IndyCar recently asked their drivers how they will spend Christmas this year in addition to naming the best Christmas gifts they’ve ever received.
All posts tagged Marco Andretti33 Posts
I’ve been pretty clear about the fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the reason that I became a NASCAR fan and subsequently a NASCAR blogger. I’ve chronicled what it meant to me to get to stand in on one of his press conferences and how the MTV documentary “True Life: I’m a a race car driver” is what piqued my interest in racing.
This weekend is the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. I’ll be there on Sunday and so will London 2012 Olympic gold medalists Tyler Clary and Erin Cafaro. Clary won the gold in the 200-meter backstroke and Cafaro was a part of the US Rowing Women’s 8-boat team. They’ll give the command to start engines with Sacramento mayor and former basketball star Kevin Johnson.
I recently signed up for LivingSocial. It’s one of those sites that offers discounts on local services, products & experiences for a limited time. Last month I received one about an “adventure” being held at Andretti Winery in Napa. When I read the part about Andretti I was instantly in, I knew it would be a great thing to write about here and I didn’t even know that Mario Andretti owned a winery. So in addition to writing about tasting the Andretti wines, I also get to tell you about the mustard-making class that was also included.
Yep, I got to meet THE Mario Andretti, which, if I do say so myself, is pretty freaking amazing. He’s a LEGEND. Think about it: When people make jokes about people who try to drive fast they say something like, “Who do you think you are, Mario Andretti???” But he actually IS Mario Andretti and I got to ask him the fun little Inside the Actor’s Studio questions. I’m so glad he humored me. It was truly an honor.
It’s IndyCar week here in the San Francisco Bay Area (or at least that’s what I’m calling it) because the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma is this weekend at Infineon Raceway.
Later today at the Macy’s in San Francisco on Union Square (170 O’Farrell Street) you can get autographs from Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Will “I’ll Flip You Off” Power, Ryan Briscoe, Ho-Pin Tung, Mario Andretti and Simona De Silvestro.
It all happens at 6pm in the Men’s Store on the Main Floor. And if that wasn’t enough with the purchase of any IZOD merchandise, you’ll receive a free IZOD IndyCar Series cap. Customers who make a purchase of $50 or more will receive a pair of tickets to Sunday’s race.
So be there or be square! I will be there because I’m interviewing a couple of the drivers, specifically Marco and Simona. I’m debating whether or not to ask them about Danica Patrick related stuff. We shall see what I come up with.
I’ve been super slacking on my IndyCar duties so consider this post a catch-all, catch-up on the series.
I fully intended to write a post dedicated to Marco Andretti’s win at Iowa, but got sidetracked with other stuff. I’m still super stoked that he FINALLY got another win, but I’m really hoping he can pull off some of the same magic at Infineon Raceway this year. ‘Cause I’ll be at that race.
Am I the only person that is completely bored whenever Will Power or Dario Franchitti win a race? It’s really boring. I don’t dislike either driver, quite the contrary–I like them both a lot–but it’s so predictable. I think IndyCar might want to think about doing something to their points system to make things more interesting, ala NASCAR’s “Chase” structure.
In couple news… Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay married his girlfriend Beccy Gordon (Robby Gordon’s sister) on Sunday, July 3rd. Congrats Ryan & Beccy!
(all photos courtesy of INDYCAR)
– 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
Some things I learned while watching the IndyCar Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday:
1.) Race car drivers are not entertainers. What I mean by that is when you interview them on TV they’re not going to understand that they only have seconds to explain themselves or tell a story and be extremely funny or charming while doing so. So it’s not helpful to interview them about nothing while they need to pick a tire and sign it. Just let them pick the damn tire and sign it. Keep it moving! There is nothing they can say that will enhance the enjoyment of them picking their starting position.
2.) Dario Franchitti is not a fan of randomly selecting his starting position when points are on the line. While I understand his perspective and his frustration, I think that the way the staring lineup for the second race was created wasn’t that big of deal. Racing is a crapshoot, even if you qualify 1st or last. Either one isn’t a guarantee of anything, so if you picked the number out of hat or ran laps for it, to me at least for one race, it’s not that big of a deal. But then again, I’m not trying to win a Championship, but then again I STILL feel like it’s all a big game of chance anyway, so whatever.
I could not believe what I was seeing. I thought that J.R. Hildebrand would round that corner, come down the straightaway and win his first Indianapolis 500 in his first attempt. I thought he would receive a hero’s welcome when he came back here to the region of his Sausalito hometown, the San Francisco Bay Area. Surely there’d be a parade or something in his honor.
But then he hit the effing wall! I couldn’t freaking believe it. I was screaming. I should of known better, you’re not supposed to count your chickens before they’ve hatched. I was so heartbroken for J.R.. I’ve never been within reach of winning the Indy 500 and crashed, but I know what that feels like. Think about it, you’ve had one of those moments where you make a mistake and it costs you BIG time. It really stings.
Dan Wheldon was the winner, and he was emotional, which made ME emotional! How could this race do that to me in the span of 3 minutes?? I felt sadness, anger, disbelief, happiness, and empathy. I felt it all.
What an incredible finish. Just incredible. And this race really needed that kind of ending, because if Dario Franchitti or Scott Dixon cruised to the win it would have be soooo boring.
And one word about the broadcast itself. I loved the pit reporters and I really, really wish we could have only heard from them. They were the only people giving me the information I wanted & needed. That’s a hard job too, so extra kudos to them for doing such an awesome job. On the other hand, the announcer’s booth peeps, I have no words.
(All photos courtesy of INDYCAR)
I’m going to be totally honest with you guys right now. I have never watched “Bump Day” for the Indianapolis 500. Well, until this past weekend. I know, crazy right? Well, I’m never going to miss another one!
It was the most dramatic, heartbreaking, sad and awesome thing I have seen in a sporting event in quite some time. People’s lives were on the line, well not their personal life but ya know, the one thing that matters most to them–participating in the 100th Indy 500.
I didn’t get to see Alex Tagliani take the pole on Saturday, but I didn’t need to see it to know how much it would mean to him. Had you even heard of him before he got it? Exactly. So I’m super happy for him.
But what the hell happened to Andretti Motorsport? After Bump Day on Sunday, only two of their full-time drivers had secured a spot in the race, Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti, and Marco saved himself at the VERY LAST MINUTE. He ended up bumping out his teammates, Ryan Hunter Reay and Mike Conway.
Watching and listening to Ryan Hunter Reay’s reaction to realizing he wasn’t going to be in the race was just the worst, but he’s been able to turn his frown upside down after securing a deal to drive the No. 41 A.J. Foyt Racing entry that was originally supposed to be driven by Bruno Junqueira, who qualified the car.
So now Bruno gets to lick the fuzzy end of the lollipop. I can’t imagine what THAT must feel like. You can’t deny that it’s effed up no matter how you try to spin it. Michael Andretti, owner of Andretti Autosport, had to keep his sponsors (Ryan is sponsored by DHL & Sun Drop soda) happy, sponsors that were expecting to be in the Indy 500, so they did this deal.
Anyway, I cannot wait for the race this weekend!
(All photos courtesy of INDYCAR)
There’s a bunch of stuff to give you the rundown on today! But here’s a housekeeping note: My Richard Petty Driving Experience Race Ride contest ends on May 31st, so submit your entry now. Two lucky winners will get to ride shotgun in a NASCAR racecar around Bristol Motor Speedway in August.
In other news…
– Angela and Amber Cope, the twin nieces of Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope will attempt to make their NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway this weekend. They’re attempting to make NASCAR history in becoming the first set of twins to ever compete in a Nationwide Series race. Qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series John Deere Dealers 250 presented by Pioneer will air on ESPN2 at 4:40pm EST on Saturday, with the race taking place on Sunday at 2pm EST on ABC.
– IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves surprised a bunch of customers at a Shell station in Indianapolis yesterday. Helio showed up unannounced and filled their tanks up with Shell gasoline. He also got to talk to them about the Shell V-Power Fuel My Passion program. Of course!
The Fuel My Passion sweepstakes allow vehicle enthusiasts who submit photos of themselves with their rides holding the two-fingered ‘V sign’ for V-Power the chance to win great prizes, including free gasoline for up to five years. For more information, please visit www.shell.us/fuelmypassion.
– This past Saturday Window World, the primary sponsor of John Andretti’s #43 Indianapolis 500 entry, unveiled “The Stinger” — a 2011 concept show car as a tribute to the 1911 Marmon Wasp and the 100 years of Indianpolis 500 history. “The Stinger” will be on display in the MotoGP garage area near Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis Motor Speedway through the Indianapolis 500 weekend.
“The Stinger” is also raising money for charities through Window World Cares:
To further support the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, the Window World Cares foundation has invited each of the race’s former starters to autograph the car as it sits on display at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For each signature, Window World Cares will make a donation of support.
Since its creation in 2008, Window World Cares is responsible for raising more than $1.6 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is also a sponsor of the Veterans Airlift Command.
– Martin Truex Jr. and his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex hosted The 2nd Annual Catwalk for a Cause Fashion Show yesterday. MTJ Motorsports was transformed into a fashionista’s paradise with many of NASCAR’s familiar faces on hand for the event that raised money for the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation. The fashion show featured apparel from Lavendar Boutique, a women’s designer boutique in Mooresville, NC owned by Sherry Pollex. There are photos here and here. I was able to spot DeLana Harvick, Krissie Newman, Larry McReynolds, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s mom Brenda Jackson, Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo, Max Papis, amongst others.
I have to admit that I didn’t see everything that went down at the 37th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach yesterday. I got a late start because of the NASCAR race and then I realized I really needed a nap. But I did wake up with enough time to watch Mike Conway win his very first IZOD IndyCar Series race. That was very cool, I love it when someone wins for the first time. It doesn’t happen near enough.
It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t see the whole race, and so I don’t have a lot to talk about, because I can get right to the photos!
(all images courtesy INDYCAR)
I had to get up really, really early on Sunday morning in order to get to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in time to take a ride in the pace car with NASCAR’s Director of Competition, Research & Development Brett Bodine.
Dario Franchitti held off Will Power to win the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance last weekend. But I don’t think Will got too down in the dumps about the whole thing since he was able secure ownership of the first ever Mario Andretti Road Championship Trophy.
Legendary racecar driver Mario Andretti will be on hand at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma next week to present the trophy to Will. As we all know Sonoma was the scene of Mario’s grandson’s, Marco Andretti, first ever (and so far, only) IndyCar win. I was there to see it and I really, really, really, really hope that Marco can find some magic and get a win at Infineon Raceway again. Plus, I always think it’s adorable to see Mario, Michael (Mario’s son, Marco’s father) and Marco together.
I’ll take that or Graham Rahal winning, or Simona De Silvestro winning. I’m also willing to accept Milka Duno finishing higher than 20th place. OK, now I’m being greedy.
hehe I kid, I kid.
And since I brought up the topic of Mario Andretti, how cute is he in those Honda commercials? I love it when the “regular dude” takes Mario for a ride in a Honda, after Mario has taken the guy around a track in a two-seater IndyCar, and Mario says “I’m hungry.” (video below)
Ladies, this is Francesco Dracone. You’re welcome.
Also, Francesco will be one of eleven drivers testing at Infineon Raceway on Friday. I will be there as well, with bells on.
Things had been relatively quiet during the Honda Indy Edmonton IZOD IndyCar Series race, that is, until those final laps.
Helio Castroneves was caught blocking (in this scenario it’s a no-no) his teammate Will Power which to me looked like the slightest of blocking, but whatever the officials know better than me. Plus Will did say in his post-race interview that Helio blocked him and well you’re not supposed to do that.
So Helio, who finished first, didn’t win the race and proceeded to go apeshit when he got out of his car. That had to have been one of the awesomest racing-related tantrums I’ve ever heard/seen on live television. The video is below and it gets good at about the 3:55 mark.
My only gripe was that Versus didn’t cut to Helio sooner. They should of had a straight shot on him the entire time, why bother talking to Scott Dixon, who would have been second but ended up winning the race because of the penalty levied against Helio. I’m sure Scott was grateful (who wouldn’t be?), but who cares what he had to say. Helio was where the action was at.
Will Power, whose name continues to make me smile after all this time, won the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen this weekend.
On Friday all of the Brazilian IndyCar drivers gathered to watch Brazil play The Netherlands in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Brazil lost, which sucks (I’m over the World Cup since the US is out of it — just being honest here), but there were some awesome photos (see below) of Helio Castroneves in some heinous glasses and Tony Kanaan blowing his vuvuzela.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (right), along with Andretti Autosport, announced that they’ve secured enough sponsorship money to continue Ryan’s #37 entry through the rest of the 2010 season. This is great news and to make it even sweeter the team has put together a new program called “Racing For Cancer” to raise money for cancer research.
Ryan’s mother, Lydia, died last year in November from colon cancer and he’s dedicating this racing season to her. For more information go to www.racingforcancer.org. You can also follow them on Twitter @RacingForCancer
Among Ryan’s sponsors for the remainder of the 2010 season is AirTran Airways. I’m noting this because once upon a time I wrote to Southwest Airlines asking if they’d sponsor me and they said they couldn’t because they make a point of not sponsoring things that can crash. Kudos to AirTran Airways for taking a chance and sponsoring a great driver anyway.
The last IZOD IndyCar Series race, the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer, was the same weekend as the NASCAR Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway. So of course I didn’t watch it ’cause I was busy at the track, which sucks because I didn’t get to see Tony Kanaan finally end his 2-year losing streak.
While I didn’t watch the race I did read the post-race quotes from Tony and his teammates at Andretti Autosport. I thought it was pretty telling that all of his teammates, except Danica Patrick, made a point of congratulating Tony. Very interesting. I guess Tony and Danica still have some sort of rift going on (He did say she needed to change her attitude) and who knows how that’s going to play out. Whatever the deal is I thought it was lame for Danica to not, at the very least, say something about how Tony’s win was great for the organization, ‘cause that’s just what you do. Duh.
“I have to thank my team and the entire 7-Eleven crew. They did a great job. I had a great car. I have to thank my teammates, Marco (Andretti) and Ryan (Hunter-Reay), who came over after qualifying. I was very disappointed. I made a mistake during qualifying and I was pretty down. They talked to me for 45 minutes and cheered me up. Marco gave me a little bit of his setup and Ryan actually helped me with the setup, putting it together for today. It was a great job as a team and it feels good.”
– Tony Kanaan
“We had an awesome day. We should have been on the podium with Tony today. We had an incident on pit lane and got black-flagged for it. We had to fight our way back up to the top 10. We had the Ethanol USA-Team IZOD car running in the top three. I’m really disappointed in the end. It should have been a great day for us. Congratulations to Tony; he deserves this for sure.”
“It’s definitely a disappointment to start third and finish where we did. The handling for the Venom car just didn’t make sense. We made all the right adjustments and we were still too loose. I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up finding something broken on the car. We just weren’t able to make it happen today on the ’26′ side, but I’m happy for my teammate (Tony Kanaan) and the ’11′ crew.”
– Marco Andretti
“It was a challenging race for the GoDaddy car. We had a good car, but the longer the race went on, the more difficult the car got, handling-wise. I wish we had a better day, but we’ll take a top-10 finish.”
– Danica Patrick
IndyCar photo fun time after the jump!
Consider this your warning that I’m going to be posting more stuff about the IZOD IndyCar Series. It’s surely not a bad thing. Quite the contrary actually. I have to thank the Indy Racing League for giving me access to their media site because without that I wouldn’t be able to bring you these awesome photos. Who knows, maybe I’ll go to more races too instead of just the one at Infineon Raceway.
Scott Dixon won the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway this past weekend. He was joined in victory lane by his wife Emma and their super adorable baby daughter Poppy. Her red hair is so cute!
Anyway, you all know how much I love to compare drivers to celebrities and I couldn’t help but think that Scott bares a striking resemblance to the lead singer of one of my all time fave bands, Stephen Christian of Anberlin. Check out the comparison below. Don’t they look like they could be brothers? They were born in the same year just days apart. How freaky cool is that??
|Scott Dixon (left) and Stephen Christian (right)|
In other news…
– It’s time for a Richard Antinucci update. If you remember he’s that super hot racer that carries a dual Italian/US citizenship. I gushed about my sightings of him at last year’s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. He was in the IndyCar Series last year for five races and this year doesn’t seem to have a ride. Which boggles my mind considering that Milka Duno gets to cruise around as the resident safety hazard. Anyway, Richard is set to make his debut in the Italian Gran Turismo Championship. He’ll be driving an Audi R8 LMS for Audi Sport Italia in two events at Valleunga this Sunday and Magione in June.
– Check out this great article by Graham Rahal about his stint with Sarah Fisher Racing and his future in the IZOD IndyCar Series. I can’t believe he’s only 21. Racing sure does know how to make young guys grow up fast.
Scott Dixon and his wife Emma celebrate his victory with their daughter Poppy at the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 1, 2010.
So this whole Danica Patrick coming to NASCAR thing is irritating to me on a couple levels.
Take out the fact that she’s a girl and a fan favorite for a moment. What has she done? She’s won ONE race in IndyCar. One race. Uno. That’s all she’s got. No one was losing their mind about the possibility of Sam Hornish Jr. coming over to NASCAR, and he’s won the Indy 500 and the IRL Championship three times.
So what’s with all the hubbub about Danica? If you take out her record then it’s because she’s a woman and she’s pretty. I’ve got absolutely nothing against her (ok, I’m still irked she didn’t know who Gloria Steinem was, but whatevs), of course I want to see a woman compete at the highest levels and win everything there is to win.
And it’s not that I don’t want her to ever come over to NASCAR, I just think she should stay where she is and get great — win more races, and win a Championship. Conquer IndyCar first and then give NASCAR a try. Otherwise, it smells like a gimmick and I don’t like gimmicks.
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!
Sunday was the IndyCar race day. Driving to the track was a considerably different experience than it is for a NASCAR race, there wasn’t any traffic. Leaving was an entirely different story. It still sucked and what should only take 45 minutes took 2 hours. But that’s the way it goes with race weekends. Although, next year I have a plan for a new route to take me home that should cut down on the time I spend in my car wanting to slit my wrists from all of the stop-and-go traffic.
Anyway, back to the track. It was firefighter appreciation day and as I walked into the paddock area the first thing I saw was this old timey fire truck with the cutest and smartest Dalmatian dog sitting on top of it. I couldn’t believe how obedient he was! He just sat there in the seat and didn’t freak out or bark at the people gathered around staring at him. There was another dog, whose breed I couldn’t tell you, that was barking a lot but the cute Dalmatian could not and would not be baited into barking back.
And then there were these big creamy-colored horses to pull the old timey fire truck. They were huge, but absolutely beautiful. They had a special moment during the pre-race festivities when they pulled the truck down the track and in front of the grandstands.
So I guess IndyCar has this reputation for being more upscale than NASCAR in terms of its fans and such. They’ve got Cristal and Izod for sponsors after all. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s all a bunch of hooey. Why is it that I saw more boobs during this race weekend than I ever have at any NASCAR race I’ve been to? And when I say that I saw boobs I’m not saying that women were flashing them, of course they weren’t but let’s just say they were on display. And why is it that I saw more fans wearing NASCAR gear than anything else? The Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans were out in full effect. Instead of trying to act all hoity-toity I think they should try to soak up some of the NASCAR marketing tactics and get some more butts in the seats.
Oh, speaking of butts in the seats, that’s exactly where they stayed when it came time to try and break the record for the most people doing the twist dance. Yea, that whole idea crashed and burned the minute the music started up. A group of people did dance but mostly everyone just watched. To make something like that work you really have to have a group that’s invested in its success ya know?
So I was totally right when I said that George Lucas would probably make an appearance at the race because Marco Andretti’s car was running the special Blockbuster/STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS paint scheme. George hung out with Marco during the pre-race festivities and then in his pit during the race. Marco’s race suit was made to look like a storm trooper uniform. I’m not a big fan of the whole codpiece detailing.
In the end, Helio Castroneves won the race, his first of the season and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan were mathematically eliminated from the field running for the Championship with only two races left on the year. This win was a sweet one for the Team Penske guys after having their primary cars go up in smoke (literally) earlier in the week. It’s amazing they were able to come back and finish first with Helio’s Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe coming in second. Briscoe has the most awesome accent by the way. I gotta get to Australia.
Danica Patrick walks to the garage after the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Marco Andretti gets ready for a warm-up session on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Ryan Briscoe chats with someone on pit road on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Fans gathered around victory lane to watch the first through third place finishers receive their trophies on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I thought this guy looked a lot like paparazzo/ex-Britney Spears boyfriend Adnan Ghalib only cuter, but I figured he was probably just a guy from William Rast. WR is the clothing company started by Justin Timberlake and his best friend Trace Ayala. The company was the sponsor of Townsend Bell’s car.
Some dude on pit road on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Saturday was IndyCar qualifying and the first of two IndyCar Lights races, the Carneros 100 and the Valley of the Moon 100.
For qualifying I hunkered down with $8 chili cheese fries in the lunch tent. They were absolutely delicious, although it totally didn’t help my self-esteem when the Infineon Raceway umbrella girls had to walk in with their skimpy outfits and fatless bodies while I was eating them. I got over it though because I was hungry and their job is to hold up an umbrella, so whatever.
This weekend was my introduction to the Firestone IndyCar Lights series. You should see the guys in this league. Ladies, these guys are serious hotties. They’ve got more eligible bachelors than you can shake a stick at. Yes, yes, the racing is all fine and good. But these guys are really cute. Have you seen Arie Luyendyk Jr.?? Richard Antinucci? Dillon Battistini? Raphael Matos? Logan Gomez? Dude, you need to. Get yourself to an IndyCar Lights race tout de suite! There’s only one race left this season, so uh it’s Chicagoland or wait till next year.
Okay, I’m laying it on a little thick, but not really.
Right before the IndyCar Lights race ended the apparent head of security for IndyCar barked orders to everyone in the area of the winner’s circle. I think watching him might have been more entertaining than the race itself. I have never encountered someone in NASCAR who has the same level of responsibility as this guy seemed to have. From a little Google search I gleaned that this guy is known as Security Chief Charles. His reputation and ability to corral and move the drivers along to their next destination seems to be the stuff of legend. He is pretty intimidating I must say.
So I have one funny story to share, well it’s funny to me. Not so much bust out laughing funny, but more ha-ha funny. After IndyCar qualifying concluded and Helio Castroneves received his pole award he was ushered to the media center (by Security Chief Charles of course). On his way over, he was followed by a woman yelling “Helio! Helio! Will you sign my shirt?!!?!” To which Helio responded in a loud boisterous voice, his arm up stretched with one finger pointed, “Yes! I will!” and walked right into the media center.
That tickled me. You had to be there. He eventually came out after the media press conference was done and signed the woman’s shirt.
Logan Gomez walks to the garage after finishing fifth in the Carneros 100 on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Raphael Matos speaks with the press after finishing second in the Carneros 100 on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Richard Antinucci speaks to the press after finishing third in the Carneros 100 on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Helio Castroneves heads into the media center on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Helio Castroneves leaves signs autographs on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Marco Andretti asks Danica Patrick’s husband a quick question after qualifying on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Infineon Raceway is really turning it on this year for the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County.
– First of all an IndyCar testing session is taking place there tomorrow from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Mario Andretti, Will Power, Tomas Scheckter, Jamie Camara, Enrique Bernoldi, E.J. Viso, Oriol Servia, Vitor Meira, Marty Roth, Alex Lloyd, Ed Carpenter, AJ Foyt IV and Townsend Bell will all be on hand. Admission is free for fans!
– As I write this Oakland A’s pitcher Brad Ziegler is being driven from downtown Oakland to the Oakland Coliseum in a two-seat, street-legal IndyCar by former IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton. Ziegler is being rewarded for his 37-inning scoreless streak.
– Saturday, August 24th will be “Firefighter Appreciation Day” at Infineon Raceway, and Sonoma resident Mitch Mulas has been named Grand Marshal of the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County:
The first 10,000 race fans that enter the raceway on Sunday will receive a FREE commemorative bracelet with the inscription, “Firefighter Appreciation Day,” and the date.
– For the first time this year fans attending the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County will be able to purchase an IndyCar Platinum Pass. What is an IndyCar Platinum Pass you say?? Well, it’ll allow you to meet drivers Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal, plus more! Read on:
Race fans will be treated to a special question-and-answer session on Sunday morning with the two drivers. This exclusive session will take place in a hospitality tent overlooking Turn 7 and is only open to Platinum Pass members. Moreover, the Platinum Pass is the only way for fans to get a garage pass, which puts race fans just steps away from all of the stars on the IndyCar Series circuit.
Castroneves (Team Penske) is a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, as well as past champion of the hit television show, Dancing with the Stars. Rahal (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing), son of legendary driver Bobby Rahal, became the youngest winner in open-wheel history (19 years old) when he took the checkers earlier this year in St. Petersburg (Fla.).
This deluxe package costs just $195 and includes:
- Meet-and-greet with Castroneves and Rahal
- Autographed hero card from each driver
- Full-event weekend pass (your choice of seats)
- Garage Pass
- Premium Parking Pass
- Platinum Hard Card
– And as if all of that wasn’t enough Infineon is also trying to break the world record for the most people doing the Twist. Ya know, that dance your parents did when they were teenagers. They’re loosely (and I do mean loosely) tying it together with IndyCar by linking it to Helio Castroneves and his stint on “Dancing with the Stars.” It has nothing to do with racing but it’ll still be interesting to watch!
Race fans will be invited onto the race surface at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 24, to perform a dance that best describes the most challenging road course in the country — the Twist. Participants will be required to Twist for five minutes in the style made famous by Chubby Checker in 1960. Checker will be unable to attend the event but will send a video message that will be played on the Jumbotron prior to the start of the record-breaking dance.
“I can’t be there but I wish the people a lot of luck in trying to break the record,” Checker said.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest Twist dance took place in Yorkshire, England, in 2004, when 1,691 high school students and staff danced to Checker’s classic hit. Infineon Raceway hopes to shatter that record on Aug. 24 right in front of the main grandstand.
I have fabulous news! I get to go to the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Grand Prix of Sonoma County on August 22-24 at Infineon Raceway. I dig the IndyCar races ’cause the atmosphere is so different from NASCAR and I’m looking forward to it mostly because I haven’t been to a race since my first one in 2006. Now that I have a better understanding of how things go down at races in general I think I’ll be able to get more good photos and have a better experience in general.
And speaking of my first IndyCar experience in 2006, it was then that Marco Andretti won his first (and so far only) race. I was glad I was there to see it in person and I hope he can do it again. This time his No. 26 IndyCar will feature a special design from Blockbuster and Lucasfilm promoting the first-ever animated feature from Lucasfilm STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. It makes extra sense because the Lucasfilm headquarters are here in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I would expect an appearance from George Lucas himself. I have no idea if he’ll actually be there or not, I’m just sayin’.
In other news…
– Last year’s winner of the IndyCar race at Infineon, Scott Dixon made an appearance at the track this week to help promote this year’s event. He learned how to carve wood with a chainsaw and made a replica of Infineon’s special trophy:
Dixon got the rare opportunity to build his own trophy on Tuesday in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle at Infineon Raceway with the use of a chainsaw and assistance from “Chainsaw Chick” Cherie Currie. The event was held as a promotion for the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County, Aug. 22-24.
Dixon carved a replica of the raceway’s signature Champion’s Cabernet Goblet, which he toasted in 2007 after taking the checkers for his first-career win in the Sonoma Valley. The replica, which was created from a five-foot piece of redwood, was carved in high-horsepower fashion with an Echo chainsaw under the tutelage of Currie, a professional chainsaw artist. Dixon and Currie worked together to create the trophy during a 20-minute demonstration before media members and race fans.
“I think I know what I want to do after racing now. I think I found a new hobby,” said Dixon after completing the carving. “It’s something I’d never thought about doing, and Cherie was a great instructor. I’m just glad I didn’t chop the thing in half.”
All equipment was provided by Echo, a sponsor of Currie. Echo produces hand-held landscaping equipment for both the commercial and residential homeowner markets, and prides itself on setting the industry standard (www.echoincorporated.com).
“He did an amazing job, actually superb,” said Currie, who has been carving for seven years. “I told him he’s going to get the carving bug, because once you start you just want to keep doing it.”
(Photo Credit: Gary Phillips)
I watched it last night and it gives you some really cool insight into the history, legacy and champions of the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s biggest and most significant race as we all know. The first disc is an interactive experience that allows you to watch this year’s Daytona 500 from the driver’s perspective. It’s pretty trippy to feel like you’re in the car with them. The featured drivers include Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and of course the race winner Ryan Newman. You get to hear the team radio communications and you also have the option of switching to the broadcast coverage as well.
The second disc gives you a round table discussion (or square table as Michael Waltrip put it) with past Daytona 500 winners like David Pearson, Junior Johnson and Mario Andretti to name a few. The conversation is great and full of little interesting anecdotes, plus great footage from the archives of the race’s history. Oh and I just want to say that it’s pretty uncanny how much IndyCar driver Marco Andretti looks like his grandfather Mario when he was in his twenties. But I digress. The second disc also features some interviews with drivers from today including Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.
I highly recommend this DVD set to anyone that is a serious NASCAR fan. It’s a cool way to experience the race all over again. This DVD set is available for purchase online and you can also win a copy of the set from me! I was given an extra copy to give away to one of my awesome readers!
Click here to enter the contest. The contest is over! Thanks!
The 50th running of the Daytona 500 is one of NASCAR®’s most unforgettable and highly-anticipated milestone events. Already the most prestigious race in motorsports, this landmark running is sure to be remembered and cherished by millions of race fans. On April 15, join A&E Home Video and NASCAR® Collections to celebrate the golden anniversary of “The Great American Race™” with DAYTONA 500: THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY, a highly-collectible 2-DVD set that puts fans in the driver’s seat like never before! Available just weeks after the 50th Daytona® 500 (February 17), this is THE official NASCAR® collectible of this historic race.
As part of DAYTONA® 500: THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY, the 2008 Daytona 500 will be presented in the ground-breaking “My Race” Interactive DVD format. This innovative user experience allows fans to choose the view of the race from six different driver perspectives plus the main broadcast feed, along with driver and announcer audio feeds — putting them right in the middle of the action. The second disc features the great stories and heroes that have defined the Daytona 500 through two exclusive NASCAR® programs: “A Sports Century” features a dynamic roundtable discussion of the moments and personalities that defined Daytona with a host and panel of NASCAR® experts including Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon, while “The Top 50 Daytona® 500 Moments” is the definitive telling of the story of NASCAR®’s Greatest single greatest event. Additional DVD extras include official NASCAR® PC wallpapers and time-lapse screensavers.
With a history of legend-defining and myth-making spectaculars, the Daytona® 500 winners circle has embraced NASCAR® heroes including: Richard Petty, Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Earnhardt Senior and Junior. And DAYTONA® 500: THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY, an unprecedented and revolutionary DVD release, only adds to the legend of NASCAR®’s biggest race of the year.
Using the photos in my Flickr account I was able to buy these great little personal calling cards. The company that makes them is called Moo and they allow you to customize your cards using photos on one side and whatever contact information you want to provide on the other. You can get 100 cards for only 20 bucks and the quality is great! They’re half the size of normal business cards. It’s a great way to stand out and I love the fact that I was the one that took the photos. I especially love the one of Marco Andretti driving into victory lane for his first IndyCar win at Sonoma last year.
this photo is a tiny bit blurry, i apologize
I walked into my local grocery store last night and saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. I did a quick double-take but it was only a cardboard cutout of him. I was seriously tempted to find the store manager to see if I could put down dibs on taking the cardboard Junior home with me. If you could live in my brain you’d be adequately entertained by some of the thoughts that run through it.
Anyway… It seems that the real Dale Jr. is feeding his love for Elvis by hosting the first night of the “Elvis Music & Movies” series at Graceland on August 13th, 2007 (that’s a Monday for those of you thinking about going). They’re going to show one of Elvis’ movies “Viva Las Vegas,” which happens to be my favorite Elvis movie. Not so much because of Elvis but more because of Ann Margaret and her song “My Rival.” I love that part, you should rent it.
So Infineon is this weekend and I’m not going to the races. This is the only race that comes to my area but I have to pass on it this year so that I can attend my youngest nephew’s birthday in La La Land (aka Los Angeles). This is how great of an aunt I am, I am sacrificing the chance to see my fave drivers up close in order to celebrate the day my nephew turns 6. Family is important to me and honestly I can get better views of this particular race by watching it on TV.
Infineon is a very fun place to watch a race, but you really have to be in shape in order to get around that place. It’s hilly and only certain locations around the track give the best views. And if you’re going to try and track down the drivers after the race for autographs, be prepared to hike up the hill to the helicopter pad.
I’m sad that I can’t go, and I’ll be extra miffed if Dale Jr. manages to pull out a top 5 finish and I wasn’t there to see it. I like this quote from him about Infineon:
“This weekend is important to me because I’m sick of hearing people say ‘oh, he can’t drive on a road course.’ We’ve been so close here before and have always come away with some sort of issue that takes away from what we can really do. I want a top-10 so bad here, I can taste it. We finished 11th two years in a row and led some laps. It broke my heart that I didn’t get to race the Corvette there in 2004 because of the crash during the morning warm-up. I was angry because it cost that team a chance to race after they had been so good to me, but also because I was really learning a lot and had improved my road racing skills.
Then, in 2005, we had a car I thought had a chance to win the Cup race but we were trying a new transmission and it locked-up on the first lap and I was in the wall. That was so disappointing – and it was even worse when we fixed the car and I went back out and was still as fast as anyone in a car that was beat-up and taped together. It was frustrating, but it was another sign that I can do this. Last year, we passed more than 15 cars on track, moved into the top-10 and then got taken out by a ringer who was driving like a madman. We tested for a day at VIR (Virginia Intl. Raceway) a few weeks back, and I think this is the weekend we get can get a finish that this team deserves.”
In other news…
– Here are the things I wish for AJ Allmendinger: 1.) He qualifies for the race at Infineon this weekend and 2.) He places somewhere in the top 10 at the very least.
– NASCAR.COM’s Duane Cross writes about Liz Allison’s soon-to-be-released book (September 7th to be exact) The Girl’s Guide to Winning a NASCAR Driver (Secrets to Grabbing His Attention and Stealing His Heart)… The book provides info on how drivers met their wives and how to grab a drivers attention. Check out the article it’s a fun read, especially the part about Kurt Busch and a horse’s behind.
– Thanks to a reader I now have a link to a photo of Marco Andretti Shirtless… Your endless Google searches can end here.
– Another Infineon bit… Wanna meet Clint Bowyer? Here’s the lowdown on how you can this Friday, June 22nd in Petaluma, Calif.
On behalf of Jack Daniel’s, Bowyer will appear on the mezzanine above the Tolay restaurant at the Sheraton Sonoma County – Petaluma Hotel on Friday, June 22 from 7-8:30 p.m. The hotel is located at 745 Baywood Drive in Petaluma. Bowyer will be on hand to greet race fans and sign autographs.
I was looking at the traffic stats for my blog and I’ve noticed a lot of searches for the terms “Marco Andretti Shirtless.” I wish I actually had some photos of Marco sans shirt, I’m sure my traffic would skyrocket.
Anywhoo… It seems that Ryan Newman is back to his old tricks again. He secured the pole for a second week, this time for Dover this weekend. Congrats to him, hopefully he can stay up there at the front until the end of the race.
I know that this blog is supposed to be all about racing and whatnot but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about a couple really great CDs that I bought recently. The first is from the band The Used. “Lies for the Liars” is their 3rd album and it is sooo great! It hasn’t been getting a lot of media attention (if any) but it should ’cause it’s great rock music. If you’ve liked any of The Used’s songs in the past you should pick this one up. Also you should grab The Almost’s “Southern Weather,” I’m listening to it this very minute and I dig it. It’s kind of emo, kind of harder rock, but in general it’s your basic alternative rock type stuff. I have a hard time categorizing certain bands; all I know is that this stuff gives me goose bumps.
Just a couple tidbits about the upcoming Infineon race on the 24th:
– Legendary ex-NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice has been named the Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. “This will be a new experience for me and I’m really looking forward to it,” Rice said. “I’ve never been to a NASCAR race but I understand it is quite an experience. I’m honored to be grand marshal of the race weekend and I’m looking forward to the event.”
– Teams for Casey Mears and Clint Bowyer prepared for the race in Sonoma by testing their cars at the Virginia International Raceway this week.
Since it’s Friday I went over to YouTube to try and find something fun and interesting.
I found a show called Indy Insider hosted by a kid named Arni. In this clip he’s at the Honda Welcome Party during the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersberg in St. Petersberg, Florida. He talks to Tony Kanaan (who comandeers Arni’s microphone) and Michael and Marco Andretti (who is apparently shy when it comes to talking to the ladies). [Indy Insider - Honda Party-part 2]
A couple weeks ago I attended a press conference at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. In attendance was Scott Pruett (who didn’t know it at the time but would later be screwed by his own teammate at the Busch race in Mexico), NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Rider Angelle Sampey, IndyCar Series driver Marco — Grandson of Mario — Andretti (sporting some interestingly decorated & detailed jeans) and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rookie A.J. Allmendinger, a native of Los Gatos, Calif.
Poor A.J. He has yet to qualify his #84 Red Bull Toyota Camry for any of the Cup series races this year. I sincerely hope that his team can pull it together, at least in time for the race at Infineon in June. Since he is from the Bay Area it would be nice to qualify and run in front of his hometown crowd.
I’m really bringing up A.J. for another reason. At the press conference there were media materials laid out representing all of the drivers in attendance. If you watched the special they ran before the Daytona 500 this year about Toyota’s entry into Cup racing you would have seen the photo shoot for this booklet. The results are great. They made ‘em look tall! The Team Red Bull booklet stood out and is by far the best piece of marketing for a race team that I have seen in quite some time.
I’m sure Brian Vickers is much happier now hawking an energy drink instead of womens shampoo. Bye Bye Garnier Fructis!
See for yourself in the photos below…
These are little cards that you can take out of the booklet and do with as you please. Nice touch!
I’ve been wanting to write this entry since Sunday but my grand plans about doing it once I left the track slowly eroded as I was stuck in traffic for 2 hours. That’s the only incredibly irritating thing about going to a race at Infineon, the drive home! It never fails. There’s literally only one lane out in each direction. I forgot to grab a cold drink and a snack before I got in my car so I was parched and starving; trying to sing along with my CDs in the hopes that it would help me to forget my hunger. It didn’t.
Anyway, I’m back at work and there’s so much that I haven’t talked about yet. So let’s get to it.
First off, this past weekend there were about a million times it seemed that I had to stop, look around and say to myself, “Look at where you are, remember this.” The first such moment was with Gene Simmons. Yes, he’s kinda weird but it was pretty surreal to have him just sitting in front of me, blabbering on about how great IndyCar racing is.
The second moment was when Tony Kanaan walked past me after the race. He went into the winners circle to congratulate Marco Andretti and then pushed past me and others to get to the garage area. He came up my chest. He’s short.
The third and final memorable moment of the day was after the race when Marco and Michael Andretti (Marco’s dad) were in the media center answering questions. This was Marco’s first IndyCar win, ever and he’s only 19 (although to me he looks like he’s twelve). He’s the youngest winner of a major open-wheel event to date. So this race, this win, was a huge deal and I was there to witness it. I’ll never forget it.
I’m a NASCAR fan and I’ll watch IRL stuff for a little bit if it’s on, or if it’s the Indy 500. Going to this race really didn’t change that for me. During the national anthem there wasn’t a fly-over! What kind of race is it without a fly-over? The crew members were hot I must admit, especially one particular guy on Dan Wheldon’s team. Hello!
But I digress.
I did get to see Ashley Judd, Dario Franchitti’s wife, and she looked great. I have a great photo of the back of her head, in case you’re interested. I also saw Danica Patrick a lot. There really isn’t anything that great to tell about her.
Infineon wasn’t as packed as it was for the NASCAR race in June, but there were still a ton of race fans on hand for the event. Overall I though, I thought the race was fun, cool and very memorable.
So my heart softened just a little bit for Jimmie Johnson this weekend. Normally he’s on my crap list, especially with that suspect crew chief of his Chad Knaus, but this week I could really sense genuine feelings and emotions from him, like winning this race really meant something to him.
And so it should, it was the Brickyard 400 after all, oops I mean the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. This is one of the few times I’ll ever take issue with sponsors but when the race is at Indy it should be called Indy or Brickyard. They’re never going to change the Daytona 500 to the McDonalds 500 at Daytona. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is steeped in history for Indy cars, but not so much for stock cars. But if you watched the pre-race show on NBC you’d think Jesus walked on those bricks. I kid, I kid…
The thing I hated about the race was that the finish wasn’t a nail biter. It didn’t come close to this year