya – JPM will be frustrated.
Kurt Busch (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 5.) Kurt Busch – Hmm… Kurt will be all “Whatever” and I’ll be all “Whatever” and then he’ll be all, “Yeah, whatever.” He’s also writing for the Chicago Tribune’s Players Only blog on a weekly basis for the remainder of the season.
Tony Stewart (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 6.) Tony Stewart – Tony will get close to the Championship but won’t be able to seal the deal. He’ll continue to “mentor” young female drivers.
Ryan Newman (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 7.) Ryan Newman – He’s in the Chase? Oh, right, right. Ryan will win at least one race before the year is over.
Brian Vickers (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 8.) Brian Vickers – Bri Bri will be a threat for the Championship. He’ll continue to be supercute and will write a diary for Maxim.com. No really, he’s supposed to do that.
Greg Biffle (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 9.) Greg Biffle – Biffle’s eyes will pierce through you like lasers. They really do. His stare is intense. Yeah, he’s not winning this thing.
Jeff Gordon (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 10.) Jeff Gordon – Jeff will hopefully *fingers crossed* impregnate his wife a second time and make the second cutest kid ever! I’d like to think he’d win the Sprint Cup but that’d mean I’d have to be mean to Mark Martin.
Carl Edwards (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 11.) Carl Edwards – Oh, Carly. Well, his Frisbee foot will heal just in time for him to not win the Championship. He’ll continue to confound female NASCAR fans everywhere with his supreme polite gorgeousness.
Kasey Kahne (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 12.) Kasey Kahne – Kasey will pick himself up and dust himself off and start all over again tomorrow at Dover. He’ll improve his position. Kasey will also continue to confound me with his ability to be absolutely adorable without even trying. Look at that photo, c’mon!

the chase is set and it better not suck

Denny Hamlin celebrates winning the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, his second victory of the season. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)Congratulations to the twelve men that made it into the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup. It’s an interesting little group. I can’t believe the entirety of Stewart-Haas Racing made it in especially since I didn’t think they’d win a single race this year. Brian Vickers proved it really isn’t over til it’s over and made the Chase for the first time. I’m so excited for the No. 83 team.

I think it’s going to be a very fun Chase, at least I hope it is. It better be crazy at New Hampshire next weekend.

the one where i give drivers girly nicknames

Race polesitter Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, celebrates with his firt trip to Michigan International Speedway's Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)Wasn’t it nice to have a NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday for once? Just kidding. Although, I was this close to losing it when they stopped the race because of rain. I don’t think I could of handled another race being postponed. I’m putting Mother Nature on notice, if she messes up another race this year I’m never speaking to her again.

I was happy for Brian Vickers and his first win of the season. It was nice to see a new face in Victory Lane this year. Leading up to this race it seemed like momentum was on his side for a victory. I would like to thank Jimmie Johnson for pointing out during his post-race interview the fact that Brian’s first career win a few years ago at Talladega, was kinda tarnished since he spun out Jimmie and Dale Jr. in the process. But whatever, this win was clean and totally deserved. :) (I swear I’m turning into a driver because I don’t forget stuff that went down like years ago!)

shortcuts: show tony your 14

I really, really, really wish I was in Daytona right now. I just had to get that out of my head for the record. I just realized that I haven’t written anything about win at New Hampshire. Hmm. It’s not entirely on purpse. I don’t dislike the kid, I just didn’t want the race to end that way. It was just boring and annoying. I’m not blaming anyone, obviously it was the weather. It was a good race until it had to end. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was doing so well, right? He’s making great progress but then, for whatever reason, something happens and he doesn’t get the chance to let it show.

In other news…

– Office Depot has launched a new photo contest for fans of Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet. From now until my birthday, August 31st (which is a total coincidence, most contests end of my birthday), you can upload photos of the creative ways you’ve incorporated the No. 14 into your life. I have a feeling they’re going to receive some verrrrry interesting entries.

mark martin just wants to k.i.s.s.

Infineon Raceway - Friday, June 19, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Here’s a little known fact about me. I get seriously nervous driving to the racetrack on the first day of a NASCAR race weekend. I mean, I get butterflies and super anxious. I’ve learned that this is a good thing, because if I wasn’t worried about it then it means it’s no big deal and it doesn’t mean anything to me. If I’m nervous about it I’m doing something right.

So that was me on Friday morning driving the super short 30 minutes to Infineon Raceway from my new home in Sonoma County. I moved to the city of Cotati just to be closer to my day job and cut down on my commute expenses but in the process I received the huge bonus of saving my sanity by not having to sit in excruciating traffic leaving the track each day. It’s a beautiful thing.

When I arrived at the track I picked up my credentials and then headed straight to the media center to grab the necessary schedules. I had to park up top next to the helipad and I made the wrong decision to just walk down the hills to the garage instead of waiting for the shuttle. Luckily for me this super nice man offered me a ride in his golf cart. It was great to not have to walk the whole way, but that ride down the hill in a super open vehicle was frightening. The entire time I was mentally and physically bracing myself for the possibility of being catapulted out of it at any moment. Super fun.

for the record, i voted for gilliland

The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman gets under way with the Opening Ceremony Thursday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)The NASCAR All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is tonight and I am prepared for the occasion because I bought Creamsicles. What does ice cream have to do with the All-Star race you ask? Absolutely nothing. I just like sweet stuff.

I should like AJ Allmendinger more than I do because he’s a local guy, well to me. Both he and Scott Speed grew up here in the Bay Area, and yet I’m not that intrigued by either of them. What’s wrong with me? I’m not saying that I dislike them; I just don’t feel “it” for them yet. I know that probably makes absolutely no sense but I don’t know another way to describe it.

I bring this up because it seems like everybody is voting for AJ to make it into the All-Star Race on the fan vote. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Until then, check out these photos from the All-Star week that was:


In the shadows of the Charlotte skyline, NASCAR fans gather for NASCAR Rev'd Up in Uptown Charlotte to kick off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week on Wednesday. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)

In the shadows of the Charlotte skyline, NASCAR fans gather for NASCAR Rev’d Up in Uptown Charlotte to kick off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week on Wednesday. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)

O.A.R. thanks for the fans for coming out Wednesday in Uptown Charlotte for NASCAR Rev'd Up, kicking off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)

O.A.R. thanks for the fans for coming out Wednesday in Uptown Charlotte for NASCAR Rev’d Up, kicking off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)

Sprint welcomes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Casey Mears to the stage Wednesday in Uptown Charlotte at NASCAR Rev'd Up, kicking off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)

Sprint welcomes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Casey Mears to the stage Wednesday in Uptown Charlotte at NASCAR Rev’d Up, kicking off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)

Everfine/Atlantic recording group O.A.R. learn how to perform a pit stop from the defending champions of the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman, the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota team, on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Everfine/Atlantic recording group O.A.R. learn how to perform a pit stop from the defending champions of the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman, the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota team, on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip celebrate winning the Media Pit Crew Challenge after pushing their car across the finish line Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip celebrate winning the Media Pit Crew Challenge after pushing their car across the finish line Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The winning Media Pit Crew Challenge team celebrates its victory on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Top, left to right) SPEEDs Rick Allen, FOXs Tony George, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers, SIRIUS NASCAR Radios Claire B. Lang, SPEED's Phil Parsons, Lugnut, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael Waltrip and Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo; (Bottom left to right) O.A.R. drummer Chris Culos and SPEEDs Ray Dunlap. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The winning Media Pit Crew Challenge team celebrates its victory on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Top, left to right) SPEED’s Rick Allen, FOX’s Tony George, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio’s Claire B. Lang, SPEED’s Phil Parsons, Lugnut, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael Waltrip and Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo; (Bottom left to right) O.A.R. drummer Chris Culos and SPEED’s Ray Dunlap. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Left to right) The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Caterpillar team defeats the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Air Force team in the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman Final Thursday at Time Warner Cable in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Left to right) The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Caterpillar team defeats the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Air Force team in the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman Final Thursday at Time Warner Cable in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Caterpillar team, including Jeff Burton's wife, Kim (right), who drove the car, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. at the Time Warner Cable Arena. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Caterpillar team, including Jeff Burton’s wife, Kim (right), who drove the car, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. at the Time Warner Cable Arena. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

i do not hook up

Kyle Busch does his trademark bow after winning the CROWN ROYAL presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The win came on Busch's 24th birthday and completed the weekend sweep at Richmond. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)That subject line has absolutely nothing to do with this post but it’s been running through my head for the past 5 days so I had to use it. Thanks a lot Kelly Clarkson!

I watched Crown Royal presents the Russ Friedman 400 from the guest bedroom of my sister’s house in Los Angeles.

Saturday day was her baby shower and Saturday night was the fight party to watch Ricky Hatton get his head knocked off his shoulders by Manny Pacquiao. Anyway, everybody was camped out in the living room watching the Celtics beat the Bulls while I was having a grand old time watching the race by myself, with occasional visits from my nephews who asked questions like “You’re still watching this?”

Anywhoo, Kyle Busch won the Russ Friedman 400 in a car sponsored by Combos. I’m not a big fan of the Combos snack. I think they’re gross because they remind me of the dog treat Snausages. Ech. So it figures Kyle would win.

All in all though, it was a great race. There was suspense and intrigue and those are two attributes I dig most in a race. Obviously I would have loved it more had anyone else won, but what can ya do? Is it lame that I didn’t really want Jeff Gordon to win ’cause I knew that his daughter Ella wasn’t there? I didn’t want him to have another win without her being there to greet him in Victory Lane. Yea, this is the type of stuff that goes through my head. Jeff can’t win a race unless Ella is there, that’s my new rule.


Pole-sitter Brian Vickers and Darrell Waltrip joke with fans during

Pole-sitter Brian Vickers and Darrell Waltrip joke with fans during “Trackside Live” on SPEED. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The No. 16 Ford of Greg Biffle is one of several cars to carry a decal honoring the late Charlotte Observer reporter David Poole who passed away earlier in the week. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

David Poole was an excellent writer and I will miss his insight and perspective.

The No. 16 Ford of Greg Biffle is one of several cars to carry a decal honoring the late Charlotte Observer reporter David Poole who passed away earlier in the week. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

The crew members of Kyle Busch's No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota celebrate winning the Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

The crew members of Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota celebrate winning the Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Contest winner Russ Friedman poses in front of the logo for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CROWN ROYAL presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Contest winner Russ Friedman poses in front of the logo for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CROWN ROYAL presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

gordon wins, but we really wanted ella

Jeff Gordon drove his No. 24 DuPont/National Guard GED Plus Chevrolet to Victory Lane during Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway, marking his first win at the racetrack. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)Congratulations to Jeff Gordon for winning the Samsung 500 last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway!

It was exactly what I was waiting for and I’m so glad he’s got a win under him to break that insanely long losing streak he was on. The curious thing is that I think Jeff’s daughter Ella, who will turn two this June, is more popular than he is these days. What did all the fans (okay, maybe it was just the women) want to see when he got into victory lane? Ella of course. What did we get? No Ella! What is up with that? So now Jeff has to win again with Ella on hand so that we’ll all get to see her in victory lane with her daddy. I might collapse from the insane cuteness of it all but it’d be worth it.

During the race I listened to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s radio using NASCAR.com’s TrackPass RaceView. I have to admit that I did doze off at one point, and then awoke to hear Dale saying something about how the orange Gatorade gets really sweet as the race wears on and he thinks they should add more water to it. To which I said to myself “What?

In other news…

My guest post on the NASCAR This Week site is up and you should definitely check it out. They chose a bunch of NASCAR bloggers to fill in for Monte Dutton while he was off this week on furlough.


NASCAR driver Ryan Newman (left) fishes with country music artist Josh Turner during Aaron's Fish & Fun at the Races at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

NASCAR driver Ryan Newman (left) fishes with country music artist Josh Turner during Aaron’s Fish & Fun at the Races at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers talks about his No. 83 Red Bull Toyota with New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush before Sunday's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers talks about his No. 83 Red Bull Toyota with New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush before Sunday’s Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Lead vocalist Kelly Hansen of the band Foreigner performs during the AMDRO Fire Ant Bait Pre-Race Show prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

The complete Foreigner set list from someone who was actually there:
Double Vision
Head Games
Cold As Ice
Feels Like The First Time
Urgent
Juke Box Hero
I Want To Know What Love Is
Hot Blooded

Lead vocalist Kelly Hansen of the band Foreigner performs during the AMDRO Fire Ant Bait Pre-Race Show prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, adds his name to the Wall of Champions after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

I’m surprised Jimmie Johnson didn’t come over with one of his Kobalt tools and try to finish the job for Jeff. :)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, adds his name to the Wall of Champions after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Kyle Busch (R), driver of the #18 Snickers Toyota, poses with his girlfriend Samantha Sarcinella in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Kyle Busch (R), driver of the #18 Snickers Toyota, poses with his girlfriend Samantha Sarcinella in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series O’Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

and the award for best media kit goes to…

Red Bull Racing!

The only other time I’ve ever talked about media kits was when I wrote about how much I dug the one Red Bull made back in 2007. The material they gave out to the media with all of the most pertinent facts about their teams and drivers was unique and cool, and in 2009 they’ve made it even cooler.

There aren’t that many memorable media kits out there (although the photos of Kurt Busch in hunting gear were interesting), so the competition isn’t that stiff, but even if it was I still think Red Bull would always win hands down. It’s something that catches your attention and even if you weren’t planning on writing something about Brian Vickers or Scott Speed you might stop to rethink it.

I dig design that’s creative, fun and so very contemporary. When you match that with awesome photography you’ve got a winner. The photos of Vickers are particularly fetching if I do say so myself, he should walk around the garage in a suit jacket. It’s a good look.


redbull_mediakit_front02

redbull_mediakit_front01

redbull_mediakit_cards02

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redbull_mediakit_inside02

redbull_mediakit_inside01


(all photos credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

this post is really about barry zito

Sam Hornish Jr. waits for his turn to qualify at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday, February 27, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)I like to talk about things in chronological order but somehow I went a little out of order in my account of my Las Vegas weekend.

For example I have yet to talk about sitting on pit road during qualifying. I’ve been to a lot of races but I’ve never stayed out on pit road for qualifying. I usually hang out in the garage and try to snap photos of drivers jumping out of their car after they’ve finished their laps.

It’s just as good trackside, if not better, because the drivers are just sitting on the wall waiting for their turn to come around. If they’re not sitting, they’re standing next to their car just a few feet away from people like me.

When I think of that I can’t help but marvel at all of the access NASCAR fans have to their favorite drivers. I’ve always told people that it’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of when and where you’ll run into your guy. I think it’s crazy to ask these guys to do more in terms of reaching out to the fans. I mean, Sam Hornish Jr. was standing on pit road for like an hour all by himself, not many people were talking to him. Some fans eventually went up to him to take a photo with him, but for the most part he was just there completely available. That just doesn’t happen in the NFL, NBA or in MLB. If I could walk out on to the field at AT&T Park during practice Barry Zito would be mine, or at the very least I’d have enough photos with him to use for my Christmas card for the next 5 years. The San Francisco Giants should make that happen. Think about it Giants, just think about it. :)

So that was Friday. On Saturday I staked out the garage for photos like wrote about in my last post. For the Nationwide race I went out on to the track for driver introductions and then down to pit road for the anthem. I stood in between David Ragan and Brendan Gaughan’s cars. During the race I watched it from my seat in the media center.

BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos in the Neon Garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)At one point, I went out to the Neon Garage to get something to eat. I sat out there and watched the race on one of the two big screens that sit opposite each other inside the huge courtyard-like area. I ordered the yummiest $9 BBQ pulled pork nachos I’d ever tasted. They could easily cut that portion in half and sell it for $4 and it’d be just as good. Overall though, I highly recommend them!

At the end of the Sam’s Town 300, the top-3 finishers were brought into the media center to field questions, as per usual. Pit road speed seemed to be a problem for a lot of drivers that day and Brian Vickers and Carl Edwards seemed to think that the pace car hadn’t set the right speed before the race start, and that is what caused a lot of drivers to speed on pit road.

And that was Friday and Saturday. Next up: Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!


Tony Stewart prepares to qualify for the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday, February 27, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Tony Stewart prepares to qualify for the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday, February 27, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Jason Keller, Mike Bliss and Steve Wallace chat before driver introductions for the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 28, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

(from left to right) Jason Keller, Mike Bliss and Steve Wallace chat before driver introductions for the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 28, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Scott Speed chat before driver introductions for the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 28, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Scott Speed chat before driver introductions for the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 28, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino team lineup for the National Anthem Dale before the start of the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 28, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino team lineup for the National Anthem Dale before the start of the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 28, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

waltrip’s stain, ella is too cute and even nascar pr guys have fans

It seriously hurts my heart when I write something and then in a moment of complete insanity I lose everything I’ve just written because my computer crashes. That’s just what happened to me, so I apologize if this post sucks. :)

I finally have some time to write up my thoughts from last weekend’s races at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

Saturday was pretty uneventful, so I’m skipping that and getting into Sunday.

autoclub_sunday_codyI hovered outside the drivers meeting room to get photos. While doing that I spotted Cody, the PR guy for Kyle Busch. I introduced myself to him not to ask him if I could interview Kyle, but to ask him if he knew that he had fans. Now you’re probably wondering how a PR guy can have his own set of fans but it’s totally possible. Anytime you see Kyle on TV walking through the garage to things like driver intros or to his appearances Cody is always by his side. Plus he’s a young guy who happens to be pretty good looking. So it’s understandable that there would be people out there, people who asked me to ask him if he has a Twitter page. Cody said that he didn’t know that he had fans and that he doesn’t have an account with Twitter (at least as of Sunday).

Later on I headed out to the grass area for driver introductions. The red carpet was rolled out once again for all of the drivers and it was a complete mob scene with fans jockeying for position along the roped off area. At that point I realized that trying to get any kind of photo would be futile so I stood back from it all.

Earlier in the day during one of my cupcake trips over to the FanZone I caught a portion of a performance by the hard rock band Rev Theory. I watched them do a couple songs and I thought they were great. While I was waiting for driver introductions to begin I spied the guys from Rev Theory walking through the grass. I told them that I’d seen them earlier and that they were really good. Introductions were made and I chatted with the drummer Dave and their personal assistant/handler guy Nice (that’s his nickname) about the virtues of Twitter. They were really nice guys and were super fun to talk to. I love band dudes.

After driver intros I played the pit road version of musical chairs. What you do is you start walking and then stop when you hear the PA announcer say “Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise…” I ended up standing behind the pit crew for the #88.

When I turned around after the flyover, which I love to death by the way, I realized I had been standing in front and to the left of Carl Edwards, his wife Kate and all of the guys from Band From TV.

My race day ritual, which I don’t think I’ve ever talked about before, is to stand behind the pits with a perfect view of the start/finish line for the race start, and
then at the end of the race with about 10 laps to go. It’s a compromise between actuallyseeing the race right in front of me and then going back to the media center to watch it through a TV screen.

So the sweetest, most adorable moment of the day was during the post-race press conference with the top-3 race finishers. Before Jeff Gordon arrived (he finished second) his wife Ingrid walked in carrying their daughter Ella. I think I’ve said it like a million times but I’ll say it again she is so freaking cute! When Jeff walked in he went over to Ella, picked her up and gave her a kiss. So cute! Then when Jeff went up to the stage and sat down Ella kept saying “da da” and pointed at him. Cute overload!

I was sad that Jeff didn’t win the race; he was so close to ending his losing streak. But I believe he will be in victory lane very soon because in that press conference he exuded passion, excitement and positivity about his race team. He said that they were head and shoulders above where they were last year. I truly hope that all of that optimism will pay off for him.


#9 Budweiser Dodge (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

I love this photo.

Kasey Kahne’s #9 Budweiser Dodge on pit road before the start of the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Brian Vickers waits to be interviewed by SPEED at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Brian Vickers waits to be interviewed by SPEED at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (Photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Billy Ray Cyrus at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Saturday, February 21, 2009. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Billy Ray Cyrus at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Saturday, February 21, 2009. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

autoclub_sunday_mwstain

OK, this is Michael Waltrip. I took this photo because I saw the big purple stain on his back pocket and thought it was curious. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The band Rev Theory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (Photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The band Rev Theory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (Photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

UPS Kart (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

I think this UPS Truck golf cart is the coolest thing. I wanted to drive it! (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

just me, myself and elliott (sadler, that is)

Elliott Sadler at the Auto Club Speedway on Friday, February 20, 2009 (credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)All day the amount of media that gathered for the individual driver press conferences had been small to say the least. I think almost every driver who walked in commented on the lack of butts in the seats. The audio from each meeting was being broadcast over to the deadline media room, and the reporters there could ask questions if they wanted, so people didn’t have to show up in-person if they didn’t want to.

The only driver to have an insane grouping of everyone and their mother was Dale Earnhardt Jr. who was asked every kind of variation of the same question regarding the incident between him and Brian Vickers at Daytona. The gist of what he had to say was that he didn’t mean to do it, he’s sorry about it, and yes, he’s talked to Brian. Blah, blah, blah.

While the vast majority of media was hanging onto every word uttered from Dale’s lips, Carl Edwards was left sitting in the driver’s meeting room with only 3 writers in front of him. I was kicking myself for not ditching Dale and sitting in on Carl’s session instead.

When it comes to these Q&A shindigs with drivers I’ve never asked a question and I usually try to stay towards the back and to the side. But when you’re in a situation where you’re one of like 5 or 6 people in a big empty room it’s hard to blend in. I don’t prepare questions for these things, or at least I haven’t in the past.

These guys are always asked the same questions and if I did dare to say something I’d want it to be interesting and somewhat thoughtful. After about 3 drivers came in it was Casey Mears turn to take the stage and field questions.

I don’t know what I was thinking but I raised my hand to ask a question. I was curious if becoming a father last year has changed his outlook on racing at all. I was sort of afraid to ask because I didn’t want to pry into his personal life and I didn’t want him to give me a Paul Menard answer of “I’m not going to answer that.”

Casey was very nice and smiled throughout his entire response. Smiling is the international symbol for “Your question wasn’t horrible.”

Here’s Casey’s full response: “I’ve discussed this a little bit before and in Daytona as well. It’s funny because I think being one of the younger guys looking at some of the guys that have children and have a little bit more of a family thing, ‘Man, they’re probably slowing down a little bit.’ Ya know, they’re going to be a little more conservative because of that situation and in a lot of ways I think it’s completely the opposite now, being in that situation. It makes you want to try that much harder. It makes you want to be that much more successful. It makes you want to be able to provide for that family now and that child. And I think that it definitely brings a whole new light in my mind of the situation because I feel like you think about it at night a little bit more, ‘hey we wanna make something happen. I want to prove myself, I want to do well.’ So I think from that perspective things have changed. I’ve always had a huge drive to do well and be successful but it’s definitely affected my life probably, and my racing career, in a different way than I thought it was going to. It’s not slowing me down it’s making me work harder.”

From that and subsequent questioning of other drivers I quickly realized that these guys remember everything they’re asked and if you want to stand out and not sound like a schmo you need to come up with something different.

Unfortunately for me I didn’t have the time to think of something fabulous and witty when Elliott Sadler walked into the room. I was the ONLY media member sitting in front of him. As Elliott walked by me he was like “So it’s just you and me today?”, and I was all “I guess so!”

Inside I was freaking out, what am I going to say? I have nothing! Nothing! So I offered up the only thing I could which was the standard how do you feel about your car question. After that I followed up by asking him if ever gets the opportunity to sit down with The King, Richard Petty, or does it happen more in passing which is what Kasey Kahne and Reed Sorenson had said earlier that day. He was nice and answered them both well, but I could tell that I hadn’t wowed him with my journalistic skills. Luckily, a few reporters trickled in during his response to my second question and I was off the hook.

The best part of my day, in which I had to pat myself on the back, was when I asked David Ragan if he ever Googled himself. I think his answer speaks for itself, in it’s pure awesomeness:

“I have Googled myself and, trust me, I wasn’t just like sitting in a room and it was just me. It was probably with a group of friends or at a racetrack trying to kill some time, but yeah I read a little bit.

I think probably my aunts and uncles, and family members they read a lot more than what I do. I read a couple magazines and papers and kind of see what everyone’s talking about, but I don’t get overly caught up in what everyone is writing. And every now and then I’ll see something that ‘Hey that’s not right, or that’s not spelled out right.’ And I think that for a second I’m like ‘Man I wonder if they’re just confused or they don’t have the facts right’ and I’ll try to round ‘em up or if I see one of the writers at the next racetrack I’ll try to grab them or something like that. I do pay attention a little bit to what’s going on but I think my family probably keeps me up to date more than anybody.

That was a good question. I like questions like that, other than ‘How was your car?’ or ‘Are you excited to be here this weekend?’ and stuff like that. I like odd questions.”

Score! :)


Kasey Kahne and Reed Sorenson (credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Kasey Kahne (left) and Reed Sorenson (right) took on their press conferences together at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Friday, February 20, 2009. (credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

autoclub_dalejr_press

Dale Earnhardt Jr. mulls over a question at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Friday, February 20, 2009. (credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

how to lose friends and alienate fans

daytona_greenflagThe Brian Vickers/Dale Earnhardt Jr. incident has been and will continue to be well documented by others so I’m not even going to get into it. Well I will say this; I don’t think that Dale intended to spin Brian out. I think it was an accident and I’m not just saying that because I like Dale. I actually like both of them. I just don’t think Dale would do that knowing there’s an entire field of cars behind him that could be involved. He’s always been pretty honest about his on-track exploits so whatevah.

My Daytona highlights:

– FOX NASCAR racing analysts Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip laugh every time the Digger graphic comes up. I find it funny that they find it so funny.

– All of the NASCAR kids and babies on pit road during the invocation and National Anthem made my entire reproductive system want to explode from their cuteness. How adorable was Macey Waltrip helping her dad get settled into his car?

Julianne Hough was supposed to sing the National Anthem but she came down with the flu and couldn’t travel. In her place they were able to secure singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw who gave the most pitiful anthem performance ever. I like Gavin DeGraw in general but this was definitely not one of his best performances.

Keith Urban performed a lot on Sunday. He performed acoustically at a press conference for the media (lucky nerds!) and then for everyone else with his full band behind him before the start of the race. Apparently Keith brought his wife, a little known Australian actress named Nicole Kidman, with him. If that doesn’t blow your mind enough Nicole’s ex-husband Tom Cruise was on hand to lead the field to the green flag in the pace car. I guess we should just call it a Days of Thunder reunion party. Side note: I have yet to watch Days of Thunder all the way through, but I have been on the ride at Great America.

Overall the Daytona 500 was a big ol’ anticlimactic mess for me. I mean, Matt Kenseth is cool and all but races that end with a red flag are just no good. It left me feeling gypped and bored with leftover 5-layer dip.

Oh, one more thing, speaking of Mr. Kenseth he’ll be in San Francisco this Wednesday for all of you Bay Area NASCAR fans:

Fans can see the winner of Sunday’s Daytona 500 this Wednesday at Willie Mays Plaza at AT&T Park at 12:30 p.m. during a fan rally and press conference. Matt Kenseth will be on-hand after taking a Victory Tour through the Streets of San Francisco on a motorized cable car. This marks the first time a Daytona 500 winner has visited SF. The day signals the Official Countdown to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR race at Infineon Raceway in June.

Photo fun time!


Some might say Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, may have had a couple of good luck charms Thursday at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel 1. Wife Ingrid Vandebosch and daughter Ella Sophia hang out with the four-time NASCAR champion the grid prior to the race at Daytona International Speedway that he won. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Some might say Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, may have had a couple of good luck charms Thursday at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel 1. Wife Ingrid Vandebosch and daughter Ella Sophia hang out with the four-time NASCAR champion the grid prior to the race at Daytona International Speedway that he won. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon signs autographs for fans during the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice on Saturday for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Don’t tap on the glass, they hate that. :)

Three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon signs autographs for fans during the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice on Saturday for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Country star Keith Urban performs a pre-race concert prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Country star Keith Urban performs a pre-race concert prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Matt Kenseth celebrates winning the 51st running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Kenseth became the 33rd different driver to win

Matt Kenseth celebrates winning the 51st running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Kenseth became the 33rd different driver to win “The Great American Race.” (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Steve and Christine Deuker meet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman (center) on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. The Deukers honored Newman and their son, who passed away in 2001, by buying a brick from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Steve and Christine Deuker meet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman (center) on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. The Deukers honored Newman and their son, who passed away in 2001, by buying a brick from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tom Cruise climbs into the pace car for some practice laps around Daytona International Speedway. Cruise led the Daytona 500 to the green flag in the pace car. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tom Cruise climbs into the pace car for some practice laps around Daytona International Speedway. Cruise led the Daytona 500 to the green flag in the pace car. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart reads a Valentine's Day card before getting into his car for the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice for the Daytona 500 on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart reads a Valentine’s Day card before getting into his car for the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice for the Daytona 500 on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)

nascar goes clubbing at marquee in nyc

Last Thursday night NASCAR drivers, a smattering of celebrities and regular people gathered at Marquee, a super hot nightclub in New York City, to celebrate NASCAR Sprint Cup Champions Week.

Thanks to the great people at Guest of a Guest there are photos from the shindig to share. I’ve got some here but you can see ALL of them over at Guest of a Guest here and here.

My only note about this soiree is that I think that NASCAR should seriously ponder moving the Champions Week festivities to different locations each year, preferably Las Vegas, San Francisco or Los Angeles as I am close to all of those areas. :)

The celebs in attendance ranged from Rikki Lake to that one guy who was on Ally McBeal who loved women with “wattles” to Samantha Ronson and non-lesbian-lesbian Lindsay Lohan.


Ingrid Vandebosch

Ingrid Vandebosch (Jeff Gordon’s wife)

Miss Sprint Cup - Monica Palumbo (left) and Anne-Marie Rhodes (right)

Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo (left) and Miss Sprint Cup Anne-Marie Rhodes (right)

Kyle Busch and Samantha Sarcinella

Kyle Busch and his girlfriend Samantha Sarcinella

Jimmie and Chandra Johnson

Jimmie and Chandra Johnson

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin

Brian Vickers

Brian Vickers

Greg and Nicole Biffle

Greg and Nicole Biffle

are you ready for the nascar season to be over?

What about Regan Smith?? (Getty Images for NASCAR)I guess I am.

It’s time to take a break. It’s time to take a breath and get ready for next year, for fans, teams and drivers alike. We have three months to familiarize ourselves with all of the new teams and driver changes that happened this year. Someone should make a cheat sheet ’cause I can’t seem to wrap my head around all the changes that’ll be in place next year.

The DEI / Ganassi merger that was announced this week is not helping things. When I read about it all my first thought was what happens to Regan Smith? And why does Aric Almirola have a ride for sure and Regan doesn’t? That’s not a knock against Aric but I’m really curious about how that determination was made. Regan is still in the running for that fourth team along with Scott Riggs and AJ Allmendinger. It’s gonna be interesting to see how this all plays out. I don’t expect the new Earnhardt Ganassi Racing organization to start kicking butt and take names next year, all of this is just an attempt to stop the bleeding.

In other news…

– Have you seen Sporting News’ special collectors issue “60 Most Beautiful People in NASCAR”? I just flipped through it today, haven’t read it completely yet but it’s got some in depth interviews with drivers like Brian Vickers, Kasey Kahne, Casey Mears and Clint Bowyer, plus drivers wives like Krissie Newman, Chandra Johnson and Katie Kenseth. I find it odd that Kyle Busch didn’t make the list, I really do.

– One thing I must state, yet again, Ingrid Vandebosch was not/is not a supermodel. She’s referred to as one in the Sporting News special NASCAR issue. To be a supermodel I have to be able to know who you are by just hearing your first name. Think about it, if we’re sitting around talking about models and I say Tyra or Cindy or Gisele to you, you already know whom I’m talking about. If I said Ingrid you’d be like “Who??” I’m not knocking the woman; I’m just knocking the people who throw the supermodel moniker around like it’s nothing. It’s my personal pet peeve. To be called a supermodel you have to have done many things in your career to take you above and beyond the average working model. OK, I’m officially off the soapbox and I’m never talking about this again.

:)

Tony Stewart was named the Grand Marshall of this year’s Fiesta Bowl. The announcement took place last Friday in Phoenix and I had to share this photo of Tony at the press conference. I just think it’s funny/cute. He looks awkward in that coat. It’s not a good look; actually I don’t think that jacket is a good look for anybody.


Tony Stewart (center) is introduced as the Grand Marshall of the upcoming Fiesta Bowl by Chairman of the Board Dave Tilson (left) and Executive Director John Junker (right). (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart (center) is introduced as the Grand Marshall of the upcoming Fiesta Bowl by Chairman of the Board Dave Tilson (left) and Executive Director John Junker (right). (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

shortcuts: brian vickers takes manhattan

Here’s some stuff you should know about, if you don’t already:

Jamie McMurray’s paint scheme for this weekend’s Dickies 500 serves as a reminder to all NASCAR fans that they need to get crackin’ if they want to be the latest winner of the Crown Royal ‘Your Name Here 400′ Contest. Just think, your name could be title sponsor of the May 2009 Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway:

Before Nov. 21, fans 21 years old and over can visit www.CrownRoyal.com to enter the contest by describing an accomplishment or honorable act worthy of toasting with Crown Royal. Selected finalists will enjoy an all-expenses-paid trip in February to the Daytona 500 where they will participate in an unveiling ceremony to announce the ‘Your Name Here 400′ grand prize winner.

In addition to having their name officially incorporated into the race, the grand prize winner will serve as the Grand Marshal in Richmond — allowing them to do everything from delivering the trophy in Victory Lane to yelling the most famous words in racing, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

Jamie McMurray's No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion

– Most Popular Driver voting ends today for the Nationwide Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. Submit your vote today before it’s too late!

– A man bid over $15,000 to take three high-speed laps around Lowe’s Motor Speedway with Dale Earnhardt Jr. proving that men love Dale Jr. just as much as women do:

When the auctions closed Oct. 3, Thomas Mendiburu from New Jersey had won the ride-of-a-lifetime with Dale Jr. for three warp-speed laps around Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a winning bid of more than $15,000! Wrangler® flew the generous high bidder to Charlotte for two days of unforgettable NASCAR experiences. Not only did he strap in for the 170-mph ride with Dale Jr. – Wrangler® also gave Mendiburu a glimpse of life in the driver’s seat when experts from the Richard Petty Driving Experience taught him to drive a racecar before letting him cruise around the track once again…this time as the driver!

The cool thing about all of this is that the entire Dale Jr./Wrangler auction raised $17, 475 for the Victory Junction Gang camp. Niice.

Brian Vickers showed off his new digs in SoHo to the New York Times. Apparently the Big Apple bug bit him after former teammate Jeff Gordon extolled its awesomeness. Check out the accompanying photo gallery of his zen, modern bachelor pad!

– Interested in watching more funny videos from the Americans for a Gunk-Free Nation campaign? Check out the debate and a very interesting interview with Gunk. Yes, I said they’ve got an interview with Gunk. :)

can lowe’s change the game in the chase?

Since the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is this weekend it only made sense to post photos from the Lowe’s testing session that occurred a couple weeks ago.

I’ve been following the presidential election coverage a lot and everybody is looking for a “game-changer” from the debates and in terms of NASCAR I think this weekend’s race might bring just that for the drivers embroiled in the The Chase. At least I hope this race produces a game-changer because I think it’ll be far more interesting if the points lead changes hands again.

Oh and I have something to say about NASCAR’s judgment on the whole Regan Smith/Tony Stewart Talladega finish. So yes they got the call right but they really need to work on being clear on the rules in the first place. This isn’t the first time the rules have been foggy. Even the announcers calling the race heard different things about the rules for the last lap of the race. So the bottom line is they still f’ed up. Thank you.

edwards sweeps up michigan

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, celebrates after winning Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 3M Performance 400 Presented by Bondo at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)Today’s race sucked. I’m happy for Carl Edwards and his team for beating Kyle Busch, of course. I think that goes without saying, but it was still kinda lame. Maybe I’m being too picky and hard to please but I just want someone to win who hasn’t won this year, or if that’s not possible then someone who’s only won once so far.

Has anyone started printing up “Anybody but Busch” shirts yet?? ‘Cause I can’t believe that I’m actually sad Jeff Gordon hasn’t won a race this year. I find that fact seriously disturbing and I’ve already started wondering when the four horsemen are going to show up. Watching him in his post-race interview I was happy to see that he was going to use his drop in points as a reason to take things up a notch. That team has got to get it together.

I’m not even going to talk about Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ugh.

I’m sure next week’s race at Bristol will be far more interesting.

On the bright side, don’t think I didn’t notice that ESPN’s cameras paid attention to the adorable Gilliland family during pre-race festivities for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events. That was great.


Pole sitter for the 3M Performance 400 Presented by Bondo and driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Brian Vickers stands next to his car during pre-race activities Sunday. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Pole sitter for the 3M Performance 400 Presented by Bondo and driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Brian Vickers stands next to his car during pre-race activities Sunday. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Former driver and now TV commentator Dale Jarrett chats with driver of the No. 19 Stanley Dodge Elliott Sadler during Friday's Sprint Cup Series practice at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Former driver and now TV commentator Dale Jarrett chats with driver of the No. 19 Stanley Dodge Elliott Sadler during Friday’s Sprint Cup Series practice at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Fans crowd around Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, during qualifying Friday at Michigan International Speedway (Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Fans crowd around Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, during qualifying Friday at Michigan International Speedway (Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Planters Ford, celebrates a win in his typical manner -- a backflip -- but this time kept his helmet on. Edwards, who also was the polesitter, won the NASCAR Nationwide CARFAX 250 on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Planters Ford, celebrates a win in his typical manner — a backflip — but this time kept his helmet on. Edwards, who also was the polesitter, won the NASCAR Nationwide CARFAX 250 on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)

if only i knew what he was thinking

Michael McDowell gets ready to roll out for a practice session at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)After the fun ESPN tour I headed into the Sprint Cup garage. I walked down one row and then another and stopped at the stall for the No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. I took photos and then noticed Michael Waltrip walking towards me. As he passed by he smiled and said “Hello” to me and the guy taking photos next to me. He got into the car and strapped himself in.

Here’s the thing, I knew that the practice sessions were set to start soon, but I didn’t realize exactly how soon. So here I am walking down the garage right in front of the car stalls stopping at each one to take a photo. I started to see a pattern that all of the drivers seemed to be in their cars with their helmets on all at the same time. It didn’t dawn on me that they were minutes from racing out of the garage and onto the track until I got to the end of the row and noticed that nobody else was as close to the stalls as I was and drivers were looking at me as I took their photos like “What are you doing? Who are you? Don’t you know I’m about to run you over?!” It wasn’t that serious, but it was really, really, eerie.

I mean, really eerie. It’s this extreme calm before the storm. They were all just sitting there waiting for the go ahead. As soon as I caught on that they would be racing out at any moment I decided to walk faster and get to a corner where I could get a good view of the cars as they pulled out and stay well out of everyone’s way.

Once practice was over it was time for the drivers & crew chiefs meeting before the start of the Nationwide Series race. First I must say that I love the way the infield area of Chicagoland is laid out. The media center is smack dab in the center of everything and it’s closed off so the fans, even those with pit passes, are kept well away from it. The Sprint Cup garage is to the left and the Nationwide garage is to the right, and the tent for the drivers meeting was behind it.

So back to the drivers meeting, I went to tent area and stood with the security stationed outside of it to keep the fans at bay. Since it was the Nationwide race after all there weren’t that many people waiting with me, maybe like 3 or 4? If that, I’m not entirely sure but I know it wasn’t anything near all of the people that were there the next day for the Sprint Cup drivers meeting. They had to put up steel barriers for that one. But I digress. So I’m standing there and drivers start to trickle in. I snapped Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth.
Clint Bowyer walks to the Dollar General 300 drivers and crew chiefs meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous
And then there was Clint.

Clint Bowyer walks up, all alone and I hold up my camera to take a photo and he looks in my direction. Now, I had no idea if he was actually looking at me or just in my general vicinity. I had no idea what expression he was making and honestly I didn’t want to know. I feel totally fine about taking pictures of people if they’re not looking at me while I’m doing it. Plus he’s seen me directly taking shots of him at Las Vegas and Infineon and now Chicagoland. So I didn’t dare look up from my camera for fear that he might be frowning or something. I don’t know. He went into the tent and that was that.

Later on I looked at the photo in its full size and I cracked up because he is in fact staring straight at me with this weird expression that looks kinda like he’s pissed. But I love this photo. It’s my most favorite photo to date. :) The look on his face is priceless; he’s like “What??” Hmm. Note to self: No more photos of Clint Bowyer, at least for the next race. Or at least not when he’s looking.


Sprint Cup cars roll out to the track for a practice session at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Sprint Cup cars roll out to the track for a practice session at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Tony Stewart heads into the drivers meeting before the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Tony Stewart heads into the drivers meeting before the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Ragan (far left), Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth leave the drivers meeting before the Dollar General 300 on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Ragan (far left), Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth leave the drivers meeting before the Dollar General 300 on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

my 80s flashback at pocono

The No. 9 crew escorts Kasey Kahne to victory lane after winning the Pocono 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway (Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images for NASCAR)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 Brad Keselowski shares his first career trip to Victory Lane with his father, Bob, and mother, Kay, Saturday night at Nashville. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR) 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)