Yea, I don’t know. I’m just going with it.
Congratulations to Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team on their win at Michigan this weekend.
Yea, I don’t know. I’m just going with it.
Congratulations to Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team on their win at Michigan this weekend.
Sunday morning I woke up ridiculously early so that I could get to the track in time to get a ride in the pace car with Brett Bodine. This was my second time getting to ride around the Sonoma Raceway track but it had been long enough since the first time I’d done it to not remember what it felt like. Let me tell you this, Brett Bodine doesn’t lay off the gas pedal just because you’re not a race car driver. That guy went flat out and it was insane.
First, I apologize for taking so long to write about Sonoma. Life, work, blah, blah, blah.
Because I honestly don’t remember a whole lot. Anyway, the image gallery is going to be the best part of this post, so enjoy!
I don’t know why I always feel this way when Jimmie Johnson wins a race. It’s like watching Survivor and getting pissed off when the idiots have the upper hand and they don’t take the opportunity to vote off the obviously stronger player when they have the chance. It’s silly. That’s how I feel when I see Jimmie Johnson leading a race.
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.
I was watching Kasey Kahne in victory lane at Bristol on Sunday. I listened to him talk and I couldn’t help but feel like something was different about him. He seems more manly. I’m not saying that he wasn’t manly before but he seemed more… something.
Matt Kenseth is a great race car driver and it’s cool that he won, and as my mom said when I told her that, “well it’s nice that someone different won,” I couldn’t disagree with her. It’s true, but why I am not super excited when Matt Kenseth wins? I have no idea. It’s not personal.
Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 and in the distance I could hear the sound of the saddest trombone sighing “waaah, waaah, waaaaaaah.”
NASCAR drivers reported to Daytona International Speedway yesterday for two days of Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing. This was supposed to be an extra-special testing session because they were driving the new sixth-generation car.
I was going to write a whole paragraph about how traveling sucked but I figured what’s the point. You guys have been there, you know what I was dealing with on my flights from San Francisco to Charlotte and then on to Miami. Although I have to say I have NEVER been on a flight so full of babies & toddlers as I did that Saturday. It was crazy and it made me vow that if I ever have kids I’m not flying anywhere with them until they’re adults.
I don’t know if you heard but there was a little incident at Phoenix International Raceway yesterday. It was so small that it caused #NASCAR to be a trend nationally on Twitter and for The Today Show to mention it this morning. Just a bunch of dudes getting in to a fist fight in the garage that’s all.
Good job, Clint Boywer, good job.
There are five races left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship and I’m wondering exactly how much can change in that time.
I had this weird feeling while watching Brad Keselowski win yesterday’s race at Dover. It felt like the dudes in the booth calling the race weren’t all that excited by Brad’s win. I’m not saying they were rooting against him I just got this general feeling that there wasn’t a sense of “Oooh, this is interesting!” When it IS in fact interesting.
My ability to watch races this month is severely hampered. It’s a lack of access issue that I’m not going to get into, but know that when September rolls around I’ll be back up to speed. I’m moving into my new apartment then and I cannot wait! It’s going to be awesome. Anyway, Pocono was last weekend and Jeff Gordon won the rain-shortened race. Above you’ll find a photo gallery (if you don’t see it come to the website and view it there) of the weekend. There are some very good “artsy” shots included.
I have to admit that I didn’t see the race yesterday. I know! I know. It really sucks to miss a race it feels like I’m missing an episode in a soap opera, even if nothing particularly huge happens you still feel like you need to see the story lines they use to set up other story lines to stay up to date.
“AHHHHHHH!!!! HE WON! HE WON! *jumping up and down* FINALLY!! YAY!! Now everyone can shut up.”
So I didn’t watch the race live on Sunday. I watched it on Tivo on Monday. Figures that the one good race as of late is the one I didn’t get to watch as it happened. Still I got the gist, lots of pit road speeding penalties and Joey Logano put the moves on Mark Martin to get his first “real” win.
Dover was fun right? Riiight?
Pit crew guys were almost run over, there was a big ‘ole crashy-crash and Jimmie Johnson wore a silly rainbow-colored clown wig. Good times. Good times.
My recollection of Talladega includes Brad Keseolwski winning, Kurt Busch in his Talladega Nights themed “ME” car and Jimmie Johnson sitting in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit box after his car clunked out of the race.
Before I get into Saturday at Fontana, I want to thank you for your well wishes. I’m totally fine and have removed a lot of stuff from my plate. It’s a lot easier to breathe now.
I’m all apologies lately. I feel like I’m continually apologizing to you guys about being late and I hate that. I can say, with complete confidence, that I’m not going to be late anymore and I’ll be back on track posting stuff from here on out.
Where the hell have I been?? It feels like forever ago since I’ve written anything but there’s a totally awesome reason why: I met a guy! Yep, I went on a coffee date and the guy, his name is Jack, turned out to be pretty amazing, so amazing that we spent the next four days together. So, needless to say, I like him A LOT and he likes me A LOT. I wasn’t expecting it and it’s been the best thing ever. However, it’s totally thrown my whole schedule out of whack. I always had a ton of time to myself, pretty much any time I wasn’t working was my time to work on this site or do whatever. But now that I’m with Jack that’s pretty much all I want to do–be with him–so I’ve been prepping the 2012 Hottest NASCAR Driver tournament in bits and pieces, in small chunks of time, over the last few days and now I’m FINALLY ready to launch it.
Maybe it’s because I watched Scream 4 (there was A LOT of stabbing going on in that movie) over the weekend that the old song by the O’Jays, “Back Stabber,” comes to mind when I think about yesterday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega.
I’m not saying that guys were being back stabbers on purpose, I just think that this whole two-car tandem racing thing puts them in that position. At some point you have to be selfish, or team-ish, or manufacturer-ish, and it’s not that enjoyable to watch. Clearly in racing you have to go for yours, and not worry about anyone else, but because of two-car craziness it puts people in awkward situations that they wouldn’t normally have to think about.
I don’t like what Talladega has become, it’s kind of boring and since we all know the drivers don’t like it, it makes it less fun. It’s just something they have to get through. It’s not really racing, it’s elementary school all over again trying to find someone who likes you enough to play with you. While strategy obviously plays an important role in every NASCAR race, the strategy that comes into play at Talladega becomes an annoyance.
That being said, I was happy for Clint Bowyer and Richard Childress Racing. And it was extra special because RCR scored their 100th win.
Anywhoo, can’t wait for Martinsville!
You have a dirty mind, my friend! I meant your arm! All for a good cause, of course.
Matt Kenseth’s sponsor for Talladega, Jeremiah Weed® flavored malt beverages, is offering free tattoos to race fans (adults!) this weekend at the race track. For every tattoo inked Jeremiah Weed is donating $100 to The Air Force Enlisted Village.
“We have some of the best fans in all of sports,” said Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Jeremiah Weed Ford Fusion. “They wear our numbers, fly our flags and sometimes even get tattoos to show their dedication. It’s incredible that Jeremiah Weed is doing all this for our fans and to support such a worthy cause as The Air Force Enlisted Village. I look forward to personally checking out the tattoos throughout the race weekend.”
On Saturday, Oct. 22 adults 21 and over will be able to sign up at the Jeremiah Weed event space in the Talladega fan zone to receive a free tattoo. A series of tattoos will be available for fans to choose from, including Matt Kenseth’s signature, a number 17, Jeremiah Weed logos and a Jeremiah Weed® Lightning Lemonade® can. The tattooing will occur at a local tattoo parlor approved by the Alabama State Health Board. Free transportation to and from the parlor will be also provided. For every tattoo inked, Jeremiah Weed will make a $100 donation to The Air Force Enlisted Village, a charity committed to providing safe, secure and dignified homes for indigent surviving spouses of retired Air Force personnel.
In other news…
– Joey Logano will be making his much anticipated appearance on the Travel Channel show “Man V. Food Nation” tonight at 9pm ET alongside the show’s host Adam Richman. Check your local listings for details. Do you think Joey can eat a three pound bacon double cheeseburger loaded with pulled pork and a meaty hot sauce over a pound of fries in ONLY 30 minutes??
– With everything that happened on Sunday I wasn’t in the mood to post photos from the NASCAR race weekend at Charlotte until now.
Sunday morning I got up super early so that I could get to Starbucks (a ‘real’ one that I scouted the night before) and beat any race day traffic that might rear it’s ugly head. I was delighted to find that there was no such traffic to fight and I even had time to take a couple pictures of the road I was on so you guys could see what I saw every morning. I did see a dead dear on the side of the road but I didn’t take a picture of that because it was sad (and gross).
The race at Watkins Glen–the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen to be exact–had it ALL. Let’s go through the list shall we?
– Close racing at the end where you had no idea who would come out with the win? CHECK!
– Crazy, gnarly crashes that thankfully left no one seriously hurt? CHECK!
– An emotional it’s-about-frggin-time first-time winner? CHECK! (Congrats to Marcos Ambrose & the No. 9 Stanley team!)
– Punches attempting to be thrown in the garage post-race? CHECK!
– Amazing post-race quotes from pissed off drivers? CHECK!
Loved this race, it was crazy, especially this quote from Boris Said about about his issues with Greg Biffle:
“It was crazy. I mean…the last lap; the No. 6 car (David Ragan) was getting into me a lot. I didn’t want to wreck him, but I had to stay on the track and he didn’t give me any room. We both collided. That is the only thing I feel bad about.
“I’m more upset with Greg Biffle. He is the most unprofessional little scaredy cat I’ve ever seen in my life. He wouldn’t even fight me like a man after. So, if someone texts me his address, I’ll go see him Wednesday at his house and show him what he really needs. He needs a…whooping and I’m going to give it to him. He was flipping me off, giving me the finger. Totally unprofessional. Two laps down. I mean he is a chump.
“I went over there to go talk to him. He wouldn’t even let me get out of the car. He comes over and throws a few little baby punches and then when I get out, he runs away and hides behind some big guys. But, he won’t hide from me long. I’ll find him. I won’t settle it out on the track. It’s not right to wreck cars, but, he’ll show up at a race with a black eye one of these days. I’ll see him somewhere.”
And to top it all off Watkins Glen International was left with a serious issue of getting safer barriers on their course before the next NASCAR race. It doesn’t make sense to not have them at all the tracks on the schedule. Why hasn’t this been done yet? Elliott Sadler is right.
I’m not one to begrudge people their happiness, but did you catch Kurt Busch making out with his girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, in victory lane on Saturday? Was that really necessary? It just seemed like a bit much.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 13 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I love this man. Nooo, not Dale Jr. but Man vs. Food host Adam Richman. I LOVE that show and when I go on my NASCAR adventure next year I plan on bringing a list of all the places he’s visited on his show so that I can check them out too! The food always looks soo yummy & amazing.
Adam Richman (right), host of Man v. Food, talks with Dale Earnhardt Jr.(left), driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet, on the grid during pre race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 14 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Joey is supposed to film an food challenge for a Man v. Food Nation episode today (Wonder if that’s still happening) that’s set to air Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. ET on Travel Channel.
Joey Logano (left), driver of the No. 20 The Home Depot Toyota, and Adam Richman (right), host of Man v. Food pose in the garage area prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 14 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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.
On Saturday I forgot my cell phone at home, and my camera’s battery died, like, 15 minutes after I arrived at Infineon Raceway.
It was really weird to not have my cell phone or camera on me all day. It was annoying that I couldn’t take any photos or tweet out updates on the fly. I realized that those devices also served as security blankets. They were these things that proved I had “something to do” while I was in the garage. I wasn’t just wandering. I had to take pictures and constantly check my phone for updates–that gave me purpose. So without a purpose I felt like a nerd, just standing around. And I was worried that without the photos that I usually snapped throughout the day I wouldn’t have anything to remind me of what happened.
When I arrived at Infineon Raceway on Friday I was late. It was only 9am but it was late. The garage opened at 7am and that’s when people showed up, so the media lot was full when I arrived. I was stuck in lot 1 which is next to the helipad. It’s not a big deal (there’s an awesome shuttle that takes you right to the media center no matter where you’re parked) but it’s funny to me how 9am can be considered late for anything. Anyway, Friday was the day of press conferences for the top-12 drivers.
I know I REALLY need to write-up my weekend at Infineon, and I will, but I had to write about the NASCAR-themed episode of The Glades that aired yesterday on A&E. It included appearances from NASCAR drivers Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, Tony Stewart and Joey Logano.
While I loved that NASCAR got some primetime attention, I’m not happy with how female fans were depicted (that and all the bad acting). First, why were there tons of women milling around the garage wearing the same outfit, all the same age and dress size? What’s up with the girls behind the fence jumping up and down, screaming incessantly, in tank tops being called “wafflebellies” with the hopes of being “wife’d”? (that’s an actual term people use??)
This whole thing drives me NUTS. The show made it seem like ALL of the female fans were groupies. And it wasn’t even necessary for the plot! Of course I know that there are many pit lizards out there (saw an inspired group of them at Infineon) but there are more women who purchase hot passes because they’re fans, and only that, not because they want to troll the garage for a husband. A woman shouldn’t have to walk into the garage with a guy to be considered a legitimate fan of the sport. We shouldn’t have to wear a burka to be taken seriously.
I’ll give them the storyline with the little girl who wants to be a racer when she grows up, but other than that all the episode did was create a false stereotype of female racing fans. Like I said before it wasn’t even integral to the plot, so why bother?
The whole episode is here, if you’re interested in watching.
(photo credit: A&E)
I was this close to feeling bad for Denny Hamlin for not sweeping the races at Richmond this past weekend until I came across the program from last year’s Awards Ceremony banquet. The program included photos of each winner of every race in 2010. Denny won EIGHT of them. You’re not going to find any sympathy over here, Denny.
But I do like The Denny (that’s what I call him) and his new Toyota Sponsifier commercial is my favorite out of the three featuring him, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Why is it my favorite? Because I love the little kid that tells him he drives like his mom, and I love the silly smile Denny makes after the kid says that AND I love that when Denny smiles like that I instantly think he looks like that actor on NBC’s “30 Rock,” Jack McBrayer (he was in “Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby,” too). Here’s a side-by-side comparison shot:
In other news… Elliott Sadler announced that he and his wife, Amanda, are expecting a child this year. The couple are already parents to a son, Wyatt, who was born last year.
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.
I didn’t realize exactly how tall Joey Logano is until I interviewed him at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was right after his Sprint Cup Series qualifying run and I found myself standing next to him thinking, “Heey, he’s really tall!” You don’t get a lot of racecar drivers that are noticeably tall, tall. He’s 6’1″. Anyway, Joey was funny. Having just transcribed this and heard his responses again I realized he didn’t actually answer a couple of them. I think that’s a first.
What is your favorite word? Wicked
What is your least favorite word? [laughs] I don’t have a PG rated answer for that one. (Me: Really? For your least favorite word?) What is your least favorite word? I don’t have one.
What turns you on? Racecars
What turns you off? Every answer I come up with is not a good answer. (Me: [Inaudible]) No, it’s just not a good answer for me to say. That’s a loaded question (Me: No, it’s not. Just think of it as something you don’t like) Lying. I don’t like lying.
What sound or noise do you love? A big ol’ motor.
What sound or noise do you hate? Knives against a plate, or chalkboard scratch, that kind of thing.
What is your favorite curse word? Depends on the moment. [laughs]
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I never really thought about trying anything else. Maybe hockey, I enjoy hockey a lot. Hockey’s cool.
What profession would you not like to do? I would not want to sit behind a desk all day, that’d be hard for me.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Come on in!
Thursday evening in Fontana, after I checked into my hotel just down the street from the race track, I discovered I forgot my cell phone charger at home. So I went to a Best Buy down the street to get another one. Then in the morning I woke up and found that I had left the pouch that holds all of my cords, USB drives and–most importantly–my digital recorder that still had a bunch of interviews on it from Las Vegas that I had yet to transcribe. I made a silent prayer that it was somewhere safe and then headed back to Best Buy to buy another one ’cause I had interviews to do that day.
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).
I set out for my Las Vegas adventure last Wednesday. I drove my VW Eos for 9 hours all the while listening to “The Howard Stern Show.” This was during the height of the Charlie Sheen craziness so the sound clip of Charlie uttering his trademark “Winning” catchphrase has been permanently emblazoned on my brain. It is the one word to describe my entire race weekend experience. But not in a “I’m losing so bad I’m winning” way, it’s more of an “I feel like I’m actually winning, doing good and making progress” kind of way.
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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
How excited are you that tomorrow is the Budweiser Shootout? I, for one, am thrilled. The season is starting again and for this website, and me personally, a lot more stories to share with you guys. I’m planning on road tripping it to Phoenix and Las Vegas later on this month. I’m really looking forward to getting back to the one place in the world that I know ALWAYS makes me happy, NASCAR races of course.
I’m also super excited to crown the first ever Hottest Driver Tournament winner on Sunday. It’s between Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth. Be sure to cast your vote now because voting ends Saturday night (at midnight).
In other news…
– The latest issue of ESPN The Magazine, on newsstands today, focuses on speed. Not Scott Speed, but just speed in general. It features articles on how to survive a crash, Hendrick Motorsports pit crew combine and spotlights Ricky Carmichael and Kevin Harvick.
– Jimmie Johnson will be the subject of a segment on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. The show airs Tuesday, Februay 15th. I’m looking forward to this as Real Sports is one of my FAVE shows.
– Rock band Good Charlotte is set to perform live before the start of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 27th. I’m totally looking forward to the performance and hopefully the band’s lead singer Joel Madden will bring his wife, Nicole Richie, along for support. Auto Club Speedway has special ticket packages available for starting at just $55. For an additional $25 you can have access to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Check out ‘Fabulous’ News for more news like this.
– Michael Waltrip has been doing a lot of media interviews in support of his new book, “In the Blink of an Eye: Dale, Daytona, and the Day that Changed Everything.”
While talking with the New York Times Michael revealed that he had never watched the 2001 Daytona 500, the race that he won and took the life of his team owner at the time, Dale Earnhardt. That is until this past July. Michael’s sister Connie tapes all of his races, and he came across the DVD — decorated with hearts and stars and the words “2001 Daytona 500 Winner!” that she’d written on it before Dale’s death had been announced — and watched it for the very first time, commercials and all.
Michael hadn’t been able to talk about the 2001 Daytona 500 for many years but in watching the entire race and then writing a book about that day in Daytona he was able to deal with his feels and find peace with everything that happened.
Andrew Giangola has a review of Michael’s book here, and I was told that Mikey’s book will debut at No. 11 on the New York Times’ Bestseller list when it makes it’s debut on February 20th, the same day as the 2011 Daytona 500.
– Yesterday was NASCAR Media Day down at Daytona International Speedway. The whole thing reminds me of a combination of the first day at school and picture day all wrapped up into one. The drivers spend what looks to me like all day walking around in their new firesuits answering all sorts of questions from the media from all over the place, taking new photos and shooting video spots. I really need to experience that whole thing for myself one day. Anyway, here are photos:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya answers questions from the local media Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during media day.
2010 Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray poses during media day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson poses for photos Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during media day. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne reads liners for MRN during media day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.(Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Greg Biffle talks with Pete Pistone and Mike Bagley from The Morning Drive on Sirius during media day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m sad I missed the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte this week. But, if I’m being honest, it’s only because I just read this article about all the swag the media received, that I missed out on. There were cupcakes and cookies and wine!
Anyway, here are photos from the week. It’s one of my favorite things to post photos of the teams wearing those annoying long sleeve shirts. I don’t know why I hate them so much but they just look wrong. I say this every year and no one listens to me.
It’s just like bridesmaid dresses: it’s really hard to pick on dress type that works on every body type. Which is why brides have started letting their maids pick a fit that suits them individually and then just going with the same color and/or print for the group. I think NASCAR teams should adopt this same principle. Some teams have, but definitely not the majority.
Michael Waltrip’s familiar No. 15 NAPA car is on display during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)
(Left to right) Bobby Hutchens, director of competition for Stewart-Haas Racing; Tony Gibson, crew chief of the No. 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car; Ryan Newman, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver; Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner and driver; and Darian Grubb, crew chief of the No. 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, pose for a picture during the 2011 Sprint Cup Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Regan Smith stands in front of his No. 78 Furniture Row ride during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(center) NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty stands between his two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers AJ Allmendinger (left) and the newest addition to Richard Petty Motorsports Marcos Ambrose during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Jack Roush (center) poses with drivers (left to right) Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, speaks with Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Richard Childress, team owner; Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet; Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet; Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Chevrolet, and Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Menard’s Chevrolet, pose for the media during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Richard Childress Racing on Tuesday in Welcome, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, owner Rick Hendrick and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. pose for a team picture Wednesday at Hendrick Motorsports Media Day during the Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, speaks to the media as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Penske Racing on Monday in Mooresville, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Joe Gibbs (third from right) poses with J.D. Gibbs (third from left), Joe Gibbs Racing President, Joey Logano (left), driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, Kyle Busch (second from left), driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, Denny Hamlin (second from right), driver of the No. FedEx Toyota, and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brian Scott (right), during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, on hiring Tony Stewart: “For 1997, we wanted to form a second team. We asked all the guys to write down the name of the driver they wanted the most and put it in a hat. There was one name on every piece of paper. That was Tony Stewart.”
Team owner Joe Gibbs (center) speaks about the 20th anniversary of Joe Gibbs Racing, as (left to right) JGR President J.D. Gibbs, former JGR drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, JGR senior vice president of racing operations Jimmy Makar and Interstate Batteries CEO Norm Miller look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The No. 21 Motorcraft Ford proudly displays the new American Ethanol sponsorship around the fuel hole during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)
(Left to right) Juan Pablo Montoya, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, team owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates and Jamie McMurray, defending Daytona 500 champion, pose for a picture during the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing stop on the 2011 Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at the Hilton Charlotte University Place in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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)
(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 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 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)
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)
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)
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)
I’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).
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|
|Clint Bowyer||Travis Kvapil|
|Ryan Newman||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|Tony Stewart||Kasey Kahne|
|Casey Mears||Elliott Sadler|
|Martin Truex Jr.||Jeff Gordon|
|Paul Menard||Matt Kenseth|
|Regan Smith||Denny Hamlin|
Voting for Round Three is over! Check out Round Four!
It’s time for Round Two! But first let’s find out what happened in Round One.
Kyle Busch (68%) defeated Jeff Burton (32%)
Juan Pablo Montoya (62%) defeated Brian Vickers (38%)
Tony Stewart (97%) defeated David Reutimann (3%)
Paul Menard (71%) defeated Jimmie Johnson (29%)
Casey Mears (73%) defeated David Ragan (27%)
Regan Smith (86%) defeated Kevin Conway (14%)
This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).
And now, I think this is when things are going to get even MORE interesting. Round Two is the largest group, it’ll be fun to see who makes it into Round Three. I was going to let Round Two last for two weeks but I have decided to run it for just a week. Votes poured in for Round One and I can only expect it to get crazier for this one, so I’m trying to contain it. Plus I’m highly impatient and two weeks sound like forever to find out the results.
So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Two! You can vote as many times as you want each day until voting ends on Saturday, January 15th.
UPDATE: Round Two voting has ended. Stay tuned for the results and Round Three!
|Jamie McMurray||Kyle Busch|
|David Gilliland||Joey Logano|
|Clint Bowyer||Bobby Labonte|
|Kurt Busch||Travis Kvapil|
|Ryan Newman||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Scott Speed|
|Sam Hornish Jr.||Tony Stewart|
|Carl Edwards||Kasey Kahne|
|Kevin Harvick||Casey Mears|
|Elliott Sadler||Reed Sorenson|
|Greg Biffle||Martin Truex Jr.|
|Jeff Gordon||Marcos Ambrose|
|Brad Keselowski||Paul Menard|
|AJ Allmendinger||Matt Kenseth|
|Robby Gordon||Regan Smith|
|Mark Martin||Denny Hamlin|
This year’s crop of racing-related commercials found drivers singing, professing their love of love and playing poker with Big Foot. Here is my list of the best commercials of 2010:
Tony Stewart Burger King Employee
My absolute favorite commercial of the year because it was real. Tony really did work at a Burger King and the result was really funny. I know it would be copying but I really think Lowe’s should put Jimmie Johnson to work in one of their stores. He’d be great at selling appliances, dontcha think?
The Sponsifier program was a big hit this year and it’s gotta be because their commercials were hilarious. I will never be able to get the line “I want Kyle Busch in a pink car and a pink suit” out of my mind or Joey Logano’s chainmail outfit and that look of utter disgust on his face.
Gillette Young Guns & Big Foot
Because Big Foot is a sore loser. I find that idea to be really funny.
Mario Andretti Honda
How adorable is Mario Andretti? Like, really adorable. All because he says “I’m hungry.” I love it.
Coca-Cola Drivers Sing it Out
People who can’t sing (or aren’t known for singing) and then unexpectedly start singing is a recipe for hilarity.
Honorable Mention: Gillette Young Guns Wedding
Because I just like Clint Bowyer in this one. We need more commercials with Clint flexing his funny bone in 2011!
Something I’ve noticed as I go to more races is that I take less pictures. In the beginning I was taking photos of everything; tires, cars, etc. But now that I know the pain of uploading those photos to Flickr and having to write a title for each one, I’m a lot more discerning when it comes to choosing a photo subject.
My Friday at Auto Club Speedway (ACS) began with me walking from my car to the garage and happening to see Travis Kvapil walking out of the drivers/owners motorcoach lot at the same time. I was set to interview Travis a little later on that morning, but he noticed me then. He must remembered me from when I interviewed him at ACS in 2008. This was, and still is, a big deal to me. He knew we had a scheduled interview for that day and he ended up having time right then so we went ahead and got the Inside the Actor’s Studio questioning out of the way.
Because I feel like the underdog pretty much all the time, it felt like a super cool “win” to walk through the garage, past crew members and whoever was around, with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver who actually REMEMBERED ME. Which is why Travis Kvapil is a super cool guy in my book. He really is genuinely nice and I cannot wait for a Sprint Cup win to come his way. I’ll talk more about him when I post the interview. He was the first driver to answer a particular question a particular way. How’s that for cryptic?
I missed the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday because I was busy driving two of my nephews (ages 9 and 11) from their home in Los Angeles to my mom’s house in the SF Bay Area. I love my nephews more than words can say but spending 7 hours in a car with them is not something I really want to do again. Who knew that doing word search puzzles could be a competitive thing??
Anyway, I did catch some of the race action from SIRIUS Satellite Radio’s coverage with MRN, but the boys were more interested in hearing music from Drake and, amazingly enough, Katy Perry’s song “California Gurls.”
In between pop music stints I did learn that Kevin Harvick won and that Dale Earnhardt Jr. dropped a couple curse words while being interviewed by ESPN’s Marty Smith.
So this post is going to be super duper photo heavy. Enjoy!
Delana Harvick takes a photo of her husband, Kevin Harvick (29), after he wins the Carfax 400 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Don’t you just want to eat him up? So adorable! I’m talking about the baby, not Tony.
Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot / Old Spice Chevrolet talks with Gavin Grubb, son of Stewart’s crew chief Darian Grubb,during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jack Roush during the Carfax 400 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Martin Truex Jr. (L), driver of the NAPA Toyota, and Sherry Pollex, stand on the grid during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the Cheerios / Hamburger Helper Chevrolet and guest stand on the grid for the National Anthem during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the Philips Norelco Chevrolet, talks with his wife Christy grid during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Greg Biffle, driver of the 3M Ford, stands on the grid with his wife Nicole for the playing of the National Anthem during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Nationwide driver Brad Keselowski celebrates with his mother after winning the Car Fax 250 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.
Joey Logano (20) and girlfriend, Sabrina Simpson, before the start of the Carfax 250 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Carl Edwards stands with his wife, Kate, and mother, Nancy Sterling, during pre-race ceremonies for the Carfax 250 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
If you’ve been living under a rock, or maybe you don’t watch ESPN, you might not know that the 2010 FIFA World Cup has kicked off in South Africa. This soccer thing is a big freaking deal and the USA has a team. Of course we all want the US to do well, but interestingly enough so does Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale is a soccer fan. I had no idea, but he really is and he’s working with adidas an their “Every Team Needs a Fan” campaign.
I guess I was the only person who wasn’t surprised to see Joey Logano sticking up for himself on pit road this weekend at Pocono. He had a similar, albeit less obviously confrontational, show of anger last year at Infineon in the Camping World West Series race when he sideswiped Patrick Long with his car on his way to the garage.
So if I had to pick a theme song for Joey it would be Britney Spears’ classic “Oops, I Did it Again,” because he’s “not that innocent.” Don’t let the big, cheesy “aw shucks” grin fool ya. The kid knows how to be pissed off.
Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the day of the Nationwide Series race, the TECH-NET Auto Service 300 powered by CARQUEST. It was also the day that I forgot to put my sunscreen on and got a nice little tan.
The two days that hold the Sprint Cup Series qualifying and Nationwide Series races are always my favorite days during any race weekend. It’s because there’s always, like, 50% less people running around the garage. I know it’s silly but I love feeling like I have the garage all to myself. And practice is always the best time to get pictures of the cars as they exit and enter the track.
On this particular day I witnessed something that has been going on forever but I only discovered it last weekend. I’m not sure what the process is but some cars come off the track and before going to their garage stall to make adjustments they stop at some designated area near or in the garage and the guys from Goodyear check out their tires. There’s also a crew member from their team checking stuff and taking notes.
The Monday after attending the inaugural induction ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame I had already earmarked as being a “day off” meaning that I wasn’t going to do anything except watch daytime television and go to the mall. This made sense because when I arrived I had two straight days of events to attend. I deserved it, plus I actually needed stuff from the mall.
Oh! I forgot to say that on Sunday night I had dinner with Jessica, Kells and Margaret. Margaret & Jessica I knew because they read this blog and are super active on Twitter, it was an absolute no-brainer that I was going to meet them while I was out in Charlotte. They’re awesome women and we had a fun time laughing it up at The Cheesecake Factory.
Anyway, back to Monday. I went to the mall with no expectations of any NASCAR related sightings but ending up spying Joey Logano shopping with his girlfriend. They were really cute. And no, I didn’t follow them. It was an interesting moment because I realized that if I lived in Charlotte moments like that would probably happen more often. Just something to think about.
On Tuesday my plan for the day was to check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I had taken a cursory walkthrough before the induction ceremony on Sunday and I really wanted to take some time to really experience everything it had to offer.
There were a ton of great commercials making their debut during the Daytona 500 this year. I guess everybody is starting to spend money again, which I fully endorse. The Coca-Cola guys singing about buying the world a Coke was good, Kasey Kahne’s incredible pit stop for Budweiser was cute but the most AMAZING commercial was for Toyota’s new Sponsifier promotion that allows fans to create a car design for the Toyota driver of their choice. I laughed every time it played, even when I knew what they were going to say. It’s sooo funny.
Joey Logano’s expression is priceless, as is Kyle Busch coming to terms with his pink kittens/pony/baby seal car.
And then of course from the internets, I found the other commercial. The one below features Denny Hamlin and a super funny cameo by David Reutimann. Now I understand why they were all Twittering about loving love.
Did you know that Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne are teammates? Yep, they’ve joined forces for a very special Gillette Young Guns promotion called The Gillette 500 – “The Great American Shave.” It’s a challenge to see whose team, competing against the other two-man teams of Kyle Busch & Joey Logano and Carl Edwards & Clint Bowyer, will be able to log the most shaves before April 30th.
You know what the best part is? I’m the team captain for Denny & Kasey! Hehe. So it’s officially on and I am asking you to get your boyfriend, your father, your grandfather and basically ANY dude that you know to go to Gillette500.com, join Denny & Kasey’s team and log their shaves, using the Gillette Fusion MVP™ razor of course, everyday!
And ladies don’t fret, you can sign up for a team too. In addition to joining a team (Denny & Kasey, Denny & Kasey!!!!) you’re also entering for a chance to win a sweet hometown visit from one of the Gillette Young Guns!
Check out this new video featuring Denny & Kasey helping this poor dude out with his sensitive skin:
Aren’t they adorable? And of course they know the guy’s name, they’re NASCAR drivers, they know everything. I love it. They’re like skin whisperers.
And there will be more webisodes in the future, so stay tuned.
The team captains for the two other teams are a couple of awesome ladies that I know and love but it’s too bad I have to take them down! Tallglassofmilk, of Answer This, is the captain for Carl & Clint and Summer is the captain for Kyle & Joey, check out Summer’s blog.
It’s all about Team Densey!!! (yes, that’s Denny & Kasey combined)
This week was the annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. I wasn’t there (trust me, I’m crying inside) and so all I have to share with you are these photos of drivers sitting in chairs. Enjoy!
(Left to right) Richard Childress Racing’s Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, owner Richard Childress and Jeff Burton take part in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson Photography)
Thursday, December 3rd was a big day full of events. However, my first event of the day had nothing to do with NASCAR but everything to do with moving from my $40 room at Harrah’s to my awesome not that much more expensive room at the Mirage. I loved my room at the Mirage so much that I took pictures of it. Which, I think, is saying something. For one, it had an iPod docking station & player so I could listen to my playlists while I got ready. The overall room design was modern & contemporary cool, complete with large flat screen TV with HD channels.
Anyway, after I got all checked in at the Mirage and waded through all of the authentic cowboys in town for the 2009 Wrangler National Rodeo Finals, I made my way over to the Venetian across the street for the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony.
Before the ceremony the top-12 drivers were available in an adjacent ballroom for Q&A sessions with media. I only had one question that I had any interest in asking any of the drivers and that was “Do you have any big plans for the off-season?”
Everyone was already engaged with media from various outlets: print, online, and TV. So I did a quick lap around taking pictures, and then chatted with ESPN PR.
Sunday’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix International Raceway was boring and I’m not saying that because Jimmie Johnson won. I’m saying it because it was boring, and the drama that involved Dale Earnhardt Jr. did not help things, like, at all.
Or maybe I thought it was boring because I was too caught up in trying on the dress I bought for the Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony. On Saturday, I went dress shopping with my mom and missed all of the Denny Hamlin/Brad Keselowski hullabaloo from the Nationwide race. On Sunday, I bought my dress, after starting with 10 contenders I found “the one” half an hour before the race started, and I really, really like it. I have to be honest, until I leave for Vegas this is all I’m going to be thinking about. I’m over Jimmie, and I’ve made peace with Dale’s season (Is it 2010 yet??!). I’m all about Champion’s Week; I’m counting down the days!
In other news…
– It’s safe to search the site again. There were issues with the Google Custom Search getting hijacked, but I’ve updated the code and the coast is clear.
And now, Phoenix photo fun time after the jump!
I swear you guys, I’m trying to write-up my weekend at the Pepsi 500 as fast as possible, but between flying to Vegas and feeling sickly, I’m going as fast as I can. So bear with me, ’cause I want you to read this stuff!
Saturday at Auto Club Speedway was qualifying for the Nationwide Series race the Copart 300 that was taking place in the afternoon.
For qualifying I took the same tack I used for the Pepsi 500 quals and stood in the garage in the area where the top 3 cars would park. I used the opportunity to take a bunch of photos.
I distinctly remember watching the AAA 400 pre-race show on Sunday and thinking that there was no way there would be another gnarly crash like the ones they were showing from past races at Dover because when something is hyped up that means the race will be boring as heck.
In this case, I was very, very wrong! Poor Joey Logano, his accident on the 31st lap was absolutely insane. I couldn’t believe he flipped that way and that much. It was neat, but I was oh so glad that he — and everyone else involved — were OK. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must feel like and from his reaction it wasn’t anything good.
Okay, so I said that the race wasn’t boring, but that was just for the first 31 laps. After that it headed down Snoozeville Road. Jimmie Johnson dominated the race and won it, and that is just not good. As I’ve said a billion times before, I don’t dislike Jimmie. I just find it highly annoying if he keeps winning all the time. It’s the same show over and over. Bleh.
I was looking through old posts of mine and I came across a photo of Joey Logano from last year. It dawned on me that he looks an awful lot like an Anime character when he’s happy! See for yourself:
Am I right? I mean, come on. So funny.
Congratulations to the twelve men that made it into the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup. It’s an interesting little group. I can’t believe the entirety of Stewart-Haas Racing made it in especially since I didn’t think they’d win a single race this year. Brian Vickers proved it really isn’t over til it’s over and made the Chase for the first time. I’m so excited for the No. 83 team.
I think it’s going to be a very fun Chase, at least I hope it is. It better be crazy at New Hampshire next weekend.
Because the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono was postponed from Sunday until Monday because of rain I couldn’t watch it live, on TV, from the comfort of my home. Since I was at work, I casually kept track of what was happening by using ESPN’s race widget in between doing work and sitting in meetings.
Once the race was over and I found out that Denny Hamlin had won I was stoked. Really, I was happy for him more than anything just because it had been what, 58 races since he’d last won a Sprint Cup race? So yes, this was a big deal, and like I’ve said before, I like the Denny.
It wasn’t long after I learned of Denny’s win that I received a text message from Tara, a young woman from Arizona who reads my blog and is one of the biggest Denny Hamlin fans around. She even won tickets to a race at Phoenix by professing her reasons why Denny is her favorite driver. Tara told me that she watched the final laps of the race while having lunch at T.G.I. Friday’s with her grandmother.
I really, really, really wish I was in Daytona right now. I just had to get that out of my head for the record. I just realized that I haven’t written anything about win at New Hampshire. Hmm. It’s not entirely on purpse. I don’t dislike the kid, I just didn’t want the race to end that way. It was just boring and annoying. I’m not blaming anyone, obviously it was the weather. It was a good race until it had to end. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was doing so well, right? He’s making great progress but then, for whatever reason, something happens and he doesn’t get the chance to let it show.
In other news…
– Office Depot has launched a new photo contest for fans of Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet. From now until my birthday, August 31st (which is a total coincidence, most contests end of my birthday), you can upload photos of the creative ways you’ve incorporated the No. 14 into your life. I have a feeling they’re going to receive some verrrrry interesting entries.
Sometimes I think the only reason I write blog entries is to use the subject lines I come up with. Often I come up with the headline before I think of the actual content. hehe.
Anyway, this is the story of Saturday at Infineon Raceway during the NASCAR Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend.
So the big thing for me was watching the Camping World Series West race in which David Gilliland, Boris Said and Joey Logano were participants. I’ve never witnessed a Camping World Series race before (East or West) so it was a new thing for me.
I found a choice spot behind the pits next to the start/finish line. For a good portion of the race I was sitting indian-style on the second wall beneath the grandstands. It was the best place to watch the race from because I was directly in front of one of the Sprint Vision screens. I didn’t miss a thing. When the action wasn’t in front of me it was on the screen.
When Tony Stewart announced his plans to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and owner I was skeptical. I had no idea what would happen but I can tell you that I definitely wasn’t thinking he would be leading in the points standings and winning races. Yea, I thought things would be “interesting” which is code for “not winning.” I didn’t think he would stink up the place but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to contend for the Championship like he is now.
His success is great though. I’m happy that Tony is leading and that he won this weekend’s race at Pocono. I know I’ve talked smack about Tony in the past, and I totally stand by it, but there’s something about him that I do like. I couldn’t tell you what it is right now but there’s something.
And because I’m a sucker for emotional things I love, love, loved it when TNT showed Tony’s dad in the pits. I loved seeing him wipe away tears as he watched his son drive into Victory Lane for the first time as a driver/owner. That’s a very sweet moment and those are the things that add that personal, sentimental touch to this sometimes impersonal, corporate sponsorship driven sport.
On Saturday I watched the Nationwide race at Nashville. No, I’m not going to talk about Kyle Busch’s ill-conceived plan for breaking up the race’s trophy into pieces to share with his team. (I basically agree with what Kyle Petty said about it during Sunday’s broadcast.) I want to talk about Brad Keselowski. Is it just me or does Brad seem a lot more mature and manly this year? He seems a lot less goofy (and I mean that in a really nice way!) and more sure of himself. Does winning a race make your voice change? Hmm, if so, maybe there’s hope for Joey Logano.
I kid, I kid. Photos after the jump!
That was the goal right?
So about that whole All-Star Race thing that was on Saturday.
I loved it! If NASCAR hadn’t brought back the 10-lap shootout at the end it wouldn’t have been nearly as awesome as it was.
It’s kinda weird how happy I was for Tony Stewart to win the thing, when I’m not really a Tony fan. I just think it’s great for Stewart-Haas Racing and it just goes to show that his two-car race team will be a force to be reckoned with, and it’s just a matter of minutes before he or Ryan Newman win a race that has points on the line.
I think that I had more things to say about the All-Star Race but because I’ve waited insanely long to write them down I’ve lost them. Hmmm.
Let’s think about this, what happened at the race? Dale didn’t win. Tony did. Jeff Gordon wrecked.
Oh! What was up with Joey Logano winning the fan vote to get into the All-Star race? He wasn’t on the radar, like, at all! I did not see that one coming. mind = blown. Where are Joey Logano’s fans? Where are you people? It’s not that I think he doesn’t have any, or that he shouldn’t, I just don’t understand it. He’s been around for 5 seconds and he’s getting voted into the All-Star race?
Denied!!! I guess the vote for A.J. t-shirt campaign just wasn’t enough.
AJ Allmendinger is all smiles after posting the quickest time during NASCAR Sprint Showdown practice at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon battled Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman three-wide during the 10-lap shootout before spinning and hitting the wall, ending his night eight laps short of the finish. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images)
Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Joey Logano was announced as in the top 10 in votes for the Sprint All-Star Vote. Logano needs to finish in the top two in the Sprint Showdown or win the Fan Vote to make the All-Star Race. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The crew members of Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet climb the fence to salute the fans after winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Happy Easter! Joey Logano won the Nationwide Series race at Nashville yesterday. I have no commentary because I didn’t see the race. I was too busy enjoying the sunshine and relative warm weather we’ve been having here in the Bay Area.
I do have photos though and they speak for themselves. Enjoy!
Joey Logano and Kenny Wallace dye Easter eggs as part of a driver and media contest on Friday. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Justin Allgaier won top rookie honors for his black and red egg that matches his car’s paint scheme in Friday’s egg dying contest. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Stephen Leicht’s intense work wins him the top driver honor in the egg dying contest. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Joey Logano celebrates in victory lane with the Sam Bass designed guitar trophy. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ya know, like actual racing with passing and everything.
I know it’s late to be writing about the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville but I had some things to say, and some photos to post, so better late than never right?
– Jimmie Johnson’s win on Sunday was his first for the season but it didn’t feel like that to me. It felt like I was watching a continuation of the 2008 season and I didn’t like that. It’s just boring; I want someone else to win except the same freaking handful of people.
– The race itself was very good. There was passing and the distinct possibility that somebody other than Jimmie could have won it. So I did appreciate that aspect of it. Denny Hamlin is growing on me.
– As the cameras cut to various people during the invocation and the singing of the National Anthem I remember thinking to myself “Who is that person hanging on to Jeff Gordon? Why is she… Oh, wait, that’s Ingrid!” Jeff’s wife, Ingrid, cut her hair like really, really short and I can’t say I approve of it. Not that it’s any of my business, she’s a beautiful girl but I liked it better long.
– I would like to thank Fox Sports for not showing another Digger & Friends episode this week. I am fine with Digger as a graphic element to showcase their embedded-in-the-ground camera but everything else is incredibly pointless. If I wanted to watch cartoons I’d watch the Cartoon Network, not a NASCAR race.
– Something that has nothing to do with racing, I got the new Keith Urban CD “Defying Gravity” this week and it is so freaking good! Although Keith did come up with the Digger theme song I am choosing to overlook that serious infraction because this man has put together some awesome music that I’m sure I’ll be listening to over and over for days and months to come. If I could marry a song right now it’d be “‘Til Summer Comes Around.”
Tony Stewart signs an autograph for a fan prior to climbing into his car for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Country music star Trace Adkins smiles in the flagstand before waving the green flag to start the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Joey Logano signs autographs for two fans while waiting out a rain delay at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
1.) His eyes are actually blue, but I love this photo ’cause it’s so color coordinated.
2.) With his head tilted to the side like that I imagine him thinking to himself “Why are you asking me the same damn questions over and over??”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks with media about meetings he had during the week with team owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(L-R): Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Jeff Gordon discuss their Martinsville driving styles while waiting for the rain to subside. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
So here are the things that have been rolling around in my head ever since my last blog post, which feels like an eternity ago and I apologize for that. That being said I’m not sure if it’s going to get any better at least until the season truly starts up again.
– I was listening to a few clips of Jamie McMurray talking about his love for kart racing. He mentions in one of ‘em that he doesn’t like to golf because it hurts his knees and back. I know that’s not huge news but I thought it might be interesting to McMurray superfans.
– The 2009 Sprint Sound & Speed event in Nashville, Tennessee is taking place today and tomorrow. Photos from last year’s festival were posted this week and frankly any photos of Dale Earnhardt Jr. from any point in time are totally fine with me. See below.
– Clint Bowyer filmed a commercial with the Hamburger Helper hand at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California this week. That guy has all the fun doesn’t he?
– Keith Urban, super talented hottie and Nicole Kidman’s hubby, will perform at the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show this year.
– David Stremme, who is coming back to the Sprint Cup Series this year with Penske Racing, spends time with his girlfriend playing Guitar Hero.
– As grand marshal for the Fiesta Bowl Tony Stewart attended the 38th Annual Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. Stewart sat atop a Corvette convertible and waved to fans along the 1.9 mile parade route while two Chevrolets decked out in the branding of his new primary co-sponsors for the 2009 Sprint Cup season, Office Depot and Old Spice, rolled along beside him.
“That was like driver introductions at Indianapolis times 10,” said Tony, in reference to the pre-race activities for NASCAR’s annual race at the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “This is a huge event and I’m just honored to be a part of it. It’s pretty cool to sort of venture outside our box a little bit and take in a game of this magnitude. With the racing season being what it is, getting away to see a college football game is kind of tough. When the Fiesta Bowl Committee called and asked if I was interested in being their grand marshal, I said, ‘As long as I get a ticket and a field pass to the game, I’m in.”
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer gets a helping hand as he tapes a commercial for his new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sponsor General Mills’ “Hamburger Helper” at Auto Club Speedway on Wednesday. Bowyer will debut his new ride in Southern California at the West Coast Premiere of NASCAR Feb. 20-22, hoping to end up in Gatorade Victory Lane following the Auto Club 500 on Sunday, Feb. 22. The new commercial spot is scheduled to begin running in February. (Photo Credit: Auto Club Speedway)
Joey Logano and brakeman Kenneth Stout, who led with only Todd Bodine left to go, watch the TV at the finish line as the eventual champion makes his final run. (Photo Credit: Todd Bissonette)
Country music star Jason Michael Carroll and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Petty pose for a picture during the 2008 edition of Sprint Sound and Speed Presented by SunTrust. Both are scheduled to be back at the event this year on Jan. 9-10. (Photo Credit: Sprint Sound and Speed)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Taylor Swift pose for a picture during the 2008 edition of Sprint Sound and Speed in Nashville. Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to participate in this year’s event on January 9-10. (Photo Credit: Sprint Sound and Speed)
My intention for this post was to talk about the Nationwide Series Champions Week, but I realized that I don’t have much to say ’cause I wasn’t there, but I will say that Clint Bowyer is pretty cute when he’s smiling. Isn’t the photo to the left a great shot of him?
Thanks to ESPN we all get to find out what happened at the awards banquet, all of the important things like who was Joey Logano’s date and other items of that nature. Highlights will be shown on ESPN2 at noon (EST). Check your local listings.
I was watching the practice sessions at Texas Motor Speedway today and ESPN put up a segment dedicated to the creation and evolution of their Draft Track technology. While I have the deepest respect for the people who made this stuff possible, if I’m being honest I have to say that it’s not that useful. I’m sorry.
I understand how the draft works, that’s enough for me. I don’t need to “see the draft” to know it’s there. Sometimes I think networks come up with stuff hoping that we as fans are going to fall all over ourselves to tell them how fabulous it is, and in this instance I can’t do it. Stick with the in-car cameras. I love seeing the drivers hands on the wheel turning left and right, and their feet pushing the gas and the brake. Show how bumpy the ride really is, they’re not driving around in a Lexus ya know.
I’d rather they put together great stories about people instead of showing me what wind looks like in color. Go ask Carl Edwards about his engagement. Ask Casey Mears and Sam Hornish Jr. what it’s been like to be a new father this year.
And for the record when I saw Carl and Jimmie Johnson talking in the garage during today’s practice session coverage I knew Jimmie was congratulating Carl on his engagement. When I saw Carl say “Thank you, thank you” I knew it. Yes, I read lips.
In other news…
– Jeff Gordon scored his first-ever pole at Texas Motor Speedway today. That’s awesome and I truly hope he can overcome his bad luck in Texas and come out a winner this time around.
– I found out that I’ve received media credentials to the Phoenix race weekend next week, which is awesome. However, I lost my day job due to our crap economy and so I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to go which hurts my heart more than you can ever know. Of course the “I Love Lucy” area of my brain (there’s gotta be a way I can still get in the show!) is working overtime trying to figure out a way to make it work, but I wouldn’t bet on it producing any viable plans.
– This just popped into my head: things that I’m excited about for next year’s NASCAR season. Namely, Scott Speed and Joey Logano in the Sprint Cup Series full-time. I think they’ll be fun to watch and talk about. That’s pretty much it. Oh and David Stremme will be back too! Yay Stremme!
Brad Keselowski focuses in practice Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. A NASCAR Nationwide Series regular, Keselowski qualified 37th for Sunday’s Dickies 500 as he’ll make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sitting in second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Carl Edwards straps into his car during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. Edwards was third-fastest in practice and qualified 16th for Sunday’s Dickies 500 at the track. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So there went yet another qualifying session called off due to rain. This is so crazy. I guess at this point in the season it’s not such a big deal, at least to me, because it puts the top 12 drivers in the Chase up front and right next to each other at the start of the race. I think that makes the race more interesting at least for the first few laps.
I was able to catch a portion of the qualifying session coverage on ESPN2 and I watched a segment devoted to Jeff Gordon and his career. I found it kind of odd to be completely honest with you. I was starting to wonder if he had suddenly announced his retirement and I had just missed it in the news somehow. He was talking about how his career and life in racing has changed over the years, about where he is with it all now. It just seemed like they were laying down the groundwork for him to start to make his way out. I know he’s getting there, but it seems a little premature to start humming his swan song.
For the second time, rain has dashed driver Joey Logano’s hopes of starting in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Logano was going to qualify for Sunday’s Pep Boys Auto 500, but rain cancelled qualifying and the field was set by owner points. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota, goes through Tech Inspection before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday. Schrader will start Sunday’s race in 40th position (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Johnny Benson and Ron Hornaday Jr. joked with each other at a news conference Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but on the track, the two veteran drivers are battling for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I don’t know if it’s possible to love and hate a racetrack at the same time but that’s how I feel about Talladega. I love it because it’s a restrictor-plate race and it’s so exciting and nerve wracking to watch the cars go three or four-wide. However, I hate it for exactly the same reasons and because of “The Big One” which I don’t know why we call it that when there’s usually more than one.
For the majority of the race things were going relatively well for me and the guys I was rooting for in the AMP Energy 500 on Sunday. Of course it was a big let down when David Gilliland was involved in a crash, but then things got really sad when Carl Edwards’ mistake took out his teammates, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and all of my highest hopes for Travis Kvapil. I was pretty much done at that point. If you follow me on Twitter you’d know that already.
So done that I didn’t care about the whole last lap controversy involving Tony Stewart and Regan Smith. While I think it’s great that Tony got a win after such a long winless streak, he did deserve it and it was so sweet to see his crew chief Greg Zipadelli get so emotional — something doesn’t smell right.
I guess my irritation lies with NASCAR and I don’t understand why Regan would quote what NASCAR said in the drivers meeting about being able to pass under the yellow line on the last lap, if it wasn’t true. It seems silly to draw that distinction anyway, that you can pass when you’re pushed under the yellow line when you can see the finish line on the last lap but not at any other time during the race. So someone obviously said it was ok to do it. And NASCAR’s official statement on the matter didn’t say that they never said it, it only stated that from now on they’ll never be able to pass under the yellow line ever again at the restrictor-plate races no matter what lap it is.
So whatever. Something that I loved about the race coverage was in the pre-race show, when Dale Jarrett interviewed Dale Jr. I looooved it and I really, really wish DJ could interview a driver before every single race. It was fun and I honestly think that they should try to inject some of that E:60 type stuff into every pre-race show, but that’s just me.
Did you get your copy of the September 22 issue of ESPN The Magazine with New Orleans Saint Jeremy Shockey on the cover? Well why the heck not? I loved the Shockey piece (I’ve been dying to know how he felt about sitting on the sidelines for the Super Bowl), but I also bought it because of the article featuring Joey Logano and his racing buddies Mark Davis and Chase Austin. All three guys are up and coming in the world of NASCAR racing, but of course Joey is waaay ahead of his friends on the NASCAR totem pole of success. It’s a good read and I recommend it.
Also of note: I really, really need to start watching more hockey. I’m just sayin’.
Oh and check out this little video (below) of Joey, Mark and Chase at their photo shoot for ESPN The Magazine:
In other news…
– You might have noticed the new logo gracing the back of Carl Edwards‘ No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion at Kansas this past weekend. If you didn’t, you’re just not paying attention now are you? Anyway, the logo I speak of was for the Mystique Salon & Spa (located in Boise, Idaho) owned by Julie Catalano*, which is this year’s “Official Small Business of NASCAR, courtesy of Office Depot.” Julie was flown out to Kansas for the race weekend and will receive a $10,000 small business makeover from Office Depot, plus her company logo will stay on Carl’s car for the remainder of the season. Now how’s that for great advertising?!
If you have a small business, keep this contest in mind for next year!
“This is an amazing opportunity for any small business owner, and I am thrilled to have the Mystique Salon and Spa logo featured on the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion,” Catalano said. “Office Depot helps me take care of my business every day and having that kind of support, along with hard work, has been very important in expanding my business during the past eight years.”
Edwards, who also created his own small business, Back 40 Records, said he was impressed by the hard work and dedication Catalano had put into her company.
“As an entrepreneur myself, I know how hard it is to run a small business,” Edwards said. “It takes a lot of time, effort and creativity to build and operate a successful small business, and Julie (Catalano) has done an incredible job — Mystique Salon and Spa truly deserves to be the Office Depot ‘Official Small Business of NASCAR.’”
*Okay, so this is beyond off topic but her last name reminded me of the character Jordan Catalano from the awesome show “My So-Called Life” from the mid-90s that I absolutely LOVED when I was in high school. Jordan Catalano was played by the insanely hot actor Jared Leto (who also fronts a band called 30 Seconds to Mars). Anywho, I just had to share that totally irrelevant piece of sort-of trivia. Ha! This is seriously how my mind works.
Me: So switching gears a little bit, to Joey Logano. He’s 18 and he’s going to have a full-time Cup ride next year, do you think that’s a case of too much, too soon or is it different for everyone? I mean, do you think there should be an age restriction in racing at the Cup level?
Jarrett: Well, obviously now that there’s the 18-year-old rule to whether it’s the Nationwide or any of the NASCAR events, the Trucks or anything, I think that’s a good thing.
Is it too much, too soon? Well that’s going to be hard to tell, I guess we’re going to have to see. If it’s happened before that an 18-year-old, and I don’t think that it has, has gotten a ride — ya know it’s rare that they get a ride at that age in the Cup Series — but to get a Championship caliber ride that’s what’s so very different this day in time versus things that have happened in the past.
On Saturday on my drive into the track from my sister’s house in Encino, I stopped by a Jamba Juice in Upland and bought a sixteen ounce Razzmatazz. I also decided to put the top down my on my car. It was 90-something degrees outside but I was wearing a hat and if you can’t put your top down when it’s hot what’s the point?
The day was about getting photos of anything and everything. During the Nationwide Series qualifying session I stood in the garage and watched as the top qualifiers came in and were interviewed by the crew from the SPEED channel.
After that I wandered the garage and spied Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Cheryl Burke with her new partner, Olympic sprinter and gold medalist Maurice Greene shooting some sort of video thing next to the pace car. Cheryl got to wave the green flag for the Camping World RV Service 300 presented by Coleman later that evening.
I made sure to keep close to the conference room in the middle of the garage where they hold all of the driver’s meetings and major press conferences. The Nationwide Series drivers meeting was set to start and I wanted to be in a good position to try and get good photos, but for some reason I got nothing of people going in, and then when they came out everybody was grouped together and they rushed out, so I didn’t get much.
One cool thing that happened was just a little bit later when the Cup Series guys got ready to go out for their final practice session of the day. Cars started to pull out from the far side of the Cup garage and made a long line out to pit road. They were all stopped and a second line formed right in front of me starting with Jeff Burton. He was so close that I could have easily walked up and touched the car and then poked my head in beside the window flap. Of course I didn’t, but there were photographers that did. They pushed their lenses right on inside the car to get close up shots of the drivers. I wondered what that must be like to have people basically shoving their cameras in your face to get a shot, right when you’re about to go out on the track.
But moving on, while I’m standing there Carl Edwards drives his car up behind Burton and rolls to a stop, and then starts to roll again and bumps into the back of Burton. I took a photo before Carl backed up. I’m assuming he meant to do that. They must like each other right?
So I’m standing there taking a couple photos and I’m like, I dunno, five feet away from his car and Carl waves at me. So I waved back, smiled, laughed and said “Hiii!” It was too funny.
After the Cup practice was the Nationwide Series race and oh how I love a Nationwide Series race. I love the fact that there’s way less security and structure to the driver intros, at least behind the stage, you get way better photos and experiences because of it. I got some great photos of drivers looking right at me as I took their photo, like the one below of David Ragan.
Okay, so I have to put in one more “Awww, Carl” story. There were these two teenage girls who kept calling to Carl to come over and sign their stuff. He eventually came over, talked to them and signed whatever it was they had. To hear their reaction was so cute, they were all “We got Carl! We got Carl! Omigosh!” I love that.
Nothing too noteworthy happened after all of that. I think some dude named Kyle Busch went on to win the race, but I’m not sure.
Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Cheryl Burke and her new partner gold medalist Maurice Greene hang out before the start of the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
David Gilliland chats with his crew after qualifying for the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Look closely and you can see his eyes peeking out through the window net!
Carl Edwards sits in his car, waiting to start practice on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Stanton Barrett signs an autograph for a fan before driver introductions on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
David Ragan (center) chats with Carl Edwards (right) and Joey Logano (left) before driver introductions for the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I have a new appreciation for Nationwide Series races. For one there are less people around for all of the pre-race festivities so it makes getting closer for photos a lot easier. It also seemed like security was a little more relaxed, not that they weren’t paying attention or taking care of things, it’s just that it felt like there was less hassle.
Before driver introductions began the pit crews pushed their cars out to pit road and drivers started walking out to the stage at the start/finish line. I was in the Nationwide garage debating whether or not I would even go out there. I decided it was worth it (I don’t know why I would think it wouldn’t be) and headed in the direction of the stage. When I stepped on to the grass I noticed a small commotion to my right. There was a cameraman walking backwards, and another guy helping him, while filming Carl Edwards who was walking about 6 feet from me. I couldn’t catch what he was saying or what they were filming it for, but they quickly finished and left Carl alone.
I was watching the whole thing and when the camera guy was gone I was still looking at Carl. He saw me and then smiled and said “hello” to which I said “hi” back. To be honest I don’t think I’ve smiled that big in quite some time. Just thinking about it makes me feel like a big geek. I can say this about Carl, when he looks at you, and really it seems whenever he interacts with people, he gives you his full attention even if it is just for a moment. He just oozes this really genuine nice guy vibe.
After our exchange our paths split. I was already replaying the whole thing my head over and over again as I walked up to the right side of the stage.
Being out in the grass, and then on the track itself right up against the grandstands is truly surreal. It’s like, can it get any better than this? That’ll never get old to me, never.
After driver intros I went back down to pit road for the anthem where I happened upon Joey Logano signing stuff for a fan and David Stremme’s totally packed pit box, and I caught the start of the race there too. I watched the majority of the race in the lunch room of the media center and then caught the last laps outside from behind Victory Lane.
We all know how the Dollar General 300 ended. Ugh.
I headed back to my car where I was invited to some sort of motor home/bus party by a random guy that I had never met before. Apparently he had been tasked by his friends to get all of the girls to their little shindig. I politely declined and headed back to my hotel. My driving experience going back to the hotel was way better than the day before since the sky was clear for the most part and I prepared my change for the toll roads in advance. I was finally getting the hang of driving around Chicagoland, or so I thought.
Joey Logano signs his autograph for fans on pit road before the start of the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The grandstands and the track before the start of the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
It was a full house with standing room only for the first few laps of the Dollar General 300 in David Stremme’s pit box (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I’ve managed to shock myself at how long it’s taken me to write something about Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win at Michigan last weekend.
I was in Los Angeles helping to celebrate Father’s Day for my brother-in-law so I wasn’t able to watch the race unfold. I saw the beginning of it before we left for lunch and then when I got back to the house I found that my mom had called me on my cell phone that I had regrettably left behind. I called her back and she asked me if I had seen it, seen Dale win. My first emotion was anger that I had missed it. I was so mad. If you follow me on Twitter you already knew that.
Of course I’m happy for him, ecstatic even, but I’m still sad that I missed it. It’s not enough for me to see the highlights after the fact. I need to watch it live. In the end though there’s nothing I can do about it. I still got to see how it ended and his reaction in victory lane and his interview with ESPN’s Marty Smith. Although, I do wish his win had been cleaner and by “cleaner” I mean that I wish there wasn’t the whole controversy over passing the pace car under yellow. I’ll still take it of course, but still, it lingers.
My mom is traveling and she saw the end of the race in a restaurant in Arkansas. She was taken aback by the crowd cheering for Dale as he won the race. Stuff like that doesn’t happen in Northern California. If you enter a restaurant and the patrons are cheering it’s either because the Giants, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders or A’s are winning. Some places will have the race on TV but it’s usually because there’s nothing else on. At any rate, I want to experience that for myself. I must get myself to Charlotte asap!
In other news….
– Kyle Busch has bowed of his attempt at running for a Championship in all three of NASCAR’s series. I think that was a good idea. After two sucky weeks I think it was the thing to do. I don’t think that’s something that I’d want any driver to do, even the ones that I don’t like. It’s too much work and it thins out your focus for the most important Championship of all, the Sprint Cup.
– Joey Logano won his first NASCAR race and he’s the youngest guy to do it in the Nationwide series. How cool is that? I was really happy for him and it was fun to see his father counting down those final laps. It’s good to see the hype pay off.
– I’m all set to go to Chicago for the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in July. I even added in an extra day to my itinerary so I could check out downtown Chicago and see Gavin Rossdale in concert at the House of Blues.
– The NASCAR race at Infineon is this week and I’m super excited. I’ll be there on Friday. The first order of business will be attending the media gatherings outside of each of the top-12 drivers haulers. Of course I’m not trying to go to all of them. I have my select group of drivers that I’m interested in hearing from the most. I’ll be posting daily during the weekend, probably when I get home each day.
– Nikki Blonsky, the young actress who starred in the latest movie version of Hairspray will be singing the national anthem for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Northern California native Guy Fieri, host of the Food Networks show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives will serve as the Grand Marshall.
– For this weekend’s race at Infineon Travis Kvapil and the No. 28 Yates Racing Ford will be sponsored by… wait for it… the California Highway Patrol! Shut up! I know! Cops are sponsoring racing. How crazy is that? I love it.
Tony Stewart climbs in his car to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne, winner of two of the last three races, is all smiles as he waits to qualify for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Ragan is all smiles Saturday after posting the third-quickest time in the morning practice session. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Rick Hendrick congratulates Dale Earnhardt Jr. after he won the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, ending a 76-race winless streak. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Defending race winner Carl Edwards gets ready to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The really, really young guns.
(L to R) NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Brad Coleman, Landon Cassill, Bryan Clauson, Eric McClure and Jason Leffler talk with 2,700 Nationwide associates prior to the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Nationwide is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)
Joey Logano hoists the winner’s trophy at Kentucky Speedway as Tony Jones, Cincinnati Market Director for Meijer, looks on. Logano was the eighth different winner and eighth different pole winner at Kentucky; he was also the third consecutive series regular to win at the track. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)
Well that didn’t take very long at all.
Former Formula 1 driver Scott Speed won his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race after in only his fifth start. I knew it would happen for him but I didn’t think it would happen this soon! After everybody is done talking themselves silly over Joey Logano they should start taking notice of Scott. I know he’s going to move up and up and start making some real noise in NASCAR.
Check out this little tidbit of info, not only did Scott get a pedicure before the race he also had the tips of his toenails painted blue. (It is possible to get a pedicure and not have your toes painted.)
Take care of the feet that take care of you. Maybe Scott Speed’s pedicure before Friday’s Craftsman Truck race wasn’t such a bad idea.
“He told me when he got on the plane that he had his toes painted and that they feel better than they ever did and that he thought he would have better throttle control,” joked Doug Wolcott, Scott’s crew chief at Bill Davis Racing. “That’s what let us pull away at the end.”
Indeed, Scott had the tips of his toenails painted blue, but it was a two-tire stop late in the race that helped send the Red Bull driver to victory lane in the AAA Insurance 200 at Dover International Speedway. Driving the No. 22 Red Bull Toyota, Scott ran away from the field after a late restart to earn his first-ever NCTS win in just his fifth attempt.
This just goes to show that he was one colorful dude, but it’s not like we didn’t have proof of that already. I can’t wait to see more from this guy.
In other news…
– This is a totally personal side note, but I can’t get DirecTV! The way my balcony is situated it just won’t allow me to sit the dish there. They would of had to mount it on the side of the railing and the property managers won’t go for that. So I’m stuck with Comcast again. Ugh. I freaking hate Comcast.
– Cute kid photo of the day!
One of Jeff Gordon’s youngest fans, Jaden Greenbaum of Philadelphia, watches the No. 24 during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice on Friday (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell / Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m glad that Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600. It’s a great boost for him and his team and Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM — truly, truly outrageous!). I didn’t think it was going to happen since Tony Stewart had that commanding lead at the end, but his misfortune was Kasey’s good luck.
About the photo of Kasey to the left: I seriously challenge him to take a horrible picture! He’s not even trying for gosh sakes.
I have to give NASCAR kudos for all of the pre-race festivities involving the troops. I got all teary-eyed when the trumpeter played Taps and I got chills from the bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.”
But here’s where I got irked during the pre-race show. During the Gas ‘N Go segment where Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond answer quick fire questions asked by Chris Myers. They failed to include a question about the swapping of the deck chairs on the titanic that has been Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
Why oh why did they not talk about Jimmy Elledge’s firing, after he had been moved from Reed Sorenson’s team over to the crew chief position for Juan Pablo Montoya? That’s interesting. That’s something about which I’m actually curious to know DW’s opinion. What I’m not concerned with is the obvious fact that there’s no way that NBA star Yao Ming could fit into a race car.
Ya know, for a moment there when I heard about the crew chief swap at Gnassi and Juan Pablo’s frustrations that I actually felt for the guy, but then I read this exchange between him and Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer and I all of that went out the window:
Q: They call last weekend the biggest weekend in racing. Monaco, Indianapolis and the Coca-Cola 600 — of all three, which do you think is the biggest?
JPM: Um, the one I’m in.
Q: Do you mean the one you are in now (NASCAR), or the one you are in that particular year?
JPM: Both. I don’t know. As a show for the fans, the best one is this one. As far as tradition, the other ones have a lot of tradition. In Europe, the Monaco Grand Prix is a big deal. I think it’s such a big deal because it’s the only street course Formula One does. The other races you can actually see cars hitting walls and screwing up. I guess people like that.
Q: Which victory did you prefer, Monaco or Indy?
JPM: Don’t put me in that position.
JPM: I am not going to answer that. You know what the answer is, so don’t ask it.
Q: I don’t know the answer. That’s why I asked the question.
JPM: Next question.
Q: I’ve got nothing else.
Why is this guy such a tool?? Okay, I actually do feel for him in terms of the crew chief situation and everything, but I still maintain that he’s got an icky, egotastic attitude.
Yao Ming (L) talks with Kyle Petty (R) prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 25, 2008 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Joey Logano addresses the media during a news conference to celebrate his 18th birthday. Logano will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut next week at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Z-Line Designs Toyota (L), and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #88 NAVY Chevrolet, speak to the media in a press conference following the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on May 24, 2008 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Travis Kvapil, driver of the #28 Lumber Liquidators Ford, sits in his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 22, 2008 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)