All posts tagged Hendrick Motorsports

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the new chase format means the networks have to create a lot of spiffy new graphics

I mean, A LOT of graphics! I think the theme of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season will be ‘Explanation.’ Everybody is going to be explaining how the new qualifying system will work and how the new Chase format will work, so get ready for a bunch of segments dissecting the new formats and whether or not Jimmie Johnson will be able to adapt to them.

steve letarte didn’t go to prom, went to ‘hendrick high school’

Diet Mountain Dew created a series of videos available to view on YouTube called “Getting to Know the Dew Crew.” The series includes interviews with various members of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew team, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his crew chief Steve Letarte (above). I didn’t watch all of them but I find it REALLY interesting that none of them have received over 1,000 views yet. It could have something to do with the fact that the content isn’t that thrilling and no one told you about ‘em, but I guess I am now. :)

featured_290x290_sletarte

my reaction to the hendrick motorsports crew chief swap of 2010

Last week was pretty hectic for me, hence the lack of posts. Between making the turkey (using a brine is the only way to go) for Thanksgiving and then helping my mom get married on Saturday I’ve been a busy little bee!

So I haven’t had much time to think about all of the ramifications of the changes that were announced at Hendrick Motorsports last week.

But my reaction went something like this:



I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting to use that animation of Pee Wee! :) Cracks me up every time I see it and in this case it totally sums up my feelings when I heard the news. On one hand I was thinking it might be better for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to get Alan Gustafson, but I trust that Rick Hendrick knows what he’s doing. I love all of the new pairings and I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes of it. The teams of the 88 and 24 can definitely use the new energy, so I’m excited.

No. 5 Chevrolet
Driver: Mark Martin
Crew Chief: Lance McGrew

No. 24 Chevrolet
Driver: Jeff Gordon
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson

No. 48 Chevrolet (duh, if it ain’t broke why fix it?)
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Crew Chief: Chad Knaus

No. 88 Chevrolet
Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Crew Chief: Steve Letarte

shortcuts: tony goes green and carl hits 200

– Tonight SHOWTIME® is airing TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story at 10:30 PM ET/PT. The documentary style film is narrated by everybody’s favorite couch jumping hottie, and Hendrick family friend, Tom Cruise.

Carl Edwards will make his 200th Cup start with Roush Fenway Racing this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. He’s just the fifth driver in the 23-year history of Roush Fenway to do so.

– Did you know that Dale Earnhardt Jr. opened another Whisky River location? Well he did and it’s in Jacksonville, Florida. Kelly Bires will be driving a special Whisky River Jacksonville paint scheme on the No. 88 for the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at PIR this weekend.

sprint cup media tour madness (aka photos of drivers in long-sleeved shirts)

This week was the annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. I wasn’t there (trust me, I’m crying inside) and so all I have to share with you are these photos of drivers sitting in chairs. Enjoy! :)


(Left to right) Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, owner Richard Childress and Jeff Burton take part in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson Photography)

(Left to right) Richard Childress Racing’s Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, owner Richard Childress and Jeff Burton take part in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson Photography)

pepsi 500: just call me the driver locator

Sprinkles Cupcakes for Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)So I’m finally wrapping up my posts about the Pepsi 500. It’s only a week overdue, but whatever. :)

Sunday was of course the Pepsi 500 and the morning was left open to do whatever made my little heart happy.

That weekend had been a celebration of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s birthday, which was October 10th, and Hendrick Motorsports 25th Anniversary. So it was only fitting that there was a Hendrick Motorsports hospitality tent, dubbed the “Party Zone,” where fans who bought tickets could eat, drink, be merry and ask Hendrick drivers, Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon, questions before the start of the day’s race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan Stan got to meet Dale Jr. on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Auto Club Speedway picked one fan that purchased one of the special Dale Jr. Birthday ticket packages to meet Dale himself on Sunday morning. The Speedway let me go along for the ride. Well, sorta. I met Stan (photographed at right), the lucky fan who was going to meet Dale and present him with special No. 88 cupcakes from Sprinkles. Stan was a very nice guy, who had been a fan of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and transferred his loyalty over to Dale Jr.

I rode with Stan over to the hospitality tent where we parted ways and I went inside to wait for the Q&A session to begin, and Stan went on to meet Dale just before he took the stage.

I don’t know how their meeting went down, but I’m sure it was cool.

It was while I was standing around watching some country music cover band perform that Erin, a very cool woman who reads this very blog, came up and introduced herself. It was soo nice of her to say hello. Even though I have traffic numbers from Google that tell me people come to my site everyday it still amazes me when I meet a real person who reads my blog and likes it.

I stuck around long enough to watch Dale take to the stage and watch people lose their minds over his very presence. He seemed kinda groggy. It was like 9am PST but back east that’s 6am, so I could understand why he might not be all bright and shiny.

After all that I went back over to the infield to go to the Drivers Meeting. I decided I was going to take pictures of drivers but that devolved into just standing outside of the meeting room and not taking pictures. :) At that point it just seemed like I’d taken pictures before and what was the point?

Racing fans Shari & Steve on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)It was there that I met Shari and Steve (photographed at left), a couple from Phelan, California who were on the lookout for Tony Stewart. I let them know that Tony was in the driver’s meeting room already and that he had to come out on our side of the building (there are two exits) because his PR guy was standing nearby. They had a Home Depot jacket that they wanted to get Tony to sign, they’d gotten Greg Zipadelli to sign it the day before. As the drivers meeting let out they were able to get Tony’s autograph.

Shari & Steve were super nice people and I was totally glad I could help them out in a little way. It’s actually my favorite thing to do at a track, help people stalk their fave drivers. Ok, not “stalk” but get their autograph or a photo, especially kids. At Infineon this year there was a group of little boys who were waiting near the garage with their mother to get autographs. Security had moved them behind a fence but next to the bathrooms. I saw Kyle Busch sprint to the men’s room just behind them but the kids hadn’t noticed. So of course I took it upon myself to tell them Kyle was nearby and to be on the lookout when he left the bathroom. It’s fun to help people check something off their list, or finish a really cool story they’ll tell their friends later.

So if you see me at a track and you wanna know where so and so driver is I might be able to help you out!
:)

is tom cruise conducting research for another racing movie??

Tom Cruise on pit road before the start of the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Andrew Giangola)Why the heck has he been at so many races this year? It’s common knowledge that Tom Cruise starred in the 1990 film Days of Thunder which was set in the world of stock car racing. Tom and various members of his family have been seen at NASCAR races a lot this year. He was in Daytona for the 500, and I spied his son, Connor, tagging along with Rick Hendrick at the Auto Club 500. Since then Tom, his wife Katie Holmes & their daughter Suri were at Infineon, and now this past weekend at Richmond Tom, Connor and Tom’s mom, Mary, were on hand.

Maybe it’s just because he narrated the Hendrick Motorsports documentary Together: The Hendrick Motorsports Story, which airs on October 11 on ABC before the start of the Pepsi 500. Maybe this is some sort of subliminal promotion for the documentary since a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the DVD will benefit the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.

hendrick breaks up the band

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, started Monday's rescheduled 600-mile event at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 27th and finished 40th. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)Tony Eury Jr. is out as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief. Is there anyone out there that didn’t see that coming?

Now, I know the thing to do right now is to speculate on something that is entirely impossible to speculate on. Will this help Dale or will it hurt him? All I know is that I don’t think it could get worse. He’s not in the top 12 in points, and he’s only won one race in the past hundred or something races.

All we can do is shut up and watch what happens. This does put the focus totally on Dale because if a year goes by and nothing’s changed then people are really going to think he’s not so talented. That’s not a fun thing to think about. I personally don’t think that’ll happen. I know Dale is a talented driver and I know that he has it in him to be right up there with his Hendrick Motorsports teammates.

I wish the No. 88 team all of the best, and I can’t say that any more emphatically. I want them to do their absolute best, just like I want everyone to do their best (even Kyle Busch *cringe*). That’s what competition is all about. Everybody should be bringin’ it every single week.

It saddens me that it wasn’t better with Tony and Dale. They’re cousins, they’re family, and they’re close. That’s a super tough situation, something I don’t think people can really understand unless they’re in that same scenario themselves. Breaking up with your cousin can’t be fun or easy. I think loyalty matters to Dale and this decision has to weigh heavy on his heart. If it was easy, I think he would have initiated it himself a long, long time ago.

Oh there I go, speculating again. :)

on ditching j.j. yeley

J.J. Yeley (right) and crew chief Steve Boyer at Phoenix this year (photo credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)I don’t own a NASCAR race team so I don’t know exactly how they evaluate their race team’s performance, and how much weight they put on the driver versus everyone else in the team. But I think it’s lame that Hall of Fame Racing released J.J. Yeley in favor of Brad Coleman. I have nothing against Brad Coleman of course. I just think it’s icky to ditch a guy in the middle of the season. Did he really get a fair shot? I’ll never know of course. I feel the same way about Casey Mears leaving Hendrick. I liked him there and I like him as a driver, I think he’s got more wins in him.

You should know that I have a thing about people changing teams in sports in general. It takes me a while to get used to change and so for example when Barry Zito was traded to the San Francisco Giants (one of my least favorite teams) from the Oakland A’s (my favorite baseball team) it took me awhile to get over it. Okay, I’m still not totally over it but I’m better about it now than when he left.

I also feel for drivers who don’t have a ride set up, people that are left hanging in the balance. Scott Riggs was on NASCAR Now yesterday talking about what his plans for the future are, or at least what he hopes they are. He wants to be with a race team that he can grow with and he thought he had that at Haas CNC but with the addition of Tony Stewart’s ownership he has no idea if he’s still their driver. It just seems like such a tough spot to be in and I hate it for him. I’m not naive, I know that nothing is guaranteed in this world but security means a lot to me and so when I see someone else in a not-so-secure position I don’t like it. I hope that J.J., Casey and Scott all land somewhere that’s great for them and allows them to show their stuff and win.

In other news…

– Speaking of Tony Stewart, for the Michigan Nationwide Series race next week his No. 20 Old Spice Toyota will be sporting a special paint scheme in support of the Give Kids The World organization that sends children with life-threatening diseases (and their families) on week-long, completely free vacations. The paint scheme was designed by a former GKTW Wish kid 14-year-old Emily Marsala.
Give Kids The World Design Tony's Old Spice car contest winning entry by Emily Marsala

In celebration of this exciting new partnership, GKTW invites you to host a “View-A-Thon” in support of the Give Kids The World No. 20 car. Our goal is to raise $25,000 in honor of this thrilling race – $100 for every mile of the August 16th CARFAX 250 NASCAR Nationwide Race.

You can help us by making a donation at www.firstgiving.com/GKTWNascar and by encouraging your friends and family to also donate and then cheer on the car later this summer. Your assistance will help GKTW continue to serve special children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Donating through this site is simple, fast, and totally secure. To learn more about GKTW, the upcoming race and more, log on to www.gktw.org.

Tony Stewart with Give Kids The World Design Tony's Old Spice car contest winner Emily Marsala

Tony Stewart and Give Kids The World “Design Tony’s Old Spice car” contest winner Emily Marsala pose next to the No. 20 Old Spice Toyota (photo credit: Give Kids The World)

an offer he couldn’t refuse

Team owner Rick Hendrick and Mark Martin during a press conference at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. It was announced Friday that Martin will drive the No. 5 Chevrolets in 2009. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)Some of my thoughts on the latest NASCAR happenings and whatnot:

Mark Martin is going over to Hendrick Motorsports next year to take over Casey Mears’ old ride in the No. 5. Now, I like Mark Martin, I really do and I was sad when he wasn’t able to edge out Kevin Harvick for that Daytona 500 win last year. I can’t help but wonder when he’s really going to retire. I mean he was supposed to be gone by now, off spending more time with his family and specifically with his son Matt and his racing aspirations. Now he’s locked in for two more years, hoping to get that Championship that’s eluded him. At a certain point you have to hang it up and live with what you’ve made.

— NFL star Randy Moss bought half of a NASCAR truck team. I could give a flying fig about this piece of Randy Moss and David Dollar address the media Thursday to announce formation of Randy Moss Motorsports. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)news. For one, he’s only been to one NASCAR race in his entire life and it was this weekend at Daytona. So a man who has never been to a race buys a team? I don’t get it. I know that you can love the sport without attending a race in person but it doesn’t feel authentic enough to me, especially when you’re going to invest your hard earned money into it. I never really liked him as a football player, so that’s another reason this news is irrelevant to me. However, NASCAR is a tough business and I hope, if he’s really serious about it, that he’ll be successful.

– What is up with the media asking Kyle Busch every week how he feels about getting booed? Do we really expect his answer to change? They’ve also been asking all of the other drivers how they feel about it and really once they’ve answered that question the first time I really don’t need any follow-up. Even if you’re the most self-confident person in the world it would suck to get booed. It just would. That being said it’s not going to change the way you live your life or how much you want to win.
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, stands on the grid Friday during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
– The thing that frosts my cookies the most about the coverage of these races is when a commentator will say something like “but he’s so talented, people will see that” in defense of Kyle and as a reason for people to stop booing him. The problem with that is that people don’t boo people based on talent. They boo or cheer for them based on personality. Have you seen a commercial with Kyle in it lately? Exactly. Although I’m sure if he wins the Championship he’ll have them, but his likeability factor is loooooow.

– Just heard Boris Said say on today’s episode of NASCAR Now that he thinks Kyle Busch could break Jeff Gordon’s record of winning 13 races in one season, after all he’s already won 6 this year. Boris, what are you doing??? Don’t put that out there! Eww.

– I often wonder if Jeff Gordon gets tired of answering questions about how he feels about Dale Earnhardt Jr. I mean, after all Jeff has his own issues to worry about right now. To his credit though, Jeff answers those questions without exasperation or irritation. He definitely knows how to handle himself in front of the media. He could probably teach a class on it.


The helmet Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, wore during Saturday's race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He started in third place and finished eighth. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

This is just cool.

The helmet Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, wore during Saturday’s race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He started in third place and finished eighth. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

silly season rears its ugly head

No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevrolet, earned his first top-five finish at Infineon Raceway on Sunday. Mears started 23rd. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)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.

Good housekeeping…

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.

[unintentional] hendrick motorsports roundup of sorts

I have an idea for a great post and of course all I need to do is write it out but I’m not prepared for it right now. So for today I have some photos I missed and a new JR Nation announcement.

Back in February Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, spent some time out at the sand dunes in Southern California. When asked about his west coast hobbies Casey said “I love the sand dunes. I know I talk about it all the time, but really that’s where I want to be during any time off that we have. I got a new sand car last winter, and I’ve really been working on that. We take a motorcoach out there and just ride all day. There’s no one telling you where to go, or to stop here, or go here, or slow down, or whatever. There’s no road signs, no street lights. You really can do whatever you want. I guess I kind of recharge out there.”


(Photo Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

(Photo Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

(Photo Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

(Photo Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

(Photo Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet, spent Feb. 28 driving around California’s Dumont Dunes. Other than racing, this is it,” Mears said. “The sand dunes are such a huge part of my life.” (Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports).

In other news…

Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans have a new opportunity to show their love for the man at the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 27th:

As the season continues to heat up for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., his fans — known as JR Nation — now have something else to get excited about. For the first time ever, members of the JR Nation Crew, Dale Jr’s official fan club, will be able to tailgate, watch and cheer together when Earnhardt, Jr. competes in the #88 AMP/National Guard Hendrick Motorsports Chevy at Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron’s 499 on April 27th.

Photo Courtesy of Hendrick MotorsportsVIP race packages exclusively available to JR Nation Crew members include reserved parking in the JR Nation VIP tailgating area, a ticket for the Aaron’s 499 in the JR Nation seating section, a four pack of collectable AMP Energy drinks, a Talladega Superspeedway/AMP Energy lanyard and a $45 Visa gift card.

The JR Nation VIP tailgating area will feature giveaways, live music and a place for fans to come together and socialize. During the race JR Nation will have a great view of the action from the exclusive JR Nation seating section in turn four of the Gadsden Tower at Talladega.

“I’m thrilled to provide my fans with this unique experience,” said Dale Jr. from his home base in Mooresville, NC, “I always look forward to Talladega, and now I’ll be looking for my JR Nation Crew to cheer me on from their dedicated section in the stands!”

Ticket packages for Talladega are on sale now though April 4th. Quantities are limited and packages are exclusively available to members of the JR Nation Crew.

For $34.88 annually, members of the JR Nation Crew get full-access to JR Nation online including access to exclusive videos, photos, contests, members-only message boards and chats; 10% off merchandise at ShopJRNation.com, and an annual JR Nation Crew Kit. The 2008 Crew kit includes a package full of goods to identify the serious Dale Jr. fan – a welcome letter, vinyl banner, license plate frame, decal, zipper pull, two collapsible can coolers, soft-sided cooler and membership card all emblazoned with “JR Nation Crew.”

Visit www.jrnation.com for more information.

– Little Ella Gordon is adorable!


Photo courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, spends time with his daughter, Ella, before the start of the race in California. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports).

not another “hello newman” headline

Ryan Newman does a burnout to celebrate his Daytona 500 victory (Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)What can I say about the Daytona 500? I’m serious… What can I say about it? I’m stoked that Ryan Newman won, I’m pretty sure that no one was expecting that. I know everyone is saying that Hendrick Motorsports got off to a bad start for the year, which is kinda true but 1.) It’s one race and 2.) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 9th so that’s a win as far as I’m concerned. hehe.

I’m shocked that I’m about to say this, I really, truly am shocked, but Kurt Busch is kinda growing on me. I know! I can’t believe I just said that. I still don’t dig his little brother Kyle, but Kurt showed some real maturity on Sunday and I have to give him props for that. He could have tried to go after the glory for himself but he didn’t, he helped his teammate instead. I so totally respect that. This is freaking me out I have to stop talking about it.

In other news…

How great was it to have Fox back covering NASCAR? Getting to watch the race with Darrell Waltrip, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds is seriously like coming home. No, it’s like coming home with a Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte (with whip cream!) from Starbucks, lounging on the couch with a big blanket and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. It’s that good. :)

I’ve been reading the book “One Helluva Ride: How NASCAR Swept the Nation” by Washington Post writer Liz Clarke. I’m this close to finishing and I have to say that this was the perfect time to read it. The Daytona 500 brings up memories of the past, NASCAR’s beginning and it’s heroes. “One Helluva Ride” is the perfect companion. I wanted to get out of the house yesterday, so I took the book with me to Starbucks. Once I got to the parts about Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001 I was crying — I’m sure the people around me were like “What’s her deal??” At any rate, I hope to get the chance to speak with Liz and ask her some questions. More on that later.


Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images for NASCAR

Actress Amy Smart was a guest of Kyle Busch, who ran the second Gatorade Duel 150 race at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

Teammates Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch chat prior to the 50th running of the Daytona 500 (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR

Carl Edwards scans other drivers on his radio during Gatorade Duel practice. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)

this ending is just the beginning

Jimmie Johnson raises the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship trophy for the second consecutive season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)The 2007 Cup season is finally over. Jimmie Johnson is the Championship winner for the second year in a row and I’m just OK about it. Obviously it’s a great thing for him and his team. Hendrick Motorsports had a wonderful year. Three out of four of their drivers made it into the Chase and two of those drivers finished first and second. So instead of being so incredibly excited for Jimmie I’m happy for Rick Hendrick. He’s built an organization that is a force to be reckoned with, there’s no way around that.

Like all of the drivers I’m looking forward to next year. I became numb to the cruel hand fate had dealt to Dale Earnhardt Jr. over the end of this season many weeks ago. I can’t even talk about what happened at Homestead. There’s so much possibility awaiting him at Hendrick next year it’s pointless to waste time being frustrated with his last races with DEI.

2008 is going to be something. The thing that I’m the most excited about seeing is how the teams that are switching to Toyota next year handle the transition. I have a feeling that Tony Stewart is going to have some choice words if things don’t go so well.

Of course next year I want to be there in person to see it all go down. I ask you, what could be more fun than that? Yea, not much.


homestead_mkensethrreiser.jpg

Matt Kenseth and crew chief Robbie Reiser celebrate the end of their eight-year partnership with a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)

homestead_lowesteam.jpg

Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 pit crew adjust his car during the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)

homestead_jgordon.jpg

Jeff Gordon takes a break during practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)

homestead_cedwardsroush.jpg

Car owner Jack Roush and Carl Edwards hoist the NASCAR Busch Series driver’s championship trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

homestead_rruddkbusch.jpg

Ricky Rudd races Kurt Busch in Rudd’s 906th and final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)

my fantasy nascar broadcast team

I have never been this frustrated with caution flags. Martinsville was un-real. I hated the way it ended. I was really hoping that Ryan Newman would be able to pass up Jimmie Johnson, but again a win for him was thwarted by the Hendrick powerhouse and those friggin’ cautions. Jimmie Johnson celebrates after winning at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

I could say how disappointed I was to know that engine problems are what screwed Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the millionth time, but really what’s the point? I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to the end of a NASCAR season as much as I have this one. I just want to get to Daytona (in person!) and see Dale in his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy and let the winning begin! I’m so done with this season it’s crazy. I say that but at the same time I hold out the hope that he’ll still win a race before this year is over.

Is it just me or did they make the pre-race show shorter?? I’m not sure ’cause I only caught the last 10 minutes, which — thankfully — only consisted of the national anthem and the call to start the engines.

I was excited to read that Rusty Wallace was getting the axe but apparently it’s not actually going to happen. I started thinking about my fantasy race coverage crew. It goes like this, Allen Bestwick and Wally Dallenbach would do the pre-race stuff. The pre-race show would feature actual semi-in-depth interviews that were taped during the week before the race. Ya know kinda like how they do with the NFL. Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Mike Joy would call the race (as they do now on FOX) and the pit reporters would be Dave Burns, Steve Byrnes, Dick Berggren and Matt Yocum. Ah, if only! What do you think? Good? No good?


Mike Skinner, driver of the #5 Toyota Tundra Toyota, kisses his wife, Angela after winning the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 20, 2007 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Mike Skinner, driver of the #5 Toyota Tundra Toyota, kisses his wife, Angela after winning the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 20, 2007 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clint Bowyer, driver of the #07 Jack Daniel

Clint Bowyer, driver of the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet, watches during qualifying for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 19, 2007 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Clint Bowyer, driver of the #07 Jack Daniel

Clint Bowyer, driver of the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet, drives in the garage area, during practice for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 19, 2007 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin is all smiles during qualifying for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin is all smiles during qualifying for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, walks in the garage area, during practice for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 19, 2007 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, walks in the garage area, during practice for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 19, 2007 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

back in the saddle, please not again!

I know that this is incredibly late to be writing about now, but I still wanted to share my thoughts on Clint Bowyer’s win at New Hampshire last weekend. I was so excited to see him win, finally! He and his team totally deserved it.

I guess the only thing that kinda made it subdued was that he didn’t get to drive into victory lane since his car clunked out after all his burnouts. But whatever, that’s minor — overall it was great to see him win, just awesome. I like that guy. And I liked the fact that it shook up the Chase points standings. I don’t think people were expecting that from him, so it’s a good thing. I hate it when everything is predictable.

In other news…

Kasey Kahne will be the new face of Budweiser next year and I’m not sure what I think about that. When I think of Kasey I think of a doll. He’s got a total baby face; he doesn’t exactly project rough and tough masculinity. And he’s not classy & cool like George Clooney who does the voice-overs on some of the Budweiser commercials. So I don’t know, I look forward to a commercial with the Allstate girls getting drunk at a bar and then accosting Kasey with Buds in their hands. hehe.

– At the 7-Eleven down the street from my apartment there’s a Budweiser display that has a cardboard cutout of Dale Earnhardt Jr. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that I should go in there and see if I can get it when the promotion ends, but I never do. I think that might be a bit much. But apparently Allstate has a set of commercials dedicated to fans who love Kasey Kahne so much that they play ping-pong with their own cardboard Kasey, or eat dinner with their cardboard Kasey. Scarrrry.

– I am a fan of Aerosmith, but I am so tired of seeing that damn video of them singing “Back in the Saddle” before every race. I seriously change the channel when it comes on ’cause I can’t take it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I loooove Aerosmith — Joe Perry is one of the hottest guitarists ever — but they gotta change that song. ugh.

Speaking of Aerosmith, here are some photos from last weekend (and last week):


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Steven Tyler said that Clint Bowyer would win at New Hampshire and he did.
Aerosmith lead singer, Steven Tyler, rides around the media center at New Hampshire International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Robert Meggers/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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Clint Bowyer celebrates with his team after winning at New Hampshire International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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I’m happy that he’s happy.
Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas that he will pilot the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolets in 2008. (Hendrick Motorsports/Autostock)

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Don’t mess with Jeff Gordon.
Jeff Gordon takes a break during testing at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

dale jr.’s new ride revealed

Today’s big motor sports news is that Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced that his sponsors for next year will be the National Guard and two of Pepsi’s brands — AMP Energy and Mountain Dew. His new car number will be 88. So this was the most anticlimactic announcement ever. I’m just glad it’s all over and now they can just focus on racing and winning. That’s all the really matters in the end. I will say this though; the new car’s paint scheme is beautiful.


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Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolets were photographed for the first time at Texas Motor Speedway on Tuesday. It was announced Wed. in Dallas that he will pilot the cars for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. HMS/Autostock

Yesterday Dale Jr. unveiled his candy bar. Yea, the Big Mo’ is coming to stores near you in January. I’m curious about what it tastes like. It’s got milk chocolate, peanut butter and caramel. Anywhoo… the cool thing about this is that there’s a sweepstakes you can enter for a chance to hang out with Dale Jr. and his crew:

To coincide the announcement of the Big Mo’bar, R.M. Palmer Company is launching the “Big Mo’ment with Dale Jr.” sweepstakes. Thousands of winners will be awarded great prizes, but the grand prize winner will be treated to his or her Big Mo’ment, which will include lunch with Dale and his JR Motorsports race team, a limousine tour of area race shops, suite tickets to a VIP weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and $250 spending money. Fans will be able to enter the sweepstakes by visiting www.BigMo-ment.com and typing in the entry code on the inside wrapper of the Big Mo’ bar.

“This is a great idea by the folks at R.M. Palmer to really spike the interest in the Big Mo’ bar, and give fans a chance to win great prizes,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “The grand prize winner will be treated like royalty. It will be more than a big moment. It will be a big weekend they’ll never forget.”

50 cent and cousin carl get sirius

After yesterday’s technical difficulties all is back to normal in Fast & Fabulous land. I’ll soon be moving this site and my others to a new host in the hopes of avoiding yesterdays service interruption. Yay.

Anyway, on to the news. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports will be revealing the last pieces of the puzzle next week when they announce who the major sponsors of Dale’s car will be and the number that will be on said car. Rumor has it that will be a combination of the energy drink Amp and the National Guard. I guess the National Guard seems likely since they’re the ones that currently co-sponsor the #25 that next year will turn into whatever number Hendrick has been able to get it’s hands on. I’m hoping they grabbed the 88, that’d make the most sense, and for those numbskulls out there that got the #8 tattooed on their bodies it would be easy (in theory) to add another 8.

I love Ashley Judd, I love her whole family (one of my first concerts was in fact a Judds show). The woman is just plain cool. If Dario Franchitti does in fact make the switch from IndyCar to NASCAR I’m all for it if it means we get to see Ashley. She’s so fun; it’ll be great to get her perspective and opinions on the competition. She gives her opinion on things whether or not it’s been asked for and I totally dig that, like last weekend when she called out the No. 23 team of Milka Duno for being so slow on the track, which in Ashley’s words was putting other drivers in danger. She wasn’t way off base, the announcers basically agreed with her, without actually saying so though.

Oh and while I’m on the subject of IndyCar, there’s one driver that I won’t be so excited to see in NASCAR and that’s Sam Hornish Jr. He is so friggin’ boring. I feel like taking a nap every time I hear him speak. He seems so lethargic and devoid of any personality. He never seems that excited about anything. He could just be a quiet, low key person, which I totally get ’cause I’m like that, but still show me something!

In other news…

– In an effort to not be outdone by Tiger Woods, Jeff Gordon has posted a gallery of photos of his daughter Ella.

David Stremme has been dubbed “Mayor of the Infield.” But just when he gets props for being loved by fans he’s supposedly losing his ride. How screwed is that? Apparently it’s so screwed that even Juan Pablo Montoya is sad about it… although I doubt he’ll cry.

Fun Friday photo — worlds are colliding!:


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Carl Edwards meets music artist 50 Cent while at Sirius Radio for Chase Media Day. (Photo Credit: Sirius Radio)

past in present

So here’s more thoughts & things from the Pepsi 400 at Daytona last weekend, and some stuff leading up to Chicago this weekend.

– This exchange between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his crew chief (and cousin) Tony Eury Jr. is just funny, so I felt like sharing:
Running 26 laps behind the leaders, the team needed one more stop for fuel to make it to the finish. The yellow flag flew on lap 116.
Eury Jr.: “Pit the second time by. We’ll just take fuel and we’ll be good the rest of the way.”
Dale Jr: “You ain’t gonna give me tires?”
Eury Jr: “You only have four laps on those.”
Dale Jr: “Well, if you like this set so much, you can take them home with you. I need tires. This place is like Darlington now.”
Eury Jr: “Alright, we’ll pit for four tires, second time by.”

As for Chicago, I think Junior is right:

“I’m beginning to think I should just not slow down when I see a crash in front of me. I hope that theme doesn’t continue. We’ve been taken out of two chances to win a race this season by getting hit from behind while trying to avoid a wreck (at Texas in April and last Saturday evening in Daytona). I keep saying that we’re due to have the breaks start going our way, and when they do, we’re going to enjoy it.”

– Are you like me and a need a new laptop? Well here’s the perfect contest for you to enter. You can win Carl Edwards‘ laptop. An autographed Toshiba Notebook. Go to www.officedepotracing.com for details.

– Another note about Jamie McMurray’s win last week at Daytona. After the race, while Jamie’s crew chief Larry Carter was being interviewed he looked as if nothing happened. The look on his face was priceless, he did not look or sound like a man that had just won a Cup race. In fact he looked like he had lost the thing. All of that changed, a little, once he was in victory lane with Jamie and the rest of the team. He finally cracked a smile! I counted at least 2 or 3. Maybe he just needed to be there in the winner’s circle before he could relax and enjoy it.

– After this weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway drivers Reed Sorenson, David Stremme and Juan Pablo Montoya will attend a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The game on Monday, July 16th is against the San Francisco Giants. Sorenson is supposed to throw out the first pitch (don’t mess it up Reed, you’ll never live it down) and then go sing “Take me out to the ball game” with Stremme and Montoya during the seventh inning stretch. Uhm… Interesting. If you can’t make it to the game in person it’ll be broadcast on ESPN.

– Try on this quote from Kyle Busch’s crew chief Alan Gustafson:

“There’s been a lot of speculation about the equipment we’re getting and what Kyle is getting. I’d like to set the record straight that there is no discrimination as to who gets what at Hendrick Motorsports. It’s the same as it’s always been. We finished second last week — I’d say we were the best car out there. We are here to make the Chase and win a championship. That goal won’t change regardless what the 2008 plans are. I expect the Kellogg’s/CARQUEST team to win this weekend. We’re right on the brink, like we were last year at this time. We have a lot of momentum and I think Chicago is as good a place as any for another win.”

Uhm… Where did this come from? I’m just thinking out loud here, but has he talked to Kyle about this? ‘Cause I think he’s probably the one that started all of the speculation.

qualifying washout? but it was so promising

Holy qualifying Batman! What is going on?? I’ve been watching the FoxSports.com live qualifying scoreboard and I’m just flabbergasted at how things are shaking out.

First off, you’ve got Boris Said sitting on the pole (at least right now, about 3:59 PST with 14 cars yet to go), with Dave Blaney, Jeremy Mayfield, Kenny Wallace, and Michael Waltrip rounding out the top 5. Are you serious?? This is totally not the top five I was expecting to see at the front of the Pepsi 400 this Saturday.

But I hope it holds up… Meanwhile, Jeff Gordon is somewhere near the bottom, the worst of the Hendrick bunch.

Here’s the thing, there is now rain on the track and the FoxSports.com qualifying blog is saying that it’s no an official qualifying event until all 53 cars qualify. The start of the Busch race will determine when qualifying ends.

Uh-oh… if they don’t get this qualifying in then they’ll go to the points standings to determine the race order, which would be a huge travesty. Stupid rain! Gordon would win again, figuratively speaking of course.