I have some super duper awesome news to share with you guys. Thanks to the wonderful people at 3M I get to go to the Sprint All-Star Race weekend in Charlotte! They’re paying for the trip and to make it more fun I get to bring my boyfriend. I’m really looking forward to sharing my passion for NASCAR with him, especially since it’ll be the first time he’s ever attended a NASCAR race. He’s also serving in an official capacity as my photographer.
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Congratulations to the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 team for their victory at Texas. Tony Stewart and crew are definitely making things anxious for Carl Edwards. But because I’m greedy, I really wish that Matt Kenseth & Kevin Harvick could get in the mix somehow and stir things up so that everything will be nice and crazy for Homestead. That would be fun, no?
Of course, there was that whole Kyle Busch situation that was covered AT LENGTH over the weekend, so I’m not going to go into it very much only to say that I hated it when they would recount what happened on Friday with Kyle and Ron Hornaday. They made it seem like it wasn’t OBVIOUS that Hornaday got into Kyle on accident, he got loose and it was plain as day. I’m probably nitpicking about this but saying “they tried going 3-wide and it didn’t work” doesn’t quite explain the situation accurately enough for me. Oh and one more thing, did you think it was interesting that in KyBu’s apology letter he didn’t name Kevin Harvick Inc. by name? I thought that was interesting. Douchey and interesting.
I’m so happy I got to go to New Hampshire and Kansas over the past month or so. Getting to attend those races reminded me why I love writing this blog so much and how awesome it is to interact with you and hear your thoughts on my experiences. Your feedback means a lot to me so don’t hold back. Let’s just hope that someone reads this site, believes in what I’m doing and steps up to help it grow. I might create a quick link for you to click to Tweet brands that tells them to sponsor me. Ha! I seriously just thought of that while writing this and now I need to make it happen.
In other news…
– Today was the first ever Better Half Dash at Charlotte Motor Speedway, featuring the wives and girlfriends of NASCAR drivers, crew guys and personalities. The inaugural winner was Jacquelyn Butler, the girlfriend of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan.
“That was crazy,” Butler said from the frontstretch victory celebration, which was complete with a trophy presentation, interviews and a champagne shower. “That was fun. I’m ready to go out and do it again next week.”
Better Half Dash Finishing Order
1. Jacquelyn Butler (David Ragan)
2. Trisha Mears (Casey Mears)
3. Ashley Allgaier (Justin Allgaier)
4. Patricia Driscoll (Kurt Busch)
5. Wendy Venturini (Speed Network)
6. Beth Baldwin (Tommy Baldwin)
7. Sabrina Simpson (Joey Logano)
8. Jami McDowell (Michael McDowell)
9. Michelle Gilliland (David Gilliland)
10. Kristen Yeley (J.J. Yeley)
11. Nan Zipadelli (Greg Zipadelli)
12. Angie Skinner (Mike Skinner)
13. Shannon Koch (Blake Koch)
14. Melanie Self (Motor Racing Outreach)
– Better Half Dash Honorary Starter Kelley Earnhardt is expecting her third child. It’s her first child with her husband & race car driver, L.W. Miller III (who you can see in that Richard Petty energy drink commercial). Kelley has two daughters, Karsyn & Kennedy, from her previous marriage to NASCAR crew chief, Jimmy Elledge.
“Obviously as a former race car driver, I would love to be participating with the other ladies in this event,” said Earnhardt, co-owner and general manager of JR Motorsports. “But with a baby on the way, I am thankful they found a home for me as the honorary starter to be a part of the fun.
“It is fulfilling to be doing something positive while raising awareness and funds for Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) and Speedway Children’s Charities. MRO is a staple to our sport and NASCAR family and SCC has done so much for our community.”
– Montgomery Lee, daughter of former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Petty (and granddaughter of NASCAR legend Richard Petty) announced this week via Twitter that she and her country music artist husband, Randy Montana, are expecting their first child. The couple are expecting a daughter on February 29th of next year.
First, I must address the most amazing “Gentleman, Start Your Engines” ever PERFORMED on national television. That’s right, performed! Actors (and comedians) Kevin James and Adam Sandler were the Grand Marshals for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway and the didn’t fail to deliver what I knew would be the most entertaining command to start engines since I don’t know when. (Off topic right now but this photo, left, is the best photo of Denny Hamlin I’ve seen in quite some time. Just sayin’)
Can we get Kevin James out to every race to do that little dance? Freaking hilarious. If you missed it, video of Sandler and James giving the command is below. They’re promoting their new movie “Grown Ups” which, of course, looks very funny.
My only question about this race is why didn’t Denny Hamlin pick up the giant fake tub of Heluva Good! Sour Cream dip that was sitting on top of his car in Victory Lane? That would of been great, especially if they’d had a giant bag of chips to go with it.
Associated Press reported that Jimmie and his wife Chandra are expecting their first child in July.
It’s funny how excited someone else’s pregnancy has made me, considering I don’t know them at all. But I’m super excited for them. This is exactly what we need, more babies on pit road! I’m not making a joke, I’m serious. After baby Edwards and baby Sadler arrive baby Johnson will be future NASCAR driver number 3 for 2010 (so far). Did someone spike the VitaminWater or what?
In other news…
– AJ Allmendinger went go-karting with Jamie McMurray down in Florida last week during the annual Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket events at Daytona International Speedway. This was the third straight year that Jamie participated in the event and AJ’s first time.
DirecTV has some serious splainin’ to do. It all seemed to start on Saturday morning. I was watching TV and every now and again the screen would go black for a second and then the picture would come back. I didn’t think that much of it until Sunday when I was home all day and was all set to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods that I noticed this problem hadn’t gone away.
The problem, which could get worse and then clear up just as suddenly, seemed to only affect local channels, and after I spoke to DirecTV I found out that it was only happening to people in the San Francisco Bay Area (including fellow NASCAR blogger Amy!). So I could watch ESPN and another cable & premium channels just fine, but ABC was not behaving. I tried to watch the race with the one of the HotPass channels but that was annoying because I wasn’t in the mood to have to listen to MRN.
So I dealt with it even though it gave me a headache from all the skipping and flickering of the screen.
Since I never wrote up my thoughts on the Coke Zero 400 last week I’m doing a double-double this weekend and including them with my write up of last night’s LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland.
First the Coke Zero 400, I felt that Tony Stewart did nothing wrong to Kyle Busch in the last lap. Apparently when Kyle ends up wrecked it’s whiney time, but when he does it to someone else he’s just racing. Whatever, dude. I do not understand Kyle’s logic, seriously.
With Tony’s win, Burger King definitely got their money’s worth for their sponsorship of his No. 14 right out of the gate. If they don’t do more next year, I think that would be a mistake. But I still think the BK King is creepy.
Now, I should say that I wasn’t all that thrilled that Tony won. I really wanted Denny Hamlin to win, and this weekend too. I’ve never been a Denny fan but he’s really growing on me. I’m not sure why. Well, maybe it had to do with seeing his episode of Cribs on CMT awhile back. He had this piece of paper in his bathroom that read: “I Can, I Will.” I guess it struck a cord with me that he even thought enough to post an affirmation like that, and then to let it be filmed. So I want the guy to win something, that and I want to hang out on the little beach he has in his backyard. It just seemed so relaxing.
Just in time for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona tomorrow the Coke Zero people are launching a new ad. It’s another hilarious commercial showing the Coca-Cola brand managers attempting to persuade the Coca-Cola drivers to do something really not well thought out, like, at all.
I love it.
The first part of this video is a behind-the-scenes, making of the commercial feature and then the actual finished commercial is shown at the end.
And for your viewing pleasure I give you the old Coke Zero ad that I love just as much. It never gets old! Enjoy the track for longer than the other drivers. Ha!
When Tony Stewart announced his plans to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and owner I was skeptical. I had no idea what would happen but I can tell you that I definitely wasn’t thinking he would be leading in the points standings and winning races. Yea, I thought things would be “interesting” which is code for “not winning.” I didn’t think he would stink up the place but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to contend for the Championship like he is now.
His success is great though. I’m happy that Tony is leading and that he won this weekend’s race at Pocono. I know I’ve talked smack about Tony in the past, and I totally stand by it, but there’s something about him that I do like. I couldn’t tell you what it is right now but there’s something.
And because I’m a sucker for emotional things I love, love, loved it when TNT showed Tony’s dad in the pits. I loved seeing him wipe away tears as he watched his son drive into Victory Lane for the first time as a driver/owner. That’s a very sweet moment and those are the things that add that personal, sentimental touch to this sometimes impersonal, corporate sponsorship driven sport.
On Saturday I watched the Nationwide race at Nashville. No, I’m not going to talk about Kyle Busch’s ill-conceived plan for breaking up the race’s trophy into pieces to share with his team. (I basically agree with what Kyle Petty said about it during Sunday’s broadcast.) I want to talk about Brad Keselowski. Is it just me or does Brad seem a lot more mature and manly this year? He seems a lot less goofy (and I mean that in a really nice way!) and more sure of himself. Does winning a race make your voice change? Hmm, if so, maybe there’s hope for Joey Logano.
I kid, I kid. Photos after the jump!
Some things I think you should know:
– Congratulations to ESPN/ABC pit reporter Brienne Pedigo and her husband, actor Tyler Christopher of ABC’s General Hospital. The couple is expecting their first child in October! You might have already known that but it’s the first I’d heard of it. Anywhoo, In an effort to help Brienne out in her job as her pregnancy progresses ESPN thought of everything:
To assist her in performing her duties through ABC’s five-race schedule of IndyCar Series events, ESPN worked with manufacturer Impact to produce a special firesuit for her to wear as she works the pits during the races. The suit is equipped with a stretch gusset in the back so that it can be expanded as her pregnancy progresses.
Look for Brienne tomorrow during ABC’s coverage of the Indy 500. Okay, to give you more information than you really need, Tyler Christoper plays Nikolas Cassadine on General Hospital and before he married Brienne, he was married to Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria who is now married to professional basketball player Tony Parker. Whew.
– World champion gymnast and Dancing With The Stars winner Shawn Johnson will be the Honorary Race Official for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway tomorrow. She’s already started the weekend off by riding along with Coca-Cola Racing Family member Kyle Petty. It looks like Shawn was able to show Kyle some dance moves. I think that if Carl Edwards wins the race tomorrow Shawn should run out to his car and do a back flip with him.
– Eddie Bell, a firefighter and small business owner from Tulsa, Oklahoma is the winner of the Office Depot “At The Speed of Smart” sweepstakes. As a result of his win Eddie had the awesome the opportunity to go on a $14,000 shopping spree with none other than the 2009 All-Star Race winner Tony Stewart. From the looks of things Eddie and Tony got on really well. Eddie will also receive a VIP race experience for the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend.
“I am so excited about being the Office Depot ‘At The Speed of Smart’ sweepstakes winner,” said Bell, a lifelong NASCAR® fan who deems himself the “motor-head” of his family. “In my role as district fire chief and as a small business owner of a residential construction company, having a store that carries everything from paper clips to laptop computers is very convenient. I found out about the sweepstakes during one of my weekly trips to Office Depot, and the fact that Tony Stewart is my favorite NASCAR® driver makes winning this sweepstakes very special.”
“I was absolutely thrilled to help Eddie do some damage behind the wheel of an Office Depot shopping cart,” Stewart said. “As someone who gives back to his community every day through his job as a firefighter, Eddie is a very deserving winner and I think he’s going to have a great race weekend experience.”
Bell, who has been a firefighter in Tulsa for the past 30 years, regularly watches NASCAR® race broadcasts at home but this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 (Sunday, May 24, 5 p.m. EST, FOX) will be only the second NASCAR® race he has attended in person. During the race weekend, Bell will also receive a special on-track ride-a-long experience with Stewart in the driver’s seat.
– And since I’m already talking about Tony, did you know that you can win the firesuit he wore for the All-Star Race last weekend? As I write this the auction ends in less than 19 hours. 100% of the proceeds raised from the auction will benefit Victory Junction through The NASCAR Foundation. What I want to know is: Do they clean the firesuit and then have Tony sign it? Or is it better to have it just used and not cleaned?? I’m not sure which is better. I’m thinking if you’re like a hardcore fan you would want it as is, but that might be kinda grody. If anyone knows for sure how it’s delivered I’m curious about the details.
– For the record, the only person I want to see win the Indy 500 tomorrow is Marco Andretti. It would be soooooooooo friggin’ cool! He came so close in 2006 and I’m a big fan of family stories. I wanna see grown men cry!
Everything is bigger in Texas and that includes photo ops. Before we do this thing called the Samsung 500 we must first take a moment to look back at the promotional opportunities that were:
Note to self: Purchase Foreigner’s greatest hits CD. I just saw them on some show on A&E and they performed “Cold As Ice” and I realized how much I really like that song.
Foreigner chief songwriter /guitarist/keyboardist and founding member Mick Jones and lead singer Kelly Hansen reflect on the experience after taking a ride in a Team Texas stock car at Texas Motor Speedway Monday, March 30, 2009. The band is headlining the AMDRO Fire Ant Bait Pre-Race Show beginning at 11:35 a.m. CT, prior to the start of the Samsung 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, April 5th at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)
Nice socks, Kyle!
Kyle Petty tees off during the AutoTrader.com Gears & Greens Charity Golf Classic on April 2, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten make contact while racing around the track at SpeedZone in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday, April 1, 2009. The pair were racing to raise awareness for the March of Dimes and the 2009 March for Babies. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)
Notice how Jason Witten is speaking to a million members of the media and over in the right-hand side Denny Hamlin is speaking to three dudes. I just thought that was funny.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (center) talks with the media after racing NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin around the track at SpeedZone in Dallas, Texas Wednesday, April 1, 2009. The pair were racing to raise awareness for the March of Dimes and the 2009 March for Babies. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)
In honor of being inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Bobby Labonte got to take an awkward looking photo with Kyle Busch.
NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and driver Bobby Labonte unveil a throw-back paint scheme on the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry during the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Banquet held Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at The Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway. The paint scheme is the same scheme that Labonte drove during his 2000 Championship year. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)
In addition to signing motor oil, Sam Hornish Jr. also signed tires and changed oil.
NASCAR driver Sam Hornish Jr. signs an autograph for a race fan at Mobil 1 Lube Express in Grand Prairie Tuesday, March 31, 2009. Race fans received a pair of tickets to the Samsung 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway with each oil change. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)
So here are the things that have been rolling around in my head ever since my last blog post, which feels like an eternity ago and I apologize for that. That being said I’m not sure if it’s going to get any better at least until the season truly starts up again.
– I was listening to a few clips of Jamie McMurray talking about his love for kart racing. He mentions in one of ‘em that he doesn’t like to golf because it hurts his knees and back. I know that’s not huge news but I thought it might be interesting to McMurray superfans.
– The 2009 Sprint Sound & Speed event in Nashville, Tennessee is taking place today and tomorrow. Photos from last year’s festival were posted this week and frankly any photos of Dale Earnhardt Jr. from any point in time are totally fine with me. See below.
– Clint Bowyer filmed a commercial with the Hamburger Helper hand at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California this week. That guy has all the fun doesn’t he?
– Keith Urban, super talented hottie and Nicole Kidman’s hubby, will perform at the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show this year.
– David Stremme, who is coming back to the Sprint Cup Series this year with Penske Racing, spends time with his girlfriend playing Guitar Hero.
– As grand marshal for the Fiesta Bowl Tony Stewart attended the 38th Annual Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. Stewart sat atop a Corvette convertible and waved to fans along the 1.9 mile parade route while two Chevrolets decked out in the branding of his new primary co-sponsors for the 2009 Sprint Cup season, Office Depot and Old Spice, rolled along beside him.
“That was like driver introductions at Indianapolis times 10,” said Tony, in reference to the pre-race activities for NASCAR’s annual race at the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “This is a huge event and I’m just honored to be a part of it. It’s pretty cool to sort of venture outside our box a little bit and take in a game of this magnitude. With the racing season being what it is, getting away to see a college football game is kind of tough. When the Fiesta Bowl Committee called and asked if I was interested in being their grand marshal, I said, ‘As long as I get a ticket and a field pass to the game, I’m in.”
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer gets a helping hand as he tapes a commercial for his new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sponsor General Mills’ “Hamburger Helper” at Auto Club Speedway on Wednesday. Bowyer will debut his new ride in Southern California at the West Coast Premiere of NASCAR Feb. 20-22, hoping to end up in Gatorade Victory Lane following the Auto Club 500 on Sunday, Feb. 22. The new commercial spot is scheduled to begin running in February. (Photo Credit: Auto Club Speedway)
Joey Logano and brakeman Kenneth Stout, who led with only Todd Bodine left to go, watch the TV at the finish line as the eventual champion makes his final run. (Photo Credit: Todd Bissonette)
Country music star Jason Michael Carroll and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Petty pose for a picture during the 2008 edition of Sprint Sound and Speed Presented by SunTrust. Both are scheduled to be back at the event this year on Jan. 9-10. (Photo Credit: Sprint Sound and Speed)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Taylor Swift pose for a picture during the 2008 edition of Sprint Sound and Speed in Nashville. Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to participate in this year’s event on January 9-10. (Photo Credit: Sprint Sound and Speed)
This was such a great year for The Fast and the Fabulous. When I look back at the 2008 NASCAR racing season I smile, grin and laugh. I have had so much fun and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want more! But before 2009 arrives I thought it would be fun to remember the highlights of the year that was:
– Pole Position: There was no way I would have had access to all of the opportunities that came my way this year without my association with NASCAR Pole Position magazine. They really started my year off right and I am so thankful that they asked me to be a part of their publication.
– Flying solo: In attending five races in three different states this year I set a new personal record for myself. This fact alone is just super cool. I’m so proud of myself for following my passion and not caring that I did all of this traveling on my own. To be honest traveling alone is really fun, you always get to do the stuff that you want to and you never have to compromise.
– The interviews: The interviews I obtained this year were truly monumental for this blog. If there had been only one I would have said the same thing. Having the opportunity to ask all of these great people questions was something I will not forget. It’s not like I’m planning to not do interviews anymore, but you never forget your firsts! So here’s a special thank you to Michelle Gilliland, David Gilliland, Travis Kvapil, Paul Menard, Liz Clarke, Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty. Here’s a bit of insider info, I interviewed Shana Mayfield (Jeremy Mayfield’s wife) earlier this year but I shelved the transcription of our conversation, not for any particular reason. She was super nice and very cool. I’m planning on posting the interview eventually. If there’s one thing I learned this year it’s that long conversations equal a super long transcription process.
– Clint Bowyer: He is the subject the greatest photo I have ever taken during a race weekend. As you can see in the photo to the right that is Mr. Bowyer look straight at me like I’m an alien. I love this photo because his expression is priceless. It was one of many cool moments I had during my time at the Chicagoland Speedway in July.
– Carl Edwards: It was a big year for Carl; he got engaged, brawled with Kevin Harvick and gunned for not one but two Championship titles. He came up short on the Championship front but it’s no small feat to place second in two series at the same time. My teensy, weensy encounters, at Chicagoland and the Auto Club Speedway, with Mr. Edwards were perfect examples of what a great ambassador for the sport of NASCAR he is and display his insanely likeable persona.
– Dale Earnhardt Jr.: I think my post, “fate finally throws me a bone,” is my favorite one for the year. It summed up a lot of feelings and explains where I’m coming from to anyone who doesn’t know me personally. The experience itself was definitely the highlight of my year. I’m hoping for 2009 to bring more experiences like that one, for sure.
– Celebrity: I saw a lot of stars and a couple so-called celebrities this year. I’m still highly pissed and irritated that Heidi & Spencer from MTV’s The Hills were at the Pepsi 500. Gag me. On the other side of the celeb spectrum, ya know the side where people actually ARE celebrities for having actual talent; I was star struck when I was in the same place as actor, and major hottie, Brendan Fraser. I think they should have him as the Grand Marshal of at least one race per year. It’s funny though, no matter what actor, musician or TV personality showed up at the races I was always much more interested in the NASCAR drivers.
– What I sound like: Thanks to invites from a couple really cool radio shows you got the chance to hear me talk about NASCAR. I had such a great time spending time On Pit Row with Steve and Charlie and hanging out in the Treehouse Fort with Matt and Tuffy.
– Twitter racing: When I watched races on my TV at home I kept my cell phone by my side at all times, not because I was waiting for the phone to ring or needed to check my email, nope I kept it with me so I could post Tweets about the race as it was happening. It became such a fun thing to exchange opinions, impressions and laughs with my fellow NASCAR fans. I invite you to follow me, so you can be in on the conversations next year!
– It’s the life: I think I’ve talked before about moments where you say to yourself “how did I get here?” Well I asked myself that question about 50 times when I toured the ESPN mobile production studios while I was at Chicagoland Speedway. I learned a lot, it takes a lot of work to put a broadcast together and rear springs are way heavier than I’d thought.
‘Cause he just tells it like it is.
Hello! Today has been insane let me tell ya, but the one awesome thing has been writing up this final post of my interview with Kyle Petty. Again, this interview was done last week during Kyle’s promotion of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.
Me: In regards to Prostate Cancer Awareness, a lot of the readers of my website are women, what’s the most important thing that they can do for their husband or father to help them to go out there and see a doctor about this?
Petty: When had our STAY ON TRACK for Better Prostate Health booth set up at Michigan I was surprised at the amount of women who came through and would bring their husbands, or would say “My father had prostate cancer, it runs in our family and I’m trying to get my brothers to go and I really appreciate you guys speaking up on it.”
I think prostate cancer for so many people and especially guys, guys just are afraid to go be checked. And just like I said before, as my father uses the example of putting together a pit crew for his prostate cancer, I think so many guys will baby their car, change the oil, do everything they can with their car and their lawnmower, and their fishing boat or whatever it may be but they disregard their body.
Here’s more from my interview with Kyle Petty. You should note that we spoke last week and so when he mentions “this week” he’s really talking about last week.
Me: I know that you were on a Fitness TV show talking about your fitness regimen and health being a race car driver. It’s not something that people talk a lot about with NASCAR in terms of being an athlete. So how important is that to a race car driver to be physically fit and healthy and to have strength in the car?
Petty: Incredibly important. I think most people assume that if you play stick and ball sports you’re naturally an athlete, you’re in the best shape that you can be in and that’s the way it is. I think you’ve got to be in shape to drive a car at 180 or 190 miles an hour or to make split second decisions that can almost in some instances be life and death decisions. So when you look at it like that from your mental sharpness to your physical sharpness and that goes hand in hand. You hear so much about exercise and how that stabilizes and what that does to your mental well being and your attitudes, I think exercise is important.
This morning I interviewed Kyle Petty, part-time driver of the No. 45 Wells Fargo Marathon PVA Dodge Charger, son to Richard Petty and grandson to Lee Petty. The name Petty is synonymous with NASCAR and I don’t think there’s anyone on the planet that doesn’t know who they are or what they’re famous for — there’s been a Petty racing in every NASCAR season since the sport’s inception in 1949. So speaking with Kyle was an honor, to say the least.
In this first post Kyle talks about Prostate Cancer Awareness Week (which is this week) and how this subject hits home with him and his family. Stay tuned for subsequent posts that will cover things like the importance of physical fitness for race car drivers, his impending musical performance at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s charity concert in October and what the future holds for his racing career.
Me: Tell me why Prostate Cancer Awareness Week means so much to you.
Kyle Petty: Because it runs in our family. My grandfather in the later years of his life was diagnosed with it. My father went through prostate cancer in the early to mid 90s. So obviously at my age and with my family history I am in a high risk category. And we do so much; we have a camp in North Carolina called the Victory Junction Gang Camp which is a camp for children with chronic and life threatening illnesses. We see so many diseases that are preventable and treatable, once they are diagnosed, that obviously being this close to [it] myself it’s important for me to understand what prostate cancer is all about.
I was fortunate to be asked to help with this. Early in the year in June we did a thing in Michigan International Speedway and had a booth, STAY ON TRACK for Better Prostate Health. Had a great time, had a great turn out up there with people at the racetrack who came out and wanted to know more about it. We asked them to take the “Kyle Petty Prostate Inspection Pledge,” to go to the website — www.pcaw.com — to get the manual STAY ON TRACK, a manual for better prostate health. It really explains everything about prostate cancer from symptoms to being diagnosed, and once you’re diagnosed the process you go through.
Obviously we’re in a sport where team work is important, and my father kind of approached it like a pit crew and put together a pit crew of a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist, a urologist. Basically we looked at it like a pit crew, like a team that was trying to attack the problem and figure out the best way around it just like they would from the race shop side.
This isn’t something that you just talk about. This is something that’s obviously touched my life on a couple of different occasions and it has the potential to be apart of my life for years to come. So to get the awareness out there, to be able to talk to race fans and get race fans involved in it, and have an understanding with the race fans of what this is all about and get them behind it is important.
Happy Thursday everyone! It’s a great day for me because tomorrow I’m flying to Las Vegas for the Blog World & New Media Expo. I had a great time last year and I’m looking forward to sitting in on the sports blogging sessions. The big news this year, at least for me, is that Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park will be a keynote speaker along with Tim Ferriss, writer of the book “The 4-Hour Work Week.” I know I’m going to get a lot out of this weekend. Vegas baby, Vegas!
In other news…
– This morning I got to interview Kyle Petty! He was made available to me because he has been busy promoting Prostate Cancer Awareness Week and the STAY ON TRACK for Better Prostate Health prostate cancer awareness program sponsored by the Prostate Cancer Education Council and sanofi-aventis. I plan on posting the first part our discussion today. Check back later on today or subscribe to my RSS feed to read it as soon as it goes online.
– Are you interested in winning free gas? Well check out this awesome promotion from Shell-Pennzoil:
Shell is bringing new meaning to the “No. 29.” Through September 28, the company will highlight the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil car and offer customers the chance to win free Shell gasoline through the “Shell $2,900 Every Day Giveaway” promotion. At participating stations, customers will receive a scratch-and-match game card with any fuel purchase.
Building off the stop gunky build-up theme, consumers need to scratch off the gunk on the valves to see what they have won. Plus, the game cards will feature online codes for more chances to win Shell fuel every 29 minutes and thousands of other prizes, including No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil merchandise autographed by Kevin Harvick and a limited edition 105th Anniversary Harley-Davidson(r) Motorcycle, XL Sportster 1200C. Consumers may also write in for a free game card. And in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia only, Shell customers will have the chance to participate in the “Get a Free Race Cup” promotion while supplies last. There will be three different racing cups to collect.
– There’s still time to enter to win one of five Kevin Harvick autographed “Americans for a Gunk-Free Nation” hats! The contest ends on September 30th, 2008. Enter today!
– I love Martha Stewart and I have for pretty much all of my life. She’s the reason I had the confidence to make my sister’s three-tier wedding cake ten years ago. Anywho, yesterday she devoted a show to bloggers and blogging, and now she’s running a little contest where she’ll pick some blogs to feature on her site, The Martha Blog. Of course I put myself in the running. Go check it out!
– Ok, so get this, remember when I told you that fate finally threw me a bone and got me close to Dale Earnhardt Jr. well there’s a photo to go with it. I came across it when I was checking out the NASCAR blog over at AOL’s FanHouse. So take a look below and you’ll see that I’m right there on the left-hand side looking pissed off almost straight at the camera. I really wasn’t, but it was insanely hot and that’s my “it’s seriously freaking hot and I’m serious about that” face.
I’m glad that Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600. It’s a great boost for him and his team and Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM — truly, truly outrageous!). I didn’t think it was going to happen since Tony Stewart had that commanding lead at the end, but his misfortune was Kasey’s good luck.
About the photo of Kasey to the left: I seriously challenge him to take a horrible picture! He’s not even trying for gosh sakes.
I have to give NASCAR kudos for all of the pre-race festivities involving the troops. I got all teary-eyed when the trumpeter played Taps and I got chills from the bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.”
But here’s where I got irked during the pre-race show. During the Gas ‘N Go segment where Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond answer quick fire questions asked by Chris Myers. They failed to include a question about the swapping of the deck chairs on the titanic that has been Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
Why oh why did they not talk about Jimmy Elledge’s firing, after he had been moved from Reed Sorenson’s team over to the crew chief position for Juan Pablo Montoya? That’s interesting. That’s something about which I’m actually curious to know DW’s opinion. What I’m not concerned with is the obvious fact that there’s no way that NBA star Yao Ming could fit into a race car.
Ya know, for a moment there when I heard about the crew chief swap at Gnassi and Juan Pablo’s frustrations that I actually felt for the guy, but then I read this exchange between him and Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer and I all of that went out the window:
Q: They call last weekend the biggest weekend in racing. Monaco, Indianapolis and the Coca-Cola 600 — of all three, which do you think is the biggest?
JPM: Um, the one I’m in.
Q: Do you mean the one you are in now (NASCAR), or the one you are in that particular year?
JPM: Both. I don’t know. As a show for the fans, the best one is this one. As far as tradition, the other ones have a lot of tradition. In Europe, the Monaco Grand Prix is a big deal. I think it’s such a big deal because it’s the only street course Formula One does. The other races you can actually see cars hitting walls and screwing up. I guess people like that.
Q: Which victory did you prefer, Monaco or Indy?
JPM: Don’t put me in that position.
JPM: I am not going to answer that. You know what the answer is, so don’t ask it.
Q: I don’t know the answer. That’s why I asked the question.
JPM: Next question.
Q: I’ve got nothing else.
Why is this guy such a tool?? Okay, I actually do feel for him in terms of the crew chief situation and everything, but I still maintain that he’s got an icky, egotastic attitude.
Yao Ming (L) talks with Kyle Petty (R) prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 25, 2008 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Joey Logano addresses the media during a news conference to celebrate his 18th birthday. Logano will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut next week at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Z-Line Designs Toyota (L), and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #88 NAVY Chevrolet, speak to the media in a press conference following the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on May 24, 2008 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Travis Kvapil, driver of the #28 Lumber Liquidators Ford, sits in his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 22, 2008 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Charity starts in the blog. Isn’t that what they always say? So here are a couple pieces of information on some worthy causes that you — the motorsports fan — can support.
– The first is from the Wings fo Life Charity Auction that is auctioning off a bunch of autographed goodies from various Red Bull stars:
Only a few more days remain to bid on a two-wheel ride with Travis Pastrana, a day of drifting with Rhys Millen or sitting shotgun with Brian Vickers. All are Red Bull athletes, and all will give the highest bidder the experience of a lifetime.
The first Wings for Life Charity Auction on Ebay ends March 30. Among the items up for bid include a Formula One car and Dakar Rally-winning KTM bike. It doesn’t end there, so visit http://members.ebay.at/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=wingsforlifefoundation.
The Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation is a privately funded, non-profit organization that promotes research worldwide to find a putative cure for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Paralysis. Visit wingsforlife.com.
– On the NASCAR front, the route for the 14th annual motorcycle ride founded by Kyle Petty was announced yesterday. The event takes place this year on July 13 through the 20th.
Riders, start your engines! The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has announced the route for its 14th annual motorcycle ride, to take place July 13-20, 2008. NASCAR driver and Charity Ride founder Kyle Petty will lead a field of more than 250 riders as they wind their way from the Midwest to the Deep South in an effort to raise awareness of and funds for Victory Junction Gang Camp and other children’s charities.
Riders will depart from Traverse City, Mich., on July 13, making overnight stops in Elkhart Lake, Wis.; Lombard, Ill.; Lexington, Ky.; White Sulfur Springs, W.Va.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Peachtree City, Ga., before reaching Savannah, Ga., their final destination, on July 19.
Since the Charity Ride’s inception in 1995, 5,700 participants have logged more than 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to Victory Junction Gang Camp and other charities that support chronically ill children. Petty and his wife, Pattie, founded the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., in 2004. The year-round camp serves children, ages 7 to 15, with a variety of health issues that would typically prevent them from attending camp. The camp operates solely on the donations of corporations, organizations and individuals. The Pettys recently announced the opening of a second Victory Junction Gang Camp in Wyandotte County, Kan.
“Pattie and I are constantly amazed and inspired by the dedication of our riders, sponsors and fans,” said Petty. “These companies and individuals are truly committed to bettering the lives of deserving children and their families. We’re looking forward to another great event – and more incredible results!”
– Don’t forget! NASCAR Day is on Friday, May 16th. Get your pins today!
It’s no secret that I don’t like Kyle Busch. While I respect his talent and I can appreciate his drive for winning, I still find him to be the most annoying and obnoxious driver on the Sprint Cup circuit to date. Even when he wins he can’t help but complain or take a jab at someone. I think it all stems from insecurity and immaturity but whatever, maybe he’ll grow out of that.
And now for some random fabulousness:
– I interviewed Washington Post sportswriter Liz Clarke a little while ago and I would love it if you’d read our conversation. I only point it out because I’m really proud of it and I think you could get something out of it. I’m just sayin’.
– If you’re new to my blog or are a regular reader please take a second to fill out my reader survey. It’s nothing fancy and I’m not selling the information I receive, so it’s all just for my knowledge. I’ll be your best friend, ok, not really but you know what I mean.
– My mom will be mad at me if I don’t mention the fact that on Sunday while we were watching the race we saw a commercial for Domino’s promoting some special NASCAR deal. We called our local Domino’s restaurant and the manager had no idea there was such a deal available. He’d never heard of it apparently and then my mother proceeded to ask him what kind of manager he was and then he hung up on her. Yep, that’s my mom. Anyway, we ended up getting pizza from Round Table, where, I might add the guy went out of his way to find a coupon for us to use since we didn’t have any. Good job picking up the slack Round Table!
– Do you read The Onion? Well you should because they’re hilarious and they write the funniest stuff. They decided to make fun of Carl Edwards and his backflip tradition. Ya gotta check this out… Carl Edwards Does Mournful ‘Did Not Finish’ Backflip (Onion Sports)
– If this doesn’t work I don’t know what will. In an attempt to secure a sponsor for the Yates Racing No. 28 car driven by Travis Kvapil they’re running a special “11 Million” paint scheme at Bristol this weekend. The “11 Million” stands for the average number of people that watch the race coverage on FOX each day. Of course it goes without saying, if I had the money I’d totally sponsor this team. Can’t you just imagine “The Fast and the Fabulous” Ford zooming around the race track? hehe. Maybe Travis and the guys at Yates are glad I don’t have the money.
The 2008 NASCAR TV season is already off to a great start with an average of more than 11 million people per race day watching the No. 28 Yates Racing Ford during FOX’s coverage. This three-race average doesn’t include the 33.5 million viewers that watched the Daytona 500. With TV ratings up, and the No. 28 team still looking for sponsorship, it only makes sense to highlight one of the many benefits of a primary sponsorship with Yates Racing and the No. 28 team by placing “11 Million” on the hood of the Ford Fusion. Driver Travis Kvapil thinks it’s a unique approach to attracting sponsorship and hopes that he can get his No. 28 “11 Million” Ford to the number one position this Sunday at Bristol.
“I think it’s pretty creative,” said Kvapil. “When you stop and think about it, that’s a lot of eyeballs watching you every weekend, and this is just a fraction of the coverage that we get each week. I can’t imagine what the number would be if you added up all the media coverage along with the practice, qualifying, pre-race and post-race shows. That’s huge.”
Sponsorship opportunities are available; please contact Kevin Thomas with Yates Racing at 704-706-2120.
– Speaking of Yates Racing, be on the lookout for my interview with Michelle Gilliland, wife of David Gilliland who drives the No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford. I should be posting it in the next few days.
I’m posting this because I think Connie Montoya’s dress is super cute! That is all.
(Left to right) Felix Sabates, NASCAR CFO R. Todd Wilson, Chip Ganassi, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, Connie Montoya, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Petty and NASCAR Foundation Executive Director Sandy Marshall traveled to Colombia to raise awareness for the Montoyas Formula Smiles program and Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp. (Photo Credit: Special to NASCAR)
Scott Speed is one colorful dude.
Guenther Steiner (R), the technical director for Red Bull Racing Team, talks with Red Bull Racer, Scott Speed (L) a few hours before his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Martin Truex Jr. qualified third for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota / Getty Images for NASCAR)
After the track was dried, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series got in a final practice. In his quest for three consecutive Atlanta wins, Jimmie Johnson turned the eighth-fastest lap. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota / Getty Images for NASCAR)
A couple months ago I was given the opportunity to read Washington Post writer Liz Clarke’s new book about NASCAR entitled “One Helluva Ride: How NASCAR Swept the Nation.” I mentioned once before, when I was close to finishing the book, how emotional it made me feel. If you’re new to NASCAR or have been a fan for all of your life you should definitely pick up One Helluva Ride. It gives great insight, from one reporter’s unique perspective, on how NASCAR began and evolved over the years.
Luckily for me I was also given the opportunity to speak with Liz about the book and ask her some questions. I’m posting the results of our conversation here and in subsequent posts. Enjoy!
:: This is part one in a series of four posts (to see all of the posts on one page, click here) ::
Me: Why did you want to write the book and how did it come about?
Liz: I think that my experience was different than a lot of peoples in that I was approached by an editor, a book editor who was familiar with my work at the Post and asked if I had ever thought about writing a book. She suggested one on gymnastics or tennis, which I was also covering at the time. She emailed and I said I’d love to write a book, I’ve never written a book but if I wrote one I really would feel more comfortable writing one about NASCAR. That’s the sport I know the best and would probably have the most to say and I thought she might go running, ya know fleeing and hanging up, I didn’t know how this would go over but she was open minded. She said “Well I’ll listen to that.” So that forced me to give some discipline to what was the book that I had in mind, I mean what is it that I wanted to say about NASCAR. Ya know and put that in written form, and do a proposal. Ya know one option would have been to focus on one driver’s story. Or to focus on a season in the life of the sport and I really wasn’t drawn to do either one.
I looked at this as the only book that I would ever write in my lifetime and I wanted sort of to say everything, just like say everything that I knew that I felt most strongly about and that there never was room for in a newspaper story or you edit your own self and you think “Well that’s not appropriate for a newspaper story, nobody really cares what I think, or nobody really cares about this funny conversation I had with so and so.” It’s invariably when you talk to people and they know you cover sports the questions they ask you are often the stories you never write, like “What is that person really like?” “What is Bill Elliott like?” or “What is Dale Earnhardt really like?” It’s odd how you never write those stories.
Also I was acutely aware of how rapidly the sport was growing and changing in obvious ways, the closing of several small tracks, the move west to new markets but also the change in the basic driver. The drivers were getting younger, they were from all over the country, they had a certain polish, ya know PR training was new and ya know some of this is easy to admire NASCAR for and really applaud their growth. Some of it made me sad. And so I just felt this overwhelming need to capture all of this before it kind of went away, before it was lost forever. And my, I hope this is not to vague, but my idea was to start the book in 1992 with the first night race at Charlotte. It was the first night race I recall seeing in person when it just knocked my socks off. And then I talked to some smart people and they said “No, no, no, you have to start where the sport starts. You have to start in the dirt.” And I thought “Oh god that’s going to bore people, I won’t get them through that to get to the part that I know.” But I think that was right.
I tried to cover a ton of history really in a compressed way and ya know certainly the book doesn’t stand up as this definitive history of NASCAR. I mean, I skip tons of champions. I ignore big chunks of the sport’s history but it was my version of the sport’s history in that it was to me what was important. To me what was important was the individualism of the people who ran moonshine and then raced stock cars, and the power of Bill France Jr., the unbelievable power that he had, and the warmth of Richard Petty. To me those are the three themes of the first thirty years of stock car racing. So I took some liberties in focusing on that.
Me: Which I think is really great because when people ask you “why do you like NASCAR?” It’s hard to say, because everyone always says “isn’t it just them driving around in circles?” And I’m like, “It’s so much more than that.” It really is the personalities of the drivers that make it so interesting and figuring who your favorite is based off of personality traits or how they interact with the other drivers.
Liz: Yes, I totally agree. And so, I can certainly understand why people change the channel as fast as they can when they see it. If you can’ tell, if you don’t know who’s in the cars, it is just kind of cars going around. It’s hard to explain to people that the people stand for something and that fans feel this connection.
Me: That’s what I liked about Richard Petty’s introduction in your book, which I thought was really cool that you got The King to write an introduction to your book. That’s awesome.
Liz: Oh, I was honored. I was so honored. So you liked that?
Me: Yea, and I liked how he said that if you’ve never been to a NASCAR race you should just go and then, ya know, you watch the cars, pick one out that you’re going to focus on for the race. And then as you keep watching you’ll learn more and then you’ll figure out ok, maybe I want this other driver, and you’ll figure out which one you like and then it can grow into something more. You have to kind of just pick one and go with it. Which is really true, that’s what I did. I started out with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and then I found out about all of these other drivers. I was like “Hey, Carl Edwards is really cool,” and I like the way he handles himself. You broaden your horizons as you keep watching. So, speaking of personalities, do you think that there is less personality in the drivers or different characters? Or do you think it’s about the same?
Liz: Based on what we can see as viewers, whether you’re watching on TV or listening on the scanners whatever, to me there’s definitely less personality. I’m not convinced the drivers themselves are less interesting, but there latitude for expressing themselves is so narrow now, they’re so scrutinized, ya know primarily by their sponsors who are paying the bills. They have to be the corporate pitchman all the time. Ya know, NASCAR probably gets and probably deserves some criticism for muzzling drivers’ personalities, with being very quick to fine and penalize for expressions. I mean, the one that just rankled me to death was when Dale Jr. was so excited after the win at Talladega. Ya know the “it don’t mean shit because my daddy won here ten times” or something. And ya know that use of “shit” wasn’t offensive. The vernacular [was used as a] huge compliment to his dad.
Me: Yea, that got me too. It was like, the moment he said it, it didn’t even phase me, you’re just so happy for him you’re not thinking about what he’s saying. Not the word he used at that particular moment.
Liz: Exactly. Yea, because the whole spirit was: I’m nothing compared to my dad. I mean what a great thing to say. He is something, he is emerging. But it was just a great tribute and a great moment and it was so dour and lame of NASCAR to react to that. I just wish the drivers words and behaviors after winning were not so scripted. I mean I understand corporate money makes the sport go and that these people are in the sport not only because their logo is seen but because their company logo is said by the driver. But I would find any driver who wins a race and gets out of the car and mentions his sponsor before he expresses one authentic emotion. I mean lets have the emotion and then, ya now, fulfill your contract. It’s a long way of saying I don’t think the drivers are boring personalities and you can’t find an interesting guy in the garage with an interesting opinion. I just think they’re almost in a straight jacket about how they behave, whether it’s all the, what are those Gillette drivers? What are they called? (Me: The Young Guns) Yea, Whether it’s all the Young Guns have to shave, ya know. Certainly decorum is called for but ya know and also the whole thing about being fearful of criticizing NASCAR or even questioning NASCAR. I was elated when Dale Jr. said on Sunday this track wasn’t ready to race; it was not a good move. Now that’s perceived as criticizing NASCAR. To me that’s a totally legitimate comment by a guy who was in the car and just got wiped out. I can’t believe more drivers didn’t say the same thing. I was thrilled that Denny Hamlin said it. To me it just bothered me to death that the broadcasters were not already discussing this on TV. Ya know, is this a good decision? You can talk about issues in the sport without slamming NASCAR.
Ya know but people, there’s this culture of you can’t question the Car of Tomorrow, you can’t question any, the length of the races, you can’t question the timing of the starts, ya know, whatever. The sport would be better, I mean Kyle Petty can do it, he can do it.
Me: Do you think there’s a fear amongst the drivers of retaliation from NASCAR? Is there a real, valid fear that if I say something they’re going to dock me points?
Liz: I think that that specter certainly was very palpable when I started covering this sport 15 years ago, 10 years ago. That was a real fear because there was so much more grey area in the application of the rule book. Getting through inspection was a real black box, I mean no one really knew quite what it took. And now I mean under Robin Pemberton and Gary Nelson before him, NASCAR has gotten quite specific and quite literal about what it takes to get through inspection, so there’s not that murkiness. It’s more above board; it’s more on the up and up. But that said, there’s still this vestige I think in the culture of, ya know, this is one man’s sport and he makes the rules and we can play by his rules or leave. That’s the way Bill France built it. It’s not so much the way they run it now but it has, that effect is still in the air.
So I have this new vow that whenever I get media credentials I’m going to make the most of them. I’m going to do everything and access everything that my credentials will allow, at least, all of the stuff that I know about. There were three symbols whose meaning I never got around to figuring out. So anyway, back to making the most of things. I knew I wanted to get to the drivers introduction stage but it was way out on the start/finish line and not on pit road like it had been at California. So I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to be out there. Plus I didn’t see any of the media people that I recognized out there, but as I like to say “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” So I went out there and one of the security people let me through.
Before the start of driver introductions there were a bunch of small introductory speeches by various big wigs, the Mayor of Las Vegas Oscar Goodman, SMI Chairman of the Board Bruton Smith, etc. And then the Blue Man Group put on a little show. They were really cool to see in person, even if I only saw the right side of the stage. I thought it was fun having them perform. Musical/theatrical shows are such a Vegas thing and it’s only fitting to have one before the start of the race, plus it’s like you get a little extra for all the money you shelled out for the tickets.
While the blue dudes were performing Clint Bowyer walked out on to the grass with a bunch of guys I’m assuming were his friends. He stopped to check out the show like right next to where I was standing. It was the most awkward thing. Should I stand there and look at the show like “yea I think the show is really cool too Clint” or should I stare at him and snap as many photos as possible right in his face? Well I chose a sort of combination of the two. I took photos of him, and stared at him and also tried to move out of his way so that he could get a better look at the show, all the while trying to be nonchalant about the whole thing.
And so eventually all of the drivers streamed out onto the grass behind the stage. Dale Earnhardt Jr. sped by in his requisite black hoodie and into the tented backstage area. Meanwhile a woman standing next to me with a very large chest area had Robby Gordon sign her boobs, I mean, shirt.
Robby Gordon signs a fan’s
boob shirt at the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.
Clint Bowyer watches The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.
Clint Bowyer watches The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.
The Blue Man Group perform before the start of the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.
J.J. Yeley and his adorable daughter Faith exit the stage during driver introductions at the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas.
Kyle Petty, Ken Schrader, Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya and David Reutimann (sitting) hang out before they’re introduced at driver introductions.
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.”
Anger is such a great motivator, so good that it has spurred me on to write this post this morning instead of waiting until later in the day. So Fast and Fabulous fans, you have a certain day job to thank for this wonderful Monday morning race rehash.
I was happy to see Carl Edwards win yesterday, but not nearly as happy as I would have been had Dale Earnhardt Jr. been able to take it away from him. Oh well, there’s always next week. It still amazes me that Carl can do those flips so well, it’s not like he’s a 5 foot gymnast. He’s like 6 feet tallk and built. *sigh* Uhm… where was I? Oh yea, so Carl won and that was cool, yet another not-exactly-expected win for this year’s Chase.
Please tell me I’m not the only won that’s tired of the ABC/ESPN race coverage? Seriously? Please! I don’t know what it is, but they just don’t compare to the Fox crew. The commenting is just so herky-jerky and lame. I’m not digging it all. I’m sure Rusty Wallace is a very nice person, but I can’t take it. I just can’t take it! Oh look — I’m not the only one! Oh and what was up with that montage of Dale Jr. fans talking about how they’d follow him wherever? I think we can file that in the “duh” file, ya know that’s why they’re his fans, because they LIKE HIM! gah!
Last night when I was trying to go to bed I was thinking about reasons why it may be hard for people to understand the appeal of NASCAR. I think it has something to do with the fact that in other sports like football, baseball or basketball it’s easy to see the emotions on the players’ faces and in their physical demeanor. In NASCAR we can’t see anything, the drivers are enclosed in their cars so it’s not until they get out of their car at the end do we really know how much it all meant to them or everything they were trying to do to win. You can hear it over the radio but still, when you’re watching on TV you don’t always get that.
One of the biggest reasons why I love football is of course for the physicality of it all. I love seeing a guy get knocked or catch a sweet touchdown pass. In NASCAR it’s just isn’t as obvious, but of course that doesn’t mean that it’s not there, you just have to look for it. And that’s what I’m always looking for. I want to see the emotion, the importance of it all. Before the race the drivers are always the saying the same thing but it’s not until they’re in the heat of the battle that the claws come out. Which is why I was excited to see Kyle Petty (one of the coolest “good guys” if there ever was one) get pissed and try to smack Denny Hamlin around after Denny wrecked him. That was good to see. I need to know that you still want it, that you really do care about all this, and that even though your team is kinda lame you’re still striving to stay in this game. I know that that’s a given that they race because they love it and want to be the best but I like to be reminded.
This is completely and truly a blog about motor sports but I feel like I’m not being true to myself when I don’t write about everything that’s exciting me at the moment.
So that being said, I must tell you about this amazingly talented singer, Sara Bareilles (pronounced bar-rell-is). She is awesome! I bought her CD “Little Voice” on Friday and I am so deeply hooked. She’s a little bit like Fiona Apple, Charlotte Martin or even Alicia Keys, but she’s different from them. She’s not a copycat she’s totally unique and you should check out her songs. I’ve had her CD on this entire weekend, I even drove around on Sunday just because I wanted to belt out the lyrics (I do all my best singing in the car). I’m a big fan of great lyrics in addition to great melodies, and this CD has it all. I like to think that music comes into your life when it does for a reason, and this music has been super inspirational to me. Not in a spiritual-ohm kind of way, but in a girls-kick-butt-and-never-doubt-yourself kind of way.
Ok… so now on to the race at Chicagoland. I’ll be completely honest with you, Tony Stewart was not on my short list of people I’d like to see win this race. After seeing that very nice pre-race piece on Clint Bowyer I would have liked it very much to see him in victory lane, but again it was not to be. At least he moved up in the points standings. Speaking of the pre-race interview with Clint, I was so glad they did something like that for once this year. It seems like it’s been forever since they’ve interviewed a current driver away from the track and talked a bit about his life before he was in the Cup series.
And despite his lack of power steering (and because of Jamie McMurrays bad luck) Dale Earnhardt Jr. was able to keep his 12th place spot in the points standings.
I know that Thanksgiving isn’t until November but I must say that I am very thankful for the fact that TNT’s coverage of NASCAR is now over! Woo-hoo! I love Larry Mac, Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach but I can’t take more of Marc Fein and Bill Weber. Weber’s attempts at sarcasm never seem to work out quite right. ESPN/ABC will be with us for the rest of the season and I feel like I can handle Brent Musberger — even though it still feels slightly weird for him to be calling NASCAR and not Basketball.
My wish for 2008 is that NASCAR will stick to one channel for the entire season. Imagine that? Not having to double check the schedule to figure out what channel the race will be on this weekend. I’d pick Fox only because that’s where Darrell Waltrip is and I just love that man, he makes the races that much more fun to watch. His passion is infectious and I don’t think NASCAR could ever dream up a better ambassador (if you will) for the sport.
Chicagoland eye candy to follow:
The kid cannot take a bad photo to save his life.
Kasey Kahne takes a break during practice at Chicagoland Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Was that booing I heard when Hanson got ready to sing the national anthem? That was totally unjustified. I’m not ashamed to say that I own some of their CDs.
(L-R) American pop rock band The Hanson Brothers, Zachary, Jordan (aka Taylor) and Isaac Hanson, sing the National Anthem before the start of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 15, 2007 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left) and Martin Truex Jr. following qualifying at Chicagoland Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Casey Mears, driver of the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet, looks on after he qualified first for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 13, 2007 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Oh and don’t forget to take my survey!! I’m not too proud to beg.
Is it just me or does anyone else wonder why Kyle Petty bothers racing anymore? He’s never in contention to win any of the races in the Cup series. I’m probably committing some sin by just talking about this but when do you call it quits? I can’t remember the last time I saw him in the top ten at the beginning, middle or end of a race.
This year Petty announced that he wasn’t going to run in 5 Cup races in order to do some TV stuff. I say, Kyle, take all the time you need, do more TV work. Because if he’s out of it then maybe Michael Waltrip or those guys on the Red Bull team can qualify for more races, ya know, people that might be able to finish in the top ten.
Recently I read a book, “In the Groove” by Pamela Britton, (that’s her on the left) a romance novel set within the racing world. It’s the first in the new NASCAR/Harlequin series and I loved it! It’s also the first romance novel that I’ve ever read and the only reason I picked it up in the first place was because it had to do with NASCAR.
When I tell people at work about the book they look at me like I’m crazy, but that’s really nothing new. If you’re a true blue fan of anything you’re going to want to get your hands on anything relating to your favorite subject.
I’m a sucker for romance and I loved the plot of the book, which is about an average-looking woman who, knowing nothing about racing, falls for a charming and gorgeous big-name driver. Of course it’s no easy task for the two of them to get together, which is great because I found myself devouring each chapter wanting to know what would happen next, will they or won’t they, etc.
So I thought it would be fun to conduct an email interview with Pamela Britton to talk about the book and NASCAR in general. Periodically I’ll be posting our exchanges, so keep checking back for more.
ME: �In the Groove� is your second racing-related romance novel but the first in the new Harlequin/NASCAR series. Why did you want to write about romance in the �fast lane�? Was there any one thing that inspired you?
PAMELA: In the mid-nineties I spent a lot of time inside the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup garages (then it was Winston Cup). My husband at the time manufactured parts for the teams. So when I started writing right about the same time, it seemed a natural choice. The popularity of the sport was obvious and so I figured people might want to read about the sport as well as watch it on T.V.. Little did I know it would take me nearly six years to sell the story.
Everyone on the circuit has inspired me. They’re all so nice and “real”. All I have to do is look around me when I’m in the garage and I’ll see people like the Petty’s who started VICTORY JUNCTION GANG in honor of the deceased son. They’re helping critically ill children. How can you not be touched by that?