Yea, I don’t know. I’m just going with it.
Congratulations to Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team on their win at Michigan this weekend.
Yea, I don’t know. I’m just going with it.
Congratulations to Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team on their win at Michigan this weekend.
I haven’t missed a Fontana race in 5 years, so it really sucked when I realized I wouldn’t be able to go this year. All the action & drama that happened on Sunday made it that much worse, but then again there’s no guarantee that it would have happened had I gone so I’m using that to make me feel better about the whole thing.
Carl Edwards, who is sponsored by Subway, won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway yesterday which is wraps up his 70-race losing streak nicely.
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 feel like I should send Carl Edwards a care package. Or at least a nice handwritten note that reads: “Buck up, kid! Everything happens for a reason.” Seems like the right thing to do since he hasn’t won a race this year and crap keeps happening to him.
It was a fun race to watch because it eventually became a sophisticated 400-lap game of bumper cars, with Brian Vickers racking up the most points. What was that all about? Thought it was interesting that Brian’s friend (and former teammate) Jimmie Johnson even called him out on it during his post-race interview. Said Jimmie, “After a fourth, fifth time with the same car in the crash, you start thinking about maybe you’re the problem. Something is going on. You’re having a bad day. You need to stop crashing for whatever reason.”
With this win at Martinsville Tony Stewart now has 3 wins in The Chase and it’s totally possible that might not win the Championship. Isn’t that kind of weird? I guess consistency is key. No matter, I’ll be happy with whoever wins this thing as long as it comes down to Homestead. I adore the new points system.
I was shocked — just a smidge — by Tony’s post-race victory lane comments about how Carl Edwards needs to be worried and that Carl isn’t going to sleep for the next 3 weeks. Ha! I loved that. In general, drivers & crew chiefs need to talk more trash during this Chase. It’s fun, right?
Sunday morning I got up super early so that I could get to Starbucks (a ‘real’ one that I scouted the night before) and beat any race day traffic that might rear it’s ugly head. I was delighted to find that there was no such traffic to fight and I even had time to take a couple pictures of the road I was on so you guys could see what I saw every morning. I did see a dead dear on the side of the road but I didn’t take a picture of that because it was sad (and gross).
What a letdown. The racing was boring and tons of fans couldn’t even get to the track to see the boring race.
Kentucky Speedway apologized today and announced a ticket exchange offer. Meanwhile other tracks have offered up rants and comments about the weekend’s traffic debacle giving Kentucky Speedway crap for not figuring out how to deal with the traffic issue ahead of time. Just check out what Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis wrote today.
Here’s the statement NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France released yesterday:
“While NASCAR was thrilled by the incredible response to our inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Kentucky, we also are extremely disappointed by the traffic problems and inconveniences endured by fans who wanted to be part of our races at Kentucky Speedway. NASCAR will be in close communications with Kentucky Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc. to see that they work to resolve the issues. This situation cannot happen again.”
And now Indianapolis Motor Speedway has created a special offer for fans that had tickets to Kentucky’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race:
Fans who present a ticket from the Kentucky Sprint Cup race at the IMS gate will receive one free admission to Brickyard 400 practice Friday, July 29 or will be admitted to Brickyard 400 qualifying Saturday, July 30 for just $5.
Fans holding tickets from the July 9 race at Kentucky also can park for free Friday and Saturday at IMS Lots 1, 2 and 3, conveniently located on the south, west and north sides of the iconic facility. The regular price is $10 per day to park in those lots.
“As an urban track, we offer a fan experience inside a vibrant city that provides restaurants, nightlife, cultural activities and top-rated hotels in addition to the history and tradition of 100 years of racing at Indianapolis,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and CEO. “We have easy, efficient access to and from the track that allows our fans to participate in activities at the track and, in just a matter of minutes, enjoy all that the city of Indianapolis has to offer or be well on the road toward home or the hotel.”
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.
There was a point during the last 30 laps of the Aaron’s 499 where I told myself to just let go of whatever outcome I was hoping to see and just let it happen. Is it funny or sad that I get so wrapped up in these races that I need to tell myself something like that? I have absolutely nothing at stake but I still get so caught up in wanting a certain person, or persons, to win that I’ll stress myself out over it.
Anyway, I couldn’t believe Jimmie Johnson pulled off that win; I was sure it was going to go to one of the Richard Childress Racing guys. Clint Bowyer had been running up front all day and Kevin Harvick has been, well, winning.
When I saw Jimmie trying to give the checkered flag to Dale Earnhardt Jr. I knew Dale wasn’t going to want it. It was a really classy move by Jimmie, I must say. As much as I would have been ridiculously thrilled for Dale Jr. to have come away with the win I’m still insanely excited that he’s 3rd in points right now. That’s just fantastic. O! And another fantastic thing: Huge congrats to David Gilliland and the No. 34 Taco Bell Ford team for walking away with a 9th place finish!
Every week when the latest points standings are published I read through them and then create my own “fantasy” top-12, it’s the list of drivers that I think would make for a super entertaining Champion’s Week. So it’s not a “Who do you think WILL make The Chase?” list, it’s a “Who do you WANT to see in the Chase because you know they’ll be superfun to interview during Champion’s Week?” It’s really early to be thinking about Champion’s Week but I can’t help it, it’s my favorite time of the year.
My current list is as follows (in no particular order):
1.) Tony Stewart – He has to host his annual “Stewie Awards” from Vegas, it wouldn’t be the same with him.
2.) Clint Bowyer – He needs his own talk show to host during Champion’s Week. I’m just sayin’.
3.) Kasey Kahne – He’s adorable
4.) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – People will lose their minds
5.) Kevin Harvick – Another guy with personality
6.) Denny Hamlin – Denny adds a layer of honesty and he likes to instigate drama (or at least he did at last year’s After the Lap event)
7.) Brian Vickers – Because he had some good stories to tell about Jimmie Johnson, and I’m sure there has to be more right??
8.) Jimmie Johnson – I’m including Jimmie because he’s a good sport, not because I want him to win a 6th straight championship.
9.) Brad Keselowski – I think he’d have a ridiculously good time to Vegas and would be very entertaining at the various events.
10.) Jeff Gordon – Jeff has that honesty vibe too, and he’s also very chatty. Chatty & honest are two ingredients for good times.
11) AJ Allmendinger – He’s someone that can definitely bring a lot of comedy relief.
12) Kyle Busch – Another honest guy with a personality that lends itself perfectly to the Champion’s Week festivities. Plus he’s the hometown guy.
Chad Knaus is the spectacularly successful crew chief of the No. 48 Lowe’s team at Hendrick Motorsports. He celebrated the team’s fifth-straight NASAR Sprint Cup Series Championship with his driver, Jimmie Johnson, in Las Vegas for Champion’s Week which is where this interview occurred.
My only regret was not getting to interview Jimmie with the same questions as he was seated right next to Chad in the press room. Jimmie wasn’t occupied with anyone during my time with Chad and I can’t for the life of me remember why I didn’t just go to him next, he must of started talking to someone and I didn’t want to wait is my best guess.
Anyway, the interview with Chad was great as you can read/see below. He hasn’t been “turned off” in quite some time.
What is your favorite word? No
What is your least favorite word? No. Being told “No.” *laughter*
What turns you on? Winning
What turns you off? Losing
What sound or noise do you love? I love the sound of the ocean.
What sound or noise do you hate? People arguing.
What is your favorite curse word? I don’t think I can say that. *laughter* Favorite curse word? Probably “Damnit.”
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I would like to at some point to get to work inside a business environment, be a board member or something along those lines.
What profession would you not like to do? Work in a factory.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Good job.
Read more of my “Inside the Actor’s Studio” questionnaire interviews in the archives and read about how it all started with Tony Stewart.
Friday, December 3rd was the day of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony & Banquet at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Thursday was filled with events including the NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, the Victory Lap and After The Lap at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Last week was pretty hectic for me, hence the lack of posts. Between making the turkey (using a brine is the only way to go) for Thanksgiving and then helping my mom get married on Saturday I’ve been a busy little bee!
So I haven’t had much time to think about all of the ramifications of the changes that were announced at Hendrick Motorsports last week.
But my reaction went something like this:
I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting to use that animation of Pee Wee! Cracks me up every time I see it and in this case it totally sums up my feelings when I heard the news. On one hand I was thinking it might be better for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to get Alan Gustafson, but I trust that Rick Hendrick knows what he’s doing. I love all of the new pairings and I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes of it. The teams of the 88 and 24 can definitely use the new energy, so I’m excited.
No. 5 Chevrolet
Driver: Mark Martin
Crew Chief: Lance McGrew
No. 24 Chevrolet
Driver: Jeff Gordon
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
No. 48 Chevrolet (duh, if it ain’t broke why fix it?)
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Crew Chief: Chad Knaus
No. 88 Chevrolet
Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Crew Chief: Steve Letarte
I’m not going to lie, watching the 48 Lowe’s team experience failure in real time was fun. No, I don’t wish them ill and, really, really, who cares if I do? Dude, they’ve won the Championship 4 times in a row, they’ve got their place in history sealed for-ev-er. A little schadenfreude never hurt anyone.
It was clear that the 48′s cage was rattled with that pit crew swap happening in the middle of the race and watching Chad Knaus’ post-race interview was amazing. We got to find out what he looks, and sounds, like when he doesn’t have to pretend that the Championship isn’t a lock yet, because it really isn’t this time! (Ok, ok, so it’s not that different from when he’s on top, but there was a difference!)
Ya know what really irks me though? It’s when I think about what could have been had Clint Bowyer’s team not received that 150 point fine. Things would be so different, it’s so frustrating! Would I prefer that Kevin Harvick won the Championship over Denny Hamlin? Yes, but I’ll take what I can get. I so wish I was going to Phoenix this week, and hell, Miami too. Just promise me that when I do get to go to every NASCAR race the Championship is as close then as it is now.
Uhm, Denny? What are you doing? What is that face?
Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Office Toyota, shoots a Turnbull Revolvers in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 7, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Here’s how I feel about the David Reutimann/Kyle Busch incident: Boys will be boys.
I love the idea of throwing that dumb cliche back in the face of people who like to use it to explain away bad behavior.
But seriously, I don’t really care. Reutimann was pissed and he decided to take action. The fact that Kyle is in The Chase is totally irrelevant. Everyone is trying to do the best they can no matter what, if they’re in the top-12 or not. That’s why I hate that Chase commercial where the drivers talk about all the stuff they have to compete against to win the Championship. Never once do they mention the fact that they still have to deal with 42 other drivers, not just 11 other guys contending for the Championship. That’s why winning the Sprint Cup is a big deal. The guys not in the Chase shouldn’t be expected to roll over, on the contrary, they should be getting in the way.
It’ll mean more for the the guy that ultimately wins the thing.
Congratulations to Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M team! I’m so glad the standings within The Chase are still up in the air. Hopefully we can keep it that way for at least a few more races!
Jeff Burton, driver of the Caterpilliar Chevrolet, stands on pit road with his wife Kim prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 on October 3, 2010 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Christa Thomas/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I mean, really. Let’s recap… He’s very good looking. He’s married to a model. He’s gonna be a daddy. He’s making millions of dollars as a race car driver. He’s won an unprecedented 4 Sprint Cup Series Championships in a row. He’s got the smartest crew chief. He’s just won two races in a row. He won the Pepsi Refresh Project competition he was in versus Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Sheesh! Jimmie, knock it off! I kid, I kid.
Actually, now that I read that, if Jimmie ever feels down (why would he?) he can read that paragraph and it should perk him right up again.
Photos from New Hampshire after the jump!
Saturday is always my favorite day in the garage because it’s all about practice and we haven’t reached the max level of wandering people that will be around come Sunday.
Something I hadn’t realized about the garage at Infineon is how perfect it is before the cars roll out for the first practice session of the day. Infineon’s garage stalls are all in one long row. You walk a straight line and you get to see everyone. This is especially eerie when all the drivers are sitting in their cars with their visors up just waiting for the call to drive out to the track.
It’s the only time when they’re basically a captive audience. You could jump out in front of their cars and do a little dance or hold up a big sign saying whatever you want and they have to watch because they can’t go anywhere. I didn’t do a little dance, I just tried to take pictures but I recommend that if you’re going to get a garage pass make sure it’s on a day when the guys are practicing. It’s the best time.
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.
So I know everybody is putting a lot of thought into Carl Edwards actions this weekend at Atlanta. Was he justified in bumping Brad “I Have No Friends” Keselowski into flight or should he have found him after the race and gently slapped him across the face with a white glove?
I’m in two minds about it, but I know for sure that it was fun to watch. I’m glad Brad was OK after the wreck (and we should never take the strides they’ve made in keeping the drivers safe for granted), but we know that Carl didn’t intend for him to flip around like that.
Now let’s talk about the other disaster in this race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets the pole and then proceeds to lead not a single lap in the ENTIRE race. How is this possible? Holy crap, I love you Dale. I really, really, really do, but what the heck?
Big shout out and congrats to David Gilliland for putting on a great show on Sunday! He led laps and ran up front a whole heck of a lot. Good things are coming for that No. 38 Charter Air Transport / Taco Bell team! It’s so nice when you support a driver and they do good things to remind you why you pull for them in the first place. Seriously, I cannot WAIT till David wins a Sprint Cup race. It’s going to be AH-MAY-ZING.
Fellow Toyota drivers Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers talk in the garage during Friday’s practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I love you. Will you marry me? Seriously, I was smitten with Sex and the City and then I was head over heels with Curb Your Enthusiasm, and now I feel like we should make it official.
I just watched the first episode of 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona and it was so good I didn’t want it to end. 30 minutes was not enough. Luckily for me, and everyone else, there are 3 more episodes left.
First of all, it looked like I was watching it in HD when I wasn’t. It was beautiful. The director, camera dudes and editors all deserve raises. I was geeking out over just how great the whole thing looked.
Second, as usual your storytelling skills were on point. Thank you for the steady voiceover and the reenactment of Rick Hendrick eating cookies & milk off of a Mickey Mouse plate.
It was everything I expected and more. I learned that Jimmie has abs! I found out that Chandra is getting acupuncture treatments to deal with morning sickness! Chad Knaus’ kitchen is ridiculous and he grinds his own coffee beans! I love that stuff.
But on a serious note, I sincerely hope that a ton of non-NASCAR fans take the time to watch this great show. It’s the perfect opportunity for newbies to get a better understanding of — and an inside look at — what it takes to race in NASCAR. You guys have done it again in creating awesome premium television content. This is how Jimmie Johnson’s story should be told.
P.S. – I know the series isn’t about Dale Earnhardt Jr. but could you slip him in here and there? Thank you!!
Tomorrow night HBO airs the first episode in a 4-part series that follows Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team as they prepare for the 2010 Daytona 500. I’m very excited for this show. I think it’s going to be awesome, especially if it’s anything like HBO’s other sports series “Hard Knocks,” which follows a different NFL team through training camp each season (I love that show so much I wish I could be an intern for it or something, I mean really, looooove it). I love, love a true reality series and from the looks of it “24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona” will deliver. Check out the clips below!
I’m a few days late with my year in review but at least I’m not posting this in February or something. 2009 was a very big year for The Fast and the Fabulous. While I didn’t get to attend more races I did have a lot of fun new experiences.
– Questions?: At the Auto Club 500 I did what had previously been unthinkable, I spoke during a press conference and posed questions to some NASCAR drivers. It’s still surreal to me to just be in the same room witfh these guys. Growing up as “The Shy One” I’m proud of myself for coming as far as I have. To top it all off David Ragan said he liked my question, which seriously made my life.
– Weekends of racing: While I didn’t get to improve upon on my personal best, I did attend four races — Auto Club 500, Shelby 427, Toyota/SaveMart 350 and Pepsi 500 — in 2009 and added photo galleries from each one to the site. And, I attended my very first drivers meeting during the Shelby 427 weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
– NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps: When I started this blog my goal from the beginning was to get as much credibility as possible. My aim isn’t to be TMZ (gag me) or to just publish anything. I want people to know that if I’m saying something there’s actual thought behind it. I respect NASCAR and this site is all about my experiences and about learning as I go. It means so much to me, probably even more than I know, to be included in the NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps because to me it shows that I’ve done what I set out to do and that people like it.
– Sprinkles Cupcakes: I can’t believe this happened this year, It seriously feels like it was 2 years ago. My harrowing saga of searching for Sprinkles at Auto Club Speedway (and the follow-up) is hands down one of my best posts ever, and if you haven’t read it you should. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to eat cupcakes.
– Champion’s Week in Las Vegas: OMG. Seriously. Getting the chance to attend Champion’s Week was just awesome. I had a great, great time, so much fun and of course had the most amazing photo taken with Carl Edwards that beats any photo ever taken of me in my entire life. I think NASCAR has found a perfect home for Champion’s Week in Las Vegas. It is such a fun place for fans and NASCAR drivers alike to just let their hair down and celebrate. Where else could I drunkenly accost Chad Knaus? I cannot wait for Champion’s Week 2010, which I am sincerely hoping includes Dale Earnhardt Jr. and then maybe I’ll be able to get the greatest photo ever taken in the UNIVERSE! haha.
– A few of my favorite things: Some people that are new to this site might not be fully aware of my sense of humor. I do have one and I like to use it from time to time. In “Dear Dale, It’s Not Me, It’s You” I compared my driver/fan relationship with Dale Jr to that of a love relationship between a boyfriend & girlfriend. Some people didn’t get it but whatever, it was funny and some of my best work to date. And frankly, if you can’t find humor in a sucky situation what are you left with? A sucky situation that just sucks.
With “My Mom Gets It Sort of Right” I shared one of my mom’s Christmas gifts to me which was a Dale Jr. baby car shade. It’s awesome because I am childless. My mom is great though, she supports my NASCAR habit and I appreciate that more than anything.
This year for the first time I put together my non-prediction predictions for the Chase of which I am very proud because they serve no other purpose than to make me laugh.
– You guys!: It’s still kinda weird to know that people know me and my site when I don’t know them. I am eternally grateful to everyone who reads this blog and gets any kind of enjoyment out of it. You guys are awesome. Thank you for an awesome 2009 and here’s to an even better 2010!
Did I miss anything?? Let me know in the comments.
Thursday night was the Sports Illustrated party at Pure nightclub inside of Caesars Palace. Let me do a little foreshadowing of how this evening turned out. I walked to Pure from my hotel which is right next door to Caesars, but when I returned I took a cab.
Yea, it was that kind of night. When I arrived at the party I picked up my first of what would be at least 5 Cosmopolitans. I hung out and chatted with the people I knew, various PR people for sponsors and racetracks. It was after my second drink that I spotted ESPNs Marty Smith.
Now, if you’re starting to think that I’m a lush, you would be wrong. I don’t drink that often. There is no alcohol in my apartment, save for a couple bottles of wine that I’ve had for years, one of which I only have because it was given to me and it was free. I only drink in social situations, and if it’s free even better. And like I said before, I am shy, so what would take me like 20 minutes of talking up to do sober, took only 5 seconds with a little vodka in my bloodstream. And really, really, when am I going to get an opportunity like this to talk to people just as people and not when they’re technically “working.”
Before the start of the Dickies 500 on Sunday I was thinking about what had to happen in order for Jimmie Johnson to lose some momentum in The Chase. Of course, I didn’t think any of it would happen. So when Jimmie’s accident occurred I was, uhm, sort of pleasantly surprised.
We needed that to make things a little more interesting. The guy still has a ton of points on Mark Martin but at least it gives hope a chance to shine. And, if I’m being honest, it was pretty cool getting to see the 48 team pull together and get that car back into shape to run in the race again. I’m never against seeing Ron Malec in action. (hehe) I have to give it Chad Knaus though, that guy is one cool customer. He was pissed of course that they ran into trouble, but his voice is always even. He doesn’t freak out, and you can’t afford to freak out in a situation like that, which is why Jimmie and the Lowe’s team are 3-time Sprint Cup Champions.
Watching Kurt Busch do his victory lap around Texas Motor Speedway in reverse with his tongue sticking out made me realize who he reminds me of, and no, it’s not Michael Jordan. No, I was thinking more along the lines of the character Pete Campbell from the awesome TV show Mad Men. Pete, played by Vincent Kartheiser, is kind of a punk. He whines when he doesn’t get his way and always thinks he should be treated better than he perceives he’s being treated. It’s funny. Watch Mad Men, it’s awesome. The latest season is over, but that’s what Netflix is for.
That being said it was cool to see Kurt so excited about winning and all that.
Uhm… There’s this one driver, I think his name is Dale Earnhardt Jr. or something, who doesn’t seem to be able to catch a break this season. I’m at the point, well I’ve been here for some time now, where I want to just say to him “Dale, (yes, in this scenario I know him and we’re BFFs) I think you should just park it and call it a season, this is lame. I know you’re doing your best but you need to tell whatever gods are in charge of luck to kiss your butt.”
He was running really well and then of course something happens and finishes crappy. And his finish has nothing to do with his overall performance. They were kicking butt and then it falls off. Ugh.
And now ladies and gentlemen, a photo bonanza!
Is everybody done talking about Talladega yet? Let’s move on to talking about more important things like “What will Chandra Johnson be wearing during Champion’s Week?” and “Who will be Chad Knaus’ date?” or “Can I be Ron Malec’s date?” (I’m kidding, okay, sorta, no really I’m kidding, maybe.)
That’s way more fun isn’t it? And speaking of the Championship festivities there are a number of ways for fans to get tickets to attend the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony that is being held for the first time in Las Vegas on December 4, 2009 (my mom’s birthday!).
Here’s a handy-dandy rundown of all of the opportunities:
Because the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono was postponed from Sunday until Monday because of rain I couldn’t watch it live, on TV, from the comfort of my home. Since I was at work, I casually kept track of what was happening by using ESPN’s race widget in between doing work and sitting in meetings.
Once the race was over and I found out that Denny Hamlin had won I was stoked. Really, I was happy for him more than anything just because it had been what, 58 races since he’d last won a Sprint Cup race? So yes, this was a big deal, and like I’ve said before, I like the Denny.
It wasn’t long after I learned of Denny’s win that I received a text message from Tara, a young woman from Arizona who reads my blog and is one of the biggest Denny Hamlin fans around. She even won tickets to a race at Phoenix by professing her reasons why Denny is her favorite driver. Tara told me that she watched the final laps of the race while having lunch at T.G.I. Friday’s with her grandmother.
I’ve had DirecTV for not yet a month and I finally remembered to watch the race this weekend on one of their HotPass driver channels. I picked the Dale Earnhardt Jr. of course.
– It’s free this year
– When there’s a commercial break you still get to watch your selected driver’s in-car cameras.
– I can’t mute the TV broadcast and just listen to Dale’s in-car audio, and vice versa. You don’t know how many times I was telling DW, Larry Mac and Mike Joy to shut up so I could hear what the hell Dale was telling his new interim crew chief.
Overall though I love DirecTV’s HotPass and I will use it every single race weekend that I watch from home. Brilliant idea! Although I’d pay an extra 5 bucks a month to be able to selectively mute stuff.
But let’s talk about the race itself. Do you really think it’s remarkable that Jimmie Johnson came from the back and beat Tony Stewart? I do not. I think it was great racing, yes, but I expect those kinds of shenanigans from Jimmie. He and Chad Knaus are always doing amazing things, winning all kinds of races in new and intriguing ways.
I think something strange is happening to me because I was actually screaming at Tony, attempting to will him to not let Jimmie pass him. I’ve seen Jimmie win and I’m over it. Really, it’s been done. I think it would be far more interesting if Tony starting winning race after race because Tony is single and then we’d probably starting seeing a bunch of new lady faces in Tony’s pit box. Riiiiight? I don’t know, but I like to think of new and different ways to make race day interesting for myself.
Everything is fine!
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, finished 12th at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and improved to 18th in the driver standings. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Aww! Too bad he didn’t make the race!
(center) Jeffrey Earnhardt stands between his stepmother Rene and father Kerry before Jeffrey attempts to make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Earnhardt was off of Kertus Davis’ time by two-tenths of a second in qualifying Saturday at Dover International Speedway and was the only driver not to make the race. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I like this photo because Miss Sprint Cup is so posed. It’s like she’s sayin’ “Ta dah!!! Here’s our race winner!!! What prizes do we have for him Bob??!”
Jimmie Johnson celebrates his fourth win at Dover International Speedway and second win of the season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheese Sunday at Dover. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski douses JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. with champagne Saturday in Dover International Speedway’s Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Heluva Good! 200. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
This kid refuses to take a bad photo. And he’s not even trying! I think he should do some professional modeling. Don’t waste the pretty! I know that’s not what Greg Behrendt meant when he wrote the book, He’s Just Not That Into You, but it’s my prerogative to use it in this manner.
Kasey Kahne was one of three Richard Petty Motorsports Dodges to qualify in the top seven on Friday for Sunday’s Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheesen at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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)
I’ll let the photos do the talking, enjoy!
A Jimmie Johnson fan meets her man Wednesday at Foley’s in New York City during Champions Week. (Photo Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team for winning their third consecutive Sprint Cup Championship.
I know in the weeks leading up to this past Sunday I was hoping for someone else to come along and take the Championship from Jimmie, but that was all for the sake of drama. I just wanted it to be more interesting and less boring. You have to admit that while it is a truly amazing, huge task to win any Championship three times in a row it is sort of boring to watch.
But never mind all that, Jimmie has proved that he is a phenomenal driver and Chad Knaus has proved that he’s a crazy smart crew chief. I just wonder how long they can keep themselves together.
For me the star of the post-race coverage was Jimmie’s dad, Gary. I think his reaction and the emotion on his face was priceless. I loved how he talked about having to learn how to text on his cell phone so that he could stay in contact with his super busy son. It was just a really sweet moment. I like seeing things like that — genuine emotions — instead of people trying to capture a moment in time that can’t possibly described. It was easier to understand what winning this Championship meant to Jimmie and his family from listening to his dad talk about remembering the time they used to watch the Ford 400 back home in Southern California.
In other news…
– Congratulations to Carl Edwards for making a valiant effort in challenging Jimmie for the Sprint Cup. Throughout this whole thing what I loved about Carl was his positive attitude and all of the energy he put towards extinguishing every option available to him during the Chase. His final post-race interview in victory lane at Homestead was, to be completely honest, very inspiring. I mean, let’s be real here, there are worse things than coming in second.
– I’ve never been the biggest Tony Stewart supporter but I was sad that he wasn’t able to come home with one more win for the No. 20 Home Depot team before they parted ways this year. It would have been a super emotional victory lane and it sucks that it wasn’t meant to be.
– Congratulations to Clint Bowyer for holding onto the Nationwide Series Championship this weekend! I’m happy for that guy, even if I couldn’t really tell if he was that happy about it. hehe. I know logically that he was but I haven’t quite gotten that guy figured out just yet.
– Congratulations to Johnny Benson for winning the Craftsman Truck Series Championship! The Nationwide and Craftsman Series should have received top billing this year because of how close the points standings were going into their final races.
– I can’t believe Jeff Gordon finished the year winless. That team has some serious splainin’ to do my friend.
Tony Stewart poses with crew chief Greg Zipadelli, team owners J.D. Gibbs and Joe Gibbs and crew members of his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota before his 356th and final start for Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart finished ninth, his 207th top-10 finish. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart greets fans during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2008 in Homestead, Florida. (Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship after the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2008 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, started 37th and finished fourth during Sundays season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Johnny Benson, driver of the #23 Exide Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series after racing during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2008 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #2 BB&T Chevrolet, poses after winning the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship after the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2008 in Homestead, Florida. (Getty Images for NASCAR)
Apparently the new “in” thing is to call for changes to the Chase format. Whatever. You can’t build in suspense, no matter what you do someone can always run away with it.
It was great that Carl Edwards won at Atlanta this weekend. What wasn’t great was that it didn’t really matter. I still have hope that something amazing will happen, but I can see the writing on the wall just like everybody else. It makes me want to puke.
But it didn’t keep me from wondering out loud to myself why Tony Eury Jr. can’t be more like Chad Knaus. Have you ever wondered what Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s career would be like if he had Chad as his crew chief? Hmmm??
So here’s my suggestion on how to make the Chase better for next year: All of the race teams, that aren’t the 48, need to get BETTER!
Driver David Stremme checks out times during Friday’s practice at Memphis. (Photo Credit: Dak Dillon for NASCAR)
Sam Hornish Jr. driver of the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge with his Daughter Addison before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 24, 2008 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marc Davis waits for his turn to qualify Saturday at Memphis Motorsports Park. Davis will start from the fourth position. (Photo Credit: Dak Dillon for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Apparently it was beanie day for a couple of the Hendrick drivers.
Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet, started 22nd and finished 12th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet, stands on the grid with wife Kim and daughter Paige, during the national anthem sung by “American Idol” alum and Atlanta resident Michael Johns Sunday before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I have some homework for you and I recommend that you do it right now. Not because it’ll enhance your life but mostly because it’s super fun!
I’ve been playing with the ESPN Results Simulator for the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship for the past 2 hours and I love it. You get to try out different race result scenarios for the upcoming race.
I immediately dropped Jimmie Johnson way in the back in the 43rd position and set it up so that Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards finished first, second and third at this weekend’s race in Atlanta. With that finish in place it would push Jimmie back to second, 4 points behind Jeff Burton. Hehe. I looove it. And get this, when the race is on this weekend you can go into Live Race Mode and see how your predictions stack up in real time. I know my little race simulation isn’t super plausible but it makes me happy and that’s all that matters.
One really funny thing about the simulator is that when I picked up Jimmie and placed him in 43rd he said, “You’re a really negative person aren’t you?”
In other news…
– To prove that I’m not a negative person and that I do actually like Jimmie in general I’m posting this video from ESPN The Magazine’s “For Love Or The Game” feature. Let’s find out who knows Jimmie better: his wife Chandra or his crew chief Chad Knaus.
I’m watching ESPN’s coverage of NASCAR right now; basically it’s all about how the qualifying and Nationwide practice sessions have been rained out.
A little bit earlier Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett were interviewing crew chief Chad Knaus when I happened to see a NASCAR headline crawl across the bottom of my screen. It said that Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick got into an “altercation” in the garage at Lowe’s Motor Speedway today.
Get out! Gosh, I wish I could have been there to see that! Apparently the confrontation stemmed from the comments Harvick made last weekend at Talladega, something about him calling Edwards a “pansy.” I find this all very interesting. Is it just me or does it seem like Carl has been more, uhm, how do I say this, uh… assertive this year?
So the only question I have after watching the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard this weekend is this: If you know that the Brickyard is notorious for being really hard on tires and you have a new car that puts more weight on the right side tires why wouldn’t you schedule a testing session there??
Someone’s oversight was our craptastic and yet intriguing race. I’m sure everyone probably thought the race was boring but I thought it was fun (and Dale Jr. agreed with me, not in the exact same way, but still). It kept me watching, waiting for someone’s tire to blow. It never got old watching the pit stops and waiting for the shots of the used up tires to pop up. It made pit stops that much more important because at the end whoever got out of there first was pretty much sure to lead the race and ultimately win it.
And that’s what happened for Jimmie Johnson and the fact that it was he who won and not Kyle Busch pretty much left me on cloud nine. I was all set for a one woman riot if Kyle won again.
The thing that bugged me the most about the race came at the end when I had to wade through SportsCenter in order to get to some short interview clips and a shot of Jimmie & his team kissing the bricks. ESPN did a good job before the race with their taped interviews with Jeff Gordon and Richard Childress, but they missed the mark with their post race coverage.
I’m sorry but I don’t care about baseball scores or Brett Favre’s stilted comeback, at least not when it’s RIGHT after the NASCAR Cup race and I want to hear from the drivers and I want to see if the drivers faces are covered in rubber and dust like everybody said they would be.
But yea, I didn’t get that. I didn’t have enough patience to sit and wait and see if they would have more different coverage later on in the show. I just hope they don’t do this with every race.
Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon congratulates Jimmie Johnson on his Allstate 400 at the Brickyard victory. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(L-R): Crew chief Chad Knaus, Jimmie Johnson, Chandra Johnson and owner Rick Hendrick kiss the yard of bricks after winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Isn’t she cuuute?!
Six-year-old Lucille Nace of Farmerville, Ohio gets an autograph from Scott Riggs prior to practice for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
A view of a Goodyear tire with excessive wear after a competition caution during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Introducing “sexy” Tony!
Tony Stewart is all smiles in the garage after unveiling his new car number and sponsors at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The final laps of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 were literally killing me. I haven’t been that engaged in a race in quite some time. The fact that David Gilliland was running up front, realistically in contention for the win was seriously blowing my mind. In the end though he didn’t come up with the win but I feel like 2nd place is just as good.
I Tivo’d the race while I was at the track and I just watched it today. David’s smile in his post race interview was priceless. He was so happy and rightly so. He proved that he could contend with the likes of Jeff Gordon and come out on top.
On Sunday during the post-race press conference with the media his happiness still shone through, albeit subdued. I’m not one for chopping up quotes so here are some of my favorite parts from the Q&A with the media.
David on what he thought when he saw Jeff behind him in his rearview mirror:
GILLILAND: It’s not a comfortable feeling, I’ll tell you that. I grew up coming here, and so I wasn’t really surprised about having him back there for sure.
GORDON: You didn’t have anything to worry about, trust me.
GILLILAND: Our car was pretty good. On the restart before the last one, I got away from Jeff a little bit going up the hill, and so that made me a little more comfortable on the second one. But it was super slick the last lap as far as challenging for the lead. It was everything I could do just to stay on the racetrack. It was wild back there. It was incredible.
GORDON: You were up there.
GILLILAND: Yeah, up there; back there. (Laughter).
David responds to a reporter asking him if he feels his team is making progress towards becoming really competitive at the “bread and butter tracks:”
GILLILAND: Absolutely. That’s why we go to the racetrack each week. We’re working hard at it. It’s not easy, I’ll tell you that. It’s a challenge each and every week, but definitely, I mean, you know, I feel like we definitely made an improvement on the mile and a half stuff. Our short track stuff has been much better than it was last year. Richmond we had the best car we had and were in the Top 10 and got involved in an accident.
Had a bit of bad luck, but definitely I feel like our performance has improved 90 percent from what it was last year. Our cars are much better and you talk to people and they say, you know, you’re just learning, experience, but you don’t really learn anything driving a car that shouldn’t even be on the racetrack.
So I’m having to relearn a lot of things this year and running up in the front with guys like Jeff Gordon, you know, you’ve got to earn that respect and that goes a long ways.
It’s just a steady process that we are chipping away at.
Jeff Gordon speaks with the press after the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway
David Gilliland speaks with the press after the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway
Crew chief Chad Knaus walks the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet through inspection at Infineon Raceway
Clint Bowyer sits on pit road before the start of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway
Boris Said takes a call at Infineon Raceway before the start of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway
Rear Tire Carrier and Car Chief Ron Malec steers the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet through inspection
So my heart softened just a little bit for Jimmie Johnson this weekend. Normally he’s on my crap list, especially with that suspect crew chief of his Chad Knaus, but this week I could really sense genuine feelings and emotions from him, like winning this race really meant something to him.
And so it should, it was the Brickyard 400 after all, oops I mean the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. This is one of the few times I’ll ever take issue with sponsors but when the race is at Indy it should be called Indy or Brickyard. They’re never going to change the Daytona 500 to the McDonalds 500 at Daytona. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is steeped in history for Indy cars, but not so much for stock cars. But if you watched the pre-race show on NBC you’d think Jesus walked on those bricks. I kid, I kid…
The thing I hated about the race was that the finish wasn’t a nail biter. It didn’t come close to this year
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