All posts tagged Mark Martin

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sprint cup media tour madness (aka photos of drivers in long-sleeved shirts)

This week was the annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. I wasn’t there (trust me, I’m crying inside) and so all I have to share with you are these photos of drivers sitting in chairs. Enjoy! :)


(Left to right) Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, owner Richard Childress and Jeff Burton take part in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson Photography)

(Left to right) Richard Childress Racing’s Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, owner Richard Childress and Jeff Burton take part in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson Photography)

champion’s week in vegas: carl edwards and me!

This entire post is dedicated to the photo below of me with Carl Edwards. It is quite possibly the greatest photo ever taken in the history of photography. I’m probably a wee bit biased but it was seriously THE highlight of my trip to Vegas for Champion’s Week and it happened on my first night in town.


Carl Edwards with The Fast and the Fabulous writer Valli Hilaire (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

I arrived on Wednesday in the afternoon which meant that I missed the charity roast of Jimmie Johnson that took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I got a cab from the airport and went straight over to the Wynn to pick up my media credentials and then over to Harrah’s to check-in.

champion’s week in vegas: spreading ‘fabulous’ awareness

Getting ready for the 2009 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards CeremonyThursday, December 3rd was a big day full of events. However, my first event of the day had nothing to do with NASCAR but everything to do with moving from my $40 room at Harrah’s to my awesome not that much more expensive room at the Mirage. I loved my room at the Mirage so much that I took pictures of it. Which, I think, is saying something. For one, it had an iPod docking station & player so I could listen to my playlists while I got ready. The overall room design was modern & contemporary cool, complete with large flat screen TV with HD channels.

Anyway, after I got all checked in at the Mirage and waded through all of the authentic cowboys in town for the 2009 Wrangler National Rodeo Finals, I made my way over to the Venetian across the street for the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony.

Before the ceremony the top-12 drivers were available in an adjacent ballroom for Q&A sessions with media. I only had one question that I had any interest in asking any of the drivers and that was “Do you have any big plans for the off-season?”

Everyone was already engaged with media from various outlets: print, online, and TV. So I did a quick lap around taking pictures, and then chatted with ESPN PR.

champion’s week in vegas: beginning at the end

2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony table centerpieceInstead of starting from the beginning, I’m going to start with the end and work my way backwards.

Friday was of course the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony at the Wynn in Las Vegas. I woke up that morning with a slight hangover from the previous night’s festivities. I spent the majority of the morning willing myself to feel normal and to not vomit even though vomiting probably would have made me feel better, but whatever. I went down to Carnegie Deli and got their chicken soup, which helped tremendously.

That morning I had to go over to the Wynn (I stayed at the Mirage Thursday and Friday, and Harrah’s on Wednesday) to pick up my ticket to the banquet. Passing through the lobby I caught sight of Ron Malec, car chief of the no. 48 Lowe’s team, taking pictures with his girlfriend.

Along with the ticket to the event that told me my table number for the night, I also got to pick up the wristband to get me into the after party and a mini replica of the Sprint Cup Championship trophy. It’s as cute and cool as you’d expect, and it also doubles as a paper weight.

shortcuts: the schmo in seattle needs to shut it up

– First, some housekeeping. I’ve added a photo gallery to the site that contains all of the photos I’ve taken from my race weekend adventures. Definitely take a moment and check ‘em out. There are a lot of great photos in there that I’ve never featured on the site. If you’re a Kasey Kahne they’re especially good because there are a couple where he’s looking right at the camera so you can pretend he’s looking at you. :)

– There are 3 days left in the Tweet2Vegas sweepstakes which will send you and a friend to Las Vegas during the NASCAR Champion’s Week from December 2 through December 5th. You’ll get to attend After the Lap presented by Tissot, a Q&A session with the top 12 Sprint Cup Series drivers after they’ve taken their lap down Las Vegas’ famous Strip. Just follow NASCAR on Twitter for details.

– Here are some things to do this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. I wish I was there:

CHEVY RIDE AND DRIVE AT PHOENIX!

When you go to a NASCAR race you get to watch some great driving on the track… but Chevrolet thinks consumers should get to feel the need for speed too! On Friday-Saturday, November 13 & 14 during the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, fans will have a rare opportunity to actually get behind the wheel of the coveted new Camaro for a test drive. Plus, all participants get a cool Camaro t-shirt!

The free Chevy Ride and Drive is a great way to experience and test drive brand new Chevrolet products right there at the Speedway. Participants will first get to enjoy some action behind the wheel of the 2010 Chevy Equinox, Malibu, Silverado or Traverse, and then take a spin in the all- new 2010 Chevy Camaro!

A sleek, fun, and efficient sports car for the 21st century, the 2010 Camaro combines great looks and performance, along with advanced technology and surprising efficiency.

The Chevy Ride and Drive is located near the Chevy Racing Display in the midway at Phoenix International Raceway and is open to the public on Friday, Nov. 13 from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, and on Saturday, Nov 14 from 8:00 am – Noon. Fans can pre-register and skip the lines! See www.teamchevytestdrive.com for all the information!

CHEVY RACING DISPLAY AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY!

There is also an interactive Chevy Racing Display where you can check out all the latest Chevrolet cars and trucks along, with actual race cars, and pick up a complimentary gift.

The Chevy Racing Display is located in the Midway, and is open to the public on Friday, Nov. 13 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 15 from 8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Both the Chevy Racing Display and the Chevy Ride and Drive feature the same vehicles that are offered in the Chevrolet dealerships owned by NASCAR star drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and others including Malibu Sedan LTZ, Camaro 2SS, Traverse FWD LTZ, Traverse LT, Equninox, Tahoe 2wd LTZ, Suburban 1500 2wd LTZ, Silverado 1500 2wd Crew Cab LTZ!

– I have to give huge, huge props to Starbucks for sponsoring the No. 1 team this weekend at Phoenix. I have been saying for sometime now that Starbucks should sponsor a NASCAR team (and me!) and I think this will be really good for them. They’re promoting their new instant coffee product, Via. A NASCAR race is the perfect place for that, somewhere where you want a great cup of coffee in a pinch.

– On the same topic I have to give a huge middle finger to the jackass at the Seattle Weekly who has absolutely no clue what he’s talking about. Ya know, you could easily spend your entire life defending and explaining NASCAR to idiots but what’s the point? He clearly hasn’t been to a race ever. If he’d ever been to a NASCAR race he’d know that there is diversity, not just in ethnicities represented, but also in tax brackets. I’m so tired of people leaning on tired stereotypes. Get over yourself.

texas: i’ll take drama any way i can get it

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, celebrates by firing two Beretta's into the air on Victory Lane after winning Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. This is Busch's 20th win in 326 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)Before the start of the Dickies 500 on Sunday I was thinking about what had to happen in order for Jimmie Johnson to lose some momentum in The Chase. Of course, I didn’t think any of it would happen. So when Jimmie’s accident occurred I was, uhm, sort of pleasantly surprised.

We needed that to make things a little more interesting. The guy still has a ton of points on Mark Martin but at least it gives hope a chance to shine. And, if I’m being honest, it was pretty cool getting to see the 48 team pull together and get that car back into shape to run in the race again. I’m never against seeing Ron Malec in action. (hehe) I have to give it Chad Knaus though, that guy is one cool customer. He was pissed of course that they ran into trouble, but his voice is always even. He doesn’t freak out, and you can’t afford to freak out in a situation like that, which is why Jimmie and the Lowe’s team are 3-time Sprint Cup Champions.

Watching Kurt Busch do his victory lap around Texas Motor Speedway in reverse with his tongue sticking out made me realize who he reminds me of, and no, it’s not Michael Jordan. No, I was thinking more along the lines of the character Pete Campbell from the awesome TV show Mad Men. Pete, played by Vincent Kartheiser, is kind of a punk. He whines when he doesn’t get his way and always thinks he should be treated better than he perceives he’s being treated. It’s funny. Watch Mad Men, it’s awesome. The latest season is over, but that’s what Netflix is for.

That being said it was cool to see Kurt so excited about winning and all that.

Uhm… There’s this one driver, I think his name is Dale Earnhardt Jr. or something, who doesn’t seem to be able to catch a break this season. I’m at the point, well I’ve been here for some time now, where I want to just say to him “Dale, (yes, in this scenario I know him and we’re BFFs) I think you should just park it and call it a season, this is lame. I know you’re doing your best but you need to tell whatever gods are in charge of luck to kiss your butt.”

He was running really well and then of course something happens and finishes crappy. And his finish has nothing to do with his overall performance. They were kicking butt and then it falls off. Ugh.

And now ladies and gentlemen, a photo bonanza!

my supercool predictions for ‘the chase’

It is my duty as a sports blogger to have an opinion on everything and to make bold predictions. Normally I’m against this, everything doesn’t need to be said, but I thought it could be fun to make predictions about the outcome of The Chase, predictions that even I don’t take that seriously. Enjoy!

(in the order of the current points standings)

Mark Martin (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 1.) Mark Martin – I have believe that Mark Martin will win the Championship, unless something happens that makes it so that he doesn’t.
Jimmie Johnson (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 2.) Jimmie Johnson – Jimmie will definitely not win the Championship for a 4th straight year, because that would just be greedy and show-offy.
predictions_dhamlin 3.) Denny Hamlin – Denny will continue to be my sentimental fave for the year, and also my favorite Cribs episode featuring a NASCAR driver. Oh! He’ll also continue to get on people’s nerves.
Juan Pablo Montoya (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 4.) Juan Pablo Montoya – JPM will be frustrated.
Kurt Busch (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 5.) Kurt Busch – Hmm… Kurt will be all “Whatever” and I’ll be all “Whatever” and then he’ll be all, “Yeah, whatever.” He’s also writing for the Chicago Tribune’s Players Only blog on a weekly basis for the remainder of the season.
Tony Stewart (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 6.) Tony Stewart – Tony will get close to the Championship but won’t be able to seal the deal. He’ll continue to “mentor” young female drivers.
Ryan Newman (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 7.) Ryan Newman – He’s in the Chase? Oh, right, right. Ryan will win at least one race before the year is over.
Brian Vickers (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 8.) Brian Vickers – Bri Bri will be a threat for the Championship. He’ll continue to be supercute and will write a diary for Maxim.com. No really, he’s supposed to do that.
Greg Biffle (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 9.) Greg Biffle – Biffle’s eyes will pierce through you like lasers. They really do. His stare is intense. Yeah, he’s not winning this thing.
Jeff Gordon (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 10.) Jeff Gordon – Jeff will hopefully *fingers crossed* impregnate his wife a second time and make the second cutest kid ever! I’d like to think he’d win the Sprint Cup but that’d mean I’d have to be mean to Mark Martin.
Carl Edwards (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 11.) Carl Edwards – Oh, Carly. Well, his Frisbee foot will heal just in time for him to not win the Championship. He’ll continue to confound female NASCAR fans everywhere with his supreme polite gorgeousness.
Kasey Kahne (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) 12.) Kasey Kahne – Kasey will pick himself up and dust himself off and start all over again tomorrow at Dover. He’ll improve his position. Kasey will also continue to confound me with his ability to be absolutely adorable without even trying. Look at that photo, c’mon!

junior says ‘fabulous,’ makes my day

Crew chief Alan Gustafson and driver Mark Martin celebrate the No. 5 team's win in Victory Lane on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)ESPN on ABC’s Countdown pre-race show could have been oh, I dunno, about 45 minutes shorter than its scheduled full hour. I am an ESPN fan, truly, but I can’t take the pre-show anymore. The only useful things are the 5 second driver interviews and that’s about it.

There are no features, no special interviews, nothing. Why does it need to be an hour? I don’t wanna see a recap of the last race I saw it already. And if I didn’t see it on TV I caught up on it online. So there’s no need to rehash the whole thing. And please, for the love of God, stop asking Rusty Wallace his opinion on who can win the Championship. I’m sure he’s a very nice man, and obviously he has a lot of NASCAR knowledge but sometimes I don’t know where he’s coming from.

the chase is set and it better not suck

Denny Hamlin celebrates winning the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, his second victory of the season. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)Congratulations to the twelve men that made it into the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup. It’s an interesting little group. I can’t believe the entirety of Stewart-Haas Racing made it in especially since I didn’t think they’d win a single race this year. Brian Vickers proved it really isn’t over til it’s over and made the Chase for the first time. I’m so excited for the No. 83 team.

I think it’s going to be a very fun Chase, at least I hope it is. It better be crazy at New Hampshire next weekend.

my “hottest crew chief” award, you knew this was coming

If I were to become a NASCAR Sprint Cup series driver I would have Alan Gustafson as my crew chief and Ron Malec as my car chief. Why? Because they’re both smokin’ hot!

Seriously, I’m awarding them both with the first ever I-totally-just-made-this-up-on-the-fly Fast and the Fabulous hottie crew & car chief awards for 2009. In case you’re not in the know, Alan is the crew chief for the No. 5 Pop-Tarts/CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevrolet driven by Mark Martin and Ron is the car chief for the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson.

I mean, hellooo, just look at them. I’ve had the great opportunity to see both of these gentlemen in person. A race weekend is simply not complete without one of my obligatory Ron Malec photos, and seeing Gustafson in street clothes is mind blowing.

Congratulations to Alan and Ron! I’m sure Hendrick Motorsports, extremely honored that two of their employees were selected for this illustrious honor, will frame this post and and hang it in their lunchroom. :) hehe


Alan Gustafson
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Pop-Tarts/CARQUEST Chevrolet, made his 1,000th NASCAR career start on Aug. 22 at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
(Photo Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

gustafson_2008 (photo credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Photo Courtesy NASCAR/Getty Images)

Ron Malec (left)
Interim crew chief Jeff Meendering, of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet driven by Jeff Gordon, talks with interim crew chief Ron Malec, #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, driven by Jimmie Johnson, prior to the start of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 1, 2007 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Rear Tire Carrier and Car Chief Ron Malec steers the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet through inspection during the Toyota/SaveMart 350 race weekend at Infineon Raceway in 2008 (photo credit The Fast and the Fabulous)
(Photo by The Fast and the Fabulous)

i like the denny

Team owner Rick Hendrick (left) and crew chief Alan Gustafson (top) celebrate with Mark Martin (right), driver of the No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevrolet, celebrates with in the Victory Lane after winning Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images)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.

mark martin just wants to k.i.s.s.

Infineon Raceway - Friday, June 19, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Here’s a little known fact about me. I get seriously nervous driving to the racetrack on the first day of a NASCAR race weekend. I mean, I get butterflies and super anxious. I’ve learned that this is a good thing, because if I wasn’t worried about it then it means it’s no big deal and it doesn’t mean anything to me. If I’m nervous about it I’m doing something right.

So that was me on Friday morning driving the super short 30 minutes to Infineon Raceway from my new home in Sonoma County. I moved to the city of Cotati just to be closer to my day job and cut down on my commute expenses but in the process I received the huge bonus of saving my sanity by not having to sit in excruciating traffic leaving the track each day. It’s a beautiful thing.

When I arrived at the track I picked up my credentials and then headed straight to the media center to grab the necessary schedules. I had to park up top next to the helipad and I made the wrong decision to just walk down the hills to the garage instead of waiting for the shuttle. Luckily for me this super nice man offered me a ride in his golf cart. It was great to not have to walk the whole way, but that ride down the hill in a super open vehicle was frightening. The entire time I was mentally and physically bracing myself for the possibility of being catapulted out of it at any moment. Super fun.

dale jr. channels cobra kai

Dale Earnhardt Jr. wheels his car around Dover in his skeleton gloves (photo credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)For the last few weeks I’ve been watching the races with the DirecTV HotPass driver channels. As I’ve said before it’s an awesome feature and I like it a lot. I’d love it if I could mute the commentary and just listen to in-car audio and vice versa, but whatever.

I’ve been meaning to talk about the gloves Dale Earnhardt Jr. wears while driving the No. 88. They’re black with a skeleton print. Every time I see them I think of the Cobra Kai gang from “The Karate Kid” movie. I am a child of the 80′s after all. Of course I rooted for Daniel-san to kick the butt of the evil jerks from the rival dojo but I couldn’t help but think that the leader of the Cobra Kai, Johnny, was super hot. Girls always like the bad guy, what can I say? Hehe. I’d also like to note that the actor who played Johnny is still a hottie to this very day (look up William Zabka).
dalejr_gloves_ck
Anyway, now you know the thoughts that run through my mind when I see Dale’s gloves. I have no idea where his inspiration for said gloves came from but I really dig ‘em. hehe. I wonder if Dale could get Mr. Miyagi to work with him this year.

Congratulations to Mark Martin for winning the Life Lock 400 at Michigan International Speedway! He and his team did an excellent job of being in the exactly the right place at exactly the right time. It’s all about being there at the end to take advantage of any and all opportunities that might come your way.

I don’t understand why TNT cut their coverage short when they had like 20 more minutes left to broadcast. Post-race interviews are always my favorite. Jimmie Johnson seemed a little ticked after the race. That was cool. I would pay money to see Jimmie fight with someone. Not physically but just have a really heated argument. It’d be fun. He’s always so relaxed and cool. Seeing him highly irritated would be refreshing. :)

Photos after the jump!!

why i will be watching the all-star race

(Center) Jeff Gordon congratulates Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin and No. 5 crew chief Alan Gustafson in Darlington Raceway's Victory Lane after Martin won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Southern 500 Presented by GoDaddy.com on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)Why is it that every time I see the Cheez-It logo I want some, like, immediately? That doesn’t happen with any other snack food.

Hats off to Mark Martin and the No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Chevrolet team for winning the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com. They did a great job racking up their second win for the season. Hopefully they won’t fall off the edge of the earth and never win again. I don’t know why I just said that, that was kinda mean. I want Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win! Grrrrr! When is he going to win?! Gaaaah! The waiting is killing me. It almost feels like Ella Gordon is going to win a race before Dale does. Sheesh. Before everybody gets mad at me I say that with love. :)

In other news… One of my long held wishes has finally come true. I recently moved to Sonoma County here in California. I’m closer to Infineon Raceway now, but that’s not why I made the move. I did it to be closer to work and save money. In the process I finally got to sign up for DirecTV and I couldn’t be happier. I detest Comcast and I’m glad I finally had the option to switch over to DirecTV. Because of this lovely turn of events I get to watch the All-Star Race this weekend on SPEED. I finally have the SPEED channel!!!!

Also, I’m being a good NASCAR fan by supporting a company that supports NASCAR. So it’s a complete win-win situation.

I’m sure Mark Martin would congratulate me if he knew me. :)


A No. 33 crew member works on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car after the 10th caution at lap 223 sent Clint Bowyer to the garage Saturday in the Southern 500 Presented by GoDaddy.com at Darlington Raceway. Bowyer's streak of consecutive starts without a DNF ended at 83, one shy of tying Herman Beam's nearly 50-year-old record. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

An No. 33 crew member works on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car after the 10th caution at lap 223 sent Clint Bowyer to the garage Saturday in the Southern 500 Presented by GoDaddy.com at Darlington Raceway. Bowyer’s streak of consecutive starts without a DNF ended at 83, one shy of tying Herman Beam’s nearly 50-year-old record. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Chevrolet, won Saturday's race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway after starting 12th. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Chevrolet, won Saturday’s race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway after starting 12th. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

Seeking his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Darlington Raceway, Tony Stewart's No. 14 is worse for wear after getting a trademark Darlington Stripe during practice. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Seeking his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Darlington Raceway, Tony Stewart’s No. 14 is worse for wear after getting a trademark Darlington Stripe during practice. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

(Right to left) NASCAR President Mike Helton congratulates Brenda and Danny Barrett on their 15th anniversary on Saturday, where they were married, at Darlington Raceway. The Barretts drive the Official NASCAR Merchandise Trailer. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Prettiest wedding dress t-shirt I’ve ever seen! :)

(Right to left) NASCAR President Mike Helton congratulates Brenda and Danny Barrett on their 15th anniversary on Saturday, where they were married, at Darlington Raceway. The Barretts drive the Official NASCAR Merchandise Trailer. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

martin tugs on my heart strings

Mark Martin celebrates in Victory Lane for the first time in 97 starts. His last win was at Kansas Speedway in October 2005. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)How to make me cry at the end of a race:

1.) Be a respected driver and a generally nice guy.

2.) Be the oldest man to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race since 1993.

3.) Climb out of your car and head straight to your crew chief, a man that has idolized you since he was a kid, and thank him for getting you to Victory Lane after 4 winless years.

4.) Look into the television camera and thank your wife for letting you go racing again after you said you’d retire.

5.) Greet all of the drivers and crew members who come over to Victory Lane to congratulate you with a warm smile.

Yes, Mark Martin knows how to make me cry. I wasn’t bawling but I did get weepy. It was a special moment and I am so incredibly happy that I got to see it. Congratulations to the No. 5 Car Quest Kellogg Chevolet team for putting on an awesome show last night.


AJ Allmendinger shares a moment with team owner Richard Petty after the team announced Allmendinger has signed a contract to remain at Richard Petty Motorsports through the end of 2010. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

AJ Allmendinger shares a moment with team owner Richard Petty after the team announced Allmendinger has signed a contract to remain at Richard Petty Motorsports through the end of 2010. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Crew members for Greg Biffle's No. 16 Ford celebrate winning the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Crew members for Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Ford celebrate winning the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Subway Fresh Fit 500 Grand Marshall Michael Strahan and Carl Edwards share a laugh in the media center before the race. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Subway Fresh Fit 500 Grand Marshall Michael Strahan and Carl Edwards share a laugh in the media center before the race. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Track conditions changed drastically as the sun set and the final portion of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway was run under the lights. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The cacti always look like they’re flipping me off.

Track conditions changed drastically as the sun set and the final portion of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway was run under the lights. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

shortcuts: infineon gives back, ‘biggest loser’ pulls bowyer’s car

Some things you should know:

NASCAR Driver Clint Bowyer and host Alison Sweeney get instructions from The Biggest Loser Director Neil DeGroot.  (Photo Courtesy Auto Club Speedway)Clint Bowyer will appear on the March 24th episode of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” Isn’t it interesting that the guy that is sponsored by Hamburger Helper is guest starring on a non-reality-reality weight-loss game show? I don’t remember HH being billed as the healthiest thing you could make for dinner.

Carl Edwards was in New York this week to film a commercial for Claritin. During the shoot he was interviewed by Beth Stern (radio host Howard Stern’s wife) for a segment on the celebrity news TV show “Extra.” Is anyone else bored by the fact that Carl and other drivers are so boring when they talk about stuff like doing commercials? It should be fun right? But like really fun, not implied fun. It’s the same line over and over with them, “It’s really kind of fun.” Wow, definitely sounds like it. I guess I believe you? I dunno.

Infineon Raceway gave $5,000 to the North Vallejo Little League on Thursday. Jerks broke into the league’s concessions and storage building and stole all of the uniforms, equipment and $600 worth of candy last week. The nutjobs also decided to break computers and trophies and ransack the building before leaving. Vallejo, where this burglary occurred, is the hometown of Jeff Gordon. The good news is that so far the league has received more than $13,000 from San Francisco Bay Area companies and organizations like the San Francisco Police Officers Associations and the Oakland A’s. “With these checks we really should be able to get back to business,” said the league’s President Tony Hodges. “I feel grateful. We are in a bankrupt city in a disadvantaged area. I appreciate everything that everyone has done for us to help these disadvantaged kids.”

Jeff Burton made an appearance on the soap opera “General Hospital” and all I really want to know is if he asked them why no one ever says “Bye” before hanging up the phone. I mean, really, what’s up with that?

Tony StewartTony Stewart will be meeting fans and signing autographs as a part of the 5th Annual “Mark Martin Fan Appreciation Days” event in Batesville, Arkansas on Thursday, April 9th from 3 to 5pm CST. For more information go to http://www.markmartinfordmercury.com

– Some news for the IndyCar fans out there: Versus will air more than 130 hours of IndyCar Series coverage throughout the season with a minimum of seven hours each week the network airs a race, the most ever during a race week.

“IndyCar fans have been asking for significantly more coverage of the sport and with our new partnership with VERSUS we have responded to our fans in a way that we think they will love,” said Charlie Morgan, president and chief operating officer for IMS Productions. “With the new VERSUS schedule it will be a weekend of IndyCar programming with Qualifying coverage, expanded race day coverage, and race encores. With so many great drivers, teams and sponsors, the time is right for expanded programming.”

The network will air 12 live IndyCar Series events in 2009 beginning with live coverage of the season-opener from St. Petersburg on April 5. Each of VERSUS’ race telecasts will last a minimum of three hours and will include extended pre-race coverage. VERSUS will also air one-hour preview shows at 6 p.m. ET the day before each race which will feature qualification highlights and all of the relevant IndyCar Series stories of that weekend.

And since I’m on the topic of IndyCar I have this message to send out to all of you: If anyone is interested in paying for me to fly down to Long Beach for the 35th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race drop me an email will ya? I would die for the chance to hang out with Keanu Reeves and Luke Wilson and give them the opportunity to realize that I am their future wife. So really you’d be doing them a favor as well.

:)

the watkins glen craptacular spectacular

Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Centurion Boats at the Glen at the Watkins Glen International on August 10, 2008 in Watkins Glen, NY. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)For some reason it has been so hard to write this post today. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what I want to say about yesterday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen.

I was confused by Tony Eury Jr.’s decision to leave Dale Earnhardt Jr. out on the track long after everyone else had already pitted. And then I was even more confused when I watched NASCAR Now hours after the race ended to find Dale Jr. sitting down giving an interview looking all worn out and sounding all lame and weary. I can’t even wrap my brain around all that right now. All I know is that I hope they get stuff figured out before Michigan.

And as if watching Dale Jr. lose two spots in the points standings and having to suffer through another Kyle Busch win wasn’t enough, there was the big wreck to process.

Here’s how I feel about the big wreck:

1.) I’m glad Bobby Labonte seems to be ok; they took him to a local hospital where he was checked and then released.

2.) In the post-wreck interview David Gilliland had with ESPN’s Marty Smith he made it seem like he felt that it was Michael McDowell’s fault and from what I saw of the video that’s what it looked like to me. McDowell said that he didn’t see Gilliland. So there ya go. This doesn’t do much for McDowell’s reputation. He’s a rookie and hopefully he’ll be able to keep himself out of trouble in the future.

NASCAR is one of those sports where if you make a mistake it has the potential to hurt other people who had nothing to do with it at all, in a way that is so different from any other team sport. For example, if you’re in a relay team and you’re the weakest leg of the team, your team might lose because of you, but at least you didn’t take out 5 other teams in the process. But situations like that — everything that happened at Watkins Glen — are what make NASCAR races so dramatic and interesting to watch.

3.) So in the end the crash, and it’s subsequent red flag clean-up, sucked.

4.) Max Papis sounds a lot like The Count from Sesame Street. He seems like a really nice guy who just wanted to finish the race but I kept waiting for him to say “One! One crash!” I’m just sayin’. Oh and here’s a little trivia, yesterday after the race was over Papis was #6 on Google Trends — a daily list of the hottest search terms.

In other news…

– On the bright side for Gilliland fans, he gained one spot in the points standings. Mostly because Mark Martin wasn’t in yesterday’s race, but hey I’ll take it.

– Congratulations to Marcos “Kangaroo Meat” Ambrose and his first ever NASCAR win in the Nationwide Series on Saturday.

Mike Wallace and his daughter Chrissy are heading to New York today tomorrow to ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange. I post this because Germain Racing is trying to build a full-time team for Chrissy so that she can run for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next year and they’re looking for sponsors. Check out GermainRacing.com

– Red Bull Racing driver Scott Speed won his fourth ARCA RE/MAX Series race this weekend at Nashville. He leads the points standings by 140 over Matt Carter. I wonder where Speed will be racing next year… hmmm


Marcos Ambros driver of the #59 STP Ford celebrates winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at the Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2008 in Watkins Glen, NY. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Marcos Ambros driver of the #59 STP Ford celebrates winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at the Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2008 in Watkins Glen, NY. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet (L) greets grand marshal and former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at the Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2008 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet (L) greets grand marshal and former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at the Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2008 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The #43 Cheerios Dodge driven by Bobby LaBonte sits on Pit road after a multi car incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Centurion Boats at the Glen at the Watkins Glen International on August 10, 2008 in Watkins Glen, NY. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The #43 Cheerios Dodge driven by Bobby LaBonte sits on Pit road after a multi car incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Centurion Boats at the Glen at the Watkins Glen International on August 10, 2008 in Watkins Glen, NY. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

an offer he couldn’t refuse

Team owner Rick Hendrick and Mark Martin during a press conference at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. It was announced Friday that Martin will drive the No. 5 Chevrolets in 2009. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)Some of my thoughts on the latest NASCAR happenings and whatnot:

Mark Martin is going over to Hendrick Motorsports next year to take over Casey Mears’ old ride in the No. 5. Now, I like Mark Martin, I really do and I was sad when he wasn’t able to edge out Kevin Harvick for that Daytona 500 win last year. I can’t help but wonder when he’s really going to retire. I mean he was supposed to be gone by now, off spending more time with his family and specifically with his son Matt and his racing aspirations. Now he’s locked in for two more years, hoping to get that Championship that’s eluded him. At a certain point you have to hang it up and live with what you’ve made.

— NFL star Randy Moss bought half of a NASCAR truck team. I could give a flying fig about this piece of Randy Moss and David Dollar address the media Thursday to announce formation of Randy Moss Motorsports. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)news. For one, he’s only been to one NASCAR race in his entire life and it was this weekend at Daytona. So a man who has never been to a race buys a team? I don’t get it. I know that you can love the sport without attending a race in person but it doesn’t feel authentic enough to me, especially when you’re going to invest your hard earned money into it. I never really liked him as a football player, so that’s another reason this news is irrelevant to me. However, NASCAR is a tough business and I hope, if he’s really serious about it, that he’ll be successful.

– What is up with the media asking Kyle Busch every week how he feels about getting booed? Do we really expect his answer to change? They’ve also been asking all of the other drivers how they feel about it and really once they’ve answered that question the first time I really don’t need any follow-up. Even if you’re the most self-confident person in the world it would suck to get booed. It just would. That being said it’s not going to change the way you live your life or how much you want to win.
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, stands on the grid Friday during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
– The thing that frosts my cookies the most about the coverage of these races is when a commentator will say something like “but he’s so talented, people will see that” in defense of Kyle and as a reason for people to stop booing him. The problem with that is that people don’t boo people based on talent. They boo or cheer for them based on personality. Have you seen a commercial with Kyle in it lately? Exactly. Although I’m sure if he wins the Championship he’ll have them, but his likeability factor is loooooow.

– Just heard Boris Said say on today’s episode of NASCAR Now that he thinks Kyle Busch could break Jeff Gordon’s record of winning 13 races in one season, after all he’s already won 6 this year. Boris, what are you doing??? Don’t put that out there! Eww.

– I often wonder if Jeff Gordon gets tired of answering questions about how he feels about Dale Earnhardt Jr. I mean, after all Jeff has his own issues to worry about right now. To his credit though, Jeff answers those questions without exasperation or irritation. He definitely knows how to handle himself in front of the media. He could probably teach a class on it.


The helmet Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, wore during Saturday's race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He started in third place and finished eighth. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

This is just cool.

The helmet Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, wore during Saturday’s race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He started in third place and finished eighth. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

my 80s flashback at pocono

The No. 9 crew escorts Kasey Kahne to victory lane after winning the Pocono 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway (Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images for NASCAR)And so begins the television coverage of NASCAR from the fine folks at TNT. I really wish NASCAR could just be on one channel. One. Uno. But what can ya do right?

So TNT excitedly announced their new RaceBuddy feature on NASCAR.com, I didn’t bother to check it out — at least not yet — but the image that kept jumping to mind every time they mentioned it during Sunday’s race was the doll My Buddy from the 80s. I keep singing the theme song to myself “My Buddy, My Buddy, My Buddy, My Buddy and Meeeeeee!” and then I followed it up with “Kid Sister, Kid Sister, Kid Sister, Kid Sister and Meeeeeeee!” Bonus points to you if you remember My Buddy and Kid Sister and triple quadruple points if you actually had one!

Brad Keselowski, how can you not be happy for this guy? He raced his butt off and Brad Keselowski shares his first career trip to Victory Lane with his father, Bob, and mother, Kay, Saturday night at Nashville. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR) got his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win ever and I couldn’t be more excited for him and the Navy team. You could see the genuine relief and happiness in his eyes after the race. It was just so cool that his mom and dad were there. Those are my absolutely favorite moments in sports in general. Getting to see the family that has been with these guys from the beginning and getting to see them sharing that moment when they have their first taste of success, that’s pretty awesome. It’s another one of the million reasons why I’m so anxious for the Olympics to start.

Furthermore, didn’t it suck that Dale Earnhardt Jr. wasn’t there to be with his team for their first win? He didn’t even get to see it live on TV. DirecTV had a blackout and so for the last ten laps he had a friend relay the information to him online. Crazy.

Ok, so the Cup race at Pocono. Speaking of Dale Jr. what was up with him during his post race interview? I know that he’s not a super talkative guy after the races in general but that was less that usual. I’m sure it had to do with the heat, and it seems like all of the guys were feeling the affects of it after the race, except for Jimmie Johson who said he was totally fine. Right.

Kasey Kahne won another race and that’s great for him. I’m still miffed about the lack of attention that the Yates Racing guys have received. I want them to get a friggin’ top 5 finish so bad just so the media will have to talk about them for longer than 10 seconds.

In other news…

– Speaking of Yates Racing, both of their drivers will be here in the Bay Area tomorrow for testing at Infineon. I will be there too, taking pictures of whatever I can see. Hopefully something will be going on while I’m there, I won’t be able to stay the whole day.

David Ragan will be on an episode of “Lawrence of America” on the Travel Channel tomorrow (June 10th) at 11pm EST. Check your local listings. “It was fun filming the show with Lawrence last fall,” said Ragan. “I think he learned a lot and it will be a great way to hopefully introduce the sport to some new fans to the sport. We had a good time at the go-kart track, but next time we’ll go the big track and see how he does.”

– There’s still plenty of time to enter the contest for a free copy of the NASCAR Full Throttle Adrenaline DVD set.

– I don’t know what it is about Brian Vickers but every time I hear him speak I’m surprised by his southern accent. It’s like I forget that he has one every time I see him. It’s cute though, I like accents. There’s no big point to this, I’m just over sharing. :)


Brian Vickers finished second in the Pocono 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, moving up two spots to 17th in driver standings (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Brian Vickers finished second in the Pocono 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, moving up two spots to 17th in driver standings (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Mark Martin qualified third-fastest for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, where he's finished second six times. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Mark Martin qualified third-fastest for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, where he’s finished second six times. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Fellow Ford drivers, Jamie McMurray and David Gilliland, talk about their cars during a break in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Fellow Ford drivers, Jamie McMurray and David Gilliland, talk about their cars during a break in Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott Sadler share a laugh in the garage during Friday's practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott Sadler share a laugh in the garage during Friday’s practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

heartbroken in richmond

Dale Earnhardt Jr. spun after making contact with Kyle Busch in Turn 4 on Lap 398. Earnhardt ended up finishing 15th. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)So I was watching the final laps of the Dan Lowry 400 on Saturday pacing around the living room saying “come on Dale, come on Dale, come on Dale” over and over. If you saw me in those moments you would have thought I had obsessive compulsive disorder or something. I was trying to do all of those good visualization exercises they tell you do to, so I kept imagining Dale Earnhardt Jr. in victory lane.

And then he was wrecked.

It was so disgusting and I couldn’t believe it, like I seriously couldn’t believe it was happening. Two years, seventy-one races and it was so close and then gone just like that.

I think I used every curse word in the book, including that one particular word involving someones mother. I said it over and over and over and over again.

I am a rational person and I understand that that’s the way it goes in racing sometimes, but it doesn’t lessen the hurt. That was absolutely heartbreaking and if you saw Dale’s post-race interview you could hear it in his words and see it in his face. It’s one thing to come close and then maybe finish 2nd or 3rd, but he had to finish 15th with a car that should have won.

I don’t want to talk about Kyle Busch. I am so done with him, so done, it’s so over.

And then Denny Hamlin leads the most laps and ends up 24th, that sucks, but uh, what was up with staying out on the track and causing the caution??? He knew he had a tire down and he waited out there until the caution came out to go down pit road. That doesn’t sit well with me; I didn’t like that at all.

On the other hand I wasn’t sad to see Clint Bowyer win the second race of his career. He’s a good guy and I like him. It’s a great win for him and Childress Racing. If only Mark Martin could have passed Kyle for second place, that would have been awesome, at that point I was all about Kyle finishing as low as possible.

Ugh… This racing stuff is going is wear me out.


Clint Bowyer and his team celebrate winning the Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clint Bowyer and his team celebrate winning the Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)