All posts tagged Helio Castroneves

20 Posts
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interview: inside the actor’s studio with helio castroneves

I interviewed Helio Castroneves just before the autograph session that he and his Penske teammates were taking part of at the Macy’s men’s store in San Francisco the week of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway.

I didn’t realize until just now that I missed a question in the questionnaire, which is crazy considering I’ve asked these questions a million times now. Anyway, it’s still a good interview. Helio laughs a lot and has a great personality. He’s just as you’ve seen him on TV, which is very refreshing.

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indycar invades the bay area (and macy’s)

It’s IndyCar week here in the San Francisco Bay Area (or at least that’s what I’m calling it) because the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma is this weekend at Infineon Raceway.

Later today at the Macy’s in San Francisco on Union Square (170 O’Farrell Street) you can get autographs from Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Will “I’ll Flip You Off” Power, Ryan Briscoe, Ho-Pin Tung, Mario Andretti and Simona De Silvestro.

It all happens at 6pm in the Men’s Store on the Main Floor. And if that wasn’t enough with the purchase of any IZOD merchandise, you’ll receive a free IZOD IndyCar Series cap. Customers who make a purchase of $50 or more will receive a pair of tickets to Sunday’s race.

So be there or be square! I will be there because I’m interviewing a couple of the drivers, specifically Marco and Simona. I’m debating whether or not to ask them about Danica Patrick related stuff. We shall see what I come up with. :)

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the indycar catch-up, catch-all

I’ve been super slacking on my IndyCar duties so consider this post a catch-all, catch-up on the series.

I fully intended to write a post dedicated to Marco Andretti’s win at Iowa, but got sidetracked with other stuff. I’m still super stoked that he FINALLY got another win, but I’m really hoping he can pull off some of the same magic at Infineon Raceway this year. ‘Cause I’ll be at that race.

Am I the only person that is completely bored whenever Will Power or Dario Franchitti win a race? It’s really boring. I don’t dislike either driver, quite the contrary–I like them both a lot–but it’s so predictable. I think IndyCar might want to think about doing something to their points system to make things more interesting, ala NASCAR’s “Chase” structure.

In couple news… Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay married his girlfriend Beccy Gordon (Robby Gordon’s sister) on Sunday, July 3rd. Congrats Ryan & Beccy!

Alex and Bronte Tagliani

Alex and Bronte Tagliani walked the red carpet for the drivers party in Edmonton

Simona de Silvestro

Simona De Silvestro created her own flotation device when the rain washed out practice at Edmonton

Sebastian Saavedra

Sebastian Saavedra chats with a young fan

James Jakes

James Jakes arrives at the drivers party in Edmonton

James Hinchcliffe

James Hinchcliffe arrives at the drivers party in Edmonton

Helio Castroneves

Helio Castroneves arrives at the drivers party in Edmonton

Marco Andretti

Marco Andretti drives through Toronto

Dario Franchitti

Dario Franchitti celebrates his Honda Indy Toronto win with the Grid Girls

Graham Rahal

Graham Rahal poses for a photo with fans

Marco Andretti - Michael Andretti

Marco Andretti celebrates his Iowa Corn Indy 250 win with his family

Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, Will Power

Will Power won the Edmonton Indy, while Helio Castroneves finished 2nd and Dario Franchitti took 3rd.

Ana Beatriz

Ana Beatriz's nails are color-coordinated with her firesuit. Super cute.

(all photos courtesy of INDYCAR)


NOTES:

– Take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey and enter for your chance to win an awesome Goo Gone prize package. Contest & survey ends on August 10th, 2011. More info

– Help me raise money for My NASCAR Year 2012. More info

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firestone twin 275s please and displease

Dario FranchittiSome things I learned while watching the IndyCar Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday:

1.) Race car drivers are not entertainers. What I mean by that is when you interview them on TV they’re not going to understand that they only have seconds to explain themselves or tell a story and be extremely funny or charming while doing so. So it’s not helpful to interview them about nothing while they need to pick a tire and sign it. Just let them pick the damn tire and sign it. Keep it moving! There is nothing they can say that will enhance the enjoyment of them picking their starting position.

2.) Dario Franchitti is not a fan of randomly selecting his starting position when points are on the line. While I understand his perspective and his frustration, I think that the way the staring lineup for the second race was created wasn’t that big of deal. Racing is a crapshoot, even if you qualify 1st or last. Either one isn’t a guarantee of anything, so if you picked the number out of hat or ran laps for it, to me at least for one race, it’s not that big of a deal. But then again, I’m not trying to win a Championship, but then again I STILL feel like it’s all a big game of chance anyway, so whatever.

Ricky Carmichael poses with Mario Andretti. Ricky got to take a ride in the two-seater IndyCar with Mario.

Ricky Carmichael poses with Mario Andretti. Ricky got to take a ride in the two-seater IndyCar with Mario.

Marco Andretti

Marco Andretti

Alex Tagliani celebrates winning the pole for the first of the two Firestone Twin 275s

Alex Tagliani celebrates winning the pole for the first of the two Firestone Twin 275s

Will Power and Helio Castroneves pose for photos with a young fan at a autograph signing event

Will Power and Helio Castroneves pose for photos with a young fan at a autograph signing event in Texas

James Hinchcliffe

James Hinchcliffe checks an iPad for help with practice

JR Hildebrand

JR Hildebrand jumps in his car? Or is that out of his car? I can't tell :)

Will Power

Will Power is just kinda happy about winning his first oval race

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givin’ it away: shell v-power® helio castroneves prize pack

Helio CastronevesYa know, I can remember a time when gas cost only $1 a gallon. Isn’t that crazy? It wasn’t THAT long ago either, I think I was in high school. Anyway, I’m talking about gasoline because Shell is giving away FREE gas for FIVE YEARS for one lucky person in their Fuel My Passion Sweepstakes. Five freaking years. If there was ever a contest to get in on, this would be the one. Also, runners-up have the chance to win free gas for a year!

Shell is giving race fans a chance to win FREE Shell V-Power® premium gasoline for up to five years with the Fuel My Passion Sweepstakes. From April 13 through June 22, customers can enter by going to www.shell.us/fuelmypassion. All they have to do is show their passion for what they drive by entering their information and uploading a photo of themselves showing the “Power of the V” sign, a peace sign with your palm facing the camera, alongside their ride. The contest is “fueled” by Shell V-Power customers looking for optimum performance or those drivers who simply expect the most from their vehicles.

To promote this awesome sweepstakes Shell is giving me the opportunity to give away a special prize pack featuring everybody’s favorite “Dancing with the Stars” Champion, and IndyCar driver, Helio Castroneves.

One lucky reader will receive the following:

  • Helio Castroneves t-shirt
  • No. 3 Shell V-Power car 1/64th scale diecast
  • No. 3 Shell V-Power can coolie
  • Helio Castroneves 8×10 photo

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shortcuts: helio castroneves pumps gas, martin truex jr. hosts fashion show

There’s a bunch of stuff to give you the rundown on today! But here’s a housekeeping note: My Richard Petty Driving Experience Race Ride contest ends on May 31st, so submit your entry now. Two lucky winners will get to ride shotgun in a NASCAR racecar around Bristol Motor Speedway in August.

In other news…

Angela and Amber Cope, the twin nieces of Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope will attempt to make their NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway this weekend. They’re attempting to make NASCAR history in becoming the first set of twins to ever compete in a Nationwide Series race. Qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series John Deere Dealers 250 presented by Pioneer will air on ESPN2 at 4:40pm EST on Saturday, with the race taking place on Sunday at 2pm EST on ABC.

Angela and Amber Cope

Angela Copy (left) and Amber Cope (right)

– IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves surprised a bunch of customers at a Shell station in Indianapolis yesterday. Helio showed up unannounced and filled their tanks up with Shell gasoline. He also got to talk to them about the Shell V-Power Fuel My Passion program. Of course! :)




The Fuel My Passion sweepstakes allow vehicle enthusiasts who submit photos of themselves with their rides holding the two-fingered ‘V sign’ for V-Power the chance to win great prizes, including free gasoline for up to five years. For more information, please visit www.shell.us/fuelmypassion.

The Stinger from Window World– This past Saturday Window World, the primary sponsor of John Andretti’s #43 Indianapolis 500 entry, unveiled “The Stinger” — a 2011 concept show car as a tribute to the 1911 Marmon Wasp and the 100 years of Indianpolis 500 history. “The Stinger” will be on display in the MotoGP garage area near Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis Motor Speedway through the Indianapolis 500 weekend.

“The Stinger” is also raising money for charities through Window World Cares:

To further support the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, the Window World Cares foundation has invited each of the race’s former starters to autograph the car as it sits on display at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For each signature, Window World Cares will make a donation of support.

Since its creation in 2008, Window World Cares is responsible for raising more than $1.6 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is also a sponsor of the Veterans Airlift Command.

A Family Affair: Michael Andretti (left), Marco Andretti (center) and John Andretti (right) attended the unveiling of "The Stinger"

Martin Truex Jr. and his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex hosted The 2nd Annual Catwalk for a Cause Fashion Show yesterday. MTJ Motorsports was transformed into a fashionista’s paradise with many of NASCAR’s familiar faces on hand for the event that raised money for the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation. The fashion show featured apparel from Lavendar Boutique, a women’s designer boutique in Mooresville, NC owned by Sherry Pollex. There are photos here and here. I was able to spot DeLana Harvick, Krissie Newman, Larry McReynolds, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s mom Brenda Jackson, Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo, Max Papis, amongst others.

Martin Truex Jr. and his girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, speak to guests at the 2nd Annual Catwalk for a Cause event (Credit: CharlotteExclusive.com)

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what’s weezer doing in that izod indycar commercial?

These are photos from a photo/video/web shoot that IZOD did with a bunch of IndyCar drivers a couple weeks ago in the California desert for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar season. I had to share these for sure because I love great photos and Weezer is featured in a couple of them. That’s right Weezer, the band I love for “Undone–The Sweater Song” will be on your TV screens next year promoting IZOD and IndyCar. It’s an interesting combo, don’t you think?


Graham Rahal and Katie Osbourne

Graham Rahal and his girlfriend, Katie Osbourne.

helio castroneves and terrell owens are totally bff

Helio Castroneves celebrates winning the Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, September 4, 2010 (credit: IRL)Helio Castroneves won last night’s IZOD IndyCar Series race, the Kentucky Indy 300, at Kentucky Speedway. I only saw Helio in Victory Lane because I was watching the NASCAR Nationwide Series race and it’s extra long post-race coverage.

At any rate, the thing that stuck out the most to me was of course Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens hamming it up in Victory Lane with Helio. You’d think they’d known each other forever. Terrell was taking up so much time the Versus crew had to wait to get their interview with Helio.

helio castroneves drops the nice guy routine for 10 minutes

Helio Castroneves at Edmonton 2010Things had been relatively quiet during the Honda Indy Edmonton IZOD IndyCar Series race, that is, until those final laps.

Helio Castroneves was caught blocking (in this scenario it’s a no-no) his teammate Will Power which to me looked like the slightest of blocking, but whatever the officials know better than me. Plus Will did say in his post-race interview that Helio blocked him and well you’re not supposed to do that.

So Helio, who finished first, didn’t win the race and proceeded to go apeshit when he got out of his car. That had to have been one of the awesomest racing-related tantrums I’ve ever heard/seen on live television. The video is below and it gets good at about the 3:55 mark.

My only gripe was that Versus didn’t cut to Helio sooner. They should of had a straight shot on him the entire time, why bother talking to Scott Dixon, who would have been second but ended up winning the race because of the penalty levied against Helio. I’m sure Scott was grateful (who wouldn’t be?), but who cares what he had to say. Helio was where the action was at.

helio and tony blow their vuvuzelas, doesn’t help brazil

Will Power finished 1st at the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, Ryan Briscoe finished 2nd and Dario Franchitti finished 3rd (photo credit: IRL)Will Power, whose name continues to make me smile after all this time, won the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen this weekend.

On Friday all of the Brazilian IndyCar drivers gathered to watch Brazil play The Netherlands in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Brazil lost, which sucks (I’m over the World Cup since the US is out of it — just being honest here), but there were some awesome photos (see below) of Helio Castroneves in some heinous glasses and Tony Kanaan blowing his vuvuzela.

Ryan Hunter ReayRyan Hunter-Reay (right), along with Andretti Autosport, announced that they’ve secured enough sponsorship money to continue Ryan’s #37 entry through the rest of the 2010 season. This is great news and to make it even sweeter the team has put together a new program called “Racing For Cancer” to raise money for cancer research.

Ryan’s mother, Lydia, died last year in November from colon cancer and he’s dedicating this racing season to her. For more information go to www.racingforcancer.org. You can also follow them on Twitter @RacingForCancer

Among Ryan’s sponsors for the remainder of the 2010 season is AirTran Airways. I’m noting this because once upon a time I wrote to Southwest Airlines asking if they’d sponsor me and they said they couldn’t because they make a point of not sponsoring things that can crash. Kudos to AirTran Airways for taking a chance and sponsoring a great driver anyway. :)


Helio Castroneves

Helio Castroneves

i know one person who didn’t drink the danica kool-aid

Tony Kanaan in victory lane after winning the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on Sunday, June 20, 2010 (photo credit: Shawn Gritzmacher/IRL)The last IZOD IndyCar Series race, the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer, was the same weekend as the NASCAR Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway. So of course I didn’t watch it ’cause I was busy at the track, which sucks because I didn’t get to see Tony Kanaan finally end his 2-year losing streak.

While I didn’t watch the race I did read the post-race quotes from Tony and his teammates at Andretti Autosport. I thought it was pretty telling that all of his teammates, except Danica Patrick, made a point of congratulating Tony. Very interesting. I guess Tony and Danica still have some sort of rift going on (He did say she needed to change her attitude) and who knows how that’s going to play out. Whatever the deal is I thought it was lame for Danica to not, at the very least, say something about how Tony’s win was great for the organization, ‘cause that’s just what you do. Duh.


“I have to thank my team and the entire 7-Eleven crew.  They did a great job. I had a great car. I have to thank my teammates, Marco (Andretti) and Ryan (Hunter-Reay), who came over after qualifying. I was very disappointed. I made a mistake during qualifying and I was pretty down. They talked to me for 45 minutes and cheered me up. Marco gave me a little bit of his setup and Ryan actually helped me with the setup, putting it together for today. It was a great job as a team and it feels good.”

– Tony Kanaan

“We had an awesome day. We should have been on the podium with Tony today. We had an incident on pit lane and got black-flagged for it. We had to fight our way back up to the top 10. We had the Ethanol USA-Team IZOD car running in the top three. I’m really disappointed in the end. It should have been a great day for us. Congratulations to Tony; he deserves this for sure.”

–Ryan Hunter-Reay

“It’s definitely a disappointment to start third and finish where we did. The handling for the Venom car just didn’t make sense. We made all the right adjustments and we were still too loose. I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up finding something broken on the car.  We just weren’t able to make it happen today on the ’26′ side, but I’m happy for my teammate (Tony Kanaan) and the ’11′ crew.”

– Marco Andretti

“It was a challenging race for the GoDaddy car. We had a good car, but the longer the race went on, the more difficult the car got, handling-wise. I wish we had a better day, but we’ll take a top-10 finish.”

– Danica Patrick

IndyCar photo fun time after the jump! :)

michael waltrip should be the next ‘bachelor’

Michael Waltrip (credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)2009 turned out to be Michael Waltrip’s last year as a full-time Sprint Cup Series driver. It’s bittersweet because on the one hand he’s making room for a young driver — Martin Truex Jr. — to grow in the sport, but on the other hand Michael won’t be competing every week.

I’ve always liked Mikey because he’s so freaking funny. There isn’t another driver around right now (ok, maybe Kenny Wallace) that is as charismatic and entertaining as Michael Waltrip. I always want to hear him talk, about anything.

So now that Mikey will have more time on his hands next year, he’s only running a part-time schedule, I figured it might be a good idea to give him a couple suggestions on what he could do to fill up the rest of his days.

1.) Dancing with the Stars: Fans that follow MW55 on Twitter have already sent this idea to him, but I don’t know what his reaction has been. I really think he should be in the next group of stars to learn ballroom dancing on ABC’s hit show. I have no idea what Mikey is like on the dance floor but I think that he could win over America with his charm and that would help him to go far in the competition. Besides, IndyCar was represented by Helio Castroneves, and now it’s time that NASCAR was in the mix. Oooh! What if Darrell Waltrip did it too? That’d be hilarious AND awesome.

2.) The Bachelor: It would be the greatest season of The Bachelor EVER if Michael Waltrip was doing the choosing! Oh my gosh, I would pay money to watch the show if it happened, and this is from a woman who hasn’t watched a full season of The Bachelor in, like, years. Mostly because it just doesn’t seem realistic, they never stay together. But what’s more realistic than a 46-year-old, divorced (I’m assuming it’s official at this point), part-time NASCAR driver with two children?? Are you kidding me? Again, I would PAY to watch this show. Picture this: 25 women in firesuits taking laps around a racetrack in order to earn a one-on-one date with Mikey. I could just see them all having to learn lines for an Aaron’s commercial, who ever delivers the pitch best wins alone time with him! Seriously, ABC really needs to make this happen.

:)

indy grand prix of sonoma: i want an audi and a scooter for xmas

Scott Dixon heads back to the garage after practicing on Sunday, August 23, 2009 at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)On Sunday, last weekend, at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma when I arrived at the track, again at 8am, I realized quickly that there wasn’t much to do. I sat on pit road and watched as fans and VIPs took spins around the track with professional drivers from the Jim Russell Racing School. The whole thing made me wish I owned an Audi, the car of choice for the day’s hot laps.

Eventually, I ducked into Jennifer Azzi’s press conference. As I wrote a few days before the weekend started Azzi was on hand as the race’s Grand Marshal. It was cool to see her and I must admit that I totally missed my opportunity to introduce myself and tell her what an inspiration she’d been to me as a kid. I’m shy, OK. And I have to work up what I’m going to say in my mind before I actually do it and make sure it’s not lame. There never was a perfect time, but whatever, she’s on Twitter and I plan on saying something to her at some point over there.

a memorial day weekend to remember

David Reutimann celebrates winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)So that was quite a memorable Memorial Day weekend. Early Sunday morning I caught the very end of the Monaco Grand Prix, the winner of which was Jenson Button. After hearing his name I couldn’t help but think of the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and how much I’ve always wanted to go to Monaco. Then I started thinking about how cool it would be to travel around the world to cover Formula 1 racing. I think that’s the one aspect of Formula 1 racing I like the best. I know men drool over the cars and all that but it just seems really boring to me. The cars are ginormous and the field always seems to be spread out. NASCAR just offers more… action. Anway, one thing I can say about Jenson is that his website is adorable. I love his logo! Someone make me a logo that cool.

The second race of the day was the Indianapolis 500. My hope was behind Marco Andretti and then on the very first lap he got screwed by Mario Moraes. It was at that very moment that I decided I would never ever try to pick someone to win a race ever again. So irritating. My heart broke for Marco. It’s one thing to lose it on the last lap, at least you were still in it, but to go through all of that preparation and not even get a chance really start anything. It’s just tough.

I know that Helio Castroneves’ win was emotional and it meant a lot because of his whole tax evasion aquittal, but it left me kinda cold? I’m happy for the guy, really, but I dunno, I just wanted to see something new. He’d already won the thing twice, give someone else a turn! Ha! That sounded like something you’d hear on an elementary school playground. Anywho, it was cool that Danica Patrick finished third. I think I understand her a little bit better after that pre-race piece ESPN on ABC did on her and her father. I think I understand her motives for keeping her feelings underwraps and trying to not be vulnerable.

A couple things I learned whilst watching the Indy500: 1.) Scott Dixon’s wife is pregnant! 2.) Ryan Hunter-Reay is engaged to marry to Robby Gordon’s sister, Beccy. The fact that I didn’t know either of these things show exactly how much attention I put towards IndyCar wives & girlfriends.

So after the Indy 500 show was over I changed the channel to FOX for NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 coverage. Little did I know that I wouldn’t find out who would win this notoriously long race a day later, with only a little over half of the race actually completed. It wasn’t NASCAR’s fault that they couldn’t run the full race, the weather just wasn’t cooperating, but it’s so annoying.

I’m happy for David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip Racing in general that they’ve received they’re first win, but I hate that it had to come under such lame circumstances.

Between yesterday and today I was witness to the world’s longest post-race show that included a stupid talking cartoon gopher (and his friends!) and fake grades for each race team that participates in NASCAR. You know those teams that they gave a C- to really deserved an F. They just wanted to be “nice” so that they could walk through the garage without getting dirty looks.

I couldn’t wait for them to just call the race already, I gave up on seeing a full race the moment they showed Carl Edwards walking around in jeans and a polo.

The only redeeming moment of the day came when Tony Stewart called the bald crew member from Reutimann’s team Billy Bad Butt. That was awesome and oh so very hilarious. I want to know why the guy felt the need to get in the middle of a conversation that Tony was having with David. Why don’t they have a microphone on Tony Stewart at all times?!


Jimmie Johnson, sporting a new haircut, jokes with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon during practice for the Coca-Cola 600. Each driver has three wins in the historic race. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dear Jimmie, What is going on with your hair these days? You have a super fashionable wife, can’t she take you to a proper salon in NYC and get your ‘do done? I mean, c’mon. Go talk to Sally Hershberger, she’s done great things for celebs like John Mayer, Roger Federer and Tom Cruise (to name a few!). She could really hook you up. :) XO – Valli

Jimmie Johnson, sporting a new haircut, jokes with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon during practice for the Coca-Cola 600. Each driver has three wins in the historic race. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Team owner Jack Roush inspects spark plugs in the garage during practice for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

He would.

Team owner Jack Roush inspects spark plugs in the garage during practice for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

A group of kids enjoy some Domino's pizza while waiting out the rain delay at Lowe's Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Soooo adorable!!! I love this photo.

A group of kids enjoy some Domino’s pizza while waiting out the rain delay at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Team owner Michael Waltrip and winning crew chief Rodney Childers hug after the Coca-Cola 600 was called and Reutimann was declared the race winner. The win was the first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Michael Waltrip Racing. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Team owner Michael Waltrip and winning crew chief Rodney Childers hug after the Coca-Cola 600 was called and Reutimann was declared the race winner. The win was the first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Michael Waltrip Racing. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The Coca-Cola 600 was stopped just short of 3 p.m. ET to observe the National Moment of Remembrance. The cars lined up on the frontstretch and shut down the engines and crew members lined up the length of pit road to honor members of the military. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)

The Coca-Cola 600 was stopped just short of 3 p.m. ET to observe the National Moment of Remembrance. The cars lined up on the frontstretch and shut down the engines and crew members lined up the length of pit road to honor members of the military. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)

Olympic Gold Medalist and Dancing With the Stars winner Shawn Johnson learns how to change a tire before the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Olympic Gold Medalist and Dancing With the Stars winner Shawn Johnson learns how to change a tire before the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

would you like some cristal with your nachos?

Dalmation on a fire truck at Infineon RacewaySunday was the IndyCar race day. Driving to the track was a considerably different experience than it is for a NASCAR race, there wasn’t any traffic. Leaving was an entirely different story. It still sucked and what should only take 45 minutes took 2 hours. But that’s the way it goes with race weekends. Although, next year I have a plan for a new route to take me home that should cut down on the time I spend in my car wanting to slit my wrists from all of the stop-and-go traffic.

Anyway, back to the track. It was firefighter appreciation day and as I walked into the paddock area the first thing I saw was this old timey fire truck with the cutest and smartest Dalmatian dog sitting on top of it. I couldn’t believe how obedient he was! He just sat there in the seat and didn’t freak out or bark at the people gathered around staring at him. There was another dog, whose breed I couldn’t tell you, that was barking a lot but the cute Dalmatian could not and would not be baited into barking back. Horses at Infineon Raceway

And then there were these big creamy-colored horses to pull the old timey fire truck. They were huge, but absolutely beautiful. They had a special moment during the pre-race festivities when they pulled the truck down the track and in front of the grandstands.

So I guess IndyCar has this reputation for being more upscale than NASCAR in terms of its fans and such. They’ve got Cristal and Izod for sponsors after all. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s all a bunch of hooey. Why is it that I saw more boobs during this race weekend than I ever have at any NASCAR race I’ve been to? And when I say that I saw boobs I’m not saying that women were flashing them, of course they weren’t but let’s just say they were on display. And why is it that I saw more fans wearing NASCAR gear than anything else? The Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans were out in full effect. Instead of trying to act all hoity-toity I think they should try to soak up some of the NASCAR marketing tactics and get some more butts in the seats.

Oh, speaking of butts in the seats, that’s exactly where they stayed when it came time to try and break the record for the most people doing the twist dance. Yea, that whole idea crashed and burned the minute the music started up. A group of people did dance but mostly everyone just watched. To make something like that work you really have to have a group that’s invested in its success ya know?

So I was totally right when I said that George Lucas would probably make an appearance at the race because Marco Andretti’s car was running the special Blockbuster/STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS paint scheme. George hung out with Marco during the pre-race festivities and then in his pit during the race. Marco’s race suit was made to look like a storm trooper uniform. I’m not a big fan of the whole codpiece detailing.

In the end, Helio Castroneves won the race, his first of the season and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan were mathematically eliminated from the field running for the Championship with only two races left on the year. This win was a sweet one for the Team Penske guys after having their primary cars go up in smoke (literally) earlier in the week. It’s amazing they were able to come back and finish first with Helio’s Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe coming in second. Briscoe has the most awesome accent by the way. I gotta get to Australia.


Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick walks to the garage after the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Marco Andretti

Marco Andretti gets ready for a warm-up session on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Ryan Briscoe

Ryan Briscoe chats with someone on pit road on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Victory Lane

Fans gathered around victory lane to watch the first through third place finishers receive their trophies on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

William Rast Racing

I thought this guy looked a lot like paparazzo/ex-Britney Spears boyfriend Adnan Ghalib only cuter, but I figured he was probably just a guy from William Rast. WR is the clothing company started by Justin Timberlake and his best friend Trace Ayala. The company was the sponsor of Townsend Bell’s car.

Some dude on pit road on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

giving the indycar lights racers a once over

Infineon Raceway Chili Cheese FriesSaturday was IndyCar qualifying and the first of two IndyCar Lights races, the Carneros 100 and the Valley of the Moon 100.

For qualifying I hunkered down with $8 chili cheese fries in the lunch tent. They were absolutely delicious, although it totally didn’t help my self-esteem when the Infineon Raceway umbrella girls had to walk in with their skimpy outfits and fatless bodies while I was eating them. I got over it though because I was hungry and their job is to hold up an umbrella, so whatever. :)

This weekend was my introduction to the Firestone IndyCar Lights series. You should see the guys in this league. Ladies, these guys are serious hotties. They’ve got more eligible bachelors than you can shake a stick at. Yes, yes, the racing is all fine and good. But these guys are really cute. Have you seen Arie Luyendyk Jr.?? Richard Antinucci? Dillon Battistini? Raphael Matos? Logan Gomez? Dude, you need to. Get yourself to an IndyCar Lights race tout de suite! There’s only one race left this season, so uh it’s Chicagoland or wait till next year.

Okay, I’m laying it on a little thick, but not really.

Right before the IndyCar Lights race ended the apparent head of security for IndyCar barked orders to everyone in the area of the winner’s circle. I think watching him might have been more entertaining than the race itself. I have never encountered someone in NASCAR who has the same level of responsibility as this guy seemed to have. From a little Google search I gleaned that this guy is known as Security Chief Charles. His reputation and ability to corral and move the drivers along to their next destination seems to be the stuff of legend. He is pretty intimidating I must say.

So I have one funny story to share, well it’s funny to me. Not so much bust out laughing funny, but more ha-ha funny. After IndyCar qualifying concluded and Helio Castroneves received his pole award he was ushered to the media center (by Security Chief Charles of course). On his way over, he was followed by a woman yelling “Helio! Helio! Will you sign my shirt?!!?!” To which Helio responded in a loud boisterous voice, his arm up stretched with one finger pointed, “Yes! I will!” and walked right into the media center.

That tickled me. You had to be there. He eventually came out after the media press conference was done and signed the woman’s shirt.


Logan Gomez

Logan Gomez walks to the garage after finishing fifth in the Carneros 100 on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Raphael Matos

Raphael Matos speaks with the press after finishing second in the Carneros 100 on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Richard Antinucci

Richard Antinucci speaks to the press after finishing third in the Carneros 100 on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Helio Castroneves

Helio Castroneves heads into the media center on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Helio Castroneves

Helio Castroneves leaves signs autographs on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Marco Andretti

Marco Andretti asks Danica Patrick’s husband a quick question after qualifying on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

magic circles are magically delicious

The Magic Circles and the IndyCar Championship trophy (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)And now for my IndyCar at Infineon adventure. Friday was dedicated mostly to practice for the IndyCar teams, and because of that it meant that the garage was dead. You’ve never seen a cleaner garage in your life. Things didn’t get interesting there until Sunday when the teams actually had to use it for preparation before the race.

So the really big deal was the press conference set up to unveil Firestone’s new “Magic Circle.” They’re the tires they created specifically for the top drivers who are still in the hunt for the IndyCar Championship. The tires have a white wall on the outside so that they can be easily spotted in the field during a race. Just another way the fans can keep track of the Championship contenders. Before Sunday’s race there were 4 drivers mathematically still in the hunt — Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves.

So I decided to stand outside of Victory Lane where the media had gathered for the announcement. I just wanted to try and get good shots of the drivers as they made their way over. What I didn’t know was that I managed to situate myself in the precise spot they were all going to stop their little motorcycles and scooters. Scott Dixon was the first guy to roll onto the scene right behind me. I find him to be incredibly cute and I can’t believe we’re the exact same age; he always strikes me as being a lot older. Then there was Helio who as far as I’m concerned seems to be totally over the whole Dancing with the Stars hubbub. Everyone loves to bring it up with him but he never goes into it and I can understand why. It’s been forever ago and he’s a race car driver, and that’s what he’s really about.

Finally Scott Wheldon rode up with his wife Susie on the back of his Target scooter/bike thingy. Instead of going around all the bikes where there was more room to walk, he had to walk on the inside of them causing me to try and squeeze myself against the Victory Lane fence. I think my bag hit him, but that’s what he gets.


Scott Dixon bike/scooter

Scott Dixon’s scooter on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Dan Wheldon and his wife Susie (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Dan Wheldon and his wife Susie roll in for the ‘Magic Circles’ media event on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Helio Castroneves (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Helio Castroneves arrives at the ‘Magic Circles’ media event on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Scott Dixon (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Scott Dixon walks in to the ‘Magic Circles’ media event on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan (photo credit: the fast and the fabulous)

Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan pose for photographers during the ‘Magic Circles’ unveiling on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Dan Wheldon (photo credit: the fast and the fabulous)

No outfit is complete without pockets!

Dan Wheldon speaks to the media on Friday, August 22, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

it’s all about indy at infineon

Marco Andretti enters victory lane at Infineon Raceway back in 2006 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Infineon Raceway is really turning it on this year for the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County.

– First of all an IndyCar testing session is taking place there tomorrow from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Mario Andretti, Will Power, Tomas Scheckter, Jamie Camara, Enrique Bernoldi, E.J. Viso, Oriol Servia, Vitor Meira, Marty Roth, Alex Lloyd, Ed Carpenter, AJ Foyt IV and Townsend Bell will all be on hand. Admission is free for fans!

– As I write this Oakland A’s pitcher Brad Ziegler is being driven from downtown Oakland to the Oakland Coliseum in a two-seat, street-legal IndyCar by former IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton. Ziegler is being rewarded for his 37-inning scoreless streak.

– Saturday, August 24th will be “Firefighter Appreciation Day” at Infineon Raceway, and Sonoma resident Mitch Mulas has been named Grand Marshal of the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County:

The first 10,000 race fans that enter the raceway on Sunday will receive a FREE commemorative bracelet with the inscription, “Firefighter Appreciation Day,” and the date.

– For the first time this year fans attending the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County will be able to purchase an IndyCar Platinum Pass. What is an IndyCar Platinum Pass you say?? Well, it’ll allow you to meet drivers Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal, plus more! Read on:

Race fans will be treated to a special question-and-answer session on Sunday morning with the two drivers. This exclusive session will take place in a hospitality tent overlooking Turn 7 and is only open to Platinum Pass members. Moreover, the Platinum Pass is the only way for fans to get a garage pass, which puts race fans just steps away from all of the stars on the IndyCar Series circuit.

Castroneves (Team Penske) is a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, as well as past champion of the hit television show, Dancing with the Stars. Rahal (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing), son of legendary driver Bobby Rahal, became the youngest winner in open-wheel history (19 years old) when he took the checkers earlier this year in St. Petersburg (Fla.).

This deluxe package costs just $195 and includes:

  • Meet-and-greet with Castroneves and Rahal
  • Autographed hero card from each driver
  • Full-event weekend pass (your choice of seats)
  • Garage Pass
  • Premium Parking Pass
  • Platinum Hard Card

– And as if all of that wasn’t enough Infineon is also trying to break the world record for the most people doing the Twist. Ya know, that dance your parents did when they were teenagers. They’re loosely (and I do mean loosely) tying it together with IndyCar by linking it to Helio Castroneves and his stint on “Dancing with the Stars.” It has nothing to do with racing but it’ll still be interesting to watch!

Race fans will be invited onto the race surface at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 24, to perform a dance that best describes the most challenging road course in the country — the Twist. Participants will be required to Twist for five minutes in the style made famous by Chubby Checker in 1960. Checker will be unable to attend the event but will send a video message that will be played on the Jumbotron prior to the start of the record-breaking dance.

“I can’t be there but I wish the people a lot of luck in trying to break the record,” Checker said.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest Twist dance took place in Yorkshire, England, in 2004, when 1,691 high school students and staff danced to Checker’s classic hit. Infineon Raceway hopes to shatter that record on Aug. 24 right in front of the main grandstand.

To get your tickets to the IndyCar Race Weekend at Infineon Raceway go to www.infineonraceway.com or www.ticketmaster.com

helio and junior are winners, jeff gordon still a loser

In a manner of speaking Gordon fans, don’t get your underwear in a knot.

– IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves captured the golden mirror ball (or whatever it is they win on that show) on the celebrity dance show “Dancing with the Stars.” I watched the show here and there throughout the season and I thought Helio did a good job, but I think Mel B. should of been crowed the winner, but that’s just me. Actually if you want to get really specific Sabrina Ryan should have won the whole thing but that’s another story for a completely different blog. And what’s this business about Helio dumping his fiancée? I wonder, and so does Darren Rovell, what affect this reality TV stardom will have on Helio’s racing career.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was announced as the winner of the Most Popular Driver Award for the 5th time in a row. Such a no-brainer, but then it’s interesting to note that the only NASCAR driver that’s consistently talked about in celebrity mags is Jeff Gordon.

– NASCAR’s Champions Week is this week and there are a bunch of photos that I want to share with you but I’ll have to do that tomorrow — I’m wiped out from actually working at work today. The Championship awards ceremony is tomorrow night at the Waldorf=Astoria. ESPN Classic is broadcasting the event starting at 9 p.m. (EST) (check your local listings).

My question is this: Why is this coming on the ESPN Classic channel?? What? We’re not good enough for the regular ESPN channel? Gah! Oh and something else of note, Kelly Clarkson is the musical guest. I wonder what she’ll sing. Considering the event and its content there aren’t many Clarkson songs that totally fit, except for maybe “A Moment Like This.” I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

for who? for what?

Do you miss Miss Winston? I don’t — I was satisfied when her position was eliminated. Which is why I’m irked at the fact that California Speedway feels the need to recruit Umbrella Girls for this weekend’s race in Fontana. Check out the video of the girls over at the AOL NASCAR Fanhouse, if you’re first reaction isn’t to gag then I just don’t know you anymore.
:)

The problem that I have with this is that we don’t need them. They bring nothing to the event except T&A, and while I’m sure men will find that appealing in general, overall it doesn’t add any excitement to the races. I seriously doubt that knowing that these “models” will be at the race would make someone buy a ticket for the first time. Especially in a place like southern California where it’s not hard to find a lot of people that are either models or aspiring actresses or women that are just trying to look like one of the two.

California Speedway’s other marketing ploy is a celeb-filled party they’re throwing at a club called Avalon in Hollywood tonight. While I don’t know that this will automatically translate into more butts in the seats for the race weekend, it could help with buzz — maybe, possibly, sorta.

All I know is that the last time I was in L.A. for my youngest nephew’s birthday party, one of the parents in attendance told my mom (after my mom told her about my blog) that she’d never met a NASCAR fan before. I wasn’t sure what to make of that. I mean I know NASCAR isn’t the most popular or talked about sport in our country but I’d put it on the same level as hockey. I know the major players, the general lay of the land, but I don’t follow it. But there’s no way I could ever say that I’d never met a hockey fan.

In other news…

– IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves has been added to the cast of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. The new season starts September 24th.

– You can still get free tickets to this weekend’s race at the California Speedway, check out the details from Kodak:

As part of a promotion for its KODAK EASYSHARE All-in-One printers, Kodak is giving race fans something to “thINK” about.

To celebrate the winning entry in the company’s “Ink Ryan’s Ride” contest, Kodak will unveil a never-before-seen, custom-designed paint scheme for Ryan Newman’s No. 12 KODAK Dodge. The winning design was selected from over 3,000 contest entries, which were judged by driver Ryan Newman, NBA alum and TV co-host John Salley from “Best Damn Sports Show Period,” and online votes. After its unveiling, Newman will drive the newly inked car in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Sharp AQUOS® 500 race on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2007, at the California Speedway.

As further promotion of KODAK EASYSHARE All-in-One Printers, the first 75 fans to bring an old printer to the unveiling will receive two free tickets to the Sharp AQUOS 500 race, complements of Kodak, along with a coupon for dollars off a new KODAK Printer. All old printers will be sent to an electronics recycling center.

All attendees will receive a picture of the newly designed No. 12 KODAK DODGE, printed on the new KODAK Printer.

The Kodak Theatre
Hollywood and Highland Center Awards Walk
6801 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA. 90028

Saturday, September 1, 2007
11:00 a.m.– 3:00 p.m.

Carl Edwards is always up to something, good that is, and tomorrow he’ll be at the Rancho Cucamonga Office Depot store for a backpack donation event:

Edwards will participate in his second Office Depot Foundation backpack donation event of 2007. He will be at the Office Depot store at 8160 Day Creek Boulevard in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. on Thursday, August 30 from 5:00-7:00 PM. An autograph session will immediately follow the backpack donation. Fans wishing to participate may pick up a wristband starting at 7:00 AM at the store. Only the first 200 people will receive wristbands.

– Ok, I’m officially sad that I’m not going to be at the race this weekend. The band 30 Seconds to Mars will be performing in the California FanZone on Sunday (at 1:45pm, the show is free with admission to the race) and I have to miss it! Gah. They’re a great band you should definitely make a point to check them out if you’re going to be there. Tell the lead singer, Jared Leto, I said “Hi” and feel free to give him my phone number.