All posts tagged Jeff Gordon

197 Posts
chicago_tstewart_featured

the case of the unpredictable ‘chase’

Ryan Newman (left), driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army Medicine Chevrolet, congratulates Tony Stewart (right) in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)Tony Stewart claimed the first win in The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup yesterday. I have to say that was a pretty satisfying race. I’m not going to lie I watched it from home and kind of dozed off halfway through it but the ending was great. I, mean, hello, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 4th. How can you not love that? Now the points standings are all jumbled up and it makes going to New Hampshire this week all the more thrilling. I feel like I’ve mentioned this a ton already (on Twitter for sure) but I’ll be at New Hampshire this week, I leave on Thursday, and I’m beyond excited. It’s so early on in The Chase and the Championship is still up on the air, I can’t wait to get there and see what happens next. Although, I’ve been checking the weather forecast and there’s supposed to be rain on Saturday but not on Sunday. So let’s hope it stays that way.

During the rain delay coverage on Sunday I left the house to do something and I was listening to Claire B. Lang on SiriusXM’s NASCAR channel. She mentioned how people had been asking her what was going to happen in The Chase, who was going to win, etc. I wondered why people do that? Like, what’s the point? Have you ever watched the Super Bowl and thought “I’m SO glad I knew that the Packers were going to win because Terry Bradshaw said so.” No one EVER thinks that. (I have no idea what Terry Bradshaw’s actual prediction was, it’s just an example) So why should I say that I think this person or that person is going to win? I’m not psychic and I don’t want to be. I like not knowing and watching it unfold. Of course there are people that I’d rather see win than other people but that’s a given. :) Maybe it’s just because I don’t like counting people out because people constantly count me out and I don’t like that.

In other news…

Regarding the Camping World Truck Series race:

– How do you feel about Austin Dillon’s new celebration practice of sliding on the infield grass? I’m not really a fan because it doesn’t look that fun. It looks like it kind of hurts.

– Actor/singer Tyrese Gibson’s performance of the National Anthem was WONDERFUL. It was subdued but totally on point. The fact that I’m mentioning it at all is saying something. :)

Regarding the Nationwide Series race:

– Uh, I got nothin’

Regarding the Sprint Cup Series race:

– I feel bad that the Geico Caveman had to wear all that makeup and stuff for a SECOND day just to give the command to start engines.

– Loved the exchange over the radio between Carl Edwards and his crew chief, Bob Osborne, when Carl said that the sun was coming out and Bob sang back to Carl “Here comes the sun!! bababa!” So funny.

(Left to right) Actor Tyrese Gibson, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya and actress Jordana Brewster pose for a photograph in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 16 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)

(Left to right) Actor Tyrese Gibson, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya and actress Jordana Brewster pose for a photograph in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 16 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)

Austin Dillon, driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Fast Five 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 16 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Austin Dillon, driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Fast Five 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 16 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 17 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 17 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The GEICO Caveman, who will serve as Grand Marshal, walks out on the grid as rain falls prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)

The GEICO Caveman, who will serve as Grand Marshal, walks out on the grid as rain falls prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)

Former NFL player Gale Sayers (center) signs autographs for fans prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 in Joliet, Ill. Sayers NFL career records include most touchdowns in a rookie season (22 in 1965), most touchdowns in a game (6, tied with Nevers and Jones), and highest career kickoff return average (30.56). (Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Former NFL player Gale Sayers (center) signs autographs for fans prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 in Joliet, Ill. Sayers NFL career records include most touchdowns in a rookie season (22 in 1965), most touchdowns in a game (6, tied with Nevers and Jones), and highest career kickoff return average (30.56). (Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Singer Darius Rucker performs on stage prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Singer Darius Rucker performs on stage prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 18 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)

American rock band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus perform the National Anthem prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 19 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

American rock band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus perform the National Anthem prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 19 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon (left) and Jimmie Johnson (right) look after Genevieve Marie, Johnson's daughter, on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept 19 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)

Jeff Gordon (left) and Jimmie Johnson (right) look after Genevieve Marie, Johnson's daughter, on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept 19 in Joliet, Ill. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)

richmond_featured_chase

‘the chase’ field has been set, might need a referee

Kurt Busch and Jimmie JohnsonAnd I’m not talking about on the track either. They might need to post security in the media centers for the next 10 races. A lot of interesting things happened Saturday night at the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway post-race press conference. Sounded like a good time full of ripped up paper, tension, verbal jabs that made no sense and the comedic talents of Matt Kenseth.

I guess Snookie has that kind of effect on people.

Anyway… The only thing I can/want to say about the media and it’s questions that always sound the same is to quote one of my favorite movies from the 80s, “Heartburn,” starring my one of the greatest actresses of all time Meryl Streep (I love her!) and Jack Nicholson (He’s great too!). The movie is about a couple who get married, have a baby and then the husband cheats and the wife loses all trust she had for the husband but tries to carry on in the relationship. During that portion of the movie Jack’s character says to Meryl’s character “You can’t take it’s temperature every five minutes.” He was referring to their relationship, us ladies always want to know where we stand in our relationships especially if things don’t feel “right.” (If you’ve ever had to ask a guy “where is this going??” it’s probably not going anywhere good) Anyway… I love that line and I think that it applies to the media when they keep asking drivers how they feel about making The Chase, being in The Chase, still being in The Chase, why are you in The Chase, what does it feel like to be in The Chase… it NEVER ends. They do the same thing with other storylines, whatever it is they will ask the same question in various formats every week until there is a resolution. But I say, you can’t take it’s temperature every five minutes, dude! Nothing’s changed and when it does change, ask a question then. :)

Moving on… Congratulations to Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team! It had to have felt great considering the announcement he and his wife DeLana made earlier in the week about shuttering the racing side of Kevin Harvick Inc.

Richmond was a great, caution-filled race and I can only hope that we get more awesome action like that in the next 10 races. I love this time of year right before the first race in The Chase when everything feels possible. I hope we get to hold on to that feeling for more than two races. :)

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 7 GoDaddy.com/GetYour.net Chevrolet, stands with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 9 in Richmond, Va. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 7 GoDaddy.com/GetYour.net Chevrolet, stands with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 9 in Richmond, Va. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

From laps 9-11, fans honor the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, staying silent for three circuits and waving American flags on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

From laps 9-11, fans honor the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, staying silent for three circuits and waving American flags on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Members of the U.S. military hold the American flag during the prerace ceremony for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Members of the U.S. military hold the American flag during the prerace ceremony for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. jokes with his No. 88 crew about the state of his Chevrolet Impala after clinching the 10th spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. jokes with his No. 88 crew about the state of his Chevrolet Impala after clinching the 10th spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick celebrates after leading 202 laps on his way to Richmond International Raceway's Victory Lane on Saturday. (Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick celebrates after leading 202 laps on his way to Richmond International Raceway's Victory Lane on Saturday. (Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Back row L-R) Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon (front row L-R) Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin pose after clinching spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday. (Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

(Back row L-R) Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon (front row L-R) Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin pose after clinching spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday. (Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field celebrates after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. (Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field celebrates after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. (Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after the race weekend at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. (Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after the race weekend at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. (Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

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jeff gordon won but he missed ella’s first day at school, you guys!

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)So Jeff Gordon won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is totally great but he missed his daughter Ella’s first day at school. For some reason, for me, that overshadowed everything else he said in Victory Lane on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, winning the race is HUGE and it looks like he’s in a great position to contend for the Championship this year–which I love–but when you think about it from a personal/family perspective a part of me goes “Awww, he didn’t get to take her to school.” He probably would have had the race happened on Sunday when it was supposed to.

Anyway, congrats to the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger team! It was great to see the car that was CLEARLY fast all day win the race in the end.

There are things that I want to say about this next race at Richmond–the last race to determine the 12 drivers in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup–but I’m not going to because I’m afraid I’ll mess it up. I can’t even say/type/think the “J” word because I’m afraid just saying it will have some effect. Just know that there are certain drivers that need to keep themselves and their teams together to keep things good.

:)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick signs an autograph for a young fan at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 2 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: By Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick signs an autograph for a young fan at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 2 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: By Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole banner after setting the pole position of 186.196 mph (29.775 secs.) in qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 3 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole banner after setting the pole position of 186.196 mph (29.775 secs.) in qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 3 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ron Hornaday, driver of the No. 33 Armour/Ingles Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Good Sam Club 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 2 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Ron Hornaday, driver of the No. 33 Armour/Ingles Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Good Sam Club 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 2 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Brian Scott, driver of the No. 11 Boise State Broncos Toyota, looks on prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 3 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Brian Scott, driver of the No. 11 Boise State Broncos Toyota, looks on prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 3 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Fastenal Ford, celebrates in the grandstand with the fans after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 3 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Brian Cleary/Getty Images)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Fastenal Ford, celebrates in the grandstand with the fans after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 3 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Brian Cleary/Getty Images)

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, walks with his girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, and her son, Houston, during driver introductions prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 4 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, walks with his girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, and her son, Houston, during driver introductions prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 4 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

The American flag is displayed by U.S. service members during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 4 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The American flag is displayed by U.S. service members during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 4 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR President Mike Helton presents a plaque to Jeff Gordon commemorating his 85th win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 6 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR President Mike Helton presents a plaque to Jeff Gordon commemorating his 85th win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 6 in Hampton, Ga. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

bristol_keselowski_featured

bad brad breaks through at bristol

I don’t even know if people call Brad Keselowski “Bad Brad” but I needed “B” words and it sounded about right, so there ya go.

How did you feel about his reaction to winning the Bristol night race? I thought it was great. Except for the jumping off the car part, because his ankle is still HURT. I don’t know why I have such a complex about him not using crutches or sitting down when he doesn’t need to stand. It’s CLEARLY working alright for him. I wasn’t expecting him to be such a big winner this year. It’s pretty amazing stuff and this is just his second year in Cup.

If you follow me on Twitter then you already know the fabulous news that I’ll be going to at least TWO more races this year FOR SURE. It’s all thanks to Sylvania and Hunt Brothers Pizza. Sylvania is the title sponsor of the New Hampshire Cup Series race in September (the second race in The Chase for the Sprint Cup) and they’ve got some fun activities planned around that weekend that I will be attending & covering. Can’t wait to write about it all. I’ll also be at Kansas, where I will be hanging with the Hunt Bros. Pizza group for the Nationwide Series race. Be on the lookout for a great interview to come out of that!

On a very personal note… It’s my birthday tomorrow. I turn the big 3-1 and the greatest birthday present you could ever give me, besides just being yourself and reading this blog (which I totally appreciate), would be to donate to My NASCAR Year 2012 project (or get your company to do it!). Read all about it and donate here. You can give anonymously or not, it’s up to you. :) Even $5 helps me get to my goal of $125,000!

With no permanent garages, crew members work on their cars on pit road at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

With no permanent garages, crew members work on their cars on pit road at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick celebrates completing the hat trick of national series wins on Wednesday in Bristol Motor Speedway's Victory Lane, adding a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series trophy to his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series wins. (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick celebrates completing the hat trick of national series wins on Wednesday in Bristol Motor Speedway's Victory Lane, adding a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series trophy to his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series wins. (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and wife Ingrid Vandebosch enjoy the prerace ceremony before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and wife Ingrid Vandebosch enjoy the prerace ceremony before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The No. 2 Penske Racing crew celebrates its third win of the season as Brad Keselowski crosses the finish line first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The No. 2 Penske Racing crew celebrates its third win of the season as Brad Keselowski crosses the finish line first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

daytona_july_featured

david ragan isn’t going to cry for you

David Ragan, driver of the #6 UPS Ford, poses with the trophy and his girlfriend, Jacquelyn Butler, after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke ZERO 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)Congratulations to David Ragan and the No. 6 UPS team on winning the COKE ZERO 400 at Daytona! It’s been a long time coming! And if there was ever a driver that NEEDED to win right now it was David Ragan. I loved his post-race interview where the TNT reporter (can’t remember who it was, Matt Yocum?) tried EVERYTHING to try and get some sort emotional reaction from David and nothing happened. It was kind of anti-climactic. We love an emotional winner, and you’d think a first-timer would have brought something to the party.

Oh welly, David doesn’t need to cry for me to know that it means a lot. I’m happy for the guy.

Must talk about the sight of Andy Lally driving all by his lonesome during the race. Having a “partner” is the only way you’re going to do anything at Daytona these days and Andy didn’t have anybody for a while there. It brought me right back to junior high school P.E. class and dreading having to be picked for someone’s team (for some dumb activity that all the boys always took WAY too seriously). Ugh, it made me sad for him. I understand why guys didn’t want to work with him because they didn’t know what he was capable of, but still it was hard to watch. It’s the nature of the beast, though.

The innovative 3D turf logo on the grass apron inside Turn 4 at Daytona International Speedway makes its debut at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola. (Credit: ISC Images and Archives)

The innovative 3D turf logo on the grass apron inside Turn 4 at Daytona International Speedway makes its debut at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola. (Credit: ISC Images and Archives)

Clint Bowyer and Elliott Sadler talk shop before NASCAR Nationwide Series practice on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. (Credit: Geoff Burke, Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clint Bowyer and Elliott Sadler talk shop before NASCAR Nationwide Series practice on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. (Credit: Geoff Burke, Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart (C), driver of the #14 Burger King Chevrolet, signs an autograph in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series COKE ZERO 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on June 30, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart (C), driver of the #14 Burger King Chevrolet, signs an autograph in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series COKE ZERO 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on June 30, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Busch laughs in the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage as he prepared to turn practice laps Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. (Credit: Geoff Burke, Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Busch laughs in the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage as he prepared to turn practice laps Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. (Credit: Geoff Burke, Getty Images for NASCAR)

Joey Logano, driver of the #20 Sport Clips Toyota, celebrates with his girlfriend, Sabrina Simpson, after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 1, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Joey Logano, driver of the #20 Sport Clips Toyota, celebrates with his girlfriend, Sabrina Simpson, after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 1, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Jeff Gordon (R), driver of the #24 Pepsi MAX Chevrolet, signs an autograph for a fan in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series COKE ZERO 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on June 30, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon (R), driver of the #24 Pepsi MAX Chevrolet, signs an autograph for a fan in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series COKE ZERO 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on June 30, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Country Music Superstar Martina McBride performs for fans prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke ZERO 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Country Music Superstar Martina McBride performs for fans prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke ZERO 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Summer Salute Chevrolet, holds his daughter Genevieve Marie on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke ZERO 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Summer Salute Chevrolet, holds his daughter Genevieve Marie on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke ZERO 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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infineon photo extra: kurt busch’s victory kiss, tony stewart’s legs

So, I totally forgot to include these photos in my regular weekend write-ups. Luckily they work all by themselves.

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sunday at infineon: was ron malec laughing at me??

I woke up at 5am in order to get to Infineon Raceway by 7am (with a quick stop at Starbucks along the way) at the latest. I wanted to make sure I got a ride around the track in the pace car with NASCAR’s Brett Bodine. You think because you’re going in the pace car it wouldn’t be intense, but you’re WRONG. I sat in the back seat and proceeded to be bounced around the my seat and fellow passenger next to me.

michigan_featured_denny

denny hamlin is a winner in michigan

Kurt Busch, driver of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, stands with Patricia Driscoll prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 19, 2011 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR) The most interesting things (to me, at least) that happened as a part of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway had nothing to do with the action on the race track.

Yes, it was awesome that Denny Hamlin finally got his 1st win of the season. I was really happy for him and his team. And did you see Denny’s tweet this morning? He’s moving into a new house. Congrats on that too, Denny! :)

Okay, so for the interesting things. I spied Kurt Busch with his “lady friend” again (see photo at left). I hope she comes out to Infineon, I would love to see what’s going on with that whole deal in person.

Did you see during the pre-show when little Ella Gordon (who turned 4-years-old today) was smacking her dad, Jeff Gordon, on the butt?? Now that was some funny stuff.

Post-race 21-year-old Landon Cassill tweeted that he was celebrating his first Father’s Day. I had no idea he had a baby, but he does — a daughter with Miranda Smith. Congrats!

In other news…

– An update on My NASCAR Year 2012. Last week I received an insanely cool donation of $5,000! So now I’m at $5,205 and I still need your help to get to $125,000 that I need to make this thing happen. You can donate any amount, publicly or anonymously — even $5 helps get to the goal! :) DONATE

Trevor Bayne gets behind the wheel of his NASCAR Nationwide Series car during practice at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. Bayne returns to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this week for the first time in nearly two months. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Trevor Bayne gets behind the wheel of his NASCAR Nationwide Series car during practice at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. Bayne returns to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this week for the first time in nearly two months. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick signs autographs for fans as he walks through the garage with them on Friday at Michigan International Speedway. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick signs autographs for fans as he walks through the garage with them on Friday at Michigan International Speedway. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards climbs into the Michigan International Speedway grandstands to celebrate his Alliance Truck Parts 250 victory with the fans. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Carl Edwards climbs into the Michigan International Speedway grandstands to celebrate his Alliance Truck Parts 250 victory with the fans. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The No. 99 pit crew of Carl Edwards huddles before the start of the Heluva Good Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The No. 99 pit crew of Carl Edwards huddles before the start of the Heluva Good Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

talladega_featured

talladega and my fantasy top-12

Jimmie Johnson wins the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)There was a point during the last 30 laps of the Aaron’s 499 where I told myself to just let go of whatever outcome I was hoping to see and just let it happen. Is it funny or sad that I get so wrapped up in these races that I need to tell myself something like that? I have absolutely nothing at stake but I still get so caught up in wanting a certain person, or persons, to win that I’ll stress myself out over it.

Anyway, I couldn’t believe Jimmie Johnson pulled off that win; I was sure it was going to go to one of the Richard Childress Racing guys. Clint Bowyer had been running up front all day and Kevin Harvick has been, well, winning.

When I saw Jimmie trying to give the checkered flag to Dale Earnhardt Jr. I knew Dale wasn’t going to want it. It was a really classy move by Jimmie, I must say. As much as I would have been ridiculously thrilled for Dale Jr. to have come away with the win I’m still insanely excited that he’s 3rd in points right now. That’s just fantastic. O! And another fantastic thing: Huge congrats to David Gilliland and the No. 34 Taco Bell Ford team for walking away with a 9th place finish!

Every week when the latest points standings are published I read through them and then create my own “fantasy” top-12, it’s the list of drivers that I think would make for a super entertaining Champion’s Week. So it’s not a “Who do you think WILL make The Chase?” list, it’s a “Who do you WANT to see in the Chase because you know they’ll be superfun to interview during Champion’s Week?” It’s really early to be thinking about Champion’s Week but I can’t help it, it’s my favorite time of the year. :)

My current list is as follows (in no particular order):

1.) Tony Stewart – He has to host his annual “Stewie Awards” from Vegas, it wouldn’t be the same with him.

2.) Clint Bowyer – He needs his own talk show to host during Champion’s Week. I’m just sayin’.

3.) Kasey Kahne – He’s adorable

4.) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – People will lose their minds

5.) Kevin Harvick – Another guy with personality

6.) Denny Hamlin – Denny adds a layer of honesty and he likes to instigate drama (or at least he did at last year’s After the Lap event)

7.) Brian Vickers – Because he had some good stories to tell about Jimmie Johnson, and I’m sure there has to be more right??

8.) Jimmie Johnson – I’m including Jimmie because he’s a good sport, not because I want him to win a 6th straight championship. :)

9.) Brad Keselowski – I think he’d have a ridiculously good time to Vegas and would be very entertaining at the various events.

10.) Jeff Gordon – Jeff has that honesty vibe too, and he’s also very chatty. Chatty & honest are two ingredients for good times.

11) AJ Allmendinger – He’s someone that can definitely bring a lot of comedy relief.

12) Kyle Busch – Another honest guy with a personality that lends itself perfectly to the Champion’s Week festivities. Plus he’s the hometown guy.

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne talk in the garage during practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne talk in the garage during practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Alan Gustafson at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. (Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Alan Gustafson at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. (Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

Elliott Sadler celebrates winning his seventh career NASCAR Nationwide Series Coors Light Pole Award with a 179.558 mph lap on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. (Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Elliott Sadler celebrates winning his seventh career NASCAR Nationwide Series Coors Light Pole Award with a 179.558 mph lap on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. (Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Michael Waltrip will start 12th on Sunday in the No.15 Aaron's/Auburn National Champions Toyota at Talladega Superspeedway (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Michael Waltrip will start 12th on Sunday in the No.15 Aaron's/Auburn National Champions Toyota at Talladega Superspeedway (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

2011 Hall of Fame Inductee Bobby Allison on pit road with Brad Keselowski before the start of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

2011 Hall of Fame Inductee Bobby Allison on pit road with Brad Keselowski before the start of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Fans watch Jimmie Johnson cross the finish line .002 seconds ahead of Clint Boywer at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson's win ties the record for closest finish in NASCAR history. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Fans watch Jimmie Johnson cross the finish line .002 seconds ahead of Clint Boywer at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson's win ties the record for closest finish in NASCAR history. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Crew chief Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrate in Victory Lane at Talladega.

Crew chief Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrate in Victory Lane at Talladega. (Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

texas_featured

kenseth messes with texas, wins

I feel so incredibly late with this post, and I apologize for that. There’s something about Sunday that makes me really not want to do anything that I “should” do. :)

And to make matters worse I didn’t even write anything about the race at Martinsville. Ya know, the one where Dale Earnhardt Jr. made me mental. When he took the lead I muted the television and began yelling my TV screen. Of course it didn’t work because Kevin Harvick had to be all good and everything and win the race. Despite not making my life and winning that race I’m so incredibly PROUD of Mr. Dale Jr. because he’s in the Top 12 in points, which is just awesome all by itself. One last thing about Martinsville, Harvick shouldn’t have said anything about “being the bad guy.” He did what he was supposed to do–anything and everything he could to win that race. He’s not supposed to worry about the feelings of JR Nation. Just race, that’s all we ask.

Soo, on to this past weekend at Texas. Congratulations to Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Crown Royal Black team! That was a great win and I’m always stoked for someone to win a race when it’s been a REEEEEALLLLLLY long time since they last had one.

Here’s one housekeeping note: I recently launched The Fast and the Fabulous mobile application. Now you can receive alerts and stuff on your cell phone, if it uses the Android operating system. Look for it in the Android Market on your cell phone. Just search for “The Fast and the Fabulous” or “NASCAR.” There’s a solution coming soon for iPhones so stay tuned for that.

:)

Josh Aron stands by the No. 11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota, in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Josh Aron stands by the No. 11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota, in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Freight Ford, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Freight Ford, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, climbs in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 8 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, climbs in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 8 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, talks his father, Nelson, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, talks his father, Nelson, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, hugs a fan in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, hugs a fan in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards joins the fans following his win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series 15th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Carl Edwards joins the fans following his win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series 15th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Lead singer Brad Arnold and drummer Greg Upchurch of 3 Doors Down perform prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Lead singer Brad Arnold and drummer Greg Upchurch of 3 Doors Down perform prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Going for a weekend sweep, Carl Edwards greets fans prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Going for a weekend sweep, Carl Edwards greets fans prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Paige Gertrude Sauter

shortcuts: little paige sauter has arrived

Paige Gertrude SauterJohnny Sauter won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville on Saturday, but he won on Tuesday, too! Johnny’s wife, Cortney, gave birth to the couple’s second child, a baby girl they’ve named Paige Gertrude Sauter (left). Paige joins her older brother, Penn.

Congratulations Cortney & Johnny! :)

In other supercute kid news…

– Just before the Auto Club 500 in California a couple weeks ago Jeff Gordon made an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres show and shared the cutest story about why his daughter, Ella, wants to be a racer driver one day. If your ovaries don’t weep from this one I don’t know what to tell you. :)

Ellen: I heard that Ella told you she wants to be a racecar driver?

Jeff: I get asked this all the time. Do you want your daughter to be a racecar driver? I just want to approach it the same way that my parents approached it with me and my sister. Whatever opportunities or passions you see as a parent your kids interested in, pursue that and see where that takes them. That’s what happened with me. We found racing at a young age. My parents introduced me to it and it just took off. I hadn’t thought about it a whole lot, certainly with my daughter, and we were driving down the road the other day and out of nowhere, she said, “Papa, I want to be a racecar driver.” And I said, “You do? Why do you want to be a racecar driver?” [She said] “Because I love you.” It just crushed me and at the same time, I thought, “Oh, now I’m going to have to get a racecar.” Laughs

JEFF GORDON makes an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Friday, March 25th, 2011

JEFF GORDON makes an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Friday, March 25th, 2011 (photo credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.)

(Paige Sauter photo credit: Cortney Sauter Facebook page)

sunday_kharvick_victorylane

sunday in fontana: richard marx makes my day

Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California started out with the customary trip to THE Starbucks. I call it “THE Starbucks” because it’s the one everybody goes to during the race weekend, and by everybody I mean literally everybody. It could be groups of fans apart of some racing package deal or pit crew members, PR people, and NASCAR drivers. I always see someone. On Saturday morning it was Michael Waltrip and Michael Waltrip Racing general manager Ty Norris. Sunday I chatted about the weather with a pit crew guy that recognized me from the garage.

bristol_march_featured

bristol was missing something (not just butts in the seats)

Was the only thing that was interesting about the Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol the driver introductions that we didn’t even get to see? I would say “Yes.” They couldn’t show ONE of the driver’s walking into their song?? I know it costs money to get the rights to play the songs on air but Fox doesn’t have money for JUST ONE?!

I Tivo’d the pre-race show, as has become a new rule so that I can skip the crappy parts (80% of it), and I made sure I went through it TWICE to make sure I didn’t miss a moment where they might have shown an intro and I didn’t find anything. Instead, there was some thing with Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond and some diagram that looked like the board game “Operation” or something. I dunno, I was fast forwarding.

Anyway, Kyle Busch’s weekend sweep was impressive, of course. The deal that went down between Jennifer Jo Cobb and the owner of 2nd Chance Motorsports was far more interesting than anything either race had to offer. Jennifer Jo Cobb is all about racing, why would someone who has stated several times that her goal this year is contend for Rookie of the Year in the Nationwide Series ever want to “start & park”? I mean, c’mon, she’s all about racing. I sincerely wish her all the best and hope she can get something together that’ll help her reach her goal. What she did on Saturday took guts. It would have been way easier to just run the few laps and get out of the car, but she stood up for herself and I think that’s awesome. That’s a person I can root for! :)

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, participates in a media session on March 18 at Bristol.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, participates in a media session on March 18 at Bristol. (Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr celebrates winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Nationwide Scotts EZ Seed 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr celebrates winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Nationwide Scotts EZ Seed 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Crew Members working on pit road during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Crew Members working on pit road during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Kasey Kahne watches practice at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kahne was fourth fastest in practice with a top speed of 127.929mph. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne watches practice at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kahne was fourth fastest in practice with a top speed of 127.929mph. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon looks on as his crew makes adjustments to the No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon looks on as his crew makes adjustments to the No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Elliott Sadler watches practice after posting the third quickest lap of 15.677 seconds in NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Elliott Sadler watches practice after posting the third quickest lap of 15.677 seconds in NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Danica Patrick shows her frustration after an incident on lap 248 during the Scotts EZ Seed 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Danica Patrick shows her frustration after an incident on lap 248 during the Scotts EZ Seed 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ingrid Vandebosch, wife of Jeff Gordon, with their son Leo before the start of the Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway

Ingrid Vandebosch, wife of Jeff Gordon, with their son Leo before the start of the Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson hold his daughter, Genevieve, before the start of the Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway

Jimmie Johnson hold his daughter, Genevieve, before the start of the Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Busch performs a burnout on the front stretch after winning the Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Busch performs a burnout on the front stretch after winning the Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

vegas_sunday_featured

a vegas ending: fake elvis, paris hilton and a hug from a hottie

I had to get up really, really early on Sunday morning in order to get to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in time to take a ride in the pace car with NASCAR’s Director of Competition, Research & Development Brett Bodine.

vegas_friday_featured

why kyle busch put his wedding on tv, keselowski’s ‘recovery’ program

Friday morning in Las Vegas started with me arriving at the track just in time to interview J.J. Yeley at his hauler. But I found out that he had been asked to drive the No. 27 car for Baker Curb Racing in the Nationwide Series race. So he was participating in their practice session and wouldn’t be available till later in the day (We did end up connecting later in the day and I got some great answers from him).

phoenix_featured

jeff gordon drives to end his hunger for a win

Jeff Gordon celebrates his SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The victory was the 83rd of his career, tying him with Cale Yarborough for fifth on the all-time wins list. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR) What would have made Jeff Gordon’s win at Phoenix better? Ella and Leo, of course! Sucked they weren’t in Victory Lane with their papa but the win itself was great. I always love seeing a driver get emotional after a win. I’m always looking for something real, and by that I mean just something genuine to remind me that these guys really love what it is that they do and that it means more to them than just fame and money.

To me it’s easier to see the lows and the highs in this sport, than it is in others. A basketball team might lose one night and then win on another, or maybe go 5 games without a win but eventually a win comes up in that same season. But in NASCAR these guys can go YEARS without a win. It just makes it so much sweeter when it happens.

I cannot wait to get to Las Vegas this week. I’m driving down there on Wednesday, it’s my first race of the season and it feels like I’m going to summer camp or something. On Thursday I’ll be at Tony Stewart’s autograph session at Office Depot (1435 West Craig Road, North Las Vegas) at 12:30pm. If you want to get something signed ya gotta get a wristband first (one per person), which they’re distributing to the first 600 people starting at 8am the day of the event. Then you have to get on line for the autograph sesh no later than 1:30pm. This is all local/Las Vegas time.

Before Tony signs stuff for fans I’m presenting him with the 2011 Hottest Driver Tourney “trophy” and I sincerely hope he likes it. I already have anxiety about that whole thing. :) I’m sure it’ll be fine, though.

Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne is congratulated by NASCAR driver Danica Patrick on Thursday in Phoenix, Ariz. Bayne and Patrick made a special appearance at Phoenix International Raceway's annual "Night of Champions" charity event. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Phoenix International Raceway)

Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne is congratulated by NASCAR driver Danica Patrick on Thursday in Phoenix, Ariz. Bayne and Patrick made a special appearance at Phoenix International Raceway's annual "Night of Champions" charity event. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Phoenix International Raceway)

Five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson looks on as his team adjusts his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet during practice for the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. (Credit: Christian Peterson/Getty Images)

Five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson looks on as his team adjusts his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet during practice for the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. (Credit: Christian Peterson/Getty Images)

(L-R) Chicago White Sox players Adam Dunn, A.J. Pierzynski, Mark Buehrle, John Danks and Gordon Beckham pose with Ryan Truex before the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Grand Marshal Apolo Anton Ohno watches the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 from the No. 99 pit box of Carl Edwards. (Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Grand Marshal Apolo Anton Ohno watches the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 from the No. 99 pit box of Carl Edwards. (Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Actress Emmy Rossum, who sang the national anthem, poses with Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne before getting a ride around Phoenix International Raceway. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Actress Emmy Rossum, who sang the national anthem, poses with Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne before getting a ride around Phoenix International Raceway. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

A Brian Vickers spin on the backstretch triggered a 14-car accident which included Jamie McMurray, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The race was red flagged for 14 minutes and 4 seconds. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

A Brian Vickers spin on the backstretch triggered a 14-car accident which included Jamie McMurray, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The race was red flagged for 14 minutes and 4 seconds. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Jeff Gordon douses new crew chief Alan Gustafson with champagne after ending his 66-race winless streak with his SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 victory. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon douses new crew chief Alan Gustafson with champagne after ending his 66-race winless streak with his SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 victory. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

roomfortwo_featured

room for two: shootout and daytona 500 qualifying

2011 Budweiser Shootout driver lineup is introduced to the fans at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)It was that time again on Saturday to reacquaint ourselves with the folks at Fox Sports and their brand of NASCAR coverage for another year. I have a secret wish that one of those animated robot football players they use for the NFL will walk onto the screen and bash Digger and his friends about the head until they run away forever. Did I just write that? Yes, yes I did.

Anyway, loved seeing drivers back in action. There’s nothing better than seeing cars driving at full speed, racing for something, anything, even if there aren’t any points involved. Congratulations to Kurt Busch and the “Double Deuce” team on winning the Budweiser Shootout.

Sunday was qualifying for the Daytona 500, but really just for the front row. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon locked up the front row for Hendrick Motorsports. And that was great and all but a bigger story, in my eyes at least, was Larry McReynolds dropping relationship news about Tony Stewart dating sprint car driver Jessica Zemken, who races for Tony Stewart Racing.

In other news…

– The winner of this year’s Daytona 500 will be honored in San Francisco on February 22nd (6pm) at Ghiradelli Square with an ice cream social. The lucky dude will have a sundae named in his honor and all fans in attendance will be treated to a complimentary sundae courtesy of the Ghiradelli® Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. I’m going to be there FOR SURE, because I have first hand knowledge of how delicious everything is that they make at Ghiradelli. Chocolate covered strawberries are calling my name, and it’ll be cool to see the Daytona 500 winner fresh off their win.

– There’s more than just a win, and a starting position in the Daytona 500, at stake for Tony Stewart in the The Duels at Daytona on Thursday–there’s money too!:

“The Duels at Daytona are always exciting because the higher you finish, the better your starting spot is for the Daytona 500. But for this year’s Duel, I have a little added incentive knowing that the Tony Stewart Foundation could receive some extra funding if I win,” said Stewart, who has awarded almost $4 million to assist charitable initiatives through his foundation since 2003. “I am so proud to partner with companies like Office Depot and Lexmark that believe in Taking Care of Business by giving back to their communities and to those in need. As for the wager, the new Lexmark Genesis S815 printer is really fast, and in our business, speed counts.”

More details over at ‘Fabulous’ News

– Celebrities have made their predictions on who they think will win the Daytona 500, check ‘em out over at SI.com. I’m partial to Joe Namath & Janet Evanovich’s picks, but you should read them all. There’s some interesting little tidbits of info in there. Like Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers (aka Super Bowl XLV losers), went to college with JD Gibbs. :)

Scott Speed will drive the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc. in the Nationwide Series for two races this year: Iowa Speedway on August 6 and at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on August 20.

Photo fun time from this weekend below!


Jeff Gordon's wife Ingrid Vandebosch and his son Leo in victory lane after Jeff Gordon secured a front row start for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Adorables!! :)
Jeff Gordon’s wife Ingrid Vandebosch and his son Leo in victory lane after Jeff Gordon secured a front row start for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon share a laugh together during Budweiser Shootout practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon share a laugh together during Budweiser Shootout practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon discuss practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Chirs Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon discuss practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Chirs Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. draws the pole for the Budweiser Shootout as Kenny Wallace reacts Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. draws the pole for the Budweiser Shootout as Kenny Wallace reacts Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

2010 Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya share information during Budweiser Shootout practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
2010 Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya share information during Budweiser Shootout practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch discuss practice Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m diggin’ Kasey’s new firesuit. Cool design.
Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch discuss practice Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne talk during Daytona 500 practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne talk during Daytona 500 practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kurt Busch in victory lane celebrating his 2011 Budweiser Shootout win at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch in victory lane celebrating his 2011 Budweiser Shootout win at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Ragan signs a fans jacket during Daytona 500 Qualifying at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Ragan signs a fans jacket during Daytona 500 Qualifying at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards signs autographs for fans after his qualifying lap Sunday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carl Edwards signs autographs for fans after his qualifying lap Sunday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

mediatour_featured

sprint media tour: i missed out on swag, damnit

I’m sad I missed the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte this week. But, if I’m being honest, it’s only because I just read this article about all the swag the media received, that I missed out on. There were cupcakes and cookies and wine!

Anyway, here are photos from the week. It’s one of my favorite things to post photos of the teams wearing those annoying long sleeve shirts. I don’t know why I hate them so much but they just look wrong. I say this every year and no one listens to me.

It’s just like bridesmaid dresses: it’s really hard to pick on dress type that works on every body type. Which is why brides have started letting their maids pick a fit that suits them individually and then just going with the same color and/or print for the group. I think NASCAR teams should adopt this same principle. Some teams have, but definitely not the majority.

:)


NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler, (second from left) speaks with the media, as drivers (left to right) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason Leffler, and Aric Almirola look on, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler, (second from left) speaks with the media, as drivers (left to right) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason Leffler, and Aric Almirola look on, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Michael Waltrip's familiar No. 15 NAPA car is on display during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)
Michael Waltrip’s familiar No. 15 NAPA car is on display during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)

(Left to right) Bobby Hutchens, director of competition for Stewart-Haas Racing; Tony Gibson, crew chief of the No. 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car; Ryan Newman, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver; Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner and driver; and Darian Grubb, crew chief of the No. 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, pose for a picture during the 2011 Sprint Cup Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) Bobby Hutchens, director of competition for Stewart-Haas Racing; Tony Gibson, crew chief of the No. 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car; Ryan Newman, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver; Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner and driver; and Darian Grubb, crew chief of the No. 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, pose for a picture during the 2011 Sprint Cup Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Regan Smith stands in front of his No. 78 Furniture Row ride during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Regan Smith stands in front of his No. 78 Furniture Row ride during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Center) NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty stands between his two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers AJ Allmendinger (left) and the newest addition to Richard Petty Motorsports Marcos Ambrose during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(center) NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty stands between his two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers AJ Allmendinger (left) and the newest addition to Richard Petty Motorsports Marcos Ambrose during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Team owner Jack Roush (center) poses with drivers (left to right) Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Jack Roush (center) poses with drivers (left to right) Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, speaks with Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, speaks with Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) Richard Childress, team owner; Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet; Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet; Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Chevrolet, and Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Menard's Chevrolet, pose for the media during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Richard Childress Racing on Tuesday in Welcome, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Richard Childress, team owner; Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet; Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet; Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Chevrolet, and Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Menard’s Chevrolet, pose for the media during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Richard Childress Racing on Tuesday in Welcome, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, owner Rick Hendrick and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. pose for a team picture Wednesday at Hendrick Motorsports Media Day during the Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, owner Rick Hendrick and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. pose for a team picture Wednesday at Hendrick Motorsports Media Day during the Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, speaks to the media as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Penske Racing on Monday in Mooresville, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, speaks to the media as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Penske Racing on Monday in Mooresville, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Team owner Joe Gibbs (third from right) poses with J.D. Gibbs (third from left), Joe Gibbs Racing President, Joey Logano (left), driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, Kyle Busch (second from left), driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota, Denny Hamlin (second from right), driver of the No. FedEx Toyota, and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brian Scott (right), during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Joe Gibbs (third from right) poses with J.D. Gibbs (third from left), Joe Gibbs Racing President, Joey Logano (left), driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, Kyle Busch (second from left), driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, Denny Hamlin (second from right), driver of the No. FedEx Toyota, and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brian Scott (right), during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Team owner Joe Gibbs (center) speaks about the 20th anniversary of Joe Gibbs Racing, as (left to right) JGR President J.D. Gibbs, former JGR drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, JGR senior vice president of racing operations Jimmy Makar and Interstate Batteries CEO Norm Miller look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, on hiring Tony Stewart: “For 1997, we wanted to form a second team. We asked all the guys to write down the name of the driver they wanted the most and put it in a hat. There was one name on every piece of paper. That was Tony Stewart.”

Team owner Joe Gibbs (center) speaks about the 20th anniversary of Joe Gibbs Racing, as (left to right) JGR President J.D. Gibbs, former JGR drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, JGR senior vice president of racing operations Jimmy Makar and Interstate Batteries CEO Norm Miller look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The No. 21 Motorcraft Ford proudly displays the new American Ethanol sponsorship around the fuel hole during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)
The No. 21 Motorcraft Ford proudly displays the new American Ethanol sponsorship around the fuel hole during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)

(Left to right) Juan Pablo Montoya, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, team owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates and Jamie McMurray, defending Daytona 500 champion, pose for a picture during the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing stop on the 2011 Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at the Hilton Charlotte University Place in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Juan Pablo Montoya, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, team owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates and Jamie McMurray, defending Daytona 500 champion, pose for a picture during the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing stop on the 2011 Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at the Hilton Charlotte University Place in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

preseason_featured

testing, testing: preseason thundah

The 2011 NASCAR racing season is fast approaching and that means I’ve finally got new photos to share with you guys from the Preseason Thunder testing that occurred last week at Daytona International Speedway. It was our first chance to catch some drivers wearing their new sponsor’s firesuits, a time to welcome back Brian Vickers (yay!) and an opportunity to see new driver/crew chief pairings (Gustafson & Gordon = Too much hotness for one team, I’m just sayin’).

I’m excited about the year to come, as I always am, and I know that I have at least ONE very cool, super awesome, off-line deal coming up that involves you guys! So stay tuned for that announcement.

Remember to check out ‘Fabulous’ News for press releases and random photos throughout the week. I’ll have a wrap-up of the media tour taking place now posted later on in the week.

But for now enjoy these photos! :)


Brad Keselowski recorded the fastest lap of the day at 45.316 seconds Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during Preseason Thunder testing.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski recorded the fastest lap of the day at 45.316 seconds Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during Preseason Thunder testing.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Red Bull Racing teammates Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers talk as they sign autographs for fans in the garage area during Preseason Thunder testing on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Red Bull Racing teammates Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers talk as they sign autographs for fans in the garage area during Preseason Thunder testing on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. laughs during a Preseason Thunder Fan Fest Q&A Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Truex turned the second-fastest lap of the first day of testing with a 195.776 mph circuit. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. laughs during a Preseason Thunder Fan Fest Q&A Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Truex turned the second-fastest lap of the first day of testing with a 195.776 mph circuit. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Marcos Ambrose smiles in the garage Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during Preseason Thunder testing.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Marcos Ambrose smiles in the garage Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during Preseason Thunder testing.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards signs autographs for young fans during the Preseason Thunder Fan Fest following testing Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards signs autographs for young fans during the Preseason Thunder Fan Fest following testing Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers signs autographs in the Sprint FanZone Thursday during Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers signs autographs in the Sprint FanZone Thursday during Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. smiles during a break on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. smiles during a break on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart looks on as his crew makes adjustments to the No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during Preseason Thunder testing.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart looks on as his crew makes adjustments to the No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during Preseason Thunder testing.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

A new look Kevin Harvick participates in testing Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

A new look Kevin Harvick participates in testing Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon works with Ormond Beach, Fla. native Alan Gustafson in the Garage Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon works with Ormond Beach, Fla. native Alan Gustafson in the Garage Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Joey Logano who was third fastest with a lap time of 45.757 seconds signs autographs for fans during Preseason Thunder Fan Fest on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Joey Logano who was third fastest with a lap time of 45.757 seconds signs autographs for fans during Preseason Thunder Fan Fest on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clint Bowyer signs autographs for fans during Preseason Thunder on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clint Bowyer signs autographs for fans during Preseason Thunder on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

hottestdriver_logo_featured_rd3

2011 hottest driver tournament: round three

Hottest Driver LogoI’m having too much fun with this contest. I was right when I thought things would get much more interesting in Round Two and the results of last week’s voting have set up Round Three to be extra intriguing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Mears just barely made it through in the closest match-up results so far. Dale Jr. beat Scott Speed by just 8 votes! I’m really, really surprised that it wasn’t a closer contest between Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne.

Here’s what happened in Round Two:

Jamie McMurray (75%) defeated Kyle Busch (25%)
Joey Logano (55%) defeated David Gilliland (45%)
Clint Bowyer (56%) defeated Bobby Labonte (44%)
Travis Kvapil (62%) defeated Kurt Busch (38%)
Kasey Kahne (75%) defeated Carl Edwards (25%)
Casey Mears (51%) defeated Kevin Harvick (49%)
Elliott Sadler (70%) defeated Reed Sorenson (30%)
Jeff Gordon (52%) defeated Marcos Ambrose (48%)
Ryan Newman (83%) defeated Juan Pablo Montoya (17%)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (51%) defeated Scott Speed (49%)
Tony Stewart (86%) defeated Sam Hornish Jr. (14%)
Matt Kenseth (65%) defeated AJ Allmendinger (35%)
Regan Smith (77%) defeated Robby Gordon (23%)
Martin Truex Jr. (88%) defeated Greg Biffle (12%)
Paul Menard (64%) defeated Brad Keselowski (36%)
Denny Hamlin (58%) defeated Mark Martin (42%)

This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).

2011 Hottest Driver Tournament Brackets - Round Three

So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Three! You can vote as many times as you want each day until voting ends on Saturday, January 22nd.

UPDATE: I’ve extended voting through Sunday, January 23rd until 9am, because of a snafu with the voting form. // Voting for Round Three is over! Check out Round Four!

Jamie McMurray Joey Logano
Jamie McMurray Versus Joey Logano
Clint Bowyer Travis Kvapil
Clint Bowyer Versus Travis Kvapil
Ryan Newman Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ryan Newman Versus Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Tony Stewart Kasey Kahne
Tony Stewart Versus Kasey Kahne
Casey Mears Elliott Sadler
Casey Mears Versus Elliott Sadler
Martin Truex Jr. Jeff Gordon
Martin Truex Jr. Versus Jeff Gordon
Paul Menard Matt Kenseth
Paul Menard Versus Matt Kenseth
Regan Smith Denny Hamlin
Regan Smith Versus Denny Hamlin


Voting for Round Three is over! Check out Round Four!