I don’t know why I always feel this way when Jimmie Johnson wins a race. It’s like watching Survivor and getting pissed off when the idiots have the upper hand and they don’t take the opportunity to vote off the obviously stronger player when they have the chance. It’s silly. That’s how I feel when I see Jimmie Johnson leading a race.
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“At Any Price” is a new film starring Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid and Heather Graham. I’m telling you about it because Zac Efron’s character is a young man who dreams of racing in the big leagues of NASCAR one day, but that’s not what the movie really, really about.
Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 and in the distance I could hear the sound of the saddest trombone sighing “waaah, waaah, waaaaaaah.”
The 2012 NASCAR Champion’s Week is over and here are the photos I was able to use for the site. Enjoy!
So we’re really doing this? I can’t express to you how incredibly boring and soul crushing it is when Jimmie Johnson wins AND continues to lead the points in the Chase.
I love that Kid Rock couldn’t be bothered to put his drink down to give the command to start engines.
I didn’t love Mark Martin’s gnarly crash on pit road. That was crazy and scary. So glad it wasn’t worse.
Jeff Gordon got all huffy at Dale Earnhardt Jr. I found that to be cute.
And Greg Biffle won the race! I think that’s cool because Biffle is a nice dude.
The Saturday of our 3M Racing Experience began with all of us gathering in the lobby of our hotel and then heading over to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Once there we were picked up and shuttled to the Fan Zone area, in spiffy 3M branded golf carts, at the entrance of the track.
I woke up early Sunday morning to clear skies and no rain. When rain is a possibility during a race weekend I’ve taken the stance of not talking about it. At least not in the negative. You don’t know for sure what the weather is going to do, so why stand on negative side of the fence and go on an on about how it’s going to rain and we’re not going to get the race in, blah, blah, blah. I’d just rather not and deal with what’s actually happening.
I’m all apologies lately. I feel like I’m continually apologizing to you guys about being late and I hate that. I can say, with complete confidence, that I’m not going to be late anymore and I’ll be back on track posting stuff from here on out.
I was OK with not being in Las Vegas this year, which feels really odd to write but it’s true. I guess it’s because I know that I’ll be at more races this year, so it’s not the worst thing in the world if I miss one that I’d normally attend.
Where the hell have I have been? I keep asking myself this. Maybe you’ve noticed I haven’t written anything about the Budweiser Shootout or the Daytona 500 that turned out to be Mister Toad’s Wild Ride or even Phoenix.
This post is really about everything that I forgot. It wasn’t until I started unpacking that I realized I’d forgotten my evening bag/clutch. This was important because there was no way I could carry everything I’d need for the Awards Ceremony without a bag and taking my regular purse would have been ridiculous.
Thursday was decidedly less cab filled than Wednesday. I walked next door to the Bellagio for the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon. My table, number 31 (my fave number because it’s my birthday), was the designated NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps table. We were a couple tables behind the Joe Gibbs Racing table where JD Gibbs and Kyle Busch were seated.
And he kept fighting ’til the end!
What a race. The Ford 400 was pretty ah-mazing considering there wasn’t serious wreckage. It was all about Tony Stewart driving it like he freaking stole it to the win. Not only winning the race but his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. I’ve never seen anything like that, and it makes me wish we could have a race that looked like that one every weekend. I dunno but Tony certainly put on a show, his restarts were pitch perfect.
I’m oh so very happy for the Office Depot team, and I’m not just talking about the pit crew and Tony, I mean the PR peeps from Office Depot. They’re genuinely some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and have been so good to me over the past few years. All of my awesome moments & interviews with Tony have been because of them and I am so grateful. They totally deserved this win and I can’t wait to see ‘em all in Las Vegas!
Hats off to Carl Edwards for being his usual classy self. I know losing this Championship had to hurt, but he’s gotta be proud in knowing that he’s an elite driver in NASCAR. He’s come so far in following his dream, and like the awesome song “It’s Amazing” by Jem says, “Nothing can compare to deserving your dreams.”
Obviously Tony winning the Championship means that Jimmie Johnson didn’t, and of course leading up to Sunday’s race everybody was talking about how amazing Jimmie’s 5-peat was, and it is, but the thing that annoys the hell out of me is when people say that no one will ever be able to do that again. I just don’t like it when people rule things out. It’s possible. Anything’s possible. It’s also ridiculous to say that Jimmie will never win another Championship (insane that anyone even thought that). I feel like people say stuff just to say things because they have to fill in air time. Whatever.
And to all the douchebags that booed First Lady Michelle Obama you should be ashamed of yourselves. Regardless of your political beliefs she and Dr. Jill Biden were there in support of our troops and their families, show some respect. Idiots.
Anyway… I’m just going to put this out there: I really think that Tony winning this year’s Hottest Driver Tournament was a good omen for him. I might be slightly biased in that opinion, though. The 2012 Hottest NASCAR Driver Tournament will begin right after New Year’s on January 2, 2012. So stay tuned!
Up next… Champion’s Week in Las Vegas!
You have a dirty mind, my friend! I meant your arm! All for a good cause, of course.
Matt Kenseth’s sponsor for Talladega, Jeremiah Weed® flavored malt beverages, is offering free tattoos to race fans (adults!) this weekend at the race track. For every tattoo inked Jeremiah Weed is donating $100 to The Air Force Enlisted Village.
“We have some of the best fans in all of sports,” said Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Jeremiah Weed Ford Fusion. “They wear our numbers, fly our flags and sometimes even get tattoos to show their dedication. It’s incredible that Jeremiah Weed is doing all this for our fans and to support such a worthy cause as The Air Force Enlisted Village. I look forward to personally checking out the tattoos throughout the race weekend.”
On Saturday, Oct. 22 adults 21 and over will be able to sign up at the Jeremiah Weed event space in the Talladega fan zone to receive a free tattoo. A series of tattoos will be available for fans to choose from, including Matt Kenseth’s signature, a number 17, Jeremiah Weed logos and a Jeremiah Weed® Lightning Lemonade® can. The tattooing will occur at a local tattoo parlor approved by the Alabama State Health Board. Free transportation to and from the parlor will be also provided. For every tattoo inked, Jeremiah Weed will make a $100 donation to The Air Force Enlisted Village, a charity committed to providing safe, secure and dignified homes for indigent surviving spouses of retired Air Force personnel.
In other news…
– Joey Logano will be making his much anticipated appearance on the Travel Channel show “Man V. Food Nation” tonight at 9pm ET alongside the show’s host Adam Richman. Check your local listings for details. Do you think Joey can eat a three pound bacon double cheeseburger loaded with pulled pork and a meaty hot sauce over a pound of fries in ONLY 30 minutes??
– With everything that happened on Sunday I wasn’t in the mood to post photos from the NASCAR race weekend at Charlotte until now.
Tony Stewart claimed the first win in The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup yesterday. I have to say that was a pretty satisfying race. I’m not going to lie I watched it from home and kind of dozed off halfway through it but the ending was great. I, mean, hello, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 4th. How can you not love that? Now the points standings are all jumbled up and it makes going to New Hampshire this week all the more thrilling. I feel like I’ve mentioned this a ton already (on Twitter for sure) but I’ll be at New Hampshire this week, I leave on Thursday, and I’m beyond excited. It’s so early on in The Chase and the Championship is still up on the air, I can’t wait to get there and see what happens next. Although, I’ve been checking the weather forecast and there’s supposed to be rain on Saturday but not on Sunday. So let’s hope it stays that way.
During the rain delay coverage on Sunday I left the house to do something and I was listening to Claire B. Lang on SiriusXM’s NASCAR channel. She mentioned how people had been asking her what was going to happen in The Chase, who was going to win, etc. I wondered why people do that? Like, what’s the point? Have you ever watched the Super Bowl and thought “I’m SO glad I knew that the Packers were going to win because Terry Bradshaw said so.” No one EVER thinks that. (I have no idea what Terry Bradshaw’s actual prediction was, it’s just an example) So why should I say that I think this person or that person is going to win? I’m not psychic and I don’t want to be. I like not knowing and watching it unfold. Of course there are people that I’d rather see win than other people but that’s a given. Maybe it’s just because I don’t like counting people out because people constantly count me out and I don’t like that.
In other news…
Regarding the Camping World Truck Series race:
– How do you feel about Austin Dillon’s new celebration practice of sliding on the infield grass? I’m not really a fan because it doesn’t look that fun. It looks like it kind of hurts.
– Actor/singer Tyrese Gibson’s performance of the National Anthem was WONDERFUL. It was subdued but totally on point. The fact that I’m mentioning it at all is saying something.
Regarding the Nationwide Series race:
– Uh, I got nothin’
Regarding the Sprint Cup Series race:
– I feel bad that the Geico Caveman had to wear all that makeup and stuff for a SECOND day just to give the command to start engines.
– Loved the exchange over the radio between Carl Edwards and his crew chief, Bob Osborne, when Carl said that the sun was coming out and Bob sang back to Carl “Here comes the sun!! bababa!” So funny.
How much did you LOVE the racing between Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch? And how much did you ADORE their post-race face-to-face (with respectful distance) argument? Probably not as much as me! It was brilliant and just added to an already excellent race finish. Why don’t they turn up the mics and let them hover close to those guys when they’re arguing like that? I know there’s potential for foul language, but can’t they just risk it? I was straining to try and hear something.
Congratulations to Brad Keselowski! Maybe everybody should get injured more often? I mean, he won the race with one properly working ankle and Denny Hamlin won races after his knee issues. Crazy, but very cool.
Did you see Carl Edwards‘ finish line crash with Ricky Stenhouse in Iowa during the Nationwide Series race? More craziness. Never seen anything like that before, but it seemed like a fitting end to a race that saw those two getting into each other and Ricky didn’t appreciate it at all. The two had history from ORP last week and now this new wrinkle. During the post-race coverage they showed Carl talking to Ricky’s crew chief, Mike Kelly. You could clearly hear Mike say to Carl “Well, you tell him that. He thinks you hate him.” Finally some actual truthful feelings. Whenever the guys talk on camera you don’t always feel like you’re getting to true thoughts, and this time we got some via Ricky’s crew chief.
– Take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey and enter for your chance to win an awesome Goo Gone prize package. Contest & survey ends on August 10th, 2011. More info
– Help me raise money for My NASCAR Year 2012. More info
Congratulations to Paul Menard and the No. 27 NIBCO/Menards Chevy team! This season has definitely been the year of the first-time winner and I couldn’t love it more. My favorite part is waiting for the Victory Lane interview and hoping the guy cries. Well Paul didn’t cry but he ALMOST did! Tears or no tears, it was really cool to see a guy win something that clearly meant a lot to him and his family.
I have to thank ‘Fabulous’ reader Tara for sending me this screen capture of a Twitter convo between two spotters talking about Paul Menard’s girlfriend, Jen. Start at the bottom.
P.S. – Can Rascal Flatts sing the National Anthem at every NASCAR race, puhleze? Love them.
Above: This melts my heart. That kid had to be losing it (keeping it all inside of course)!
Below: Watch those hands Kasey!!!
– Take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey and enter for your chance to win an awesome Goo Gone prize package. Contest & survey ends on August 10th, 2011. More info
– Help me raise money for My NASCAR Year 2012. More info
On Saturday I forgot my cell phone at home, and my camera’s battery died, like, 15 minutes after I arrived at Infineon Raceway.
It was really weird to not have my cell phone or camera on me all day. It was annoying that I couldn’t take any photos or tweet out updates on the fly. I realized that those devices also served as security blankets. They were these things that proved I had “something to do” while I was in the garage. I wasn’t just wandering. I had to take pictures and constantly check my phone for updates–that gave me purpose. So without a purpose I felt like a nerd, just standing around. And I was worried that without the photos that I usually snapped throughout the day I wouldn’t have anything to remind me of what happened.
I could not believe what I was seeing. I thought that J.R. Hildebrand would round that corner, come down the straightaway and win his first Indianapolis 500 in his first attempt. I thought he would receive a hero’s welcome when he came back here to the region of his Sausalito hometown, the San Francisco Bay Area. Surely there’d be a parade or something in his honor.
But then he hit the effing wall! I couldn’t freaking believe it. I was screaming. I should of known better, you’re not supposed to count your chickens before they’ve hatched. I was so heartbroken for J.R.. I’ve never been within reach of winning the Indy 500 and crashed, but I know what that feels like. Think about it, you’ve had one of those moments where you make a mistake and it costs you BIG time. It really stings.
Dan Wheldon was the winner, and he was emotional, which made ME emotional! How could this race do that to me in the span of 3 minutes?? I felt sadness, anger, disbelief, happiness, and empathy. I felt it all.
What an incredible finish. Just incredible. And this race really needed that kind of ending, because if Dario Franchitti or Scott Dixon cruised to the win it would have be soooo boring.
And one word about the broadcast itself. I loved the pit reporters and I really, really wish we could have only heard from them. They were the only people giving me the information I wanted & needed. That’s a hard job too, so extra kudos to them for doing such an awesome job. On the other hand, the announcer’s booth peeps, I have no words.
(All photos courtesy of INDYCAR)
Yea, I said it!
The most interesting thing about the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race was the the driver & crew introductions. I’m not even kidding.
Seriously, did ANYTHING happen during that race? I really think everybody saying, “Ooooh, there’s no points at stake, anything can happen!!! the gloves are really gonna come off! Squee!!!” really made it lame. It was just boring. And come to think about it, why would no points at stake and a million dollars be that much more of a motivation for them? Winning the Championship is a far, far bigger deal than the All-Star race will ever be, so I’m not expecting anyone to go above and beyond to win it.
It’s not good when a race ends and I’m just indifferent, like it didn’t even happen.
Also, I find it really interesting how NASCAR drivers can get away with acting like they need a million dollars. Ok, throw in some Nationwide Series or Truck Series guys, or even better, the dudes in the K&N Pro Series, and you’d see a REAL dash for cash. Carl Edwards could ALREADY afford to put his kids through college, this race wasn’t going to be the difference between them going or not.
Anyhoo… here are some photos!
Parties that I’m never invited to. I just don’t understand it. Actually, I have no idea how the actual party goes, in terms of atmosphere, drinks & apps, but I do know that they’ve always got an amazing guest list that makes me seethe with jealousy. This year’s Indy 500 Centennial Goes to Hollywood soiree was held at The Colony in Hollywood, days before the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The guest list was interesting. I’ll let the photos do the talking.
(All photos credit: Getty Images for INDYCAR)
I have to admit that I didn’t see everything that went down at the 37th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach yesterday. I got a late start because of the NASCAR race and then I realized I really needed a nap. But I did wake up with enough time to watch Mike Conway win his very first IZOD IndyCar Series race. That was very cool, I love it when someone wins for the first time. It doesn’t happen near enough.
It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t see the whole race, and so I don’t have a lot to talk about, because I can get right to the photos!
(all images courtesy INDYCAR)
Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California started out with the customary trip to THE Starbucks. I call it “THE Starbucks” because it’s the one everybody goes to during the race weekend, and by everybody I mean literally everybody. It could be groups of fans apart of some racing package deal or pit crew members, PR people, and NASCAR drivers. I always see someone. On Saturday morning it was Michael Waltrip and Michael Waltrip Racing general manager Ty Norris. Sunday I chatted about the weather with a pit crew guy that recognized me from the garage.
Saturday in Fontana started out with Nationwide Series qualifying. Heather and I hung out in the media bull pen area and watched as the cars came through. It was pretty routine so this is a good time to talk about the children I saw in the garage that weekend. There were TONS of them. The new NASCAR rule allowing kids in the garage has made a big impact because I’ve never seen so many little boys and girls getting photos and autographs.
I had to get up really, really early on Sunday morning in order to get to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in time to take a ride in the pace car with NASCAR’s Director of Competition, Research & Development Brett Bodine.
Friday, December 3rd was the day of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony & Banquet at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Immediately following the press room session with the Chase drivers at the Bellagio, I got on the bus taking the media over to the starting line in front of Planet Hollywood for the Victory Lap down The Strip (aka Las Vegas Boulevard).
I arrived in Las Vegas on Wednesday morning-ish. I checked in at my hotel, ARIA Hotel & Casino at CityCenter. I am giving this hotel two thumbs up because when I opened the door to my room (that unlocked after only having to wave my room key in front of the keypad above the door handle) music began to play and the curtains pulled back on their own revealing floor to ceiling windows facing a skyline of mountains.
There are no words. I have no words.
But I do have pictures.
Jimmie Johnson (L) kisses his wife Chandra as she holds their four-month-old daughter Genevieve, after winning the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at the Ford 400 race in Homestead, Florida November 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)
Sunday at Auto Club Speedway was a big day, not just for the Pepsi Max 400, but for all of the couples that were getting married and renewing their vows on the track. I was so excited about the whole thing and totally looking forward to seeing how it would all go down.
Saturday morning at Auto Club Speedway found me inside the Nationwide Series garage watching as drivers qualified for the CampingWorld.com 300. Driver after driver made their qualifying run and I stood by in the media bullpen area where they keep the top-3 cars. Cars shuffle in and out (and drive by) as the numbers on the pylon change order.
There weren’t a lot of fans milling around in the garage and only a handful actually stuck around to watch drivers get out of their cars and maybe ask them for an autograph. I noticed David Reutimann, in regular dude clothes, standing with the guys from Michael Waltrip Racing. He had on a hat and sunglasses but I still couldn’t get over the fact that people didn’t notice him. I guess it was good for him to not be bothered, seeing as how he’d just come off the weekend before and his infamous incident with Kyle Busch.
As qualifying progressed I watched as Carl Edwards got out of his car, spoke with various members of the media, signed autographs for fans, met with a large group of employees from his sponsor, Copart, took pictures with them, and then went off to the media center. All of that took place in the space of like 10 minutes. Now that’s multi-tasking.
Did you watch “Shaq Vs.” last night? I did! As I’m sure you all know by now, this was the season premiere for the show that pits Shaquille O’Neal against the best sports stars outside of Shaq’s basketball comfort zone. He’s gone up against swimmer Michael Phelps, pro beach volleyball stars Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings and now NASCAR’s own Dale Earnhardt Jr.
I’m kidding! Calm down Roush Fenway Racing supporters. I was just making a funny.
But seriously, super huge congratulations to Jamie McMurray for winning the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday. Kudos to him and his team for winning a race that further cements a place for him in NASCARs history.
Now, can I talk about Victory Lane or Winner’s Circle at Indy? It’s really lame. It seems like a complete afterthought, like they finished making the hugh jass pagoda and then were all, “Ohh, where are we gonna do Victory Lane? Let’s wedge it over there since we made the stage for the anthem and the command to start engines needlessly large and round.”
It makes me feel squished and I’m not even there. It’s so awkward, why not just do everything on the track? Ok, just had to get that off of my chest it makes me mental every year for the Indy 500 and the Brickyard.
And speaking of Victory Lane how cute was Jamie when he kissed his wife’s stomach? Christy McMurray is pregnant with their first child who is due to arrive in December. So adorable. I’m going out on a limb and calling a set of twins for them. I have no proof, obviously, other than I think someone should have twins.
Jamie McMurray, winner of the Brickyard 400 kisses his wife Christy after kissing the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on July 25, 2010. (UPI /Edwin Joseph Locke Photo via Newscom)
The pit crew for Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet runs down pit road to celebrate their win at the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, IN.
Jamie McMurray, driver of the Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, and his team kiss the bricks after McMurray won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The beard is back and he brought along a friend this time. I dunno if I like this trend.
Team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the Amp Energy Chevrolet with team owner Rick Hendrick before the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on July 25, 2010, in Indianapolis on July 25, 2010. (UPI/Thomas E. Hayden Photo via Newscom)
(R-L) Dallas Clark of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts poses with brother Dan Clark in the flag stand before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Travis Kvapil, driver of the Long John Silver’s Ford, stands by his car during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman, driver of the Haas Automation Chevrolet, stands with his wife Krissie Newman on the grid before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So, if ESPN has Carl joining them after every race in the studio, do they really need Rusty to stick around?
Carl Edwards, driver of the Aflac Ford, reaches in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
(R) David Stremme, driver of the Air Guard/gtwgps.com Chevrolet, looks on from pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Fans hold up signs outside the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
County music star Luke Bryan walks around in the garage area during the final practice session for the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, IN.
(L-R) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s Chevrolet, poses with singer Jack Johnson in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 23, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
It’s become an age old question: What do you do during a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series off-weekend? Well, it’s never really and off-weekend, there’s always some form of racing on television and this weekend is no different. There’s the Nationwide Series, the Camping World Truck Series and that other racing league, the IZOD IndyCar Series. They all offer something different and fun, but it’s not quite enough. I guess we’re spoiled in that sense, we want it all, all the time.
Anyway, I thought it’d be fun to brainstorm some other activities you could partake in in the regular, non-racing world while you wait for Sprint Cup Series action to return:
1.) Write a screenplay for a NASCAR drama starring your favorite actors and actresses. I started thinking about a film with Ben Affleck as the super hot and cocky veteran driver on a losing streak and Robert Pattinson as the super hot and young rookie who’s made the jump from Formula 1 to NASCAR and is on a hot winning streak. There would of course be their love interests, Ben’s wife played by
me Angelina Jolie, is super supportive but has grown tired of his ego and is on a mission to show him what it means to be a winner on and off the track. Robert’s character will be single (of course!) but will nurse a crush on the hottest female driver in NASCAR, whose already won one Nationwide Series title and is looking to score big in the Cup series, played by Blake Lively.
Clearly I’ve got the synopsis ready all someone needs to do is pay to me to finish it and we can start filming! Yee!! Actually, now that I just wrote that out I really want to see this film happen. I’d be particularly interested in the casting process. Maybe we could get George Clooney to play a team owner?? Hmm.
First, I must address the most amazing “Gentleman, Start Your Engines” ever PERFORMED on national television. That’s right, performed! Actors (and comedians) Kevin James and Adam Sandler were the Grand Marshals for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway and the didn’t fail to deliver what I knew would be the most entertaining command to start engines since I don’t know when. (Off topic right now but this photo, left, is the best photo of Denny Hamlin I’ve seen in quite some time. Just sayin’)
Can we get Kevin James out to every race to do that little dance? Freaking hilarious. If you missed it, video of Sandler and James giving the command is below. They’re promoting their new movie “Grown Ups” which, of course, looks very funny.
My only question about this race is why didn’t Denny Hamlin pick up the giant fake tub of Heluva Good! Sour Cream dip that was sitting on top of his car in Victory Lane? That would of been great, especially if they’d had a giant bag of chips to go with it.
To answer Melody’s question from my previous post, I was in Tony Stewart’s hauler for all of 5 minutes. It was luxuriously air conditioned and I didn’t see the back lounge area. Plus Tony wasn’t there he was out practicing but it was very cool to be inside a hauler for any reason and any amount of time.
Sunday was of course the Coca-Cola 600 and on my drive in to the track I couldn’t get over the amount of tailgating that was going on seemingly EVERYWHERE. Every blade of grass surrounding the track was filled with trucks, tents and people with barbecues. Even the parking lots of commercial office buildings had groups of people crowded together. It was so neat to see. There’s tailgating at the California races but nothing to the degree of what I saw outside of Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s something that you have to witness for yourself.
I got to the track in time to attend a tweetup organized by SBNation’s Jeff Gluck. I went to meet up with ‘Fabulous’ readers Tara S. and Penni. It was really cool finally getting to meet them in person. I seriously adore the women that read my blog, you guys are the bestest! This is the perfect time to thank you all for the sweet comments about my interview with Tony Stewart. I really appreciate the encouragement.
As I alluded to in the title of this post, the Coca-Cola 600 was really all about Bradley Cooper and his hotness visiting a NASCAR race for the first time. He was there with three of his other cast-mates to promote their new movie “The A-Team.” I thought Brendan Fraser’s presence at Chicagoland a couple of years ago was a big deal but Bradley really brought out the ladies. Media and PR people alike make it a point to be in the media center for the cast’s press conference. As soon as Bradley walked into the media center people were requesting to have their photo taken with him (as you can see at right, that’s not me, unfortunately), which he happily obliged.
– Tonight SHOWTIME® is airing TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story at 10:30 PM ET/PT. The documentary style film is narrated by everybody’s favorite couch jumping hottie, and Hendrick family friend, Tom Cruise.
– Carl Edwards will make his 200th Cup start with Roush Fenway Racing this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. He’s just the fifth driver in the 23-year history of Roush Fenway to do so.
– Did you know that Dale Earnhardt Jr. opened another Whisky River location? Well he did and it’s in Jacksonville, Florida. Kelly Bires will be driving a special Whisky River Jacksonville paint scheme on the No. 88 for the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at PIR this weekend.
One of the benefits of being unemployed is the ability to do anything anytime you want, and in my case it means that I can attend media events that occur during the day at a time when I’d normally be working. This Friday I’ll be at Infineon Raceway for Two-Wheel Thunder, a test session for motorcycle riders in the AMA Pro Road Racing Series.
It all begins at 9am and is completely free to the public. So if your schedule is open that day you should come out to Sonoma and check it out. There will also be riders from Supermoto USA and TTXGP electric motorcycle demonstrations.
This is all in advance of the West Coast Moto Jam taking place at Infineon on May 14-16. If you purchase a ticket for the West Coast Moto Jam during Two-Wheel Thunder you’ll get to take a lap around the the raceway’s road course on your motorcycle. For more info go to infineonraceway.com
In other news…
– ESPN’s Jamie Little became engaged to Cody Selman, Kyle Busch’s former go-to guy. Congrats to Jamie & Cody! Check out her ring, it’s spectacular! I saw her interviewing Danica Patrick with it on over the weekend and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Good job, Cody!
– Brian Vickers participated in a special NASCAR Tweetup at Martinsville where he competed against fans in an simulated racing challenge at the Sprint Experience.
Brian Vickers races Miss Sprint Cup and six fans from Twitter during a pre-race tweet-up at the Sprint Experience. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian Vickers congratulates Matt Dettelbach (@mdbach on Twitter) for beating him in the simulator race at the Sprint Experience. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
– JR Motorsports has joined forces with Lifetime Television for this weekend’s Nationwide Series race at Nashville. Be on the lookout for Scott Wimmer in the No. 7 car wrapped in a special Army Wives paint scheme.
I have to applaud this effort by Lifetime to recognize NASCAR’s huge female audience and the benefit of sponsorship. I WISH more brands and companies would realize the untapped power of female racing fans. Just email NASCAR, they’ve got all the stats (or ask for a ‘Fabulous’ media kit).
Oh and one request I have for Lifetime… Why not a Project Runway car? OMG! I would LOVE that… I would buy every piece of merchandise that existed, and Michael Kors could design the car and the firesuit! Heidi Klum could be the Grand Marshal for the race. Dude, it’d be so amazingly awesome on about a million different levels. Seriously, think about it.
More details, including info on a special sweepstakes where you can win an all-expenses paid trip for four people to a NASCAR race, from the press release:
It was while I was watching Bridget Jones’ Diary for the 500th time that I realized that Mark Darcy, a character played by the Oscar nominated actor Colin Firth, looks a lot like NASCAR’s most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The eyes, the lips, the general skin tone and coloring are all very similar. See for yourself.
Dale Earnhardt Jr (left) and Colin Firth (right)
And then when I was watching the Oscars on Sunday night I thought that Jake Gyllenhaal, who is starring in the upcoming Prince of Persia film and whom I really, really hope will be at a race that I am at sometime this year, looks kinda similar to Red Bull Racing driver Brian Vickers.
Maybe it’s the beard and the eyebrows?
Brian Vickers (left) and Jake Gyllenhaal (right)
Oh! I would like to take this moment to say that I am loving Clint Bowyer’s hair these days. It seems, to me at least, to be reminiscent of Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s look circa 1991 on the TV show Saved by the Bell. Clint, please don’t cut your hair.
I’m not joking, I really like it.
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Clint Bowyer and Marcos Ambrose answer questions in the James H. Hunter Media Center Tuesday during a Goodyear Tire test at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. (Credit: MotorRacingNetwork.com)
Here’s my comparison of Kasey Kahne to Twilight hottie Robert Pattinson, again, because who wouldn’t want to look at these two guys?
Kasey Kahne (left) and Robert Pattinson (right)
43 different drivers started the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Shelby American in Las Vegas, but for some reason the same guy that won the race the weekend before won again.
How is this possible? What are the 42 other drivers, and their teams, doing?? I mean, really? This cannot keep happening. It’s not like it’s 5 dudes out there running around. There are FORTY-THREE cars!! Nobody should be winning anything in a row!
Grrr… Step it up please! Frankly, I was very sad that Jeff Gordon couldn’t get the win over Jimmie Johnson. Not because I wanted Jimmie to lose, so much as I just wanted Jeff to win.
Anyway, I have to talk about Amy of Amy’s Bad Groove. She got the chance to interview Tony Stewart, her favorite driver, in person over the Las Vegas race weekend. I am sooooo excited that she got the opportunity, and I cannot WAIT to read her interview with Tony. I have to put you guys on notice that she’s working on it so you should subscribe to her RSS feed so you can get it as soon as she posts it. I’m sure it’ll be awesome. This would be equivalent to me getting the chance to interview Dale Earnhardt Jr. one-on-one, so the fact that she didn’t pass out or forget all of her questions (which could totally happen if I was confronted with Dale Jr.) is awesome. Congrats Amy!
Fans watch Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series practice action from above in Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The Auto Club 500 was, uhm, a race that happened last weekend. I don’t have too much to say about it because to be perfectly honest with you I’ve had a bunch of other stuff on my mind; stuff that I hope to get to tell you about very soon.
And really, not that much happened in the race, I mean, aside from Carl Edwards still calling his soon to be born baby daughter “it” (which I’m sure is just a symptom of being a first time parent and the reality hasn’t set in yet), Ella Gordon continuing to be one of the most adorable kids on the planet, and Kevin Harvick giving the greatest post-race quote in NASCAR history — everything else was just “eh.”
I won’t be at Las Vegas this weekend, which sucks, but I know there’ll be more races in my future. More to come about that later.
So without further adieu I give you photo fun time from Auto Club Speedway:
During Friday’s qualifying Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Ford, listens to crew chief Kenny Francis at Auto Club Speedway. Kahne will start Sunday’s Auto Club 500 in fourth position. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
The red flags aside, this Daytona 500 was awesome. Actually I take that back. I didn’t mind the red flags. For one, I was at home sitting on my comfortable couch with snacks, and two, they got to interview the drivers which I always love. We should of been glad it was something fixable and not RAIN. Thank you.
I am so incredibly happy for Jamie McMurray. That was such an amazing ending to a crazy, long race. He leads just two laps and takes his place in history as a Daytona 500 winner in his first race with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing! Talk about redemption. From odd man out to freaking Daytona 500 winner. I love it, those are the best stories. And as if all of that wasn’t good enough, he was emotional in Victory Lane. I’m all for real, true emotion and it didn’t get any better than Jamie’s tears and his hugging of the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 Trophy.
And then Dale Earnhardt Jr. *sigh* I love that guy. He kicked butt and drove from tenth to finish second. I’m so proud! I know he was disappointed that he came so close but he has nothing to feel bad about, he proved that he’s a racer and that he wants to win just as much as the next guy. BTW, I loved his interview with Marty Smith on ESPN, they showed it during the Nationwide race on Saturday. He doesn’t have to explain or justify himself to anyone!
I think it was in his interview with Jeff Hammond on FOX that he talked about marriage and how maybe it wasn’t for him and he wondered if fans could handle him having children without being married. I would like to go on record as saying that Dale has my permission to procreate with whomever he wants in wedlock or not. Again, he should live his life on his terms and everybody else can suck it.
Photos after the jump!
The Budweiser Shootout was on Saturday and it was a slip-slidin’ good time, just ask Kurt Busch. Congratulations to Kevin Harvick and the team of the No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet on winning the night’s race.
While I didn’t like the way the race ended, it doesn’t mean that the whole green/white/checkered idea needs to be revisited. Of course we’d all like the race to end under green but what else can we do? Just because something is lame doesn’t mean you have to change something. Sometimes you just have to live with it. You can’t make people not do something that they don’t know that they’re going to do i.e. cause wrecks.
What else did I learn from watching the Budweiser Shootout? Oh, I dunno that there’s only been one race broadcast and I’m already tired of Digger and his friends.
Earlier in the day was the ARCA race featuring Danica Patrick. I don’t know that there were any other drivers in the race besides her and there in lies the whole reason why I’m irked she’s coming to NASCAR, and it’s not even her fault. I don’t fault her. Let me repeat that so everybody doesn’t get all pissed that I’m hating on Danica. I DON’T FAULT HER. It’s the dissection of her move to NASCAR that is the most ANNOYING THING on the planet.
Apparently there’s something in the water of the NASCAR garage because everybody is either procreating or getting married these days, which is further proof that I need to get my butt to a NASCAR race ASAP!
Kyle Busch proposed to his longtime girlfriend Samantha Sarcinella at Daytona Thursday night and she said yes. She’s on Twitter now too, so go follow her. Let’s hope she posts the wedding day details!
Photo from @KyleBusch
In other news…
– Did you know that Nicole Manske married IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe this past December? I know, I’m a lamer and didn’t. Anywho, I extend my belated congratulations to the couple and follow it up with another “Did you know?” fact. Nicole — who is now going by her married name Briscoe — and Danica Patrick are both from Roscoe, IL and went to the same high school, although a few years separate them. Cool right? And now, Nicole is married to a guy that races against Danica in IndyCar. Fun stuff.
The photo below is from an interview Nicole did with Danica on ESPN last week.
– On Thursday night Jimmie Johnson hit up the Jose Cuervo Platino Penthouse and Hotel 944 Party sponsored by Jose Cuervo and GUINNESS in Miami, Florida with longtime friend Nick Lachey. Also in attendance was Nick’s brother Drew Lachey and former Miss Teen USA Vanessa Minillo (Nick’s girlfriend). The group ran into rapper Snoop Dogg as you can see for yourself in the photo below. I have to wonder what Jimmie’s rapper name would be but I can’t think of anything good. Ideas??
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, rapper Snoop Dogg and singer/TV personality Nick Lachey attend the Hotel 944 Party sponsored by Jose Cuervo and GUINNESS at Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach on February 04, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by: Vallery Jean /Getty for Jose Cuervo)
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, singer/TV personality Drew Lachey and singer/TV personality Nick Lachey attend the Hotel 944 Party sponsored by Jose Cuervo and GUINNESS at Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach on February 04, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by: Vallery Jean /Getty for Jose Cuervo)
Actress/TV personality Vanessa Minillo attends the Hotel 944 Party sponsored by Jose Cuervo and GUINNESS at Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach on February 04, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by: Getty for Jose Cuervo)
Words cannot express how psyched I am to see that Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland will be teammates again! The two are joining Front Row Motorsports, running Fords, for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season. This is superawesome news and I’m glad these guys are going to be full-time Cup drivers, with full-on organizational support, again.
From the official press release:
As previously announced, Front Row will have two more full-time Sprint Cup programs in 2010. Travis Kvapil is behind the No. 34 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion and Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Kevin Conway is driving the No. 37 ExtenZe Ford Fusion. Veteran crew chiefs Steven Lane and Peter Sospenzo have been named crew chiefs of each respective program. This is the first season Front Row Motorsports, based in Statesville, N.C., will field three full-time programs. The teams will be supported by Ford Racing and Roush/Yates Engines.
Gilliland comes to Front Row Motorsports having been a former teammate with Kvapil at Yates Racing under the Ford Racing banner.
“It’s going to be great to be back in a Ford with Roush/Yates Engines and teammates with Travis and Kevin,” said Gilliland. “Travis and I had a lot of good runs together in the past and I know that Front Row Motorsports has put a lot of efforts into their program during the off-season. I think we can surprise some people.”
I totally agree, they can kick some butt. I remember when I interviewed David he said that he and Travis get on well and that they like the same things in their cars. That’s gotta be helpful in building your teams and setups. Oh and FYI, Gilliland will be in the No. 38 again but with Taco Bell as a sponsor. Niiice.
In other news…
– On Monday night our 4-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson visited the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show and engaged in a little “Bumper Car” racing with Jimmy and actress Ashley Judd, who we all know is married to the adorable Scotsman and reigning IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti. I love Ashley, she’s so cool. I have to admit that I’m planning on seeing the Tooth Fairy because of her (maybe not in the theater, but still), although the fact that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is in it too helps. He’s friggin’ gorgeous, and his arms! Omigosh his arms. Okay, I’m getting off track. Videos of Jimmie’s appearance are below.
Also, The Late Night with Jimmy Fallon blog has a poll up right now asking you to vote on who you think is the best motorsports driver of all time. If you guys let Speed Racer win, we’ve got serious problems!
Associated Press reported that Jimmie and his wife Chandra are expecting their first child in July.
It’s funny how excited someone else’s pregnancy has made me, considering I don’t know them at all. But I’m super excited for them. This is exactly what we need, more babies on pit road! I’m not making a joke, I’m serious. After baby Edwards and baby Sadler arrive baby Johnson will be future NASCAR driver number 3 for 2010 (so far). Did someone spike the VitaminWater or what?
In other news…
– AJ Allmendinger went go-karting with Jamie McMurray down in Florida last week during the annual Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket events at Daytona International Speedway. This was the third straight year that Jamie participated in the event and AJ’s first time.
The pool of contenders for the best NASCAR commercial of 2009 was pretty small. There weren’t a lot that stood out as particularly funny and that’s why I only have 3 standouts. Perhaps another way the crap economy has affected the sport.
3.) Verizon V Cast Babies – This one is just cute all around. You think the guys are talking about actual cars but it turns out they’ve figured out how to supe up their baby daughter’s walkers.
2.) Tony Stewart School of Endorsements (Burger King) – The ad that launched Estrada Sunglasses! Very, very awesome and definitely the coolest commercial in the bunch. When people see my Estrada sunglasses they’re jealous, as they should be.
1.) Gillette Young Guns – This commercial wins top honors for one reason and one reason only: Kyle Busch on the phone interrupting Clint Bowyer while he delivers his lines. So funny. It, inexplicably, tickles me every time.
This entire post is dedicated to the photo below of me with Carl Edwards. It is quite possibly the greatest photo ever taken in the history of photography. I’m probably a wee bit biased but it was seriously THE highlight of my trip to Vegas for Champion’s Week and it happened on my first night in town.
I arrived on Wednesday in the afternoon which meant that I missed the charity roast of Jimmie Johnson that took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I got a cab from the airport and went straight over to the Wynn to pick up my media credentials and then over to Harrah’s to check-in.
Instead of starting from the beginning, I’m going to start with the end and work my way backwards.
Friday was of course the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony at the Wynn in Las Vegas. I woke up that morning with a slight hangover from the previous night’s festivities. I spent the majority of the morning willing myself to feel normal and to not vomit even though vomiting probably would have made me feel better, but whatever. I went down to Carnegie Deli and got their chicken soup, which helped tremendously.
That morning I had to go over to the Wynn (I stayed at the Mirage Thursday and Friday, and Harrah’s on Wednesday) to pick up my ticket to the banquet. Passing through the lobby I caught sight of Ron Malec, car chief of the no. 48 Lowe’s team, taking pictures with his girlfriend.
Along with the ticket to the event that told me my table number for the night, I also got to pick up the wristband to get me into the after party and a mini replica of the Sprint Cup Championship trophy. It’s as cute and cool as you’d expect, and it also doubles as a paper weight.
I had to go to work, but I did have an awesome Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbucks.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson records a tease for SportsCenter during a visit Monday to the Bristol, Conn. campus of ESPN, only hours after becoming the first driver to win four consecutive titles. (Photo Credit: Joe Faraoni/ESPN)
Ten-time World Series champion Yogi Berra talks about his dynastic days with the New York Yankees with four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson on Monday at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Two-time MLB World Series champion Johnny Damon and wife Michelle look on as Jimmie Johnson looks down from the Empire State Building’s private 103rd floor with no railing Tuesday on Jimmie Johnson Day in New York City. (Photo Credit: Empire State Building)
Kenneth J. Podziba, Sports Commissioner of New York City, proclaims Tuesday, Nov. 24 “Jimmie Johnson Day” in the city. Podziba and Johnson posted for a picture in the Empire State Building. (Photo Credit: Empire State Building)
– It was announced yesterday that Jamie McMurray will take over the No. 1 car for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing next year. I say congratulations to Mr. McMurray. I like knowing that people have jobs. This leads me to think about another driver that I think should have a ride next year and that would be David Gilliland. I think Joe Gibbs Racing should take on a 4th team and that team should be for David. It’d be awesome.
– NFL star Junior Seau has a new TV show called “Sports Jobs With Junior Seau.” Before Seau decided to come back to the NFL he filmed this original series for VERSUS about the people working behind the scenes of major sports leagues. In the December 23rd episode Seau tries his hand at being a pit crew member for IndyCar Series driver Scott Dixon. Check your local listings.
– Mike Rowe, host of the super grody show “Dirty Jobs,” will be the Grand Marshal of this weekend’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. I love Mike Rowe because he does muck around in all of the muck on his show, and he has an awesome voice. AND he used to host a local TV show here in the San Francisco Bay Area so he’s sentimental fave. I’m glad he’s doing really well.
– NASCAR Sprint Cup driver David Ragan surprised three Daytona International Speedway season ticket holders with free tickets to the 2010 Daytona 500 in February. There were pictures and I felt the need to post them.
Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig, left, joined UPS driver Robert Clopton and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 UPS Ford David Ragan to present longtime season ticket holder Ben Allen and his wife with their tickets for the 52nd annual Daytona 500 at their home Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Daytona International Speedway)
Longtime season ticket holder Mike Bruno Jr., right, poses with his tickets to Feb. 14′s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 and driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford, David Ragan on Tuesday as Ragan hand-delivered him tickets for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 on Feb. 14, 2010. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Daytona International Speedway)
When he opened his front door, longtime Daytona International Speedway season ticket holders Jim Barron and his wife Char were in for a surprise — NASCAR Sprint Cup series driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford, David Ragan. Ragan, who stopped in Daytona Beach before heading down to Homestead-Miami Speedway for this weekend’s final races of the season, presented tickets to Barron for the 52nd annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 14, 2010. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Daytona International Speedway)
Sunday’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix International Raceway was boring and I’m not saying that because Jimmie Johnson won. I’m saying it because it was boring, and the drama that involved Dale Earnhardt Jr. did not help things, like, at all.
Or maybe I thought it was boring because I was too caught up in trying on the dress I bought for the Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony. On Saturday, I went dress shopping with my mom and missed all of the Denny Hamlin/Brad Keselowski hullabaloo from the Nationwide race. On Sunday, I bought my dress, after starting with 10 contenders I found “the one” half an hour before the race started, and I really, really like it. I have to be honest, until I leave for Vegas this is all I’m going to be thinking about. I’m over Jimmie, and I’ve made peace with Dale’s season (Is it 2010 yet??!). I’m all about Champion’s Week; I’m counting down the days!
In other news…
– It’s safe to search the site again. There were issues with the Google Custom Search getting hijacked, but I’ve updated the code and the coast is clear.
And now, Phoenix photo fun time after the jump!
I’m going to the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway next weekend. I’m leaving home on Thursday to drive down to La La Land. I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m not sure what to expect. I love that about going to races; I always wonder in advance what’s going to happen even though that’s impossible to know.
So here’s some news as it relates to the races at Fontana. Audrina Patridge of MTV’s “The Hills” fame will be the honorary starter of the Pepsi 500. While I am not a fan of people who become famous for just being themselves, I think Audrina is trying to be a real actress now, so I’ll give her that.
Kelly Osbourne, daughter of Ozzie & Sharon Osbourne, will be the honorary starter of the Copart 300, the Nationwide Series race. Kelly is currently a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars,” where she already managed to make her mom cry during her first dance because she looked like “lady.” It was a really cute moment. I just hope she brings Ozzie with her because it would be soo cool to see Ozzie Osbourne at a NASCAR race.
Oh and “Honorary Starter” means that they get to wave the green flag to start the race, in case that wasn’t clear.
Audrina Patridge (left) and Kelly Osbourne (right)
(Kelly Osbourne photo credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC)
ESPN on ABC’s Countdown pre-race show could have been oh, I dunno, about 45 minutes shorter than its scheduled full hour. I am an ESPN fan, truly, but I can’t take the pre-show anymore. The only useful things are the 5 second driver interviews and that’s about it.
There are no features, no special interviews, nothing. Why does it need to be an hour? I don’t wanna see a recap of the last race I saw it already. And if I didn’t see it on TV I caught up on it online. So there’s no need to rehash the whole thing. And please, for the love of God, stop asking Rusty Wallace his opinion on who can win the Championship. I’m sure he’s a very nice man, and obviously he has a lot of NASCAR knowledge but sometimes I don’t know where he’s coming from.
So I have to thank Andrew Giangola, he’s the Business Communications Director for NASCAR and he was at the races in Richmond this weekend. He sent me the awesome photos of Tom Cruise that I used in my last post and he sent me these super great pics of the band All-American Rejects performing before the start of the Chevy Rock & Roll 400.
Andrew got to meet the guys in AAR and told me about it which left me completely jealous. I think the band’s lead singer, Tyson Ritter, is a super cutie and we’re totally gonna get married he just doesn’t know it yet. I’m sure once he finds out he’ll be fine.
Anywhooo, I don’t think these photos need much more of an intro. Can AAR make a trip to the Pepsi 500 in October? Yes? Please? Maybe?
Double-platinum recording artists The All-American Rejects provided pre-race entertainment for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(photo credit: Andrew Giangola)
(photo credit: Andrew Giangola)
Why the heck has he been at so many races this year? It’s common knowledge that Tom Cruise starred in the 1990 film Days of Thunder which was set in the world of stock car racing. Tom and various members of his family have been seen at NASCAR races a lot this year. He was in Daytona for the 500, and I spied his son, Connor, tagging along with Rick Hendrick at the Auto Club 500. Since then Tom, his wife Katie Holmes & their daughter Suri were at Infineon, and now this past weekend at Richmond Tom, Connor and Tom’s mom, Mary, were on hand.
Maybe it’s just because he narrated the Hendrick Motorsports documentary Together: The Hendrick Motorsports Story, which airs on October 11 on ABC before the start of the Pepsi 500. Maybe this is some sort of subliminal promotion for the documentary since a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the DVD will benefit the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The two races at Atlanta last weekend or as I like to call them “The Two Races Dale Earnhardt Jr. Had an Actual Chance of Winning,” were good stuff. What would have made them great of course would have been if Dale Jr. had gone and actually won one of them. But it was not to be.
This might be mean but my favorite part of the race came when Kurt Busch spun out, hitting Reed Sorenson in the process and had to take his Miller Lite Dodge to the garage. Luckily they had the camera on him when he got out of his car and pounded its roof. He was highly pissed and it was television magic.
Poor Juan Pablo Montoya, the win was in his sights, it was right there and then he’s caught speeding on pit road by barely anything and it’s all over. No win for you Juan Pablo!
The rule is what it is, there’s nothing to dispute. Although I have to think there’s gotta be a way to make the process that drivers go through to set their pit road speed for each race better than what it is today. Pit road speed varies at each race track and drivers mark the pit road speed in their cars before the start of the race based on the speed the pace car sets. It seems like that leaves everyone open to a lot of room for error. It just seems like technology-wise there’s gotta be a way to make that more precise.
Since I never wrote up my thoughts on the Coke Zero 400 last week I’m doing a double-double this weekend and including them with my write up of last night’s LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland.
First the Coke Zero 400, I felt that Tony Stewart did nothing wrong to Kyle Busch in the last lap. Apparently when Kyle ends up wrecked it’s whiney time, but when he does it to someone else he’s just racing. Whatever, dude. I do not understand Kyle’s logic, seriously.
With Tony’s win, Burger King definitely got their money’s worth for their sponsorship of his No. 14 right out of the gate. If they don’t do more next year, I think that would be a mistake. But I still think the BK King is creepy.
Now, I should say that I wasn’t all that thrilled that Tony won. I really wanted Denny Hamlin to win, and this weekend too. I’ve never been a Denny fan but he’s really growing on me. I’m not sure why. Well, maybe it had to do with seeing his episode of Cribs on CMT awhile back. He had this piece of paper in his bathroom that read: “I Can, I Will.” I guess it struck a cord with me that he even thought enough to post an affirmation like that, and then to let it be filmed. So I want the guy to win something, that and I want to hang out on the little beach he has in his backyard. It just seemed so relaxing.
Okay, so finally I’m telling you about my Sunday at last weekend’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway.
Saturday night I came home with a mighty impressive suntan/sunburn and you would think that would lead me to make sure I bring a hat and a put sunscreen on the next day, but that didn’t happen. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think to do either of those things. I’ve been to many races and I’ve never had a sunburn like the one I’m still dealing with to this day. I’ve been wearing a hat for the majority of the week to cover up my peeling forehead. Was that TMI (too much information)?
For the last few weeks I’ve been watching the races with the DirecTV HotPass driver channels. As I’ve said before it’s an awesome feature and I like it a lot. I’d love it if I could mute the commentary and just listen to in-car audio and vice versa, but whatever.
I’ve been meaning to talk about the gloves Dale Earnhardt Jr. wears while driving the No. 88. They’re black with a skeleton print. Every time I see them I think of the Cobra Kai gang from “The Karate Kid” movie. I am a child of the 80′s after all. Of course I rooted for Daniel-san to kick the butt of the evil jerks from the rival dojo but I couldn’t help but think that the leader of the Cobra Kai, Johnny, was super hot. Girls always like the bad guy, what can I say? Hehe. I’d also like to note that the actor who played Johnny is still a hottie to this very day (look up William Zabka).
Anyway, now you know the thoughts that run through my mind when I see Dale’s gloves. I have no idea where his inspiration for said gloves came from but I really dig ‘em. hehe. I wonder if Dale could get Mr. Miyagi to work with him this year.
Congratulations to Mark Martin for winning the Life Lock 400 at Michigan International Speedway! He and his team did an excellent job of being in the exactly the right place at exactly the right time. It’s all about being there at the end to take advantage of any and all opportunities that might come your way.
I don’t understand why TNT cut their coverage short when they had like 20 more minutes left to broadcast. Post-race interviews are always my favorite. Jimmie Johnson seemed a little ticked after the race. That was cool. I would pay money to see Jimmie fight with someone. Not physically but just have a really heated argument. It’d be fun. He’s always so relaxed and cool. Seeing him highly irritated would be refreshing.
Photos after the jump!!
When Tony Stewart announced his plans to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and owner I was skeptical. I had no idea what would happen but I can tell you that I definitely wasn’t thinking he would be leading in the points standings and winning races. Yea, I thought things would be “interesting” which is code for “not winning.” I didn’t think he would stink up the place but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to contend for the Championship like he is now.
His success is great though. I’m happy that Tony is leading and that he won this weekend’s race at Pocono. I know I’ve talked smack about Tony in the past, and I totally stand by it, but there’s something about him that I do like. I couldn’t tell you what it is right now but there’s something.
And because I’m a sucker for emotional things I love, love, loved it when TNT showed Tony’s dad in the pits. I loved seeing him wipe away tears as he watched his son drive into Victory Lane for the first time as a driver/owner. That’s a very sweet moment and those are the things that add that personal, sentimental touch to this sometimes impersonal, corporate sponsorship driven sport.
On Saturday I watched the Nationwide race at Nashville. No, I’m not going to talk about Kyle Busch’s ill-conceived plan for breaking up the race’s trophy into pieces to share with his team. (I basically agree with what Kyle Petty said about it during Sunday’s broadcast.) I want to talk about Brad Keselowski. Is it just me or does Brad seem a lot more mature and manly this year? He seems a lot less goofy (and I mean that in a really nice way!) and more sure of himself. Does winning a race make your voice change? Hmm, if so, maybe there’s hope for Joey Logano.
I kid, I kid. Photos after the jump!
Some things I think you should know:
– Congratulations to ESPN/ABC pit reporter Brienne Pedigo and her husband, actor Tyler Christopher of ABC’s General Hospital. The couple is expecting their first child in October! You might have already known that but it’s the first I’d heard of it. Anywhoo, In an effort to help Brienne out in her job as her pregnancy progresses ESPN thought of everything:
To assist her in performing her duties through ABC’s five-race schedule of IndyCar Series events, ESPN worked with manufacturer Impact to produce a special firesuit for her to wear as she works the pits during the races. The suit is equipped with a stretch gusset in the back so that it can be expanded as her pregnancy progresses.
Look for Brienne tomorrow during ABC’s coverage of the Indy 500. Okay, to give you more information than you really need, Tyler Christoper plays Nikolas Cassadine on General Hospital and before he married Brienne, he was married to Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria who is now married to professional basketball player Tony Parker. Whew.
– World champion gymnast and Dancing With The Stars winner Shawn Johnson will be the Honorary Race Official for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway tomorrow. She’s already started the weekend off by riding along with Coca-Cola Racing Family member Kyle Petty. It looks like Shawn was able to show Kyle some dance moves. I think that if Carl Edwards wins the race tomorrow Shawn should run out to his car and do a back flip with him.
– Eddie Bell, a firefighter and small business owner from Tulsa, Oklahoma is the winner of the Office Depot “At The Speed of Smart” sweepstakes. As a result of his win Eddie had the awesome the opportunity to go on a $14,000 shopping spree with none other than the 2009 All-Star Race winner Tony Stewart. From the looks of things Eddie and Tony got on really well. Eddie will also receive a VIP race experience for the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend.
“I am so excited about being the Office Depot ‘At The Speed of Smart’ sweepstakes winner,” said Bell, a lifelong NASCAR® fan who deems himself the “motor-head” of his family. “In my role as district fire chief and as a small business owner of a residential construction company, having a store that carries everything from paper clips to laptop computers is very convenient. I found out about the sweepstakes during one of my weekly trips to Office Depot, and the fact that Tony Stewart is my favorite NASCAR® driver makes winning this sweepstakes very special.”
“I was absolutely thrilled to help Eddie do some damage behind the wheel of an Office Depot shopping cart,” Stewart said. “As someone who gives back to his community every day through his job as a firefighter, Eddie is a very deserving winner and I think he’s going to have a great race weekend experience.”
Bell, who has been a firefighter in Tulsa for the past 30 years, regularly watches NASCAR® race broadcasts at home but this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 (Sunday, May 24, 5 p.m. EST, FOX) will be only the second NASCAR® race he has attended in person. During the race weekend, Bell will also receive a special on-track ride-a-long experience with Stewart in the driver’s seat.
– And since I’m already talking about Tony, did you know that you can win the firesuit he wore for the All-Star Race last weekend? As I write this the auction ends in less than 19 hours. 100% of the proceeds raised from the auction will benefit Victory Junction through The NASCAR Foundation. What I want to know is: Do they clean the firesuit and then have Tony sign it? Or is it better to have it just used and not cleaned?? I’m not sure which is better. I’m thinking if you’re like a hardcore fan you would want it as is, but that might be kinda grody. If anyone knows for sure how it’s delivered I’m curious about the details.
– For the record, the only person I want to see win the Indy 500 tomorrow is Marco Andretti. It would be soooooooooo friggin’ cool! He came so close in 2006 and I’m a big fan of family stories. I wanna see grown men cry!
Wanna know what my reaction was to the end of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway?
Jaw. On. Floor.
I couldn’t believe it. Here I was thinking that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was going to win it and then Brad Keselowski comes from outta nowhere — after getting in the way all day — and takes it.
Only seven laps in we got a “Big One” that took out guys that I like, including Bowyer and Gilliland, which was highly disappointing. But I still had Dale and the hope that he had read my post and had taken it to heart. Ya never know. Plus well, Talladega is a really good track for him so I’m sure it had everything to do with that and nothing to do with me, but because he left there with a top-three finish (which is what I asked for) I like to think it was mostly me.
Anyway, I congratulate Brad on his first Sprint Cup win.
I’m so glad that Carl Edwards is A-OK and that his crash only looked absolutely horrible and didn’t result in anyone’s death. Actually because of that insane fly through the air Carl will be a guest on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” that airs tomorrow (Wednesday, April 29th, check your local listings).
Apparently Ellen thinks that Carl should take it easy from now on and gives him a new ride, a “Cruzin Cooler”, to be exact. It’s a cooler on wheels. Niiice.
I don’t know the answer to the safety questions surrounding Talladega. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t like watching cars run 3 or 4 wide. It’s pretty cool. And yes, seeing the “The Big One” happen is interesting to me. It’s also crazy to see two cars hook-up and push each other past the entire field. It’s so unique and I like it. Whatever NASCAR needs to do to make it so that people don’t get themselves into the situations that Carl and Matt Kenseth found themselves in this past weekend they should do, but hopefully that doesn’t involve taking the banking away.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left), driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet, congratulates Brad Keselowski (right), driver of the No. 09 Miccosukee Chevrolet, in Victory Lane on his first Sprint Cup Series win at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marcos Ambrose (right), driver of the No. 47 Little Debbie/Kingsford/Clorox Toyota talks with team co-owner Brad Daugherty (left) during Friday’s first practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates his first NASCAR national racing series win Saturday in Victory Lane after capturing the checkered flag at the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice Chevrolet, waves to the fans following driver introductions and before the start of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Mike Skinner and his No. 5 Bad Boy Mowers Toyota team celebrate winning the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway. The win was Skinner’s first of the season and the first for the team since becoming Randy Moss Motorsports last summer. (Photo Credit: Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet chats with former teammate Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota in the garage during Friday’s practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Earlier in the day, Stewart held a news conference about the 2009 Prelude to the Dream. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
How to make me cry at the end of a race:
1.) Be a respected driver and a generally nice guy.
2.) Be the oldest man to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race since 1993.
3.) Climb out of your car and head straight to your crew chief, a man that has idolized you since he was a kid, and thank him for getting you to Victory Lane after 4 winless years.
4.) Look into the television camera and thank your wife for letting you go racing again after you said you’d retire.
5.) Greet all of the drivers and crew members who come over to Victory Lane to congratulate you with a warm smile.
Yes, Mark Martin knows how to make me cry. I wasn’t bawling but I did get weepy. It was a special moment and I am so incredibly happy that I got to see it. Congratulations to the No. 5 Car Quest Kellogg Chevolet team for putting on an awesome show last night.
AJ Allmendinger shares a moment with team owner Richard Petty after the team announced Allmendinger has signed a contract to remain at Richard Petty Motorsports through the end of 2010. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Crew members for Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Ford celebrate winning the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Subway Fresh Fit 500 Grand Marshall Michael Strahan and Carl Edwards share a laugh in the media center before the race. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
The cacti always look like they’re flipping me off.
Track conditions changed drastically as the sun set and the final portion of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway was run under the lights. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Congratulations to Jeff Gordon for winning the Samsung 500 last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway!
It was exactly what I was waiting for and I’m so glad he’s got a win under him to break that insanely long losing streak he was on. The curious thing is that I think Jeff’s daughter Ella, who will turn two this June, is more popular than he is these days. What did all the fans (okay, maybe it was just the women) want to see when he got into victory lane? Ella of course. What did we get? No Ella! What is up with that? So now Jeff has to win again with Ella on hand so that we’ll all get to see her in victory lane with her daddy. I might collapse from the insane cuteness of it all but it’d be worth it.
During the race I listened to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s radio using NASCAR.com’s TrackPass RaceView. I have to admit that I did doze off at one point, and then awoke to hear Dale saying something about how the orange Gatorade gets really sweet as the race wears on and he thinks they should add more water to it. To which I said to myself “What?”
In other news…
– My guest post on the NASCAR This Week site is up and you should definitely check it out. They chose a bunch of NASCAR bloggers to fill in for Monte Dutton while he was off this week on furlough.
NASCAR driver Ryan Newman (left) fishes with country music artist Josh Turner during Aaron’s Fish & Fun at the Races at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers talks about his No. 83 Red Bull Toyota with New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush before Sunday’s Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The complete Foreigner set list from someone who was actually there:
Cold As Ice
Feels Like The First Time
Juke Box Hero
I Want To Know What Love Is
Lead vocalist Kelly Hansen of the band Foreigner performs during the AMDRO Fire Ant Bait Pre-Race Show prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
I’m surprised Jimmie Johnson didn’t come over with one of his Kobalt tools and try to finish the job for Jeff.
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, adds his name to the Wall of Champions after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch (R), driver of the #18 Snickers Toyota, poses with his girlfriend Samantha Sarcinella in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series O’Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Ya know, like actual racing with passing and everything.
I know it’s late to be writing about the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville but I had some things to say, and some photos to post, so better late than never right?
– Jimmie Johnson’s win on Sunday was his first for the season but it didn’t feel like that to me. It felt like I was watching a continuation of the 2008 season and I didn’t like that. It’s just boring; I want someone else to win except the same freaking handful of people.
– The race itself was very good. There was passing and the distinct possibility that somebody other than Jimmie could have won it. So I did appreciate that aspect of it. Denny Hamlin is growing on me.
– As the cameras cut to various people during the invocation and the singing of the National Anthem I remember thinking to myself “Who is that person hanging on to Jeff Gordon? Why is she… Oh, wait, that’s Ingrid!” Jeff’s wife, Ingrid, cut her hair like really, really short and I can’t say I approve of it. Not that it’s any of my business, she’s a beautiful girl but I liked it better long.
– I would like to thank Fox Sports for not showing another Digger & Friends episode this week. I am fine with Digger as a graphic element to showcase their embedded-in-the-ground camera but everything else is incredibly pointless. If I wanted to watch cartoons I’d watch the Cartoon Network, not a NASCAR race.
– Something that has nothing to do with racing, I got the new Keith Urban CD “Defying Gravity” this week and it is so freaking good! Although Keith did come up with the Digger theme song I am choosing to overlook that serious infraction because this man has put together some awesome music that I’m sure I’ll be listening to over and over for days and months to come. If I could marry a song right now it’d be “‘Til Summer Comes Around.”
Tony Stewart signs an autograph for a fan prior to climbing into his car for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Country music star Trace Adkins smiles in the flagstand before waving the green flag to start the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Joey Logano signs autographs for two fans while waiting out a rain delay at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
1.) His eyes are actually blue, but I love this photo ’cause it’s so color coordinated.
2.) With his head tilted to the side like that I imagine him thinking to himself “Why are you asking me the same damn questions over and over??”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks with media about meetings he had during the week with team owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(L-R): Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Jeff Gordon discuss their Martinsville driving styles while waiting for the rain to subside. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
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)
Some things you should know:
– Clint Bowyer will appear on the March 24th episode of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” Isn’t it interesting that the guy that is sponsored by Hamburger Helper is guest starring on a non-reality-reality weight-loss game show? I don’t remember HH being billed as the healthiest thing you could make for dinner.
– Carl Edwards was in New York this week to film a commercial for Claritin. During the shoot he was interviewed by Beth Stern (radio host Howard Stern’s wife) for a segment on the celebrity news TV show “Extra.” Is anyone else bored by the fact that Carl and other drivers are so boring when they talk about stuff like doing commercials? It should be fun right? But like really fun, not implied fun. It’s the same line over and over with them, “It’s really kind of fun.” Wow, definitely sounds like it. I guess I believe you? I dunno.
– Infineon Raceway gave $5,000 to the North Vallejo Little League on Thursday. Jerks broke into the league’s concessions and storage building and stole all of the uniforms, equipment and $600 worth of candy last week. The nutjobs also decided to break computers and trophies and ransack the building before leaving. Vallejo, where this burglary occurred, is the hometown of Jeff Gordon. The good news is that so far the league has received more than $13,000 from San Francisco Bay Area companies and organizations like the San Francisco Police Officers Associations and the Oakland A’s. “With these checks we really should be able to get back to business,” said the league’s President Tony Hodges. “I feel grateful. We are in a bankrupt city in a disadvantaged area. I appreciate everything that everyone has done for us to help these disadvantaged kids.”
– Jeff Burton made an appearance on the soap opera “General Hospital” and all I really want to know is if he asked them why no one ever says “Bye” before hanging up the phone. I mean, really, what’s up with that?
– Tony Stewart will be meeting fans and signing autographs as a part of the 5th Annual “Mark Martin Fan Appreciation Days” event in Batesville, Arkansas on Thursday, April 9th from 3 to 5pm CST. For more information go to http://www.markmartinfordmercury.com
– Some news for the IndyCar fans out there: Versus will air more than 130 hours of IndyCar Series coverage throughout the season with a minimum of seven hours each week the network airs a race, the most ever during a race week.
“IndyCar fans have been asking for significantly more coverage of the sport and with our new partnership with VERSUS we have responded to our fans in a way that we think they will love,” said Charlie Morgan, president and chief operating officer for IMS Productions. “With the new VERSUS schedule it will be a weekend of IndyCar programming with Qualifying coverage, expanded race day coverage, and race encores. With so many great drivers, teams and sponsors, the time is right for expanded programming.”
The network will air 12 live IndyCar Series events in 2009 beginning with live coverage of the season-opener from St. Petersburg on April 5. Each of VERSUS’ race telecasts will last a minimum of three hours and will include extended pre-race coverage. VERSUS will also air one-hour preview shows at 6 p.m. ET the day before each race which will feature qualification highlights and all of the relevant IndyCar Series stories of that weekend.
And since I’m on the topic of IndyCar I have this message to send out to all of you: If anyone is interested in paying for me to fly down to Long Beach for the 35th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race drop me an email will ya? I would die for the chance to hang out with Keanu Reeves and Luke Wilson and give them the opportunity to realize that I am their future wife. So really you’d be doing them a favor as well.
It seriously hurts my heart when I write something and then in a moment of complete insanity I lose everything I’ve just written because my computer crashes. That’s just what happened to me, so I apologize if this post sucks.
I finally have some time to write up my thoughts from last weekend’s races at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
Saturday was pretty uneventful, so I’m skipping that and getting into Sunday.
I hovered outside the drivers meeting room to get photos. While doing that I spotted Cody, the PR guy for Kyle Busch. I introduced myself to him not to ask him if I could interview Kyle, but to ask him if he knew that he had fans. Now you’re probably wondering how a PR guy can have his own set of fans but it’s totally possible. Anytime you see Kyle on TV walking through the garage to things like driver intros or to his appearances Cody is always by his side. Plus he’s a young guy who happens to be pretty good looking. So it’s understandable that there would be people out there, people who asked me to ask him if he has a Twitter page. Cody said that he didn’t know that he had fans and that he doesn’t have an account with Twitter (at least as of Sunday).
Later on I headed out to the grass area for driver introductions. The red carpet was rolled out once again for all of the drivers and it was a complete mob scene with fans jockeying for position along the roped off area. At that point I realized that trying to get any kind of photo would be futile so I stood back from it all.
Earlier in the day during one of my cupcake trips over to the FanZone I caught a portion of a performance by the hard rock band Rev Theory. I watched them do a couple songs and I thought they were great. While I was waiting for driver introductions to begin I spied the guys from Rev Theory walking through the grass. I told them that I’d seen them earlier and that they were really good. Introductions were made and I chatted with the drummer Dave and their personal assistant/handler guy Nice (that’s his nickname) about the virtues of Twitter. They were really nice guys and were super fun to talk to. I love band dudes.
After driver intros I played the pit road version of musical chairs. What you do is you start walking and then stop when you hear the PA announcer say “Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise…” I ended up standing behind the pit crew for the #88.
When I turned around after the flyover, which I love to death by the way, I realized I had been standing in front and to the left of Carl Edwards, his wife Kate and all of the guys from Band From TV.
My race day ritual, which I don’t think I’ve ever talked about before, is to stand behind the pits with a perfect view of the start/finish line for the race start, and
then at the end of the race with about 10 laps to go. It’s a compromise between actuallyseeing the race right in front of me and then going back to the media center to watch it through a TV screen.
So the sweetest, most adorable moment of the day was during the post-race press conference with the top-3 race finishers. Before Jeff Gordon arrived (he finished second) his wife Ingrid walked in carrying their daughter Ella. I think I’ve said it like a million times but I’ll say it again she is so freaking cute! When Jeff walked in he went over to Ella, picked her up and gave her a kiss. So cute! Then when Jeff went up to the stage and sat down Ella kept saying “da da” and pointed at him. Cute overload!
I was sad that Jeff didn’t win the race; he was so close to ending his losing streak. But I believe he will be in victory lane very soon because in that press conference he exuded passion, excitement and positivity about his race team. He said that they were head and shoulders above where they were last year. I truly hope that all of that optimism will pay off for him.
I love this photo.
Kasey Kahne’s #9 Budweiser Dodge on pit road before the start of the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Brian Vickers waits to be interviewed by SPEED at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (Photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Billy Ray Cyrus at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Saturday, February 21, 2009. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
OK, this is Michael Waltrip. I took this photo because I saw the big purple stain on his back pocket and thought it was curious. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The band Rev Theory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (Photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I think this UPS Truck golf cart is the coolest thing. I wanted to drive it! (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The Brian Vickers/Dale Earnhardt Jr. incident has been and will continue to be well documented by others so I’m not even going to get into it. Well I will say this; I don’t think that Dale intended to spin Brian out. I think it was an accident and I’m not just saying that because I like Dale. I actually like both of them. I just don’t think Dale would do that knowing there’s an entire field of cars behind him that could be involved. He’s always been pretty honest about his on-track exploits so whatevah.
My Daytona highlights:
– FOX NASCAR racing analysts Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip laugh every time the Digger graphic comes up. I find it funny that they find it so funny.
– All of the NASCAR kids and babies on pit road during the invocation and National Anthem made my entire reproductive system want to explode from their cuteness. How adorable was Macey Waltrip helping her dad get settled into his car?
– Julianne Hough was supposed to sing the National Anthem but she came down with the flu and couldn’t travel. In her place they were able to secure singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw who gave the most pitiful anthem performance ever. I like Gavin DeGraw in general but this was definitely not one of his best performances.
– Keith Urban performed a lot on Sunday. He performed acoustically at a press conference for the media (lucky nerds!) and then for everyone else with his full band behind him before the start of the race. Apparently Keith brought his wife, a little known Australian actress named Nicole Kidman, with him. If that doesn’t blow your mind enough Nicole’s ex-husband Tom Cruise was on hand to lead the field to the green flag in the pace car. I guess we should just call it a Days of Thunder reunion party. Side note: I have yet to watch Days of Thunder all the way through, but I have been on the ride at Great America.
Overall the Daytona 500 was a big ol’ anticlimactic mess for me. I mean, Matt Kenseth is cool and all but races that end with a red flag are just no good. It left me feeling gypped and bored with leftover 5-layer dip.
Oh, one more thing, speaking of Mr. Kenseth he’ll be in San Francisco this Wednesday for all of you Bay Area NASCAR fans:
Fans can see the winner of Sunday’s Daytona 500 this Wednesday at Willie Mays Plaza at AT&T Park at 12:30 p.m. during a fan rally and press conference. Matt Kenseth will be on-hand after taking a Victory Tour through the Streets of San Francisco on a motorized cable car. This marks the first time a Daytona 500 winner has visited SF. The day signals the Official Countdown to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR race at Infineon Raceway in June.
Photo fun time!
Some might say Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, may have had a couple of good luck charms Thursday at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel 1. Wife Ingrid Vandebosch and daughter Ella Sophia hang out with the four-time NASCAR champion the grid prior to the race at Daytona International Speedway that he won. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Don’t tap on the glass, they hate that.
Three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon signs autographs for fans during the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice on Saturday for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Country star Keith Urban performs a pre-race concert prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth celebrates winning the 51st running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Kenseth became the 33rd different driver to win “The Great American Race.” (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Steve and Christine Deuker meet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman (center) on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. The Deukers honored Newman and their son, who passed away in 2001, by buying a brick from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tom Cruise climbs into the pace car for some practice laps around Daytona International Speedway. Cruise led the Daytona 500 to the green flag in the pace car. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart reads a Valentine’s Day card before getting into his car for the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice for the Daytona 500 on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Last Thursday night NASCAR drivers, a smattering of celebrities and regular people gathered at Marquee, a super hot nightclub in New York City, to celebrate NASCAR Sprint Cup Champions Week.
My only note about this soiree is that I think that NASCAR should seriously ponder moving the Champions Week festivities to different locations each year, preferably Las Vegas, San Francisco or Los Angeles as I am close to all of those areas.
The celebs in attendance ranged from Rikki Lake to that one guy who was on Ally McBeal who loved women with “wattles” to Samantha Ronson and non-lesbian-lesbian Lindsay Lohan.
Ingrid Vandebosch (Jeff Gordon’s wife)
Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo (left) and Miss Sprint Cup Anne-Marie Rhodes (right)
Kyle Busch and his girlfriend Samantha Sarcinella
Jimmie and Chandra Johnson
Greg and Nicole Biffle
I finally sat down and watched the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards ceremony and I have come up with a list of all of the things that I want in an awards ceremony broadcast. Here’s the list in no particular order:
1.) Speeches: All I want to see are the speeches. I do not want to watch a comedy routine or a popular musical artist perform (even though I am a Matchbox 20 fan). I have Comedy Central and MTV for those things. I just want to hear and see the top ten drivers give their congrats to the Champion, recite the names of their sponsors and thank the fans. Boom, done. I have no idea what Jimmie Johnson said in his speech because my Tivo cut off right as the Sprint CEO was introducing him. Oops.
2.) Who brought who: I want to now who the single drivers & crew members brought as their dates. More specifically I wanna know who that woman was who showed up with Chad Knaus. What happened to his apparently ex-fiancee Bruna Oliveira?
3.) Who wore what: I want more than 3 second shots of the women from the neck up. I want full-length shots of their gowns. You know they put a lot of thought into what they were going to wear and it’s a shame for us to not get the chance to see them.
So that’s all I’ve got and that’s all I want. NASCAR should take note for next year.
I have to give huge props to Rick Hendrick for joking about Kyle Busch acting like he’s 18 sometimes, ah that was priceless, best moment of the night.
And to all of the drivers who thanked the fans, you’re welcome.
When they cut to a shot of Tom Cruise during the show I thought my head was going to explode. It just seemed so… random.
Actor Tom Cruise watches the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony while sitting at Jeff Gordon’s table Friday night at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I usually dig what Chandra wears but I didn’t like this pink, fluffy thing; it’s not doing anything good for her body. I’m just sayin’.
2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson with his wife Chandra enter the Waldorf=Astoria for Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City. (Photo Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, and his wife Ingrid Vandebosch (L), hit the yellow carpet at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria on Friday in New York City. (Photo Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Champion crew chief Chad Knaus escorts his guest Lisa Rockelmann at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. (Photo Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Rob Thomas, Paul Doucette, Brian Yaleand and Kyle Cook of the rock band Matchbox Twenty arrive at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria on in New York City. (Photo Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images for NASCAR)
This was such a great year for The Fast and the Fabulous. When I look back at the 2008 NASCAR racing season I smile, grin and laugh. I have had so much fun and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want more! But before 2009 arrives I thought it would be fun to remember the highlights of the year that was:
– Pole Position: There was no way I would have had access to all of the opportunities that came my way this year without my association with NASCAR Pole Position magazine. They really started my year off right and I am so thankful that they asked me to be a part of their publication.
– Flying solo: In attending five races in three different states this year I set a new personal record for myself. This fact alone is just super cool. I’m so proud of myself for following my passion and not caring that I did all of this traveling on my own. To be honest traveling alone is really fun, you always get to do the stuff that you want to and you never have to compromise.
– The interviews: The interviews I obtained this year were truly monumental for this blog. If there had been only one I would have said the same thing. Having the opportunity to ask all of these great people questions was something I will not forget. It’s not like I’m planning to not do interviews anymore, but you never forget your firsts! So here’s a special thank you to Michelle Gilliland, David Gilliland, Travis Kvapil, Paul Menard, Liz Clarke, Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty. Here’s a bit of insider info, I interviewed Shana Mayfield (Jeremy Mayfield’s wife) earlier this year but I shelved the transcription of our conversation, not for any particular reason. She was super nice and very cool. I’m planning on posting the interview eventually. If there’s one thing I learned this year it’s that long conversations equal a super long transcription process.
– Clint Bowyer: He is the subject the greatest photo I have ever taken during a race weekend. As you can see in the photo to the right that is Mr. Bowyer look straight at me like I’m an alien. I love this photo because his expression is priceless. It was one of many cool moments I had during my time at the Chicagoland Speedway in July.
– Carl Edwards: It was a big year for Carl; he got engaged, brawled with Kevin Harvick and gunned for not one but two Championship titles. He came up short on the Championship front but it’s no small feat to place second in two series at the same time. My teensy, weensy encounters, at Chicagoland and the Auto Club Speedway, with Mr. Edwards were perfect examples of what a great ambassador for the sport of NASCAR he is and display his insanely likeable persona.
– Dale Earnhardt Jr.: I think my post, “fate finally throws me a bone,” is my favorite one for the year. It summed up a lot of feelings and explains where I’m coming from to anyone who doesn’t know me personally. The experience itself was definitely the highlight of my year. I’m hoping for 2009 to bring more experiences like that one, for sure.
– Celebrity: I saw a lot of stars and a couple so-called celebrities this year. I’m still highly pissed and irritated that Heidi & Spencer from MTV’s The Hills were at the Pepsi 500. Gag me. On the other side of the celeb spectrum, ya know the side where people actually ARE celebrities for having actual talent; I was star struck when I was in the same place as actor, and major hottie, Brendan Fraser. I think they should have him as the Grand Marshal of at least one race per year. It’s funny though, no matter what actor, musician or TV personality showed up at the races I was always much more interested in the NASCAR drivers.
– What I sound like: Thanks to invites from a couple really cool radio shows you got the chance to hear me talk about NASCAR. I had such a great time spending time On Pit Row with Steve and Charlie and hanging out in the Treehouse Fort with Matt and Tuffy.
– Twitter racing: When I watched races on my TV at home I kept my cell phone by my side at all times, not because I was waiting for the phone to ring or needed to check my email, nope I kept it with me so I could post Tweets about the race as it was happening. It became such a fun thing to exchange opinions, impressions and laughs with my fellow NASCAR fans. I invite you to follow me, so you can be in on the conversations next year!
– It’s the life: I think I’ve talked before about moments where you say to yourself “how did I get here?” Well I asked myself that question about 50 times when I toured the ESPN mobile production studios while I was at Chicagoland Speedway. I learned a lot, it takes a lot of work to put a broadcast together and rear springs are way heavier than I’d thought.
There’s been a lot of press leading up to today regarding wait times and long lines for voting. Here’s a tip for you, move to the suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area. I went to my polling place, which is right behind my apartment building, and there was no line and the only thing that took a long time was remembering how I wanted to vote on all of the propositions.
Anyway, on to more relevant things like Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.
First, I would like to thank Carl Edwards for restoring a little bit of drama to The Chase. I loved the fact that his team took a gamble on their fuel mileage and came out on top. Even if it didn’t work it still would have been cool. What did they have to lose anyway? All in all it was a great call and it made a pretty much boring race exciting in the end.
Ok, so there was that incident between David Gilliland and Juan Pablo Montoya. So David spun Juan out and ended up wrecking both of their cars. NASCAR parked David and I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen NASCAR take such swift and decisive action with someone before. I mean, I know they’ve done stuff like that before but I guess I was never around to see them park somebody during a race. What David did wasn’t good but I still like him. Hehe. I want that guy to win and I want him to get more attention but not from stuff like that.
His actions impacted the race and The Chase in the grand scheme of things, but I think that’s what NASCAR is all about. You have to be strong enough to weather the race, and your fellow racers, to be a champion. As much as racing is about being prepared, talented and having great equipment, it’s also about fate and luck. Kyle Busch didn’t all of a sudden become a big loser and forget how to drive a racecar once The Chase started, he just ran into some serious bad luck. And that’s what I love about the sport, there’s so much that is left to chance.
In other news…
– If you’re interested in donating directly to the Sam Ard Fund, go to his website for more information on where to send your check. If you haven’t already, read this great article by Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press regarding the impact of Kyle Busch’s $100,000 donation to the Ard family.
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #26 Crown Royal Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson (right), driver of the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet stands with his car chief Ron Malec (left), started seventh and finished 15th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Texas Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Is she not the cutest little girl ever??
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, started from the pole position and finished second in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Texas Motor Speedway. Here he is prerace with daughter Ella Sofia. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
NASCAR Nationwide Series pole-sitter Carl Edwards meets television host Rachael Ray on pit road Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway before the O’Reilly Challenge. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
This photo cracks me up, I love it.
Clint Bowyer (L), driver of the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet, talks with ESPN’s Brad Daugherty (R) on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)
With the economy being as insane as it has this year I think it’s time to take a step back and start thinking outside of the box when it comes to sponsors. I think we need to bring some new blood into the NASCAR sponsorship family. And so to that end I’ve created a list of some companies that could gain some new customers from the super loyal NASCAR fan base and bring a new, younger, cooler profile to the NASCAR image.
Here’s the list in no particular order:
1.) Macy’s — Macy’s has everything you could possibly need from clothes to furniture to make-up and cutlery. Macy’s should have a car in every NASCAR race, if only to have Martha Stewart to show up and do cooking demonstrations trackside.
2.) Microsoft — Times have been tough for Microsoft ever since they launched Vista and all of its so-called issues. So what better way to get some good PR than to sponsor a NASCAR race team? Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates can come out and go for a ride in a racecar for a commercial, it’d be great!
3.) Lucky Brand Jeans — Okay, so this one is kind of personal for me because I love Lucky! Let me just say that the people who work at my local store are very familiar with my purchases and me. Plus I think NASCAR nation needs to know that there are other jean makers out there besides Wrangler.
4.) Kettle Brand Chips — Have you had these things? They’re super addictive, I am obsessed with the Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper flavor. They’re great for tailgating, need I say more?
5.) Yahoo! / Google — Since Google and Yahoo! both basically run my web life it only makes sense for them to get involved with NASCAR too. Both companies reach a ton of people and have a buttload of money so why not take the opportunity to extend the reach of their brands?
8.) Tivo — Probably the greatest invention created in my lifetime! Everybody should own one and NASCAR is a great way to spread the word on the brilliance that is Tivo. Plus I Tivo races all the time when I can’t watch them live, so it would behoove the people at Tivo to get themselves in front of people who are more likely to need their product.
9.) Major League Soccer — Is anyone watching soccer these days? They need some help. I’m just sayin’.
10. ) Starbucks — Oh how I wish Starbucks would sponsor a race team. I cannot tell you how much I’d freak if this happened. Even if they sponsored Kyle Busch, I’d still root for that team — and that is really, really, really saying something. I go to Starbucks pretty much every day and I know there are millions of other NASCAR fans that do the same, so really Starbucks get on this!
Waking up this morning and realizing that there will be no NASCAR on today is a little disconcerting. I hardly know what to do with myself. It’s kind of like that commercial about quitting smoking where it shows people not knowing how to do regular things, like put their clothes on or get in their car, ’cause they haven’t had a cigarette. I’m having trouble watching football without thinking the flag on the play means there’s debris on the field.
Anyway, last night’s race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway was just OK. Well, at least for me. In the beginning it was exciting because I was wondering what would happen if Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick got together on the track, but then that idea was tossed overboard when Carl’s car had ignition problems.
It seems lately that when I watch a race it’s only a matter of time before everybody on my I’d-Like-These-Drivers-To-Win-Please list slowly gets weeded out and runs into trouble. Ugh. So for their sake and mine I am throwing away the list and just watching without expectations.
That being said I am truly happy for Jeff Burton and the No. 31 AT&T team. I’m glad they won. I hope that their win signifies a change in The Chase — a change that brings more drama and a close finish for the Sprint Cup Championship. And by more drama I mean on the track, not in the garage. While it did tickle me to hear about the tussle between Carl and Kevin it’s not something I’d want to see every week, not like that.
I have to talk about Jessica Simpson and her rendition of the National Anthem. I like Jessica and I have all of her CDs — except this latest one — to prove it, but I don’t know why she seemed to be trying so hard last night. I think she’s constantly trying to prove that she has a great voice and in doing so she added all these weird and unnecessary runs in the song. And she missed words too. It’s “home of THE brave” not “Home of brave.”
Photos after the jump!
I don’t know if it’s possible to love and hate a racetrack at the same time but that’s how I feel about Talladega. I love it because it’s a restrictor-plate race and it’s so exciting and nerve wracking to watch the cars go three or four-wide. However, I hate it for exactly the same reasons and because of “The Big One” which I don’t know why we call it that when there’s usually more than one.
For the majority of the race things were going relatively well for me and the guys I was rooting for in the AMP Energy 500 on Sunday. Of course it was a big let down when David Gilliland was involved in a crash, but then things got really sad when Carl Edwards’ mistake took out his teammates, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and all of my highest hopes for Travis Kvapil. I was pretty much done at that point. If you follow me on Twitter you’d know that already.
So done that I didn’t care about the whole last lap controversy involving Tony Stewart and Regan Smith. While I think it’s great that Tony got a win after such a long winless streak, he did deserve it and it was so sweet to see his crew chief Greg Zipadelli get so emotional — something doesn’t smell right.
I guess my irritation lies with NASCAR and I don’t understand why Regan would quote what NASCAR said in the drivers meeting about being able to pass under the yellow line on the last lap, if it wasn’t true. It seems silly to draw that distinction anyway, that you can pass when you’re pushed under the yellow line when you can see the finish line on the last lap but not at any other time during the race. So someone obviously said it was ok to do it. And NASCAR’s official statement on the matter didn’t say that they never said it, it only stated that from now on they’ll never be able to pass under the yellow line ever again at the restrictor-plate races no matter what lap it is.
So whatever. Something that I loved about the race coverage was in the pre-race show, when Dale Jarrett interviewed Dale Jr. I looooved it and I really, really wish DJ could interview a driver before every single race. It was fun and I honestly think that they should try to inject some of that E:60 type stuff into every pre-race show, but that’s just me.
First, in regards to the race at Kansas this past weekend, I have to talk about Pay The Fan and fantasy racing in general. I’m in the Chase for the PTF Cup and I think that it makes the races more interesting. While watching the race I found that I kept asking myself which drivers I had picked, and wondering if I made the right decision. I know that I could of easily gotten up and went over to the computer and double-checked, but it’s much more fun to wait until Monday to review my picks. I find that I’m always surprised by some of my choices.
At any rate my Group A driver is of course going to be Dale Earnhardt Jr. for this weekend’s race at Talladega and he better come through with something since this is one and only time I can use him during the Chase.
About the race, it was so awesome at the end. I loved Carl Edwards’ ballsy move in the last lap to gun it and try to bounce off the wall to victory over Jimmie Johnson. Carl said he’d tried that move in a video game and it worked, but apparently in real life not so much. It was great though. If Dale Jr. doesn’t win the Championship I would be fine if Carl walked away with it. To be honest I really don’t want to see Jimmie win another Championship. It would be boring. I know it would be cool in the grand scheme of things, the whole three-peat thing, but I just want to see someone new.
I think that the luck that Kyle Busch has been having in these past three races is really, really, really sad considering the year he’s had. As much as I didn’t want to think about it I figured he’d run off with the Championship with no problems. I feel sorry for him; I really do because I don’t think it’s fair. He wins 8 races and then nothing? But I must say that he’s still a tool for being so jerky in his post race interview on Sunday.
I get it, he’s frustrated and mad and whatever. I totally get it believe me I do. I know first-hand what it feels like to have horrible stuff happen to you and then have to talk to people about it. I still managed to not sound like a ho though. It is possible to have a graceful attitude even when the chips are down.
During green flag pit stops Kyle Busch and Mike Bliss tangled, leaving Busch’s car smoking as he pulled it into the garage on lap 155. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Steve Letarte, crew chief for the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, talks with his driver, Jeff Gordon, during practice Friday at Kansas Speedway. Gordon, who qualified 13th, was able to practice and qualify despite not feeling well all day. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 alltel Dodge, talks to Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet, in the garages of Kansas Speedway during Friday’s practice. Both drivers will start in the middle of the pack on Sunday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 400 (Newman at 15th and Bowyer at 24th). (Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Star of the film “Hairspray” and national anthem singer for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 400 Elijah Kelley reacts to the roar of the 43 race cars starting their engine within feet of him on pit road. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Here’s more from my interview with Kyle Petty. You should note that we spoke last week and so when he mentions “this week” he’s really talking about last week.
Me: I know that you were on a Fitness TV show talking about your fitness regimen and health being a race car driver. It’s not something that people talk a lot about with NASCAR in terms of being an athlete. So how important is that to a race car driver to be physically fit and healthy and to have strength in the car?
Petty: Incredibly important. I think most people assume that if you play stick and ball sports you’re naturally an athlete, you’re in the best shape that you can be in and that’s the way it is. I think you’ve got to be in shape to drive a car at 180 or 190 miles an hour or to make split second decisions that can almost in some instances be life and death decisions. So when you look at it like that from your mental sharpness to your physical sharpness and that goes hand in hand. You hear so much about exercise and how that stabilizes and what that does to your mental well being and your attitudes, I think exercise is important.
Happy Thursday everyone! It’s a great day for me because tomorrow I’m flying to Las Vegas for the Blog World & New Media Expo. I had a great time last year and I’m looking forward to sitting in on the sports blogging sessions. The big news this year, at least for me, is that Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park will be a keynote speaker along with Tim Ferriss, writer of the book “The 4-Hour Work Week.” I know I’m going to get a lot out of this weekend. Vegas baby, Vegas!
In other news…
– This morning I got to interview Kyle Petty! He was made available to me because he has been busy promoting Prostate Cancer Awareness Week and the STAY ON TRACK for Better Prostate Health prostate cancer awareness program sponsored by the Prostate Cancer Education Council and sanofi-aventis. I plan on posting the first part our discussion today. Check back later on today or subscribe to my RSS feed to read it as soon as it goes online.
– Are you interested in winning free gas? Well check out this awesome promotion from Shell-Pennzoil:
Shell is bringing new meaning to the “No. 29.” Through September 28, the company will highlight the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil car and offer customers the chance to win free Shell gasoline through the “Shell $2,900 Every Day Giveaway” promotion. At participating stations, customers will receive a scratch-and-match game card with any fuel purchase.
Building off the stop gunky build-up theme, consumers need to scratch off the gunk on the valves to see what they have won. Plus, the game cards will feature online codes for more chances to win Shell fuel every 29 minutes and thousands of other prizes, including No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil merchandise autographed by Kevin Harvick and a limited edition 105th Anniversary Harley-Davidson(r) Motorcycle, XL Sportster 1200C. Consumers may also write in for a free game card. And in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia only, Shell customers will have the chance to participate in the “Get a Free Race Cup” promotion while supplies last. There will be three different racing cups to collect.
– 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 love Martha Stewart and I have for pretty much all of my life. She’s the reason I had the confidence to make my sister’s three-tier wedding cake ten years ago. Anywho, yesterday she devoted a show to bloggers and blogging, and now she’s running a little contest where she’ll pick some blogs to feature on her site, The Martha Blog. Of course I put myself in the running. Go check it out!
– Ok, so get this, remember when I told you that fate finally threw me a bone and got me close to Dale Earnhardt Jr. well there’s a photo to go with it. I came across it when I was checking out the NASCAR blog over at AOL’s FanHouse. So take a look below and you’ll see that I’m right there on the left-hand side looking pissed off almost straight at the camera. I really wasn’t, but it was insanely hot and that’s my “it’s seriously freaking hot and I’m serious about that” face.
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)
Sunday, August 31st was the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, but it was also my 28th birthday. I still can’t believe I’m 28. I sometimes wish they had a version of Tivo for our lives but oh well. Until that day comes I have my mom. She called me while I was at the track to wish me a happy birthday and to tell me about everything that happened on the day of my birth.
I’m sure anyone who saw me on my cell phone standing in the garage with tears streaking my face were probably wondering what was wrong, but everything was totally right.
For the majority of the morning I spent my time stationed in front of a moving mister in the garage. It was situated next to the final inspection station teams had to pass through before parking themselves on pit road. This particular inspection took a look at the distance between the tires from the left and right and between the front and the back. It’s obvious if a team doesn’t pass muster, they just have to go back through it again, but I think they need to implement some sort of horn or a big flashing sign that says they didn’t pass. A little theater couldn’t hurt.
This inspection area also happened to be right next to the drivers meeting room and I wanted to get a good spot for photos. Well they started blocking it off and I got shuffled into the crowd. Yet another reason why I love the Nationwide Series ’cause they don’t bother with blocking anything off. But whatever, I caught sight of all of the VIPs on hand for the race.
Max Siegel, the president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc. pushed past the crowd along with actor Blair Underwood, who is on a really great show on ABC that everyone should watch this season called Dirty Sexy Money. It’s really good, trust me.
Tom from MySpace was at the race! Tom Anderson, who is on the cover this month’s issue of Fast Company, started MySpace and if you sign up for the social networking site he’s your first “friend.” Anyway, he was there, looking shorter than I’d expected with a skinny blonde chick on his arm.
Drew Carey was walking around like the mayor of the garage looking far older than I’d imagined. I saw American Idol alum Bo Bice, who sang the nation anthem, walking around but I didn’t realize it was him until later. He’s way shorter than I’d thought, but I guess that’s how it goes with people that you’ve only seen on TV.
Actually, maybe that doesn’t apply if you’re an athlete because I saw Olympic swimmer Jason Lezak and he’s definitely 6’4″ like it says he is on the USA Swimming website.
Now, I begrudgingly, and I do mean begrudgingly, have to report that Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, so-called stars of the MTV reality show The Hills, were in attendance. I don’t like them. I felt sorry for Jamie McMurray having to show them around and speak to them. Although there was a moment of sweet justice when they were introduced to the crowd and they were summarily booed. It was brilliant.
Ok, so back to the drivers meeting. I stayed on the crowded side for a bit but decided to take a chance and head on over to the other side where there was a second exit. I was sure some slick drivers might decide to sneak out undetected. The only people on that side of the garage were team PR people. It was a good idea because I ended up walking right behind Jamie McMurray and A.J. Allmendinger.
The No. 84 Red Bull Toyota goes through inspection at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The Price is Right host and comedian Drew Carey walks through the garage at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag from the MTV reality show “The Hills” take a tour through the garage at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Olympic gold medalist Jason Lezak heads into the drivers meeting at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
MySpace president Tom Anderson (center) drinks something and checks out the inspection process at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
On Saturday on my drive into the track from my sister’s house in Encino, I stopped by a Jamba Juice in Upland and bought a sixteen ounce Razzmatazz. I also decided to put the top down my on my car. It was 90-something degrees outside but I was wearing a hat and if you can’t put your top down when it’s hot what’s the point?
The day was about getting photos of anything and everything. During the Nationwide Series qualifying session I stood in the garage and watched as the top qualifiers came in and were interviewed by the crew from the SPEED channel.
After that I wandered the garage and spied Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Cheryl Burke with her new partner, Olympic sprinter and gold medalist Maurice Greene shooting some sort of video thing next to the pace car. Cheryl got to wave the green flag for the Camping World RV Service 300 presented by Coleman later that evening.
I made sure to keep close to the conference room in the middle of the garage where they hold all of the driver’s meetings and major press conferences. The Nationwide Series drivers meeting was set to start and I wanted to be in a good position to try and get good photos, but for some reason I got nothing of people going in, and then when they came out everybody was grouped together and they rushed out, so I didn’t get much.
One cool thing that happened was just a little bit later when the Cup Series guys got ready to go out for their final practice session of the day. Cars started to pull out from the far side of the Cup garage and made a long line out to pit road. They were all stopped and a second line formed right in front of me starting with Jeff Burton. He was so close that I could have easily walked up and touched the car and then poked my head in beside the window flap. Of course I didn’t, but there were photographers that did. They pushed their lenses right on inside the car to get close up shots of the drivers. I wondered what that must be like to have people basically shoving their cameras in your face to get a shot, right when you’re about to go out on the track.
But moving on, while I’m standing there Carl Edwards drives his car up behind Burton and rolls to a stop, and then starts to roll again and bumps into the back of Burton. I took a photo before Carl backed up. I’m assuming he meant to do that. They must like each other right?
So I’m standing there taking a couple photos and I’m like, I dunno, five feet away from his car and Carl waves at me. So I waved back, smiled, laughed and said “Hiii!” It was too funny.
After the Cup practice was the Nationwide Series race and oh how I love a Nationwide Series race. I love the fact that there’s way less security and structure to the driver intros, at least behind the stage, you get way better photos and experiences because of it. I got some great photos of drivers looking right at me as I took their photo, like the one below of David Ragan.
Okay, so I have to put in one more “Awww, Carl” story. There were these two teenage girls who kept calling to Carl to come over and sign their stuff. He eventually came over, talked to them and signed whatever it was they had. To hear their reaction was so cute, they were all “We got Carl! We got Carl! Omigosh!” I love that.
Nothing too noteworthy happened after all of that. I think some dude named Kyle Busch went on to win the race, but I’m not sure.
Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Cheryl Burke and her new partner gold medalist Maurice Greene hang out before the start of the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
David Gilliland chats with his crew after qualifying for the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Look closely and you can see his eyes peeking out through the window net!
Carl Edwards sits in his car, waiting to start practice on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Stanton Barrett signs an autograph for a fan before driver introductions on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
David Ragan (center) chats with Carl Edwards (right) and Joey Logano (left) before driver introductions for the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Sunday was the IndyCar race day. Driving to the track was a considerably different experience than it is for a NASCAR race, there wasn’t any traffic. Leaving was an entirely different story. It still sucked and what should only take 45 minutes took 2 hours. But that’s the way it goes with race weekends. Although, next year I have a plan for a new route to take me home that should cut down on the time I spend in my car wanting to slit my wrists from all of the stop-and-go traffic.
Anyway, back to the track. It was firefighter appreciation day and as I walked into the paddock area the first thing I saw was this old timey fire truck with the cutest and smartest Dalmatian dog sitting on top of it. I couldn’t believe how obedient he was! He just sat there in the seat and didn’t freak out or bark at the people gathered around staring at him. There was another dog, whose breed I couldn’t tell you, that was barking a lot but the cute Dalmatian could not and would not be baited into barking back.
And then there were these big creamy-colored horses to pull the old timey fire truck. They were huge, but absolutely beautiful. They had a special moment during the pre-race festivities when they pulled the truck down the track and in front of the grandstands.
So I guess IndyCar has this reputation for being more upscale than NASCAR in terms of its fans and such. They’ve got Cristal and Izod for sponsors after all. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s all a bunch of hooey. Why is it that I saw more boobs during this race weekend than I ever have at any NASCAR race I’ve been to? And when I say that I saw boobs I’m not saying that women were flashing them, of course they weren’t but let’s just say they were on display. And why is it that I saw more fans wearing NASCAR gear than anything else? The Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans were out in full effect. Instead of trying to act all hoity-toity I think they should try to soak up some of the NASCAR marketing tactics and get some more butts in the seats.
Oh, speaking of butts in the seats, that’s exactly where they stayed when it came time to try and break the record for the most people doing the twist dance. Yea, that whole idea crashed and burned the minute the music started up. A group of people did dance but mostly everyone just watched. To make something like that work you really have to have a group that’s invested in its success ya know?
So I was totally right when I said that George Lucas would probably make an appearance at the race because Marco Andretti’s car was running the special Blockbuster/STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS paint scheme. George hung out with Marco during the pre-race festivities and then in his pit during the race. Marco’s race suit was made to look like a storm trooper uniform. I’m not a big fan of the whole codpiece detailing.
In the end, Helio Castroneves won the race, his first of the season and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan were mathematically eliminated from the field running for the Championship with only two races left on the year. This win was a sweet one for the Team Penske guys after having their primary cars go up in smoke (literally) earlier in the week. It’s amazing they were able to come back and finish first with Helio’s Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe coming in second. Briscoe has the most awesome accent by the way. I gotta get to Australia.
Danica Patrick walks to the garage after the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Marco Andretti gets ready for a warm-up session on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Ryan Briscoe chats with someone on pit road on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Fans gathered around victory lane to watch the first through third place finishers receive their trophies on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I thought this guy looked a lot like paparazzo/ex-Britney Spears boyfriend Adnan Ghalib only cuter, but I figured he was probably just a guy from William Rast. WR is the clothing company started by Justin Timberlake and his best friend Trace Ayala. The company was the sponsor of Townsend Bell’s car.
Some dude on pit road on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Actor/Comedian/TV Host Drew Carey has been named the Grand Marshal for the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway next week and Chris Cornell, former lead singer of the bands Audioslave and Soundgarden, is going to perform before the race.
Now, let me think, who am I more excited about seeing? Hmm… Drew Carey or Chris Cornell?? Ha! Chris Cornell? Yes, please! Don’t get me wrong, Drew is funny but Chris is… Have you seen the photo below?? I’ve had a crush on that guy since his Temple of the Dog days. *sigh*
Drew Carey (left) and Chris Cornell (right) (Cornell photo from ChrisCornell.com)
But first a word about Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol.
So the consensus amongst the drivers is that since Bristol was repaved in 2007 there are now multiple places to run on the track and therefore you can truly race on it.
Well that’s all fine and well, really it is, but I’m always a fan of people getting frustrated and getting into fist fights after the race. Hehe.
In other news…
– This is kind of random but it hit me that at some point this season or next, we’re going to see The Jonas Brothers at a NASCAR race. I’m just sayin’ think about it, ESPN is owned by ABC which is a subsidiary of Disney who are responsible for putting their faces everywhere, including the The Little League World Series the other day, which is where this whole thought process came from. Thank you.
– IndyCar comes to the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend and I’m excited! I’m picking up my credentials on Friday and then I’ll be there all weekend. Check in for updates!
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)
Here is some very, very cool news: Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 22) I’ll be a guest on the ON PIT ROW radio show. I’ll be a part of their “around the NASCAR net” segment and I’ll be discussing some of the current headlines in NASCAR. Now you’ll all get to hear what I sound like and hopefully that won’t be a bad thing.
You can listen to the live broadcast online tomorrow at OnPitRow.com from 5pm – 7pm EST (or 2pm – 4pm PST).
In other news…
– Did you not get enough of Brendan Fraser at Chicagoland? Well then you have to check out the awesome photos (and video) from the great people at Kodak. Their flickr account has some great shots too.
– So I didn’t watch the ESPYs but I did check out some of the photos from the red carpet. I was hoping for more racing related stuff but all I could find was this one of IndyCar’s Danica Patrick. Cute dress and all but I’m not sure how I feel about her hair.
– This is not at all racing related except that I wish that it was. Former NFL quarterback and The Bachelor bachelor Jesse Palmer is an on-air talent guy for ESPN’s show College Football Live and he’s so freaking hot. I really think ESPN should institute some sort of broadcaster exchange program. Maybe we could swap Rusty Wallace with Jesse for a weekend or two?? I’m just sayin’ it could be fun.
I get back from Chicago and what happens? I get sick! Ugh. I have a cold but I’m getting better, I think the worst is over.
In other news…
– Jimmie Johnson won the ESPY for Best Driver. The show doesn’t air until this Sunday, July 20 at 9pm EST on ESPN and ESPN HD. Apparently word has it that Justin Timberlake killed as the show’s host, and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick appeared to be really, really short when standing next to really, really tall people. Who knew?
– Hendrick Motorsports driver Landon Cassill and I have something in common, we’re both still trying to get comfortable with being in the NASCAR garage. On how he feels he’s grown since his first Nationwide series start last year, the 19-year-old had this to say: “I feel like I have a higher level of confidence than I did a year ago. I know my way around the garage a lot better, and I know NASCAR race procedures so much better. Just to have that seat time is pretty important, and, obviously, I’ll be better next year than I was this year, too.”
– Did you know you can buy prints of ESPN The Magazine covers? They’ll even frame ‘em too! Yea! I know, I’m all over it. There are 6 NASCAR driver covers and 3 of the six are of course Dale Earnhardt Jr. but I’d be inclined to pick up the Carl Edwards cover too (see left) for obvious reasons. Ahem.
– Here’s the “no duh” headline of the week, from FOXSports.com: “Keselowski enjoys racing, competing for wins.” Please show me the driver that hates racing and has no desire to compete for wins.
After driver introductions I slogged back through the grass and onto pit road. I felt awkward about where to stand for the National Anthem. It’s hard to not feel like you’re in the way, plus should I really be out there anyway? I decided to split the difference and I stood at one of the garage entrances, which also left me standing just behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit crew and in front of Jimmie Johnson’s. I looked behind me and there was Ron Malec, car chief and rear tire carrier for the No. 48, looking insanely gorgeous. I’m sorry but that guy is really, really cute. Like really, every time I saw him over the weekend I had to take a moment.
Everybody lined up and then they introduced Gavin DeGraw as a country singer. That was funny. I think I snorted. And then a few of the guys from the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard team said, in unison, “Who???” I think I snorted at that too. Ahh, good times, good times. Later on I caught sight of Gavin taking a seat in Kurt Busch’s pit box next to Kurt’s wife Eva.
I watched the race start and then went back to the media center to eat dinner. That’s another great thing about being in the media center, free food. It really is a great benefit; I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to eat the whole time I was at the track.
I didn’t want to watch the whole race from the lunchroom, and I didn’t want to stand on pit road all night killing my lower back in the process, so I walked down the road to the grassy area next to the infield tunnel. I sat on the grass and watched the cars roll through the space between turns three and four. It was a great place to sit and watch the cars go by. Obviously I had no idea what was really going on with the cars and the drivers that drove them. But I knew that nothing wonderful was happening for Dale Jr. or the Yates Racing guys ’cause their numbers weren’t on the pylon. Well they were but just waaaay down at the bottom where it scrolled through the running order two places at a time.
As odd as it may seem it was really peaceful sitting there. I had earplugs in and it dulled the roar of the engines nicely. I waited until they hit 200 laps before walking back to the pits. I stood behind the pits for the Dave Blaney and the No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota. At one point the crew chief and some other dude were visibly pissed about something that happened to their car because it caused both of them to take their anger out on the pit box.
The end of the race was a rollercoaster. I was up when Carl Edwards took the lead and then down when he lost it. I was up when Jimmie took the lead and then I stayed down when he lost it too. If only he could have held on. If only.
I went into the garage and took pictures of Dale Jr. talking to a TV crew. Carl was next to him doing the same. I caught some of the press conference with Jimmie and Kevin Harvick and then I left just before it was over. I saw both of them as they walked out the back of the media center.
Yet again getting out of the track was a breeze. So remember how I said that I thought I had finally gotten the hang of driving in Chicagoland? Well of course on my last trek I realized I had never taken the right way back to my hotel. I had never gone the exact route my navigation system had initially specified. At some point I had always taken a wrong turn and then it recalculated to get me on the right path. This ended up being kind of a cool thing.
There are two things Joliet is famous for in my mind (besides being the home of Chicagoland Speedway of course). One, it’s the hometown of the very first America’s Next Top Model winner, Adrianne Curry (wife of the guy who played Peter on The Brady Bunch) and two, it’s also home to a ginormous prison that they used to film FOX’s drama Prison Break.
So going into my trip I wanted to see the prison. On my final, and correct, drive back to the hotel I got to see Joliet Correctional Center! The prison isn’t open anymore, they closed it back in 2002. But ok, so it was at night and actually really kinda freaky — especially when you add in the “Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers” sign that sits across the street from it — but it was also cool!
So that was my Chicagoland weekend. The next day, Sunday, I checked into a hotel in downtown Chicago and went to the Gavin Rossdale concert at the House of Blues. At some point I’m going to write about that experience in my other blog.
I had so much fun at the races. On the plane to San Francisco I knew that I wanted to go home, ’caused I missed it and my family, but at the same time I really, really wished I could go to Indy next week.
Car chief and rear tire carrier Ron Malec before the start of the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The crew for the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet before the start of the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The pit crew for the No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota prepare to go over the wall during the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks with media after the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The difference between the crowd gathered for the Nationwide Series drivers meeting and the one assembled for the Sprint Cup Series was like night and day. Friday it was me standing with the security guards but on Saturday I had to contend with a big crowd, a fence and those damn TV crews.
I made sure I was there early, like half an hour before it was all supposed to begin. Matt Kenseth arrived first with a Sirius satellite radio DJ in tow. Matt was very punctual on Saturday, he was also first at driver intros. So as per usual I tried to take as many photos as possible. My attempts at getting shots of guys and their shoes were foiled by guys from TNT filming people right in front of me.
In the drivers meeting they go over what’s going to happen before, during and after the race and what the rules are, or if there’s going to be a competition caution, etc. There’s a lot of stating the obvious, but it’s something you have to do. I couldn’t help but wonder though what it would be like if someone raised their hand at the end and said “So, what do I do if I win the race? Where do I go?” That’d be fun.
Kurt Busch walked into the drivers meeting with none other than pop singer Gavin DeGraw. I didn’t know who was singing the anthem until I saw him arrive. I have lukewarm feelings about Mr. DeGraw. I want to like him, he has a nice voice, but his music always leaves me wanting something more. Anywho, I ended up seeing him a lot after that. I almost bumped into him coming out of the bathroom in the media center; he was pacing around warming up his vocal cords.
After the drivers meeting came driver intros. I trekked out onto the grass and proceeded to get my socks and shoes totally soaked by the soggy field. I decided to stake out the opposite side of the stage that no one was on because it was the best angle to get great photos. Of course security had to come over and rain on my parade and told me I had to go to either the front of the stage or the other side. They had to keep that area clear. Dagnabit!
Okay, so let’s talk about that tribute to Richard Petty and his 50 years of NASCAR racing. It’s amazing it’s been that long. I thought it was such a great idea to have all the drivers wear, what has become his signature accessory, the cowboy hat. However, it was clear that he should be the only person wearing those suckers. The King is the only person who looks good in them as far as I’m concerned.
Check out the photo below. Who’s missing from it? In spite of what they were saying at the time all 43 drivers weren’t there to take this photo. Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards all showed up later just in time for the actual driver introductions. Oh and someone else is missing from the photo too but I can’t remember who it is. Any guesses?
43 drivers starting the LifeLock.com 400 pose with Richard Petty, who was celebrating his 50th anniversary in NASCAR. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
He’s always got a smile on his face!
Richard Petty stands behind the stage before his tribute begins at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Robby Gordon walks with Richard Childress to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Singer Gavin DeGraw (left) walks to the drivers meeting with Kurt Busch at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
David Gilliland walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Jeff Gordon walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Martin Truex Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
On Saturday morning I got the chance to sleep in a bit before heading to the racetrack. Things weren’t really starting up until 3 in the afternoon, but I still ended up leaving my hotel at 11. I didn’t want to get stuck in some crap parking spot.
My first order of business at the track was to head back over to the grandstands so that I could try a Wisconsin cheese curd for the very first time. A guy that I’d met a couple months ago is from Illinois and he swore that cheese curds were the best thing ever and that California cheese paled in comparison, so I had to try them. However, I found out they were only serving them in the deep fried format, not fresh. I figured I’d still get the essence of it so I bought ‘em anyway. They were really tasty! It’s similar to eating fried mozzarella but a lot lighter. They’ve got a very mild cheddar flavor.
I sat next to the fountain in front of the main gates eating my cheese curds, people watching. After awhile I headed back to the infield.
Brendan Fraser was the Grand Marshal for the Sprint Cup race and a press conference was scheduled for him and Ryan Newman at 3pm. So of course I was there in the media center waiting for them to arrive at 2:45. I stood in the back of the room next to all the video cameras. Brendan is funny and cool and relaxed. His personality from the minute he walked through the door was so obvious. He was similar to his character in the movie Bedazzled with Elizabeth Hurley, or even in The Mummy. He’s not arrogant or stuck-up. He was totally down to earth and it was clear that was the case when he said that the NASCAR fans he’d met that day were the nicest people.
As I predicted the gathered media had zero quality questions for Brendan. I still couldn’t think of anything myself which irked me later on in the day when I finally thought of one. There was a great moment at the end of the conference when the moderator asked if there were anymore questions and the room was silent. So Brendan made cricket noises. Funny stuff. All told I think it lasted maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
Ok, so I made a beeline for the exit and rushed to wait outside. Apparently that was everybody else’s move too. The majority of the media swarmed Ryan Newman and asked him questions about his future and his chances for the weekend. Meanwhile Brendan was standing next to Ryan’s mob being interviewed by a local news crew. I stood there in front of him and snapped photos. He’s so adorable, and tall, and cute. *sigh* And as everyone found out later on in the day he gave one of the best “Gentlemen, start your engines” I’ve ever heard. He’s right up there with Matthew McConaughey in my book.
So get this as I’ve said before there are rules for the media about getting autographs and such. You’re not allowed to ask the drivers for them and by extension you would think that would include photos too. Well this one group of local tv people didn’t get that memo. They snapped photos of each other with Brendan Fraser after they interviewed him and then later that night they stopped Jimmie Johnson as he was leaving the media center to get a photo with him too. I just had to shake my head.
The second funny/cool thing Brendan did was after his interview. Ryan was still in the middle of the media mob and I had moved over to that group to try and get a shot of him too. A few seconds later I looked up and over the crowd and I see Brendan snapping photos of Ryan the same way I was. I stepped back and watched as he walked around the mob snapping photos of them and then turned his back to them and started to take photos of himself in front of Ryan and the reporters. The man could not be anymore likeable, it’s disgusting.
Ryan Newman answers questions outside the media center at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Brendan Fraser takes pictures of himself and Ryan Newman outside the media center at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
My favorite saying is “shut up!” It’s the thing I say when someone says or does something that amazes, stupefies or shocks me. It’s interesting, I’m saying, “shut up” when what I really want is for that person to continue and tell me more. Anyway, I was muttering “shut up!!!” to myself all day long as I came across various bits of news.
– There’s a report out that Teresa Earnhardt has been courting potential investors for Dale Earnhardt Inc. I knew this would throw Dale Earnhardt fans into a tizzy. From a financial standpoint I can understand why the would do this, but at the same time it’s kind of irritating because she wouldn’t give Dale Earnhardt Jr. half of his father’s company. DEI president Max Siegel is saying that they don’t have plans to sell the company at this time. Mmmhmmm.
– The Navy is set to announce (tomorrow) his plans to leave Joe Gibbs Racing and start his own team, taking over at Haas-CNC Racing. I guess this isn’t surprising, since people have been talking about it for a while now. It would be nice if one of these so-called rumors would actually not come true for once.
– Okay, so here’s the best piece of news today. Actor Brendan Fraser will be on hand for the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland this weekend. He’ll be there to promote his upcoming movie The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (they’re really wringing the life out of that franchise, aren’t they?). Ryan Newman’s No. 12 Kodak Dodge Charger will carry a special paint scheme for the movie and Fraser will also serve as Grand Marshal for the race. He’ll be signing autographs, along with Ryan, at the No. 12 souvenir trailer at 1:30 p.m. CT. on Saturday.
Uhm, okay, I have sort of a small, tiny, wee crush on Mr. Fraser and I’m so disgustingly excited at the prospect of seeing him in person. Dare I ask a question at the press conference on Saturday? I’m not sure of what I should ask, it needs to be clever and smart and fabulous. If you can think of something let me know!
Yes, the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway was a good race. It was intriguing and crazy right down to the last lap, but of course I hated how it ended.
Why, why, why did he have to win again?? WHY?? If the rest of the season plays out like this I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s sooo boring if the same person keeps winning. Yes, he’s talented and all that, yes, I get it. I can appreciate that fact but it’s so freaking boring to watch. I don’t want to hear the same person in victory lane each week. Even if it was Dale Earnhardt Jr. I promise you I would be bored with that too. It wouldn’t be painful to watch of course but it would be boring.
The coolest thing was seeing David Gilliland running up front. That was truly awesome; I only wonder what could have happened had his pit stop not gone so bad. And see that’s what I’m looking for people, I’m not just out to see Dale Jr. win I wanna see a variety of drivers win. It helps to keep things interesting. If it ever comes to a time when NASCAR only has 4 major teams running several cars, shutting out all of the small teams, then I don’t know if I could watch anymore.
Kevin Harvick (R), driver of the #29 Reese’s Chevrolet, stands with wife, DeLana (L), prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2008 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Uh, yea, my thoughts exactly.
Tony Eury Jr., crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet reacts to race action during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2008 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Does he smile like ever?
Sprint Cup driver Paul Menard earned his first pole Friday at Daytona International Speedway for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Martin Truex Jr. chats with Kevin Costner, who performed a pre-race concert with his band Modern West. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
This is sort of old but it’s still a fun thing to watch. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and country music star Dierks Bentley are interviewed at Dale’s new bar/club/music venue Whisky River in Charlotte, North Carolina.
There were a bunch of random things that occurred to me during the Infineon weekend and none of them deserved its own post so here they are:
– At Jeff Gordon’s press conference on Friday I was staring at him and noticed for the first time ever that he’s got grey hairs. It’s not like two, it’s like fifty. That was the precise moment when my camera decided to die so I have no proof. This all means nothing of course, but I just thought it was interesting ’cause he’s always had this boyish look to him and so you don’t associate that kind of thing, ya know, getting old, with him.
– When Oakland Raiders play-by-play announcer Greg Papa introduced Joe Nemechek as “Jerome” Nemechek pretty much everyone on pit road looked around with the same “What the???” expression on their faces. Next time it might be a good idea to get someone who actually knows NASCAR to announce the drivers. I’m just sayin’.
– Someone asked Carl Edwards “Beer or wine?” to which he replied “Neither.” This was kind of surprising to me, I mean I always figured him for a granola boy-type (and by “granola boy” I mean those guys who are all about fitness and eating healthy which can be really annoying when you’re, uhm, not) but I didn’t think he went that far. I couldn’t hear his follow-up answer so I’m not sure if he clarified his answer to say that he preferred some other alcoholic beverage entirely, but I doubt it.
– Nikki Blonsky, the young woman who played Tracy Turnblad in the 2nd movie version of Hairspray, was on hand to sing the National Anthem. I saw her as she walked up the stairs to the media center. She seemed really nice and sweet but she had on these super high, black Christian Louboutin pumps that were obviously causing her some mischief by the way she was toddling around. I know the walk caused by uncomfortable shoes, let me tell ya. Anyway, so it was funny to see her later walking around in a pair of white sneakers. Smart move Nikki.
– At the end of the day on Sunday I caught the media center shuttle van back to my parking spot. On the way there a voice came over the radio to say that Kyle Busch’s mom believed that someone from the racetrack’s staff had taken her bag. So funny! Her son wins the race and then her bag is allegedly stolen? I do hope she got her bag back, it’s a very disconcerting feeling to lose one’s purse.
– Below is a video of my view of the race. For the last 20 laps or so I watched it all go down from a landing area leading up the media center.
I’ve managed to shock myself at how long it’s taken me to write something about Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win at Michigan last weekend.
I was in Los Angeles helping to celebrate Father’s Day for my brother-in-law so I wasn’t able to watch the race unfold. I saw the beginning of it before we left for lunch and then when I got back to the house I found that my mom had called me on my cell phone that I had regrettably left behind. I called her back and she asked me if I had seen it, seen Dale win. My first emotion was anger that I had missed it. I was so mad. If you follow me on Twitter you already knew that.
Of course I’m happy for him, ecstatic even, but I’m still sad that I missed it. It’s not enough for me to see the highlights after the fact. I need to watch it live. In the end though there’s nothing I can do about it. I still got to see how it ended and his reaction in victory lane and his interview with ESPN’s Marty Smith. Although, I do wish his win had been cleaner and by “cleaner” I mean that I wish there wasn’t the whole controversy over passing the pace car under yellow. I’ll still take it of course, but still, it lingers.
My mom is traveling and she saw the end of the race in a restaurant in Arkansas. She was taken aback by the crowd cheering for Dale as he won the race. Stuff like that doesn’t happen in Northern California. If you enter a restaurant and the patrons are cheering it’s either because the Giants, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders or A’s are winning. Some places will have the race on TV but it’s usually because there’s nothing else on. At any rate, I want to experience that for myself. I must get myself to Charlotte asap!
In other news….
– Kyle Busch has bowed of his attempt at running for a Championship in all three of NASCAR’s series. I think that was a good idea. After two sucky weeks I think it was the thing to do. I don’t think that’s something that I’d want any driver to do, even the ones that I don’t like. It’s too much work and it thins out your focus for the most important Championship of all, the Sprint Cup.
– Joey Logano won his first NASCAR race and he’s the youngest guy to do it in the Nationwide series. How cool is that? I was really happy for him and it was fun to see his father counting down those final laps. It’s good to see the hype pay off.
– I’m all set to go to Chicago for the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in July. I even added in an extra day to my itinerary so I could check out downtown Chicago and see Gavin Rossdale in concert at the House of Blues.
– The NASCAR race at Infineon is this week and I’m super excited. I’ll be there on Friday. The first order of business will be attending the media gatherings outside of each of the top-12 drivers haulers. Of course I’m not trying to go to all of them. I have my select group of drivers that I’m interested in hearing from the most. I’ll be posting daily during the weekend, probably when I get home each day.
– Nikki Blonsky, the young actress who starred in the latest movie version of Hairspray will be singing the national anthem for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Northern California native Guy Fieri, host of the Food Networks show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives will serve as the Grand Marshall.
– For this weekend’s race at Infineon Travis Kvapil and the No. 28 Yates Racing Ford will be sponsored by… wait for it… the California Highway Patrol! Shut up! I know! Cops are sponsoring racing. How crazy is that? I love it.
Tony Stewart climbs in his car to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne, winner of two of the last three races, is all smiles as he waits to qualify for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Ragan is all smiles Saturday after posting the third-quickest time in the morning practice session. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Rick Hendrick congratulates Dale Earnhardt Jr. after he won the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, ending a 76-race winless streak. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Defending race winner Carl Edwards gets ready to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The really, really young guns.
(L to R) NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Brad Coleman, Landon Cassill, Bryan Clauson, Eric McClure and Jason Leffler talk with 2,700 Nationwide associates prior to the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Nationwide is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)
Joey Logano hoists the winner’s trophy at Kentucky Speedway as Tony Jones, Cincinnati Market Director for Meijer, looks on. Logano was the eighth different winner and eighth different pole winner at Kentucky; he was also the third consecutive series regular to win at the track. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)