The last laps of last night’s race at Richmond were chock full of WTF moments I’m not quite sure where to begin.
All posts tagged Kurt Busch104 Posts
This was my exact reaction to hearing the news about Kurt Busch joining Stewart-Haas Racing next year:
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.
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.
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 think Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s comments after yesterday’s race at Talladega were right-on:
"I had the wrong approach I think in the beginning of the season. I was following my Zen master Charlie Sheen and that wasn’t going very well (laughs). I had to look around and then I followed a fellow most top 10 hated athlete guy LeBron James. He brought his talents down to Miami and won the championship down there. I’m going to use that motivation, I’m going to take my talents to Denver and bring the championship out there. Then I decided that I didn’t need Charlie Sheen so I’m going to look at a new Zen master, I found him, it’s Bryce Harper. 19-year-old phenom out of Las Vegas, he is the Nationals guy that has helped their team get into the playoffs. He is so wise he told the media ‘no more clown questions. I’m not going to answer any clown questions.’ I’m really looking up to a 19-year-old Bryce Harper to help me through all this."
I love that Kid Rock couldn’t be bothered to put his drink down to give the command to start engines.
I didn’t love Mark Martin’s gnarly crash on pit road. That was crazy and scary. So glad it wasn’t worse.
Jeff Gordon got all huffy at Dale Earnhardt Jr. I found that to be cute.
And Greg Biffle won the race! I think that’s cool because Biffle is a nice dude.
First, let me apologize for my serious delay in writing about Sonoma. The Monday following the race I came down with a cold and subsequently felt like crap ever since and didn’t feel like doing anything at all except breathing.
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.
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.
The theme of 2011 for The Fast and the Fabulous has to be growth. We grew in traffic, content and opportunities. I am so incredibly thankful for everyone that reads this blog and receives any kind of enjoyment from it. You guys are the best! I had a “car thought” the other day (I do some of my best thinking while driving, this is also similar to “shower thoughts”) and I realized that the reason I read celebrity interviews & magazines in general is because I’m trying to learn something about myself or something that I can apply to my life. And I think that that’s something people can do when they read about my experiences at the track. You might find my stories funny but maybe you learn, or reinforce, something you already knew about yourself from one of my stories or from an interview I did with a driver. That’s what I hope, anyway.
This post is really about everything that I forgot. It wasn’t until I started unpacking that I realized I’d forgotten my evening bag/clutch. This was important because there was no way I could carry everything I’d need for the Awards Ceremony without a bag and taking my regular purse would have been ridiculous.
Thursday was decidedly less cab filled than Wednesday. I walked next door to the Bellagio for the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon. My table, number 31 (my fave number because it’s my birthday), was the designated NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps table. We were a couple tables behind the Joe Gibbs Racing table where JD Gibbs and Kyle Busch were seated.
I woke up ridiculously early Wednesday morning to catch my 6am flight to Las Vegas. I received media credentials to attend the 2011 Motorsports Marketing Forum presented by Sports Business Journal/Daily. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get see the entire program for that day, but I wanted to get in as much as possible.
And he kept fighting ’til the end!
What a race. The Ford 400 was pretty ah-mazing considering there wasn’t serious wreckage. It was all about Tony Stewart driving it like he freaking stole it to the win. Not only winning the race but his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. I’ve never seen anything like that, and it makes me wish we could have a race that looked like that one every weekend. I dunno but Tony certainly put on a show, his restarts were pitch perfect.
I’m oh so very happy for the Office Depot team, and I’m not just talking about the pit crew and Tony, I mean the PR peeps from Office Depot. They’re genuinely some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and have been so good to me over the past few years. All of my awesome moments & interviews with Tony have been because of them and I am so grateful. They totally deserved this win and I can’t wait to see ‘em all in Las Vegas!
Hats off to Carl Edwards for being his usual classy self. I know losing this Championship had to hurt, but he’s gotta be proud in knowing that he’s an elite driver in NASCAR. He’s come so far in following his dream, and like the awesome song “It’s Amazing” by Jem says, “Nothing can compare to deserving your dreams.”
Obviously Tony winning the Championship means that Jimmie Johnson didn’t, and of course leading up to Sunday’s race everybody was talking about how amazing Jimmie’s 5-peat was, and it is, but the thing that annoys the hell out of me is when people say that no one will ever be able to do that again. I just don’t like it when people rule things out. It’s possible. Anything’s possible. It’s also ridiculous to say that Jimmie will never win another Championship (insane that anyone even thought that). I feel like people say stuff just to say things because they have to fill in air time. Whatever.
And to all the douchebags that booed First Lady Michelle Obama you should be ashamed of yourselves. Regardless of your political beliefs she and Dr. Jill Biden were there in support of our troops and their families, show some respect. Idiots.
Anyway… I’m just going to put this out there: I really think that Tony winning this year’s Hottest Driver Tournament was a good omen for him. I might be slightly biased in that opinion, though. The 2012 Hottest NASCAR Driver Tournament will begin right after New Year’s on January 2, 2012. So stay tuned!
Up next… Champion’s Week in Las Vegas!
‘Cause he won the race, you guys. I don’t miss playing Red Rover in elementary school, although Steal The Bacon was my absolute LEAST favorite game. I’m more of a Hopscotch/4 Square girl, no annoying boys yelling at you if you do something “wrong.”
Anyway, Kurt Busch’s win of the AAA 400 at Dover International Raceway was one big piece in the changed up Chase standings. I love that everything is still up in the air and we have no idea who will ultimately walk away with this year’s trophy. I hope Brad Keseolowski is right, he posted the following tweet last night:
After today’s race. It’s obvious the chase winner will be decided on the last lap at homestead. Every one is so close.
Did you see all of the babies on pit road during the pre-race coverage on ESPN? Adorableness times a million.
The best quote of the day (in my opinion) came from Jimmie Johnson. I like Sassy Jimmie
Q. You both (Carl Edwards) talked about essentially mistakes that you made today that prevented you from winning. How do you get over that? How long does that take? What’s that process in moving forward?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: If I was Carl, I wouldn’t get over that mistake.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I maybe wouldn’t show up next week.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: (Laughing). Not sure we answered your question.
And I’m not talking about on the track either. They might need to post security in the media centers for the next 10 races. A lot of interesting things happened Saturday night at the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway post-race press conference. Sounded like a good time full of ripped up paper, tension, verbal jabs that made no sense and the comedic talents of Matt Kenseth.
I guess Snookie has that kind of effect on people.
Anyway… The only thing I can/want to say about the media and it’s questions that always sound the same is to quote one of my favorite movies from the 80s, “Heartburn,” starring my one of the greatest actresses of all time Meryl Streep (I love her!) and Jack Nicholson (He’s great too!). The movie is about a couple who get married, have a baby and then the husband cheats and the wife loses all trust she had for the husband but tries to carry on in the relationship. During that portion of the movie Jack’s character says to Meryl’s character “You can’t take it’s temperature every five minutes.” He was referring to their relationship, us ladies always want to know where we stand in our relationships especially if things don’t feel “right.” (If you’ve ever had to ask a guy “where is this going??” it’s probably not going anywhere good) Anyway… I love that line and I think that it applies to the media when they keep asking drivers how they feel about making The Chase, being in The Chase, still being in The Chase, why are you in The Chase, what does it feel like to be in The Chase… it NEVER ends. They do the same thing with other storylines, whatever it is they will ask the same question in various formats every week until there is a resolution. But I say, you can’t take it’s temperature every five minutes, dude! Nothing’s changed and when it does change, ask a question then.
Moving on… Congratulations to Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team! It had to have felt great considering the announcement he and his wife DeLana made earlier in the week about shuttering the racing side of Kevin Harvick Inc.
Richmond was a great, caution-filled race and I can only hope that we get more awesome action like that in the next 10 races. I love this time of year right before the first race in The Chase when everything feels possible. I hope we get to hold on to that feeling for more than two races.
So Jeff Gordon won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is totally great but he missed his daughter Ella’s first day at school. For some reason, for me, that overshadowed everything else he said in Victory Lane on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, winning the race is HUGE and it looks like he’s in a great position to contend for the Championship this year–which I love–but when you think about it from a personal/family perspective a part of me goes “Awww, he didn’t get to take her to school.” He probably would have had the race happened on Sunday when it was supposed to.
Anyway, congrats to the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger team! It was great to see the car that was CLEARLY fast all day win the race in the end.
There are things that I want to say about this next race at Richmond–the last race to determine the 12 drivers in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup–but I’m not going to because I’m afraid I’ll mess it up. I can’t even say/type/think the “J” word because I’m afraid just saying it will have some effect. Just know that there are certain drivers that need to keep themselves and their teams together to keep things good.
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)
How much did you LOVE the racing between Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch? And how much did you ADORE their post-race face-to-face (with respectful distance) argument? Probably not as much as me! It was brilliant and just added to an already excellent race finish. Why don’t they turn up the mics and let them hover close to those guys when they’re arguing like that? I know there’s potential for foul language, but can’t they just risk it? I was straining to try and hear something.
Congratulations to Brad Keselowski! Maybe everybody should get injured more often? I mean, he won the race with one properly working ankle and Denny Hamlin won races after his knee issues. Crazy, but very cool.
Did you see Carl Edwards‘ finish line crash with Ricky Stenhouse in Iowa during the Nationwide Series race? More craziness. Never seen anything like that before, but it seemed like a fitting end to a race that saw those two getting into each other and Ricky didn’t appreciate it at all. The two had history from ORP last week and now this new wrinkle. During the post-race coverage they showed Carl talking to Ricky’s crew chief, Mike Kelly. You could clearly hear Mike say to Carl “Well, you tell him that. He thinks you hate him.” Finally some actual truthful feelings. Whenever the guys talk on camera you don’t always feel like you’re getting to true thoughts, and this time we got some via Ricky’s crew chief.
– Take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey and enter for your chance to win an awesome Goo Gone prize package. Contest & survey ends on August 10th, 2011. More info
– Help me raise money for My NASCAR Year 2012. More info
Congratulations to Paul Menard and the No. 27 NIBCO/Menards Chevy team! This season has definitely been the year of the first-time winner and I couldn’t love it more. My favorite part is waiting for the Victory Lane interview and hoping the guy cries. Well Paul didn’t cry but he ALMOST did! Tears or no tears, it was really cool to see a guy win something that clearly meant a lot to him and his family.
I have to thank ‘Fabulous’ reader Tara for sending me this screen capture of a Twitter convo between two spotters talking about Paul Menard’s girlfriend, Jen. Start at the bottom.
P.S. – Can Rascal Flatts sing the National Anthem at every NASCAR race, puhleze? Love them.
Above: This melts my heart. That kid had to be losing it (keeping it all inside of course)!
Below: Watch those hands Kasey!!!
– Take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey and enter for your chance to win an awesome Goo Gone prize package. Contest & survey ends on August 10th, 2011. More info
– Help me raise money for My NASCAR Year 2012. More info
How excited are you that there’s going to be NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action this week? I, for one, am really happy about it, and it’s the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway no less. It throws my entire weekend off when there’s no race. I end up doing horrible things, like working.
I was going through various driver pre-race reports and found some quotes that I thought were funny or interesting enough to share (this doesn’t happen that often).
– Before I get to the pre-Brickyard stuff, I have to say something. So I got an email today from some PR person promoting a book about why men cheat. I have NO idea why I got this email because, while my audience is chock full of women, I don’t write about relationship stuff in that way. But still it got me thinking about something that’s been on my mind lately. The idea or “fantasy” of dating a racecar driver or crew member. I’m not going to lie, I’ve thought about it. Of course I have. I wouldn’t be human if I hadn’t, but I must say that it’s never been my GOAL. For groupies, it’s their one freaking goal. For me, it never was and now that I’ve been in the garage a lot and have heard many a story about crew guys, crew chiefs, drivers & team owners I can tell you that the “fantasy” has been thrown to the ground and stomped all over. If you’ve heard the crap I’ve heard you would make a rule that you would never want to even entertain the IDEA of dating one of those guys. Which is not to say that you can’t have a perfectly awesome committed relationship with a guy whose job revolves around racing. You totally can, but just be careful. And there are a lot of nice, stand-up guys in the garage too. I’m just saying. Any pro athlete that’s constantly traveling is ripe for shenanigans. Keep your eyes OPEN.
– In his pre-race report Jimmie Johnson was asked how he’d characterize the first half of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The last sentence of this made me chuckle:
“I would say parity is really the first thing that comes to mind. You can flip it around and maybe say the lack of a dominant team as well. There have been guys that can flex muscle at times, but no one consistently has just schooled everybody. It’s been very, very equal this year and unpredictable if you will. A lot of first time winners, which is great to have and no runaways right now. It’s been an exciting time for the fans I believe. Then also we’ve been acting like fools out there at times so that’s always spicing things up.”
– Kurt Busch is really excited about the interview he did with ESPN, which will air this weekend during the pre-race show for their first Sprint Cup Series race of the season:
“ESPN is starting their coverage very strong with a feature like this,” said Busch. “When he told me during the interview what his angle was and started asking all the questions, I said to myself, ‘Wow, now this is a really different way to look at this track and this race.’ When he brought out the prop to use at the end of the interview, I said, ‘Man, this guy really has his act together. This will be one of the best features on our sport for the season…maybe one of the best ever.” Be sure to watch ESPN’s coverage that begins at 12:00 noon EDT on Sunday.
– David Gilliland shared a nice story on his memories of his very first visit to the Brickyard with his father, Butch:
“I think just the history of the Brickyard is what makes it so special. I remember the first time I ever went to the track was with my dad in 1994 for the inaugural Sprint Cup race. My dad wasn’t racing, actually, but we went to try to help a friend of ours try to make the race. Just going through the museum, seeing the bricks on the start-finish line and just thinking about all of the history and everything that has happened at that track is cool. And to be able to do that with my father makes it even more special. He was racing a lot and I just loved being around it. Then, just to go to Indy with him, that is something I’ll never forget.
And at that time, for stock cars to be racing there was something unheard of. Growing up, I don’t think my father or I ever thought we were going to see that day. Growing up on the west coast, anywhere really, Indy was about Foyt, Unser and Andretti. And being west coast guys, the Unsers were big names. We really didn’t think names like Wallace or Earnhardt were ever going to be a part of Indy. Then, here we were working in the same garages as these guys. It’s cool, too, because I can bring my family and my son, Todd. We can have that same experience. Some people are giving this race a hard time, but this is still Indy and it’s always special.”
– Take the 2011 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey and enter for your chance to win an awesome Goo Gone prize package. Contest & survey ends on August 10th, 2011. More info
– Help me raise money for My NASCAR Year 2012. More info
As the title suggests, Shell has given me one fabulous prize pack to give away to one of you lucky people! It’s all apart of promoting Shell’s “Favorite Road Trip Sweepstakes.” Just tell them about your favorite road trip or road trip memory for a chance to win free gas for a YEAR!
Shell is giving race fans a chance to win FREE Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasoline for up to a year with the Favorite Road Trip Sweepstakes. Through September 5, customers can enter and find rules by visiting a href=”http://www.shell.us/roadtrip” target=”_blank”>shell.us/roadtrip. All they have to do is submit a short story of their favorite road trip or memory for a chance to win a year’s supply of Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines, which help protect critical engine parts from the build-up of “gunk”. Daily winners will also be randomly selected to win a $100 Shell Gift Card. No purchase necessary.
I got the chance to speak with Kurt Busch himself this week and found out that HIS favorite road trip memory is of the times he spent traveling the 12 hours from his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada to Denver, Colorado to go racing early in his career. Said Kurt, “It was so gorgeous driving through the desert plains and up into the hills and then it changed into the evergreens and the snow. It was a really fun trip we did all through the years.”
So, I totally forgot to include these photos in my regular weekend write-ups. Luckily they work all by themselves.
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.
The most interesting things (to me, at least) that happened as a part of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway had nothing to do with the action on the race track.
Yes, it was awesome that Denny Hamlin finally got his 1st win of the season. I was really happy for him and his team. And did you see Denny’s tweet this morning? He’s moving into a new house. Congrats on that too, Denny!
Okay, so for the interesting things. I spied Kurt Busch with his “lady friend” again (see photo at left). I hope she comes out to Infineon, I would love to see what’s going on with that whole deal in person.
Did you see during the pre-show when little Ella Gordon (who turned 4-years-old today) was smacking her dad, Jeff Gordon, on the butt?? Now that was some funny stuff.
Post-race 21-year-old Landon Cassill tweeted that he was celebrating his first Father’s Day. I had no idea he had a baby, but he does — a daughter with Miranda Smith. Congrats!
In other news…
– An update on My NASCAR Year 2012. Last week I received an insanely cool donation of $5,000! So now I’m at $5,205 and I still need your help to get to $125,000 that I need to make this thing happen. You can donate any amount, publicly or anonymously — even $5 helps get to the goal! DONATE
As we all know by now, this year Kurt Busch has been arriving at the track without his wedding ring and without his wife, Eva. So last weekend at Pocono when Kurt was seen standing at his car for the invocation and National Anthem with another blonde that wasn’t his wife it sent tongues wagging. The woman by his side (seen here and here) is Patricia Driscoll, President and Executive Director of the Armed Forces Foundation. Sources tell me that the two met through Ms. Driscoll’s foundation’s work with traumatic brain injuries.
I have no idea if there is in any relationship there other than a professional one or plain old friendship. Kurt has yet to announce a divorce from Eva, so it’s anybody’s guess as to what’s going on there.
In other news…
Next week is the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway way in Sonoma. I’ll be there so I’m REALLY excited about it. But before any racing gets started there are a couple events you should know about:
– On Wednesday, June 22nd Clint Bowyer will meetup with fans for the Cheerios Walk for a Healthy Heart across the Golden Gate Bridge. The walk will depart from the north side of the iconic bridge at noon. If you want to join Clint for the event go to Ghirardelli Square at 11 a.m. for FREE transportation to the walk. I’ll be there too, so make sure you say “Hi!”
– On Thursday, June 23rd Infineon Raceway is hosting a parade of up to 50 NASCAR haulers through the streets of Sacramento under a full police escort. This will be the first ever hauler parade in Northern California, and will serve as the Sacramento kickoff to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend. The parade will depart from its starting location at 2 p.m., cross the Tower Bridge and do a loop around the State Capitol.
– Help me raise $125,000 for My NASCAR Year 2012 project. Just donating $5 helps me reach my goal. We raised $205 in one day, let’s keep it going! Learn More
Saturday’s Nationwide Series 5-hour ENERGY 200 was more entertaining than Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks because, ya know, stuff happened.
Not that you ever want to see anyone get hurt, but Saturday had some crazy crashes and all of the drivers walked away totally OK. Although crew guy, Glen Wheeler, for the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. team did sustain an injury to his left leg and was held at a hospital overnight for his injury. It’s crazy that the debris that hit him came from the car he works on. I couldn’t believe Clint Bowyer’s crash. That was insane. When incidents like that happen at Dover they’re always insane. Hopefully Mr. Wheeler will be A-OK.
Sunday was cool and all, who doesn’t love babies in Victory Lane? But it was one of those races where if you talked to me five minutes after it was over and asked me what happened, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Sometimes it’s like that and then sometimes it’s like last week at Darlington and you can’t stop talking about it. Nevertheless, congratulations to Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 WileyX team. I think that was the second WileyX sponsored race for the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team, so that’s pretty good for their second time out!
Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California started out with the customary trip to THE Starbucks. I call it “THE Starbucks” because it’s the one everybody goes to during the race weekend, and by everybody I mean literally everybody. It could be groups of fans apart of some racing package deal or pit crew members, PR people, and NASCAR drivers. I always see someone. On Saturday morning it was Michael Waltrip and Michael Waltrip Racing general manager Ty Norris. Sunday I chatted about the weather with a pit crew guy that recognized me from the garage.
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 Gordon’s wife Ingrid Vandebosch and his son Leo in victory lane after Jeff Gordon secured a front row start for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon share a laugh together during Budweiser Shootout practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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)
I’m sad I missed the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte this week. But, if I’m being honest, it’s only because I just read this article about all the swag the media received, that I missed out on. There were cupcakes and cookies and wine!
Anyway, here are photos from the week. It’s one of my favorite things to post photos of the teams wearing those annoying long sleeve shirts. I don’t know why I hate them so much but they just look wrong. I say this every year and no one listens to me.
It’s just like bridesmaid dresses: it’s really hard to pick on dress type that works on every body type. Which is why brides have started letting their maids pick a fit that suits them individually and then just going with the same color and/or print for the group. I think NASCAR teams should adopt this same principle. Some teams have, but definitely not the majority.
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler, (second from left) speaks with the media, as drivers (left to right) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason Leffler, and Aric Almirola look on, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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)
Kurt Busch is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver for Penske Racing. 2010 was his last year in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, this year he takes on the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge (as you can see in the photo at left).
“I am honored to represent the Shell and Pennzoil brands in the NASCAR Cup Series starting in 2011,” said Busch. “I look forward to building on the success of our storied past at Penske Racing with our new sponsors at Shell and Pennzoil.”
This was by far the fastest interview I’ve ever transcribed, I didn’t realize he was so speedy about it until just now. I liked his answer for the last question, I don’t think anyone’s answered it that way ’til now.
What is your favorite word? “Let’s do it.”
What is your least favorite word? “I don’t want to.”
What turns you on? Family
What turns you off? The travel
What sound or noise do you love? Race cars
What sound or noise do you hate? My alarm clock
What is your favorite curse word? Oh, hell.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Baseball
What profession would you not like to do? Hockey
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I’m proud of you, son.
Read more of my “Inside the Actor’s Studio” questionnaire interviews in the archives and read about how it all started with Tony Stewart.
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|
UPDATE: Round Two voting has ended. Stay tuned for the results and Round Three!
Friday, December 3rd was the day of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony & Banquet at the Wynn Las Vegas.
NASCAR After The Lap started off mostly like last year, with hostess Jamie Little asking the drivers questions submitted by fans. There were a few new wrinkles like some of the fans asking the questions in person, and the drivers walking in through the crowd with Jimmie Johnson making his grand entrance in his No 48 Lowe’s Chevy.
Thursday was filled with events including the NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, the Victory Lap and After The Lap at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
I arrived in Las Vegas on Wednesday morning-ish. I checked in at my hotel, ARIA Hotel & Casino at CityCenter. I am giving this hotel two thumbs up because when I opened the door to my room (that unlocked after only having to wave my room key in front of the keypad above the door handle) music began to play and the curtains pulled back on their own revealing floor to ceiling windows facing a skyline of mountains.
As the campaign to prove that Jimmie Johnson isn’t vanilla rolls on, I thought it would be fun to assign an ice cream flavor to each of the drivers in The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship.
I don’t know why Jimmie would mind being vanilla, I mean, it’s a classic and reliable flavor (how do you mess up vanilla??). It’s a trusty, go-to flavor, and doesn’t that make sense for him since we rely on him to win all the time? I’m just sayin’.
1.) Jimmie Johnson – Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk: He has a house in New York and this is as far away from Vanilla as possible. Happy, Jimmie??
2.) Denny Hamlin – Ben & Jerry’s Neapolitan Dynamite: Because Denny is the only one that sort of reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite.
3.) Kevin Harvick – Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby: He’s not chubby, but he is a hubby.
4.) Jeff Gordon – Rocky Road: It’s been one for, like, the past 2 or 3 years, right?
5.) Kyle Busch – Pistachio: I’m not a fan of Pistachio
6.) Carl Edwards – Vanilla frozen yogurt: Carl is all about eating healthy (Subway!), and staying ab-tacular, so this is all he can have.
7.) Tony Stewart – Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey: He had a monkey once.
8.) Matt Kenseth – Ben & Jerry’s Imagine Whirled Peace: He never gets into fights, ok there was that time with Jeff Gordon, but overall Kenseth is Switzerland.
9.) Kurt Busch – Rum Raisin: Alcohol, there’s no such thing as beer ice cream.
10.) Jeff Burton – Ben & Jerry’s Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream: This happens to be my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor and it’s also the only flavor that is remotely related to politics, and ya know Jeff Burton will be a politician somewhere, someday. Just go with me on this OK?
11.) Greg Biffle – Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food: Can’t you imagine Biffle relaxin’ with some of this yummy chocolately, caramely, marshmallowy, fudge fishy goodness?
12. ) Clint Bowyer – Ben & Jerry’s Maple Blondie: He’s blonde, duh.
Sunday at Auto Club Speedway was a big day, not just for the Pepsi Max 400, but for all of the couples that were getting married and renewing their vows on the track. I was so excited about the whole thing and totally looking forward to seeing how it would all go down.
Here’s how I feel about the David Reutimann/Kyle Busch incident: Boys will be boys.
I love the idea of throwing that dumb cliche back in the face of people who like to use it to explain away bad behavior.
But seriously, I don’t really care. Reutimann was pissed and he decided to take action. The fact that Kyle is in The Chase is totally irrelevant. Everyone is trying to do the best they can no matter what, if they’re in the top-12 or not. That’s why I hate that Chase commercial where the drivers talk about all the stuff they have to compete against to win the Championship. Never once do they mention the fact that they still have to deal with 42 other drivers, not just 11 other guys contending for the Championship. That’s why winning the Sprint Cup is a big deal. The guys not in the Chase shouldn’t be expected to roll over, on the contrary, they should be getting in the way.
It’ll mean more for the the guy that ultimately wins the thing.
Congratulations to Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M team! I’m so glad the standings within The Chase are still up in the air. Hopefully we can keep it that way for at least a few more races!
Jeff Burton, driver of the Caterpilliar Chevrolet, stands on pit road with his wife Kim prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 on October 3, 2010 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Christa Thomas/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So, I’m guessing nobody called Carl Edwards (or Kurt Busch for that matter) to tell him that the dress code options for the Chase Media Day in New York City this week were two things: plaid shirts or black shirts.
Carl looks like he’s running for president, while the rest of the drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship just look like regular dudes.
I am a big fan of plaid so I applaud Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer for their choices. You think they called each other the night before and were all “What are you gonna wear??” Hehe. That idea tickles me.
Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Small Business car, signs Sprint Cup posters during the NASCAR Media Day event at the London Hotel on September 15, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by John W. Ferguson/Getty Images)
Finally got access to more photos from last week’s race at Atlanta and there were two cute photos of Casey Mears with his daughter Samantha and Matt Kenseth and his daughter Kaylin. I have to post them, and a couple others I thought you might be interested in.
Casey Mears (R), driver of the GEICO Toyota, holds his daughter Samantha on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch (R), driver of the Miller Lite Dodge, stands with his wife Eva on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth (L), driver of the Crown Royal Ford, holds his daughter Kaylin Nicola on the grid prior to the start ofduring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
If Mr. Buffett would like to give me some of his money, I’d more than happily accept it.
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, watches the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin (R), driver of the Sport Clips Toyota, stands on the grid with girlfriend Jordan Fish prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
They don’t call it “The Tricky Triangle” for nothing. The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway was one crazy race, but in the end I’m so incredibly glad/relieved that Elliott Sadler was able to walk away from that gnarly crash, as well as Kurt Busch. Pocono has some serious work to do to make that backstretch far less treacherous in the future.
It’s amazing how you can go from winning one race one day to just making it out alive from another one another day. I’m super stoked and happy for Elliott that he won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125 race on Saturday.
Congratulations go out to Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M Ford team for winning the Sprint Cup Series race. It was the perfect way to wish team owner Jack Roush a speedy recovery from his accident. He was upgraded to fair condition last night at Mayo Clinic, so that win had to have been the best medicine.
Matt Kenseth (L), driver of the Crown Royal Ford, holds his daughter Kaylin Nicola Kenseth on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Des Moines, Iowa native Michael Annett, currently 14th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings talks with his home state media Friday at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa (Credit: Jennifer Coleman)
Greg Biffle, driver of the 3M Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Crew members cheer on Greg Biffle, driver of the 3M Ford, from pit wall as he does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The wrecked Air Force Ford, driven by Elliott Sadler, gets towed through the garage area after he hit the wall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Elliott Sadler, driver of the Grand Touring Vodka Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mario Gosselin, driver of the TireMonkey.com Chevrolet walks on the grid with his family prior to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
A decal placed on the Aflac Ford, driven by Carl Edwards, that reads ‘Get Back to the Track, Jack!’ in support for Team owner Jack Roush prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Roush was hospitalized due to injuries he received after crash-landing his jet at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on July 27 2010. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Office Toyota, signs autographs for fans during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Greg Biffle (L), driver of the 3M Ford, talks with Jamie McMurray, driver of the AXE Twist Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
On the morning of the Toyota/SaveMart 350 I attended the NASCAR Tweetup held in front of Victory Lane. It was there that I met an awesome ‘Fabulous’ reader, Angela (aka @caligirl88 on Twitter). She was super nice and she totally surprised me because I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone that read my blog. Thanks again Angela for your kind words!
After checking in with Dawn, my fabulous friend who is the queen of efficient packing for NASCAR races (she also makes great cupcakes!), I headed over to the driver’s lounge for the driver’s meeting. For some reason my memory of that room was that it was much, much bigger than it actually is. Once the meeting started we were packed in there like sardines. Even some drivers and crew chiefs had to stand.
Nothing earth shattering happened in the driver’s meeting but I like being in there and knowing that I’m in there with ALL 43 drivers. It’s kinda neat. Matt Kenseth was the first driver in the room, showing up 30 minutes early, which is smart move if you want to get a seat. I find his punctuality refreshing.
Post-driver’s meeting I met up with Kristen (read her blog) and the No. 2 Miller Lite “Brew Crew” as they walked their Dodge through inspection. I don’t remember if I’ve ever talked about Kristen before, I apologize if I’m repeating myself. Anyway, back in 2007 she won the “Miller Lite Next Great Sportswriter” Contest and she got to spend a bunch of time and race weekends with Kurt Busch and the entire team doing interviews and writing. She’s been their “unofficial tool cart girl” ever since and she’s superfun to hang out with. We have an awesome time swapping gossip and chatting about this and that.
So Sunday was no different, we got to watch as some Cougar tried to hit on one of the Brew Crew dudes. This woman was a piece of work. I hope she doesn’t read blogs. Anyway, she seemed a little tipsy to me. A couple inspection stations later we saw the same woman touching a security guy. Hilarious.
Oh! So this is good, remember how I said Ron Malec probably thinks I’m some crazy person following him around? Well the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy & crew were in front of the No. 2 in line for inspection. So the entire time I’m standing with Kristen, Ron Malec is in front of us pushing the 48. I’m dead serious when I say that it was purely a coincidence and the last thing I want to be thought of is as a pit lizard. I have no desire to lick anyone’s helmet (although I’m sure that Cougar did!). I’m just an appreciator of good lookin’ dudes, so of course I took yet another photo of him (see right).
For driver intros I didn’t go behind the stage, thought it better to stay out on pit road. There cars were lined up one-by-one side by side faced out instead of in the usual two-by-two. It looked good and was a better use of space, in my opinion. I walked down to Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet because I know Lisa, who is a PR person on behalf of Office Depot. I never know where to stand on pit road for the Anthem and all that, so it’s nice to know someone and have a place to stand where you don’t feel like people are looking at you like “What is she doing here??” I don’t know that people actually think that but it’s what I think they’re thinking and it weirds me out.
Anyway, Tony’s dad, Nelson Stewart, was on hand for the day, he even walked out with Tony during driver introductions. He was at the car when Kevin Harvick stopped by specifically to talk to Nelson and give him a hug. It was a cute moment, photos of which you can see below.
After all the invocation, National Anthem and the command to start engines I walked pit road to get a spot behind the pits to watch the start of the race. Luckily, there was a spot right where I wanted to be, right behind the start/finish line. I stood on top of the little wall that sits at the back of the pits, right in front of the grandstands and got the best view of the green flag to start the race.
I hung around down there for a little bit and then headed to the media lounge tent to hang out away from the sun. I ended up meeting a French guy named Mat who was attending a NASCAR race for the first time. He was stranded outside of the garage because he lost his Hot Pass and his roommate that he came to the race with was nowhere to be found. We had an interesting time trying to talk in between the roar of the engines and me trying to understand his accent. It was fun though.
With about ten laps left I went down to Turn 11 to see what I could see and got a front row seat to Clint Bowyer’s caution-less spin out. I asked one of the photographers standing next to me if they could send me the photo and Tyler Takeda of The Madera Tribune obliged (see below). I was too busy screaming, “Ahh! Whoaaaaa!” to take a picture myself.
Clint Bowyer (33) gets turned around into the side of Elliot Sadler’s car Sunday during the Toyota Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. (photo credit: Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune)
Instead of rushing over to Victory Lane to take my usual picture of the winner driving his car in, I decided to pass through the garage. It’s an interesting place to be post-race since cars are coming in smashed up and crew members are rushing around trying to be the first team out of the track. Those guys are super fast, it’s amazing how quickly they can pack up. Maybe they can help me out the next time I have to move?
I was there when Boris Said’s crew chief Frank Stoddard yelled at Tony Stewart — as Tony was climbing out of his car — to “Come on! You fat fuck!” Tony just sort of waved him off and went into his hauler. I wasn’t quite sure I had heard him right until I locked eyes with a smiling GoDaddy.com crew member walking toward me. It was then that I knew I had heard him perfectly and rushed off to the press conference room where my cell phone was charging to send out a tweet about it. Funny stuff. (If you want the full story on what went down and caused that outburst check out the article over at SBNation.com)
Although now that I look at the photo I took in the garage just before Stoddard make his comment, I think Tony might have said something first (see below).
That’s Tony on the far right getting out of the car and that’s Frank Stoddard in front wearing the #26 Air Guard uniform.
And so that was my day at the Toyota/SaveMart 350. Photo fun time below!
Cars lined up and ready to go on pit road for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 on Sunday, June 20, 2010 at Infineon Raceway.
Eva Busch, wife of Kurt Busch, walks down pit road to her hubby’s car. If I ever reach a point where I can have an assistant at the track their entire job would be to take pictures of WAGs. Between making sure I got pictures with my cell phone for tweeting and my regular camera, I missed stuff! Grr!
In the second photo here, of Kevin Harvick greeting Tony Stewart’s dad Nelson, you can see the top of Tony’s head. He was kneeling to do something with his shoes.
The pit crew for the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevy lined up for the National Anthem.
The green flag drops for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway. My view! So cool.
Kevin Harvick. Yet another one of my “I don’t know how I got that photo” photos.
Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson
Dale Earnhardt Jr. pulls into the garage after the race. So glad he finished 11th! Now he’s 13th in points! Yay!
I know I’ve used that title before but I love it.
Friday at Infineon Raceway was day one of the Toyota/SaveMart 350 festivities. It was a pretty big day for me because it held actual things for me to do. My usual shtick is to just show up and let things happen but this time I setup interviews with drivers. Since things went so well with Tony Stewart and the Inside The Actor’s Studio questions I decided to make it my “thing” for now and to get as many drivers to answer the same questions.
On my schedule for the day were one-on-one’s with David Reutimann, Regan Smith, AJ Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler. I’ll write about each of those experiences in separate posts. Stay tuned for those.
Back in the media center I sat in on press conferences for Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, and a little bit of Denny Hamlin.
Tony Stewart’s presser was, of course, by far the most entertaining of the bunch. His session was after practice and he wasn’t very happy with his car. I think that Southwest airlines should use his press conferences as the basis for one of their “Wanna Get Away???” commercials. I had this uncontrollable urge, every time someone asked something cringe-worthy to look down and start playing with my cell phone. There are always a few questions that bug Tony and after sitting in on a few of his pressers I’ve learned that Tony is a lot better when you ask him questions that are very real to him. He laid it out pretty plainly that he only cares about racing. He wasn’t in the mood to get all theoretical or philosophical about racing after having a crappy practice session. It wasn’t helping that people were asking the same questions they’ve asked year after year, my favorite being “Should there be a road course race in The Chase?” That was the one that really bugged him and got him to eventually say that he had no interest in giving his opinion on such things, he just wanted to race.
The facts as I knew them before I arrived at AT&T Park last night:
1.) There was to be a group media session with Kurt Busch and David Ragan an hour before the game started.
2.) Kurt and David were going to take a lap around the field at some point in between innings with the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota showcar rumbling behind them.
3.) David and Kurt were going to lead the crowd in “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch.
4.) It was NASCAR Night at the San Francisco Giants vs Baltimore Orioles game
I parked at one of the piers just down from the ballpark and walked superfast to the place where my credentials were waiting. This was my first time attending a Major League Baseball game as a credentialed member of the media. I got to go because of Infineon Raceway and the fact that it was “NASCAR Night.”
To answer Melody’s question from my previous post, I was in Tony Stewart’s hauler for all of 5 minutes. It was luxuriously air conditioned and I didn’t see the back lounge area. Plus Tony wasn’t there he was out practicing but it was very cool to be inside a hauler for any reason and any amount of time.
Sunday was of course the Coca-Cola 600 and on my drive in to the track I couldn’t get over the amount of tailgating that was going on seemingly EVERYWHERE. Every blade of grass surrounding the track was filled with trucks, tents and people with barbecues. Even the parking lots of commercial office buildings had groups of people crowded together. It was so neat to see. There’s tailgating at the California races but nothing to the degree of what I saw outside of Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s something that you have to witness for yourself.
I got to the track in time to attend a tweetup organized by SBNation’s Jeff Gluck. I went to meet up with ‘Fabulous’ readers Tara S. and Penni. It was really cool finally getting to meet them in person. I seriously adore the women that read my blog, you guys are the bestest! This is the perfect time to thank you all for the sweet comments about my interview with Tony Stewart. I really appreciate the encouragement.
As I alluded to in the title of this post, the Coca-Cola 600 was really all about Bradley Cooper and his hotness visiting a NASCAR race for the first time. He was there with three of his other cast-mates to promote their new movie “The A-Team.” I thought Brendan Fraser’s presence at Chicagoland a couple of years ago was a big deal but Bradley really brought out the ladies. Media and PR people alike make it a point to be in the media center for the cast’s press conference. As soon as Bradley walked into the media center people were requesting to have their photo taken with him (as you can see at right, that’s not me, unfortunately), which he happily obliged.
Yesterday’s Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400 was a rousing success because Tony Stewart had a new blonde girlfriend with him on pit road during the pre-race ceremonies. It’s not everyday Tony has a woman with him on pit road. Actually it’s been quite awhile since we last saw him with his arm around anyone. So yes, I’m that friggin’ nosey.
I wonder if Tony knows that there are thousands of women out there that think he should get married and have babies already. And I’m sure half of those women think that he should do all of that with them. I, for one, think that he would make some cute kids so he should get crackin’.
There is soo much going on in this photo that it’s making my head hurt.
(Left to right) Anheuser-Busch Sports Marketing Manager Brian Dunlap shakes hands with Darrell Waltrip, who also raced this paint scheme at one point during his career. Kasey Kahne will drive the No. 9 Ford at Richmond International Raceway this weekend. (Credit: Harold Hinson)
On Sunday, I was watching a bit of the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals that took place in Houston, Texas. Melanie Troxel, whom I totally dig because she’s kick ass and we have the same birthday (August 31st), is sponsored by In-N-Out Burger in both Funny Car and Pro Mod. She’s leading the points standings in Pro Mod, by the way.
Anyway… The In-N-Out Burger connection got me thinking. First about how yummy their burgers are and then about how every time the NASCAR drivers are in California or Nevada they can’t NOT talk about how they all have to stop by In-N-Out at least once during their stay in the West. So I was thinking why isn’t In-N-Out Burger sponsoring like, ANYTHING in NASCAR? At least for the races at Infineon, Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas and Phoenix?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers wax on and on about how they love In-N-Out.
And then I started thinking that maybe all those NASCAR groupies should forget about trying to dress all sexy in the garage & pits and just bring a bunch of In-N-Out burgers and fries (animal style, of course) with them instead. They do say that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, well there ya go. Nobody said you had to be the one doing the cooking.
In other news…
– ‘Fabulous’ reader Leila emailed me today and was all, “Wouldn’t Ron Malec be perfect for ABC’s next Bachelor? I would love to see it!” and I was like, “You’re totally right!” Ron would make an excellent Bachelor (as would Michael Waltrip) but I do know that as of the Sprint Cup Championship banquet last year he had a girlfriend. But still ABC should direct their attention to the world of NASCAR to look for their next Bachelor, for sure.
Meant to post these photos from the testing of the spoiler at Charlotte Motor Speedway awhile ago, but I still think they’re relevant since everyone seems to think that the real test of the difference the spoiler will make will be at the next Sprint Cup Series race at Texas on the 18th.
Plus, I just love this photo of Tony Stewart. It is quite possibly the funniest photo I’ve ever seen of Tony.
Engineer Matt Borland and driver Tony Stewart mug for the camera in the garage during Tuesday’s (March 23, 2010) testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The Budweiser Shootout was on Saturday and it was a slip-slidin’ good time, just ask Kurt Busch. Congratulations to Kevin Harvick and the team of the No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet on winning the night’s race.
While I didn’t like the way the race ended, it doesn’t mean that the whole green/white/checkered idea needs to be revisited. Of course we’d all like the race to end under green but what else can we do? Just because something is lame doesn’t mean you have to change something. Sometimes you just have to live with it. You can’t make people not do something that they don’t know that they’re going to do i.e. cause wrecks.
What else did I learn from watching the Budweiser Shootout? Oh, I dunno that there’s only been one race broadcast and I’m already tired of Digger and his friends.
Earlier in the day was the ARCA race featuring Danica Patrick. I don’t know that there were any other drivers in the race besides her and there in lies the whole reason why I’m irked she’s coming to NASCAR, and it’s not even her fault. I don’t fault her. Let me repeat that so everybody doesn’t get all pissed that I’m hating on Danica. I DON’T FAULT HER. It’s the dissection of her move to NASCAR that is the most ANNOYING THING on the planet.
This entire post is dedicated to the photo below of me with Carl Edwards. It is quite possibly the greatest photo ever taken in the history of photography. I’m probably a wee bit biased but it was seriously THE highlight of my trip to Vegas for Champion’s Week and it happened on my first night in town.
I arrived on Wednesday in the afternoon which meant that I missed the charity roast of Jimmie Johnson that took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I got a cab from the airport and went straight over to the Wynn to pick up my media credentials and then over to Harrah’s to check-in.
After the Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony, I left the Venetian and headed back to my room so that I could change out of my “business casual” dress and into clothes that were much warmer. It was so cold in Vegas. I wished it would get into the 70s but it never got close. Friday night, the night of the awards ceremony it was in the low 50s with freeze warnings in effect.
So I changed my clothes and tried to walk quickly to the monorail at Harrah’s/Imperial Palace station so that I could get to the MGM Grand as fast as possible because that’s where the start/finish line was for the Victory Lap. I wanted to see the top-12 drivers doing burnouts, but it wasn’t to be. I missed the whole thing. What I did see, from the windows of the monorail, was the traffic that was backed up for at least a mile next to the Strip. That was kinda neat.
Before the start of the Dickies 500 on Sunday I was thinking about what had to happen in order for Jimmie Johnson to lose some momentum in The Chase. Of course, I didn’t think any of it would happen. So when Jimmie’s accident occurred I was, uhm, sort of pleasantly surprised.
We needed that to make things a little more interesting. The guy still has a ton of points on Mark Martin but at least it gives hope a chance to shine. And, if I’m being honest, it was pretty cool getting to see the 48 team pull together and get that car back into shape to run in the race again. I’m never against seeing Ron Malec in action. (hehe) I have to give it Chad Knaus though, that guy is one cool customer. He was pissed of course that they ran into trouble, but his voice is always even. He doesn’t freak out, and you can’t afford to freak out in a situation like that, which is why Jimmie and the Lowe’s team are 3-time Sprint Cup Champions.
Watching Kurt Busch do his victory lap around Texas Motor Speedway in reverse with his tongue sticking out made me realize who he reminds me of, and no, it’s not Michael Jordan. No, I was thinking more along the lines of the character Pete Campbell from the awesome TV show Mad Men. Pete, played by Vincent Kartheiser, is kind of a punk. He whines when he doesn’t get his way and always thinks he should be treated better than he perceives he’s being treated. It’s funny. Watch Mad Men, it’s awesome. The latest season is over, but that’s what Netflix is for.
That being said it was cool to see Kurt so excited about winning and all that.
Uhm… There’s this one driver, I think his name is Dale Earnhardt Jr. or something, who doesn’t seem to be able to catch a break this season. I’m at the point, well I’ve been here for some time now, where I want to just say to him “Dale, (yes, in this scenario I know him and we’re BFFs) I think you should just park it and call it a season, this is lame. I know you’re doing your best but you need to tell whatever gods are in charge of luck to kiss your butt.”
He was running really well and then of course something happens and finishes crappy. And his finish has nothing to do with his overall performance. They were kicking butt and then it falls off. Ugh.
And now ladies and gentlemen, a photo bonanza!
Is everybody done talking about Talladega yet? Let’s move on to talking about more important things like “What will Chandra Johnson be wearing during Champion’s Week?” and “Who will be Chad Knaus’ date?” or “Can I be Ron Malec’s date?” (I’m kidding, okay, sorta, no really I’m kidding, maybe.)
That’s way more fun isn’t it? And speaking of the Championship festivities there are a number of ways for fans to get tickets to attend the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony that is being held for the first time in Las Vegas on December 4, 2009 (my mom’s birthday!).
Here’s a handy-dandy rundown of all of the opportunities:
- Bristol Motor Speedway will give four awards ceremony tickets to a selected fan who has attended every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol since the track’s 1961 opening (open to current ticket-holders).
- Daytona International Speedway is using two different promotions involving two sets of two tickets. Fans should visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/awardsceremony to register for both random drawings.
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway also is using two promotions involving two sets of two tickets. One is well on its way; interested fans were to visit IMS’s administrative lobby on Oct. 14 to register to win. For the second promotion, fans should visit the track’s web site, www.brickyard.com, to complete an online registration form. Note: You can’t win both promotions.
- Infineon Raceway is hosting a sealed bid auction for two awards ceremony tickets. The auction will benefit Speedway Children’s Charities. Visit www.infineonraceway.com for more information.
- Kansas Speedway will use four tickets as part of an enter-to-win contest. Each fan winner will receive two tickets, plus spending money, airfare and hotel. Click here for more information.
- Las Vegas Motor Speedway will use four tickets for its promotion. Visit www.lvms.com for more information.
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway will use four tickets as a Speedway Club Members auction item, with proceeds benefiting Speedway Children’s Charities. Visit www.lowesmotorspeedway.com for more information.
- Michigan International Speedway’s two tickets will be distributed via a drawing. Included is a trip to Las Vegas. Season-ticket-holders who renew are automatically entered in the drawing. Visit www.mispeedway.com for more information.
- New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s promotion was a part of its ongoing “FansFirst” initiative. Anyone who purchased tickets for the Sylvania 300 on Sept. 20 was eligible to win a trip to Las Vegas – airfare, lodging, $1,000 in spending money and two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony.
- Phoenix International Raceway is using two fan tickets as part of a ticket-purchase promotion. Visit www.phoenixraceway.com for more information.
- Richmond International Raceway will reward one fan with two tickets, but if you want their seats, be prepared to do a little work. Fans must submit a video describing why they should be selected as Richmond’s Fan Reporter in Las Vegas, plus include their most memorable moment at the track. Visit www.rir.com for more information.
- Texas Motor Speedway is using two pairs of two tickets in separate promotions. One pair will be part of a live auction with proceeds benefiting the Texas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. Fans must register for a chance to win the other pair of tickets. Visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com for more information.
- Watkins Glen International is using a pair of tickets to reward a longtime fan of the track. Along with tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, the winner will receive a trip to Las Vegas, which includes airfare, lodging and rental car expenses. Visit www.theglen.com for more information.
- Kurt Busch will auction off two fan packages during his charity golf tournament on Dec. 1 in Las Vegas. Both packages include two tickets to the awards ceremony and a meet-and-greet with Kurt. Visit www.kurtbusch.com/foundation for more information.
- Greg Biffle is giving away a total of four fan tickets to the awards ceremony. He’ll give away two tickets during his weekly internet radio show, “Straight Talk With The Biff.” Fans are encouraged to call and tell Greg why they’re his biggest supporters. He’ll use the other two awards ceremony tickets as part of an auction to raise funds for the Greg Biffle Foundation. Visit www.gregbiffle.com for more information on both contests.
- Ford “I’m Driving One” Online Sweepstakes — One grand-prize winner (and one guest) receives a 2010 Ford Taurus, plus an Ultimate NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week Experience, including an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas, two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, and special recognition during the NASCAR After the Lap presented by Tissot program. Visit www.imdrivingone.com for more information.
- Bank of America (NASCAR RacePoints®) — Two Champion’s Week VIP packages were made available for redemption that included tickets and access to the awards ceremony. Visit www.nascarracepoints.com for more information on the NASCAR RacePoints program.
- The NASCAR Foundation — Ten tickets will be auctioned as part of the Foundation’s Champion’s Week package fundraiser. The auction is from Nov. 9-23 and will be hosted on NASCAR.COM. Visit www.NASCAR.COM/foundation for more information.
And now my final, FINAL, post about the Pepsi 500 weekend at Auto Club Speedway!
Before driver introductions got started I met Heather, who is a friend of David Gilliland and his family, she’s also a Kasey Kahne fan. She reads my blog and we tweeted our locations and met up in the garage. We had a grrreat time hanging around, waiting to see which garage exit Kasey would use to go out to the driver intros stage. Because, really, you can never have enough Kasey Kahne photos.
There was no way I was going out to driver intros; it was a packed madhouse out there. I waited and then went out to pit road for the National Anthem. And I just so happened to stand near Kasey Kahne’s car ’cause it was near the exit I like.
Finally, I’m sitting down to write the first of many posts about my weekend at the Auto Club Speedway for the Pepsi 500.
Friday was the usual routine of top-12 drivers press conferences. I was in a majority of them and some seriously interesting stuff went down. Okay, so it was only during Juan Pablo Montoya’s session that I had one of those Southwest commercial “Wanna Get Away??” moments. And I wasn’t even the one who caused the weirdness.
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.
The two races at Atlanta last weekend or as I like to call them “The Two Races Dale Earnhardt Jr. Had an Actual Chance of Winning,” were good stuff. What would have made them great of course would have been if Dale Jr. had gone and actually won one of them. But it was not to be.
This might be mean but my favorite part of the race came when Kurt Busch spun out, hitting Reed Sorenson in the process and had to take his Miller Lite Dodge to the garage. Luckily they had the camera on him when he got out of his car and pounded its roof. He was highly pissed and it was television magic.
Wasn’t it nice to have a NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday for once? Just kidding. Although, I was this close to losing it when they stopped the race because of rain. I don’t think I could of handled another race being postponed. I’m putting Mother Nature on notice, if she messes up another race this year I’m never speaking to her again.
I was happy for Brian Vickers and his first win of the season. It was nice to see a new face in Victory Lane this year. Leading up to this race it seemed like momentum was on his side for a victory. I would like to thank Jimmie Johnson for pointing out during his post-race interview the fact that Brian’s first career win a few years ago at Talladega, was kinda tarnished since he spun out Jimmie and Dale Jr. in the process. But whatever, this win was clean and totally deserved. (I swear I’m turning into a driver because I don’t forget stuff that went down like years ago!)
Here’s a little known fact about me. I get seriously nervous driving to the racetrack on the first day of a NASCAR race weekend. I mean, I get butterflies and super anxious. I’ve learned that this is a good thing, because if I wasn’t worried about it then it means it’s no big deal and it doesn’t mean anything to me. If I’m nervous about it I’m doing something right.
So that was me on Friday morning driving the super short 30 minutes to Infineon Raceway from my new home in Sonoma County. I moved to the city of Cotati just to be closer to my day job and cut down on my commute expenses but in the process I received the huge bonus of saving my sanity by not having to sit in excruciating traffic leaving the track each day. It’s a beautiful thing.
When I arrived at the track I picked up my credentials and then headed straight to the media center to grab the necessary schedules. I had to park up top next to the helipad and I made the wrong decision to just walk down the hills to the garage instead of waiting for the shuttle. Luckily for me this super nice man offered me a ride in his golf cart. It was great to not have to walk the whole way, but that ride down the hill in a super open vehicle was frightening. The entire time I was mentally and physically bracing myself for the possibility of being catapulted out of it at any moment. Super fun.
Red Bull Racing!
The only other time I’ve ever talked about media kits was when I wrote about how much I dug the one Red Bull made back in 2007. The material they gave out to the media with all of the most pertinent facts about their teams and drivers was unique and cool, and in 2009 they’ve made it even cooler.
There aren’t that many memorable media kits out there (although the photos of Kurt Busch in hunting gear were interesting), so the competition isn’t that stiff, but even if it was I still think Red Bull would always win hands down. It’s something that catches your attention and even if you weren’t planning on writing something about Brian Vickers or Scott Speed you might stop to rethink it.
I dig design that’s creative, fun and so very contemporary. When you match that with awesome photography you’ve got a winner. The photos of Vickers are particularly fetching if I do say so myself, he should walk around the garage in a suit jacket. It’s a good look.
(all photos credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Racing and all that is all good but here’s what I really want to talk about: Dale Earnhart Jr.’s ex-girlfriend is on the current season of America’s Next Top Model. Her name is Kortnie, she’s 24 and she’s from Houston, Texas.
As a rule (the season pass never leaves my Tivo!) I watch every cycle of ANTM, and I thought it was really interesting that Tyra Banks (the creator/host of the show) called Kortnie out on the fact that she had indeed dated someone “famous” at one point in time. They even showed a photo of Kortnie in victory lane with Dale. What that has to do with whether or not she can actually model I have no idea, but whatever. The thing that I take issue with is that they’re categorizing Kortnie as a plus size model. If she’s plus size then we’re all screwed. She has big boobs and is a bit hippy, but other than that she can’t be bigger than a size 8 at the MOST, and I think that’s even going to far. I’m rooting for Kortnie, because she is a striking girl and because I think it’s absurd to put her in the plus size category.
In other news…
– Congratulations to Kurt Busch for winning the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday. Wasn’t that fun? I thought it was a great race at the end. I can’t believe that I was actually pulling for Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch to win something. I’m usually against them, but these past couple years my outlook has changed. It’s a really weird feeling.
– Nationwide Series driver Burney Lamar and his supermodel wife Niki Taylor welcomed a new addition to their family last week. Their daughter, Ciel Taylor Lamar, was born on Wednesday, March 4th at 11:30am in Nashville, Tennessee weighing in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces. This is the first child for Lamar and the third for Taylor who is the mother to twin 14-year-old boys Jake and Hunter (from her first marriage).
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and his wife Eva participate in pre-race activities on pit road before the start of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet shares a laugh with his car owner and driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, Tony Stewart, prior to Sunday’s start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was unlike any other Sprint Cup race day I’d experienced before. Why? Because I got to attend the drivers meeting.
Shut up! I know! Yea, I was kind of psyched about the whole thing. Standing in the back of the room with various media and PR people it was definitely a moment where I said to myself “Am I really standing here right now? This is happening? Yes, it is.” At the same time though the whole reality of situation revealed itself and it turned out to be really boring.
It went by in a flash, and while I did see a lot of drivers it was pretty mundane. Maybe I’m getting used to seeing drivers walking around in regular clothes, and being in the same room as them? I know, I can’t believe I just wrote that either. I think there’s something to that though. The meeting itself consisted of a PowerPoint presentation that takes the drivers and their crew chiefs through the specified pit road speed for the day, the entrances and exits for pit road and various rules and regulations.
I found it funny that there were typos in said presentation and that if someone didn’t remember turn off their cell phone they were ushered out of the room as if they’d just tried to throw their shoe at the President.
The meeting ends with a prayer and then everyone is on their way. It was a cool thing to experience and I will no longer have to wonder what the atmosphere is like in those meetings.
After the drivers meeting I headed straight into the lunch room for uh, lunch, and sat at a table with Travis, a member of the Nellis Air Force base honor guard. Travis volunteered to attend the event and present the American flag before the start of the race. We chatted for a little bit before he had to run to get ready. Our conversation consisted of me explaining why NASCAR was indeed a sport. I found it hilarious that I had to defend NASCAR while at a NASCAR race. Classic.
Let’s skip ahead to after driver introductions and imagine me walking from the general area of the stage set-up on the start/finish line over to the race cars parked on the edge of the grass in front of the grandstands.
If you’re by yourself and have no affiliation to a race team it is incredibly nerve wracking to walk around and try to just “blend in” with the crowd, when everybody is just standing around looking at everybody else. I always feel like I stick out like a sore thumb, but I want to stand out there with everybody else ’cause a.) I can and b.) because I can. If you have that access of course you’re going to use it and I’m one of those people who like to extinguish all available options. It’s so cool to be there, but at the same time I feel like people are looking at me wondering why I’m standing next to their car in particular. I dunno. It’s the weirdest thing and it’s hard to explain.
So after what was the coolest fly over ever, I headed to pit road to get a spot to watch the race start. I ended up behind Kurt Busch’s pit box where I saw his wife Eva and her insanely large wedding ring. I want to give you a more realistic example of how large the diamond on her hand was, instead of just saying “It’s a rock alright!” So I’ll say that it looked to be the same size as a peanut M&M.
I watched the vast majority of the race from the media center and then with about 20-30 laps left to go I decided to leave. Yea, I just couldn’t stomach the idea of having to stay at the track until 8pm in order to have the possibility of missing traffic. I couldn’t take it. So I left, missing all traffic and went to Panda Express.
On my way back to my hotel, whilst on I-15, I could see the helicopters from the track making their way to McCarran Airport. It was fun to see them all in a row, it looked like a constellation.
Monday morning I was in the lobby of South Point Hotel & Casino waiting to check-out, and I noticed that Fox Sports NASCAR analyst Larry McReynolds was in front of me doing the same.
All in all it was a great weekend; I learned a lot and met some great people. It seems crazy to say that I’m going to highly enjoy watching this weekend’s race at Atlanta from the comfort of my own couch, but I really, really will. At this point in time my next in-person race will probably be Infineon in June. That gives me plenty of time to recover from two-straight weekends of NASCAR craziness.
This photo ranks right up there with my shot of Clint Bowyer at Chicagoland from last year.
Reed Sorenson and Casey Mears make their way to the stage for driver introductions before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Can you spot Sam Hornish Jr. and his baby daughter, Addison, in this photo?
Cars and drivers line up before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Members of the Flying Elvi skydiving team touched down before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Gosh, where do I begin?
Let’s start with Thursday night when I arrived at LAX and picked up my rental car from Thrifty. I usually go with Hertz, but this time around Thrifty was cheaper and I was, well, trying to be thrifty. It was sort of a mistake. There was drama from the second I walked in the door. Some woman was trying to pay with quarters and one dollar bills and some other dude was trying to cheat the rental company out of money which ended with the Thrifty employee telling the dude to never come back there again.
What a glorious way to start a trip! Actually it wasn’t all bad, when it was my turn they got me out quickly, and I was able to pick the car I wanted. I ended up with a black Dodge Caliber. I’ve never driven one of those before and they said it was a compact car, but it totally doesn’t feel like it. I feel like I’m driving a boat.
Anyway, Yesterday morning I set off for the track with more butterflies in my stomach than ever. I always get nervous because I have no idea what is going to happen and I’m always seriously afraid that I’ll look like a nut job. How I would make myself look like a nut job I will never know, but I fear it nevertheless.
I arrived at the track, picked up my credentials and grabbed the press conference schedule. So I’m used to having to go from hauler to hauler for each session, but this time around the majority of the gatherings were in the drivers meeting room in the garage. So I just sat there as driver after driver came in and took a seat behind the table on the stage.
Here is a quick rundown of things that occurred to me as each driver spoke:
– Kurt Busch is kinda growing on me. I used to dislike him a lot but now, eh, not so much.
– I was dying to ask Matt Kenseth point blank whether or not his wife Katie was pregnant, but I do not have the balls to ask that kind of question. It’s none of my business, of course.
– A.J. Allmendinger is talkative, friendly and funny. He joked that he told USA Today that he might be doing steroids in an effort to get them to write an article about him.
– Kyle Busch talked about the incident at Daytona a little bit, all without actually saying Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s name. A reporter called him on it and asked why he wouldn’t say his name, Kyle replied (in a sort of annoyed tone) that he didn’t say the other guys’ (Brian Vickers) name either.
– I really liked the Kobalt Tools hat that Jimmie Johnson was wearing.
– Kasey Kahne kinda looks like the actor Robert Pattinson, who played the Edward character in the movie “Twilight.” They’re not dead ringers, but c’mon there are some similarities.
– When you ask Jeff Gordon a question he will never, ever answer it with just one word or one sentence. It’s not a bad thing, he just tends to go on more than others.
– David Ragan is my new favorite driver! Why? Read my next post!
When I wasn’t listening to drivers talk about the track and their feelings about the upcoming race I spent time in the garage Twittering and taking photos. Oh, and I monitored the Port-A-Pottie usage of a few drivers like Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan. These are the kinds of important updates you get when you follow me on Twitter.
I love living in Northern California. I’m very proud of my home state, but last night I had to shake my head in disgust. One of our local sports broadcasters referred to David Gilliland as Jason Leffler.
The guy runs through the highlights of the race at Phoenix and hits on the crazy wreck that put David and his car on top of Scott Speed, and then proceeds to say it was Jason — not David — with his tires on Scott’s windshield. It’s sort of an easy mistake to make because Gilliland and Leffler have the same car number (the No. 38), but in different race series. So really it’s a stupid mistake and someone wasn’t paying attention. I wanted to call the TV station and tell them they’re nerds but I figured it wasn’t worth it.
Anyway, even though the outcome wasn’t what I had hoped for I did find the race enjoyable. Who doesn’t love a good red flag every now and again? Was Carl Edwards eating an Arby’s sandwich during the first one?
With the season rolling to an end I really don’t have much to say about Phoenix. What can I say that you don’t already know? It’s highly unlikely that something crazy is going to happen next weekend to take the Championship away from Jimmie Johnson. I guess that’s OK.
I have to give props to the No. 26 and the No. 2 teams and their drivers Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch for putting together great runs on Sunday. I really hoped one of them would be able to give Jimmie a run for his money at the end. It was great to see some different faces up front for a change.
It’s Phil, Captain of the Cornelia Marie! I love Deadliest Catch!
David Reutimann shares a laugh with Phil Harris of Deadliest Catch. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch poses with Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb before taking him on a pace car ride around Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m diggin’ the scruffy look on him.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, started fifth and finished sixth during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #10 McDonald’s Dodge, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2008 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Would you like to go to France? I know, so would I! Well now you have a chance to win a trip to the 24 Hours at LeMans event! Just enter the Amooco Ultimate Contest powered by CarDomain.com and you could win an amazing trip abroad. Now, even if you don’t win the grand prize you could still win free gas and who doesn’t love free gas??
Check out the details:
BP has teamed up with CarDomain.com for the Amoco Ultimate Contest. Car enthusiasts will be encouraged to upload photos of their own vehicles to the site, while CarDomain visitors can vote for the most impressive cars. Prizes will be awarded to winners on a weekly and monthly basis. One winner will be awarded the grand prize at the conclusion of the contest.
* One Grand Prize winner receives a trip to the 24 Hours at LeMans event in France
* Two winners receive trips to an American LeMans Series race
* Monthly winners of a $1,000 BP gift card
* Weekly winners of a $250 BP gift card
Check out the Amoco Ultimate Contest!
In addition to the amazing contest listed above, the lovely people from BP/Amoco have given me 3 (three) $25 gas cards to give away to a few of my awesome readers. Enter to win today! My contest ends October 31, 2008.
In other news…
– Here’s an opportunity to win face time with Carl Edwards, I mean, the Gillette Young Guns, yeah that’s what I meant:
With the Chase in full swing, crew chiefs Bob Osborne and Mike Ford will be focusing on the most precise details to give Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin every advantage possible on the track. But these two crew chiefs won’t just be assisting their respective teams, they’ll also be helping out NASCAR fans who enter the new Gillette Young Guns TimeShaver Challenge that rewards weekly prizes and a chance to race with the Young Guns to those aligned with the driver who shaves the most off his pit road time each week. Fans can be paired with a driver by purchasing a Gillette Fusion razor or visiting http://www.gilletteyoungguns.com.
In addition to weekly group prizes, the “TimeShaver Challenge” will provide 10 grand prize winners the chance to travel to Charlotte, N.C., and compete in a customized driving school led by the Gillette Young Guns, which include Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and 2008 Daytona 500 Champion Ryan Newman.
The 2009 NASCAR schedules were released today (check out the full 2009 Sprint Cup Series schedule here). When this happens it makes me examine my life and what my plans are for the year ahead. I wasn’t intending for that statement to sound so… ominous? serious? Anyway, when I get to the Auto Club Speedway later this month I will have attended 5 NASCAR race weekends this year, which is a new personal best, but it leaves me well short of my goal of attending at least one race a month.
I really want to do something awesome next year but I’m not quite sure how to frame it and where to start. About a million ideas run through my head everyday. Most of which involve an Airstream trailer, my own show and a driver to take me everywhere so that I only have to worry about how I could possibly interview the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr. without sounding like a nut job. Whether the show is a podcast, vodcast or reality show is still up in the air.
Of course the real problem with all of this is that pesky little thing called money. I think you might have heard of it. I truly think a major oil company should sponsor me (and all of my exploits) next year. It just makes sense. I’d feel a lot better about paying $4 a gallon if Shell, Sunoco, Exxon or Chevron was footing the bill for me to live the dream next year. Wouldn’t you? Okay, maybe you wouldn’t but you’d get the benefit of it by reading all of my funny stories about life on the road as a crazy California girl NASCAR fan.
In other news…
– Bristol Motor Speedway is Eva Busch’s favorite race track and she had this to say about it:
“It was the very first track I ever visited and that trip to Bristol will always stand out as being so special,” Eva explained. “Kurt and I hadn’t been dating that long back in 2003 when he invited me to come to Bristol for the night race (on Aug. 23, 2003). I took him up on the offer, but really didn’t know what to expect. Having the Bristol night race as a first-race experience was impressive enough, but to be there and see Kurt win in my first time to the track was extra-special. There’s always something special about coming to Bristol and I think there will always be. The night race there is just unbelievable. You have to experience it to believe it. As exciting and impressive as it is on TV, there’s just no way to do it justice. You really have to be there to witness it live. I guess you could say that I got spoiled pretty fast at Bristol. Kurt won the night race in 2003 and we came back for the spring race of 2004 and he won that one, too. I know just how much Kurt loves the track and that affection for Bristol has certainly rubbed off on me through the years, that’s for sure.”
– Travis Kvapil will be driving KITT this weekend at Bristol. Suhweet! Okay, not exactly but his car will promote the NBC show “Knight Rider,” which is still really cool:
Yates Racing and NBC announced today that in a unique partnership between Ford Motor Company and NBC, Travis Kvapil will pilot the No. 28 “Knight Rider” Ford for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23rd. The sponsorship by NBC of the No. 28 Ford comes in anticipation of the television series premiere of NBC’s “Knight Rider” on Wednesday, September 24th at 8:00 p.m. EST.
On the heels of NBC’s hit movie, the iconic 1980′s television classics comes roaring back to life as a reinvented, updated and super-charged action series showcasing the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand). As absolutely the coolest car ever created, KITT is equipped with “AI” (artificial intelligence) that is capable of hacking into almost any system. The vehicle’s weapon system matches that of a jet fighter, its body is capable of transforming into other vehicles, and the car uses sophisticated holographic imagery to elude villains.
“This is such an awesome sponsor for our team at Bristol,” commented Kvapil. “The television series ‘Knight Rider’ is a show that everyone can get hooked on. I think it’s really cool that NBC has chosen to reinvent the series for the Fall line-up. The best part about the show was always the car, KITT, and this is amazing that I get to drive a version of KITT for the night race at Bristol. It’s every guy’s dream to feel like they are an action hero and I get to have that chance under the lights of Bristol with our No. 28 ‘Knight Rider’ Ford.”
Did you hear that the Sirius & XM Satellite Radio merger finally went through?? Yes! This is an awesome development.
When I got my car this year it came with Sirius, which was cool because I love Howard Stern and I missed his show ever since he left terrestrial radio. But at the same time I was a little bit miffed because Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s show is on XM. But now that the merger has happened there’s a distinct possibility that I’ll be able to get his show now!
They haven’t released the exact details of the programming that will be available to be added on to your service plan for current subscribers. So for example, if you’re an XM subscriber you’ll be able to add on certain Sirius programming to your current service plan for a small added fee, it’s like 4 bucks. All I know is, Dale better be on list!
In other news…
– Kurt and Eva Busch bought a horse. A show horse named C.J. to be exact:
“Eva has already spent a good deal of time riding,” Kurt said of the seven-year-old Arabian. “It’s the oldest breed and they are known for their strength, courage and stamina. C.J. has already thrown a right-front horseshoe. We’re planning on getting it and bringing it to the race track for good luck. Pauline (Bostic, coach driver) found one several weeks back and brought it to the New Hampshire race. We all know what happened there. Eva may ride C.J. in some shows on down the line.”
– I don’t think Dale Jr. got the memo about not talking about the heat, ’cause he had this to say about this week’s race at Pocono: “I hope this race at Pocono is better than the last one. It was pretty boring, but we got a good finish out of it. Hopefully it won’t be so hot up there this time. It was real, real hot last time.”
– Speaking of Dale, again, his grandmother Martha Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon’s mom, Carol Gordon Bickford are writing a cookbook together called “Pit Stop in a Southern Kitchen:
Two Moms of Racing Legends Serve Up Stories and Recipes.” It’s set to be released in February of 2009.
The book will include nearly 200 private recipes shared by family and friends over the years. Additionally, the project will feature personal stories and include never-before-seen photos from two of NASCAR’s most well-known families, as well as a foreword from Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
I had fun being on “On Pit Row” yesterday. More fun than I anticipated and I really don’t know what I was worried about my voice. I think I sounded good. I know bringing up Michael Waltrip’s possible divorce might not have been in good taste, but I can’t help the fact that I want to know. And it is a big story, considering the fact that the man proposed to her in victory lane, everybody knows them and she’s listed as the owner of some of his cars. So yea I’m curious.
It’s true too that I could care less which team this guy or that guy is going to in a general sense. I feel like it’s all really important when things are said and done, what’s the point of speculating on something that makes no difference to me? There are certain topics that are interesting like Tony Stewart co-owning Haas CNC or just the idea that Teresa Earnhardt would take on partners. Those are definitely conversation starters. But where Ryan Newman is going isn’t something I think about.
The “On Pit Row” experience got me thinking though and I’ve got an idea I want to try out. Once I figure out how to do it I’ll let you know what it is. How’s that for being vague?
In other news…
– I’m sad, deeply sad that I’m not going to Indy this week and not for the reasons that you might think. The Goo Goo Dolls are performing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday in the infield on Turn 10 of the road course. I looove them. Johnny Rzeznik. *sigh*
– If you’re a lucky person and you’re going to the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard or you just happen to live in the area you can meet Kurt Busch at Scotty’s Brewhouse (located at 3905 East 96th Street in Indianapolis, IN) from 6pm to 7pm on Friday. He’ll be serving Miller Lites of course.
– During the week off, Ryan Newman went to his hometown of South Bend, Indiana where they named a road in his honor. To visit Newman Way you must travel the half-mile stretch of highway near the South Bend Regional Airport.
– Casey Mears will participate in a Q&A session with other Chevrolet drivers during Chevrolet’s annual Fan Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’ll also sign autographs and drive Chevrolet winners around the track in the official Chevy pace car.
– Do you want to question Jimmie Johnson about his season or about his hair (seriously, what’s going on there?)?? Well here’s your chance:
Starting today (Monday, July 21), The Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Richmond International Raceway Cares are auctioning off the opportunity to pose questions to Johnson on The Final Round with McElroy on Sports Radio 910 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. Proceeds from the auction will benefit both charitable foundations and the winning donation is tax deductible.
For those who would like to bid on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, please visit www.sportsradio910.com. The winner will be awarded with a seat next to Johnson, driver of the #48 Chevrolet, where he or she will be able to ask questions. The winner also receives two tickets to the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 6. The auction closes on Monday, July 28, at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Trevor Hoffman, the all-time saves leader in Major League Baseball, was a guest of Mike Wallace at Saturday night’s race at Gateway International Raceway. Hoffman (far left) and his San Diego Padres teammates were in town for a series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Joining Hoffman on Wallace’s pit box were Chase Headley, Kevin Jarvis and Trevor’s son Quinn. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)
Landon Cassill (L), a native of Cedar Rapids, Ia., and Carl Edwards, who is from Columbia, Mo., lead fans on a charity track walk Saturday at Gateway. Proceeds from the event went to the American Red Cross and its outreach to Midwest flood victims. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)
After driver introductions I slogged back through the grass and onto pit road. I felt awkward about where to stand for the National Anthem. It’s hard to not feel like you’re in the way, plus should I really be out there anyway? I decided to split the difference and I stood at one of the garage entrances, which also left me standing just behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit crew and in front of Jimmie Johnson’s. I looked behind me and there was Ron Malec, car chief and rear tire carrier for the No. 48, looking insanely gorgeous. I’m sorry but that guy is really, really cute. Like really, every time I saw him over the weekend I had to take a moment.
Everybody lined up and then they introduced Gavin DeGraw as a country singer. That was funny. I think I snorted. And then a few of the guys from the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard team said, in unison, “Who???” I think I snorted at that too. Ahh, good times, good times. Later on I caught sight of Gavin taking a seat in Kurt Busch’s pit box next to Kurt’s wife Eva.
I watched the race start and then went back to the media center to eat dinner. That’s another great thing about being in the media center, free food. It really is a great benefit; I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to eat the whole time I was at the track.
I didn’t want to watch the whole race from the lunchroom, and I didn’t want to stand on pit road all night killing my lower back in the process, so I walked down the road to the grassy area next to the infield tunnel. I sat on the grass and watched the cars roll through the space between turns three and four. It was a great place to sit and watch the cars go by. Obviously I had no idea what was really going on with the cars and the drivers that drove them. But I knew that nothing wonderful was happening for Dale Jr. or the Yates Racing guys ’cause their numbers weren’t on the pylon. Well they were but just waaaay down at the bottom where it scrolled through the running order two places at a time.
As odd as it may seem it was really peaceful sitting there. I had earplugs in and it dulled the roar of the engines nicely. I waited until they hit 200 laps before walking back to the pits. I stood behind the pits for the Dave Blaney and the No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota. At one point the crew chief and some other dude were visibly pissed about something that happened to their car because it caused both of them to take their anger out on the pit box.
The end of the race was a rollercoaster. I was up when Carl Edwards took the lead and then down when he lost it. I was up when Jimmie took the lead and then I stayed down when he lost it too. If only he could have held on. If only.
I went into the garage and took pictures of Dale Jr. talking to a TV crew. Carl was next to him doing the same. I caught some of the press conference with Jimmie and Kevin Harvick and then I left just before it was over. I saw both of them as they walked out the back of the media center.
Yet again getting out of the track was a breeze. So remember how I said that I thought I had finally gotten the hang of driving in Chicagoland? Well of course on my last trek I realized I had never taken the right way back to my hotel. I had never gone the exact route my navigation system had initially specified. At some point I had always taken a wrong turn and then it recalculated to get me on the right path. This ended up being kind of a cool thing.
There are two things Joliet is famous for in my mind (besides being the home of Chicagoland Speedway of course). One, it’s the hometown of the very first America’s Next Top Model winner, Adrianne Curry (wife of the guy who played Peter on The Brady Bunch) and two, it’s also home to a ginormous prison that they used to film FOX’s drama Prison Break.
So going into my trip I wanted to see the prison. On my final, and correct, drive back to the hotel I got to see Joliet Correctional Center! The prison isn’t open anymore, they closed it back in 2002. But ok, so it was at night and actually really kinda freaky — especially when you add in the “Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers” sign that sits across the street from it — but it was also cool!
So that was my Chicagoland weekend. The next day, Sunday, I checked into a hotel in downtown Chicago and went to the Gavin Rossdale concert at the House of Blues. At some point I’m going to write about that experience in my other blog.
I had so much fun at the races. On the plane to San Francisco I knew that I wanted to go home, ’caused I missed it and my family, but at the same time I really, really wished I could go to Indy next week.
Car chief and rear tire carrier Ron Malec before the start of the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The crew for the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet before the start of the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The pit crew for the No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota prepare to go over the wall during the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks with media after the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The difference between the crowd gathered for the Nationwide Series drivers meeting and the one assembled for the Sprint Cup Series was like night and day. Friday it was me standing with the security guards but on Saturday I had to contend with a big crowd, a fence and those damn TV crews.
I made sure I was there early, like half an hour before it was all supposed to begin. Matt Kenseth arrived first with a Sirius satellite radio DJ in tow. Matt was very punctual on Saturday, he was also first at driver intros. So as per usual I tried to take as many photos as possible. My attempts at getting shots of guys and their shoes were foiled by guys from TNT filming people right in front of me.
In the drivers meeting they go over what’s going to happen before, during and after the race and what the rules are, or if there’s going to be a competition caution, etc. There’s a lot of stating the obvious, but it’s something you have to do. I couldn’t help but wonder though what it would be like if someone raised their hand at the end and said “So, what do I do if I win the race? Where do I go?” That’d be fun.
Kurt Busch walked into the drivers meeting with none other than pop singer Gavin DeGraw. I didn’t know who was singing the anthem until I saw him arrive. I have lukewarm feelings about Mr. DeGraw. I want to like him, he has a nice voice, but his music always leaves me wanting something more. Anywho, I ended up seeing him a lot after that. I almost bumped into him coming out of the bathroom in the media center; he was pacing around warming up his vocal cords.
After the drivers meeting came driver intros. I trekked out onto the grass and proceeded to get my socks and shoes totally soaked by the soggy field. I decided to stake out the opposite side of the stage that no one was on because it was the best angle to get great photos. Of course security had to come over and rain on my parade and told me I had to go to either the front of the stage or the other side. They had to keep that area clear. Dagnabit!
Okay, so let’s talk about that tribute to Richard Petty and his 50 years of NASCAR racing. It’s amazing it’s been that long. I thought it was such a great idea to have all the drivers wear, what has become his signature accessory, the cowboy hat. However, it was clear that he should be the only person wearing those suckers. The King is the only person who looks good in them as far as I’m concerned.
Check out the photo below. Who’s missing from it? In spite of what they were saying at the time all 43 drivers weren’t there to take this photo. Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards all showed up later just in time for the actual driver introductions. Oh and someone else is missing from the photo too but I can’t remember who it is. Any guesses?
43 drivers starting the LifeLock.com 400 pose with Richard Petty, who was celebrating his 50th anniversary in NASCAR. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
He’s always got a smile on his face!
Richard Petty stands behind the stage before his tribute begins at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Robby Gordon walks with Richard Childress to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Singer Gavin DeGraw (left) walks to the drivers meeting with Kurt Busch at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
David Gilliland walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Jeff Gordon walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Martin Truex Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
There were a bunch of great photos from the NASCAR race at New Hampshire this past weekend that I didn’t want to put them all in one post. So the rest of the best are below. My comments are in bold as usual.
In other news…
Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland play at a Guitar Hero: Aerosmith demonstration at the Target Chip Ganassi Racing hospitality tent at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday night (Photo Credit: Chris McGrath / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch hugs wife Eva after the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was declared official on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
On Friday in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway media center, Jimmie and Chandra Johnson turn the first screws in a project for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation that will provide a home to a family in need. Johnson was second-fastest in Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
This is the cutest photo ever!
Carl Edwards picks up a fan during Saturday’s NASCAR Foundation Track Walk following the NASCAR Nationwide Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I really need to watch more soccer, seriously.
Adam Cristman, Brad Knighton, and Wells Thompson of Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution walk the grid prior to the start of qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 27, 2008 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Here’s what I will say about the race at New Hampshire this past weekend: It was a good day for Kurt Busch and that’s pretty much it.
It was a good thing to see Patrick Carpentier capture the pole on Friday; you can’t take that away from the guy. Kurt needed a win in the worst way, but as usual I would prefer it if people could win — especially the much needed ones — with a complete race devoid of rain or controversy. It’s like when Dario Franchitti won the Indy 500. He’s a good guy and deserved the win, but just for me personally I would of felt better about it had it not been rained out. I’m just sayin’.
I didn’t see and hear everything that went on during the race because I was down in Los Angeles for my cousin’s wedding, and so I had to contend with my three nephews and their endless questions about racing. They’re 11, 9 and 7-years-old and they want to know everything. The questions never stop. Who’s leading? Who do you want to win? Who do you want to lose? Who do you want to finish 2nd? Who do you want to finish 3rd? Who do you want to finish last?
I love them I really do, and I desperately want to bring them to a race so they can see it all in person, but it did make me long for the times when I can watch the race in the peace and quiet of my apartment.
During the seventh and final caution, Kyle Busch (top, No. 18) and Juan Pablo Montoya (bottom, No. 42) were involved in an incident that cost Montoya two laps for rough driving in the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo Credit: Chris McGrath / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Polesitter Patrick Carpentier and his daughter Anais meet the crowd during driver introductions before the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
As the NASCAR race weekend in Sonoma draws closer I’m getting more and more excited. It helps that on Tuesday Cup drivers David Ragan, Travis Kvapil, J.J. Yeley and Sam Hornish Jr. (along with Nationwide Series driver Marcos Ambrose) will be rolling into town to test at Infineon. The testing session (from 8:30am to 4:30pm) is open to the public, free of charge and yeah, I’m so there. Did I even need to say that?
NASCAR has been coming to the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty years now and some of the drivers expressed their thoughts on the road course:
“They have kept up with the times, as well as brought a tremendous amount of diversity to the sport. One of the things that Sonoma has done is bring a different culture, a different type of race fan, which I think is really cool. The racetrack is so unique. It’s very different, the racetrack itself is different. The grounds are different. The location is incredible.”
–Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet
“The track is definitely sentimental to me in terms of spring-boarding my career. Some of the big owners saw me win that (Southwest Series) race, and I was on ESPN that day, and in 1999 they had just changed the track configuration to use the Chute, so a lot of the big teams were watching that day. It was very exciting. We had a great Southwest Series team and ran for the championship that year and Infineon Raceway really put us on the map.”
–Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge
“What’s so special about Infineon Raceway is that it’s so difficult. I grew up racing on a three-eighth mile dirt track in Missouri. To come to a twisting, turning, uphill, downhill road course where you’re shifting gears in a 3,400-pound stock car, against guys like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and Boris Said is a very, very tough thing. To be able to come here and win a race, I think for any driver, and I know for me would be one of the most satisfying wins in all of NASCAR.”
– Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford
“I was born in Vallejo, right down the road from Sonoma. So to be able to come out and see my family and friends, who I don’t get to see very often, and then we were able to win fairly early in my career out there, which is a lot of fun winning on the road course. And we’ve had a lot of wins since then. To go the last couple of years and have some exciting news and excitement in my personal life, which has all coincided with that race, has been very exciting. And now it gives us something to celebrate every time we come out there. This year we’ll be celebrating Ella’s first birthday when we come out there, so that will be fun.”
– Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
“Infineon Raceway is one race on the schedule that I absolutely love and look forward to coming and running. I mean, I like running the road courses, and we’ve had success out there. We ran really, really well. The people at the racetrack are always great. It’s an awesome crowd that’s very energetic and loves to see the Cup Series run there and it’s a track that I really have a lot of fun driving on so I always look forward to going there.”
– Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota
In other news…
– Did ya hear the news about Casey Mears?? He’s going to be dad! His girlfriend is pregnant with his first child. This tidbit of information was dropped in an article from the AP but Answer This has a little bit more detail. Congrats Casey!
— Clint Bowyer spoke with the media here in the Bay Area today in anticipation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. When asked if, in this sport, it was important for fans to have someone to dislike Clint had this to say:
“It’s the same way with racing in general or any kind of sport. Everybody loves the winner until they win too much, and then they don’t like them anymore. The guys who have been very successful have seen both sides. Jeff Gordon, you either love him or hate him, but bottom line you respect him. There’s a big difference between a guy like Jeff Gordon and a guy like Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch is winning races and he’s on top, but there’s not that love-hate relationship. I think it has nothing to do with his performance on the track. People don’t respect him because of the things he does when he gets out of the race car.”
And then when asked if it’s easy for fans to find someone to boo Clint said this:
“I think it’s pretty easy. That’s what makes this sport what it is — the personalities. That’s what separates this sport from other sports is that you’re able to get so much closer to these personalities. There are a lot fewer people in this sport, there are only 43, whereas football and baseball there are hundreds. You see a lot more of the personalities of the drivers in this sport. I think it’s a good thing about our sport that it’s so fan friendly and they can get that close to the action.”
And I believe that he’s totally right on both points.
A few weeks ago I was given a copy of a new NASCAR DVD set entitled “Full Throttle Adrenaline Volumes 1 & 2″ to check out. I have to say that it’s a really cool and interesting set.
The first disc is hosted by Fox Sports pit road reporter Steve Byrnes who takes you through a bunch of classic race finishes and crashes. There were moments that I hadn’t seen before like the time when Michael Waltrip had a truly gnarly crash into the side of a wall that basically peeled his car a part like a banana. It also shows the moment when Michael proposed to his wife Buffy in victory lane. There’s commentary from drivers like Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch recounting their super close finish at Darlington back in 2003.
The second disc is my favorite. It features interviews with various crew chiefs, owners and drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears, Ryan Newman and Boris Said. They talk a little bit about their lives away from the track. You get to see Ryan’s classic car collection and Boris’ adorable blond & curly haired son. I think seeing a driver out of their element is a great way to get perspective on what they’re like as just regular dudes.
The discs also have extras like a trip to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Charlotte and an in depth look at Elliott Sadler’s crazy crash at Talladega in 2003.
I was given three extra copies of this awesome DVD set to giveaway.
Enter the contest today! The contest ends on July 4, 2008.
It was a super sweet moment seeing the group of NASCAR moms standing the track telling their son’s to start their engines.
With that said though it sucks that Kurt and Kyle Busch’s mom had to take on the fans booing her son. It’s one thing to boo Kyle but not when his mom is being honored for Mother’s Day. That’s really lame.
Kurt (left) and Kyle (right) help their mother Gaye (center) off of the stage before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian and Ramona Vickers leave the stage before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman and his mother Diane take part in driver introductions before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Everytime I see Kasey’s mom, Tammy, I’m always in awe of the fact that she looks like she could be his sister and I don’t mean that in an Eddie Haskell kind of way either. She looks great.
Tammy Kahne and her son Kasey wave to the Darlington Raceway crowd before the Dodge Challenger 500 (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Elliott Sadler follows his mother Bell off of the stage before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Reed and mother Becky Sorenson salute the crowd before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart and his mother, Pam Boas, wave to the Darlington Raceway crowd during driver introductions for the Dodge Challenger 500 (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Jr’s mom, Brenda, wins for best outfit, I would totally go out and buy this entire ensemble. And I’m not just saying that ’cause she’s the mother of my favorite driver. Seriously, it’s a great look.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. follows his mother, Brenda Jackson, off of the stage before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carol Mears follows her son Casey off of the stage before the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carol Bickford and her son, Jeff Gordon, waves at the crowd at Darlington Raceway, where Gordon has won seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winner of the Wave the Green Flag contest, Betty Easley, received an all-expense-paid travel package to the Dodge Challenger 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway over Mother’s Day weekend (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
And so here are a lot of the things I’ve been meaning to post this week.
– Jeff Gordon escorted his wife, Ingrid Vandebosch to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala on Monday night. The theme of the night was “Superheroes” and I think Ingrid was trying to channel Zorro with her flamenco inspired dress. It was good enough to make the “good” part of Jezebel’s “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” list for the night.
– In case you hadn’t heard this Sunday is Mother’s Day and as is customary some of the NASCAR drivers’ moms will be in attendance at the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday. The mothers will be introduced with their sons during driver introductions and will also give the guys the go ahead to start their engines.
Casey Mears’ mom, Carol, will be there this weekend and he had this to say about her: “My mom is a great lady. She has been there for me and my racing career since the beginning. She still does a lot for me and my company, Casey Mears Inc. She’s just always there and is honestly one of the best people I know.
“It’s cool what Darlington does for all of the mothers on Mother’s Day weekend. I know that it gives my mom a good perspective of what I do each weekend with walking across the stage and waving to the fans — what I see and hear every race day. I know that every year she wears heels and every year she is so nervous and worried that she’s going to fall. She doesn’t really like the steps much.”
– Brian Vickers’ mom Ramona will also be at Darlington tomorrow and she had this to say about Brian:
“All you want is for your child to be successful, and every mother wants their child to be happy,” Ramona Vickers said. “I’m so proud of Brian — his actions, what he says, how he drives. I supported him in whatever he chose to do, and he chose NASCAR.”
There have been times where a mother’s instinct kicks in.
“He’s made us nervous a little bit,” she said, “but as you progress in your career, there’s a little more protection as far as safety. I’m more worried about who’s around him (in traffic), but I think he’s sometimes safer in the race car as he is out on the streets. I feel confident that the team is on its game with safety.”
– Kurt Busch is set it unveil the new Kurt Busch Superdome at the Victory Junction Gang Camp on Tuesday, May 20th at 2 p.m.:
The project was announced in May 2006, with Kurt announcing the donation of the initial $1 million in support of the project. The facility will provide opportunities for indoor sports in a climate-controlled environment. “It’ll be like seeing a dream come true to finally get the doors open and see all the kids enjoying themselves,” said Kurt. “It’s been a labor of love for all of the people involved and I’m so proud and grateful to have the opportunity to make a contribution in this manner to the Petty camp.” Officials are still ironing out all the final details. Several entertainment and sports figures are expected to attend including members of the Carolina Panthers and Ryan Newman, 2008 Daytona 500 Champion, Kurt’s teammate at Penske Racing.
– And since we’re on the subject of Penske Racing, wanna meet Ryan Newman? He will be at the Alltel Store in Concord, North Carolina (6140 Bayfield Parkway) from 6-8 p.m. on May 14th, 2008. There will be a chance to get autographs from Ryan and win prizes too!
Newman will be part of a webcast from the store at 7:30 p.m. ET, which will be broadcast on www.alltelracing.com. Fans can submit questions for Newman through the Alltel Racing web site.
Ok… So I really only have a bunch of quick hits to share with you today, so here it goes:
– Best Week Ever (the super funny TV show from VH1 that you should never miss!) has a blog and this week they posted a hilarious photo combination that ends with Jeff Gordon. Just check it out. SIMPLE CELEBRITY MATH: How To Build A Legendary Driver
– Kurt Busch talks about his NCAA Basketball predictions, and I totally have to agree with him on Davidson’s loss to Kansas. I wish they could have gone all the way: “NASCAR’s PR guys asked us for our predictions just before March Madness began and I told them then that I thought I’d have to go with North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and Memphis making up the Final Four,” Kurt said on Monday night. “I’m proud that I predicted that and it came true, but I really hated to see Davidson lose to Kansas, or to anybody for that matter. That was such a great story and the Curry kid helped really put them on the map. I’m a big Pac-10 fan because of growing up in Vegas and going to Tucson (University of Arizona) for a year. I said a couple of weeks ago that I thought I’d be pulling for my Pac-10 UCLA Bruins, but that Memphis would win it all and I’m sticking by that prediction. North Carolina has looked like they are unbeatable so far in the tournament. My thinking is that they sooner or later have to have one off game. I think it’ll be when they meet Memphis in the finals and Memphis will take advantage of the situation.”
– On Friday (This Friday the 4th of April) Casey Mears will be at the Chevy Thunder at Stockyards Station in Fort Worth, Texas, along with fellow drivers, Aric Almirola, Regan Smith, Jeremy Mayfield and Kevin Harvick. They’ll be signing autographs and participating in a question & answer session. For more details go to: http://chevythunderdays.com/index2.php
– On Saturday you can have Ryan Newman autograph a copy of his book “Pit Road Pets” for you. He’ll be at the Petfinder.com tent in the Blue Ox Camp Ground at Texas Motor Speedway at 2:30pm (local Texas time).
– More JR Nation apparel is going on sale at Sports Authority stores in Texas:
After making its debut in Daytona at the start of the NASCAR season, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s adidas JR Nation Gear has invaded the Lone Star state! Consumers can pick up the latest adidas Dale Jr. gear including men’s and women’s t-shirts, jackets, hats and jerseys, at any of the six Sports Authority locations in the Fort Worth area (addresses below). In addition, fans can check out Dale Jr.’s #88 AMP show car, which will be visiting Sports Authority stores across Dallas and Fort Worth starting April 1 and culminating on April 5 (dates, times and locations below).
Locations, dates and times of Dale Jr.’s #88 AMP show car appearances include:
April 2, 4-7pm
Cedar Hills Store
727 North Highway 67
Cedar Hill, TX 75104-2142
April 3, 4-7pm
3524 Airport Freeway West
Irving, TX 75062
April 4, 4-7pm
1800 South Loop 288, Ste 240
Denton, TX 76205
April 4, 10am-1pm
2930 Preston Road, Ste 200B
Frisco, TX 75034
April 5, 10am–1 pm
7612 Denton Highway, Ste 404
Watauga, TX 76148
For all of the Auto Club Speedway’s attempts at making itself Hollywood east it didn’t really come through at their race last week. Ok, so they had Tom Cruise, but that’s one dude and people don’t like him anymore since he jumped on Oprah’s couch. Las Vegas Motor Speedway had Carrot Top! You read that right, the one and only Carrot Top was on hand for the UAW-Dodge 400. He just sort of popped up at driver introductions. I was disappointed he was wearing a jacket. I wanted to see his scarily bulging biceps.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous host Robin Leach was there to announce the drivers. I caught a glimpse of country singer Blake Shelton leaving the drivers meeting before the race. He is so freaking gorgeous. JC Chasez of N’SYNC fame also made an appearance at the race. He hung out with the drivers before introductions and then at Kurt Busch’s car during the national anthem.
JC Chasez of N’SYNC waits to have his photo taken at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 2, 2008. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I think it’s weird to forecast the season or a drivers performance abilities based off of ONE race. I think that at least ten races have to pass before I can tell you if someone is having a sucky or great season. I know people have to write about something other than Tony Stewart’s hair but c’mon.
So I’ve been checking the weather down in Southern California and it looks like there’s a chance of showers on Sunday in Fontana. I’ve never been to a race with a rain delay. So if the rain does come down during the race that could be interesting. I’ll have to figure out where Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s coach is located. Just kidding. Sorta. No, I’m kidding. Maybe.
In other news…
– California Speedway is no longer California Speedway. It was announced this week that it is now to be called The Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. California Speedway was a lot easier to say, but whatever.
– MomLogic has posted an interview with Pattie Petty, wife of Kyle Petty and mother to Adam Petty, a 4th generation NASCAR driver, who was tragically killed in an on-track accident in 2000. How Pattie Petty Honors Her Son’s Memory
– Kurt Busch will be signing autographs at The Palms Hotel & Casino in Vegas next Friday the 29th at 7:30pm, in the Palms Food Court. The Food Court??
– It was announced today that the IndyCar Series and Champ Car World Series have reached an agreement and are merging in time for the 2008 racing season. Michael Andretti says this:
“This is a huge day for the IndyCar Series and for our sport as a whole, for sure. Over the years, whether I was in the role of driver, team owner or promoter, I have always wanted a unified sport. That has been my only goal throughout this entire process and I applaud everyone who played a role in making this happen. So many people have worked tirelessly, both publicly and behind the scenes, to get this done. Everyone can now focus on taking the IndyCar Series to new heights for the good of our sport and everyone involved in it.”
I have awesome news to share. I’m going to the NASCAR races at California Speedway this weekend and at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the following weekend. I’ve got credentials and I’ll be in the garage, the pits, everywhere!
Well maybe not everywhere, but the fact that I’ll be there at all is absolutely wonderful. I’m beyond excited that I get to go to not one, but two races in a row. That’s my new personal best in consecutive race attendance.
In other news…
– If you’re looking for a truly creative way to propose to your girlfriend ya gotta enter this contest from Harlequin (the publishers of NASCAR licensed romance novels). Your proposal could be on Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Ford Fusion during the 2008 NASCAR Sprint All-Star race.
– Kurt Busch is tending bar again:
Kurt is set for a Miller Lite Southern California “Pub Crawl” this Friday night. Included in his stops are Hooters at 725 Milliken Ave. in Ontario (8:30 p.m.) and Buffalo Wild Wings at 8188 Day Creek Blvd. in Rancho Cucamonga at 9:15 p.m., where he will be serving as a celebrity bartender.
– Jamie McMurray went flying with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds last week. I think they showed just a little bit of the footage during the pre-race show for the Daytona 500. Jeff Hammond was there too. Check out the details:
After a 45-minute flight that included a maximum vertical climb takeoff, high-speed rolls and turns and aggressive tactical maneuvers, the F-16 touched down safely on the runway.
When the two climbed out of the jet, Major Mulhare awarded McMurray with a “9-G” pin. The pin is only given to those participants who are able to endure 9 G-forces during the flight.
“I can’t believe we just did what we did,” said McMurray following the flight. “What a thrill to be able to fly with some of the greatest pilots in the world. Today Major Mulhare showed me what it is like to fly at speeds of over 500mph. The minute we took off, I knew it was going to be a fun ride.”
Three days later, the pilot and crew attended the race at Daytona International Speedway and were there to shake McMurray’s hand before he climbed into his No. 26 Ford.
“I have a lot of respect for those guys and what they go through. It was really cool to see how much their ‘pit crew’ is like our crew. Before the flight they went through everything with me to make sure I understood what was going to take place in the air. Then, right before we took off, the crew went over the entire jet again to make sure everything was set for our flight. They made sure everything was crossed off their list. I have to say, I was very impressed.
“Overall it was a pretty amazing experience to fly with Major Mulhare and the entire Thunderbirds crew.”
What can I say about the Daytona 500? I’m serious… What can I say about it? I’m stoked that Ryan Newman won, I’m pretty sure that no one was expecting that. I know everyone is saying that Hendrick Motorsports got off to a bad start for the year, which is kinda true but 1.) It’s one race and 2.) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 9th so that’s a win as far as I’m concerned. hehe.
I’m shocked that I’m about to say this, I really, truly am shocked, but Kurt Busch is kinda growing on me. I know! I can’t believe I just said that. I still don’t dig his little brother Kyle, but Kurt showed some real maturity on Sunday and I have to give him props for that. He could have tried to go after the glory for himself but he didn’t, he helped his teammate instead. I so totally respect that. This is freaking me out I have to stop talking about it.
In other news…
How great was it to have Fox back covering NASCAR? Getting to watch the race with Darrell Waltrip, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds is seriously like coming home. No, it’s like coming home with a Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte (with whip cream!) from Starbucks, lounging on the couch with a big blanket and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. It’s that good.
I’ve been reading the book “One Helluva Ride: How NASCAR Swept the Nation” by Washington Post writer Liz Clarke. I’m this close to finishing and I have to say that this was the perfect time to read it. The Daytona 500 brings up memories of the past, NASCAR’s beginning and it’s heroes. “One Helluva Ride” is the perfect companion. I wanted to get out of the house yesterday, so I took the book with me to Starbucks. Once I got to the parts about Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001 I was crying — I’m sure the people around me were like “What’s her deal??” At any rate, I hope to get the chance to speak with Liz and ask her some questions. More on that later.
Actress Amy Smart was a guest of Kyle Busch, who ran the second Gatorade Duel 150 race at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Teammates Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch chat prior to the 50th running of the Daytona 500 (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carl Edwards scans other drivers on his radio during Gatorade Duel practice. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ya go and try to do something different and everybody’s a critic. I still don’t know how I feel about it, but at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter. I just think it’s funny that there are message board threads dedicated to this topic and that for the past week the number one search term for people coming to my site has been “Tony Stewart’s Hair.” So if that’s what you came here for, who am I do deny you?
In other news…
– Kurt Busch secured the pole for tomorrow night’s Budweiser Shootout in Daytona. He managed it even though he was sick with the flu. I think this quote from his crew chief Pat Tryson is pretty funny:
“He’s a skinny little dude, but he’s as tough as nails,” Tryson said of Busch late Thursday night. “I told him this morning that his health is the number one priority and after seeing him laying there earlier today, I can’t believe he’s done all they tell me he has since then.”
And now more photos…
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch share time together before the Charlotte Media Tour event at Joe Gibbs Racing. (Photo Credit: HHP / Harold Hinson)
(Left to right) Chandra Johnson, President George W. Bush and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson visit for the second consecutive year to celebrate back-to-back championships. (Photo Credit: Mitchell Layton / Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Rick Hendrick, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson share a moment during NASCAR’s visit to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Photo Credit: Mitchell Layton / Getty Images for NASCAR)
2007 Daytona 500 winner Kevin harvick gets behind the wheel of the 2008 Daytona 500 pace car in New York City’s Times Square. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Fickies / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne takes a break during Preseason Thunder testing at California Speedway (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
It feels like I haven’t written here in forever. I’ve been busy with working on the redesign of the site and playing with my Christmas presents. I received a sweet digital video camera from my sister and the iPod Classic that I wanted from my fabulous mother. It holds 80GB of music and so far I’m up to 20GB. I spent the last week or so chained to my computer at home uploading all of my CDs. It’s a beautiful thing.
Anyway, in NASCAR news the off-season is officially over as teams began testing their cars at Daytona. Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed up and surprised everyone — even his new teammates — because his testing session isn’t for another week.
As always I’ve got photos for ya, I was mostly interested in seeing those drivers that changed rides for this year in their new uniforms. It always takes me awhile to remember who’s driving what and for which team.
Kyle Busch gets ready to take his first laps in his new No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
New Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. greets teammate Casey Mears in the garage on the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing crew chief Brandon Thomas meets with his new driver J.J. Yeley in the garage. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Not a new team, but a brand new paint scheme and uniform for Greg Biffle
On the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway, Greg Biffle helped unveil an American Red Cross paint scheme that he’ll drive at two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this year. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood / Getty Images for NASCAR)
We have a Busch down, I repeat, a Busch is down!
Kurt Busch checks out the bottom of his New Car during the first day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Or lets not and say we did.
This Penske points swap doesn’t sit well with me. I just don’t like the idea of this new guy coming in and taking credit for someone else’s hard work so to speak. I’m not even a Kurt Busch fan and I still think it’s shady. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m also not a big Sam Hornish Jr. fan either (he’s so freaking boring, I’m sorry). Actually, no, I don’t think it has to do with any of that, it’s just wrong. I’m sure Kurt will make all the races but there’s still a chance that he might not — which will make for a great platform for drama next year I’m sure.
So what else is new? Things are kinda slow, at least for me, because of the holidays. It always feels like nothing gets done during this time of year. I cannot wait for Christmas to be over so that things can start happening again.
Here are some photos I missed out on from a few weeks ago at the Bush Series Champions dinner:
Carl Edwards and his mom Nancy — such a sweet photo
Carl Edwards and his mother, Nancy, celebrate his 2007 NASCAR Busch Series championship. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Who knew David Ragan was such a hottie?? Maybe he should take Jimmie Johnson’s spot as a Gillette Young Gun
Not only did David Ragan finish fifth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings, he won Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors and collected $1,229,394. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
The 2007 Cup season is finally over. Jimmie Johnson is the Championship winner for the second year in a row and I’m just OK about it. Obviously it’s a great thing for him and his team. Hendrick Motorsports had a wonderful year. Three out of four of their drivers made it into the Chase and two of those drivers finished first and second. So instead of being so incredibly excited for Jimmie I’m happy for Rick Hendrick. He’s built an organization that is a force to be reckoned with, there’s no way around that.
Like all of the drivers I’m looking forward to next year. I became numb to the cruel hand fate had dealt to Dale Earnhardt Jr. over the end of this season many weeks ago. I can’t even talk about what happened at Homestead. There’s so much possibility awaiting him at Hendrick next year it’s pointless to waste time being frustrated with his last races with DEI.
2008 is going to be something. The thing that I’m the most excited about seeing is how the teams that are switching to Toyota next year handle the transition. I have a feeling that Tony Stewart is going to have some choice words if things don’t go so well.
Of course next year I want to be there in person to see it all go down. I ask you, what could be more fun than that? Yea, not much.
Matt Kenseth and crew chief Robbie Reiser celebrate the end of their eight-year partnership with a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 pit crew adjust his car during the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon takes a break during practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Car owner Jack Roush and Carl Edwards hoist the NASCAR Busch Series driver’s championship trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ricky Rudd races Kurt Busch in Rudd’s 906th and final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
– This is kinda old but I had to post these photos (there’s one below too). Vince Vaughn attended the race at Texas to promote his new movie “Fred Claus.” He is a hot, hot man and I like him a lot. I don’t like mincing words when it comes to the awesomeness that is Vince Vaughn — he had me at “Swingers.” And ya know it did cross my mind that my name starts with a V and well it’d be really cool if we got married ’cause we’d have the same intials. But anyway… you really didn’t need to know that.
– Even though it’s coming from Kurt Busch, it’s nice to know that one of the drivers agrees with me on the lameness that is only the top 10 chasers getting the royal treatment — and not the top 12 as it should be — in New York this year:
“All the Chase drivers want to finish at least in the top 10 in the points,” Kurt said. “The way they have it this year is that there are 12 drivers in the Chase, but only the top 10 get to drive their show cars around Manhattan and take to the stage at the NASCAR Awards Banquet. It’s a case of team pride and wanting to be able to do all you can for your sponsors. To tell you the truth, as hard as all the teams work toward making the Chase, it’s kind of sad that two teams get left out like that. I really don’t understand that, but I guess you just have to accept it and go on.”
– Are you on Facebook? If you are you should check out the page I made and become a fan of “The Fast and The Fabulous.” I’ll be your best friend.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, except these guys, they really are that tall.
Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki (left) talks with actor Vince Vaughn at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I had to share this, it’s too friggin’ cute!
Three month old Bristol Skinner – grandson of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points leader Mike Skinner – made good use of the trophy his grandfather won at Martinsville Speedway last Sunday. The win vaulted Mike Skinner to the top of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings, 11 points ahead of Ron Hornaday. The tight championship battle will continue Saturday when the trucks head to Atlanta Motor Speedway.
This Week in Press Releases:
– Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his new non-profit organization The Dale Jr. Foundation:
Foundation To Focus On Underprivileged And Youth
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 25 2007) – NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced the launch of The Dale Jr. Foundation Tuesday night at the eighth annual Dale Jr. Celebrity Sports Auction, held at Founders Hall in Charlotte, N.C. His newly-formed charitable organization is dedicated to giving underprivileged individuals, primarily youth, the resources to improve confidence, education and the opportunity to achieve extraordinary goals.
“My path in life made it a bit easier for me to reach my goals and get to where I am today, but I realize that not everyone is as fortunate,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really cool kids through the Make-A-Wish Foundation® the last few years, and it’s made me appreciative of all that I have.
“I decided to start this foundation as a way to help those who haven’t had some of the opportunities I’ve had. We plan to help those in need who are trying to reach their goals and just need someone to give them a chance to succeed.”
The announcement came at the conclusion of a yearly event that benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central and Western North Carolina. The Dale Jr. Foundation will continue to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation® and will also aid the Victory Junction Gang Camp, with the Dale Jr. Celebrity Sports Auction serving as the annual fundraising event for the foundation.
The total amount raised at this year’s Dale Jr. Celebrity Sports Auction will be determined at the conclusion of an 88-day online auction for a custom chopper built by Orange County Choppers. Fans can place bids on the custom-built bike through Dec. 18 by visiting www.celebritysportsauction.com or www.nascar.com. The one-of-a-kind chopper was built exclusively for Earnhardt Jr. as part of the Sunoco/Orange County Choppers Custom Chopper Series and was designed to reflect the red, black and white paint scheme of Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 8 Chevrolet. It has been personally autographed by Earnhardt Jr.
For information on the foundation and ways to contribute, visit www.thedalejrfoundation.org.
– Kurt Busch held his own fundraising event to raise money for The Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Kurt Busch Foundation:
“Ride with Kurt for the Kids” fundraising event a roaring success
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (October 23, 2007) – Experiencing 175mph speeds, pulling over 3g’s during the intense laps around Lowe’s Motor Speedway with NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, plus the silent auction, meet & greets, photos and autographs – all added up to more than $40,000 raised in support the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Kurt Busch Foundation.
“We could not be happier with results of the inaugural event held at Lowe’s Motor Speedway,” Busch explained of last Wednesday’s first of two such fundraisers planned this season. “Our goal was to provide an event that would create memories that will last a lifetime and judging by the smiles of our participants, I’d say we had a big-time winner.”
The “Ride with Kurt for the Kids” event marked the first-ever fundraiser for the Kurt Busch Foundation. In addition to the many loyal Kurt Busch fans that invested their own time and resources to attend and make the event a success, the Kurt Busch Foundation wishes to acknowledge and thank the Richard Petty Driving Experience, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Levy’s Restaurants, Miller Brewing, Doug Rice of PRN Radio, Up Up & Away Balloons, plus the many race teams and drivers that donated autographed race memorabilia for the silent auction.
“We had two very special riders for the event,” explained Busch. “Collin Smith and Kayla Rose are two kids from Victory Junction Gang Camp that experienced the ride of their lives last Wednesday. A very kind gentleman from Florida contacted us and asked if he could purchase a ride for one of the campers, and upon hearing about this generous act, it was matched by Tony Stewart. We appreciate their kindness and generosity ”
Kurt Busch and the Kurt Busch Foundation will stage another fundraiser in the 2004 champ’s hometown of Las Vegas on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
For complete event information, please visit www.kurtbusch.com, or send an email to [email protected], or call 704-799-2428. This opportunity is extremely limited and will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For those who cannot attend but would still like to make a donation to the Kurt Busch Foundation, please visit www.kurtbusch.com.
I don’t have much to say in regards to the race at California this past weekend. It didn’t seem to be that interesting, either that or my lack of excitement about the race could be the result of being back at work, after having 4 luxurious days off.
I have thoughts about the third episode of NASCAR in Primetime which I finally watched (thanks to Tivo) on Friday. The fan commentary that they feature on the show is just ok. It’s more relevant to me when they talk about fan things, like the camping area at Talladega. I know that I shouldn’t be, but I’m shocked that women are showing their boobs to random strangers for plastic beads. It looked like a weird mash-up of Mardi Gras and Woodstock.
Previously I wrote about California Speedway’s marketing attempts to get more butts in the seat for the race this weekend. Their party at Hollywood club Avalon did get attention, but I don’t know if it was the kind they wanted? There were a couple mentions in some celebrity gossip blogs. The mentions were about the pop/r&b singer Rihanna. You know her, or at the least her song “Shut up & Drive” that ESPN loved to play all the freaking time. Anyway, she was the only celeb of note because she was the only one that the Associated Press took the time to photograph coming down the red carpet and she was the only one that garnered these small mentions in the blogs IDon’tLikeUThatWay and PerezHilton.com.
I’ve heard that NASCAR drivers besides Jeff Gordon attended this party but I have yet to see any photographic evidence suggesting proving that to be true. Next year California Speedway should step up their celebrity quotient for the party, because from what I can see they managed only D-list celebs, if you can even call them that.
In other news…
– I know this will surprise you, but Kurt Busch, and his wife Eva, got a new dog. A black & tan Norwich terrier named Lola. The only reason I’m posting this is because the dog is adorable.
– Dale Earnhardt Jr. gives the best quotes:
What do people expect me to say when they keep asking me about the point standings? I check the standings right after each race and then I forget about it. I know we’re a long way back (from 12th-place Kevin Harvick), and even though we have a mathematical chance to get into the Chase, we’re going to worry about things within our own control.
– For all you soap opera fans get your Tivos ready — Jamie McMurray will be on an episode of “Passions” airing September 26th on NBC. Jamie filmed his scene last week in L.A.
When the lights were up and the cameras were rolling, it only took McMurray one shot to nail his lines.
We only had to take the shot one time, which is typically how they shoot those soap operas. They practice once and take once. I guess when your show is on five days a week you really have to be quick in learning the lines and making sure you don’t mess up. Overall I had a great time and really enjoyed meeting the entire cast and crew of “Passions.”
And now for photo fun time…
Robby Gordon prepares for practice at California Speedway. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr. waits for practice to start at California Speedway. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch takes a break during practice at California Speedway. (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson receives a hug from wife Chandra in victory lane at California Speedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
an angel loses its… ah, nevermind.
Much to my dismay Martin Truex Jr. wasn’t able to skip past Kurt Busch for the win today. Dale Earnhardt Jr. managed to jump up to 13th in the points with his 12th place finish but he’s still a ways back in the points. Which, for the record, sucks a big one. Ugh.
Even though I only got to listen to the last 30 laps or so of the race (and at work no less) I still had fun listening to Dale Jr.’s scanner chatter. This exchange between Junior, Tony Eury Jr. and spotter Steve Hmiel was very funny (synopsis courtesy of Jade Gurss):
The Bud car started each run after a pit stop with very loose handling characteristics, and then would eventually get tighter as the run went along. Sometimes the transition between the two conditions was an abrupt one. Dale Jr. spoke with Tony Jr. during a late caution period on lap 189.
Dale Jr: “I was (expeletive) wreckin! What place are we in?”
Eury Jr: “12th. The 83 (B. Vickers) is your next spot.”
Dale Jr: “I’m gonna tell ya, I was spinnin’-out looooooooooose! I don’t know why – maybe it’s that spring we put in the right front, but it’s loose loose loose the first six laps or so, and then I go into the next corner and all of a sudden, it’s tight! (to spotter Hmiel) “I know the 07 (C. Bowyer) is mad at me, but I didn’t hit him! He was loose on his own! Tell his spotter!”
Hmiel: “I know, I told him.”
Dale Jr: “I’m not sure I believe ya. I mean, I was on the brakes too.”
Eury Jr: (laughing) “Lemme tell ya, my wife will be proud of me. She always gets on me and says I can never make you loose…”
Dale Jr: “I’m so loose, I should be fast…”
Hmiel: “Boy, that 17 (M. Kenseth) cleaned the 24′s (J. Gordon) clock!”
Dale Jr: “Well, he had it comin.’”
Hmiel: “Yeah, that’s the truth. And I’d take a lie detector test on that.”
In other news…
– People have commented on my blog and expressed their dislike of Teresa Earnhardt for being stingy with the No. 8, but I have to say one thing: If you’re going to call the woman an expletive at least spell her name right. I love you guys but lets make sure we get it right the first time.
– All of the photos that I have access to from the extra-long race weekend were pretty boring and pedestrian — I didn’t think anyone wanted photos of drivers talking to each other — except for this one of Clint Bowyer and his girlfriend Athena Barber. They’re so cute together.
(Getty Images for NASCAR)
How bad have I got it?
I’m sitting here at work with a window for NASCAR.COM’s Live Leaderboard open, along with the TrackPass Scanner window. I’m listening to the Dale Earnhardt Jr. channel. This is what I must do because as tempting as it was to call in “sick” today so that I could watch the race live on TV, I couldn’t go through with it.
Is it just me or do Dale Jr. and his crew chief/cousin Tony Eury Jr. sound alike? It’s kinda freaky.
Anyway… all I can say is that Kurt Busch must be stopped!
– It’s all been done before, hasn’t it? Tomorrow night is the premiere episode of ABC’s new five-part series “NASCAR in Primetime.” It’ll air on Wednesdays at 10 PM EST (check your local listings). ABC News is promising to “offer viewers a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the inner workings of stock-car racing.” The show followed Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya and others over the course of five months. Juan Pablo will be on Good Morning America with his wife Connie tomorrow to promote the special.
– The mayor of David Stremme’s home town — South Bend, Indiana — has declared August 21st to be David Stremme Day. To celebrate the city is hosting a party, “Stremme Comes Home/Rally to Bristol,” that’s open to the public from 5 PM to 8 PM.
“I haven’t really been back home in South Bend to spend any quality time in about a year, so this party is for my fans, friends, family and I to catch up,” said Stremme, who now resides in Concord, N.C. “It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up with work when you’re spending as much time as we do on the road. I’m thrilled to be hosting this event at Century Center in South Bend, and am looking forward to catching up with everyone and just having a good evening together.”
The event will also raise funds for Coaches Vs. Cancer headed locally by Notre Dame Basketball coach Mike Brey, as well as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
– Happy (sorta early) Birthday wishes to Carl Edwards, he turns 28 tomorrow.
– On Friday night feel free to give Kurt Busch a hard time on my behalf. He’ll be bartending at the Artesian Wells Sports Tavern in Cement City, Michigan from 8pm to 9pm. He’ll be there to raise money for charity.
– At this weekend’s Cup race in Michigan Casey Mears will be rocking a special 1957 Chevy paint scheme for his No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Monte Carlo SS. What’s the special occasion? To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1957 Chevrolet.
“I’ve always loved classic cars — I have a ’61 Chevy Impala convertible and a couple of hot rods here and there. My dad is big into collector car shows, and that’s something I enjoy as well. Running the ’57 paint scheme should be a lot of fun this weekend, and Michigan, being the home track for Chevrolet, is an especially fitting place for us to do it.”
– I had to post these quotes from Dale Earnhardt Jr. He is by no means out of the Race to the Chase:
“I’m sure some people are gonna write us off for the Chase after our problems at Watkins Glen,” said Earnhardt, who finished 42nd at the Glen because of engine problems.
“But, I think it’s foolish to do so because we’re a great team and we’re gonna do everything we can to scratch and claw and fight for wins and every position on every lap.
“We have four races coming up at four tracks where we’ve been very, very good lately. No one has been better or more consistent at Michigan than we have the last few years. We’re taking our favorite car – chassis No. 39 – that we’ve been using there and it just seems to really get up and go at Michigan.”
It’s OK Dale, I believe in you.
Are you shocked? I’m not. There are worse things he could do.
And now I give you some things that you might want to know:
– If you’re a San Francisco Bay Area IndyCar fan you’ll be happy to know that Fior d’Italia Restaurant is giving $25 gift certificates to the first 40,000 fans that enter Infineon Raceway for the Motorola Indy 300, presented by Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel on Sunday, August 26. So make sure you get there early!
– NASCAR driver Ryan Newman will be a guest on the “Best Damn Sports Show Period” live from Lowe’s Motor Speedway on August 7th to announce the finalist for Kodak’s “Ink Ryan’s Ride” contest.
– Walk the track with Kurt & Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Ernie Irvan at Pocono Raceway on Saturday:
Kurt will join brother Kyle and four-time Cup champ Jeff Gordon in Saturday’s LAPS Walk with Ernie Irvan at Pocono Raceway. Irvan, Gordon and the Busch Brothers will unite with NASCAR fans, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors, and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard for a walk on the racetrack to raise awareness and needed funding to conquer TBI in America. The LAPS Walk festivities will kick off at 2:15 with a Q&A session and presentation to the top fundraiser of a signed helmet to recognize his/her outstanding effort for TBI awareness and prevention. Following the Q&A session, all participants, including Irvan and Kurt & Eva, will move down to the track where they will be joined by members of the National Guard for the opening ceremonies and a walk on the racetrack. For more information, please visit www.lapswalk.org or call the Brain Injury Association at 800.772.4323.
– I find this quote from Jimmie Johnson to be very interesting indeed. It’s about the resetting of the points once the Chase kicks in for the final ten races of the season.
It certainly looks like I’ll be a big beneficiary of it (resetting the points) and with the way that it is, I’ll take that forgiveness the way the point system is structured right now and try to capitalize on it. But when you look at Jeff’s (Gordon) point situation and how strong he has been, deep down inside there is still a part of me that says, ‘Man, the guy’s had a great year and deserves to be the champion and have it re-racked with everybody on top of him again probably isn’t fair.’ But it’s the way it is. The Chase does a lot of positive things for our sport. I’m in a position where I could capitalize on a tough summer. So you deal with the situation, as it exists. Just falling back on the way racing has always been and the way we’ve all raced through the season and had every point add up to equal a champion, if Jeff doesn’t win the championship I’m sure he’ll have a lot of heartburn over it. And I think us racers, deep down inside, might not think that it’s exactly right. But it’s different racing today than it was years back.
– Greg Biffle will be running a special “Dog the Bounty Hunter” paint scheme on his No. 16 Ford Fusion at Pocono. Uhm, yea, I’ve got nothing.
– All I can say about this is that I hope either A.J. Allmendinger or Brian Vickers can make it into this race or else this visit will be kinda awkward and embarrassing. I got my fingers crossed for ‘em!
Two members of the New York Red Bulls, the MLS team that plays its home matches at Giants Stadium, will make the 90-mile journey from East Rutherford, N.J., to Pocono Raceway to absorb the sights and sounds of NASCAR racing.
Midfielder Joe Vide and midfielder/forward Clint Mathis will get a true taste of what stock-car racing is all about. They’ll hang out on the grid and in the pits, and the fleet-footed duo will meet Red Bull Racing’s two drivers for lunch Sunday morning.