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.
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The theme of 2011 for The Fast and the Fabulous has to be growth. We grew in traffic, content and opportunities. I am so incredibly thankful for everyone that reads this blog and receives any kind of enjoyment from it. You guys are the best! I had a “car thought” the other day (I do some of my best thinking while driving, this is also similar to “shower thoughts”) and I realized that the reason I read celebrity interviews & magazines in general is because I’m trying to learn something about myself or something that I can apply to my life. And I think that that’s something people can do when they read about my experiences at the track. You might find my stories funny but maybe you learn, or reinforce, something you already knew about yourself from one of my stories or from an interview I did with a driver. That’s what I hope, anyway.
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.
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’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)
This year’s crop of racing-related commercials found drivers singing, professing their love of love and playing poker with Big Foot. Here is my list of the best commercials of 2010:
Tony Stewart Burger King Employee
My absolute favorite commercial of the year because it was real. Tony really did work at a Burger King and the result was really funny. I know it would be copying but I really think Lowe’s should put Jimmie Johnson to work in one of their stores. He’d be great at selling appliances, dontcha think?
The Sponsifier program was a big hit this year and it’s gotta be because their commercials were hilarious. I will never be able to get the line “I want Kyle Busch in a pink car and a pink suit” out of my mind or Joey Logano’s chainmail outfit and that look of utter disgust on his face.
Gillette Young Guns & Big Foot
Because Big Foot is a sore loser. I find that idea to be really funny.
Mario Andretti Honda
How adorable is Mario Andretti? Like, really adorable. All because he says “I’m hungry.” I love it.
Coca-Cola Drivers Sing it Out
People who can’t sing (or aren’t known for singing) and then unexpectedly start singing is a recipe for hilarity.
Honorable Mention: Gillette Young Guns Wedding
Because I just like Clint Bowyer in this one. We need more commercials with Clint flexing his funny bone in 2011!
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.
On Sunday, last weekend, at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma when I arrived at the track, again at 8am, I realized quickly that there wasn’t much to do. I sat on pit road and watched as fans and VIPs took spins around the track with professional drivers from the Jim Russell Racing School. The whole thing made me wish I owned an Audi, the car of choice for the day’s hot laps.
Eventually, I ducked into Jennifer Azzi’s press conference. As I wrote a few days before the weekend started Azzi was on hand as the race’s Grand Marshal. It was cool to see her and I must admit that I totally missed my opportunity to introduce myself and tell her what an inspiration she’d been to me as a kid. I’m shy, OK. And I have to work up what I’m going to say in my mind before I actually do it and make sure it’s not lame. There never was a perfect time, but whatever, she’s on Twitter and I plan on saying something to her at some point over there.
Last Saturday I arrived at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma bright and early (8am to be exact) for the start of my Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend.
Not long after I picked up my credentials, got to the media center, picked up the necessary schedules and general information I’d need for the day I had my first driver sighting.
Graham Rahal was in Victory Lane with his No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team car for an interview with a local television station.
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!
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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.
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