Where the hell have I been?? It feels like forever ago since I’ve written anything but there’s a totally awesome reason why: I met a guy! Yep, I went on a coffee date and the guy, his name is Jack, turned out to be pretty amazing, so amazing that we spent the next four days together. So, needless to say, I like him A LOT and he likes me A LOT. I wasn’t expecting it and it’s been the best thing ever. However, it’s totally thrown my whole schedule out of whack. I always had a ton of time to myself, pretty much any time I wasn’t working was my time to work on this site or do whatever. But now that I’m with Jack that’s pretty much all I want to do–be with him–so I’ve been prepping the 2012 Hottest NASCAR Driver tournament in bits and pieces, in small chunks of time, over the last few days and now I’m FINALLY ready to launch it.
All posts tagged David Reutimann25 Posts
I woke up at 6am Sunday morning in New Hampshire and willed myself to get up so that I wouldn’t get stuck in race day traffic. SYLVANIA gave us a tip that we (their invited media peeps) should get on the road by 7:15am at the latest in order to miss the traffic melee. It worked because the drive to the track only took 25 minutes. I have to say that NHMS is by far my favorite track to drive to because the scenery is beautiful, but more importantly it was (basically) a straight shot from the hotel to the track, with one left turn and one stop at the drive-thru Starbucks on Loudon Road.
Jimmie Johnson (right), driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, signs a fan’s shoulder on pit road after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 19 in Brooklyn, Mich. (Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So why is he retiring?
Patrick Carpentier of the No. 99 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota signs autographs for fans prior to the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Aug. 20 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Credit: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
David Reutimann, driver of the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota, signs autographs on pit road after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 19 in Brooklyn, Mich. (Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Get this man a contract! Enough already!
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, climbs in his car in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 19 in Brooklyn, Mich. (Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (right), driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet, signs autographs for fans after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 19 in Brooklyn, Mich. (Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images for NASCAR)
A fan takes a photo with Kasey Kahne (left), driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 20 in Brooklyn, Mich. (Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 21 in Brooklyn, Mich. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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.
Friday morning in Las Vegas started with me arriving at the track just in time to interview J.J. Yeley at his hauler. But I found out that he had been asked to drive the No. 27 car for Baker Curb Racing in the Nationwide Series race. So he was participating in their practice session and wouldn’t be available till later in the day (We did end up connecting later in the day and I got some great answers from him).
I love a good NASCAR-related commercial. I really do. Those Sponsifier commercials are on point this year. But I was recently asked to help promote TUMS’ new NASCAR campaign that features Michael Waltrip Racing driver David Reutimann and his team owner, Michael Waltrip.
Their new TV commercial features Michael getting beat up by a rib, which is really funny to me and also very disturbing in the same instance. The whole food fighting you concept is both smart and creepy, but mostly smart because it totally plays up the importance of TUMS’ product. Anyway, I can appreciate that.
TUMS has added a new component of their campaign and that’s the following video in which we see a giant hamburger challenge David Reutimann to a duel, of sorts. The cool part is that you get to chose the ending. Does David fight back and take TUMS or not? You decide!
My favorite part is when Michael Waltrip slowly closes the doors on his hauler. Funny!
TUMS, Michael and David were on hand at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Friday and it was fun to hear them talk about their experience in creating the videos, mostly Reutimann cracking up at Waltrip having a remote controlled rib smack him in the face repeatedly.
Be on the lookout for more videos from TUMS on their Facebook page.
Who is the hottest, cutest, most-handsome driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series? I know who I think is the hottest, most-adorable driver in the series but if I just tell you what I think it’s boring and the fun only lasts for a few hours, or a day, tops. So instead I thought it would be way more fun if everyone voted!
I’ve randomly seeded 38 drivers into a single-elimination tournament. There will be six rounds of action before we crown a winner and each round will last at least one week.
The second round will go on for two weeks because there are so many match-ups I want to make sure there’s enough time to get as many votes in as possible. You can vote as many times as you want and I strongly encourage you to do so every day. And as the rounds wind down be on the lookout for the opportunity to win a prize!
Download a copy of the 2011 Hottest Driver Tournament brackets!
Without further adieu here are the match-ups for Round One!
|Kyle Busch||Jeff Burton|
|Brian Vickers||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|David Reutimann||Tony Stewart|
|David Ragan||Casey Mears|
|Paul Menard||Jimmie Johnson|
|Kevin Conway||Regan Smith|
Round One Voting Has Ended! Vote in Round Two! CLICK HERE
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.
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)
People always love to talk about NASCAR needs, ‘cause NASCAR always needs something, I guess. I never like writing or talking about stuff like that because I don’t think NASCAR is in a dire situation for anything. So what’s the point of talking about what would help it if I don’t think it needs help?
With that being said, if NASCAR does need something right now it would be what happened last night. David Reutimann won the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway and while the race as a whole was kinda boring, it was pure awesomeness to see David win a race without the help of weather issues for the first time. He and his No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine team won the race fair and square. I loved seeing the emotion in his face and that of his crew chief Rodney Childers. Rodney apologized for all of his emotion while talking to the TNT crew, but he shouldn’t have. He earned that win and he should let those feelings roll, he earned it.
And don’t forget to re-read my Inside the Actor’s Studio interview with David. hehe.
In other news…
– At race time yesterday Jimmie and Chandra Johnson had yet to announce the name of their new baby girl, but today they finally shared her name, Genevieve Marie Johnson, along with a picture of the cutie pahtootie newborn. Raise your hand if you have the same middle name as Genevieve. I do! I do!
– 20-year-old Austin Dillon, grandson of team owner Richard Childress, won his first career NASCAR race today in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 at Iowa Speedway. Congratulations Austin! Who doesn’t love a first-time winner?
They’re hugging like this because they’re friends in real life.
Actor Angie Harmon greets Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s Chevrolet during driver introductions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LIFELOCK.COM 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 10, 2010 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
“Big Mac”, love that.
Jamie McMurray waits for the race action to begin for the LifeLock.com 400 race at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL.
Austin Dillon, driver of the Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet poses with his little brother Ty Dillon, driver of the Karl Chevrolet Arca car after both of them won the pole awards at Iowa Speedway on July 10, 2010 in Newton, Iowa. Austin won the pole award after qualifying first for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 and Ty won the pole award for the ARCA Prairie 200. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards and his mother, Nancy Sterlin, during pre-race ceremonies for the Dollar General 300 race at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL.
David Ragan (6) during practice for the LifeLock.com 400 race at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the Jimmy John’s Chevrolet and his wife DeLana stand for the National Anthem during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 9, 2010 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Reed Sorenson, driver of the Red Bull Toyota looks on from the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LIFELOCK.COM 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 9, 2010 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the Cheerios Chevrolet looks on from the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LIFELOCK.COM 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 9, 2010 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duncan Keith of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks gives the command for the drivers to start their engines during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LIFELOCK.COM 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 10, 2010 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
On Friday at Infineon my first questioning of the day was with David Reutimann, driver of the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine for Michael Waltrip Racing. David is dad to his 8-year-old daughter, Emilia, and since it was Father’s Day weekend I thought it only fitting I should ask him a bonus question about what he thought was the best part of being a dad. “I don’t think there’s any downside to being a father,” he said. “I think having an opportunity, especially early on when they start talking, to show them everything that’s completely new to them, like a bird, is the most rewarding thing. And I miss it, too.”
That was such an “Awww” moment. It’s always fun to hear people talk about their children and what it means to have them in their lives. So without further adieu, here are David’s answers to the ten questions. He was a great sport, and I loved his emphatic response at the end (the first!) that Heaven does indeed exist.
What is your favorite word? No
What is your least favorite word? Yes
What turns you on? Driving fast
What turns you off? Fast people in a slow lane. Yea, there’s another lane out there, stay in it. (laughter)
What sound or noise do you love? I love the sound of basically any race engine.
What sound or noise do you hate? That same noise when it wakes me up too early when I’m in the infield at a race track.
What is your favorite curse word? Wow, I don’t really have a favorite. I try to avoid it although they do come out. I try not use any of ‘em but I’ve used them all. Probably, “Dang” or a derivative of that.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? A crab fisherman. Just attempt it, (laughter) I don’t know that I could do it full-time.
What profession would you not like to do? An exterminator
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Oh, absolutely Heaven does exist. I would like to hear Him say, “Come on in.”
Read more of my “Inside the Actor’s Studio” questionnaire interviews in the archives and read about how it all started with Tony Stewart.
I know I’ve used that title before but I love it.
Friday at Infineon Raceway was day one of the Toyota/SaveMart 350 festivities. It was a pretty big day for me because it held actual things for me to do. My usual shtick is to just show up and let things happen but this time I setup interviews with drivers. Since things went so well with Tony Stewart and the Inside The Actor’s Studio questions I decided to make it my “thing” for now and to get as many drivers to answer the same questions.
On my schedule for the day were one-on-one’s with David Reutimann, Regan Smith, AJ Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler. I’ll write about each of those experiences in separate posts. Stay tuned for those.
Back in the media center I sat in on press conferences for Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, and a little bit of Denny Hamlin.
Tony Stewart’s presser was, of course, by far the most entertaining of the bunch. His session was after practice and he wasn’t very happy with his car. I think that Southwest airlines should use his press conferences as the basis for one of their “Wanna Get Away???” commercials. I had this uncontrollable urge, every time someone asked something cringe-worthy to look down and start playing with my cell phone. There are always a few questions that bug Tony and after sitting in on a few of his pressers I’ve learned that Tony is a lot better when you ask him questions that are very real to him. He laid it out pretty plainly that he only cares about racing. He wasn’t in the mood to get all theoretical or philosophical about racing after having a crappy practice session. It wasn’t helping that people were asking the same questions they’ve asked year after year, my favorite being “Should there be a road course race in The Chase?” That was the one that really bugged him and got him to eventually say that he had no interest in giving his opinion on such things, he just wanted to race.
Red Bull Racing has selected Mattias Ekström to handle the road course at Infineon Raceway next week in the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota:
“First of all, I’d like to express my sincere thanks — to Red Bull for inviting a Swede with zero NASCAR experience to compete in the United States and to Audi for the possibility and approval that enable me to fulfill this dream,” said Ekström, 31.
I, too, would like to express my sincerest thanks to Red Bull for inviting a cute Swedish dude to race in NASCAR for the first time ever. Can you say, “fresh meat?” It’s perfect timing since I’ll be at Infineon next week for the Toyota/SaveMart 350. Can wait to see Mattias in action. Zero NASCAR experience and his first race is at Infineon. I love it.
That’s Mattias (left) with Casey Mears, sporting his wedding ring. I forgot Casey got married!
In other news…
– The 2010 Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream was held last night and drivers from all kinds of racing disciplines were on hand, including Travis Pastrana who is famous for his motocross & supercross & general extreme sport background. I really, really wish Travis would try his hand at NASCAR. It would be a good time for sure. That guy is funny and super talented.
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’ve decided that I want Liev Schreiber, the awesome writer/director/actor that did the voiceover for the 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona series, to narrate my life. It’d be awesome, just imagine this: “Valli stopped by Starbucks for her usual — a Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte — on her way to work, as she does everyday. The cordial staff has her drink ready by the time it’s her turn at the counter.” It’d be riveting stuff.
Did you see the second episode where Chad Knaus cooks dinner for himself? I think he was making pasta or something. Anyway, my eyes nearly bugged out of my head when I saw that he has a faucet over his STOVE! I need that kitchen. That was so cool.
I’m sad the series has come to an end. I wish they were with Jimmie, Chad and the rest of the 48 team for the rest of the season. It’d be fun. They could of videotaped Chandra giving birth! Missed opportunities, people.
In other news…
– I’ve decided that David Reutimann looks like Dax Shepard’s long lost brother. Dax is an actor that got his “big break” by playing pranks on people in the first season of Ashton Kutcher’s series Punk’d. Now he does movies. What do you think??
David Reutimann (left) and Dax Shepard (right)
– A Gillette 500 update! Team Denny Hamlin / Kasey Kahne are in second place. This is not good people, we need to be number one!!! So sign up and log your shaves. And if you’ve already signed up, continue to log your shaves! You gotta do it every day. By doing it EVERY DAY you increase your chances of winning a hometown visit by one of the guys! Shave your underarms, legs, whatever! Goooo Team Densey!!!
Also, since you’re here, check out Kasey and Denny in the “Book Club Crashers” commercial. It made me snort-laugh, which is saying something.
There were a ton of great commercials making their debut during the Daytona 500 this year. I guess everybody is starting to spend money again, which I fully endorse. The Coca-Cola guys singing about buying the world a Coke was good, Kasey Kahne’s incredible pit stop for Budweiser was cute but the most AMAZING commercial was for Toyota’s new Sponsifier promotion that allows fans to create a car design for the Toyota driver of their choice. I laughed every time it played, even when I knew what they were going to say. It’s sooo funny.
Joey Logano’s expression is priceless, as is Kyle Busch coming to terms with his pink kittens/pony/baby seal car.
And then of course from the internets, I found the other commercial. The one below features Denny Hamlin and a super funny cameo by David Reutimann. Now I understand why they were all Twittering about loving love.
This week was the annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. I wasn’t there (trust me, I’m crying inside) and so all I have to share with you are these photos of drivers sitting in chairs. Enjoy!
(Left to right) Richard Childress Racing’s Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, owner Richard Childress and Jeff Burton take part in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson Photography)
The word on the street is that NASCAR will announce today that they’re moving the current Sprint Cup Series director, John Darby, into another role and are actively seeking a replacement for Darby’s old position as “Garage Boss.”
In the same article the Associated Press reported that NASCAR is supposedly looking at candidates that are outside of NASCAR. So I’m thinking I could do it. I’m officially throwing my hat into the ring. What? Like it’s hard? Here are my reasons why I think I’d make a kick butt NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director.
(in no particular order)
1.) I’m awesome — Duh! I think that pretty much goes without saying.
2.) I love rules — I’m one of those people that just loves rules. I know and understand their importance in this world. Everybody needs them, all the time. We might complain about them but they’re there for our safety and security. Without rules there would be chaos. Have you ever watched those TV shows about parents who are at their wit’s end with their crazy, bratty children? Ya know, Nanny 911 and SuperNanny? Every episode goes down the same: the kids have no structure, no rules or no enforcement of established rules and the kids run amok. Once those areas are fixed everything is fine. I could apply those same strategies to the NASCAR garage. If you break a rule you have to sit in the naughty trailer for as many minutes as your car number. (I would round David Reutimann up to 100 minutes on account of his No. 00 car)
3.) I know some car stuff – I once changed the oil in my car and I know how to change the air filter too.
4.) I’m a great listener — Ask any of the poor, sad Peter Pan dudes that I’ve dated in the past. They’ve all commented on what a great listener I am (“I feel like I can tell you anything, like how I’m still not over my ex-girlfriend”) and they always feel so much better after talking to me. So a bunch of whiney NASCAR drivers would be easy peasy.
5.) I called it — Since no else is jumping up and down for the job it automatically goes to me. If you want the front seat, you have to call it and the same goes for jobs, people!
6.) I’m a natural mediator — In high school it wasn’t uncommon for me to conduct couples therapy sessions with my friends who were having issues with their significant other. The fact that none of the couples I helped stayed together shouldn’t be a red flag, the important thing is that I did help them communicate better while they were a couple.
7.) I’d command respect — I’m thinking I’d get a super cool hoodie (custom made by Neighborhoodies) that would read “Garage Boss – you must respect my authority!” OR “Don’t mess with Valli or you’ll have to PARK it” Ha! Get it!?
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.
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)?
I love living in Northern California. I’m very proud of my home state, but last night I had to shake my head in disgust. One of our local sports broadcasters referred to David Gilliland as Jason Leffler.
The guy runs through the highlights of the race at Phoenix and hits on the crazy wreck that put David and his car on top of Scott Speed, and then proceeds to say it was Jason — not David — with his tires on Scott’s windshield. It’s sort of an easy mistake to make because Gilliland and Leffler have the same car number (the No. 38), but in different race series. So really it’s a stupid mistake and someone wasn’t paying attention. I wanted to call the TV station and tell them they’re nerds but I figured it wasn’t worth it.
Anyway, even though the outcome wasn’t what I had hoped for I did find the race enjoyable. Who doesn’t love a good red flag every now and again? Was Carl Edwards eating an Arby’s sandwich during the first one?
With the season rolling to an end I really don’t have much to say about Phoenix. What can I say that you don’t already know? It’s highly unlikely that something crazy is going to happen next weekend to take the Championship away from Jimmie Johnson. I guess that’s OK.
I have to give props to the No. 26 and the No. 2 teams and their drivers Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch for putting together great runs on Sunday. I really hoped one of them would be able to give Jimmie a run for his money at the end. It was great to see some different faces up front for a change.
It’s Phil, Captain of the Cornelia Marie! I love Deadliest Catch!
David Reutimann shares a laugh with Phil Harris of Deadliest Catch. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch poses with Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb before taking him on a pace car ride around Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m diggin’ the scruffy look on him.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, started fifth and finished sixth during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #10 McDonald’s Dodge, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2008 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
So I have this new vow that whenever I get media credentials I’m going to make the most of them. I’m going to do everything and access everything that my credentials will allow, at least, all of the stuff that I know about. There were three symbols whose meaning I never got around to figuring out. So anyway, back to making the most of things. I knew I wanted to get to the drivers introduction stage but it was way out on the start/finish line and not on pit road like it had been at California. So I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to be out there. Plus I didn’t see any of the media people that I recognized out there, but as I like to say “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” So I went out there and one of the security people let me through.
Before the start of driver introductions there were a bunch of small introductory speeches by various big wigs, the Mayor of Las Vegas Oscar Goodman, SMI Chairman of the Board Bruton Smith, etc. And then the Blue Man Group put on a little show. They were really cool to see in person, even if I only saw the right side of the stage. I thought it was fun having them perform. Musical/theatrical shows are such a Vegas thing and it’s only fitting to have one before the start of the race, plus it’s like you get a little extra for all the money you shelled out for the tickets.
While the blue dudes were performing Clint Bowyer walked out on to the grass with a bunch of guys I’m assuming were his friends. He stopped to check out the show like right next to where I was standing. It was the most awkward thing. Should I stand there and look at the show like “yea I think the show is really cool too Clint” or should I stare at him and snap as many photos as possible right in his face? Well I chose a sort of combination of the two. I took photos of him, and stared at him and also tried to move out of his way so that he could get a better look at the show, all the while trying to be nonchalant about the whole thing.
And so eventually all of the drivers streamed out onto the grass behind the stage. Dale Earnhardt Jr. sped by in his requisite black hoodie and into the tented backstage area. Meanwhile a woman standing next to me with a very large chest area had Robby Gordon sign her boobs, I mean, shirt.
Robby Gordon signs a fan’s
boob shirt at the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.
Clint Bowyer watches The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.
Clint Bowyer watches The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.
The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.
J.J. Yeley and his adorable daughter Faith exit the stage during driver introductions at the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.
Kyle Petty, Ken Schrader, Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya and David Reutimann (sitting) hang out before they’re introduced at driver introductions.
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!
So the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in Fontana, California was this past weekend and there were many highlights. There’s a lot to cover so lets get to it.
– R&B singer Brian McKnight sang the national anthem and was absolutely wonderful! He wasn’t pitchy at all, unlike Country duo Big and Rich at Daytona.
– Actor Kevin Costner’s announcement of “Gentlemen, start your engines” thoroughly sucked. I think they should have actor/hottie Matthew McConaughey do it every week. He was the Grand Marshal of the Daytona 500 in 2005 and he kicked butt in delivering those most famous words in motor sports. It’s not that big a deal really but it’s so nice to have someone spice it up a little. McConaughey is total character and if you’ve seen his work in the movie “Dazed and Confused” you know what I mean.
– Even though it was completely disheartening to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. leave the race early due to engine problems, it was very funny to watch him take a bow after managing to keep his car from hitting the wall. See Teresa, he can do both — be a race car driver AND a personality!
– On the other hand it wasn’t funny at all to watch David Reutimann after his car crashed into the wall late in the race. It was obvious that he was hurt watching him slumped in his seat and then slow to finally pull his window net down. Apparently the g-force impact from the crash was among the hardest ever recorded. Now there’s one record book I wouldn’t want to be a part of. But most importantly Reutimann was able to walk away from it all and is doing ok now.
– After Jeff Gordon finished 2nd on Sunday he headed over to the Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton’s in West Hollywood with his pregnant wife (and NON-Supermodel) Ingrid Vandebosch.
Jeff Gordon and his wife Ingrid Vandebosch arrive at the annual Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton’s in West Hollywood, Calif., Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Brian McKnight sings the national anthem prior to the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. (Photo Credit: Donal Miralle/Getty Images)
Aren’t his eyes gorgeous? And they perfectly match his sponsor’s colors
J.J. Yeley is ready to practice his No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet at California Speedway on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Reutimann (00) slides to a stop after a crash in turn 4 at the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. , Sunday,Feb. 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Dave Waters)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. bows to the crowd after spinning out and missing the wall in Turn 4 at the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Dave Waters)
A skull design decorates the back of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s helmet in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Auto Club 500 in Fontana, Calif., Friday, Feb. 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Mark Avery)