Through some completely unscientific research I’ve done while reading interviews with NASCAR drivers during yesterday’s Media Day in Daytona, I’ve determined that nobody gives a flying fig about Danica Patrick dating Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and people should probably stop asking them about it.
All posts tagged Casey Mears68 Posts
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 woke up at 6am Sunday morning in New Hampshire and willed myself to get up so that I wouldn’t get stuck in race day traffic. SYLVANIA gave us a tip that we (their invited media peeps) should get on the road by 7:15am at the latest in order to miss the traffic melee. It worked because the drive to the track only took 25 minutes. I have to say that NHMS is by far my favorite track to drive to because the scenery is beautiful, but more importantly it was (basically) a straight shot from the hotel to the track, with one left turn and one stop at the drive-thru Starbucks on Loudon Road.
The following interview with Casey Mears, driver of the No. 13 Geico Toyota Camry, took place in the garage at Infineon Raceway. It was a surprise for both of us since I didn’t have a time scheduled with him and I just saw him standing there talking to a couple of guys and figured why not go for it. I interrupted (politely) and asked if I could interview him. He was a good sport and had some great answers. I sincerely appreciated the time he took to speak with me.
When I arrived at Infineon Raceway on Friday I was late. It was only 9am but it was late. The garage opened at 7am and that’s when people showed up, so the media lot was full when I arrived. I was stuck in lot 1 which is next to the helipad. It’s not a big deal (there’s an awesome shuttle that takes you right to the media center no matter where you’re parked) but it’s funny to me how 9am can be considered late for anything. Anyway, Friday was the day of press conferences for the top-12 drivers.
I’m driving down to Southern California for the Auto Club 500 race weekend at Auto Club Speedway on Thursday. Eaaaarly Thursday morning, to be exact. Clint Bowyer is launching “Speedway Day L.A.” on the steps of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles, and then immediately following that he’ll go on a tour of L.A. with media and race fans on a double-decker bus. I’m getting on the bus! You know how much I enjoyed my time on the double-decker bus in Vegas during Champion’s Week, so there was no way I was missing out on this opportunity.
The festivities will start at Noon at City Hall (200 N. Spring Street at 1st Street in Los Angeles), then we’ll stop by Elvis’ star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame around 1:30pm (Southeast corner of Hollywood Blvd and N. La Brea Blvd. in Hollywood), then walk down to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre between 1:30 & 2:10pm, and then we’re going to In-N-Out Burger where Clint will serve ice-cold Coke to people around 2:15pm, and then we’ll return to City Hall.
Fun right? Totally looking forward to it, and it makes up for the fact that I’ll be missing out on Tony Stewart’s appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area that’s also taking place on Thursday (more about that below).
I was checking out the weather forecast for Fontana on Weather.com and it looks like it’s supposed to rain on Friday. So there’s a 40% chance that qualifying will be rained out. I would rather that it didn’t.
In other news…
– Grammy award winning artist Richard Marx (right) will perform the National Anthem before the start of the Auto Club 500 this week. I, for one, am SO EXCITED about this news. I LOVE Richard Marx! I mean, hello, “Endless Summer Nights,” “Right Here Waiting,” “Hold on to the Nights,” “Should’ve Known Better,” “Now and Forever,” and my personal extra fave “Hazard.” The man is a musical genius and I adore him.
– Another dude that I loved from my days as a pre-teen/teen is Christian Slater. “Heathers,” you guys. Oh! And “Untamed Heart”, that movie was, like, the most romantic movie to me until I saw Leo DiCaprio in “Romeo + Juliet.” Do I need to say more? He’s in a new TV show for FOX so I’m sure that’s why he was named the Grand Marshal for Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway. I’m not mad about that at all.
– Like I mentioned Tony Stewart will be stopping by the Bay Area on Thursday to hang out at the Oakland Zoo. He’s going to give the resident male elephant, Osh, a “pedicure” with the help of the Elephant Manager Jeff Kinzley. There will be a fan & media Q&A session with Tony held in the Marian Zimmer Auditorium and it should start around 1:15pm. Fans can get a $2 discount on admission to the zoo (for this Thursday only) by mentioning “Infineon Raceway at the ticket booth.
– Another Thursday driver event is taking place at the Stonewood Center Best Buy Mobile in Downey, Calif. Casey Mears and AJ Allmendinger will be on hand with Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo from 6pm to 8pm to take photos, and sign autographs for fans. On Sunday Casey and AJ will be racing each other in a “race within a race” in order to win $5,000 from Sprint for the charity of their choice. Casey has selected Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and AJ has picked Paralyzed Veterans of America.
– IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon and his wife, Susie, welcomed their second child into the world this weekend. Their son, Oliver, was born on Sunday and joins older brother Sebastian, who turned 2 last month.
I’m having too much fun with this contest. I was right when I thought things would get much more interesting in Round Two and the results of last week’s voting have set up Round Three to be extra intriguing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Mears just barely made it through in the closest match-up results so far. Dale Jr. beat Scott Speed by just 8 votes! I’m really, really surprised that it wasn’t a closer contest between Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne.
Here’s what happened in Round Two:
Jamie McMurray (75%) defeated Kyle Busch (25%)
Joey Logano (55%) defeated David Gilliland (45%)
Clint Bowyer (56%) defeated Bobby Labonte (44%)
Travis Kvapil (62%) defeated Kurt Busch (38%)
Kasey Kahne (75%) defeated Carl Edwards (25%)
Casey Mears (51%) defeated Kevin Harvick (49%)
Elliott Sadler (70%) defeated Reed Sorenson (30%)
Jeff Gordon (52%) defeated Marcos Ambrose (48%)
Ryan Newman (83%) defeated Juan Pablo Montoya (17%)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (51%) defeated Scott Speed (49%)
Tony Stewart (86%) defeated Sam Hornish Jr. (14%)
Matt Kenseth (65%) defeated AJ Allmendinger (35%)
Regan Smith (77%) defeated Robby Gordon (23%)
Martin Truex Jr. (88%) defeated Greg Biffle (12%)
Paul Menard (64%) defeated Brad Keselowski (36%)
Denny Hamlin (58%) defeated Mark Martin (42%)
This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).
So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Three! You can vote as many times as you want each day until
voting ends on Saturday, January 22nd.
UPDATE: I’ve extended voting through Sunday, January 23rd until 9am, because of a snafu with the voting form. // Voting for Round Three is over! Check out Round Four!
|Jamie McMurray||Joey Logano|
|Clint Bowyer||Travis Kvapil|
|Ryan Newman||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|Tony Stewart||Kasey Kahne|
|Casey Mears||Elliott Sadler|
|Martin Truex Jr.||Jeff Gordon|
|Paul Menard||Matt Kenseth|
|Regan Smith||Denny Hamlin|
Voting for Round Three is over! Check out Round Four!
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!
Who is the hottest, cutest, most-handsome driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series? I know who I think is the hottest, most-adorable driver in the series but if I just tell you what I think it’s boring and the fun only lasts for a few hours, or a day, tops. So instead I thought it would be way more fun if everyone voted!
I’ve randomly seeded 38 drivers into a single-elimination tournament. There will be six rounds of action before we crown a winner and each round will last at least one week.
The second round will go on for two weeks because there are so many match-ups I want to make sure there’s enough time to get as many votes in as possible. You can vote as many times as you want and I strongly encourage you to do so every day. And as the rounds wind down be on the lookout for the opportunity to win a prize!
Download a copy of the 2011 Hottest Driver Tournament brackets!
Without further adieu here are the match-ups for Round One!
|Kyle Busch||Jeff Burton|
|Brian Vickers||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|David Reutimann||Tony Stewart|
|David Ragan||Casey Mears|
|Paul Menard||Jimmie Johnson|
|Kevin Conway||Regan Smith|
Round One Voting Has Ended! Vote in Round Two! CLICK HERE
FIRST: I am planning on attending the NASCAR race weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana next week, although there is a small chance I might not make it out there. Please know that I am doing EVERYTHING I can to make it happen.
It’s ridiculous how badly I want/need to go to this race. It’s close enough to me (only 5 short hours) that it’s just a no-brainer and yet enough annoying circumstances can rear their ugly head’s to make my actual attendance slightly “tentative.” Ugh. Anyway, just know that I’m going to be at that race, happy as a clam, writing about driver’s visits to port-a-potties and women wearing inappropriate-for-the-racetrack shoes.
Plus, there are too many things going on that weekend that to miss it would suck big time. For one, there are the weddings taking place at the track before the Sprint Cup Series race on 10/10/10 (which also happens to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s birthday) and my life won’t be complete until I get to see Michael Waltrip serve as the Best Man at a stranger’s wedding.
And there’s the matter of doing more driver interviews using the ten questions. So now that I’ve written this out there’s no way in hell I’m not going to this race.
SECOND: I’m definitely going to be at the 2010 Blog World & New Media Expo in Las Vegas. This year’s BWE is taking place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and I’m on a panel in the sports track titled “Women in Sports Media” along with some awesome women: Kathleen Hessert, President of Sports Media Challenge and
Nicole LaVoi, Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport & Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium. *(see update below)
I met Nicole at Blogs with Balls 3 this year in Chicago and you should really check out her blog about women in sports. I’m a subscriber and there isn’t a post where I’m not saying to myself, “She’s so right!” or “That’s so true!”
I haven’t met Kathleen before but I’m looking forward to it. Just check out this recent interview with her over at Sports Industry Insider. She’s helped many athletes manage their reputations and figure out their social media & web strategies. She’s the “woman who taught Shaquille O’Neal to tweet.” She’s also worked with guys we know like Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and Casey Mears.
I had a small hand in putting this panel together in that I gave the idea to the sports track organizers and I’m glad that I did because there are so many things to talk about as it relates to female athletes, journalists and fans. I really feel like female fans get short shrift a lot of the time. It’s really easy to see the male demographic in racing but HELLO, 40% of NASCAR fans are women. What are you doing to engage the women?
Anywhoo, I’m really looking forward to the panel. If you’re involved in blogging, social media and new media in any shape or form (or you want to be) you should attend Blog World. There really is something for everyone (and I’m not getting paid to say this). I always walk away from it with more info and contacts than when I arrived.
UPDATE: I jumped the gun on my post and it turns out that Nicole LaVoi won’t be on the panel with me at Blog World, but Patricia Hannigan, The Golf Girl, will be! Should be a good time.
Finally got access to more photos from last week’s race at Atlanta and there were two cute photos of Casey Mears with his daughter Samantha and Matt Kenseth and his daughter Kaylin. I have to post them, and a couple others I thought you might be interested in.
Casey Mears (R), driver of the GEICO Toyota, holds his daughter Samantha on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch (R), driver of the Miller Lite Dodge, stands with his wife Eva on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth (L), driver of the Crown Royal Ford, holds his daughter Kaylin Nicola on the grid prior to the start ofduring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
If Mr. Buffett would like to give me some of his money, I’d more than happily accept it.
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, watches the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin (R), driver of the Sport Clips Toyota, stands on the grid with girlfriend Jordan Fish prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Saturday is always my favorite day in the garage because it’s all about practice and we haven’t reached the max level of wandering people that will be around come Sunday.
Something I hadn’t realized about the garage at Infineon is how perfect it is before the cars roll out for the first practice session of the day. Infineon’s garage stalls are all in one long row. You walk a straight line and you get to see everyone. This is especially eerie when all the drivers are sitting in their cars with their visors up just waiting for the call to drive out to the track.
It’s the only time when they’re basically a captive audience. You could jump out in front of their cars and do a little dance or hold up a big sign saying whatever you want and they have to watch because they can’t go anywhere. I didn’t do a little dance, I just tried to take pictures but I recommend that if you’re going to get a garage pass make sure it’s on a day when the guys are practicing. It’s the best time.
Red Bull Racing has selected Mattias Ekström to handle the road course at Infineon Raceway next week in the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota:
“First of all, I’d like to express my sincere thanks — to Red Bull for inviting a Swede with zero NASCAR experience to compete in the United States and to Audi for the possibility and approval that enable me to fulfill this dream,” said Ekström, 31.
I, too, would like to express my sincerest thanks to Red Bull for inviting a cute Swedish dude to race in NASCAR for the first time ever. Can you say, “fresh meat?” It’s perfect timing since I’ll be at Infineon next week for the Toyota/SaveMart 350. Can wait to see Mattias in action. Zero NASCAR experience and his first race is at Infineon. I love it.
That’s Mattias (left) with Casey Mears, sporting his wedding ring. I forgot Casey got married!
In other news…
– The 2010 Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream was held last night and drivers from all kinds of racing disciplines were on hand, including Travis Pastrana who is famous for his motocross & supercross & general extreme sport background. I really, really wish Travis would try his hand at NASCAR. It would be a good time for sure. That guy is funny and super talented.
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.
Good for you, Ryan Newman. It was awesome to see him in victory lane after such a long drought. I loved his post-race interview and the one comment that stuck out the most for me was when he said that, when Tony Stewart came to congratulate him, he told Tony he loved him and that Tony said he loved him too. Isn’t that sweet? Men who are friends, openly declaring their love for each other without being all weird about it. Isn’t that cool? That was fun.
Here’s the video of it, in case you missed it:
Photo fun time!
John Wes Townley inspects the damage on his No. 21 Zaxby’s Chevrolet after an accident in practice. Clint Bowyer will take over driving duties in the No. 21 for the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200.(Credit: Christian Peterson/Getty Images)
After the Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony, I left the Venetian and headed back to my room so that I could change out of my “business casual” dress and into clothes that were much warmer. It was so cold in Vegas. I wished it would get into the 70s but it never got close. Friday night, the night of the awards ceremony it was in the low 50s with freeze warnings in effect.
So I changed my clothes and tried to walk quickly to the monorail at Harrah’s/Imperial Palace station so that I could get to the MGM Grand as fast as possible because that’s where the start/finish line was for the Victory Lap. I wanted to see the top-12 drivers doing burnouts, but it wasn’t to be. I missed the whole thing. What I did see, from the windows of the monorail, was the traffic that was backed up for at least a mile next to the Strip. That was kinda neat.
Before the start of the Dickies 500 on Sunday I was thinking about what had to happen in order for Jimmie Johnson to lose some momentum in The Chase. Of course, I didn’t think any of it would happen. So when Jimmie’s accident occurred I was, uhm, sort of pleasantly surprised.
We needed that to make things a little more interesting. The guy still has a ton of points on Mark Martin but at least it gives hope a chance to shine. And, if I’m being honest, it was pretty cool getting to see the 48 team pull together and get that car back into shape to run in the race again. I’m never against seeing Ron Malec in action. (hehe) I have to give it Chad Knaus though, that guy is one cool customer. He was pissed of course that they ran into trouble, but his voice is always even. He doesn’t freak out, and you can’t afford to freak out in a situation like that, which is why Jimmie and the Lowe’s team are 3-time Sprint Cup Champions.
Watching Kurt Busch do his victory lap around Texas Motor Speedway in reverse with his tongue sticking out made me realize who he reminds me of, and no, it’s not Michael Jordan. No, I was thinking more along the lines of the character Pete Campbell from the awesome TV show Mad Men. Pete, played by Vincent Kartheiser, is kind of a punk. He whines when he doesn’t get his way and always thinks he should be treated better than he perceives he’s being treated. It’s funny. Watch Mad Men, it’s awesome. The latest season is over, but that’s what Netflix is for.
That being said it was cool to see Kurt so excited about winning and all that.
Uhm… There’s this one driver, I think his name is Dale Earnhardt Jr. or something, who doesn’t seem to be able to catch a break this season. I’m at the point, well I’ve been here for some time now, where I want to just say to him “Dale, (yes, in this scenario I know him and we’re BFFs) I think you should just park it and call it a season, this is lame. I know you’re doing your best but you need to tell whatever gods are in charge of luck to kiss your butt.”
He was running really well and then of course something happens and finishes crappy. And his finish has nothing to do with his overall performance. They were kicking butt and then it falls off. Ugh.
And now ladies and gentlemen, a photo bonanza!
I have so much to tell you and I’m late on all of it! Grr. Last weekend I went to the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma and then there was this whole Miss Universe pageant where Miss USA wore a NASCAR-inspired outfit. I have a lot to discuss, but first my thoughts on Bristol.
Bristol was basically like Britney Spears‘ supposed “comeback” performance at the MTV Video Music Awards a couple years back. Everybody was all excited leading up to it and then it happened and it was a complete FAIL.
Bristol was friggin’ boring. Well not entirely but still a vast majority of it. So much so that I was actually sad I couldn’t take a nap to get through it.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International race that was scheduled for today, has been rescheduled for tomorrow at 9amPST/12noonEST. Lame!
I remember a time when I loved rain delays. It meant that the network covering the event had to fill time with driver interviews and that meant talking to more than just the latest “news makers.” While I still enjoy that part of it I don’t appreciate the race being postponed ’til the next day. Especially when the next day falls on a day when I have to be at work, and I have a job that doesn’t include watching television.
Some things of interest:
– Athena Barber, Clint Bowyer’s ex-girlfriend, has joined 3 Wide Life as a correspondent and contributor for the nationally syndicated motorsports focused television show. “This is really exciting,” said Barber. “3 Wide Life focuses on the core of racing and I could not be happier to be a part of it. Racing is my life, and this gives me the opportunity to be around something that I love. Plus I get to share it with the fans and racers across the country.” In her first episode she interviews Robby Gordon. Check your local listings for show air dates.
– For the first time ever Infineon Raceway will host the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Father’s Day. Recently some of NASCAR’s Chevy drivers shared their thoughts on Father’s Day and what their dads have meant to them:
“Racing is a family sport and it’s been very good to our family. My dad has been the biggest part of it since Day One when I was racing in motocross when I was four or five years old. He was the one who kept it all together. He instilled in me that hard work pays off and that you get out of it what you put in it, and that holds true for just about anything you do.”
- Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
“When you’re young, you take for granted all the things your father does. But, when you are a father, you think, ‘Wow, you do a lot.’ You have to really understand what being a father is all about to understand what Father’s Day really means. I don’t like being away from my kids on Father’s Day, but this is what I do, and they’ll take care of me some other weekend.”
- Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet
“Being a father makes me really appreciate my father that much more. … I also get to have some fun because I’ve got my daughter and my wife making Father’s Day cards and stuff. It’s cool and it’s only going to get better.”
- Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
“Hopefully (Father’s Day in Sonoma) it will inspire me to go out and win and wish my dad a happy Father’s Day from Victory Lane. My parents sacrificed everything to get me and my brother our starts, and racing has been a big part of my family.”
- Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet
“(My best Father’s Day racing memory) would have to be the Michigan race. We won the race in 2004 on Father’s Day weekend and I told him on the radio, ‘There’s your Father’s Day present,’ and he said, ‘That’s all I wanted.’”
- Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation/U.S. Army Chevrolet
“(My father, Nelson) never pressured me to be the best racecar driver in the world, but he did want me to be the best racecar driver that I could be. He never compared me to anybody else. He expected that what I could do was what I could do. He never said that because this guy over here could do something, that I should be able to do it, too. He pushed me hard, but he was fair about it. That’s probably why you see so much fire in me today, because he always wanted me to be the best that I could be.”
- Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet
“My dad means a lot to me and he’s really done a lot for me over the years and really stuck behind me and what I’ve been trying to do in racing. He’s had a long career in racing himself, and he understands how difficult it can be and how fun it is when things go well. It’s so nice to having him at the racetrack, and I look forward to having him at the track on Father’s Day.”
– Casey Mears, No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet
There’s still time to enter to win a Talladega Pepsi Throwback prize pack. Enter now! Contest ends Friday, June 19th, 2009.
The NASCAR All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is tonight and I am prepared for the occasion because I bought Creamsicles. What does ice cream have to do with the All-Star race you ask? Absolutely nothing. I just like sweet stuff.
I should like AJ Allmendinger more than I do because he’s a local guy, well to me. Both he and Scott Speed grew up here in the Bay Area, and yet I’m not that intrigued by either of them. What’s wrong with me? I’m not saying that I dislike them; I just don’t feel “it” for them yet. I know that probably makes absolutely no sense but I don’t know another way to describe it.
I bring this up because it seems like everybody is voting for AJ to make it into the All-Star Race on the fan vote. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Until then, check out these photos from the All-Star week that was:
In the shadows of the Charlotte skyline, NASCAR fans gather for NASCAR Rev’d Up in Uptown Charlotte to kick off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week on Wednesday. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)
O.A.R. thanks for the fans for coming out Wednesday in Uptown Charlotte for NASCAR Rev’d Up, kicking off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)
Sprint welcomes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Casey Mears to the stage Wednesday in Uptown Charlotte at NASCAR Rev’d Up, kicking off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week. (Photo Credit: Chris Keane/Getty Images for Sprint)
Everfine/Atlantic recording group O.A.R. learn how to perform a pit stop from the defending champions of the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman, the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota team, on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip celebrate winning the Media Pit Crew Challenge after pushing their car across the finish line Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning Media Pit Crew Challenge team celebrates its victory on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (Top, left to right) SPEED’s Rick Allen, FOX’s Tony George, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio’s Claire B. Lang, SPEED’s Phil Parsons, Lugnut, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael Waltrip and Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo; (Bottom left to right) O.A.R. drummer Chris Culos and SPEED’s Ray Dunlap. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Left to right) The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Caterpillar team defeats the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Air Force team in the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman Final Thursday at Time Warner Cable in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Caterpillar team, including Jeff Burton’s wife, Kim (right), who drove the car, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Craftsman Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. at the Time Warner Cable Arena. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
A couple things you should know:
– The movie “Fast & Furious,” starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, opens in theaters on Friday, April 3rd, 2009. I have to mention this ’cause it’s just the thing to do when your blog is titled The Fast and The Fabulous. Visit the movie’s official website. The truth is that everytime I see the commercial for this film I giggle to myself ’cause I think of this blog and then I wonder if I could of interviewed Paul Walker even though there’s no other connection between me and the film other than the whole naming thing. Eh, whateva.
– The following photos were taken by Jameela Washington at the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway this past February. I’ve been meaning to post these for, like, ever but I’m a nerd. I met Jameela last year at the Pepsi 500 and the lady takes some great pictures:
Clint Bowyer at the Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, February 22, 2009 (photo credit: Jameela Washington)
Casey Mears carries his daughter Samantha at the Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, February 22, 2009 (photo credit: Jameela Washington)
Note the heels.
Jeff Gordon’s wife Ingrid Vandebosch carries their daughter Ella at the Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, February 22, 2009 (photo credit: Jameela Washington)
Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was unlike any other Sprint Cup race day I’d experienced before. Why? Because I got to attend the drivers meeting.
Shut up! I know! Yea, I was kind of psyched about the whole thing. Standing in the back of the room with various media and PR people it was definitely a moment where I said to myself “Am I really standing here right now? This is happening? Yes, it is.” At the same time though the whole reality of situation revealed itself and it turned out to be really boring.
It went by in a flash, and while I did see a lot of drivers it was pretty mundane. Maybe I’m getting used to seeing drivers walking around in regular clothes, and being in the same room as them? I know, I can’t believe I just wrote that either. I think there’s something to that though. The meeting itself consisted of a PowerPoint presentation that takes the drivers and their crew chiefs through the specified pit road speed for the day, the entrances and exits for pit road and various rules and regulations.
I found it funny that there were typos in said presentation and that if someone didn’t remember turn off their cell phone they were ushered out of the room as if they’d just tried to throw their shoe at the President.
The meeting ends with a prayer and then everyone is on their way. It was a cool thing to experience and I will no longer have to wonder what the atmosphere is like in those meetings.
After the drivers meeting I headed straight into the lunch room for uh, lunch, and sat at a table with Travis, a member of the Nellis Air Force base honor guard. Travis volunteered to attend the event and present the American flag before the start of the race. We chatted for a little bit before he had to run to get ready. Our conversation consisted of me explaining why NASCAR was indeed a sport. I found it hilarious that I had to defend NASCAR while at a NASCAR race. Classic.
Let’s skip ahead to after driver introductions and imagine me walking from the general area of the stage set-up on the start/finish line over to the race cars parked on the edge of the grass in front of the grandstands.
If you’re by yourself and have no affiliation to a race team it is incredibly nerve wracking to walk around and try to just “blend in” with the crowd, when everybody is just standing around looking at everybody else. I always feel like I stick out like a sore thumb, but I want to stand out there with everybody else ’cause a.) I can and b.) because I can. If you have that access of course you’re going to use it and I’m one of those people who like to extinguish all available options. It’s so cool to be there, but at the same time I feel like people are looking at me wondering why I’m standing next to their car in particular. I dunno. It’s the weirdest thing and it’s hard to explain.
So after what was the coolest fly over ever, I headed to pit road to get a spot to watch the race start. I ended up behind Kurt Busch’s pit box where I saw his wife Eva and her insanely large wedding ring. I want to give you a more realistic example of how large the diamond on her hand was, instead of just saying “It’s a rock alright!” So I’ll say that it looked to be the same size as a peanut M&M.
I watched the vast majority of the race from the media center and then with about 20-30 laps left to go I decided to leave. Yea, I just couldn’t stomach the idea of having to stay at the track until 8pm in order to have the possibility of missing traffic. I couldn’t take it. So I left, missing all traffic and went to Panda Express.
On my way back to my hotel, whilst on I-15, I could see the helicopters from the track making their way to McCarran Airport. It was fun to see them all in a row, it looked like a constellation.
Monday morning I was in the lobby of South Point Hotel & Casino waiting to check-out, and I noticed that Fox Sports NASCAR analyst Larry McReynolds was in front of me doing the same.
All in all it was a great weekend; I learned a lot and met some great people. It seems crazy to say that I’m going to highly enjoy watching this weekend’s race at Atlanta from the comfort of my own couch, but I really, really will. At this point in time my next in-person race will probably be Infineon in June. That gives me plenty of time to recover from two-straight weekends of NASCAR craziness.
This photo ranks right up there with my shot of Clint Bowyer at Chicagoland from last year.
Reed Sorenson and Casey Mears make their way to the stage for driver introductions before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Can you spot Sam Hornish Jr. and his baby daughter, Addison, in this photo?
Cars and drivers line up before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Members of the Flying Elvi skydiving team touched down before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo 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.”
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)
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)
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)
Yesterday I finally finished watching ESPN Ultimate NASCAR (Vol. 1): The Explosion – NASCAR’s Rise. This documentary takes you through the basic history of NASCAR and evolution over the years. I loved it for it’s cinematography, the imagery was absolutely beautiful, and ability to seamlessly merge the past with present.
The Explosion gives you the story up ’til now and covers the bigger stories like Jeff Gordon’s entrance into the sport and Dale Earnhardt’s death. I dare you to not choke up or get emotional when Darrell Waltrip talks about the days after that horrible accident. I couldn’t get through it without crying.
The interviews are all first rate, not to mention the variety of interview subjects. Amongst the usual lineup of drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin there were interesting conversations with Virginia Senator Jim Webb and bestselling author Tom Wolfe.
I highly recommend this DVD, and in the coming days I’ll be posting more reviews of the 4 other volumes in the ESPN Ultimate NASCAR series.
In other news…
– Did you know that Casey Mears has a second home in Scottsdale, Arizona? He bought it during the last off-season. Apparently the guy enjoys the dessert, Casey had this to say: “I’m a West Coast guy for sure. I was raised in Bakersfield, Calif., and spent a lot of down time with my family out on sand dunes. So, I naturally spend a lot of time in the Phoenix area taking my new sand car out on the dunes and just relaxing. The climate is perfect. I’m a flip-flops kind of guy, and this atmosphere just fits with me. I look forward to coming out here throughout the year. We’ve been out here all week since the Texas race. It’s like a second or third home for all of us.”
– Jamie McMurray became engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Christy Futrell, this week.
– Scott Speed is using his passion for fashion to help raise awareness and money for a good cause that is close to his heart. Speed was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2003:
“This is a really cool opportunity for me to work on a project that ties one of my biggest passions — fashion — into motorsports, while also raising money for a great cause,” Speed said. “We’re hoping that through this project we can help create awareness and raise money for conditions such as ulcerative colitis, a disease that affects me personally.”
Muffin Man T-shirts went on sale Monday at muzeclothing.com. Half of the $40 will go to the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation of America. They’ll also be on sale this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, where the Muffin Man’s creator will autograph shirts at an TBD location Sunday from 12:15-12:30 p.m. MT.
Why the Muffin Man?
“Just random, mate,” Speed said.
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)
Apparently the new “in” thing is to call for changes to the Chase format. Whatever. You can’t build in suspense, no matter what you do someone can always run away with it.
It was great that Carl Edwards won at Atlanta this weekend. What wasn’t great was that it didn’t really matter. I still have hope that something amazing will happen, but I can see the writing on the wall just like everybody else. It makes me want to puke.
But it didn’t keep me from wondering out loud to myself why Tony Eury Jr. can’t be more like Chad Knaus. Have you ever wondered what Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s career would be like if he had Chad as his crew chief? Hmmm??
So here’s my suggestion on how to make the Chase better for next year: All of the race teams, that aren’t the 48, need to get BETTER!
Driver David Stremme checks out times during Friday’s practice at Memphis. (Photo Credit: Dak Dillon for NASCAR)
Sam Hornish Jr. driver of the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge with his Daughter Addison before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 24, 2008 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marc Davis waits for his turn to qualify Saturday at Memphis Motorsports Park. Davis will start from the fourth position. (Photo Credit: Dak Dillon for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Apparently it was beanie day for a couple of the Hendrick drivers.
Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet, started 22nd and finished 12th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet, stands on the grid with wife Kim and daughter Paige, during the national anthem sung by “American Idol” alum and Atlanta resident Michael Johns Sunday before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I refuse to accept this Chase as it stands right now. No, no, no! This is lame people! Jimmie Johnson can’t walk away with the Championship. The other guys within mathematical distance of the lead need to step it up and make something happen. I was delighted to see Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton with positive and upbeat attitudes about the coming races. I hope they battle and fight and snatch the Sprint Cup out of Jimmie’s hands.
Think about it like this too, we’ve seen Jimmie’s wife Chandra all decked out for the Championship week in New York. That’s all fine and well and she’s got a great fashion sense but it’s about time another wife had the chance to show off. Kim Burton and Nicole Biffle totally deserve the opportunity.
Back to the racing: What good is having a teammate if you’re not going to use each other? I’m just saying, how hard is it to take a guy out for the sake of a co-worker?? Hmm??? Hehe. Do with that what you will. It’ll be so boring if nothing happens to Jimmie in the next 4 races.
In case you were wondering, the female comic book character on his helmet is saying “Did my boyfriend just punch me in the side of the head?”
Scott Speed improved from 32nd-quickest in the first practice session to 19-quickest in the final practice. Speed will be making his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut Sunday in the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne signs autographs for fans following the final practice for the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Was I the only one who thought that Chad was going to pull Jimmie’s head off??
Crew chief Chad Knaus congratulates his driver Jimmie Johnson on winning the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsvile Speedway on Sunday, October 19, 2008 (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 Pop-Tarts/CARQUEST Chevrolet, started 23rd and finished sixth during Sunday’s 500-mile event at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Here he confers with his crew chief Alan Gustafson (far right). (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Jeff Gordon (C), driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, stands on the grid with his wife Ingrid Vandebosch (R), and daughter Ella Sophia (L), prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 19, 2008 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Johnny Benson and his crew celebrate winning the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway. The win moved Benson into first place in the point standings ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The big newsy news of the day is that Casey Mears‘ first child was born yesterday. According to a post by Casey’s mom Carol on the Mears Gang message boards Samantha Mae Mears was born yesterday at at 12:42pm, weighing in at 8lbs. 7oz.
Congratulations to Casey and his girlfriend Trisha!
In other news…
– Do you ever wish that there was one place on the web were you could find all of the top headlines about racing? Well there’s no need to look any further than Alltop. It’s a site the pulls in website and blog feeds (including The Fast and the Fabulous!) from around the web in what they’re calling a “magazine rack” approach. It’s worth checking out.
– Here is a fun quote from Mike Skinner about Scott Speed who will make his Sprint Cup Series debut next year:
“He’s a really funny guy. He acts so goofy on the outside. But when he puts on that helmet and gets in that race car, he does a great job. He gives good feedback, and I think the kid’s got a bright future. Red Bull is really, really high on him. Heck, he’s already won in ARCA few times, he’s won in the truck series, he was second-fastest at the Charlotte test. I hope to be his friend for a long time and help him any way I can.”
– The Third Annual Jamie McMurray Foundation Golf Tournament will take place on Monday, October 13th in Mooresville, North Carolina. The Jamie McMurray Foundation raises money for austism awareness and research:
“It’s hard to believe the golf tournament is really next week,” said McMurray. “We’ve put a lot of work into this year’s tournament to make it nothing short of first class. There are a lot of people that made this event what it will be, but nothing would have been possible without the help of our sponsors. Crown Royal stepped up as the primary sponsor, along with Stanford Group, Coca-Cola, Aflac, Sprint, Motorsports Authentics and a ton of others. The list goes on and on, and it’s really those sponsors who have made this all possible.”
Joining McMurray for an afternoon of golf are his fellow Roush Fenway Racing teammates Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan, along with Denny Hamlin, Rusty Wallace, Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson and others.
“I really can’t thank those guys enough for taking time out of their schedules to come out and support our foundation and help raise money for such a great cause.”
The JMF was formed in May 2006, and since has provided more than $200,000 to Autism Speaks and other autistic foundations throughout the United States.
On to driver introductions. This year the Auto Club Speedway rolled out the red carpet, literally. Basically from the pit road wall to the back stage area there was a long red carpet roped off for the drivers to walk. It was a cool idea and it was nice because it allowed for drivers to be cheered or booed twice before they made it to their racecars.
After all of that I headed down pit road and saw Michelle Gilliland standing next to her husband’s car. I totally interrupted her conversation with someone else and I’m totally sorry about that, but I had to introduce myself and I was afraid I wouldn’t get another chance to do so that day. I hadn’t talked to her since I interviewed her over the phone back in March. She was just as nice and gracious as she was then. We chatted for a bit and then I headed back down pit road trying to figure out where I was going to stand for the national anthem.
It’s always annoying ’cause I don’t want to be in anyone’s way, or be super obvious. It’s one of those moments in life where you just want to be there but you don’t want to be noticed, I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. I dunno. I got as far as Tony Stewart’s car and spied Krissie Newman chatting with him. I also caught sight of Casey Mears being very sweet with his very pregnant girlfriend Trisha Grablander. I watched Dale Earnhardt Jr. give an interview and I ended up standing behind Jeff Gordon’s pit crew with some other reporters and PR people.
I watched the first couple of laps of the race from behind Denny Hamlin’s pits. It had a good view of the start/finish line. I also got to watch ESPN’s Dave Burns give a report and then listen to him as he talked to the kid that has to hold up the mini TV screen for him during the race. It helps the pit reporters so that they can see what’s going on on the track while they run around the pits. This kid that was with Burns seemed to be new ’cause he was telling him to just stick with him at all times. That must be an interesting job. You have to stay with the guy; he doesn’t say where he’s going you just have to follow.
I watched the race from the press box but when there were ten laps left I made sure I was back in the pits in position to get to victory lane. Apparently so were everybody else and their mother. The minute pit road was open everyone raced across to get into position for Jimmie Johnson’s arrival. I was slow and there was no way I was getting close to middle of it all but I did come away with some great shots of Jimmie entering victory lane. He actually drove in at the wrong angle and had to back up, turn and drive in again.
There was no point in standing behind all of those people, looking at nothing so I went back into the garage and headed to the conference room for the press conference with the top three finishers. I caught Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle but there wasn’t much to ask it seemed and not a lot to say about the race. It was a pretty boring race wasn’t it?
I headed back home to my sister’s place where she, my brother-in-law, my three nephews and their cousin had all stayed up to wish me a happy birthday. This had to be one of the most memorable birthday weekends I’ve ever had.
The No. 24 team listens to the national anthem before the start of the Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Jamie McMurray waits with his girlfriend, Christy Furtrell, for the start of the Pepsi 500 on pit road at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Jimmie Johnson enters victory lane after winning the Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Have you read Rolling Stone’s article about Tony Stewart? It’s in their latest issue (the September 4, 2008 one to be exact) and it’s sort of eye opening and sort of nauseating at the same time. Let’s just say that some of the stuff about Tony’s sex life made me roll my eyes more than once. I was going to post some of the quotes but it’s better if you read it all together within the context of the complete story.
In other news…
– On Saturday Richard Childress announced that Casey Mears was joining his organization, taking over the No. 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet from Clint Bowyer who would be taking on the new 4th RCR team, the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet. During the Bristol telecast it was said that Clint wouldn’t get to keep his crew or crew chief Gil Martin, and that they would be staying with the 07, which totally makes no sense to me at all. I hope that turns out not to be true because I don’t understand why you’d break up an established relationship that doesn’t suck. Oh and another thing, they better get this points thing sorted out because I think it’s really shady to take away the points that Clint and his team earned this year. There’s talk of Childress buying another team’s car to get the points that way. Whatever, just make it right! Actually that’s kind of messed up too. ugh.
Richard Childress (center) announces that Casey Mears (right) will join RCR in 2009 and drive the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet. Clint Bowyer (left) will move to a new fourth RCR team, the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
– I’m off to Los Angeles tomorrow so that I can be at the Auto Club Speedway all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Friday morning. Yay!
– There’s still time to enter to win one of five Kevin Harvick autographed “Americans for a Gunk-Free Nation” hats! The contest ends on September 30th, 2008. Enter today!
I don’t own a NASCAR race team so I don’t know exactly how they evaluate their race team’s performance, and how much weight they put on the driver versus everyone else in the team. But I think it’s lame that Hall of Fame Racing released J.J. Yeley in favor of Brad Coleman. I have nothing against Brad Coleman of course. I just think it’s icky to ditch a guy in the middle of the season. Did he really get a fair shot? I’ll never know of course. I feel the same way about Casey Mears leaving Hendrick. I liked him there and I like him as a driver, I think he’s got more wins in him.
You should know that I have a thing about people changing teams in sports in general. It takes me a while to get used to change and so for example when Barry Zito was traded to the San Francisco Giants (one of my least favorite teams) from the Oakland A’s (my favorite baseball team) it took me awhile to get over it. Okay, I’m still not totally over it but I’m better about it now than when he left.
I also feel for drivers who don’t have a ride set up, people that are left hanging in the balance. Scott Riggs was on NASCAR Now yesterday talking about what his plans for the future are, or at least what he hopes they are. He wants to be with a race team that he can grow with and he thought he had that at Haas CNC but with the addition of Tony Stewart’s ownership he has no idea if he’s still their driver. It just seems like such a tough spot to be in and I hate it for him. I’m not naive, I know that nothing is guaranteed in this world but security means a lot to me and so when I see someone else in a not-so-secure position I don’t like it. I hope that J.J., Casey and Scott all land somewhere that’s great for them and allows them to show their stuff and win.
In other news…
– Speaking of Tony Stewart, for the Michigan Nationwide Series race next week his No. 20 Old Spice Toyota will be sporting a special paint scheme in support of the Give Kids The World organization that sends children with life-threatening diseases (and their families) on week-long, completely free vacations. The paint scheme was designed by a former GKTW Wish kid 14-year-old Emily Marsala.
In celebration of this exciting new partnership, GKTW invites you to host a “View-A-Thon” in support of the Give Kids The World No. 20 car. Our goal is to raise $25,000 in honor of this thrilling race – $100 for every mile of the August 16th CARFAX 250 NASCAR Nationwide Race.
You can help us by making a donation at www.firstgiving.com/GKTWNascar and by encouraging your friends and family to also donate and then cheer on the car later this summer. Your assistance will help GKTW continue to serve special children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Donating through this site is simple, fast, and totally secure. To learn more about GKTW, the upcoming race and more, log on to www.gktw.org.
Tony Stewart and Give Kids The World “Design Tony’s Old Spice car” contest winner Emily Marsala pose next to the No. 20 Old Spice Toyota (photo credit: Give Kids The World)
I had fun being on “On Pit Row” yesterday. More fun than I anticipated and I really don’t know what I was worried about my voice. I think I sounded good. I know bringing up Michael Waltrip’s possible divorce might not have been in good taste, but I can’t help the fact that I want to know. And it is a big story, considering the fact that the man proposed to her in victory lane, everybody knows them and she’s listed as the owner of some of his cars. So yea I’m curious.
It’s true too that I could care less which team this guy or that guy is going to in a general sense. I feel like it’s all really important when things are said and done, what’s the point of speculating on something that makes no difference to me? There are certain topics that are interesting like Tony Stewart co-owning Haas CNC or just the idea that Teresa Earnhardt would take on partners. Those are definitely conversation starters. But where Ryan Newman is going isn’t something I think about.
The “On Pit Row” experience got me thinking though and I’ve got an idea I want to try out. Once I figure out how to do it I’ll let you know what it is. How’s that for being vague?
In other news…
– I’m sad, deeply sad that I’m not going to Indy this week and not for the reasons that you might think. The Goo Goo Dolls are performing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday in the infield on Turn 10 of the road course. I looove them. Johnny Rzeznik. *sigh*
– If you’re a lucky person and you’re going to the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard or you just happen to live in the area you can meet Kurt Busch at Scotty’s Brewhouse (located at 3905 East 96th Street in Indianapolis, IN) from 6pm to 7pm on Friday. He’ll be serving Miller Lites of course.
– During the week off, Ryan Newman went to his hometown of South Bend, Indiana where they named a road in his honor. To visit Newman Way you must travel the half-mile stretch of highway near the South Bend Regional Airport.
– Casey Mears will participate in a Q&A session with other Chevrolet drivers during Chevrolet’s annual Fan Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’ll also sign autographs and drive Chevrolet winners around the track in the official Chevy pace car.
– Do you want to question Jimmie Johnson about his season or about his hair (seriously, what’s going on there?)?? Well here’s your chance:
Starting today (Monday, July 21), The Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Richmond International Raceway Cares are auctioning off the opportunity to pose questions to Johnson on The Final Round with McElroy on Sports Radio 910 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. Proceeds from the auction will benefit both charitable foundations and the winning donation is tax deductible.
For those who would like to bid on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, please visit www.sportsradio910.com. The winner will be awarded with a seat next to Johnson, driver of the #48 Chevrolet, where he or she will be able to ask questions. The winner also receives two tickets to the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 6. The auction closes on Monday, July 28, at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Trevor Hoffman, the all-time saves leader in Major League Baseball, was a guest of Mike Wallace at Saturday night’s race at Gateway International Raceway. Hoffman (far left) and his San Diego Padres teammates were in town for a series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Joining Hoffman on Wallace’s pit box were Chase Headley, Kevin Jarvis and Trevor’s son Quinn. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)
Landon Cassill (L), a native of Cedar Rapids, Ia., and Carl Edwards, who is from Columbia, Mo., lead fans on a charity track walk Saturday at Gateway. Proceeds from the event went to the American Red Cross and its outreach to Midwest flood victims. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)
Some of my thoughts on the latest NASCAR happenings and whatnot:
– Mark Martin is going over to Hendrick Motorsports next year to take over Casey Mears’ old ride in the No. 5. Now, I like Mark Martin, I really do and I was sad when he wasn’t able to edge out Kevin Harvick for that Daytona 500 win last year. I can’t help but wonder when he’s really going to retire. I mean he was supposed to be gone by now, off spending more time with his family and specifically with his son Matt and his racing aspirations. Now he’s locked in for two more years, hoping to get that Championship that’s eluded him. At a certain point you have to hang it up and live with what you’ve made.
— NFL star Randy Moss bought half of a NASCAR truck team. I could give a flying fig about this piece of news. For one, he’s only been to one NASCAR race in his entire life and it was this weekend at Daytona. So a man who has never been to a race buys a team? I don’t get it. I know that you can love the sport without attending a race in person but it doesn’t feel authentic enough to me, especially when you’re going to invest your hard earned money into it. I never really liked him as a football player, so that’s another reason this news is irrelevant to me. However, NASCAR is a tough business and I hope, if he’s really serious about it, that he’ll be successful.
– What is up with the media asking Kyle Busch every week how he feels about getting booed? Do we really expect his answer to change? They’ve also been asking all of the other drivers how they feel about it and really once they’ve answered that question the first time I really don’t need any follow-up. Even if you’re the most self-confident person in the world it would suck to get booed. It just would. That being said it’s not going to change the way you live your life or how much you want to win.
– The thing that frosts my cookies the most about the coverage of these races is when a commentator will say something like “but he’s so talented, people will see that” in defense of Kyle and as a reason for people to stop booing him. The problem with that is that people don’t boo people based on talent. They boo or cheer for them based on personality. Have you seen a commercial with Kyle in it lately? Exactly. Although I’m sure if he wins the Championship he’ll have them, but his likeability factor is loooooow.
– Just heard Boris Said say on today’s episode of NASCAR Now that he thinks Kyle Busch could break Jeff Gordon’s record of winning 13 races in one season, after all he’s already won 6 this year. Boris, what are you doing??? Don’t put that out there! Eww.
– I often wonder if Jeff Gordon gets tired of answering questions about how he feels about Dale Earnhardt Jr. I mean, after all Jeff has his own issues to worry about right now. To his credit though, Jeff answers those questions without exasperation or irritation. He definitely knows how to handle himself in front of the media. He could probably teach a class on it.
This is just cool.
The helmet Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, wore during Saturday’s race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He started in third place and finished eighth. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Whoa. So the rumors are true. Casey Mears is leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of this season. As per usual with these types of things there are no hard feelings from Casey or team owner Rick Hendrick. Mhmm.
“We’ve put a ton of emphasis on the No. 5 program,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s been a total team effort, and Casey has worked as hard as anyone to help us improve. We’ve tested more than we ever have, but the results just haven’t come.
“None of us, Casey included, have been satisfied with the situation this season. But he’s confident there are other options out there for him in 2009, and we feel like Hendrick Motorsports will have some opportunities, too.”
Mears will finish the 2008 Sprint Cup campaign in Hendrick’s No. 5 Chevrolets.
“I know the effort has been there, but we haven’t had the finishes to show for it,” Mears said. “I’ve never tested this much or put more energy into racing. But for whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to make it click. It’s certainly not for lack of dedication on anyone’s part.
“I’ll talk to people about opportunities and get my 2009 plans wrapped up soon, but I’m also focused on the next 20 races and finishing 2008 on a positive note. We ran well the second half last year, and I know we can do it again. I want to close this season the right way.”
I hate to see this because I like Casey and I liked him with Hendrick but I guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I would really love to know the real, real reasons for this move and change. I’m sure it was based on performance but Hendrick is known for being this powerhouse race team, so you have to think if you can’t make it happen there what else can you do?
In other news…
– Greg Biffle is staying with Roush Fenway Racing. He has signed a three-year extension with the company, extending the relationship that began in 1998.
“I’m extremely happy and relieved to have this contract complete,” said Biffle. “I have a team that can contend for the championship this season and for future seasons as well. 3M has been an incredible partner for several years now and having them on board made the decision even easier. All the elements are in place: the resources of Ford and Roush Fenway, the excellent team, the outstanding cars and having a great primary sponsor like 3M for the next few years.”
– On Sunday’s episode of Outside the Lines on ESPN the show will take a look at how our crap economy is affecting NASCAR and the teams that run in its series. We all know that it takes a lot of money to contend for a race, let alone a Championship, but these days just fielding a team at all requires serious positive cash flow.
“We are committed to getting through this year, but I got to be able to see into ’09 something a little more positive than I see today. I think we’ll make it, but the economy and the struggles the other teams are seeing are the same as ours. It is a tough, tough world out there right now in NASCAR.” – Doug Yates, owner of Yates Racing
Outside the Lines will air on Sunday, June 29th on ESPN at 9:30 a.m. ET; and on ESPNEWS at noon. Check your local listings.
There’s still time to enter the contest to win a copy of the NASCAR DVD set “Full Throttle Adrenaline.” Deadline to enter is Friday, July 4, 2008. The contest is over!
– Are you new here? Yes? No? Either way you should fill out “The Fast and the Fabulous” reader survey, I wanna know what you think of me and the blog. Tell me the truth, I can take it.
– I fiddled around with the layout of the site a bit. I’ve included a new feature in the top right-hand side that shows off some of my favorite posts that I think you should read if you haven’t already.
– Have you ever left a comment here and wondered what that little blue box next to your name was? Well it’s a Gravatar. You can sign up for one at Gravatar.com and the next time you leave a comment the photo/image you registered will be displayed. The great thing is you sign up for this thing once and if you login or leave a comment on any site that uses Gravatars your image shows up every time.
As the NASCAR race weekend in Sonoma draws closer I’m getting more and more excited. It helps that on Tuesday Cup drivers David Ragan, Travis Kvapil, J.J. Yeley and Sam Hornish Jr. (along with Nationwide Series driver Marcos Ambrose) will be rolling into town to test at Infineon. The testing session (from 8:30am to 4:30pm) is open to the public, free of charge and yeah, I’m so there. Did I even need to say that?
NASCAR has been coming to the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty years now and some of the drivers expressed their thoughts on the road course:
“They have kept up with the times, as well as brought a tremendous amount of diversity to the sport. One of the things that Sonoma has done is bring a different culture, a different type of race fan, which I think is really cool. The racetrack is so unique. It’s very different, the racetrack itself is different. The grounds are different. The location is incredible.”
–Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet
“The track is definitely sentimental to me in terms of spring-boarding my career. Some of the big owners saw me win that (Southwest Series) race, and I was on ESPN that day, and in 1999 they had just changed the track configuration to use the Chute, so a lot of the big teams were watching that day. It was very exciting. We had a great Southwest Series team and ran for the championship that year and Infineon Raceway really put us on the map.”
–Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge
“What’s so special about Infineon Raceway is that it’s so difficult. I grew up racing on a three-eighth mile dirt track in Missouri. To come to a twisting, turning, uphill, downhill road course where you’re shifting gears in a 3,400-pound stock car, against guys like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and Boris Said is a very, very tough thing. To be able to come here and win a race, I think for any driver, and I know for me would be one of the most satisfying wins in all of NASCAR.”
– Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford
“I was born in Vallejo, right down the road from Sonoma. So to be able to come out and see my family and friends, who I don’t get to see very often, and then we were able to win fairly early in my career out there, which is a lot of fun winning on the road course. And we’ve had a lot of wins since then. To go the last couple of years and have some exciting news and excitement in my personal life, which has all coincided with that race, has been very exciting. And now it gives us something to celebrate every time we come out there. This year we’ll be celebrating Ella’s first birthday when we come out there, so that will be fun.”
– Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
“Infineon Raceway is one race on the schedule that I absolutely love and look forward to coming and running. I mean, I like running the road courses, and we’ve had success out there. We ran really, really well. The people at the racetrack are always great. It’s an awesome crowd that’s very energetic and loves to see the Cup Series run there and it’s a track that I really have a lot of fun driving on so I always look forward to going there.”
– Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota
In other news…
– Did ya hear the news about Casey Mears?? He’s going to be dad! His girlfriend is pregnant with his first child. This tidbit of information was dropped in an article from the AP but Answer This has a little bit more detail. Congrats Casey!
— Clint Bowyer spoke with the media here in the Bay Area today in anticipation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. When asked if, in this sport, it was important for fans to have someone to dislike Clint had this to say:
“It’s the same way with racing in general or any kind of sport. Everybody loves the winner until they win too much, and then they don’t like them anymore. The guys who have been very successful have seen both sides. Jeff Gordon, you either love him or hate him, but bottom line you respect him. There’s a big difference between a guy like Jeff Gordon and a guy like Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch is winning races and he’s on top, but there’s not that love-hate relationship. I think it has nothing to do with his performance on the track. People don’t respect him because of the things he does when he gets out of the race car.”
And then when asked if it’s easy for fans to find someone to boo Clint said this:
“I think it’s pretty easy. That’s what makes this sport what it is — the personalities. That’s what separates this sport from other sports is that you’re able to get so much closer to these personalities. There are a lot fewer people in this sport, there are only 43, whereas football and baseball there are hundreds. You see a lot more of the personalities of the drivers in this sport. I think it’s a good thing about our sport that it’s so fan friendly and they can get that close to the action.”
And I believe that he’s totally right on both points.
A few weeks ago I was given a copy of a new NASCAR DVD set entitled “Full Throttle Adrenaline Volumes 1 & 2″ to check out. I have to say that it’s a really cool and interesting set.
The first disc is hosted by Fox Sports pit road reporter Steve Byrnes who takes you through a bunch of classic race finishes and crashes. There were moments that I hadn’t seen before like the time when Michael Waltrip had a truly gnarly crash into the side of a wall that basically peeled his car a part like a banana. It also shows the moment when Michael proposed to his wife Buffy in victory lane. There’s commentary from drivers like Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch recounting their super close finish at Darlington back in 2003.
The second disc is my favorite. It features interviews with various crew chiefs, owners and drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears, Ryan Newman and Boris Said. They talk a little bit about their lives away from the track. You get to see Ryan’s classic car collection and Boris’ adorable blond & curly haired son. I think seeing a driver out of their element is a great way to get perspective on what they’re like as just regular dudes.
The discs also have extras like a trip to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Charlotte and an in depth look at Elliott Sadler’s crazy crash at Talladega in 2003.
I was given three extra copies of this awesome DVD set to giveaway.
Enter the contest today! The contest ends on July 4, 2008.
Ok, so here is the bad news. I’m not going to Charlotte this week for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. There are a few things that contributed to me calling off the trip but the biggest thing is that I’m suddenly moving next week and I couldn’t justify using the money on the trip when I could really use it for the move.
So it sucks that I won’t get to meet people (Penni!) and visit the race shops but I know I’ll have another opportunity to visit the Charlotte area in the future.
But the good news is that I’m moving into my own place again (awesome!) and that I got word that I was approved for credentials to the races at Infineon in June. I’m super-duper relieved that I will be able to go the Toyota/Save Mart 350. It’s going to be fun. Oh and now this whole thing allows me to watch both the Coca-Cola 600 and the Indy 500.
In other news…
– I’m not writing for Examiner.com anymore. There’s no big story except that it just wasn’t the right thing for me. The thing that I love the most about my blog is that it’s mine and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. If you check this site regularly you know that I don’t have a set schedule and I don’t write everyday. I would love to be able to have something relevant to say everyday but I don’t. Plus I love writing about my experiences at the races or watching the races on TV and not needing to be an expert. I don’t know everything there is to know about NASCAR and I’m not trying to act like I do. I just write about the things that occur to me and that’s what I’m going to keep on doing. So there. Just kidding. I have absolutely no ill will towards the folks at the Examiner. I appreciate being given the opportunity. I think the new design they have is great.
– I’ll be doing another DVD giveaway soon and by soon I mean hopefully this week. I watched the DVD last week and I need sit down and remember all the great things I liked about it. This time I’ll have three copies to give away (unless they tell me I have to give two of ‘em back).
– I finally got to watch the full episode of Cribs that featured Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the western town he built on his property, Whisky River. They’ve been playing it on CMT along with the old segments Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray filmed a long time ago (Casey was still with Gnassi Racing). I loved seeing inside Dale’s house and of course Whisky River. If I was a kid and I was related to him I’d want to hang out at his place like all the time. When I was a kid I loved to make believe and I don’t think it would get any better than having a place like that with an actual working jail you could lock your friends in and then go faux marry someone at the chapel. That’d be so freaking fun.
– The All-Star Race happened and I missed it. Marc from Full Throttle was awesome to give me a great tip on how to watch the race online but I had to miss out on that too ’cause I went out to meet a guy. Plus for some reason I had it in my head that the race was on Sunday and not Saturday. At any rate it’s awesome that Kasey Kahne got the win. Hopefully it’ll light a fire under his team to win a points race.
– I’m stoked that the Red Bull guys had a good weekend. First by winning the Pit Crew Challenge and then by getting A.J. Allmendinger into the All-Star race. It’s all awesome stuff.
The No. 83 Red Bull Toyota pit crew of Brian Vickers pushes their car towards the finish line during the Craftsman 40-Yard Push. The crew won the championship, setting a new speed record along the way. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(L-R): Individual winners Caleb Hurd, gas man for the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, Jamie Frady, catch can man for the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, Dave Smith, rear tire changer for the No. 17 DeWalt Ford, Jason Binger, rear tire carrier for the No. 17 DeWalt Ford, Nick O’Dell, front tire changer for the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, Brad Donaghy, front tire carrier for the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota and Eric Wilson, jackman for the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge pose in Victory Lane. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates winning the Sprint Showdown. Allmendinger’s win transferred him into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I love this photo, the expression on Kasey’s face is priceless.
Kasey Kahne celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Kahne was voted into the race by a Fan Vote and raced his way to victory from the back of the field. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I still don’t have the SPEED channel and therefore won’t be able to watch the NASCAR All-Star event. Yes, I know it’s shameful and sad but for as many reasons that I have to justify the cost of having the channel I really don’t want to pay all that extra dough to move up to the channel plan I would need just to get one extra channel. I say bring on a la carte pricing!
Anyway, as soon as I move I’ll be sure to get DirecTV and I can avoid using those price gougers at Comcast.
So, yeah no All-Star festivities for me this weekend but I did vote for the drivers I want to see in the All-Star race on Sunday night. The All-Star Fan Vote has been going on since April and you have until this Saturday at 7pm to submit your vote. You can do it online by going to NASCAR.com or by texting the word “NASCAR” to 7777 on your Sprint phone. I highly recommend voting for Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland, Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip or J.J. Yeley. Since these guys are amongst the drivers that don’t have a spot locked in, they’ll have to either race their way in from the Sprint Showdown or be voted in by the Fan Vote.
In other All-Star news…
– Dale Jarrett will be at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the last All-Star race of his career. They’re making the occasion extra special by introducing Dale last during driver introductions and instead of sitting in the back of a Toyota Tundra, like the other drivers, to wave to the fans around the track he’ll be driving (finally!) the UPS Big Brown Truck. Sounds like it’ll be a really cool send off.
– The first ever NASCAR Day telethon is set for tomorrow at the Sam Bass Gallery in Concord, North Carolina. Various Sprint Cup drivers including Casey Mears and Brian Vickers will be on hand to field calls for donations. Call 1-888-MAY16TH (1-888-629-1684). SIRIUS Satellite Radio will be broadcasting from the telethon all day starting at 7 a.m. and SPEED will be cutting in and out throughout the day as well.
– On Sunday the rear panel for Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Office Depot Ford will carry a super cool message from the winner of the Harlequin & Office Depot “Say Yes to a Winning Proposal” contest. I’m soooo excited to find out who the lucky couple is and I hope someone produces some kick butt reaction photos of the soon-to-be bride. They’re unveiling the winning proposal tomorrow, so I’ll see what I can see, but be on the lookout for Carl’s car on Saturday.
– Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle spent some quality time together this week while helping to build a KaBOOM! playground (in one day!) for Elon Homes for Children in Charlotte. Think they talked about swapping rides next year??
Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the #20 Home Depot Racing car & two-time Series Champion and Greg Biffle, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the #16 3M Racing car help build a build a racing-themed playground in just one day at Elon Homes for Children (Photo Credit: CIA for KaBOOM)
It was a super sweet moment seeing the group of NASCAR moms standing the track telling their son’s to start their engines.
With that said though it sucks that Kurt and Kyle Busch’s mom had to take on the fans booing her son. It’s one thing to boo Kyle but not when his mom is being honored for Mother’s Day. That’s really lame.
Kurt (left) and Kyle (right) help their mother Gaye (center) off of the stage before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian and Ramona Vickers leave the stage before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman and his mother Diane take part in driver introductions before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Everytime I see Kasey’s mom, Tammy, I’m always in awe of the fact that she looks like she could be his sister and I don’t mean that in an Eddie Haskell kind of way either. She looks great.
Tammy Kahne and her son Kasey wave to the Darlington Raceway crowd before the Dodge Challenger 500 (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Elliott Sadler follows his mother Bell off of the stage before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Reed and mother Becky Sorenson salute the crowd before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart and his mother, Pam Boas, wave to the Darlington Raceway crowd during driver introductions for the Dodge Challenger 500 (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Jr’s mom, Brenda, wins for best outfit, I would totally go out and buy this entire ensemble. And I’m not just saying that ’cause she’s the mother of my favorite driver. Seriously, it’s a great look.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. follows his mother, Brenda Jackson, off of the stage before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carol Mears follows her son Casey off of the stage before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carol Bickford and her son, Jeff Gordon, waves at the crowd at Darlington Raceway, where Gordon has won seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winner of the Wave the Green Flag contest, Betty Easley, received an all-expense-paid travel package to the Dodge Challenger 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway over Mother’s Day weekend (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
And so here are a lot of the things I’ve been meaning to post this week.
– Jeff Gordon escorted his wife, Ingrid Vandebosch to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala on Monday night. The theme of the night was “Superheroes” and I think Ingrid was trying to channel Zorro with her flamenco inspired dress. It was good enough to make the “good” part of Jezebel’s “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” list for the night.
– In case you hadn’t heard this Sunday is Mother’s Day and as is customary some of the NASCAR drivers’ moms will be in attendance at the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday. The mothers will be introduced with their sons during driver introductions and will also give the guys the go ahead to start their engines.
Casey Mears’ mom, Carol, will be there this weekend and he had this to say about her: “My mom is a great lady. She has been there for me and my racing career since the beginning. She still does a lot for me and my company, Casey Mears Inc. She’s just always there and is honestly one of the best people I know.
“It’s cool what Darlington does for all of the mothers on Mother’s Day weekend. I know that it gives my mom a good perspective of what I do each weekend with walking across the stage and waving to the fans — what I see and hear every race day. I know that every year she wears heels and every year she is so nervous and worried that she’s going to fall. She doesn’t really like the steps much.”
– Brian Vickers’ mom Ramona will also be at Darlington tomorrow and she had this to say about Brian:
“All you want is for your child to be successful, and every mother wants their child to be happy,” Ramona Vickers said. “I’m so proud of Brian — his actions, what he says, how he drives. I supported him in whatever he chose to do, and he chose NASCAR.”
There have been times where a mother’s instinct kicks in.
“He’s made us nervous a little bit,” she said, “but as you progress in your career, there’s a little more protection as far as safety. I’m more worried about who’s around him (in traffic), but I think he’s sometimes safer in the race car as he is out on the streets. I feel confident that the team is on its game with safety.”
– Kurt Busch is set it unveil the new Kurt Busch Superdome at the Victory Junction Gang Camp on Tuesday, May 20th at 2 p.m.:
The project was announced in May 2006, with Kurt announcing the donation of the initial $1 million in support of the project. The facility will provide opportunities for indoor sports in a climate-controlled environment. “It’ll be like seeing a dream come true to finally get the doors open and see all the kids enjoying themselves,” said Kurt. “It’s been a labor of love for all of the people involved and I’m so proud and grateful to have the opportunity to make a contribution in this manner to the Petty camp.” Officials are still ironing out all the final details. Several entertainment and sports figures are expected to attend including members of the Carolina Panthers and Ryan Newman, 2008 Daytona 500 Champion, Kurt’s teammate at Penske Racing.
– And since we’re on the subject of Penske Racing, wanna meet Ryan Newman? He will be at the Alltel Store in Concord, North Carolina (6140 Bayfield Parkway) from 6-8 p.m. on May 14th, 2008. There will be a chance to get autographs from Ryan and win prizes too!
Newman will be part of a webcast from the store at 7:30 p.m. ET, which will be broadcast on www.alltelracing.com. Fans can submit questions for Newman through the Alltel Racing web site.
Ok… So I really only have a bunch of quick hits to share with you today, so here it goes:
– Best Week Ever (the super funny TV show from VH1 that you should never miss!) has a blog and this week they posted a hilarious photo combination that ends with Jeff Gordon. Just check it out. SIMPLE CELEBRITY MATH: How To Build A Legendary Driver
– Kurt Busch talks about his NCAA Basketball predictions, and I totally have to agree with him on Davidson’s loss to Kansas. I wish they could have gone all the way: “NASCAR’s PR guys asked us for our predictions just before March Madness began and I told them then that I thought I’d have to go with North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and Memphis making up the Final Four,” Kurt said on Monday night. “I’m proud that I predicted that and it came true, but I really hated to see Davidson lose to Kansas, or to anybody for that matter. That was such a great story and the Curry kid helped really put them on the map. I’m a big Pac-10 fan because of growing up in Vegas and going to Tucson (University of Arizona) for a year. I said a couple of weeks ago that I thought I’d be pulling for my Pac-10 UCLA Bruins, but that Memphis would win it all and I’m sticking by that prediction. North Carolina has looked like they are unbeatable so far in the tournament. My thinking is that they sooner or later have to have one off game. I think it’ll be when they meet Memphis in the finals and Memphis will take advantage of the situation.”
– On Friday (This Friday the 4th of April) Casey Mears will be at the Chevy Thunder at Stockyards Station in Fort Worth, Texas, along with fellow drivers, Aric Almirola, Regan Smith, Jeremy Mayfield and Kevin Harvick. They’ll be signing autographs and participating in a question & answer session. For more details go to: http://chevythunderdays.com/index2.php
– On Saturday you can have Ryan Newman autograph a copy of his book “Pit Road Pets” for you. He’ll be at the Petfinder.com tent in the Blue Ox Camp Ground at Texas Motor Speedway at 2:30pm (local Texas time).
– More JR Nation apparel is going on sale at Sports Authority stores in Texas:
After making its debut in Daytona at the start of the NASCAR season, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s adidas JR Nation Gear has invaded the Lone Star state! Consumers can pick up the latest adidas Dale Jr. gear including men’s and women’s t-shirts, jackets, hats and jerseys, at any of the six Sports Authority locations in the Fort Worth area (addresses below). In addition, fans can check out Dale Jr.’s #88 AMP show car, which will be visiting Sports Authority stores across Dallas and Fort Worth starting April 1 and culminating on April 5 (dates, times and locations below).
Locations, dates and times of Dale Jr.’s #88 AMP show car appearances include:
April 2, 4-7pm
Cedar Hills Store
727 North Highway 67
Cedar Hill, TX 75104-2142
April 3, 4-7pm
3524 Airport Freeway West
Irving, TX 75062
April 4, 4-7pm
1800 South Loop 288, Ste 240
Denton, TX 76205
April 4, 10am-1pm
2930 Preston Road, Ste 200B
Frisco, TX 75034
April 5, 10am–1 pm
7612 Denton Highway, Ste 404
Watauga, TX 76148
I have an idea for a great post and of course all I need to do is write it out but I’m not prepared for it right now. So for today I have some photos I missed and a new JR Nation announcement.
Back in February Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, spent some time out at the sand dunes in Southern California. When asked about his west coast hobbies Casey said “I love the sand dunes. I know I talk about it all the time, but really that’s where I want to be during any time off that we have. I got a new sand car last winter, and I’ve really been working on that. We take a motorcoach out there and just ride all day. There’s no one telling you where to go, or to stop here, or go here, or slow down, or whatever. There’s no road signs, no street lights. You really can do whatever you want. I guess I kind of recharge out there.”
Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet, spent Feb. 28 driving around California’s Dumont Dunes. Other than racing, this is it,” Mears said. “The sand dunes are such a huge part of my life.” (Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports).
In other news…
– Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans have a new opportunity to show their love for the man at the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 27th:
As the season continues to heat up for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., his fans — known as JR Nation — now have something else to get excited about. For the first time ever, members of the JR Nation Crew, Dale Jr’s official fan club, will be able to tailgate, watch and cheer together when Earnhardt, Jr. competes in the #88 AMP/National Guard Hendrick Motorsports Chevy at Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron’s 499 on April 27th.
VIP race packages exclusively available to JR Nation Crew members include reserved parking in the JR Nation VIP tailgating area, a ticket for the Aaron’s 499 in the JR Nation seating section, a four pack of collectable AMP Energy drinks, a Talladega Superspeedway/AMP Energy lanyard and a $45 Visa gift card.
The JR Nation VIP tailgating area will feature giveaways, live music and a place for fans to come together and socialize. During the race JR Nation will have a great view of the action from the exclusive JR Nation seating section in turn four of the Gadsden Tower at Talladega.
“I’m thrilled to provide my fans with this unique experience,” said Dale Jr. from his home base in Mooresville, NC, “I always look forward to Talladega, and now I’ll be looking for my JR Nation Crew to cheer me on from their dedicated section in the stands!”
Ticket packages for Talladega are on sale now though April 4th. Quantities are limited and packages are exclusively available to members of the JR Nation Crew.
For $34.88 annually, members of the JR Nation Crew get full-access to JR Nation online including access to exclusive videos, photos, contests, members-only message boards and chats; 10% off merchandise at ShopJRNation.com, and an annual JR Nation Crew Kit. The 2008 Crew kit includes a package full of goods to identify the serious Dale Jr. fan – a welcome letter, vinyl banner, license plate frame, decal, zipper pull, two collapsible can coolers, soft-sided cooler and membership card all emblazoned with “JR Nation Crew.”
Visit www.jrnation.com for more information.
– Little Ella Gordon is adorable!
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, spends time with his daughter, Ella, before the start of the race in California. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports).
I got back from Las Vegas yesterday and I’m still tired. I’m going to break up my recap of Sunday into separate posts, along with photos ‘cause there’s kind of a lot to talk about.
To start, I gotta talk about the Neon Garage.
The Neon Garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a playground for adults. At least that’s what it looks like to me. There’s a big bar, food and a concert stage right smack dab in the middle of the garage. The thing I loved about it the most is how much of the team garages you can actually see. You could even go one step further and say that you really don’t even need to get a garage pass. There are windows into each of the team’s stalls, from the top and the bottom so that fans can see in from almost every angle. The teams have no privacy when they’re working on their cars. If someone’s butt crack is showing or they’re picking their nose everybody is going to see it.
Some other pluses for the fans are the fact that the place is super clean and just incredibly open. Oh and about that concert stage. I saw the impersonators for Elvis and Stevie Wonder. And really it’s not a trip to Vegas without a performance from Elvis right? In addition to Stevie and Elvis there was a complete line-up of celebrity impersonators and then a bunch of cover bands — no race weekend is complete without a cover of “Life is a Highway.”
Ok. So here’s the deal. I went down to La La Land (aka Los Angeles) Saturday morning. I would have left earlier like on Thursday but I had long standing plans with friends that I wasn’t willing to break. Luckily because of the rain I really hadn’t missed anything by the time I arrived at the Auto Club Speedway on Sunday morning. Qualifying had been cancelled and practice was minimal. So the story was the rain. When would it stop? Would it stop? When would they start the race? Could they get both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races done the same day?
I have to say that watching a rain delay on TV is a lot less painful than it is to witness first hand. When you’re at home you get to watch all of the pit reporters go around interviewing the drivers. When you’re there in person it’s a totally different story. Watching those jet engine dryers go around and around the track was as boring as you’d expect watching dryers go around a track would be. I went through the garage a couple times but because of the rain and the wind and the cold it wasn’t very much fun. Trying to hold on to my umbrella and keep my camera dry was kind of annoying.
Anyway, besides all of that I had a good time at the track for the short time I was there. I left at around 4 to get back to my sister’s house to watch the Oscars with the family. Although if I had known the Oscars were going to be that lame I wouldn’t have left. When I was driving out of the track I heard about the Casey Mears crash, and watched on the big Sprint Vision screen as Casey was pulled out of his mashed up car.
I’m getting ahead of myself. When it was still raining earlier in the day, before the jet dryers were out on the track, I walked down pit road. Some of the crew for David Gilliland’s team were in their pit area cleaning nuts. I stopped and talked to them and it was really cool. I’ll post more about that later.
At driver introductions I got a close-up look at the Auto Club Speedway Umbrella Girls, basically a bunch of models that carry umbrellas. Anyway, I felt bad for them because they had to wear tiny little shorts with no leggings or stockings or anything. You could see the goose bumps on their legs. Crazy. Speaking of crazy, ok, ok, not really crazy, just weird, ZZ Top performed before introductions out on the grass in front of the start/finish line. When they were done they were scuttled off stage like they were the President surrounded by cops and security.
Anyway, back to the drivers. There was a girl and some dude, he might have been her boyfriend but couldn’t tell for sure, standing next to me who was seriously freaking out when Dale Earnhardt Jr. came into view. He was hard to spot at first. He had on a black hoodie over his race suit with the hood up and sunglasses on. He stopped to do some interviews before running up the stairs and under the tent of the stage — hidden again. The girl yelled, pleaded with him to come out again so she could take a picture but he didn’t budge.
On the other hand there was Carl Edwards. He has to be one of the most charismatic guys in NASCAR right now. Maybe he was just having a good day (or he knew he was going to eventually win the race the next day) but he’s the one that interacted with fans the most, at least from my vantage point that is. He walked up on to the platform, and then walked to the end of the stage closest to where I was standing and proceeded to wink and smile at anyone that made eye contact with him. So yea, I have like a smallish crush on him now.
In other news…
– Check out my photos from Sunday at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (slideshow)
Actor Tom Cruise, with his son Connor, enjoys the Auto Club 500 on Monday, February 25th, 2008 from the pit box of defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
It feels like I haven’t written here in forever. I’ve been busy with working on the redesign of the site and playing with my Christmas presents. I received a sweet digital video camera from my sister and the iPod Classic that I wanted from my fabulous mother. It holds 80GB of music and so far I’m up to 20GB. I spent the last week or so chained to my computer at home uploading all of my CDs. It’s a beautiful thing.
Anyway, in NASCAR news the off-season is officially over as teams began testing their cars at Daytona. Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed up and surprised everyone — even his new teammates — because his testing session isn’t for another week.
As always I’ve got photos for ya, I was mostly interested in seeing those drivers that changed rides for this year in their new uniforms. It always takes me awhile to remember who’s driving what and for which team.
Kyle Busch gets ready to take his first laps in his new No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
New Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. greets teammate Casey Mears in the garage on the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing crew chief Brandon Thomas meets with his new driver J.J. Yeley in the garage. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Not a new team, but a brand new paint scheme and uniform for Greg Biffle
On the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway, Greg Biffle helped unveil an American Red Cross paint scheme that he’ll drive at two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this year. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood / Getty Images for NASCAR)
We have a Busch down, I repeat, a Busch is down!
Kurt Busch checks out the bottom of his New Car during the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)
I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend.
I gotta thank everyone that has left comments and/or emailed me regarding my last post about my plans for next year. I really appreciate it. It’s very encouraging to me and it lets me know that I’m on the right path with this. It’s my favorite thing to think about these days. I relish the thought of getting to be at the track every week and possibly getting to meet all the people that read my blog. Wouldn’t that be cool?
Ah, ok, so enough of that — for now — I have to talk about Bristol and how boring the race was. I’m not afraid to admit that I did in fact fall asleep during this race. I woke up in time to find out that Carl Edwards had won and that Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 5th. It sucks that we can’t enjoy that 5th place finish more because of this whole Chase stuff.
More than anything I want that guy in the Chase but it won’t be the end of the world if he doesn’t make it. I want that guy to win a friggin’ race. Gah! I am happy that Clint Bowyer looks to be set for the Chase and I really want him to succeed — and win a race too! Those two guys are so due for one it’s ridiculous.
I think someone needs to sit down with the folks at ESPN and talk to them about their race coverage. It’s getting to the point now where I don’t even want to watch the pre-race show. I mute them! They’re killin’ me! Too much stuff is repeated. I couldn’t believe they actually had analysis on Junior’s motives for not wanting people to talk smack about his step-mother. Could it just be that he’s a nice guy? And that people calling her names isn’t going to change anything?
I usually long for Darrell Waltrip after Fox’s NASCAR coverage is over, but I’m going through some serious DW withdrawal right now. There’s nobody like him and Rusty Wallace makes me roll my eyes like fifty-million times throughout the race. Maybe he’s just trying to hard, I dunno.
And now for some photo fun:
A sky diver holds an American flag as he descends into Bristol Motor Speedway prior to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Sharpie 500 on August 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Do you think Jack is happy??
(Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson (left) and Casey Mears (right) talk out on pit road prior to the start of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 25. (Hendrick Motorsports/Autostock)
Finally a sponsor that matches the driver…
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 5 Hot Shot Chevrolet, out on pit road during NASCAR Busch Series driver introductions at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 24. (Hendrick Motorsports/Autostock)
– It’s all been done before, hasn’t it? Tomorrow night is the premiere episode of ABC’s new five-part series “NASCAR in Primetime.” It’ll air on Wednesdays at 10 PM EST (check your local listings). ABC News is promising to “offer viewers a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the inner workings of stock-car racing.” The show followed Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya and others over the course of five months. Juan Pablo will be on Good Morning America with his wife Connie tomorrow to promote the special.
– The mayor of David Stremme’s home town — South Bend, Indiana — has declared August 21st to be David Stremme Day. To celebrate the city is hosting a party, “Stremme Comes Home/Rally to Bristol,” that’s open to the public from 5 PM to 8 PM.
“I haven’t really been back home in South Bend to spend any quality time in about a year, so this party is for my fans, friends, family and I to catch up,” said Stremme, who now resides in Concord, N.C. “It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up with work when you’re spending as much time as we do on the road. I’m thrilled to be hosting this event at Century Center in South Bend, and am looking forward to catching up with everyone and just having a good evening together.”
The event will also raise funds for Coaches Vs. Cancer headed locally by Notre Dame Basketball coach Mike Brey, as well as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
– Happy (sorta early) Birthday wishes to Carl Edwards, he turns 28 tomorrow.
– On Friday night feel free to give Kurt Busch a hard time on my behalf. He’ll be bartending at the Artesian Wells Sports Tavern in Cement City, Michigan from 8pm to 9pm. He’ll be there to raise money for charity.
– At this weekend’s Cup race in Michigan Casey Mears will be rocking a special 1957 Chevy paint scheme for his No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Monte Carlo SS. What’s the special occasion? To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1957 Chevrolet.
“I’ve always loved classic cars — I have a ’61 Chevy Impala convertible and a couple of hot rods here and there. My dad is big into collector car shows, and that’s something I enjoy as well. Running the ’57 paint scheme should be a lot of fun this weekend, and Michigan, being the home track for Chevrolet, is an especially fitting place for us to do it.”
– I had to post these quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. He is by no means out of the Race to the Chase:
“I’m sure some people are gonna write us off for the Chase after our problems at Watkins Glen,” said Earnhardt, who finished 42nd at the Glen because of engine problems.
“But, I think it’s foolish to do so because we’re a great team and we’re gonna do everything we can to scratch and claw and fight for wins and every position on every lap.
“We have four races coming up at four tracks where we’ve been very, very good lately. No one has been better or more consistent at Michigan than we have the last few years. We’re taking our favorite car – chassis No. 39 – that we’ve been using there and it just seems to really get up and go at Michigan.”
It’s OK Dale, I believe in you.
The thing that was killing me throughout the telecast of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was ESPN’s constant repetition of the same clips showing Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon talking about kissing the bricks. Those are three words that I never, ever want to hear again thanks to ESPN. They managed to wear out those words so much that they’ve lost their flavor, like a wad of a gum that’s been chewed too long. Is there anyone that doubts the fact that it was in fact Dale Jarrett’s crew chief (at the time) Todd Parrott who came up with the idea to press their lips to those dirty, grimy bricks? UGH! I’m so over it. There’s only one way to ruin the prestige, legacy and honor of an event and that’s to talk about it ad nauseam.
I don’t even believe it anymore. After hearing everybody say how much they treasure it, I can’t feel the weight of it. And wasn’t it a bit of overkill to have Brent Musburger AND Suzy Kolber hosting the event?? I love both of them but it just seemed to be a bit much and a waste of Brent Musberger’s talent.
I’d believe it more if they did some of those pre-game in-depth interviews other networks always do before NFL games. I love those. They interview a guy at his home, or at practice, talk about whatever has happened during the season to date. The only thing we’ve gotten this year is that bit on Clint Bowyer and the obligatory stuff on Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he signed up with Hendrick. I’m not counting TNTs deals on the racers of NASCAR’s past. While I found those interviews highly enjoyable, I really wanna know about the stars of today, the guys that are coming up. Why hasn’t there been an interview with Michael Waltrip (loved his new, poking fun NAPA commercial), asking him about the car he wrecked near his house, and his slow-to-roll race team?? Or an interview with Jeremy Mayfield and his comments about Ray Evernham’s relationship with Erin Crocker? Why not Ray and Erin themselves? Or how about an in depth interview with Casey Mears? You could ask him about his win earlier this year and about his past, his thoughts on his future, yadda, yadda, yadda… ya know the basic interview stuff that for some perplexing reason has been severely lacking.
Those 2 minute pre-race interviews with the pit reporters are not cutting it.
(photo credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I have been so bad this week about posting new entries. There have been a bunch of things that I’ve wanted to write about and just get out of my head but I haven’t had the time.
So in anticipation of this weekend’s race at the Brickyard, I give you my comments on random photos:
A.J. Allmendinger spent part of his weekend off from not qualifying for another Nextel Cup race by driving his No. 84 Red Bull Toyota around Laguna Seca for the US MotoGP event. Australian Ducati rider Casey Stoner won the race, and I have to say that he has the coolest name by far… dude, your last name is Stoner. That just tickles me.
No. 84 with girls @ Laguna Seca, (c) Rich Van Every/Red Bull — Courtesy of Red Bull Racing
Look closely, I think those are braces on young Landon Cassill
Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 24 National Guard Chevrolet, talks with a media member out on pit road prior to the start of the NASCAR Busch Series race at Gateway International Raceway on July 21. (Hendrick Motorsports/Autostock)
I am including this photo because I think it is just really cute. Yes, I am a girl and sometimes I can be sentimental that’s all.
Casey Mears, driver of the No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet, celebrates with his father Roger (left) and grandfather Bill (right) after winning the pole for Sunday’s NEXTEL Cup Series event at Chicagoland. (Hendrick Motorsports/Autostock)
This is completely and truly a blog about motor sports but I feel like I’m not being true to myself when I don’t write about everything that’s exciting me at the moment.
So that being said, I must tell you about this amazingly talented singer, Sara Bareilles (pronounced bar-rell-is). She is awesome! I bought her CD “Little Voice” on Friday and I am so deeply hooked. She’s a little bit like Fiona Apple, Charlotte Martin or even Alicia Keys, but she’s different from them. She’s not a copycat she’s totally unique and you should check out her songs. I’ve had her CD on this entire weekend, I even drove around on Sunday just because I wanted to belt out the lyrics (I do all my best singing in the car). I’m a big fan of great lyrics in addition to great melodies, and this CD has it all. I like to think that music comes into your life when it does for a reason, and this music has been super inspirational to me. Not in a spiritual-ohm kind of way, but in a girls-kick-butt-and-never-doubt-yourself kind of way.
Ok… so now on to the race at Chicagoland. I’ll be completely honest with you, Tony Stewart was not on my short list of people I’d like to see win this race. After seeing that very nice pre-race piece on Clint Bowyer I would have liked it very much to see him in victory lane, but again it was not to be. At least he moved up in the points standings. Speaking of the pre-race interview with Clint, I was so glad they did something like that for once this year. It seems like it’s been forever since they’ve interviewed a current driver away from the track and talked a bit about his life before he was in the Cup series.
And despite his lack of power steering (and because of Jamie McMurrays bad luck) Dale Earnhardt Jr. was able to keep his 12th place spot in the points standings.
I know that Thanksgiving isn’t until November but I must say that I am very thankful for the fact that TNT’s coverage of NASCAR is now over! Woo-hoo! I love Larry Mac, Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach but I can’t take more of Marc Fein and Bill Weber. Weber’s attempts at sarcasm never seem to work out quite right. ESPN/ABC will be with us for the rest of the season and I feel like I can handle Brent Musberger — even though it still feels slightly weird for him to be calling NASCAR and not Basketball.
My wish for 2008 is that NASCAR will stick to one channel for the entire season. Imagine that? Not having to double check the schedule to figure out what channel the race will be on this weekend. I’d pick Fox only because that’s where Darrell Waltrip is and I just love that man, he makes the races that much more fun to watch. His passion is infectious and I don’t think NASCAR could ever dream up a better ambassador (if you will) for the sport.
Chicagoland eye candy to follow:
The kid cannot take a bad photo to save his life.
Kasey Kahne takes a break during practice at Chicagoland Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Was that booing I heard when Hanson got ready to sing the national anthem? That was totally unjustified. I’m not ashamed to say that I own some of their CDs.
(L-R) American pop rock band The Hanson Brothers, Zachary, Jordan (aka Taylor) and Isaac Hanson, sing the National Anthem before the start of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 15, 2007 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left) and Martin Truex Jr. following qualifying at Chicagoland Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Casey Mears, driver of the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet, looks on after he qualified first for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 13, 2007 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Oh and don’t forget to take my survey!! I’m not too proud to beg.
Where to begin… First I guess I’ll express my surprise that it had been over a year since Carl Edwards had won a Cup race. I didn’t realize it had been that long, so good for him. The fun thing about Carl Edwards is his mom. She’s at all of his races and she’s the only NASCAR driver’s mom that I can spot instantly. Like if I saw her at the grocery store I’d be like “hey there’s Carl Edwards’ mom!” If it’s anybody else’s mom I have no clue, their son would have to be standing next to them for me to put it together. I don’t know what it is about her but she stands out. I think it’s her hair. She’s got great hair. Or, duh, it could just be that she’s always there. I dunno though… Some of those guys’ girlfriends and wives are always there and I wouldn’t be able to pick them out of a crowd. It could just depend on who it is.
Ok, I totally went off on a weird tangent there.
In other news…
– I’ve been watching “Fast Cars & Superstars” (on ABC) here and there. I have it Tivo’d so I can watch it whenever. I like the fact that they’ve done this show period, because it proves that there’s so much more to NASCAR than just turning a wheel. While it doesn’t go into the whole strategy part of it, I think people get a sense of the skill involved.
– How nice was it to see Michael Waltrip back in a Cup race? And he finished 10th no less! That was very cool. I’m happy for him. It feels like his whole season has been marred by his little off track accident and the Daytona 500 shenanigans, which is really sad. I’d like to see his team be successful. I know they can be it’ll just take some time. But I just miss the old funny & slaphappy Mikey that we used to see every week.
– Casey Mears. He’s a guy that’s steadily moving up the points standings every week. At one point this year, a few weeks ago I believe, he was in 34th place and now he’s up to 19th. Ya never know, if they keep this up we could see Casey in the Chase this year. That’d be very, very cool.
– Please tell me I’m not the only person who dislikes Marc Fein and Bill Weber? I’d trade both of them in for Mike Joy and Allen Bestwick any day. They’re sooo annoying. I don’t understand Weber, it seems like he’s yelling all the time. He’s just too loud. And Fein seems like he’s not listening to people ’cause his comments after they make a point never seem to match up. Ugh. Luckily we only have 4 more races of them until we’re on to the ESPN/ABC coverage.
– The topic of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s move to Hendrick Motorsports is starting to annoy even me. And I’m a big Dale Jr. fan. Maybe it’s because they seemed to extend the pre-race show for an extra hour and filled it with an interview of Junior and Rick Hendrick that shed absolutely NO new light on the situation. I’d rather they talk about Mikey Waltrip making it back into a race, or the Red Bull boys managing to qualify every week after a slow start to the season. Or why Juan Pablo Montoya seems to have stalled (which is totally fine by me) or what’s going on with Jeremy Mayfield (where the heck is he??).
– In case you’re thirsty for more speculation on the ramifications of Junior’s move to Hendrick, then you should check out this article “Is Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s big move good for NASCAR?” on Slate.com by John Swansburg. He digs my blog, so I’m giving him props. But really it’s a good article and you should read it.
I was looking at the traffic stats for my blog and I’ve noticed a lot of searches for the terms “Marco Andretti Shirtless.” I wish I actually had some photos of Marco sans shirt, I’m sure my traffic would skyrocket.
Anywhoo… It seems that Ryan Newman is back to his old tricks again. He secured the pole for a second week, this time for Dover this weekend. Congrats to him, hopefully he can stay up there at the front until the end of the race.
I know that this blog is supposed to be all about racing and whatnot but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about a couple really great CDs that I bought recently. The first is from the band The Used. “Lies for the Liars” is their 3rd album and it is sooo great! It hasn’t been getting a lot of media attention (if any) but it should ’cause it’s great rock music. If you’ve liked any of The Used’s songs in the past you should pick this one up. Also you should grab The Almost’s “Southern Weather,” I’m listening to it this very minute and I dig it. It’s kind of emo, kind of harder rock, but in general it’s your basic alternative rock type stuff. I have a hard time categorizing certain bands; all I know is that this stuff gives me goose bumps.
Just a couple tidbits about the upcoming Infineon race on the 24th:
– Legendary ex-NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice has been named the Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. “This will be a new experience for me and I’m really looking forward to it,” Rice said. “I’ve never been to a NASCAR race but I understand it is quite an experience. I’m honored to be grand marshal of the race weekend and I’m looking forward to the event.”
– Teams for Casey Mears and Clint Bowyer prepared for the race in Sonoma by testing their cars at the Virginia International Raceway this week.
This is my long overdue follow-up post to my initial comments about the Coca-Cola 600 last weekend. I am still so excited that Casey Mears has finally won his first Nextel Cup series race even though he’s apart of Hendrick “We Win Everything, Suckers!” Motorsports.
So there are couple things I must point out… first off, in this photo of Casey, in victory lane with his teammate Jimmie Johnson, he looks to be on the verge of tears. It’s gotta be one of THE best photos this year.
The photo below proves how much of an emotional win this was for the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet team; one guy (on the far right) is actually doing a cartwheel! A cartwheel people, I haven’t done one of those since I was in elementary school and I’m a girl. Anyway, it’s still cute… in a way.
(Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
It’s amazing to me what a difference one race can make. People make it seem like Casey Mears didn’t exist before this race. You can have all the potential in the world but until you deliver on it you’re not really anybody. I’m not saying I agree with this but I know that evidence speaks volumes and that’s what some people focus on.
I always knew that Casey had it in him; it was just a matter of time. The same goes for Clint Bowyer, J.J. Yeley and Martin Truex Jr. They need to figure out a winning recipe ASAP.
Ya know how some people can go so long without doing “it” that they feel like they’ve become a virgin again? Well I think that might be happening to my guy Dale Earnhardt Jr. I’m just sayin’. He hasn’t won a race in what feels like FOREVER (Actually it was last year at Richmond in May).
So besides the whole awesomeness that was Mears’ win at Charlotte I was very happy for Team Red Bull. They managed to pull out a top-5 finish after it seemed like everybody and Jesus was out to get them. I wouldn’t even want to drive my regular street car without power steering, but Brian Vickers managed to do it at over 180 mph.
It was crappy that AJ Allmendinger was taken out of the race so early in that crash with Jeff Gordon, but at least Brian was able to pull something together. This is great for Toyota. Vickers was able to lead more laps in that one race than all of the Toyota teams put together so far this season.
And now for the fun stuff, photos of hot dudes:
Actor Chris Evans races fellow “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” cast members in a race simulator at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
WWE star Jon Cena (left) meets with NASCAR Busch Series Director Joe Balash. (Photo Credit: David Griffin/NASCAR Scene)
Hehe… I kid, I kid… I was very happy that Dario Franchitti pulled out the win at the Indianapolis 500 today but I was even MORE excited that Casey Mears won the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
There’s no one else that I wanted to see win that race more than Casey (ok, maybe Dale Jr.) and his reaction to winning was all I needed to see. This is totally what NASCAR is all about; newbies winning, being emotional and truly appreciating the moment.
All I can say is congratulations to the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet team! What a great way to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend by winning one for our troops overseas. Awesome.
For this past weekend’s race at Darlington I was in La La Land (aka Los Angeles). I was at my sister’s house celebrating Mother’s Day.
The great thing about the race being delayed until Sunday was that I was able to watch the race with my nephews. I had never done that before and it was fun explaining to them who I liked (Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer) and who I didn’t (Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart).
When they asked why I didn’t like Kyle Busch, I said it was because he whined a lot, a problem that my nephews — ages 10 and 8 — could relate to. It suddenly occurred to me that this was a great opportunity to show them how important it was to control their anger, to not whine but to instead articulate their frustrations in a more productive way. Hopefully by seeing my distaste for Busch and Stewart they’d understand that it’s not cool to whine about every little thing that goes wrong for them. Sometimes you just have to take it and move on.
– I didn’t think it was possible to dislike a driver more than I do Juan Pablo Montoya. He totally beats out Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart in the lack of warm & fuzzies department. He doesn’t give off any kind of vibe that says that he cares about his fans or anything. I’m sure he appreciates them in general, but I have a feeling that any kind of success that he has is purely for his own ego and that’s about it. He doesn’t show you anything that leads you to believe that there’s something more to him. When I think of Juan Pablo I’m reminded of a scene in the classic television sitcom “Seinfeld.” Elaine ponders if there was perhaps more to Jerry’s rival Newman than what they had seen/knew; he simply replies “No, there’s less.”
– Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon must be stopped! I’m not saying this because I’m not one of their biggest fans I’m saying this because it’s incredibly boring watching them win every weekend. And I would think other fans would have to agree with that. It’s just lame. I love close finishes, which we’ve had, but what we desperately need is some serious overall competition. It can’t just be one team or one or two drivers that swap trophies every weekend. It’s getting old.
– In July NASCAR will launch the “NASCAR Cooks! Race Day Recipe Contest,” in which one lucky fan will receive party at their house with a special NASCAR celebrity… which is another way of saying that it won’t be a NASCAR driver… details below:
The contest will consist of fans submitting recipes, which must include at least one “NASCAR Cooks!” family of products, online at NASCAR.com, where online visitors can also download and vote for their favorite recipe. Finalists will be posted online and the winner will receive a party at their house for him or her and their 20 closest friends. The grand prize winner will receive a NASCAR viewing party and backyard tailgate with a NASCAR celebrity during an upcoming NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.
Fans interested in participating will be able to download contest rules and an application online at NASCAR.com later this summer.
– In honor of Mother’s Day (which is actually on Sunday) the Nextel Cup series drivers’ moms will be the official grand marshal’s of the Saturday night race at Darlington. Casey Mears’ mom Carol will be in attendance and he’d like nothing more than to win one for her, says Casey, “I’ve told my mom before that I wouldn’t be where I am today without her, but it would be pretty special to tell her again this weekend in Victory Lane. She’s an amazing person and a great mom.”
All of the mom’s will gather before the race to give the command “Sons, start your engines!” Awwww.
– And now something for those IndyCar fans out there. There’s a headline that says “Danica feels pressure to win more races,” how about just winning one for a change?
Like I’ve said before the Indy 500 is on May 27th and this entire month will be dedicated to speculation about every angle, every possible outcome and analysis of every single driver in the field. My hope, my deepest sincerest hope is that Michael Andretti can pull out the win this year. It’s so annoying to have come so close to just fail again and again. I would say that even if Michael doesn’t win it, then it’d be great if his son, Marco Andretti did, but even that’s not good enough. Michael has to win it, period.
I usually love the whole green, white, checkered, ending — now dubbed Overdrive — but this weekend it was pretty lame. It was very anti-climactic.
I’m not going to go into the whole Jeff Gordon-breaking-Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s-career-wins-record-fans-go-crazy debacle, except to say that I agree with tallglassofmilk in that if the Talladega fans can’t behave themselves ‘Dega should lose it’s second race. They should hand it over to Infineon, us Northern California NASCAR fans know not to throw things when we’re mad. We’d just make shirts that say things like “Anybody But Gordon” and call it day.
I’m still annoyed/upset about Casey Mears’ crash in the middle of the race. I thought he was going to make it this time and finally win one but alas it was not meant to be. He was so pissed when he jumped out of his car, seeing that emotion reminds you how much this means to these guys. It’s not just another day at the office. They go out there every race with the intention to win.
It was so very cool to see no-name drivers race upfront this weekend. Guys like Sterling Marlin, Kenny Wallace, David Ragan, Regan Smith, and David Stremme all led laps at Talladega. Congrats to them, I want to see more of that. Words cannot express how sick I am of seeing Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon winning these races.
The rest of my Sunday was filled with more racing coverage. After the NASCAR Nexel Cup race I caught the end of the IndyCar race in Kansas. Dan Wheldon was the winner and apparently there was some pit road debacle involving teammates Danica Patrick and Tony Kanaan. Tony took a page from the Tony Stewart PR handbook and left the race track without commenting on the events of pit road (Danica hit his car on her way out of the pits which ultimately caused Tony to fall 8 laps down, finishing 15th for the day).
Now everyone’s attention will turn to the Indianapolis 500, the race is on May 27th but the media hype is already beginning. Oh yay, a whole month of talking about the same things over and over and over again.
In other news…
Ashley Force went up against John Force for the first time in her burgeoning Funny Car career. She beat her dad in the first round at Atlanta Dragway.
The marquee match of the day was in round one when Ashley Force beat her famous father, John, by a 4.779 to 5.783 margin in the first father-daughter Pro-level race in NHRA history.
“Today I’m a proud father,” John said. “I’ve dreamed of this day for a long time, and it makes me emotional to think it finally came true. She’s a great young driver and she’s probably gonna whip me a bunch, but I’m okay with it because she’s my baby.”
Ashley went on to win her second round match-up but lost in the semifinals to Mike Ashley. All in all still a great day for women in the NHRA, it won’t be long until she’s a Funny Car winner.
Jeff Gordon is saluted by Dale Earnhardt Jr. after winning the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Fans throw beer cans onto the track as Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Dupont Chevrolet, takes the Sunoco checkered flag to win the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 29, 2007 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, poses for a photo with his wife, model Ingrid Vandebosch, in victory lane after after Gordon won the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 29, 2007 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Casey Mears was so totally robbed today. I know that it was an accident but he was in position to make a run for the win at Talladega, and finally winning his first NEXTEL Cup series race.
His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson accidentally him out when Casey tried to come down Pit Road. Apparently there was some miscommunication between the teams regarding their pit strategies.
This was all very reminiscent of last year’s fall race at Talladega where then Hendrick driver Brian Vickers spun out Jimmie on the last lap for the win.
And then today, not long after that crash involving Mears and Johnson, Kyle Busch crashed out from a chain reaction accident that also involved Johnson.
All I have to say is with teammates like these who needs enemies?
Yes, Bobby Labonte was due for a win and I’m glad he finally got it today during the Busch race at Talladega.
What I’m more happy/disappointed about is that Casey Mears finished 3rd in the same race. He led laps and was in a position to win it at the end but because of a late caution he got the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Hopefully this’ll give him good momentum into tomorrows NEXTEL Cup race. There are still only two drivers that I want to get a win under their belt for this season, it’s Casey and Dale Earnhardt Jr. For some reason I have this huge interest in Casey. I think it has to do with watching him on the NASCAR Drivers 360 show on ESPN. Once you’re able to see a driver in his regular everyday environment it’s the turning point in whether you root for him or not.
As much as I would like to say that what a person does off the field, track or court shouldn’t matter when it comes to the game that they play, it does to a certain extent. It’s just easier to like the nice guy, even if they do something “bad” during the game.
In other news…
I was alerted by TallGlassOfMilk that the wives and girlfriends of NASCAR drivers are tossing out those boring synthetic fiber credential lanyards in favor of stylish beaded ones. Check out the photo gallery of the girls sporting their trendy necklace-esque lanyards on AnswerThis…
Even though Kyle Busch won, Sunday’s race at Bristol was great. I loved that it ended in a green, white, and checkered; you didn’t know who was going to win it until the very last lap.
There were other reasons to happy with this race:
– A.J. Allmendinger finally got to race in the NEXTEL Cup Series! He finished in 40th after starting in the 43rd position. So he wasn’t exactly a contender but at least he got to participate, and in that really pathetic sense he won! But really, I am happy that his Red Bull team got to compete. Now if Michael Waltrip can get his act together maybe we can get all of the Toyota teams on the track at the same time.
– Everybody can stop talking about that damn Car of Tomorrow. Bristol was the debut for the new, somewhat ugly car that ups safety and headroom for the drivers. I don’t know about you but I don’t like that “wing” they’ve added to the back of the car, it just looks odd and out of place. I can appreciate the value of adding safety features for the benefit of the drivers but anything else is over my head. I can’t really have an opinion about its effect on the competition since I’m not the one who has to drive it every weekend. But I can say this: Please, no more montages, specials, cut-away cars about the Car of Tomorrow. We got it! We know what it is, what’s different, what’s good, what’s bad, we’re over it! Move on!
– Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished in 7th place after starting in the 31st position. This is such a huge boost for his team and for my sanity. Hopefully they can keep this momentum going into Martinsville this weekend and continue his move up in the points standings.
– While watching some of the Busch race coverage at Bristol I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was extremely weird to have Brent Musburger covering NASCAR. He does basketball, football, heck even golf, but NASCAR? Uhm, no. It just doesn’t seem right to me. It’s not that he’s bad at it so much as it’s just not what he’s known for. It’s like if they moved Dick Vitale from covering college basketball to women’s gymnastics. Ok, maybe it’s not that severe, but you get my point.
– Here’s another reason why my nickname of “Teddy Bear” for Casey Mears is on point:
Roger Mears, father of Casey Mears, drives his son’s motor coach from race to race during the NASCAR season and is a familiar face at the track. However, the former off-road racer won’t be so easy to find this weekend in Martinsville. Roger Mears, who celebrated his 60th birthday last Saturday, will be at the Barrett-Jackson auction — also known as the “World’s Greatest Collector Car Event” — in Palm Beach, Fla., from March 28 to April 1. The younger Mears, driver of the No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, arranged for his father to attend the event as a birthday present and even slipped a blank check in with the ticket. “I still don’t know what to say,” said Roger Mears, who rarely misses SPEED Channel’s Barrett-Jackson Car Search program and plans to make the trip south with his brother, open-wheel legend Rick Mears. “It’s a pretty amazing thing to do for your dad. I was speechless.”
Isn’t that sweet? Good job Casey.
This is my long overdue post about Las Vegas. This post is already so old that tomorrow is qualifying for this weekend’s race at Atlana. Geesh! I apologize, there has been a lot going on lately but now I will entertain you with my thoughts on the race in Vegas.
– First off, Monday was Casey Mears’ (left) birthday. He turned 29 and received a lousy gift from Robby Gordon in the form of a crash that took him out of the race at Vegas on Sunday for a little while. He ended up finishing in a very unhappy 40th place. (photo credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
– Overall, I kinda felt like the race at Las Vegas was boring. I know there were a bunch of crashes but it still didn’t seem very exciting. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Jimmie Johnson won for the third straight time at the track. It’s just boring when the same people win. I just want a newbie (or semi-newbie) to win one finally! Ya hear that Clint Bowyer? J.J. Yeley??
– There was a lot of star power at this race in the form of Mark Wahlberg (promoting his new flick “Shooter”), MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo, singer Nick Lachey (who is dating Vanessa), Magic Johnson and the wrestler Goldberg. The only person I ever saw on camera during the race was Mark Wahlberg who mentioned something about wanting to do a movie about racing. I’ll totally take you up on that one Mark! Great idea. He’d make a hot race car driver.
– This point has nothing to do with the Cup race at Vegas, but everything to do with the Busch Series race on Saturday. I don’t like ESPN’s coverage of the races because the only guy in the booth that really knows anything is Rusty Wallace (former Cup driver). The other guys in the booths are asking him questions like, “What’s that?” “What does that do??” OK, so I’m exaggerating but it comes close. And to be fair, it’s not all of the guys on the ESPN team, certainly not the pit road reporters, but it’s enough to make me wonder how they got their jobs.
And now on to the photos…
How hot is Rookie Aric Almirola?? That hot!
Aric Almirola walks in the garage area on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Former wrestler Bill Goldberg jokes around with Roush Racing crew member Dave “Mule” Nichols at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Greg Biffle (left) and crew chief Pat Tryson look on. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks with Magic Johnson at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Photo Credit: John Harrleson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Yes folks, they’re that skinny!
Left to right: Jimmie Johnson, Chandra Johnson, Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey celebrate Johnson’s win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mark Wahlberg talks to the media on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)
I’m watching NASCAR Drivers: Non-Stop on ESPN2 right now. The show follows Clint Bowyer, J.J. Yeley, Casey Mears, David Gilliland and Jeremy Mayfield , amongst others, on and off the race track. The footage is from last year’s race season. It’s great! Take my word for it.
What’s better than seeing Jeremy Mayfield sitting at home completely frustrated that he’s not out there racing with everyone else? Ever since he was ousted from Evernham in August I was dying to know what he was doing with himself and this show answered all of my questions. Besides watching the races he spent time bowling with his wife, building a new massive house and, as i’ve noted in the title, he spent some time blowing up watermelons.
Jeremy will be back this year in the #36 360 OTC Toyota Camry for Bill Davis Racing.
The show also confirmed my feelings about Clint Bowyer. I once compared him to Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at the suggestion of sports writer John Dugan. But I think that Clint really bares a striking resemblance to actor Steve Martin. What do you think?
Also on ESPN2 today is Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era. Here’s some info from the show’s press release:
Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era is an 11-episode, documentary television series that chronicles Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota’s new partnership in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
In the premiere episode, Waltrip breaks ground at his new fabrication shop and announces to his staff that ESPN2 will document all of the exciting developments for the new race team. He also visits Toyota Racing Development to see the new Toyota Camry stock car and Toyota executives explain why the company is partnering with the team and entering NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing.
“This show was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to build a race team and give the fans an inside look into everything that goes into it,” said Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner. “From hiring the crew, to applying information about rules and competition, and seeing how it all comes together — that’s what this story is about.”
In the past I’ve talked a lot about the guys in NASCAR that I don’t like. I would hate to be thought of as always being negative. So to counteract that, I’m listing the drivers that I dig.
1.) Dale Earnhardt Jr. — Duh. I don’t think I need to explain this one. Just read my old blog entries.
2.) Michael Waltrip – He’s gotta be the most hilarious driver in the NEXTEL Cup Series. He’s always got something to say and you can count on him for great quotes. Although, since he left DEI he hasn’t been running up front as much, well, at all. I hope his new team with Toyota next year can stand out and be competitive.
3.) Casey Mears – Casey Mears looks like a teddy bear (see photo). This isn’t really why I like him but it helps. I think I like him because I don’t know that much about him. He hasn’t won a race in the Cup series yet and I want to see him win.
4.) Carl Edwards – Ah, Cousin Carl. I dig him, even though he retaliated against Dale Jr. after a race earlier this year. I love his story of handing out business cards at the track trying to network his way into NASCAR. I’m a sucker for creativity. He’s also one of the best actors in NASCAR right now. Ya know that Gillette Young Guns commercial where Ryan Newman shaves his number 12 into everyone’s facial hair? Well I think Carl should get an award for his convincing delivery of the word “Newman!” Bravo!
Hmm… That’s all I can come up with for right now. I’m sure I’ll be adding more to the list as time goes on. And this doesn’t mean that I don’t dislike any of the drivers that I haven’t mentioned. I’ll write up a list of all the drivers that irk me at a later date. hehe.
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