All posts tagged J.J. Yeley

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sonoma friday: cougar hits on brad keselowski while daughter watches

First, I apologize for taking so long to write about Sonoma. Life, work, blah, blah, blah.

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  • kyle-busch-samantha-busch-kiss

kyle busch won at fontana but wouldn’t you rather stare into kasey kahne’s dreamy eyes?

I haven’t missed a Fontana race in 5 years, so it really sucked when I realized I wouldn’t be able to go this year. All the action & drama that happened on Sunday made it that much worse, but then again there’s no guarantee that it would have happened had I gone so I’m using that to make me feel better about the whole thing.

martinsville_featured

for some, martinsville was shaped like a pill — a bitter one

Juan Pablo Montoya runs high as Brian Vickers spins during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.(Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)It was a fun race to watch because it eventually became a sophisticated 400-lap game of bumper cars, with Brian Vickers racking up the most points. What was that all about? Thought it was interesting that Brian’s friend (and former teammate) Jimmie Johnson even called him out on it during his post-race interview. Said Jimmie, “After a fourth, fifth time with the same car in the crash, you start thinking about maybe you’re the problem. Something is going on. You’re having a bad day. You need to stop crashing for whatever reason.”

With this win at Martinsville Tony Stewart now has 3 wins in The Chase and it’s totally possible that might not win the Championship. Isn’t that kind of weird? I guess consistency is key. No matter, I’ll be happy with whoever wins this thing as long as it comes down to Homestead. I adore the new points system. :)

I was shocked — just a smidge — by Tony’s post-race victory lane comments about how Carl Edwards needs to be worried and that Carl isn’t going to sleep for the next 3 weeks. Ha! I loved that. In general, drivers & crew chiefs need to talk more trash during this Chase. It’s fun, right? :)

(Left to right) J.J. Yeley and Tony Stewart sign autographs for fans at Martinsville Speedway on Friday. (Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) J.J. Yeley and Tony Stewart sign autographs for fans at Martinsville Speedway on Friday. (Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick talk in the garage after the two drivers made contact on the track during practice on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick talk in the garage after the two drivers made contact on the track during practice on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. sits in the cockpit during the one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice of the weekend on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. With a 95.554 mph/19.817 seconds lap, Earnhardt Jr. was the third-fastest Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver in the session. (Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. sits in the cockpit during the one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice of the weekend on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. With a 95.554 mph/19.817 seconds lap, Earnhardt Jr. was the third-fastest Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver in the session. (Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Denny Hamlin celebrates with his Grandfather Clock for winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday.(Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Denny Hamlin celebrates with his Grandfather Clock for winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday.(Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The North Carolina A&T State University Blue and Gold Marching Machine perform before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The North Carolina A&T State University Blue and Gold Marching Machine perform before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)

No. 99 crew chief Bob Osborne and driver Carl Edwards talk before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

No. 99 crew chief Bob Osborne and driver Carl Edwards talk before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

No. 48 crew chief Chad Knaus spends time with Genevieve Marie Johnson, the daughter of his driver five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, before the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

No. 48 crew chief Chad Knaus spends time with Genevieve Marie Johnson, the daughter of his driver five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, before the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team works on Matt Kenseth's car in the garage late in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday as Kenseth dropped three spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team works on Matt Kenseth's car in the garage late in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday as Kenseth dropped three spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart celebrates with his No. 14 Office Depot Stewart-Haas Racing team after getting his third win in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Tony Stewart celebrates with his No. 14 Office Depot Stewart-Haas Racing team after getting his third win in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

itas_jjyeley_featured

interview: inside the actor’s studio with j.j. yeley

JJ YeleyJ.J. Yeley has a great name doesn’t he? It’s one of those names that’s just fun to pronounce.
:)
I interviewed him at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and totally dug his attitude towards making some noise in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series these days. J.J. drives the No. 46 Chevrolet for Whitney Motorsports and he had this to say when I asked him about his goals for this year: “My goal for the way things are right now are to help this small team that I’ve been driving for find a sponsor to where we can go out and prove to people that even though we’re a small group of guys that we can still get the job done. It’s a lot of fun being the underdog when you go to the race track because the expectations that people have for you are low, but to go out there and surprise people is a lot of fun.”

What is your favorite word? Sweet

What is your least favorite word? It’s usually when I hear my name, because it means I’m in trouble. Least favorite word? I don’t think I have a least favorite word. Oh, I know “Hot,” when people say, “Oh, that’s hot.”

What turns you on? Smiles. I like when people smile.

What turns you off?
Attitude

What sound or noise do you love? My daughter laughing.

What sound or noise do you hate? The alarm clock.

What is your favorite curse word? I’ve cut way back on that because I have a 6-year-old. But I would say it’s a four-letter word. (Me: But which one?) Let’s leave it as a four-letter word because sometimes it varies.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? If I was not a race car driver, based on my life, I would become a taxi driver. (Me: Really?) Sure, ‘cause it’s the closest thing to racing. You get to drive a car really fast, completely ignore everyone around you. (Me: This is true) Yea, I think it’d be fun.

What profession would you not like to do? I wouldn’t want to be a dentist.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I get to sit in the big chair.


Read more of my “Inside the Actor’s Studio” questionnaire interviews in the archives and read about how it all started with Tony Stewart.

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).

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)

the pocono no-no

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, in Victory Lane as the winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority about this but I do enjoy a good rain delay. Why? Well I like it when the drivers get out of their cars and are interviewed by the pit reporters, you get to hear about what’s been going on so far in the race and what they think (or hope) will happen next. I dig it.

I’m still irked by the post race coverage, of which there has been little. Maybe it was the rain delay which made it impossible for them to have more than two post-race interviews, but still I want more. Maybe it’s just me being a serious NASCAR fan that can’t get enough, but I want more. And by more I mean more of the drivers. I don’t want to hear from analysts and commentators, nooooooo, I want to hear from the drivers or the crew chiefs or the crew members, anyone who is actually doing something during the race.

And so I must acknowledge David Gilliland’s disappointing finish. Things were going so well before the red flag happened, he was running as high as second, and then he ended up finishing 34th. How that happened I’m not sure about as I don’t recall being told during the race what was going on with David’s car. If they did talk about it and I’m wrong please correct me, but I totally doubt it. You would think they’d talk about it as the dude was running up front and then is shuffled to the back. And I guess for that reason I should hate rain delays, because maybe if that hadn’t happened he wouldn’t have gotten stuck in the pack without clean air.

I will say this about that race I’ve never been so emotionally involved, which I love. Between Dale and David I was all over the place. But I have to say to a certain degree I’m more emotionally invested in how David finishes than I am when it comes to Dale Earnhardt Jr. It’s going to be so freaking cool when Gilliland finally wins his first Cup race, I just hope it happens this year. I’d love to be there for it. It’d be sick if he got his first win at the upcoming Auto Club Speedway race in Fontana, California. I’m hoping to be at that one, which is on my birthday this year, so yea, Yates Racing should totally focus on that one. I’m just sayin’.

:)

Oh, and what was up with Carl Edwards after race in victory lane? My mom stopped by right after the race restarted from the red flag and she stayed until the race was over. When Carl grabbed the big fake Sprint cell phone they put on top of his car and shook it, my mom looked at me like “What was that??” to which I smiled and said “That’s the euphoria of winning.” I like Carl but I don’t know what that was.


David Gilliland drives the #38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2008 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

David Gilliland drives the #38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2008 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford and winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, received congratulations from third-place finisher Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford and winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, received congratulations from third-place finisher Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

These fans of the No. 20 Home Depot were probably pretty happy with driver Tony Stewart's second-place finish in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The cuteness.

These fans of the No. 20 Home Depot were probably pretty happy with driver Tony Stewart’s second-place finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

J.J. Yeley (L), driver of the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota, shows actor Kiefer Sutherland (R) a car spring and the inside of the hauler during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2008 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

J.J. Yeley (L), driver of the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota, shows actor Kiefer Sutherland (R) a car spring and the inside of the hauler during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2008 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

testing the limits (of fun) at infineon

Haulers during a testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Yesterday I went to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma for the NASCAR Sprint Cup testing sessions. Let me tell you it was really cool!

First of all, it was free and you can’t beat free.

Second, everything was open. By open I mean seriously open. I parked my car in the garage area, literally next to the haulers. The garage stalls were right across from my car. When it’s a race weekend, everything is blocked off and you have to have a garage pass. There was none of that yesterday. There were no Hot or Cold garage warnings. If I had the balls to do it I totally could have walked right into someone’s garage and been like “Hey, what’s up? How’s the car handling today?”

That being said you really had to watch yourself ’cause the guys were coming in and out of the garage left and right and there was no one around with a whistle to tell you to get out of the way. Case in point a man with two kids was walking towards me in the grandstand/victory lane area completely oblivious to the grumbling race car right behind them.

I always wonder how drivers feel about having the fans right there looking at them, getting in their way, etc. It’s not like I can walk into the Chicago Bears locker room and stare at Brian Urlacher before a game, although if the NFL decides to start doing that sign me up! Just kidding. Sort of. Ok I’m not kidding.

Anyway, back to yesterday. I stood in the victory lane above pit road and realized that this was exactly where I wanted to be at that exact moment. It was so awesome to just be there, taking pictures and watching the cars drive by. There weren’t a lot of people on hand, although more started to come in as I was leaving, but all in all I probably saw less than 15 people all told — lots of grandparents, fathers and sons.

Travis Kvapil, David Ragan, J.J. Yeley, Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish Jr. and David Gilliland were all there to test cars in anticipation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. J.J., David Ragan, Marcos and Travis tested in GT America stock cars provided by Pioneer Motorsports from Lake Oroville, California (outside Sacramento). David Gilliland drove a NASCAR Camping World Series West car. I seriously couldn’t tell who was who ’cause the paint schemes were not their own, except for Sam’s.

Of the drivers that were present I only saw J.J., David Gilliland and Sam outside of their cars. I got a photo of Sam on his cell phone. It was so odd trying to take a photo them. I felt like a paparazzo. You feel like you should be able to say something but you can’t.

I took some very, very bad video of a couple cars on the track. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of video taping live action events, so forgive me. :)

Here’s a quote from David Gilliland talking about the importance of Infineon:

“People used to think, ‘This is Sonoma, a road race. I’m not good at road races.’ But now, with the points so close, you can’t give up on one race,” said Gilliland. “You can’t have a bad race anymore and expect to be up front. It’s too competitive now, so people are starting to take it more seriously.”


Sam Hornish Jr. chatting on his cell phone during a testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Sam Hornish Jr. chatting on his cell phone during the testing session at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

J.J. Yeley during the testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

This is the back of J.J. Yeley discussing stuff with his crew at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Gilliland talks with a crew member during the testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

And now the back of David Gilliland talking one of his crew members at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

More photos of the cars in my Flickr account!

celebrating 20 years of nascar at infineon

Infineon RacewayAs the NASCAR race weekend in Sonoma draws closer I’m getting more and more excited. It helps that on Tuesday Cup drivers David Ragan, Travis Kvapil, J.J. Yeley and Sam Hornish Jr. (along with Nationwide Series driver Marcos Ambrose) will be rolling into town to test at Infineon. The testing session (from 8:30am to 4:30pm) is open to the public, free of charge and yeah, I’m so there. Did I even need to say that?

NASCAR has been coming to the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty years now and some of the drivers expressed their thoughts on the road course:

“They have kept up with the times, as well as brought a tremendous amount of diversity to the sport. One of the things that Sonoma has done is bring a different culture, a different type of race fan, which I think is really cool. The racetrack is so unique. It’s very different, the racetrack itself is different. The grounds are different. The location is incredible.”
Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet

“The track is definitely sentimental to me in terms of spring-boarding my career. Some of the big owners saw me win that (Southwest Series) race, and I was on ESPN that day, and in 1999 they had just changed the track configuration to use the Chute, so a lot of the big teams were watching that day. It was very exciting. We had a great Southwest Series team and ran for the championship that year and Infineon Raceway really put us on the map.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge

“What’s so special about Infineon Raceway is that it’s so difficult. I grew up racing on a three-eighth mile dirt track in Missouri. To come to a twisting, turning, uphill, downhill road course where you’re shifting gears in a 3,400-pound stock car, against guys like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and Boris Said is a very, very tough thing. To be able to come here and win a race, I think for any driver, and I know for me would be one of the most satisfying wins in all of NASCAR.”
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford

“I was born in Vallejo, right down the road from Sonoma. So to be able to come out and see my family and friends, who I don’t get to see very often, and then we were able to win fairly early in my career out there, which is a lot of fun winning on the road course. And we’ve had a lot of wins since then. To go the last couple of years and have some exciting news and excitement in my personal life, which has all coincided with that race, has been very exciting. And now it gives us something to celebrate every time we come out there. This year we’ll be celebrating Ella’s first birthday when we come out there, so that will be fun.”
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet

“Infineon Raceway is one race on the schedule that I absolutely love and look forward to coming and running. I mean, I like running the road courses, and we’ve had success out there. We ran really, really well. The people at the racetrack are always great. It’s an awesome crowd that’s very energetic and loves to see the Cup Series run there and it’s a track that I really have a lot of fun driving on so I always look forward to going there.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota

In other news…

– Did ya hear the news about Casey Mears?? He’s going to be dad! His girlfriend is pregnant with his first child. This tidbit of information was dropped in an article from the AP but Answer This has a little bit more detail. Congrats Casey!

Clint BowyerClint Bowyer spoke with the media here in the Bay Area today in anticipation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. When asked if, in this sport, it was important for fans to have someone to dislike Clint had this to say:

“It’s the same way with racing in general or any kind of sport. Everybody loves the winner until they win too much, and then they don’t like them anymore. The guys who have been very successful have seen both sides. Jeff Gordon, you either love him or hate him, but bottom line you respect him. There’s a big difference between a guy like Jeff Gordon and a guy like Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch is winning races and he’s on top, but there’s not that love-hate relationship. I think it has nothing to do with his performance on the track. People don’t respect him because of the things he does when he gets out of the race car.”

And then when asked if it’s easy for fans to find someone to boo Clint said this:

“I think it’s pretty easy. That’s what makes this sport what it is — the personalities. That’s what separates this sport from other sports is that you’re able to get so much closer to these personalities. There are a lot fewer people in this sport, there are only 43, whereas football and baseball there are hundreds. You see a lot more of the personalities of the drivers in this sport. I think it’s a good thing about our sport that it’s so fan friendly and they can get that close to the action.”

And I believe that he’s totally right on both points.

:)

the all-star race and why i won’t be watching

NASCAR All-Star RaceI still don’t have the SPEED channel and therefore won’t be able to watch the NASCAR All-Star event. Yes, I know it’s shameful and sad but for as many reasons that I have to justify the cost of having the channel I really don’t want to pay all that extra dough to move up to the channel plan I would need just to get one extra channel. I say bring on a la carte pricing!

Anyway, as soon as I move I’ll be sure to get DirecTV and I can avoid using those price gougers at Comcast.

So, yeah no All-Star festivities for me this weekend but I did vote for the drivers I want to see in the All-Star race on Sunday night. The All-Star Fan Vote has been going on since April and you have until this Saturday at 7pm to submit your vote. You can do it online by going to NASCAR.com or by texting the word “NASCAR” to 7777 on your Sprint phone. I highly recommend voting for Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland, Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip or J.J. Yeley. Since these guys are amongst the drivers that don’t have a spot locked in, they’ll have to either race their way in from the Sprint Showdown or be voted in by the Fan Vote.

In other All-Star news…

Dale Jarrett will be at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the last All-Star race of his career. They’re making the occasion extra special by introducing Dale last during driver introductions and instead of sitting in the back of a Toyota Tundra, like the other drivers, to wave to the fans around the track he’ll be driving (finally!) the UPS Big Brown Truck. Sounds like it’ll be a really cool send off.

– The first ever NASCAR Day telethon is set for tomorrow at the Sam Bass Gallery in Concord, North Carolina. Various Sprint Cup drivers including Casey Mears and Brian Vickers will be on hand to field calls for donations. Call 1-888-MAY16TH (1-888-629-1684). SIRIUS Satellite Radio will be broadcasting from the telethon all day starting at 7 a.m. and SPEED will be cutting in and out throughout the day as well.

– On Sunday the rear panel for Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Office Depot Ford will carry a super cool message from the winner of the Harlequin & Office Depot “Say Yes to a Winning Proposal” contest. I’m soooo excited to find out who the lucky couple is and I hope someone produces some kick butt reaction photos of the soon-to-be bride. They’re unveiling the winning proposal tomorrow, so I’ll see what I can see, but be on the lookout for Carl’s car on Saturday.

Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle spent some quality time together this week while helping to build a KaBOOM! playground (in one day!) for Elon Homes for Children in Charlotte. Think they talked about swapping rides next year??


Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the #20 Home Depot Racing car & two-time Series Champion and Greg Biffle, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the #16 3M Racing car help build a build a racing-themed playground in just one day at Elon Homes for Children (Photo Credit: CIA for KaBOOM)

Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the #20 Home Depot Racing car & two-time Series Champion and Greg Biffle, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the #16 3M Racing car help build a build a racing-themed playground in just one day at Elon Homes for Children (Photo Credit: CIA for KaBOOM)

don’t stand so close to me (unless you’re clint bowyer)

So I have this new vow that whenever I get media credentials I’m going to make the most of them. I’m going to do everything and access everything that my credentials will allow, at least, all of the stuff that I know about. There were three symbols whose meaning I never got around to figuring out. So anyway, back to making the most of things. I knew I wanted to get to the drivers introduction stage but it was way out on the start/finish line and not on pit road like it had been at California. So I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to be out there. Plus I didn’t see any of the media people that I recognized out there, but as I like to say “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” So I went out there and one of the security people let me through. 

Before the start of driver introductions there were a bunch of small introductory speeches by various big wigs, the Mayor of Las Vegas Oscar Goodman, SMI Chairman of the Board Bruton Smith, etc. And then the Blue Man Group put on a little show. They were really cool to see in person, even if I only saw the right side of the stage. I thought it was fun having them perform. Musical/theatrical shows are such a Vegas thing and it’s only fitting to have one before the start of the race, plus it’s like you get a little extra for all the money you shelled out for the tickets.

While the blue dudes were performing Clint Bowyer walked out on to the grass with a bunch of guys I’m assuming were his friends. He stopped to check out the show like right next to where I was standing. It was the most awkward thing. Should I stand there and look at the show like “yea I think the show is really cool too Clint” or should I stare at him and snap as many photos as possible right in his face? Well I chose a sort of combination of the two. I took photos of him, and stared at him and also tried to move out of his way so that he could get a better look at the show, all the while trying to be nonchalant about the whole thing.

And so eventually all of the drivers streamed out onto the grass behind the stage. Dale Earnhardt Jr. sped by in his requisite black hoodie and into the tented backstage area. Meanwhile a woman standing next to me with a very large chest area had Robby Gordon sign her boobs, I mean, shirt.


Robby Gordon gives his autograph (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous/Valli Hilaire)

Robby Gordon signs a fan’s boob shirt at the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.

Clint Bowyer watches The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous/Valli Hilaire)

Clint Bowyer watches The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.

Clint Bowyer watches The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous/Valli Hilaire)

Clint Bowyer watches The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.

The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous/Valli Hilaire)

The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.

J.J. Yeley and his adorable daughter Faith exit the stage during driver introductions at the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous/Valli Hilaire)

J.J. Yeley and his adorable daughter Faith exit the stage during driver introductions at the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.

A group of drivers hang out before they are introduced at the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas

Kyle Petty, Ken Schrader, Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya and David Reutimann (sitting) hang out before they’re introduced at driver introductions.

it’s beginning to look a lot like a racing season

It feels like I haven’t written here in forever. I’ve been busy with working on the redesign of the site and playing with my Christmas presents. I received a sweet digital video camera from my sister and the iPod Classic that I wanted from my fabulous mother. It holds 80GB of music and so far I’m up to 20GB. I spent the last week or so chained to my computer at home uploading all of my CDs. It’s a beautiful thing.

Anyway, in NASCAR news the off-season is officially over as teams began testing their cars at Daytona. Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed up and surprised everyone — even his new teammates — because his testing session isn’t for another week.

As always I’ve got photos for ya, I was mostly interested in seeing those drivers that changed rides for this year in their new uniforms. It always takes me awhile to remember who’s driving what and for which team.


Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR

Kyle Busch gets ready to take his first laps in his new No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

New Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. greets teammate Casey Mears in the garage on the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR

No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing crew chief Brandon Thomas meets with his new driver J.J. Yeley in the garage. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood / Getty Images for NASCAR

Not a new team, but a brand new paint scheme and uniform for Greg Biffle

On the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway, Greg Biffle helped unveil an American Red Cross paint scheme that he’ll drive at two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this year. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR

We have a Busch down, I repeat, a Busch is down! :)

Kurt Busch checks out the bottom of his New Car during the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)

forget jimmie johnson, chandra is the one with style

My first intention was to post a bunch of photos from the NASCAR Champions Week in New York. But the majority of the photos are basically Jimmie Johnson around the city — Hey there’s Jimmie and Chad Knaus hanging off a light post! — and who really wants to see that? Exactly. So I picked just the photos that featured Jimmie’s wife Chandra. Why? Because the woman is always so stylish and put together. She looked great the entire week and in every photo so I wanted to give her props for making the best of her situation. I’m sure she adores her husband and is incredibly proud of him, but I bet that whole going to New York and having to plan your wardrobe and probably buy new stuff just for the occasion is so tiring… Wait, what was I talking about? Who am I kidding, she’s so friggin lucky. Gah. Ok… Without further adieu the photos:


Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR

Chandra and Jimmie Johnson pose for a photo at the 2007 Champion’s Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR

New York Stock Exchange Chief Financial Officer Nelson Chai (left) talks with Chandra and Jimmie Johnson during their tour of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR

Jimmie and Chandra Johnson pose for a photo in Times Square. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Brad Barket / Getty Images for NASCAR

2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and wife Chandra smile for the cameras on the yellow carpet at the Waldorf=Astoria for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony. (Photo Credit: Brad Barket / Getty Images for NASCAR)

In other news…

– The Aussie take on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s trip to Australia.

– The Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals are being televised for the first time ever, but there’s one little catch. It’s going to televised on Pay-Per-View with a suggested price of $24.95. 250 drivers will spend 4 days trying to qualify their 800-hp midgets for this race so I guess it’s worth the cost. Notable NASCAR Cup drivers participating this year include Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and JJ Yeley. Check out the commercial below:



the devils in joe gibbs racing?

After all of the hubbub surrounding the events in the final laps of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 last weekend it seems that Robby Gordon will come out of it all smelling less like a rat and more like a rose.

In what I think is the best peace offering you can get in NASCAR, Gordon offered Marcos Ambrose (the dude that spun him out and then Gordon spun him out in retaliation) a Cup ride in his Robby Gordon Motorsports No. 77 Camping World Ford Fusion for this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen. Ambrose has accepted.

I think it’s a great, fitting ending to this semi-dramatic series of events. I’m not adding Robby Gordon to my list of NASCAR bad guys just yet.

But I can tell you what team is quickly becoming a hub for guys in the “big tool” club. That would have to be Joe Gibbs Racing. As much as I would like for that to not be the case it just is. You’ve got the founding member, Tony Stewart, and now Kyle Busch. Ech. I’m sorry that J.J. Yeley must leave JGR to make way for Busch. That must suck; ya gotta give up your ride for that nerd? Sad. Anyway, Denny Hamlin has managed to stay pretty humble and still has a gleaming halo above his head. But ya never know, all that egotastic arrogance in the shop at JGR could start spilling over to the No. 11 team.


jgr_badboys.jpg

If you can’t laugh at my artist rendering of the future team that will be Joe Gibbs Racing then you have no sense of humor to speak of… hehe

In other news…

If you’re a fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr. then you should already know Matthew Good. He’s a musician and Dale Jr. has been a fan of his for quite some time. Good’s latest CD titled “Hospital Music” is out now. You can get it for only $7.99 on iTunes. Plus for the past week, I think the promotion ended yesterday (sorry), iTunes had the song “Born Losers” available to download for free. It’s good music, kinda reminds me of Ryan Adams, and I recommend you check him out.

i’d like to buy the world a coke

This is my long overdue follow-up post to my initial comments about the Coca-Cola 600 last weekend. I am still so excited that Casey Mears has finally won his first Nextel Cup series race even though he’s apart of Hendrick “We Win Everything, Suckers!” Motorsports.

So there are couple things I must point out… first off, in this photo of Casey, in victory lane with his teammate Jimmie Johnson, he looks to be on the verge of tears. It’s gotta be one of THE best photos this year.

The photo below proves how much of an emotional win this was for the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet team; one guy (on the far right) is actually doing a cartwheel! A cartwheel people, I haven’t done one of those since I was in elementary school and I’m a girl. Anyway, it’s still cute… in a way.


(Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

It’s amazing to me what a difference one race can make. People make it seem like Casey Mears didn’t exist before this race. You can have all the potential in the world but until you deliver on it you’re not really anybody. I’m not saying I agree with this but I know that evidence speaks volumes and that’s what some people focus on.

I always knew that Casey had it in him; it was just a matter of time. The same goes for Clint Bowyer, J.J. Yeley and Martin Truex Jr. They need to figure out a winning recipe ASAP.

Ya know how some people can go so long without doing “it” that they feel like they’ve become a virgin again? Well I think that might be happening to my guy Dale Earnhardt Jr. I’m just sayin’. He hasn’t won a race in what feels like FOREVER (Actually it was last year at Richmond in May).

So besides the whole awesomeness that was Mears’ win at Charlotte I was very happy for Team Red Bull. They managed to pull out a top-5 finish after it seemed like everybody and Jesus was out to get them. I wouldn’t even want to drive my regular street car without power steering, but Brian Vickers managed to do it at over 180 mph.

It was crappy that AJ Allmendinger was taken out of the race so early in that crash with Jeff Gordon, but at least Brian was able to pull something together. This is great for Toyota. Vickers was able to lead more laps in that one race than all of the Toyota teams put together so far this season.

And now for the fun stuff, photos of hot dudes:


Actor Chris Evans

Actor Chris Evans races fellow “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” cast members in a race simulator at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

WWE Superstar John Cena

WWE star Jon Cena (left) meets with NASCAR Busch Series Director Joe Balash. (Photo Credit: David Griffin/NASCAR Scene)

v is for valli and vegas

This is my long overdue post about Las Vegas. This post is already so old that tomorrow is qualifying for this weekend’s race at Atlana. Geesh! I apologize, there has been a lot going on lately but now I will entertain you with my thoughts on the race in Vegas.

– First off, Monday was Casey Mears’ (left) birthday. He turned 29 and received a lousy gift from Robby Gordon in the form of a crash that took him out of the race at Vegas on Sunday for a little while. He ended up finishing in a very unhappy 40th place. (photo credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

– Overall, I kinda felt like the race at Las Vegas was boring. I know there were a bunch of crashes but it still didn’t seem very exciting. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Jimmie Johnson won for the third straight time at the track. It’s just boring when the same people win. I just want a newbie (or semi-newbie) to win one finally! Ya hear that Clint Bowyer? J.J. Yeley??

– There was a lot of star power at this race in the form of Mark Wahlberg (promoting his new flick “Shooter”), MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo, singer Nick Lachey (who is dating Vanessa), Magic Johnson and the wrestler Goldberg. The only person I ever saw on camera during the race was Mark Wahlberg who mentioned something about wanting to do a movie about racing. I’ll totally take you up on that one Mark! Great idea. He’d make a hot race car driver.

– This point has nothing to do with the Cup race at Vegas, but everything to do with the Busch Series race on Saturday. I don’t like ESPN’s coverage of the races because the only guy in the booth that really knows anything is Rusty Wallace (former Cup driver). The other guys in the booths are asking him questions like, “What’s that?” “What does that do??” OK, so I’m exaggerating but it comes close. And to be fair, it’s not all of the guys on the ESPN team, certainly not the pit road reporters, but it’s enough to make me wonder how they got their jobs.

And now on to the photos…

How hot is Rookie Aric Almirola?? That hot!

Aric Almirola walks in the garage area on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Former wrestler Bill Goldberg jokes around with Roush Racing crew member Dave “Mule” Nichols at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Greg Biffle (left) and crew chief Pat Tryson look on. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks with Magic Johnson at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Photo Credit: John Harrleson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Yes folks, they’re that skinny!

Left to right: Jimmie Johnson, Chandra Johnson, Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey celebrate Johnson’s win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Mark Wahlberg talks to the media on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

jeffie loves paparazzi

So the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in Fontana, California was this past weekend and there were many highlights. There’s a lot to cover so lets get to it.

– R&B singer Brian McKnight sang the national anthem and was absolutely wonderful! He wasn’t pitchy at all, unlike Country duo Big and Rich at Daytona.

– Actor Kevin Costner’s announcement of “Gentlemen, start your engines” thoroughly sucked. I think they should have actor/hottie Matthew McConaughey do it every week. He was the Grand Marshal of the Daytona 500 in 2005 and he kicked butt in delivering those most famous words in motor sports. It’s not that big a deal really but it’s so nice to have someone spice it up a little. McConaughey is total character and if you’ve seen his work in the movie “Dazed and Confused” you know what I mean.

– Even though it was completely disheartening to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. leave the race early due to engine problems, it was very funny to watch him take a bow after managing to keep his car from hitting the wall. See Teresa, he can do both — be a race car driver AND a personality!

– On the other hand it wasn’t funny at all to watch David Reutimann after his car crashed into the wall late in the race. It was obvious that he was hurt watching him slumped in his seat and then slow to finally pull his window net down. Apparently the g-force impact from the crash was among the hardest ever recorded. Now there’s one record book I wouldn’t want to be a part of. But most importantly Reutimann was able to walk away from it all and is doing ok now.

– After Jeff Gordon finished 2nd on Sunday he headed over to the Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton’s in West Hollywood with his pregnant wife (and NON-Supermodel) Ingrid Vandebosch.


Jeff Gordon and his wife Ingrid Vandebosch arrive at the annual Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton’s in West Hollywood, Calif., Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Brian McKnight sings the national anthem prior to the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. (Photo Credit: Donal Miralle/Getty Images)

Aren’t his eyes gorgeous? And they perfectly match his sponsor’s colors

J.J. Yeley is ready to practice his No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet at California Speedway on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Reutimann (00) slides to a stop after a crash in turn 4 at the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. , Sunday,Feb. 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Dave Waters)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. bows to the crowd after spinning out and missing the wall in Turn 4 at the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Dave Waters)

A skull design decorates the back of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s helmet in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Auto Club 500 in Fontana, Calif., Friday, Feb. 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Mark Avery)

blowin’ up watermelons

I’m watching NASCAR Drivers: Non-Stop on ESPN2 right now. The show follows Clint Bowyer, J.J. Yeley, Casey Mears, David Gilliland and Jeremy Mayfield , amongst others, on and off the race track. The footage is from last year’s race season. It’s great! Take my word for it.

What’s better than seeing Jeremy Mayfield sitting at home completely frustrated that he’s not out there racing with everyone else? Ever since he was ousted from Evernham in August I was dying to know what he was doing with himself and this show answered all of my questions. Besides watching the races he spent time bowling with his wife, building a new massive house and, as i’ve noted in the title, he spent some time blowing up watermelons.

Jeremy will be back this year in the #36 360 OTC Toyota Camry for Bill Davis Racing.

The show also confirmed my feelings about Clint Bowyer. I once compared him to Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at the suggestion of sports writer John Dugan. But I think that Clint really bares a striking resemblance to actor Steve Martin. What do you think?



Also on ESPN2 today is Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era. Here’s some info from the show’s press release:

Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era is an 11-episode, documentary television series that chronicles Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota’s new partnership in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

In the premiere episode, Waltrip breaks ground at his new fabrication shop and announces to his staff that ESPN2 will document all of the exciting developments for the new race team. He also visits Toyota Racing Development to see the new Toyota Camry stock car and Toyota executives explain why the company is partnering with the team and entering NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing.

“This show was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to build a race team and give the fans an inside look into everything that goes into it,” said Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner. “From hiring the crew, to applying information about rules and competition, and seeing how it all comes together — that’s what this story is about.”