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.
When I got to the Cup garage at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday the inspections process was in full-swing for qualifying.
Kristen attempted to explain to me how NASCAR started using lasers this year at one of the inspection stations to measure the car. It’s kinda neat how it’s able to find the center of the car. It’s all completely computerized.
Fill in the blank!
For me, I just yawn and move on. So the things that I’ve been thinking about since Sunday’s race have nothing to do with what happened in the race really.
Because I honestly don’t remember a whole lot. Anyway, the image gallery is going to be the best part of this post, so enjoy!
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.
The 2012 NASCAR Champion’s Week is over and here are the photos I was able to use for the site. Enjoy!
Since I’m not in Las Vegas (*sniffle*) for NASCAR’s Champion’s Week festivities all I can do is post photos. Above is what I’ve got so far from Tuesday and Wednesday. I’ll post everything else on Saturday.
I was going to write a whole paragraph about how traveling sucked but I figured what’s the point. You guys have been there, you know what I was dealing with on my flights from San Francisco to Charlotte and then on to Miami. Although I have to say I have NEVER been on a flight so full of babies & toddlers as I did that Saturday. It was crazy and it made me vow that if I ever have kids I’m not flying anywhere with them until they’re adults.
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.
Nothing important changed after the race at Kansas yesterday. Brad Keselowski still leads the points standings by 7 points over Jimmie Johnson. Denny Hamlin is still third. Sooo yep, that’s about it.
I had this weird feeling while watching Brad Keselowski win yesterday’s race at Dover. It felt like the dudes in the booth calling the race weren’t all that excited by Brad’s win. I’m not saying they were rooting against him I just got this general feeling that there wasn’t a sense of “Oooh, this is interesting!” When it IS in fact interesting.
I watched some of the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway from a bar known to be frequented by cops and firefighters in Oakland. I was there for something had nothing to do with racing OR cops/firefighters, it was a gathering of my boyfriend’s friends. Anyway, I couldn’t hear anything but I saw the red flag come out and some of the racing. The night was about Jeff Gordon fighting his way into the top-12 and ultimately in to The Chase, which meant that Kyle Busch had sit this Chase out.
On Saturday, you get to meet Lo, the cute little Chihuahua owned by Kevin and DeLana Harvick when they appear on “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan” in the “Daytona Dogs” episode airing on the National Geographic channel (or Nat Geo if you want to be cool about it).
I love that Kid Rock couldn’t be bothered to put his drink down to give the command to start engines.
I didn’t love Mark Martin’s gnarly crash on pit road. That was crazy and scary. So glad it wasn’t worse.
Jeff Gordon got all huffy at Dale Earnhardt Jr. I found that to be cute.
And Greg Biffle won the race! I think that’s cool because Biffle is a nice dude.
So I didn’t watch the race live on Sunday. I watched it on Tivo on Monday. Figures that the one good race as of late is the one I didn’t get to watch as it happened. Still I got the gist, lots of pit road speeding penalties and Joey Logano put the moves on Mark Martin to get his first “real” win.
The Saturday of our 3M Racing Experience began with all of us gathering in the lobby of our hotel and then heading over to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Once there we were picked up and shuttled to the Fan Zone area, in spiffy 3M branded golf carts, at the entrance of the track.
I was offered an all-expense paid trip to the Sprint All-Star Race weekend courtesy of 3M and I jumped on it. They even let me bring one guest so I brought my boyfriend of 5 months along for the ride. It was his first NASCAR race and so we were both excited about the whole thing. I can report that our relationship is still intact and probably better off from the experience. If you want to test your relationship, spend 6 hours on a plane together.
I have some super duper awesome news to share with you guys. Thanks to the wonderful people at 3M I get to go to the Sprint All-Star Race weekend in Charlotte! They’re paying for the trip and to make it more fun I get to bring my boyfriend. I’m really looking forward to sharing my passion for NASCAR with him, especially since it’ll be the first time he’s ever attended a NASCAR race. He’s also serving in an official capacity as my photographer.
Hmm, what happened at Texas? Oh that’s right, NOTHING.
There was some good racing in terms of Greg Biffle snatching the win away from Jimmie Johnson, but other than that it was snoozeville.
I’m all apologies lately. I feel like I’m continually apologizing to you guys about being late and I hate that. I can say, with complete confidence, that I’m not going to be late anymore and I’ll be back on track posting stuff from here on out.
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.
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?
(Wait, now that I’ve written “’til tuesday” I can’t stop thinking about their song “voices carry.” Great, now that’s stuck in my head. hush, hush, keep it down now… voices carry!!! )
It’s crazy to think we’ll be watching a NASCAR race on Tuesday this week. I guess it’s what you have to do when Mother Nature won’t cooperate. It sucks because I was REALLY looking forward to seeing the outcome of the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway today, because there’s SO much on the line. There’s the matter of the $3 million Sprint Summer Showdown, that if you hadn’t heard about until today’s rain delay coverage you’ll never be able to forget it now, and the $1 million that could go to the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, presented by Office Depot” should Tony Stewart or Greg Biffle win the race.
Then there’s all of the Chase implications and you’ve got one race with a ton of responsibility.
Anywhoo, since I can’t talk about the race I’ll talk about other sort of random things I came across this weekend:
– Harrison Burton, the 10-year-old son of NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, has taken up his father’s profession as a racecar driver. Harrison’s parents made it clear yesterday at Atlanta Motor Speedway that his decision to try his hand at racing was ALL his idea and not something that they wanted him to do.
“I was hoping he’d be a lawyer and I could hang out at the country club,” Kim Burton said laughing. “It’s hard watching your baby out there, but he loves it.”
Harrison races quarter midgets with the United States Auto Club (USAC) in an all-oval series for 5-16 year-olds, and he’s leading in points in a lot of divisions.
“I have a passion for racing, and I love it, but he doesn’t have to,” Jeff said. “If he ever wants to quit, we quit. If he wants to play lacrosse, we play lacrosse.”
At the press conference today, father and son shared the stage with Harrison donning a Caterpillar firesuit just like his dads. It’s too cute.
– Samantha Busch, wife of NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, has launched her own official website–samanthabusch.net. The site contains tons of photos, news and tips from everything from fitness to fashion.
– The following photo is just adorable. It’s too friggin’ adorable. That’s all I wanted to say.
I’m sure you’ve already heard about the finalists in this year’s ‘Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot’ sweepstakes, and I’m probably the last person to write about about it, but I had to because their business names got me thinking.
First, when I read the name “Bales Mold Service, Inc.” I thought I would get to share the story of how I went on a date with a guy that had some serious mold allergy issues (we’re talking about an ENTIRE newsstand FULL of issues) and how we couldn’t really go anywhere on our date because everything gave him a reaction, he was so sensitive to ANY kind of mold (we couldn’t go to Starbucks = total deal breaker). Anyway, turns out Bales Mold Service, who will have their logo on the TV panel of Greg Biffle’s No. 16 3M Ford this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, don’t work in THAT kind of mold. Think “mold” as a verb, not something horrible that can ruin ones dating life. Bales Mold Service “represents the cutting edge of engineered coatings and finishes, and continues to be at the forefront of developing technology to service varied industries.” For the record, that guy had other issues outside of his mold affliction, so I’m not bagging on him just because of that.
On Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet will be HuckleBerry Pets which makes fashionable & customizable beds for your pets. HuckleBerry Pets “specializes in manufacturing comfortable, stylish and durable pet beds using orthopedic mattresses that help support a pet’s muscles and bone structure” which got me thinking about my mom’s two miniature schnauzers, Spencer & Sullivan (aka Sully), both of whom I love just as much as my mom does. They’re the cutest, sweetest dogs in the WORLD and I started wondering about their beds and if they needed orthopedic mattresses and how would we know if they did??
Anyway, I went to the HuckleBerry Pets website and I think their beds are so adorable and I REALLY want to get one for Spencer & Sully but where would we put it?? If they have their own bed, it stands to reason that they need their own room. This pet bed thing could be a slippery slope if you’re really into spoiling your dog-babies (yes, that’s what I call them).
Should Tony Stewart win this weekend’s AdvoCare 500 (which he REALLY needs to do if he wants to help his case for The Chase) then HuckleBerry Pets would win $1 million! The same goes for Bales Mold Service should Greg Biffle win the race. Whoever’s driver has the highest finish in Sunday’s race will be named the 2011 “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot” and receive the use of the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot” logo for one year. And just for being a finalist, both businesses will receive a $10,000 small business makeover from Office Depot and a VIP experience this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
So let’s think REALLY good thoughts for these two small businesses, both run by women I might add, and hope that one of them gets to walk away with one million dollars!
The race at Watkins Glen–the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen to be exact–had it ALL. Let’s go through the list shall we?
– Close racing at the end where you had no idea who would come out with the win? CHECK!
– Crazy, gnarly crashes that thankfully left no one seriously hurt? CHECK!
– An emotional it’s-about-frggin-time first-time winner? CHECK! (Congrats to Marcos Ambrose & the No. 9 Stanley team!)
– Punches attempting to be thrown in the garage post-race? CHECK!
– Amazing post-race quotes from pissed off drivers? CHECK!
Loved this race, it was crazy, especially this quote from Boris Said about about his issues with Greg Biffle:
“It was crazy. I mean…the last lap; the No. 6 car (David Ragan) was getting into me a lot. I didn’t want to wreck him, but I had to stay on the track and he didn’t give me any room. We both collided. That is the only thing I feel bad about.
“I’m more upset with Greg Biffle. He is the most unprofessional little scaredy cat I’ve ever seen in my life. He wouldn’t even fight me like a man after. So, if someone texts me his address, I’ll go see him Wednesday at his house and show him what he really needs. He needs a…whooping and I’m going to give it to him. He was flipping me off, giving me the finger. Totally unprofessional. Two laps down. I mean he is a chump.
“I went over there to go talk to him. He wouldn’t even let me get out of the car. He comes over and throws a few little baby punches and then when I get out, he runs away and hides behind some big guys. But, he won’t hide from me long. I’ll find him. I won’t settle it out on the track. It’s not right to wreck cars, but, he’ll show up at a race with a black eye one of these days. I’ll see him somewhere.”
And to top it all off Watkins Glen International was left with a serious issue of getting safer barriers on their course before the next NASCAR race. It doesn’t make sense to not have them at all the tracks on the schedule. Why hasn’t this been done yet? Elliott Sadler is right.
I’m not one to begrudge people their happiness, but did you catch Kurt Busch making out with his girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, in victory lane on Saturday? Was that really necessary? It just seemed like a bit much.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 13 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I love this man. Nooo, not Dale Jr. but Man vs. Food host Adam Richman. I LOVE that show and when I go on my NASCAR adventure next year I plan on bringing a list of all the places he’s visited on his show so that I can check them out too! The food always looks soo yummy & amazing.
Adam Richman (right), host of Man v. Food, talks with Dale Earnhardt Jr.(left), driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet, on the grid during pre race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 14 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Joey is supposed to film an food challenge for a Man v. Food Nation episode today (Wonder if that’s still happening) that’s set to air Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. ET on Travel Channel.
Joey Logano (left), driver of the No. 20 The Home Depot Toyota, and Adam Richman (right), host of Man v. Food pose in the garage area prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 14 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Congratulations to Greg and Nicole Biffle! The couple welcomed their first child –a daughter, Emma Elizabeth, into the world today.
The official announcement:
Mooresville, N.C. (July 6, 2011) – Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, and his wife Nicole welcomed their first child, a baby girl, late this afternoon. Emma Elizabeth weighed in at seven pounds and six ounces and arrived just before 5:00 p.m. EST. Both mother and daughter are doing well.
– This might be old news to some, but I just realized I’d never posted it here. David Stremme is poised to return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with the newly formed Inception Motorsports, but he’s also embarking on a new adventure as a husband! David proposed to his girlfriend, Ashley Deihl, during Thanksgiving last year and the couple plan to wed later this year.
– Do you love Kasey Kahne? I mean, really, who doesn’t? Do you adore Brian Vickers? Well put your face on their cars for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 29th. Well, not your face-face, but an image of your face. In fact you can put any–or as many–photos as you want on the No. 4 or the No. 83. Just send your pictures to [email protected] or upload them at www.redbullracingusa.com/shutterspeed by May 22nd.
– It’s time again for the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot” sweepstakes. It’s my favorite NASCAR contest and if you’re a small business owner you simply MUST participate! The national FREE advertising you’d receive as a result of just being a finalist is priceless in my mind, but there’s also the small matter of $1 million that could be yours too!
Office Depot (NYSE: ODP), celebrating 25 years as a leading global provider of office supplies and services, is teaming up with 3M® and NASCAR® stars Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford, to offer the exciting possibility of a $1 million payday for one small business owner through the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot” sweepstakes.
The sweepstakes runs from now through May 28 and small business owners can enter online and – new this year – via their SmartPhone at OfficeDepotRacing.com. Two small business owners will be randomly selected as finalists, earning them a $10,000 small business makeover from Office Depot* and a VIP race weekend experience for two – not to mention a chance at the $1 million prize! Plus, as an extra reward to small business owners who participate, Office Depot is giving away one $1,000 Office Depot gift card every day during the sweepstakes entry period.
Get all of the deets, and info on all of the other goodies you can win even if you’re not the ultimate winner, at OfficeDepotRacing.com.
– Dale Earnhardt Jr. unveiled the world’s largest HD TV screen today, which happens to live at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He tested out the ginormous screen with an iRacing.com simulator.
For its operational debut, Smith and Earnhardt Jr. used an oversized remote to power on the 200 foot-wide, 80 foot-tall HDTV, created by Panasonic, to reveal a highlight video of past racing action
at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Charlotte sets the standard for the rest of the tracks,” said Earnhardt Jr. “They always do things first and do things the biggest and look, here we are today with another first from them. Charlotte holds a special place in a lot of drivers’ hearts, mine included and the big TV makes this place even more special.
“The Coca-Cola 600 is one of the best events we have all year long. Now fans can get a ticket to the race and have the experience of the live event with the comfort of their own TV at home with this big TV,” Earnhardt Jr. continued. “This place just keeps getting better.”
– INDYCAR had an unveiling of their own today. The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series concept cars–one model for ovals and another for road/street courses–made their debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where they will be on display throughout the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 on May 29th. These cars look… different, so it’ll be really interesting to see what the manufacturers come up with in terms of changes to the body kits. These mockups look like something out of a “Batman” or “Transformers” movie.
A rolling chassis – dubbed the IndyCar Safety Cell – will be the universal feature of the next generation car, with bodywork open to development and sale by any approved manufacturer. Three engine companies–Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus–committed for 2012 will augment the IndyCar Safety Cell and aero kit programs, creating its own buzz.
“The idea behind these is to show two totally different-looking vehicles that underneath are the same chassis,” Cotman said. “There is a lot of room for aerodynamic kit development and that’s what this platform is about – allowing people the freedom to design as they wish, dream as they wish and come up with a superior product than others. That’s what drives competition.
“So will these be exactly what Dallara’s kits are going to look like on road courses and ovals next year? No.”
Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya failed to bring what Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch delivered.
O. M. G.
The SHOWTIME® Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway was the greatest NASCAR race I have seen in quite some time. It was Ah-mazing!
First, congratulations to Regan Smith on winning his first Sprint Cup Series race (and congrats to Furniture Row Racing for winning their first race as an organization). He was emotional and his team was ridiculously happy. It was the perfect finish and I LOVED it. A first-time winner is the greatest thing. It was great to see him be congratulated by Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski.
But of course before all of that you had the driver’s moms, as usual, giving the command to start engines. How adorable was Jimmie & Chandra Johnson’s baby daughter, Genevieve, clapping during the National Anthem? That was too cute.
Then there was the race with David Ragan peeling back Brian Vickers car like it was a can of sardines, poor Clint Bowyer crashing out, and the most amazing series of events with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.
I think that Kevin Harvick should walk around with a speaker hanging out of his pocket playing the song “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty on a loop. It’s his theme song. He is no joke.
I know that fighting is frowned upon and all that but I loved it. When Kevin punched Kyle’s helmet/face and then Kyle pushed his car into his Kevin’s it was all TOO much for my brain to process. It was wonderful. I felt like a high school kid in the quad yelling “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
Does NASCAR really need to take action? I’m in a “Ah, whatever, let it gooo” kind of mood. They’re adults, they know what they did was wrong. Let’s not forget that sports are entertainment, they serve no other purpose than that (Yes, they can be inspiring and all that but still), and Saturday night’s race was PURE entertainment from beginning to end. So, NASCAR should send Harvick and Busch a “Thank You” card, some flowers & maybe some candy.
Here’s video of the last laps:
I had to get up really, really early on Sunday morning in order to get to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in time to take a ride in the pace car with NASCAR’s Director of Competition, Research & Development Brett Bodine.
How excited are you that tomorrow is the Budweiser Shootout? I, for one, am thrilled. The season is starting again and for this website, and me personally, a lot more stories to share with you guys. I’m planning on road tripping it to Phoenix and Las Vegas later on this month. I’m really looking forward to getting back to the one place in the world that I know ALWAYS makes me happy, NASCAR races of course.
I’m also super excited to crown the first ever Hottest Driver Tournament winner on Sunday. It’s between Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth. Be sure to cast your vote now because voting ends Saturday night (at midnight).
In other news…
– The latest issue of ESPN The Magazine, on newsstands today, focuses on speed. Not Scott Speed, but just speed in general. It features articles on how to survive a crash, Hendrick Motorsports pit crew combine and spotlights Ricky Carmichael and Kevin Harvick.
– Jimmie Johnson will be the subject of a segment on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. The show airs Tuesday, Februay 15th. I’m looking forward to this as Real Sports is one of my FAVE shows.
– Rock band Good Charlotte is set to perform live before the start of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 27th. I’m totally looking forward to the performance and hopefully the band’s lead singer Joel Madden will bring his wife, Nicole Richie, along for support. Auto Club Speedway has special ticket packages available for starting at just $55. For an additional $25 you can have access to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Check out ‘Fabulous’ News for more news like this.
– Michael Waltrip has been doing a lot of media interviews in support of his new book, “In the Blink of an Eye: Dale, Daytona, and the Day that Changed Everything.”
While talking with the New York Times Michael revealed that he had never watched the 2001 Daytona 500, the race that he won and took the life of his team owner at the time, Dale Earnhardt. That is until this past July. Michael’s sister Connie tapes all of his races, and he came across the DVD — decorated with hearts and stars and the words “2001 Daytona 500 Winner!” that she’d written on it before Dale’s death had been announced — and watched it for the very first time, commercials and all.
Michael hadn’t been able to talk about the 2001 Daytona 500 for many years but in watching the entire race and then writing a book about that day in Daytona he was able to deal with his feels and find peace with everything that happened.
Andrew Giangola has a review of Michael’s book here, and I was told that Mikey’s book will debut at No. 11 on the New York Times’ Bestseller list when it makes it’s debut on February 20th, the same day as the 2011 Daytona 500.
– Yesterday was NASCAR Media Day down at Daytona International Speedway. The whole thing reminds me of a combination of the first day at school and picture day all wrapped up into one. The drivers spend what looks to me like all day walking around in their new firesuits answering all sorts of questions from the media from all over the place, taking new photos and shooting video spots. I really need to experience that whole thing for myself one day. Anyway, here are photos:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya answers questions from the local media Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during media day.
2010 Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray poses during media day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson poses for photos Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during media day. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne reads liners for MRN during media day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.(Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Greg Biffle talks with Pete Pistone and Mike Bagley from The Morning Drive on Sirius during media day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m sad I missed the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte this week. But, if I’m being honest, it’s only because I just read this article about all the swag the media received, that I missed out on. There were cupcakes and cookies and wine!
Anyway, here are photos from the week. It’s one of my favorite things to post photos of the teams wearing those annoying long sleeve shirts. I don’t know why I hate them so much but they just look wrong. I say this every year and no one listens to me.
It’s just like bridesmaid dresses: it’s really hard to pick on dress type that works on every body type. Which is why brides have started letting their maids pick a fit that suits them individually and then just going with the same color and/or print for the group. I think NASCAR teams should adopt this same principle. Some teams have, but definitely not the majority.
Michael Waltrip’s familiar No. 15 NAPA car is on display during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)
(Left to right) Bobby Hutchens, director of competition for Stewart-Haas Racing; Tony Gibson, crew chief of the No. 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car; Ryan Newman, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver; Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner and driver; and Darian Grubb, crew chief of the No. 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, pose for a picture during the 2011 Sprint Cup Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Regan Smith stands in front of his No. 78 Furniture Row ride during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(center) NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty stands between his two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers AJ Allmendinger (left) and the newest addition to Richard Petty Motorsports Marcos Ambrose during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Jack Roush (center) poses with drivers (left to right) Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, speaks with Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Richard Childress, team owner; Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet; Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet; Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Chevrolet, and Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Menard’s Chevrolet, pose for the media during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Richard Childress Racing on Tuesday in Welcome, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, owner Rick Hendrick and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. pose for a team picture Wednesday at Hendrick Motorsports Media Day during the Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, speaks to the media as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Penske Racing on Monday in Mooresville, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Joe Gibbs (third from right) poses with J.D. Gibbs (third from left), Joe Gibbs Racing President, Joey Logano (left), driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, Kyle Busch (second from left), driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, Denny Hamlin (second from right), driver of the No. FedEx Toyota, and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brian Scott (right), during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, on hiring Tony Stewart: “For 1997, we wanted to form a second team. We asked all the guys to write down the name of the driver they wanted the most and put it in a hat. There was one name on every piece of paper. That was Tony Stewart.”
Team owner Joe Gibbs (center) speaks about the 20th anniversary of Joe Gibbs Racing, as (left to right) JGR President J.D. Gibbs, former JGR drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, JGR senior vice president of racing operations Jimmy Makar and Interstate Batteries CEO Norm Miller look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The No. 21 Motorcraft Ford proudly displays the new American Ethanol sponsorship around the fuel hole during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)
(Left to right) Juan Pablo Montoya, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, team owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates and Jamie McMurray, defending Daytona 500 champion, pose for a picture during the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing stop on the 2011 Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at the Hilton Charlotte University Place in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Yesterday Jack Roush inadvertently announced that Greg Biffle, and his wife Nicole, are expecting their first child. Biffle wasn’t planning on having Roush share the news but there it was, along with a semi-confirmation that Carl Edwards and his wife are expecting their second child. It also turned out that the Biffles learned the sex of their baby yesterday and Greg announced via Twitter that they’re expecting a girl. Matt Kenseth and his wife are also expecting another child soon, but we already knew that.
Which leads me to more Biffle and Edwards news. Both drivers will appear on this weekend’s episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” on ABC to demonstrate the dangers of texting & driving:
“Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous and I think it’s an extremely important message to get out to everyone right now but especially teenage drivers,” Biffle said. “While Carl and I had a lot of fun taping the segment for ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’ it is a very serious issue. Being a part of the show really opened my eyes to the dangers of texting while driving and I’m sure it will do the same for all of the viewers. Ford has a great program to educate teenagers about safe driving skills and you can get more information at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.“
The RFR teammates’ appearance is in support of the Brown family of Wellman, Texas who lost their daughter in a tragic auto accident involving texting and driving. Since the accident the family has dedicated their lives to communicating the dangers of this practice. Biffle and Edwards are joined by Justin Bieber and Emma Roberts on the show.
The show will air on Sunday, January 30, at 8 p.m. (ET). Check your local listings.
UPDATE: Right! Forgot to post this too. David Ragan doesn’t know how to make a baby.
He said it, not me. Thanks for the tips, Tara!!
It’s time for Round Two! But first let’s find out what happened in Round One.
Kyle Busch (68%) defeated Jeff Burton (32%)
Juan Pablo Montoya (62%) defeated Brian Vickers (38%)
Tony Stewart (97%) defeated David Reutimann (3%)
Paul Menard (71%) defeated Jimmie Johnson (29%)
Casey Mears (73%) defeated David Ragan (27%)
Regan Smith (86%) defeated Kevin Conway (14%)
This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).
And now, I think this is when things are going to get even MORE interesting. Round Two is the largest group, it’ll be fun to see who makes it into Round Three. I was going to let Round Two last for two weeks but I have decided to run it for just a week. Votes poured in for Round One and I can only expect it to get crazier for this one, so I’m trying to contain it. Plus I’m highly impatient and two weeks sound like forever to find out the results.
So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Two! You can vote as many times as you want each day until voting ends on Saturday, January 15th.
UPDATE: Round Two voting has ended. Stay tuned for the results and Round Three!
|Jamie McMurray||Kyle Busch|
|David Gilliland||Joey Logano|
|Clint Bowyer||Bobby Labonte|
|Kurt Busch||Travis Kvapil|
|Ryan Newman||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Scott Speed|
|Sam Hornish Jr.||Tony Stewart|
|Carl Edwards||Kasey Kahne|
|Kevin Harvick||Casey Mears|
|Elliott Sadler||Reed Sorenson|
|Greg Biffle||Martin Truex Jr.|
|Jeff Gordon||Marcos Ambrose|
|Brad Keselowski||Paul Menard|
|AJ Allmendinger||Matt Kenseth|
|Robby Gordon||Regan Smith|
|Mark Martin||Denny Hamlin|
This year’s crop of racing-related commercials found drivers singing, professing their love of love and playing poker with Big Foot. Here is my list of the best commercials of 2010:
Tony Stewart Burger King Employee
My absolute favorite commercial of the year because it was real. Tony really did work at a Burger King and the result was really funny. I know it would be copying but I really think Lowe’s should put Jimmie Johnson to work in one of their stores. He’d be great at selling appliances, dontcha think?
The Sponsifier program was a big hit this year and it’s gotta be because their commercials were hilarious. I will never be able to get the line “I want Kyle Busch in a pink car and a pink suit” out of my mind or Joey Logano’s chainmail outfit and that look of utter disgust on his face.
Gillette Young Guns & Big Foot
Because Big Foot is a sore loser. I find that idea to be really funny.
Mario Andretti Honda
How adorable is Mario Andretti? Like, really adorable. All because he says “I’m hungry.” I love it.
Coca-Cola Drivers Sing it Out
People who can’t sing (or aren’t known for singing) and then unexpectedly start singing is a recipe for hilarity.
Honorable Mention: Gillette Young Guns Wedding
Because I just like Clint Bowyer in this one. We need more commercials with Clint flexing his funny bone in 2011!
Friday, December 3rd was the day of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony & Banquet at the Wynn Las Vegas.
NASCAR After The Lap started off mostly like last year, with hostess Jamie Little asking the drivers questions submitted by fans. There were a few new wrinkles like some of the fans asking the questions in person, and the drivers walking in through the crowd with Jimmie Johnson making his grand entrance in his No 48 Lowe’s Chevy.
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.
I arrived in Las Vegas on Wednesday morning-ish. I checked in at my hotel, ARIA Hotel & Casino at CityCenter. I am giving this hotel two thumbs up because when I opened the door to my room (that unlocked after only having to wave my room key in front of the keypad above the door handle) music began to play and the curtains pulled back on their own revealing floor to ceiling windows facing a skyline of mountains.
As the campaign to prove that Jimmie Johnson isn’t vanilla rolls on, I thought it would be fun to assign an ice cream flavor to each of the drivers in The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship.
I don’t know why Jimmie would mind being vanilla, I mean, it’s a classic and reliable flavor (how do you mess up vanilla??). It’s a trusty, go-to flavor, and doesn’t that make sense for him since we rely on him to win all the time? I’m just sayin’.
1.) Jimmie Johnson – Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk: He has a house in New York and this is as far away from Vanilla as possible. Happy, Jimmie??
2.) Denny Hamlin – Ben & Jerry’s Neapolitan Dynamite: Because Denny is the only one that sort of reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite.
3.) Kevin Harvick – Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby: He’s not chubby, but he is a hubby.
4.) Jeff Gordon – Rocky Road: It’s been one for, like, the past 2 or 3 years, right?
5.) Kyle Busch – Pistachio: I’m not a fan of Pistachio
6.) Carl Edwards – Vanilla frozen yogurt: Carl is all about eating healthy (Subway!), and staying ab-tacular, so this is all he can have.
7.) Tony Stewart – Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey: He had a monkey once.
8.) Matt Kenseth – Ben & Jerry’s Imagine Whirled Peace: He never gets into fights, ok there was that time with Jeff Gordon, but overall Kenseth is Switzerland.
9.) Kurt Busch – Rum Raisin: Alcohol, there’s no such thing as beer ice cream.
10.) Jeff Burton – Ben & Jerry’s Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream: This happens to be my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor and it’s also the only flavor that is remotely related to politics, and ya know Jeff Burton will be a politician somewhere, someday. Just go with me on this OK?
11.) Greg Biffle – Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food: Can’t you imagine Biffle relaxin’ with some of this yummy chocolately, caramely, marshmallowy, fudge fishy goodness?
12. ) Clint Bowyer – Ben & Jerry’s Maple Blondie: He’s blonde, duh.
Sunday at Auto Club Speedway was a big day, not just for the Pepsi Max 400, but for all of the couples that were getting married and renewing their vows on the track. I was so excited about the whole thing and totally looking forward to seeing how it would all go down.
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)
FIRST: I am planning on attending the NASCAR race weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana next week, although there is a small chance I might not make it out there. Please know that I am doing EVERYTHING I can to make it happen.
It’s ridiculous how badly I want/need to go to this race. It’s close enough to me (only 5 short hours) that it’s just a no-brainer and yet enough annoying circumstances can rear their ugly head’s to make my actual attendance slightly “tentative.” Ugh. Anyway, just know that I’m going to be at that race, happy as a clam, writing about driver’s visits to port-a-potties and women wearing inappropriate-for-the-racetrack shoes.
Plus, there are too many things going on that weekend that to miss it would suck big time. For one, there are the weddings taking place at the track before the Sprint Cup Series race on 10/10/10 (which also happens to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s birthday) and my life won’t be complete until I get to see Michael Waltrip serve as the Best Man at a stranger’s wedding.
And there’s the matter of doing more driver interviews using the ten questions. So now that I’ve written this out there’s no way in hell I’m not going to this race.
SECOND: I’m definitely going to be at the 2010 Blog World & New Media Expo in Las Vegas. This year’s BWE is taking place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and I’m on a panel in the sports track titled “Women in Sports Media” along with some awesome women: Kathleen Hessert, President of Sports Media Challenge and
Nicole LaVoi, Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport & Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium. *(see update below)
I met Nicole at Blogs with Balls 3 this year in Chicago and you should really check out her blog about women in sports. I’m a subscriber and there isn’t a post where I’m not saying to myself, “She’s so right!” or “That’s so true!”
I haven’t met Kathleen before but I’m looking forward to it. Just check out this recent interview with her over at Sports Industry Insider. She’s helped many athletes manage their reputations and figure out their social media & web strategies. She’s the “woman who taught Shaquille O’Neal to tweet.” She’s also worked with guys we know like Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and Casey Mears.
I had a small hand in putting this panel together in that I gave the idea to the sports track organizers and I’m glad that I did because there are so many things to talk about as it relates to female athletes, journalists and fans. I really feel like female fans get short shrift a lot of the time. It’s really easy to see the male demographic in racing but HELLO, 40% of NASCAR fans are women. What are you doing to engage the women?
Anywhoo, I’m really looking forward to the panel. If you’re involved in blogging, social media and new media in any shape or form (or you want to be) you should attend Blog World. There really is something for everyone (and I’m not getting paid to say this). I always walk away from it with more info and contacts than when I arrived.
UPDATE: I jumped the gun on my post and it turns out that Nicole LaVoi won’t be on the panel with me at Blog World, but Patricia Hannigan, The Golf Girl, will be! Should be a good time.
The two finalists in Office Depot’s “Official Small Business of NASCAR” sweepstakes have been chosen and are attending this weekends race at Dover to find out who will be named the “Official Small Business of NASCAR” for 2010. It all depends on where Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart finish in Sunday’s AAA 400.
Normally, I would write more and give you all the details about the finalists (seen at left) but NASCAR’s Andrew Giangola wrote an AWESOME piece about the Tony, Greg and the finalists. It’s really good away from the track stuff. I mean, I really wish I had been at that dinner. Super fun. Anyway, go read the article!
Oh! And below is a nice video about the two finalists, Rose Berger, owner of Professional Cleaning Service in Greer, S.C., and Mike Pagano, owner of PaganoPhoto – Photos by Mike Pagano in Cedar Brook, N.J. The economy’s issues have affected us all in some way and these two finalists have had their fair share, which is why this contest is so great because it helps these small businesses get a leg up.
In other news…
While I’m not sure who I “want” to win the Championship this year, I can tell you who I think will win it and who I’m sure definitely will not.
I’ve had a feeling for some time now that Denny Hamlin would claim the 2010 Sprint Cup Series Championship, I’m not entirely sure why I feel that way but it just seems like the right thing. I think this kid is determined and it seems like it’s his time.
Now, on to who I think definitely will not win the Championship and that would be Jimmie Johnson. Not because he’s not capable, a duh he’s won 4 in a row, but because everyone else in the Chase wants it more. I think there has to be something to seeing Jimmie win it every year and I think these guys are psyched and pumped to make sure he doesn’t win a 5th. I just think the other guys want and NEED this Championship more than Jimmie does and therefore they’re going to do everything within their power to make sure they’re tops this year.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 10, 2010 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
I missed the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday because I was busy driving two of my nephews (ages 9 and 11) from their home in Los Angeles to my mom’s house in the SF Bay Area. I love my nephews more than words can say but spending 7 hours in a car with them is not something I really want to do again. Who knew that doing word search puzzles could be a competitive thing??
Anyway, I did catch some of the race action from SIRIUS Satellite Radio’s coverage with MRN, but the boys were more interested in hearing music from Drake and, amazingly enough, Katy Perry’s song “California Gurls.”
In between pop music stints I did learn that Kevin Harvick won and that Dale Earnhardt Jr. dropped a couple curse words while being interviewed by ESPN’s Marty Smith.
So this post is going to be super duper photo heavy. Enjoy!
Delana Harvick takes a photo of her husband, Kevin Harvick (29), after he wins the Carfax 400 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Don’t you just want to eat him up? So adorable! I’m talking about the baby, not Tony.
Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot / Old Spice Chevrolet talks with Gavin Grubb, son of Stewart’s crew chief Darian Grubb,during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jack Roush during the Carfax 400 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Martin Truex Jr. (L), driver of the NAPA Toyota, and Sherry Pollex, stand on the grid during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the Cheerios / Hamburger Helper Chevrolet and guest stand on the grid for the National Anthem during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the Philips Norelco Chevrolet, talks with his wife Christy grid during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Greg Biffle, driver of the 3M Ford, stands on the grid with his wife Nicole for the playing of the National Anthem during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Nationwide driver Brad Keselowski celebrates with his mother after winning the Car Fax 250 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.
Joey Logano (20) and girlfriend, Sabrina Simpson, before the start of the Carfax 250 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Carl Edwards stands with his wife, Kate, and mother, Nancy Sterling, during pre-race ceremonies for the Carfax 250 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
They don’t call it “The Tricky Triangle” for nothing. The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway was one crazy race, but in the end I’m so incredibly glad/relieved that Elliott Sadler was able to walk away from that gnarly crash, as well as Kurt Busch. Pocono has some serious work to do to make that backstretch far less treacherous in the future.
It’s amazing how you can go from winning one race one day to just making it out alive from another one another day. I’m super stoked and happy for Elliott that he won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125 race on Saturday.
Congratulations go out to Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M Ford team for winning the Sprint Cup Series race. It was the perfect way to wish team owner Jack Roush a speedy recovery from his accident. He was upgraded to fair condition last night at Mayo Clinic, so that win had to have been the best medicine.
Matt Kenseth (L), driver of the Crown Royal Ford, holds his daughter Kaylin Nicola Kenseth on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Des Moines, Iowa native Michael Annett, currently 14th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings talks with his home state media Friday at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa (Credit: Jennifer Coleman)
Greg Biffle, driver of the 3M Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Crew members cheer on Greg Biffle, driver of the 3M Ford, from pit wall as he does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The wrecked Air Force Ford, driven by Elliott Sadler, gets towed through the garage area after he hit the wall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Elliott Sadler, driver of the Grand Touring Vodka Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mario Gosselin, driver of the TireMonkey.com Chevrolet walks on the grid with his family prior to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
A decal placed on the Aflac Ford, driven by Carl Edwards, that reads ‘Get Back to the Track, Jack!’ in support for Team owner Jack Roush prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Roush was hospitalized due to injuries he received after crash-landing his jet at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on July 27 2010. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Office Toyota, signs autographs for fans during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Greg Biffle (L), driver of the 3M Ford, talks with Jamie McMurray, driver of the AXE Twist Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
You can’t say I never gave you guys anything. I could of kept these for myself, but instead I’m passing them along to one lucky reader. You’ll have your very own pair of Wiley X sunglasses from their Skyee line, the same brand that NASCAR drivers like Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin and Carl Edwards wear.
The sunglasses come with their own zippered case, something called a “leash cord” and a lens cloth. Oh, and there’s a Wiley X sticker in the box too.
Enter now! The contest ends at midnight on Friday, July 9th, 2010.
UPDATE: The contest is now over!
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.
One of my absolute favorite contests is back again. For the sixth year, Office Depot has launched the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot” sweepstakes. This time there’s a whole new wrinkle, one that could give one super lucky small business one million dollars (when you read that you have to pretend you’re Dr. Evil ).
In addition to the possible $1 million, Office Depot, sponsor of the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy driven by Tony Stewart, is working with 3M and that means Greg Biffle is in the mix.
- Now through July 10, small business owners can enter for a chance to become the 2010 “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot” by entering online at www.OfficeDepotRacing.com
- Eligible small businesses should have 99 employees or less.
- The “Official Small Business of NASCAR” sweepstakes is now in its sixth year, but Office Depot has put a competitive new twist on the popular promotion for 2010.
- This year, two small business owners will be randomly selected as finalists in the sweepstakes, and Tony Stewart (driver of the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy) and Greg Biffle (driver of the No. 16 3M Ford) will go head-to-head on the race track to determine their fate during the AAA 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway on September 26.
- Stewart will carry the name/logo of one small business finalist on his race car during the Dover race, while Biffle will feature the name/logo of the other finalist on his car.
- The small business that appears on the highest-finishing driver’s car at Dover will be named the 2010 “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot.”
- PLUS, if Stewart or Biffle were to win the race at Dover, the small business featured on the winning car will take home the “Official Small Business of NASCAR” title AND $1 million!
Both finalists will receive the following:
- $10,000 small business makeover from Office Depot
- VIP race weekend experience for two during the September 24-26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend at Dover International Speedway
- But if you aren’t one of the two finalists, you can still win big! Every day during the sweepstakes entry window, one lucky small business owner will be randomly selected to receive a $1,000 Office Depot gift card just for entering the sweepstakes.
Both Biffle and Stewart will be promoting the sweepstakes this weekend at the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Enter the contest at OfficeDepotRacing.com
I am absolutely in love with the little drama between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Sign me up for more of that, please! I think that was my favorite part about yesterday’s racing double-header. As was Jimmie’s post-race comment about not wanting the issue between him and Jeff to be played out in the media. Good luck with that, Jimmie. I actually think Jimmie needs this, to be in a battle with someone, anyone, even a teammate. It’s far more interesting when someone’s pissed off at him. hehe.
I was very disappointed that Jeff didn’t get the chance to be in the race at the end, that wreck had to hurt and I’m not talking physically. Also, loved how Jeff went over to Tony Stewart and was immediately taking the blame but Tony calmed him down and ended up taking some of the heat at the end of it all. Tony was super classy yesterday, I dug it.
And now on to Dale Earnhardt Jr., I was super proud of him, and his team, for their eighth place finish. Even though he didn’t win when it felt like he could have. His tires just weren’t there to do the job he needed in the end. It was a fun race though, it was the first time in a long time that I found myself yelling at the TV for him to kick some butt. That’s saying something because for what felt like all of last year I didn’t even attempt to hope something might happen for him. He’s in the top-10 right now and that, to me, is better than eating cheesecake with The Golden Girls.
Fans spotted NHL Dallas Star’s Mike Modano in the garage at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Meant to post these photos from the testing of the spoiler at Charlotte Motor Speedway awhile ago, but I still think they’re relevant since everyone seems to think that the real test of the difference the spoiler will make will be at the next Sprint Cup Series race at Texas on the 18th.
Plus, I just love this photo of Tony Stewart. It is quite possibly the funniest photo I’ve ever seen of Tony.
Engineer Matt Borland and driver Tony Stewart mug for the camera in the garage during Tuesday’s (March 23, 2010) testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
After the Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony, I left the Venetian and headed back to my room so that I could change out of my “business casual” dress and into clothes that were much warmer. It was so cold in Vegas. I wished it would get into the 70s but it never got close. Friday night, the night of the awards ceremony it was in the low 50s with freeze warnings in effect.
So I changed my clothes and tried to walk quickly to the monorail at Harrah’s/Imperial Palace station so that I could get to the MGM Grand as fast as possible because that’s where the start/finish line was for the Victory Lap. I wanted to see the top-12 drivers doing burnouts, but it wasn’t to be. I missed the whole thing. What I did see, from the windows of the monorail, was the traffic that was backed up for at least a mile next to the Strip. That was kinda neat.
Thursday, December 3rd was a big day full of events. However, my first event of the day had nothing to do with NASCAR but everything to do with moving from my $40 room at Harrah’s to my awesome not that much more expensive room at the Mirage. I loved my room at the Mirage so much that I took pictures of it. Which, I think, is saying something. For one, it had an iPod docking station & player so I could listen to my playlists while I got ready. The overall room design was modern & contemporary cool, complete with large flat screen TV with HD channels.
Anyway, after I got all checked in at the Mirage and waded through all of the authentic cowboys in town for the 2009 Wrangler National Rodeo Finals, I made my way over to the Venetian across the street for the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony.
Before the ceremony the top-12 drivers were available in an adjacent ballroom for Q&A sessions with media. I only had one question that I had any interest in asking any of the drivers and that was “Do you have any big plans for the off-season?”
Everyone was already engaged with media from various outlets: print, online, and TV. So I did a quick lap around taking pictures, and then chatted with ESPN PR.
Instead of starting from the beginning, I’m going to start with the end and work my way backwards.
Friday was of course the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony at the Wynn in Las Vegas. I woke up that morning with a slight hangover from the previous night’s festivities. I spent the majority of the morning willing myself to feel normal and to not vomit even though vomiting probably would have made me feel better, but whatever. I went down to Carnegie Deli and got their chicken soup, which helped tremendously.
That morning I had to go over to the Wynn (I stayed at the Mirage Thursday and Friday, and Harrah’s on Wednesday) to pick up my ticket to the banquet. Passing through the lobby I caught sight of Ron Malec, car chief of the no. 48 Lowe’s team, taking pictures with his girlfriend.
Along with the ticket to the event that told me my table number for the night, I also got to pick up the wristband to get me into the after party and a mini replica of the Sprint Cup Championship trophy. It’s as cute and cool as you’d expect, and it also doubles as a paper weight.
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:
I swear you guys, I’m trying to write-up my weekend at the Pepsi 500 as fast as possible, but between flying to Vegas and feeling sickly, I’m going as fast as I can. So bear with me, ’cause I want you to read this stuff!
Saturday at Auto Club Speedway was qualifying for the Nationwide Series race the Copart 300 that was taking place in the afternoon.
For qualifying I took the same tack I used for the Pepsi 500 quals and stood in the garage in the area where the top 3 cars would park. I used the opportunity to take a bunch of photos.
It is my duty as a sports blogger to have an opinion on everything and to make bold predictions. Normally I’m against this, everything doesn’t need to be said, but I thought it could be fun to make predictions about the outcome of The Chase, predictions that even I don’t take that seriously. Enjoy!
(in the order of the current points standings)
|1.) Mark Martin – I have believe that Mark Martin will win the Championship, unless something happens that makes it so that he doesn’t.|
|2.) Jimmie Johnson – Jimmie will definitely not win the Championship for a 4th straight year, because that would just be greedy and show-offy.|
|3.) Denny Hamlin – Denny will continue to be my sentimental fave for the year, and also my favorite Cribs episode featuring a NASCAR driver. Oh! He’ll also continue to get on people’s nerves.|
|4.) Juan Pablo Montoya – JPM will be frustrated.|
|5.) Kurt Busch – Hmm… Kurt will be all “Whatever” and I’ll be all “Whatever” and then he’ll be all, “Yeah, whatever.” He’s also writing for the Chicago Tribune’s Players Only blog on a weekly basis for the remainder of the season.|
|6.) Tony Stewart – Tony will get close to the Championship but won’t be able to seal the deal. He’ll continue to “mentor” young female drivers.|
|7.) Ryan Newman – He’s in the Chase? Oh, right, right. Ryan will win at least one race before the year is over.|
|8.) Brian Vickers – Bri Bri will be a threat for the Championship. He’ll continue to be supercute and will write a diary for Maxim.com. No really, he’s supposed to do that.|
|9.) Greg Biffle – Biffle’s eyes will pierce through you like lasers. They really do. His stare is intense. Yeah, he’s not winning this thing.|
|10.) Jeff Gordon – Jeff will hopefully *fingers crossed* impregnate his wife a second time and make the second cutest kid ever! I’d like to think he’d win the Sprint Cup but that’d mean I’d have to be mean to Mark Martin.|
|11.) Carl Edwards – Oh, Carly. Well, his Frisbee foot will heal just in time for him to not win the Championship. He’ll continue to confound female NASCAR fans everywhere with his supreme polite gorgeousness.|
|12.) Kasey Kahne – Kasey will pick himself up and dust himself off and start all over again tomorrow at Dover. He’ll improve his position. Kasey will also continue to confound me with his ability to be absolutely adorable without even trying. Look at that photo, c’mon!|
Congratulations to the twelve men that made it into the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup. It’s an interesting little group. I can’t believe the entirety of Stewart-Haas Racing made it in especially since I didn’t think they’d win a single race this year. Brian Vickers proved it really isn’t over til it’s over and made the Chase for the first time. I’m so excited for the No. 83 team.
I think it’s going to be a very fun Chase, at least I hope it is. It better be crazy at New Hampshire next weekend.
– ESPN pit reporter Shannon Spake dropped the news this week at Richmond that she, and her husband Jerry McSorley, are expecting twins! The babies are due in January and Shannon plans on working for the rest of the 2009 season for as long as she can. She might want to talk to Brienne Pedigo and ask her how that expanding firesuit worked out.
Also, if you’re a wedding photo nerd like I am, you should check out photos from Shannon and Jerry’s 2008 wedding in Ireland. They were featured in Carolina Bride magazine.
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.
That subject line has absolutely nothing to do with this post but it’s been running through my head for the past 5 days so I had to use it. Thanks a lot Kelly Clarkson!
I watched Crown Royal presents the Russ Friedman 400 from the guest bedroom of my sister’s house in Los Angeles.
Saturday day was her baby shower and Saturday night was the fight party to watch Ricky Hatton get his head knocked off his shoulders by Manny Pacquiao. Anyway, everybody was camped out in the living room watching the Celtics beat the Bulls while I was having a grand old time watching the race by myself, with occasional visits from my nephews who asked questions like “You’re still watching this?”
Anywhoo, Kyle Busch won the Russ Friedman 400 in a car sponsored by Combos. I’m not a big fan of the Combos snack. I think they’re gross because they remind me of the dog treat Snausages. Ech. So it figures Kyle would win.
All in all though, it was a great race. There was suspense and intrigue and those are two attributes I dig most in a race. Obviously I would have loved it more had anyone else won, but what can ya do? Is it lame that I didn’t really want Jeff Gordon to win ’cause I knew that his daughter Ella wasn’t there? I didn’t want him to have another win without her being there to greet him in Victory Lane. Yea, this is the type of stuff that goes through my head. Jeff can’t win a race unless Ella is there, that’s my new rule.
Pole-sitter Brian Vickers and Darrell Waltrip joke with fans during “Trackside Live” on SPEED. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Poole was an excellent writer and I will miss his insight and perspective.
The No. 16 Ford of Greg Biffle is one of several cars to carry a decal honoring the late Charlotte Observer reporter David Poole who passed away earlier in the week. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
The crew members of Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota celebrate winning the Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Contest winner Russ Friedman poses in front of the logo for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CROWN ROYAL presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Last Thursday night NASCAR drivers, a smattering of celebrities and regular people gathered at Marquee, a super hot nightclub in New York City, to celebrate NASCAR Sprint Cup Champions Week.
My only note about this soiree is that I think that NASCAR should seriously ponder moving the Champions Week festivities to different locations each year, preferably Las Vegas, San Francisco or Los Angeles as I am close to all of those areas.
The celebs in attendance ranged from Rikki Lake to that one guy who was on Ally McBeal who loved women with “wattles” to Samantha Ronson and non-lesbian-lesbian Lindsay Lohan.
Ingrid Vandebosch (Jeff Gordon’s wife)
Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo (left) and Miss Sprint Cup Anne-Marie Rhodes (right)
Kyle Busch and his girlfriend Samantha Sarcinella
Jimmie and Chandra Johnson
Greg and Nicole Biffle
I’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)
It’s day two of the Champions Week festivities in New York City and I’m already sick of Jimmie Johnson.
LOL. I’m just kidding. Although with the elimination of the “Victory Lap” parade through Times Square you don’t get to see the other Top-12 drivers that much, so you get the feeling that it’s very “All Jimmie all the time” this week.
That’s all very well and makes sense because he is the Champion after all, but still, you couldn’t get Carl Edwards in the mix a little bit? Maybe you do a photo of him pretending to hit Jimmie over the head with the Sprint Cup trophy and then running off with it. Oh! Or you could have a photo of Jimmie posing with the trophy in Central Park with Carl and Greg Biffle standing way off in the background looking pissed. That’d be fun.
So today is the first in a series of posts that will more than likely feature photos of Jimmie and his wife Chandra, hitting up event after event this week.
On this Friday, December 5th ESPN Classic will air the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony live at 9pm EST. Check your local listings. I’ve already got my Tivo set! If you miss it on Friday, don’t worry they’re replaying it on Monday, December 8th at 2pm EST on ESPN2.
Chandra Johnson and 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson entertain guests before dinner in their honor on Monday at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City, kicking off Champions Week. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus pose with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trophy in Central Park in front of the New York City skyline. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie and Chandra Johnson pose with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trophy on a bridge over The Pond in Central Park. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/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 refuse to accept this Chase as it stands right now. No, no, no! This is lame people! Jimmie Johnson can’t walk away with the Championship. The other guys within mathematical distance of the lead need to step it up and make something happen. I was delighted to see Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton with positive and upbeat attitudes about the coming races. I hope they battle and fight and snatch the Sprint Cup out of Jimmie’s hands.
Think about it like this too, we’ve seen Jimmie’s wife Chandra all decked out for the Championship week in New York. That’s all fine and well and she’s got a great fashion sense but it’s about time another wife had the chance to show off. Kim Burton and Nicole Biffle totally deserve the opportunity.
Back to the racing: What good is having a teammate if you’re not going to use each other? I’m just saying, how hard is it to take a guy out for the sake of a co-worker?? Hmm??? Hehe. Do with that what you will. It’ll be so boring if nothing happens to Jimmie in the next 4 races.
In case you were wondering, the female comic book character on his helmet is saying “Did my boyfriend just punch me in the side of the head?”
Scott Speed improved from 32nd-quickest in the first practice session to 19-quickest in the final practice. Speed will be making his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut Sunday in the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne signs autographs for fans following the final practice for the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Was I the only one who thought that Chad was going to pull Jimmie’s head off??
Crew chief Chad Knaus congratulates his driver Jimmie Johnson on winning the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsvile Speedway on Sunday, October 19, 2008 (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 Pop-Tarts/CARQUEST Chevrolet, started 23rd and finished sixth during Sunday’s 500-mile event at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Here he confers with his crew chief Alan Gustafson (far right). (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Jeff Gordon (C), driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, stands on the grid with his wife Ingrid Vandebosch (R), and daughter Ella Sophia (L), prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 19, 2008 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Johnny Benson and his crew celebrate winning the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway. The win moved Benson into first place in the point standings ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The big newsy news of the day is that Casey Mears‘ first child was born yesterday. According to a post by Casey’s mom Carol on the Mears Gang message boards Samantha Mae Mears was born yesterday at at 12:42pm, weighing in at 8lbs. 7oz.
Congratulations to Casey and his girlfriend Trisha!
In other news…
– Do you ever wish that there was one place on the web were you could find all of the top headlines about racing? Well there’s no need to look any further than Alltop. It’s a site the pulls in website and blog feeds (including The Fast and the Fabulous!) from around the web in what they’re calling a “magazine rack” approach. It’s worth checking out.
– Here is a fun quote from Mike Skinner about Scott Speed who will make his Sprint Cup Series debut next year:
“He’s a really funny guy. He acts so goofy on the outside. But when he puts on that helmet and gets in that race car, he does a great job. He gives good feedback, and I think the kid’s got a bright future. Red Bull is really, really high on him. Heck, he’s already won in ARCA few times, he’s won in the truck series, he was second-fastest at the Charlotte test. I hope to be his friend for a long time and help him any way I can.”
– The Third Annual Jamie McMurray Foundation Golf Tournament will take place on Monday, October 13th in Mooresville, North Carolina. The Jamie McMurray Foundation raises money for austism awareness and research:
“It’s hard to believe the golf tournament is really next week,” said McMurray. “We’ve put a lot of work into this year’s tournament to make it nothing short of first class. There are a lot of people that made this event what it will be, but nothing would have been possible without the help of our sponsors. Crown Royal stepped up as the primary sponsor, along with Stanford Group, Coca-Cola, Aflac, Sprint, Motorsports Authentics and a ton of others. The list goes on and on, and it’s really those sponsors who have made this all possible.”
Joining McMurray for an afternoon of golf are his fellow Roush Fenway Racing teammates Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan, along with Denny Hamlin, Rusty Wallace, Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson and others.
“I really can’t thank those guys enough for taking time out of their schedules to come out and support our foundation and help raise money for such a great cause.”
The JMF was formed in May 2006, and since has provided more than $200,000 to Autism Speaks and other autistic foundations throughout the United States.
So I’ve been meaning to post these photos for the past couple of weeks and now I finally have the time to put ‘em up. NASCAR drivers and team owners visited with soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.
It’s no secret that NASCAR has a deep respect for those that serve our country, you can see evidence of that at the racetrack each weekend, but I think it means so much that NASCAR takes the time to bring themselves to the people that have given up so much for all of us as Americans.
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch and former NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip visit a soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Military Advance Training Center in Washington, D.C. NASCAR made its annual visit to the facility to salute the troops on Thursday. (Photo Credit: Larry French/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Riggs visits a soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. NASCAR made its annual visit to the facility to salute the troops on Thursday. (Photo Credit: Larry French/Getty Images for NASCAR)
A soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Military Advance Training Center in Washington, D.C welcomes, from left to right, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Travis Kvapil, NASCAR President Mike Helton, Yates Racing GM Max Jones and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland. NASCAR made its annual visit to the facility to salute the troops on Thursday. (Photo Credit: Larry French/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Greg Biffle signs an autograph for a soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Military Advance Training Center in Washington, D.C. NASCAR made its annual visit to the facility to salute the troops on Thursday. (Photo Credit: Larry French/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m back from Vegas with two scratches and a bruise on my shoulder and I have no idea how I got any of them. Let’s just say it was an eventful, fun and productive weekend. I met some really awesome people from around the country and learned about some great products. For example, you should all check out Yoono. It’s a cool little web browser add-on that allows you to manage all of your social networking and instant messenger accounts from one place. And you should also check out Simon Pierce, it’s a company based in Vermont that makes amazing and beautiful blown glass pieces (think bowls, vases, etc.).
Most things that happen in Vegas should stay there but I have to share one very cool thing. Like I mentioned before I left Tim Ferriss, author of the book “The 4-Hour Work Week,” and musician Mike Shinoda of the band Linkin Park were the keynote speakers on the last day of the Blog World & New Media Expo event. Their talk only lasted an hour but I wish they could of tacked on a second one.
They talked about the stuff that really matters to me at this point in my blog career like how to brand yourself and get publicity, but in the right ways. Just before Ferriss left the convention center I went up to him and told him how much I appreciated his talk and how I wished he’d write a book about the topics he brought up that day. He gave me some advice and was very, very nice.
Ok, so about racing. On Sunday I didn’t get to watch the race live, yet again, which seems to be doing something for Greg Biffle because he won again for the second straight week, this time at Dover.
And uhm, that’s all I’ve got. Sorry! I’ve got a bunch of stuff to do like posting the rest of my Kyle Petty interview. So I’ll leave ya with some photos from Dover and news about a Dale Earnhardt Jr. auction.
In other news…
– Starting today and until October 3rd, 2008 you have the chance to bid on a ride of a lifetime with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wrangler and Dale Jr. are auctioning off the opportunity to meet Dale and have him take you around the racetrack at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in his No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet. All of the proceeds from the auction go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Here’s more information:
Here’s your chance to be one of the first to ride with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in his Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet! You’ll ride shotgun with Dale for three high-speed hot laps — reaching speeds in excess of 170 mph — around Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The lucky winner will take home autographs, pictures and video captured from the in-car camera during their ride with NASCAR’s most popular driver. Earnhardt is also giving fans the opportunity to bid on two unique piece of Nascar history, including an autographed door panel from the infamous crash in his No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet. Also up for grabs are a pair of Wrangler Jeans worn and autographed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. himself! Thanks to Wrangler Jeans, all auction proceeds will benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a NASCAR-themed camp for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. Head over to www.ebay.com/wranglerjeans to learn more!
Photos from Dover:
Even though he’s pulling double duty this weekend by competiting in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 400 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World RV Sales 200, driver Clint Bowyer is all smiles in the garage during Friday’s practice at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Last week’s winner at New Hampshire, Greg Biffle (driver of the No. 3M Ford) chats with car owner Jack Roush in the garage during Friday’s practice at Dover International Speedway. Biffle will start fifth in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 400. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch and the crew of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota look at the car in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 21, 2008 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Helloooo Scott Lagasse. I’m just sayin’
Scott Lagasse Jr., during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World RV 200 at Dover International Speedway on September 20, 2008 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Last week the top 12 drivers in The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship were in New York City for Chase Media Day. For the drivers it meant making television appearances and conducting a bunch of interviews with various media outlets.
All twelve drivers appeared on The David Letterman Show to run down Dave’s “Top Ten List”, or in this case, a top-twelve list:
Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson hung out on The Early Show with host Harry Smith:
Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards went on Tony Stewart’s show on Sirius Satellite Radio and they addressed their “rivalry.” There’s a clip of them discussing exactly that over on Tony’s page at Sirius.com. Look for the section on the right-hand side with the “Sounds of the Show” heading.
And now for the photos, I’d like to point out Dale Earnhardt Jr. and how much I loved his sweater/button-up combo. That’s a very good look for him. In fact all of the guys looked really good, kudos to them and anyone that helped them pick out their outfits.
I didn’t get to watch the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire live because I was down in Los Angeles again. It was a very important trip because I was set to meet up with professional photographer Fred Egan so that he could work his magic and take awesome photos of me for this website. I am so excited about these pictures and I cannot wait to show them to off. You can expect a bit of a tweak to the look & feel of the site once I have them. I have to say that if you’re getting married or you just want amazing photos of you or your family just in general you should call Fred. I can’t recommend him enough.
While I didn’t watch the race live on Sunday I was able to listen to some of the race on Sirius Satellite Radio when I was driving to Nordstrom to have my make-up done. I heard about Kyle Busch’s troubles and then after the photo shoot was done I heard about Greg Biffle’s win.
I love the fact that Biffle won because for one the guy deserved a win without a doubt and two because it totally changes the landscape of The Chase. It reinforces the fact that there are more than just two guys that have a real chance at winning the Sprint Cup. That’s really the way it should be because the minute someone runs away with the points lead with a bunch of races still to come it’ll become incredibly boring and I am entirely against that.
I did Tivo the race at home so I saw it last night but of course I couldn’t resist fast forwarding through all of the slow parts, so it wasn’t really the same. I still need to watch all of the post-race interviews with the drivers, I kept falling asleep.
Atlantic Records recording artists OAR meet Carl Edwards after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers’ Meeting at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Richard Childress talks with his driver Clint Bowyer in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage after Bowyer turned the fastest lap in Saturday’s first practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Bowyer will attempt to defend his Sylvania 300 title on Sunday at the track. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson takes a break during Friday’s practice for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Johnson was second-fastest in practice. (Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart straps into his ride for Saturday’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Sylvania 300, the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Stewart was ninth-fastest in the practice. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So now we finally know who the top 12 drivers are to make it into The Chase for the Championship this year. I’m glad The Chase to The Chase is over and I can now chew my fingernails down to the nub hoping and praying that something horrible doesn’t happen to my favorite drivers, which is basically everyone except Kyle Busch. hehe. I’m kidding!
The 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field poses with the Sprint Cup trophy after the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The drivers are (Back row L-R) Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton (Front row L-R) Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers celebrate their Chase berths after the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
On to driver introductions. This year the Auto Club Speedway rolled out the red carpet, literally. Basically from the pit road wall to the back stage area there was a long red carpet roped off for the drivers to walk. It was a cool idea and it was nice because it allowed for drivers to be cheered or booed twice before they made it to their racecars.
After all of that I headed down pit road and saw Michelle Gilliland standing next to her husband’s car. I totally interrupted her conversation with someone else and I’m totally sorry about that, but I had to introduce myself and I was afraid I wouldn’t get another chance to do so that day. I hadn’t talked to her since I interviewed her over the phone back in March. She was just as nice and gracious as she was then. We chatted for a bit and then I headed back down pit road trying to figure out where I was going to stand for the national anthem.
It’s always annoying ’cause I don’t want to be in anyone’s way, or be super obvious. It’s one of those moments in life where you just want to be there but you don’t want to be noticed, I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. I dunno. I got as far as Tony Stewart’s car and spied Krissie Newman chatting with him. I also caught sight of Casey Mears being very sweet with his very pregnant girlfriend Trisha Grablander. I watched Dale Earnhardt Jr. give an interview and I ended up standing behind Jeff Gordon’s pit crew with some other reporters and PR people.
I watched the first couple of laps of the race from behind Denny Hamlin’s pits. It had a good view of the start/finish line. I also got to watch ESPN’s Dave Burns give a report and then listen to him as he talked to the kid that has to hold up the mini TV screen for him during the race. It helps the pit reporters so that they can see what’s going on on the track while they run around the pits. This kid that was with Burns seemed to be new ’cause he was telling him to just stick with him at all times. That must be an interesting job. You have to stay with the guy; he doesn’t say where he’s going you just have to follow.
I watched the race from the press box but when there were ten laps left I made sure I was back in the pits in position to get to victory lane. Apparently so were everybody else and their mother. The minute pit road was open everyone raced across to get into position for Jimmie Johnson’s arrival. I was slow and there was no way I was getting close to middle of it all but I did come away with some great shots of Jimmie entering victory lane. He actually drove in at the wrong angle and had to back up, turn and drive in again.
There was no point in standing behind all of those people, looking at nothing so I went back into the garage and headed to the conference room for the press conference with the top three finishers. I caught Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle but there wasn’t much to ask it seemed and not a lot to say about the race. It was a pretty boring race wasn’t it?
I headed back home to my sister’s place where she, my brother-in-law, my three nephews and their cousin had all stayed up to wish me a happy birthday. This had to be one of the most memorable birthday weekends I’ve ever had.
The No. 24 team listens to the national anthem before the start of the Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Jamie McMurray waits with his girlfriend, Christy Furtrell, for the start of the Pepsi 500 on pit road at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Jimmie Johnson enters victory lane after winning the Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Every once in a while there’s a story that comes along that truly inspires.
The following story of a couple from Maine who received a surprise visit from NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick makes me want to go out and buy a million AMP Energy drinks so that I can turn the cans into a giant replica of the No. 88 AMP Energy Chevrolet, in the hopes that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would appear at my doorstep. Eh, who am I kidding? That would take too much time, I have no patience.
Anyway, check this out:
Kevin Harvick paid a surprise visit to Chris and Jim Lamb who have a huge collection of antique Shell Oil Company signage and collectibles. Several weeks back these folks sent a note to Kevin at his race shop in Kernersville, North Carolina telling him of their collection and inviting him to visit their house in Maine. Little did they know that Kevin had already planned to run the TD Banknorth 250 Late Model race in Oxford, Maine in his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series off weekend during the July 19th – 20th weekend. Not only was the surprise visit to the unofficial Shell museum special for these Shell fans in Maine, but Kevin went on and won the event in dominating fashion — one of the largest short track races in the United States. Kevin was the 7th Daytona 500 champion to compete in this race.
Isn’t that such a cool thing? It’s so sweet! It truly epitomizes how much fans mean to NASCAR and how the drivers truly value them. Oh, and if you didn’t know, Kevin drives the No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, hence the Shell Oil connection.
In other news…
– On the same subject of doing something good for another person, now is the perfect time to give blood. Giving bloods helps save lives and that alone is really the greatest reward, but now, as an extra motivator, you can give blood and receive a chance to win a VIP trip to the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Phoenix in November.
There are two ways to win: Join the Donor Rewards Program and enter each Red Cross blood donation you make. Every donation is worth points you can trade for Red Cross Racing branded gear. Once you reach Elite Status, you’re automatically entered to win a VIP trip for two to the Phoenix race in November.
You can also join or start a racing team, where each team member’s donation counts toward prizes and another chance to win that VIP trip to Phoenix. Even if you can’t donate, you can get your friends and family to give.
The more blood you give, the more points you earn.
Whoa. So the rumors are true. Casey Mears is leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of this season. As per usual with these types of things there are no hard feelings from Casey or team owner Rick Hendrick. Mhmm.
“We’ve put a ton of emphasis on the No. 5 program,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s been a total team effort, and Casey has worked as hard as anyone to help us improve. We’ve tested more than we ever have, but the results just haven’t come.
“None of us, Casey included, have been satisfied with the situation this season. But he’s confident there are other options out there for him in 2009, and we feel like Hendrick Motorsports will have some opportunities, too.”
Mears will finish the 2008 Sprint Cup campaign in Hendrick’s No. 5 Chevrolets.
“I know the effort has been there, but we haven’t had the finishes to show for it,” Mears said. “I’ve never tested this much or put more energy into racing. But for whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to make it click. It’s certainly not for lack of dedication on anyone’s part.
“I’ll talk to people about opportunities and get my 2009 plans wrapped up soon, but I’m also focused on the next 20 races and finishing 2008 on a positive note. We ran well the second half last year, and I know we can do it again. I want to close this season the right way.”
I hate to see this because I like Casey and I liked him with Hendrick but I guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I would really love to know the real, real reasons for this move and change. I’m sure it was based on performance but Hendrick is known for being this powerhouse race team, so you have to think if you can’t make it happen there what else can you do?
In other news…
– Greg Biffle is staying with Roush Fenway Racing. He has signed a three-year extension with the company, extending the relationship that began in 1998.
“I’m extremely happy and relieved to have this contract complete,” said Biffle. “I have a team that can contend for the championship this season and for future seasons as well. 3M has been an incredible partner for several years now and having them on board made the decision even easier. All the elements are in place: the resources of Ford and Roush Fenway, the excellent team, the outstanding cars and having a great primary sponsor like 3M for the next few years.”
– On Sunday’s episode of Outside the Lines on ESPN the show will take a look at how our crap economy is affecting NASCAR and the teams that run in its series. We all know that it takes a lot of money to contend for a race, let alone a Championship, but these days just fielding a team at all requires serious positive cash flow.
“We are committed to getting through this year, but I got to be able to see into ’09 something a little more positive than I see today. I think we’ll make it, but the economy and the struggles the other teams are seeing are the same as ours. It is a tough, tough world out there right now in NASCAR.” – Doug Yates, owner of Yates Racing
Outside the Lines will air on Sunday, June 29th on ESPN at 9:30 a.m. ET; and on ESPNEWS at noon. Check your local listings.
There’s still time to enter the contest to win a copy of the NASCAR DVD set “Full Throttle Adrenaline.” Deadline to enter is Friday, July 4, 2008. The contest is over!
– Are you new here? Yes? No? Either way you should fill out “The Fast and the Fabulous” reader survey, I wanna know what you think of me and the blog. Tell me the truth, I can take it.
– I fiddled around with the layout of the site a bit. I’ve included a new feature in the top right-hand side that shows off some of my favorite posts that I think you should read if you haven’t already.
– Have you ever left a comment here and wondered what that little blue box next to your name was? Well it’s a Gravatar. You can sign up for one at Gravatar.com and the next time you leave a comment the photo/image you registered will be displayed. The great thing is you sign up for this thing once and if you login or leave a comment on any site that uses Gravatars your image shows up every time.
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)
:: This is part two in a series of four posts (to see all of the posts on one page, click here) ::
Me: You talked about Jeff Gordon and his entrance into NASCAR and how that kind of signaled the entrance of, ya know, guys who grew up racing and learned about the whole corporate aspect of it and knew how to answer questions and all of those kinds of things. I’ve always thought of Jeff Gordon as the face of NASCAR, at least to the outside world, or to people who never NASCAR ever or haven’t in their lives. He usually the most recognizable person, I mean, obviously Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty are big too but Jeff Gordon kind of like in the 90′s was like, the guy. Do you think that’s changing as far as, ya know, other people coming through? Like Dale Earnhardt Jr. is so popular and Carl Edwards is like, camera ready.
Liz: Yeah, he is, isn’t he?
Me: And he’s so good at it. It seems like its part of his personality actually.
Liz: Yeah, and it seems very natural and authentic. Not like he went to some school to learn how to talk. I guess there are a few more characters that people associate with NASCAR. And I think, I totally agree with you regarding Jeff being the face of NASCAR in the 90′s. Ya know, it really helped too because his car was so special. Ya know most of those cars then were one solid color. Ya know they were a color and then a number. And he had the rainbow. I mean, it’s different now but I mean kids loved that. It was like the rainbow car with all the colors and it just looked so sparkly. And he was so sparkly.
I live in D.C. which is hardly a hotbed of NASCAR but this Halloween I had two little Tony Stewarts and one Lightning McQueen come to my door. They were in the like little miniature Home Depot suits and it was really adorable. Now, Joe Gibbs of course owns that car so a lot of Washingtonians follow Joe Gibbs, but I do think Tony in that orange car that’s kind of become iconic.
I’m really not at all a fan of Dale Jr. having this two car sponsorship and two car look. Not because I’m opposed to either sponsor or either look. But I just think in NASCAR it’s such an extension of the driver’s personality is his car. And when you keep switching it, it just muddles the message. I don’t think it does either sponsor a service. Who was it? It was Kyle Busch at California he was back to Interstate; he wasn’t the M&M’s car. It was annoying to me and I love Interstate, don’t get me wrong, but for little kids or new fans part of the way you come to know a driver is the black number 3, the rainbow colored 24 or the orange number 20. I mean I understand the business reasons for it, it’s too expensive, you need multiple companies to pay the freight, but I really think people are missing how serious this is to keep switching the uniform of the guy. It’s basically his uniform.
Me: Yea, I know what you mean. ‘Cause it’s the same thing with Clint Bowyer, he’s doing DirecTV and Jack Daniels. And then he has that switch happening at some point. Greg Biffle has a switch happening. It’s hard to remember which car they’re in, “Oh, wait, that’s so and so.”
Liz: And by extension it’s hard to care. I mean, it sounds silly but it’s just hard to care because that’s not my guy. You’re just more conscious of oh, he’s selling this product this week. You sort of don’t believe, like, “does he really like that product?” It’s not like you get that detailed in your thinking but the guy should look the same. You cheer for the car because you know who’s inside. I love that M&M’s car. I don’t like Kyle Busch, I’ll tell you that, but I love the M&M’s car. It should be in the race all the time.
Me: That’s one point where we totally agree. I don’t like Kyle Busch either. Well two points actually, I totally agree on both of those points.
That’s another thing that’s getting hard. Sometimes at the beginning of every season I have to go through the roster and say “Ok, this guy is with this team now and he’s driving this car, and he’s in these colors now so look for that if you’re looking for him.”
Liz: It’s hard enough as it is, with the regular changes.
Me: It’s one thing if the guy changes sponsors but then he’s changing his entire team, changing his number. I’m like “Oh wait, that’s not David Gilliland anymore, that’s Kyle Busch, so yea, don’t cheer anymore. If you see the M&M’s car just walk on by.”
So as the race wound down I made sure I was in the lobby of the Media Center to catch Carl Edwards’ flip into the grass as it happened. As soon as he sped his car into the garage the entire No. 99 Office Depot team came running through the lobby on their way to celebrate their win in Victory Lane. My blurry photo of some of the guys is to the left.
I must confess that yet again I was hoping and wishing that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would make it into the top 3 because at the end of every race they always have the top finishers come into the Media Center to answer questions. As soon as I saw Carl jump off of his car in Victory Lane I hightailed into the deadline media room and waited for Dale and Greg Biffle to arrive. Biffle came in first and looked dead at me like I was an alien. I don’t think he meant anything weird by it; I was standing right next to the door he came through and he was already answering questions from a couple writers so he was in mid-sentence and they just stopped right there by the door. Yea it was awkward. So I moved away and stood next to an empty workspace, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible from that point onward.
Eventually Biffle took a seat on the stage and Dale Jr. zipped in and took his designated spot next to him (after the questions were over he zipped right out, he’s not much of a lingerer that Dale Jr.). There were more questions directed to Dale than Biffle. Dale was funny and I knew they wouldn’t use his best responses on the local newscasts later that night. He called himself a tool for not being more aggressive when it came to restarts and when one writer questioned his status of emotions after coming in second, saying that he thought Dale seemed “subdued” in his demeanor, Dale replied, “I don’t know, I’m happy. I’m sorry I’m not happier.”
The best part came when they were both asked about how much they think about the points standings and making sure they’re in the top 12. Dale admitted that last year he was “lackadaisical” about the Championship standings, saying that he’d say “We’ll get around to it, we’ll put some runs together to get in there,” but not so this year. This time he’s focusing on every lap. And frankly as one of his fans, that’s music to my ears.
Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. answer questions from the media after the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 2, 2008
After a road trip that consisted of over 500 miles, one prison, and 50 Lance Burton billboards, I made it to Las Vegas on Friday.
I checked in to the hotel I went straight to the track to pick up my credentials. Traffic was crap.
Here’s the thing you should know about me. I’m a rule follower. I don’t like to break rules. It bothers me when others break rules. If we all say we’re going to do it one way I don’t like it when people disregard all of that and do whatever they want. So with that being said, I thought I was prepared. Well as much as I could be given the fact that when you’re given credentials nobody tells you anything about where anything is. It’s all up to you to figure it out. Of course you can ask (and I have), but I don’t understand why they don’t have some sheet that just outlines basic stuff, like here’s how you get to the media center, here’s what those symbols on your credentials mean and what they give you access to, here’s why you’re not getting a parking pass, etc.
So back to Friday, My first mistake was getting off at the exit for general parking, there was another exit designated for people picking up credentials but I didn’t find that out until yesterday when I was on my way to the track again.
After exiting the freeway, I went in the direction that should have taken me to another road where I should have been able to turn left. Mm, no. All of the cops in the world were out in force and were diverting traffic to the right. So I went right. But I still needed to get to the credential office before it closed. So because my hands were tied, I did what the other people who were pissed that they couldn’t go left like they needed to did, I made what I’m sure was an illegal u-turn and headed back up the road. I crossed in front of oncoming traffic to turn into the credentials gate, no help from the cops there.
After I got my credentials I decided to just go back to the hotel. There was no way I was going to figure out how to get into the track at that point. Besides, I was tired and qualifying was over.
The navigation system in my car said that it should take 25 minutes to get back to the hotel. It actually took an hour. Traffic in general on the city streets was slow and then once you were on the highway there were two accidents to contend with.
So that was Friday. Saturday I made sure I got up early to be at the track as soon as the gates opened so I could get a good parking spot. Here’s the problem with that plan. There’s like thousands of other NASCAR fans who had the exact same plan. My spot ended up not being that bad but it was still a bit of a walk to get to the track entrance.
This was my first time to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I was in awe of the Media Center. In the first floor lobby there’s this big wall of glass looking out at the start/finish line and pit row. I think I might have actually said “whoa” out loud.
It’s a beautiful, pristine building. But you know there’s a gripe coming right? The Media Center has three floors. The first has a lounge, a big meeting room (for drivers meetings and the like) and direct access to pit road. The second floor is where the deadline media have their view of the start/finish line and it’s where all of the PR materials, schedules & stat sheets live. The third floor, complete with roof access is where the VIP suites are situated. I’m not deadline media so that means I can sit in one of the workrooms and watch the race on a TV. I just think there’s something off about that. I’m here at the race with all this access and yet I still have to watch the race on a TV? Why not let me have access to the roof with the high rollers? I’ll promise to not eat anything from their platters of food.
I have no idea where I’ll be watching the race from today, but I can guarantee you it won’t be solely from a TV. The more I think about that the more it irks me. Ugh. Anyway…
Below are photos from Friday and Saturday. I’m posting my photos tomorrow as I forgot to bring my USB cord with me today. Lame.
Kasey Kahne retreats to his hauler after he was one of six Dodge drivers to find the wall during Friday’s practice for the UAW-Dodge 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)
Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Indy Racing League Indy Car Series champions Jimmie Johnson and Dario Franchitti chat while looking for shade from the hot Las Vegas sun during qualifying for the UAW-Dodge 400. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart motions to his crew what he’s experiencing on the track during practice for the UAW-Dodge 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne was fastest in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice on Saturday for Sunday’s UAW-Dodge 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Doing the double this weekend, Greg Biffle qualified his NASCAR Nationwide Series car and then hopped in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride for two practices before racing his Nationwide car on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mark Martin (No. 5) slides by after making contact with Carl Edwards (No. 60) who collided with Brad Keselowski (No. 88) late in the Sam Town’s 300 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates the first win for JR Motorsports with Mark Martin taking the No. 5 to victory lane. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images)
It feels like I haven’t written here in forever. I’ve been busy with working on the redesign of the site and playing with my Christmas presents. I received a sweet digital video camera from my sister and the iPod Classic that I wanted from my fabulous mother. It holds 80GB of music and so far I’m up to 20GB. I spent the last week or so chained to my computer at home uploading all of my CDs. It’s a beautiful thing.
Anyway, in NASCAR news the off-season is officially over as teams began testing their cars at Daytona. Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed up and surprised everyone — even his new teammates — because his testing session isn’t for another week.
As always I’ve got photos for ya, I was mostly interested in seeing those drivers that changed rides for this year in their new uniforms. It always takes me awhile to remember who’s driving what and for which team.
Kyle Busch gets ready to take his first laps in his new No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
New Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. greets teammate Casey Mears in the garage on the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing crew chief Brandon Thomas meets with his new driver J.J. Yeley in the garage. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Not a new team, but a brand new paint scheme and uniform for Greg Biffle
On the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway, Greg Biffle helped unveil an American Red Cross paint scheme that he’ll drive at two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this year. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood / Getty Images for NASCAR)
We have a Busch down, I repeat, a Busch is down!
Kurt Busch checks out the bottom of his New Car during the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Congratulations to Greg Biffle and his new wife Nicole Lunders! They were married on Wednesday in South Carolina and Matt and Katie Kenseth were included in the wedding party. Very cool, love the photo! It’s just too bad you can’t see more of the dress — I’d love to see more of it and the wedding in general. I’m nosey when it comes to this stuff.
I know that I should be writing something about the insanity that was the race at Kansas last weekend but I’m kinda not in the mood for it. That race perfectly illustrates one of the things that has always puzzled me about NASCAR. The rules and how NASCAR chooses to interpret them at any given time. It never seems to be the same all the time and I’m always confused. I don’t know why it isn’t cut and dry, like why didn’t they just call the race in the first place? And if they were so concerned with giving the fans and the drivers a complete race why not just move the race to Monday like they’ve done before? And then there’s the fact that Clint Bowyer should have been the winner of the race and not Greg Biffle. What was that about? At the end of the day NASCAR always has the last say and you can’t get around that, even when they’re wrong. It’s just stupid.
Ok, maybe I was in the mood to write about it after all.
Anyway… my real reason for writing today is because of this news item (if you can really call it that) about Alyssa Milano supposedly being done with dating athletes. On behalf of all of the single women out there that would love to date her sloppy seconds — Barry Zito in particular — I say thank you!
Oh and since I’m already off topic and on to baseball, I must share that I met Mike Piazza at the Virgin Megastore in San Francisco a few weeks ago. I was agog. I was shaking! Normally I don’t get that way about celebs for the most part. After all, they’re humans just like you and me, but this was Mike Piazza! He has always been one of my favorite baseball players (he wears my fave number 31 too) and so I felt like I couldn’t just leave without saying something to him. So I did and I was talking so fast he probably thought I was crazy. But that’s ok, it totally made my day.
Are you shocked? I’m not. There are worse things he could do.
And now I give you some things that you might want to know:
– If you’re a San Francisco Bay Area IndyCar fan you’ll be happy to know that Fior d’Italia Restaurant is giving $25 gift certificates to the first 40,000 fans that enter Infineon Raceway for the Motorola Indy 300, presented by Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel on Sunday, August 26. So make sure you get there early!
– NASCAR driver Ryan Newman will be a guest on the “Best Damn Sports Show Period” live from Lowe’s Motor Speedway on August 7th to announce the finalist for Kodak’s “Ink Ryan’s Ride” contest.
– Walk the track with Kurt & Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Ernie Irvan at Pocono Raceway on Saturday:
Kurt will join brother Kyle and four-time Cup champ Jeff Gordon in Saturday’s LAPS Walk with Ernie Irvan at Pocono Raceway. Irvan, Gordon and the Busch Brothers will unite with NASCAR fans, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors, and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard for a walk on the racetrack to raise awareness and needed funding to conquer TBI in America. The LAPS Walk festivities will kick off at 2:15 with a Q&A session and presentation to the top fundraiser of a signed helmet to recognize his/her outstanding effort for TBI awareness and prevention. Following the Q&A session, all participants, including Irvan and Kurt & Eva, will move down to the track where they will be joined by members of the National Guard for the opening ceremonies and a walk on the racetrack. For more information, please visit www.lapswalk.org or call the Brain Injury Association at 800.772.4323.
– I find this quote from Jimmie Johnson to be very interesting indeed. It’s about the resetting of the points once the Chase kicks in for the final ten races of the season.
It certainly looks like I’ll be a big beneficiary of it (resetting the points) and with the way that it is, I’ll take that forgiveness the way the point system is structured right now and try to capitalize on it. But when you look at Jeff’s (Gordon) point situation and how strong he has been, deep down inside there is still a part of me that says, ‘Man, the guy’s had a great year and deserves to be the champion and have it re-racked with everybody on top of him again probably isn’t fair.’ But it’s the way it is. The Chase does a lot of positive things for our sport. I’m in a position where I could capitalize on a tough summer. So you deal with the situation, as it exists. Just falling back on the way racing has always been and the way we’ve all raced through the season and had every point add up to equal a champion, if Jeff doesn’t win the championship I’m sure he’ll have a lot of heartburn over it. And I think us racers, deep down inside, might not think that it’s exactly right. But it’s different racing today than it was years back.
– Greg Biffle will be running a special “Dog the Bounty Hunter” paint scheme on his No. 16 Ford Fusion at Pocono. Uhm, yea, I’ve got nothing.
– All I can say about this is that I hope either A.J. Allmendinger or Brian Vickers can make it into this race or else this visit will be kinda awkward and embarrassing. I got my fingers crossed for ‘em!
Two members of the New York Red Bulls, the MLS team that plays its home matches at Giants Stadium, will make the 90-mile journey from East Rutherford, N.J., to Pocono Raceway to absorb the sights and sounds of NASCAR racing.
Midfielder Joe Vide and midfielder/forward Clint Mathis will get a true taste of what stock-car racing is all about. They’ll hang out on the grid and in the pits, and the fleet-footed duo will meet Red Bull Racing’s two drivers for lunch Sunday morning.
Why thank you Greg Biffle for speaking out about the Michael Vick case. It brings it into the world of NASCAR so that I may put in my two cents on this insanity. I just think it’s sad that someone with Vick’s talent has wasted it on something so stupid. I can’t believe he’d do this to innocent animals, no wait, I can believe he could do this to innocent animals, but it doesn’t make it ok in the least bit. I just think it’s a complete waste in every way.
The one thing I want to say though is that his behavior off the field has nothing to do with his QB career, and I don’t think it reflects negatively on the NFL. The only thing that would shine a negative light on the NFL is if they fail to act. It frustrates me as a sports fan to see things that have nothing to do with the sport at its core interfere with its reputation.
Ugh. Anyway, I hope we can all move on from the dog killers & cheating scandals and get back to just pure unfooled-around-with competition.
This is my long overdue post about Las Vegas. This post is already so old that tomorrow is qualifying for this weekend’s race at Atlana. Geesh! I apologize, there has been a lot going on lately but now I will entertain you with my thoughts on the race in Vegas.
– First off, Monday was Casey Mears’ (left) birthday. He turned 29 and received a lousy gift from Robby Gordon in the form of a crash that took him out of the race at Vegas on Sunday for a little while. He ended up finishing in a very unhappy 40th place. (photo credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
– Overall, I kinda felt like the race at Las Vegas was boring. I know there were a bunch of crashes but it still didn’t seem very exciting. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Jimmie Johnson won for the third straight time at the track. It’s just boring when the same people win. I just want a newbie (or semi-newbie) to win one finally! Ya hear that Clint Bowyer? J.J. Yeley??
– There was a lot of star power at this race in the form of Mark Wahlberg (promoting his new flick “Shooter”), MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo, singer Nick Lachey (who is dating Vanessa), Magic Johnson and the wrestler Goldberg. The only person I ever saw on camera during the race was Mark Wahlberg who mentioned something about wanting to do a movie about racing. I’ll totally take you up on that one Mark! Great idea. He’d make a hot race car driver.
– This point has nothing to do with the Cup race at Vegas, but everything to do with the Busch Series race on Saturday. I don’t like ESPN’s coverage of the races because the only guy in the booth that really knows anything is Rusty Wallace (former Cup driver). The other guys in the booths are asking him questions like, “What’s that?” “What does that do??” OK, so I’m exaggerating but it comes close. And to be fair, it’s not all of the guys on the ESPN team, certainly not the pit road reporters, but it’s enough to make me wonder how they got their jobs.
And now on to the photos…
How hot is Rookie Aric Almirola?? That hot!
Aric Almirola walks in the garage area on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Former wrestler Bill Goldberg jokes around with Roush Racing crew member Dave “Mule” Nichols at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Greg Biffle (left) and crew chief Pat Tryson look on. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks with Magic Johnson at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Photo Credit: John Harrleson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Yes folks, they’re that skinny!
Left to right: Jimmie Johnson, Chandra Johnson, Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey celebrate Johnson’s win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mark Wahlberg talks to the media on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)
No, not that Washington. Washington state.
Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip and Greg Biffle were in Olympia, Washington today trying to get the state’s lawmakers on the bandwagon to bring a $368 million racetrack to the area.
Washington must do this! If only for me — and I know everybody makes decisions just to make me happy — they should do this. NASCAR has been doing so much in this past decade to expand the sport beyond its southern roots, a track in the Northwest is the natural next step. Actually, a second race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma would be great too, but I’ll take what I can get.
Apparently the politicos in Washington state weren’t so excited by the idea, even with NASCAR royalty like Petty showing up on their doorstep. This is incredibly crazy! That’s like Michael Jordan going to Vermont and saying “Hey I think you should invest in a pro basketball team up here” and Vermont saying “eeh, no.”
They’ve got the money to do it and there are a million NASCAR fans like myself who would easily travel there to see the race every year. It’s the perfect excuse to finally check out Seattle, the Space Needle alone just isn’t enough for me.
Former NASCAR stars Richard Petty, center, has a laugh with Sen. Karen Keiser D-Kent, right, and Mark Blondin, machinist union president, right, after arriving at a hotel in Olympia, Wash. Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007, to attend a Washington Labor Council reception. To the right of Petty is former driver Darrell Waltrip and current driver Greg Biffle – a Vancouver, Wash., native The three are to meet with Washington State lawmakers Thursday morning in support of a $368 million racetrack proposal that has, so far, left many state lawmakers unimpressed. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Stock car racing fan Mathew Moriarty shows off the Richard Petty autograph he received on his arm Wednesday evening, Feb. 21, 2007, at the Waterstreet Cafe in downtown Olympia, Wash. Moriarty says he hopes to get the autograph permanently inked on his arm. (AP Photo/The Olympian, Toni L. Bailey)
Even though the first race of the NASCAR season is still 37 days away — the prestigious Daytona 500 — racing has begun. Sort of.
Officially titled NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona, teams began testing their cars for the upcoming season. Teams that were in odd-number positions in the car owner standings as of July 12, 2006 tested this week. The even-numbered teams will test next week.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the fastest car in practice on Tuesday but of course that was overshadowed by the so-called drama between him and his step-mother Teresa Earnhardt.
Teresa was originally quoted as saying this to the Wall Street Journal. Junior then said this at a press conference on Monday. To which Ricky Rudd gave his two cents on Tuesday (he was asked for his opinion, so it’s not like he just busted out with it).
I just hope that this all blows over, Junior renews his deal with DEI and we can all get back to racing and trying to win!
In other news…
– Greg Biffle got engaged over the holidays to his kick-ass girlfriend Nicole Lunders. She’s the woman who got so pissed with Kurt Busch, after he put Biffle’s car into the wall at Texas last year, that she stormed over to Busch’s pit box and chewed out his fiancée Eva Bryan. That was the coolest thing I had seen at a race in a very long time.
– This year’s NASCAR Day has been set for May 18th.
Fans interested in participating in NASCAR Day can purchase a pin, sign up his or her company and even purchase NASCAR Day apparel by going to www.nascar.com/foundation. NASCAR fans, corporations, schools and organizations across the country are encouraged to donate $5 and all participants receive a collectible 2007 NASCAR Day lapel pin for their donation.
Kasey Kahne signs autographs for fans during NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway. (All Photos Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)