I interviewed Shana Mayfield, the wife of suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield, in 2008 and I’m finally posting it today. We talked for little over an hour which is the longest interview I’ve ever done (what’s below isn’t even the entire conversation). For a couple reasons, which I won’t bore you with, I didn’t get it transcribed until this year.
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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.”
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.
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?
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.
Hello! Today has been insane let me tell ya, but the one awesome thing has been writing up this final post of my interview with Kyle Petty. Again, this interview was done last week during Kyle’s promotion of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.
Me: In regards to Prostate Cancer Awareness, a lot of the readers of my website are women, what’s the most important thing that they can do for their husband or father to help them to go out there and see a doctor about this?
Petty: When had our STAY ON TRACK for Better Prostate Health booth set up at Michigan I was surprised at the amount of women who came through and would bring their husbands, or would say “My father had prostate cancer, it runs in our family and I’m trying to get my brothers to go and I really appreciate you guys speaking up on it.”
I think prostate cancer for so many people and especially guys, guys just are afraid to go be checked. And just like I said before, as my father uses the example of putting together a pit crew for his prostate cancer, I think so many guys will baby their car, change the oil, do everything they can with their car and their lawnmower, and their fishing boat or whatever it may be but they disregard their body.
So this the last post in the series dedicated to my interview with Dale Jarrett. It’s my last but probably my favorite because I got to ask him about that awesome Valentine’s Day of 1993 when he won his first Daytona 500 by beating Dale Earnhardt. Ned Jarrett, Dale’s father and a former two-time NASCAR champion, was the racing analyst on duty that day and coached his son home to victory.
It’s one of my all-time favorite NASCAR moments and if you don’t remember check out the video below and then read Dale’s response to my question. So sweet!
Me: If you had to pick one rule or change that NASCAR made during your career which one had the biggest impact on your career and on you as a driver?
Jarrett: I think probably the biggest thing that came along as far as a change was whenever they required everyone to wear the HANS device. I look at that as a very positive impact and unfortunately this positive impact came from some negative things that happened. We lost a couple of lives to get to that point, to be able to make that decision and make that happen. To me that’s the best thing that has been done in our sport.
There’s a lot of things that have been changed, a lot of rules, some that would be up for argument whether they were better for the sport or just things that were done from what they felt like was necessity to make changes. The racing back to the caution thing where people could get laps back, that was getting a little bit out of hand and something needed to be done. People will argue they don’t like the idea, that now that it’s changed, that someone gets a free pass to get a lap back but it seems to have all worked out better for the sport.
The following is more from my interview with ESPN NASCAR analyst Dale Jarrett, after this there are a couple more posts to come — all good stuff.
Me: Do you think that NASCAR could get bigger in terms of media coverage? It’s huge in its own right, but it still doesn’t quite get the respect, I think, that the NFL does and the NBA. Do you think it could get bigger and that the coverage could expand?
Jarrett: It could expand and it has expanded a lot, but what everyone would need to understand is how different our sport is because we don’t really have home teams. That’s the thing that separates our sport from getting more media coverage is that we don’t have that home team in Los Angeles or New York. The teams are based primarily around the Charlotte/Mooresville area.
Me: So switching gears a little bit, to Joey Logano. He’s 18 and he’s going to have a full-time Cup ride next year, do you think that’s a case of too much, too soon or is it different for everyone? I mean, do you think there should be an age restriction in racing at the Cup level?
Jarrett: Well, obviously now that there’s the 18-year-old rule to whether it’s the Nationwide or any of the NASCAR events, the Trucks or anything, I think that’s a good thing.
Is it too much, too soon? Well that’s going to be hard to tell, I guess we’re going to have to see. If it’s happened before that an 18-year-old, and I don’t think that it has, has gotten a ride — ya know it’s rare that they get a ride at that age in the Cup Series — but to get a Championship caliber ride that’s what’s so very different this day in time versus things that have happened in the past.
Okay, so last Tuesday, as if having a great time at the Pepsi 500 in Fontana wasn’t enough, I had the great pleasure of speaking with three-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Jarrett.
It wasn’t just a pleasure, it was a freaking honor to talk to this man. I’ve always liked him and I’ve always respected him as a driver. He’s a legend in NASCAR and if you told me a year ago that I would actually get the chance to talk to him I would have told you that you were crazy, but also that I liked your imagination.
So talking to him was fun and it was great to hear his opinion on the topics I brought up. He isn’t one to be closed up and cocky. He exudes niceness and this sort of regular Joe normalcy that I love. Plus he just talks, ya know? He doesn’t lead you around and give you nothing, he’s real.
So without further hubbub here’s the first of five posts devoted to my interview with the awesome Dale Jarrett.
Today’s race sucked. I’m happy for Carl Edwards and his team for beating Kyle Busch, of course. I think that goes without saying, but it was still kinda lame. Maybe I’m being too picky and hard to please but I just want someone to win who hasn’t won this year, or if that’s not possible then someone who’s only won once so far.
Has anyone started printing up “Anybody but Busch” shirts yet?? ‘Cause I can’t believe that I’m actually sad Jeff Gordon hasn’t won a race this year. I find that fact seriously disturbing and I’ve already started wondering when the four horsemen are going to show up. Watching him in his post-race interview I was happy to see that he was going to use his drop in points as a reason to take things up a notch. That team has got to get it together.
I’m not even going to talk about Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ugh.
I’m sure next week’s race at Bristol will be far more interesting.
On the bright side, don’t think I didn’t notice that ESPN’s cameras paid attention to the adorable Gilliland family during pre-race festivities for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events. That was great.
Pole sitter for the 3M Performance 400 Presented by Bondo and driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Brian Vickers stands next to his car during pre-race activities Sunday. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Former driver and now TV commentator Dale Jarrett chats with driver of the No. 19 Stanley Dodge Elliott Sadler during Friday’s Sprint Cup Series practice at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Fans crowd around Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, during qualifying Friday at Michigan International Speedway (Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Planters Ford, celebrates a win in his typical manner — a backflip — but this time kept his helmet on. Edwards, who also was the polesitter, won the NASCAR Nationwide CARFAX 250 on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I still don’t have the SPEED channel and therefore won’t be able to watch the NASCAR All-Star event. Yes, I know it’s shameful and sad but for as many reasons that I have to justify the cost of having the channel I really don’t want to pay all that extra dough to move up to the channel plan I would need just to get one extra channel. I say bring on a la carte pricing!
Anyway, as soon as I move I’ll be sure to get DirecTV and I can avoid using those price gougers at Comcast.
So, yeah no All-Star festivities for me this weekend but I did vote for the drivers I want to see in the All-Star race on Sunday night. The All-Star Fan Vote has been going on since April and you have until this Saturday at 7pm to submit your vote. You can do it online by going to NASCAR.com or by texting the word “NASCAR” to 7777 on your Sprint phone. I highly recommend voting for Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland, Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip or J.J. Yeley. Since these guys are amongst the drivers that don’t have a spot locked in, they’ll have to either race their way in from the Sprint Showdown or be voted in by the Fan Vote.
In other All-Star news…
– Dale Jarrett will be at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the last All-Star race of his career. They’re making the occasion extra special by introducing Dale last during driver introductions and instead of sitting in the back of a Toyota Tundra, like the other drivers, to wave to the fans around the track he’ll be driving (finally!) the UPS Big Brown Truck. Sounds like it’ll be a really cool send off.
– The first ever NASCAR Day telethon is set for tomorrow at the Sam Bass Gallery in Concord, North Carolina. Various Sprint Cup drivers including Casey Mears and Brian Vickers will be on hand to field calls for donations. Call 1-888-MAY16TH (1-888-629-1684). SIRIUS Satellite Radio will be broadcasting from the telethon all day starting at 7 a.m. and SPEED will be cutting in and out throughout the day as well.
– On Sunday the rear panel for Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Office Depot Ford will carry a super cool message from the winner of the Harlequin & Office Depot “Say Yes to a Winning Proposal” contest. I’m soooo excited to find out who the lucky couple is and I hope someone produces some kick butt reaction photos of the soon-to-be bride. They’re unveiling the winning proposal tomorrow, so I’ll see what I can see, but be on the lookout for Carl’s car on Saturday.
– Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle spent some quality time together this week while helping to build a KaBOOM! playground (in one day!) for Elon Homes for Children in Charlotte. Think they talked about swapping rides next year??
Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the #20 Home Depot Racing car & two-time Series Champion and Greg Biffle, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the #16 3M Racing car help build a build a racing-themed playground in just one day at Elon Homes for Children (Photo Credit: CIA for KaBOOM)
It’s one thing when the economy sucks (or doesn’t suck, depending on who you ask) and people are defaulting on their home loans and it’s totally another when it starts affecting NASCAR.
I was at home yesterday and I caught an episode of NASCAR Now on ESPN. Dale Jarrett was on and they were talking about the whole General Mills swap from Petty Enterprises to Richard Childress Racing. This swap obviously opens up a sponsorship opportunity (Plus there are a ton of cars in the Nationwide Series that don’t have sponsors), but who’s going to take it? Apparently some established NASCAR team sponsors are looking around, but there’s also this idea that it’s hard for companies to justify spending money on sponsorships these days with the economy in the doldrums.
Jarrett hypothesized that this could possibly lead to a shorter schedule, after all less sponsors equals less money and less money equals less races. Of course the drivers would probably like this idea, but I’m not so sure how I would feel about it. It’s bad enough trying to fill the Sundays on the off weekends we do have. How would it feel to have a season that ends in August?
In other news…
– If you’re going to the races this weekend in Texas and you’ve always wanted to meet Carl Edwards you’ve got an opportunity to do so tomorrow. Carl will be at the Office Depot in Grapevine, Texas from 6pm to 8pm on Friday, April 4th. He’ll be meeting the (lucky) employees of the store and then signing autographs for fans. The No. 99 Office Depot show car will also be in attendance. Below are some details if you’re planning on heading out there tomorrow.
Office Depot Store #406
1317 State Highway 114 West
Grapevine, TX 76051
Friday, April 4, 2008
This event is open to the general public, and 250 wristbands will be distributed for autographs (one per person). The wristbands may be obtained on a first-come, first-served basis at the store beginning at 7 a.m. on the day of the event.
Jeff Burton’s win at Bristol last weekend was awesome. I’m sorry that Tony Stewart was spun out by Kevin Harvick in those last laps but that was a cool ending. It just makes for great TV. Even though I was so pissed when Brian Vickers spun out Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson at Talladega in 2006 it was generally entertaining — things can still be entertaining even when they break your heart.
I think the overall theme for the day was how great it was to see David Gilliland and Aric Almirola finish in the top ten. I was so happy for them. Let’s hope that this helps Yates Racing in their search for permanent sponsors for both of their cars. And I can’t help but wonder why anyone wouldn’t want to sponsor a NASCAR race team. Especially drivers like Gilliland and Travis Kvapil. Your company would get to be a part of their story, for better or worse, but you’re still apart of it and people will remember that. Even if the guy finishes 30th each week he’s still out there and there’s always the possibility that he could win.
In other news…
– Guys, there is still time to enter the “Say Yes To A Winning Proposal Contest” and ladies — there’s still time to print this out and put it under your boyfriend’s nose. He’s got until March 31st to write out his profession of love for you (in 50 words or less). So get crackin’.
Looking to declare your love in a memorable way?
Thanks to Office Depot and Harlequin, one lucky couple will have a chance to do just that – and at speeds of more than 180 mph.
Harlequin, a leading publisher of women’s fiction worldwide, and Office Depot® (NYSE: ODP), the official office products partner of NASCAR, are offering one lucky couple the ultimate NASCAR wedding proposal or the chance to renew their vows with the “Say Yes To A Winning Proposal” national contest. Individuals can submit their proposals online, and the winning wordsmith will have his or her declaration of love featured on the back of Carl Edwards’s No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion during the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race in May and will win a VIP prize package worth more than $10,000.
From now until March 31, anyone can enter by submitting their proposal at www.GetYourHeartRacing.com in 50 words or less.
In addition to having their proposal highlighted on the back of Edwards’ car, the contest winner will also receive a diamond ring, customized stationery provided by the Office Depot Design, Print & Ship DepotTM and a trip for two to Sedona, Arizona.
I’m only posting this photo because professional hockey player Jeff Carter is friggin’ hot! Seriously.
Philadelphia Flyers center Jeff Carter (left) shows off his new Shell/Pennzoil jacket while Kevin Harvick displays his personalized #29 Philadelphia Flyers jersey. (Photo Credit: Richmond International Raceway)
Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz (left) looks on as NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick tastes a fresh-off-the-line Diet Coke at the Richmond Coca-Cola bottling facility. (Photo Credit: Richmond International Raceway)
Dale Jarrett gets a ride around the track from father Ned before his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carl Edwards admires a paper that was printed before he was penalized 100 points and knocked from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point lead. (Photo Credit: CIA Stock Photo)
Carl Edwards follows through as he seeks a strike while bowling with media in Johnson City, Tenn. (Photo Credit: CIA Stock Photo)
Race winner Clint Bowyer awaits word on the conclusion of the race. It was eventually called due to inclement weather after 171 laps (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
My prayers have been answered!
ESPN announced today that they’re moving Rusty Wallace from race commentator to NASCAR Countdown lead analyst. Dale Jarrett will replace Rusty in the booth, to call the races with Dr. Jerry Punch and Andy Petree.
What that really means is that we won’t have to suffer through anymore of Rusty’s inane comments and regurgitations of points made by others. This is such a relief, just the other day I was thinking about how annoying it would be to have to sit through another half season of Rusty and his lame observations.
And to make this so much better Allen Bestwick will take over as the host of NASCAR Countdown from Suzy Kolber. Suhweet. I like Suzy, I really do, but she just wasn’t making it for me in the world of NASCAR. I love Bestwick, he knows his stuff and he sounds like it too.
Ya know, I’m not quite sure which I like better. I’m usually a big fan of dudes with long hair but I don’t know how I feel about it on Tony.
At any rate, here are more fantastic photos from the second week of testing at Daytona. These were taken yesterday.
Tony Stewart shares a laugh with the media during a Preseason Thunder news conference following Tuesday morning’s test session. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sam Hornish Jr. signs autographs for fans on Tuesday morning during the second week of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dario Franchitti puts on his balaclava as he gets ready to test on the second day of the second week of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Three-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Jarrett will go for gold in his final Great American Race on Feb. 17 at the Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. poses with the special 50th running of the Daytona 500 edition of the Harley J. Earl Trophy during Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)
It’s like he’s staring into your soul. Great photo.
Bill Elliott takes a break from testing the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford during the second week of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)
As the NASCAR season winds down I got to thinking about commercials. More specifically, which ones were my favorite and now, without further adieu, I give you my list of the top 5 2007 NASCAR commercials. From fifth to first:
5.) Dale Jr. & The Desert Mutants (Budweiser) — This is by far Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s best commercial acting job to date. He’s funny and I don’t know why he doesn’t give in and host Saturday Night Live, he couldn’t be worse than LeBron James was awhile ago. I’m just sayin’. View video below or click here.
4.) Toyota Pit Pass (Toyota) — It seems like every year NASCAR and those that cover it are trying to figure out more ways to get the fans close to the action. This Toyota commercial seems to take that idea to the extreme by allowing fans to ride along with their favorite drivers, or should I say hover above their favorite drivers, going 180 mph. It’s funny (sad?)because it seems like this could actually happen one day when NASCAR exhausts all other options for fan integration. View the video below or click here.
3.) Dale Jarrett & his dad Ned (UPS) — I like Dale Jarrett in general and the series of “Race The Truck” commercials have been great, but this is my hands down favorite from this year. Dale’s dad Ned makes a cameo in this UPS commercial posing as his son and hilarity ensues. View the video “Imposter” at UPSRacing.com
2.) Michael Waltrip’s Fan Letters (NAPA Auto Parts) — Michael Waltrip is such a character and I love him for it. I love this commercial because they were able to take their lemons and make some seriously funny lemonade! He hasn’t had the best season, that’s a huge understatement, and to have the ability to make fun of yourself in spite of that is awesome. View the video below or click here.
1.) Lauren Wallace (Geico) — My favorite line from this commercial is “I didn’t say I wouldn’t go fishing with the man.” Cracks me up every time. This ad is the best because of so many things but for the most part it’s the direction, which reminds me of a Wes Anderson movie (Check out The Royal Tenenbaums or Rushmore) and of course the star is Lauren himself. This kid should totally get his own show, I mean the Geico cavemen have their own sitcom, why not Lauren? View the video below or click here.
Wednesday night I stayed up past my bedtime (my workday bedtime) and watched NASCAR in Primetime on ABC.
Today I read a review of the show from the New York Times and I think the reviewer got it right — this documentary isn’t covering any new territory. But it’s still entertaining nevertheless.
I dig the fact that it follows lesser known teams — in the first episode we saw Johnny Sauter’s team struggle at Atlanta — and that you get to hear & see real fans talk about why they love NASCAR. That kid with the Carl Edwards hat on was so cute, and very knowledgeable about the drivers.
Oh and who knew Mark Martin was so freaking buff?? Jenkies Batman… I think he’s better looking now than when he was younger, and the same goes for Dale Jarrett. They’re total hotties as older gentlemen. Plus it’s not like they’re that old. Ah I’m rambling.
So overall I dig the fact that this documentary is even on TV at all, but at the same time I was hoping there’d be more to it. Something we haven’t seen before, or some other angle. I dunno… Maybe I’m asking for too much.
The thing that was killing me throughout the telecast of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was ESPN’s constant repetition of the same clips showing Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon talking about kissing the bricks. Those are three words that I never, ever want to hear again thanks to ESPN. They managed to wear out those words so much that they’ve lost their flavor, like a wad of a gum that’s been chewed too long. Is there anyone that doubts the fact that it was in fact Dale Jarrett’s crew chief (at the time) Todd Parrott who came up with the idea to press their lips to those dirty, grimy bricks? UGH! I’m so over it. There’s only one way to ruin the prestige, legacy and honor of an event and that’s to talk about it ad nauseam.
I don’t even believe it anymore. After hearing everybody say how much they treasure it, I can’t feel the weight of it. And wasn’t it a bit of overkill to have Brent Musburger AND Suzy Kolber hosting the event?? I love both of them but it just seemed to be a bit much and a waste of Brent Musberger’s talent.
I’d believe it more if they did some of those pre-game in-depth interviews other networks always do before NFL games. I love those. They interview a guy at his home, or at practice, talk about whatever has happened during the season to date. The only thing we’ve gotten this year is that bit on Clint Bowyer and the obligatory stuff on Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he signed up with Hendrick. I’m not counting TNTs deals on the racers of NASCAR’s past. While I found those interviews highly enjoyable, I really wanna know about the stars of today, the guys that are coming up. Why hasn’t there been an interview with Michael Waltrip (loved his new, poking fun NAPA commercial), asking him about the car he wrecked near his house, and his slow-to-roll race team?? Or an interview with Jeremy Mayfield and his comments about Ray Evernham’s relationship with Erin Crocker? Why not Ray and Erin themselves? Or how about an in depth interview with Casey Mears? You could ask him about his win earlier this year and about his past, his thoughts on his future, yadda, yadda, yadda… ya know the basic interview stuff that for some perplexing reason has been severely lacking.
Those 2 minute pre-race interviews with the pit reporters are not cutting it.
(photo credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The Pepsi 400 was such a big event I had to take notes. I didn’t want to forget my talking points. So here goes:
– So when TNT announced that there would be less commercials for the Pepsi 400 telecast did they mean there would be more?? Yes, they cut away to fewer commercials that took up the whole screen but those that played at the bottom of the screen — on top of the racing action — were no less distracting.
– And as a side note to the above commercial debacle, I would like to say that I’m totally over Jeff Gordon’s 10 years with Pepsi. Congratulations to Pepsi for sticking with a winner for 10 years that was so hard.
– Actor Kevin James served as the Grand Marshal and gave one of the most memorable versions of “Gentlemen, Start your engines” ever! He’s right up there with Matthew McConaughey. Oh how I wish I had videos of both McConaughey and James versions so that we could contrast and compare. It’s becoming a fine art — being able to say those words without boring the hell out of people.
– When Clint Bowyer was leading the race at one point he said to his crew something to the effect of “nobody’s gettin’ past me” and then of course a bunch of people got past him. When he said it I immediately thought those were some famous last words. He ended up finishing seventh which is still really good considering. But I know that he desperately wants to win one of these things. I know that his time will come; this year is as good as any, especially when this was their 9th top ten finish of the season so far.
– How cool was it that Jamie McMurray won the Pepsi 400? So cool! Now, I’m not sure if I was so excited about it because he beat Kyle Busch or because it had been so insanely long since he’d last won a Cup race. I guess it was both. His obvious happiness, relief, joy for winning that race was great to see. There was no sense of entitlement in his tone when talking after the race. He was genuinely excited and happy that he won. Sometimes it seems like drivers just expect to be there (Hello JPM!), like duh I was supposed to win, and to me that’s disrespectful. It’s hard to win, act like you appreciate it.
– It’s always so refreshing to see Kyle Busch whining after a race. No teammate support my butt, he’s such a freakin’ tool. “Waaah, Why isn’t everybody helping me win???! Waaah!” Any team that wants him can have him, and good luck. He could become the Michael Jordan/Joe Montana/Babe Ruth of NASCAR and I would still say that he’s a complete nerd. He’s talented I’ll give him that but it all gets overshadowed by his crappy attitude. Ugh. Doesn’t he get tired of being known for that?
And now for some Daytona photo goodness:
So close and so awesome
Jamie McMurray (No. 26) barely beats Kyle Busch (No. 5) to the finish line. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Reed Sorenson awaits the NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kenny Wallace puts on his game face at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
They’re “older” but still super hotties!
Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett look on during qualifying at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
I am invested in the success of Toyota’s NASCAR race teams.
Why you ask?
Well I own a Toyota (a cool and fun Toyota Matrix XR named “Trinity” my homage to the lead female character in “The Matrix” film franchise) and I like the company. So if Toyota isn’t a winner I’m not a winner! Well, sort-of. I don’t take it that seriously but you get my point.
My first car in high school was a 1970-something Toyota Corolla named Betsy (right) that every member of my family drove before it got handed down to me in the late 1990′s. I loved that car, it was old but it lasted for a long time. Toyota knows how to make great cars that last, that are reliable. But now they need to make some race cars that can win, heck, just qualifying would be nice.
While Dave Blaney is currently ranked 3rd (David Reutimann of Michael Waltrip Racing is in 4th) in the points standings for the Busch series — which is really awesome — his teammates at Bill Davis Racing and the other Toyota teams are seriously lagging.
As much as I was annoyed with Brian Vickers for stupidly spinning out Dale Earnhardt Jr. last year (I have a hard time letting things go, can’t ya tell?) at Talladega I’m starting to root for him again. Part of that is because I dig Red Bull (eventhough I’ve never drunk a Red Bull in my life, I appreciate great marketing) and of course Toyota in general.
I feel bad because AJ Allmendinger is completely new to this NASCAR thing and he’s not getting the opportunity to really prove himself, show us all what he can do. Jeremy Mayfield is back but you can hardly tell because he’s only been in 3 races so far this season. I’m looking forward to him racing — competitively — against his ex-Evernham teammates.
Then there’s Michael Waltrip. Only one race under his belt this year and the rest of his race teams are seriously struggling. Dale Jarrett is out of provisionals, so if he doesn’t qualify on time for Richmond he’s not going to be in a Nextel Cup race for the first time after 424 previous starts. Maybe there’s an early retirement ahead for Dale? He’s really good at analyzing the Busch races on ESPN.
In other news…
At least someone at Red Bull Racing is winning… Today they announced that 20-year-old mechanical engineering student Matthew Marchiando from the University of California-Davis won the first-ever Red Bull Velocity Lab internship. He’ll be spending his summer at the Red Bull Racing race shop in Mooresville, N.C. I post this because he’s local to me (Davis, Calif is an hour north of me in the San Francisco Bay Area). Marchiando’s internship application included a plan on how to perfect “how the front splitter limits front-end travel” on the Car of Tomorrow. Good luck Matthew!