And everybody has one. Especially about this whole Michael Waltrip Racing cheater McCheaterson thing.
All posts tagged Matt Kenseth94 Posts
Yea, I don’t know. I’m just going with it.
Congratulations to Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team on their win at Michigan this weekend.
You know me, I hone in on the IMPORTANT news. While Brian Vickers was in victory lane celebrating his win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway today he dropped the news that he’d gotten engaged to his girlfriend, Sarah Kensington.
When I got to the Cup garage at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday the inspections process was in full-swing for qualifying.
Kristen attempted to explain to me how NASCAR started using lasers this year at one of the inspection stations to measure the car. It’s kinda neat how it’s able to find the center of the car. It’s all completely computerized.
First, I apologize for taking so long to write about Sonoma. Life, work, blah, blah, blah.
I haven’t posted anything in a really long time and I apologize. My day job has taken over my life to the point where I’m working weekends and not getting home until late during the week.
I didn’t see the kicking and screaming at Richmond after the Nationwide Series race because I was at work, or on my way home from work but I heard all about it. I think this year is all about drivers “not taking it anymore,” like, everyone suddenly remembered NASCAR saying “Boys have at it” but it didn’t sink in until this year.
Because I honestly don’t remember a whole lot. Anyway, the image gallery is going to be the best part of this post, so enjoy!
I don’t know why I always feel this way when Jimmie Johnson wins a race. It’s like watching Survivor and getting pissed off when the idiots have the upper hand and they don’t take the opportunity to vote off the obviously stronger player when they have the chance. It’s silly. That’s how I feel when I see Jimmie Johnson leading a race.
I was watching Kasey Kahne in victory lane at Bristol on Sunday. I listened to him talk and I couldn’t help but feel like something was different about him. He seems more manly. I’m not saying that he wasn’t manly before but he seemed more… something.
Matt Kenseth is a great race car driver and it’s cool that he won, and as my mom said when I told her that, “well it’s nice that someone different won,” I couldn’t disagree with her. It’s true, but why I am not super excited when Matt Kenseth wins? I have no idea. It’s not personal.
NASCAR drivers reported to Daytona International Speedway yesterday for two days of Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing. This was supposed to be an extra-special testing session because they were driving the new sixth-generation car.
The 2012 NASCAR Champion’s Week is over and here are the photos I was able to use for the site. Enjoy!
Since I’m not in Las Vegas (*sniffle*) for NASCAR’s Champion’s Week festivities all I can do is post photos. Above is what I’ve got so far from Tuesday and Wednesday. I’ll post everything else on Saturday.
Nothing important changed after the race at Kansas yesterday. Brad Keselowski still leads the points standings by 7 points over Jimmie Johnson. Denny Hamlin is still third. Sooo yep, that’s about it.
I think Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s comments after yesterday’s race at Talladega were right-on:
I had this weird feeling while watching Brad Keselowski win yesterday’s race at Dover. It felt like the dudes in the booth calling the race weren’t all that excited by Brad’s win. I’m not saying they were rooting against him I just got this general feeling that there wasn’t a sense of “Oooh, this is interesting!” When it IS in fact interesting.
I watched the start of the SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at my boyfriend’s apartment. He doesn’t have cable (I know, insane!) but I do. Because I had my handy dandy iPhone, the Watch ESPN app I’d downloaded the day before and Apple TV, I was able to watch NASCAR Countdown and the first handful of laps on my boyfriend’s television. Technology is WONDERFUL and I highly recommend it.
I watched some of the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway from a bar known to be frequented by cops and firefighters in Oakland. I was there for something had nothing to do with racing OR cops/firefighters, it was a gathering of my boyfriend’s friends. Anyway, I couldn’t hear anything but I saw the red flag come out and some of the racing. The night was about Jeff Gordon fighting his way into the top-12 and ultimately in to The Chase, which meant that Kyle Busch had sit this Chase out.
"I think if you look at what their organization has accomplished, I think they’ve won three championships over there and just won a ton of races and are really competitive. Denny wins all of the time. Kyle wins all the time. I was just really interested to be a part of that group and go over there and see if I can contribute to that. At the end of the day you want to put yourself in the best position you can to win races and championships and I really felt like, starting next year, that was the place for me to do that."
I’ve decided to make a BOLD prediction about who will make it into the top 12 field of drivers for The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. It’s going to be.. Are you ready for this?? It’s going to be the twelve drivers in the top-12 in points right now! haha.
Bristol was super fun. Obviously my favorite part was Tony Stewart throwing his helmet at Matt Kenseth’s car. I mean, that’s just pure gold! NASCAR should create a new award to give out at the Championship awards banquet for the driver that provides the most entertainment outside of the race car, Tony would win for Saturday’s shenanigans alone. And Danica Patrick should of thrown her shoe at Regan Smith. It would have been poetic justice, sort of.
I love that Kid Rock couldn’t be bothered to put his drink down to give the command to start engines.
I didn’t love Mark Martin’s gnarly crash on pit road. That was crazy and scary. So glad it wasn’t worse.
Jeff Gordon got all huffy at Dale Earnhardt Jr. I found that to be cute.
And Greg Biffle won the race! I think that’s cool because Biffle is a nice dude.
I’m so ridiculously late with this post, I must apologize. The Coke Zero 400 came through with some interesting events, including one bombshell that happened before the race even began.
I woke up early Sunday morning to clear skies and no rain. When rain is a possibility during a race weekend I’ve taken the stance of not talking about it. At least not in the negative. You don’t know for sure what the weather is going to do, so why stand on negative side of the fence and go on an on about how it’s going to rain and we’re not going to get the race in, blah, blah, blah. I’d just rather not and deal with what’s actually happening.
Where the hell have I have been? I keep asking myself this. Maybe you’ve noticed I haven’t written anything about the Budweiser Shootout or the Daytona 500 that turned out to be Mister Toad’s Wild Ride or even Phoenix.
And so begins a new NASCAR season (sort of) and I couldn’t think of a better way to do it other than posting the best quotes I’ve read so far from the press conferences during Pre-Season Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway.
Where the hell have I been?? It feels like forever ago since I’ve written anything but there’s a totally awesome reason why: I met a guy! Yep, I went on a coffee date and the guy, his name is Jack, turned out to be pretty amazing, so amazing that we spent the next four days together. So, needless to say, I like him A LOT and he likes me A LOT. I wasn’t expecting it and it’s been the best thing ever. However, it’s totally thrown my whole schedule out of whack. I always had a ton of time to myself, pretty much any time I wasn’t working was my time to work on this site or do whatever. But now that I’m with Jack that’s pretty much all I want to do–be with him–so I’ve been prepping the 2012 Hottest NASCAR Driver tournament in bits and pieces, in small chunks of time, over the last few days and now I’m FINALLY ready to launch it.
This post is really about everything that I forgot. It wasn’t until I started unpacking that I realized I’d forgotten my evening bag/clutch. This was important because there was no way I could carry everything I’d need for the Awards Ceremony without a bag and taking my regular purse would have been ridiculous.
Thursday was decidedly less cab filled than Wednesday. I walked next door to the Bellagio for the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon. My table, number 31 (my fave number because it’s my birthday), was the designated NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps table. We were a couple tables behind the Joe Gibbs Racing table where JD Gibbs and Kyle Busch were seated.
I woke up ridiculously early Wednesday morning to catch my 6am flight to Las Vegas. I received media credentials to attend the 2011 Motorsports Marketing Forum presented by Sports Business Journal/Daily. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get see the entire program for that day, but I wanted to get in as much as possible.
Congratulations to the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 team for their victory at Texas. Tony Stewart and crew are definitely making things anxious for Carl Edwards. But because I’m greedy, I really wish that Matt Kenseth & Kevin Harvick could get in the mix somehow and stir things up so that everything will be nice and crazy for Homestead. That would be fun, no?
Of course, there was that whole Kyle Busch situation that was covered AT LENGTH over the weekend, so I’m not going to go into it very much only to say that I hated it when they would recount what happened on Friday with Kyle and Ron Hornaday. They made it seem like it wasn’t OBVIOUS that Hornaday got into Kyle on accident, he got loose and it was plain as day. I’m probably nitpicking about this but saying “they tried going 3-wide and it didn’t work” doesn’t quite explain the situation accurately enough for me. Oh and one more thing, did you think it was interesting that in KyBu’s apology letter he didn’t name Kevin Harvick Inc. by name? I thought that was interesting. Douchey and interesting.
It was a fun race to watch because it eventually became a sophisticated 400-lap game of bumper cars, with Brian Vickers racking up the most points. What was that all about? Thought it was interesting that Brian’s friend (and former teammate) Jimmie Johnson even called him out on it during his post-race interview. Said Jimmie, “After a fourth, fifth time with the same car in the crash, you start thinking about maybe you’re the problem. Something is going on. You’re having a bad day. You need to stop crashing for whatever reason.”
With this win at Martinsville Tony Stewart now has 3 wins in The Chase and it’s totally possible that might not win the Championship. Isn’t that kind of weird? I guess consistency is key. No matter, I’ll be happy with whoever wins this thing as long as it comes down to Homestead. I adore the new points system.
I was shocked — just a smidge — by Tony’s post-race victory lane comments about how Carl Edwards needs to be worried and that Carl isn’t going to sleep for the next 3 weeks. Ha! I loved that. In general, drivers & crew chiefs need to talk more trash during this Chase. It’s fun, right?
Paige Duke, a former Miss Sprint Cup, is now a contestant on the latest season of “Sweet Home Alabama” on CMT.
This time, women from big cities and small towns are vying for the affections of Tribble Reese, the handsome former Clemson quarterback and entrepreneur from Birmingham who was the runner-up in the series’ first run. Included in the Country Girl lineup is former NASCAR spokesmodel, Paige Duke. In each one-hour episode, set in the charming city of Fairhope, Alabama, ladies from across the country compete for time with this southern gentleman, while each week, Reese is forced to say goodbye to more bachelorettes in his search for true love.
The show started last week but if you missed the first episode you can watch it here and there are 8 episodes in total, so get back on track this Thursday at 9pm EST. Follow what’s going on with the show, and find out how Paige is doing, through the show’s Facebook and Twitter pages. When tweeting be sure to use the #SweetHomeAlabama hashtag.
Paige isn’t the only Miss Sprint Cup (former or otherwise) to be on a reality TV show. Current Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon was on this year’s season of “The Bachelor.”
In other news…
– As I told you last week, Jeremiah Weed, sponsor of Matt Kenseth at Talladega, put out the word that they were offering up free tattoos to fans at the track this past weekend. Turns out they got exactly 17 takers! How perfect is that since it’s Matt’s car number.
The turnout inspired Jeremiah Weed to increase their donation of $100 for every tattoo inked to an overall sum of $5,000 to The Air Force Enlisted Village charity. The Air Force Enlisted Village is committed to providing safe, secure and dignified homes for indigent surviving spouses of retired Air Force personnel.
Not only did fans get tatted, but so did Matt’s spotter, Mike Calinoff. Check out the photos below.
You have a dirty mind, my friend! I meant your arm! All for a good cause, of course.
Matt Kenseth’s sponsor for Talladega, Jeremiah Weed® flavored malt beverages, is offering free tattoos to race fans (adults!) this weekend at the race track. For every tattoo inked Jeremiah Weed is donating $100 to The Air Force Enlisted Village.
“We have some of the best fans in all of sports,” said Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Jeremiah Weed Ford Fusion. “They wear our numbers, fly our flags and sometimes even get tattoos to show their dedication. It’s incredible that Jeremiah Weed is doing all this for our fans and to support such a worthy cause as The Air Force Enlisted Village. I look forward to personally checking out the tattoos throughout the race weekend.”
On Saturday, Oct. 22 adults 21 and over will be able to sign up at the Jeremiah Weed event space in the Talladega fan zone to receive a free tattoo. A series of tattoos will be available for fans to choose from, including Matt Kenseth’s signature, a number 17, Jeremiah Weed logos and a Jeremiah Weed® Lightning Lemonade® can. The tattooing will occur at a local tattoo parlor approved by the Alabama State Health Board. Free transportation to and from the parlor will be also provided. For every tattoo inked, Jeremiah Weed will make a $100 donation to The Air Force Enlisted Village, a charity committed to providing safe, secure and dignified homes for indigent surviving spouses of retired Air Force personnel.
In other news…
– Joey Logano will be making his much anticipated appearance on the Travel Channel show “Man V. Food Nation” tonight at 9pm ET alongside the show’s host Adam Richman. Check your local listings for details. Do you think Joey can eat a three pound bacon double cheeseburger loaded with pulled pork and a meaty hot sauce over a pound of fries in ONLY 30 minutes??
– With everything that happened on Sunday I wasn’t in the mood to post photos from the NASCAR race weekend at Charlotte until now.
I woke up at 6am Sunday morning in New Hampshire and willed myself to get up so that I wouldn’t get stuck in race day traffic. SYLVANIA gave us a tip that we (their invited media peeps) should get on the road by 7:15am at the latest in order to miss the traffic melee. It worked because the drive to the track only took 25 minutes. I have to say that NHMS is by far my favorite track to drive to because the scenery is beautiful, but more importantly it was (basically) a straight shot from the hotel to the track, with one left turn and one stop at the drive-thru Starbucks on Loudon Road.
“Who’s That Girl?,” starring one of my heroes, Madonna, stuck in their brain. Louden was the uptight husband, that needed to loosen up, of the insanely rich chick in the movie that Madonna’s bad girl, Nikki, (but she’s really nice) character ends up with. Anyway, they said his name about a million times, so I guess it makes sense that I’d remember it. Loudon, New Hampshire is where New Hampshire Motor Speedway is located and it was the home of the 2nd race in the The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the Sylvania 300, on Sunday.
And I’m not talking about on the track either. They might need to post security in the media centers for the next 10 races. A lot of interesting things happened Saturday night at the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway post-race press conference. Sounded like a good time full of ripped up paper, tension, verbal jabs that made no sense and the comedic talents of Matt Kenseth.
I guess Snookie has that kind of effect on people.
Anyway… The only thing I can/want to say about the media and it’s questions that always sound the same is to quote one of my favorite movies from the 80s, “Heartburn,” starring my one of the greatest actresses of all time Meryl Streep (I love her!) and Jack Nicholson (He’s great too!). The movie is about a couple who get married, have a baby and then the husband cheats and the wife loses all trust she had for the husband but tries to carry on in the relationship. During that portion of the movie Jack’s character says to Meryl’s character “You can’t take it’s temperature every five minutes.” He was referring to their relationship, us ladies always want to know where we stand in our relationships especially if things don’t feel “right.” (If you’ve ever had to ask a guy “where is this going??” it’s probably not going anywhere good) Anyway… I love that line and I think that it applies to the media when they keep asking drivers how they feel about making The Chase, being in The Chase, still being in The Chase, why are you in The Chase, what does it feel like to be in The Chase… it NEVER ends. They do the same thing with other storylines, whatever it is they will ask the same question in various formats every week until there is a resolution. But I say, you can’t take it’s temperature every five minutes, dude! Nothing’s changed and when it does change, ask a question then.
Moving on… Congratulations to Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team! It had to have felt great considering the announcement he and his wife DeLana made earlier in the week about shuttering the racing side of Kevin Harvick Inc.
Richmond was a great, caution-filled race and I can only hope that we get more awesome action like that in the next 10 races. I love this time of year right before the first race in The Chase when everything feels possible. I hope we get to hold on to that feeling for more than two races.
It just so happens that I’ve either ran into or received a bunch of info about fashion & accessories that relate to racing, enough to warrant an entire post dedicated to the subject. So here ya go!
– When I was at Infineon Raceway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 last month I wandered around the area behind the grandstand where the majority of vendors had their wares on display. One such vendor was Harveys, the makers of “The Original Seatbeltbag™.” All of their products are made from real seatbelts that you find in your car.
Their display caught my attention because it was the ONLY one selling stuff specifically for women, and they had the cutest little Airstream trailer as their stockroom. So I asked if I could take some pictures of their big variety of bags. They’ve got something for every occasion, just check out their website. I especially loved the clutches and the tote bag made from recycled materials. But I really thought the black clutch wallet would be PERFECT for Champion’s Week in Las Vegas. You can carry a bunch of stuff in it and it’s just really well made. They’re pricey ($78 for the wallet and $228 for the Treecycle Carriage Satchel that could be my next laptop bag) but they’re going to last you for a REALLY long time. Plus Harvey’s offers a Bag Spa — just send them your worn down bag and they’ll make her look all special and fabulous again (there’s a small fee but it’s worth it).
– The creators — a husband & wife team from Florida — of Motor Munchkins emailed me last month about their line of racing inspired kids clothing. They’re just launched their website and they’ve got some really cute stuff. I especially love the “Look, Mom! No Hands!” and “I (heart) boobs & karting” (see below) shirts & onesies. Definitely check out their site and let them know what you think.
– Ever wonder how you could keep your favorite driver CLOSE to your heart? Ya know, without getting arrested? Well, Pit Pass Gifts creates custom NASCAR jewelry using actual remnants from the track. They’ve turned pieces of sheet metal from the cars of drivers like Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson to create unique necklaces. Check out the Pit Pass Gifts eBay site for more information.
When I arrived at Infineon Raceway on Friday I was late. It was only 9am but it was late. The garage opened at 7am and that’s when people showed up, so the media lot was full when I arrived. I was stuck in lot 1 which is next to the helipad. It’s not a big deal (there’s an awesome shuttle that takes you right to the media center no matter where you’re parked) but it’s funny to me how 9am can be considered late for anything. Anyway, Friday was the day of press conferences for the top-12 drivers.
“Shift. Shifting now. Lots of shifting. Why do I have to keep shifting? Shifting is fun! I hate shifting this much!”
I am so over shifting!! I hate that word and I never want to hear it again. Some drivers hated it and some were totally okay with it because they would have been bored otherwise. That’s all fine and well, I’m just glad it’s over.
My favorite part of the race was the in-car cockpit view of the drivers in action. I loved that so much because you get to see what these guys are actually doing. This is how they do it and it’s fun to see the different techniques. So I appreciated that a lot. TNT’s coverage is off to a great start.
Now that Conan O’Brien is on TBS, which is a sister channel to TNT, I fully expect a Team Coco integration to at least ONE of the TNT Summer Series races. We need Conan at a race or at least a bunch of the drivers on his show. This needs to happen.
There were three races yesterday. The Grand Prix of Monaco, the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600.
As much as I would LOVE to visit Monaco, I’m not going to pretend that I give a flying fig about Formula 1 racing. It’s interesting I’m sure, but I’ve found that men that follow it are particularly annoying to talk to about any other kind of racing and that has turned me off to it entirely. Yes, I’m basing my opinion of Formula 1 racing off of random encounters with douchebags, and I’m totally OK with that. I’m sure there a lot of really nice Formula 1 fans out there, so please don’t leave me any annoying comments. Anyway, I’ve watched some F1 races and it doesn’t really do much for me. (“Random Encounters with Douchebags” would make a great book and/or movie title, right? Story of my life)
On the other hand I do hope that Kimi Raikkonen will try his hand at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing at Infineon Raceway next month. Why? Because I’ll be there and new blood is always cool.
So on to the Coca-Cola 600. I’m happy for Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team for winning the race. I just wish it could have been Dale Earnhardt Jr. instead.
I thought they would have thrown a caution on that last crash, and I find it curious that they didn’t. NASCAR really isn’t helping themselves or Dale Earnhardt Jr. in being inconsistent in their use of the yellow flag. It seems weird to me that there wouldn’t have been any debris on the track after all the contact that happened.
Whatever, we move on to the next race!
They should use Trevor’s story for an episode of “House.” They still don’t know what the illness is/was.
Happy Saturday! I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend so far. I had some cool photos sent to me yesterday and I really wanted to share them with you.
– First up, Jeremiah Weed Premium Malt Beverages had their strongman Rendy DeLaCruz pull Matt Kenseth’s No. 17 Jeremiah Weed Premium Malt Beverages Ford Fusion down a street in downtown Charlotte. Mr. DeLaCruz pulled the racer 100 feet in 26 seconds. Crazyness, ’cause, ya know, racecars are HEAVY! Anywhoo, I love Jeremiah Weed’s Sweet Tea Vodka, and I cannot wait to try their new premium malt beverages, just from the names alone: Lightning Lemonade, Spiked Cola and Roadhouse Tea. Yumsy!
– Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu got to take a ride around Indianapolis Motor Speedway with none other than Marco Andretti’s grandpa, Mario Andretti, who won the 1969 Indianapolis 500. Mario took Troy for a spin in the “Fastest Seat in Sports”
Saturday’s Nationwide Series 5-hour ENERGY 200 was more entertaining than Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks because, ya know, stuff happened.
Not that you ever want to see anyone get hurt, but Saturday had some crazy crashes and all of the drivers walked away totally OK. Although crew guy, Glen Wheeler, for the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. team did sustain an injury to his left leg and was held at a hospital overnight for his injury. It’s crazy that the debris that hit him came from the car he works on. I couldn’t believe Clint Bowyer’s crash. That was insane. When incidents like that happen at Dover they’re always insane. Hopefully Mr. Wheeler will be A-OK.
Sunday was cool and all, who doesn’t love babies in Victory Lane? But it was one of those races where if you talked to me five minutes after it was over and asked me what happened, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Sometimes it’s like that and then sometimes it’s like last week at Darlington and you can’t stop talking about it. Nevertheless, congratulations to Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 WileyX team. I think that was the second WileyX sponsored race for the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team, so that’s pretty good for their second time out!
I feel so incredibly late with this post, and I apologize for that. There’s something about Sunday that makes me really not want to do anything that I “should” do.
And to make matters worse I didn’t even write anything about the race at Martinsville. Ya know, the one where Dale Earnhardt Jr. made me mental. When he took the lead I muted the television and began yelling my TV screen. Of course it didn’t work because Kevin Harvick had to be all good and everything and win the race. Despite not making my life and winning that race I’m so incredibly PROUD of Mr. Dale Jr. because he’s in the Top 12 in points, which is just awesome all by itself. One last thing about Martinsville, Harvick shouldn’t have said anything about “being the bad guy.” He did what he was supposed to do–anything and everything he could to win that race. He’s not supposed to worry about the feelings of JR Nation. Just race, that’s all we ask.
Soo, on to this past weekend at Texas. Congratulations to Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Crown Royal Black team! That was a great win and I’m always stoked for someone to win a race when it’s been a REEEEEALLLLLLY long time since they last had one.
Here’s one housekeeping note: I recently launched The Fast and the Fabulous mobile application. Now you can receive alerts and stuff on your cell phone, if it uses the Android operating system. Look for it in the Android Market on your cell phone. Just search for “The Fast and the Fabulous” or “NASCAR.” There’s a solution coming soon for iPhones so stay tuned for that.
Friday morning in Las Vegas started with me arriving at the track just in time to interview J.J. Yeley at his hauler. But I found out that he had been asked to drive the No. 27 car for Baker Curb Racing in the Nationwide Series race. So he was participating in their practice session and wouldn’t be available till later in the day (We did end up connecting later in the day and I got some great answers from him).
Matt and Katie Kenseth welcomed their second daughter into the world today!
The official announcement from the family:
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford with Roush Fenway Racing, and his wife Katie welcomed a new bundle of joy into their family early Tuesday morning with the birth of the couple’s second daughter. Grace Katherine Kenseth was born February 22 at 3:49 a.m. EST weighing in at seven pounds and eight ounces. Both mother and daughter are doing well as the family welcomes Grace into the family to join their other daughter Kaylin and son Ross.
Kenseth will be able to spend a few days with his brand new baby girl before traveling out west for this weekend’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Kenseth has earned top-ten finishes in his last two races at the track as the No. 17 team looks to rebound from a 34th-place finish at Daytona last weekend after getting caught up in a multi-car wreck early in the race.
How excited are you that tomorrow is the Budweiser Shootout? I, for one, am thrilled. The season is starting again and for this website, and me personally, a lot more stories to share with you guys. I’m planning on road tripping it to Phoenix and Las Vegas later on this month. I’m really looking forward to getting back to the one place in the world that I know ALWAYS makes me happy, NASCAR races of course.
I’m also super excited to crown the first ever Hottest Driver Tournament winner on Sunday. It’s between Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth. Be sure to cast your vote now because voting ends Saturday night (at midnight).
In other news…
– The latest issue of ESPN The Magazine, on newsstands today, focuses on speed. Not Scott Speed, but just speed in general. It features articles on how to survive a crash, Hendrick Motorsports pit crew combine and spotlights Ricky Carmichael and Kevin Harvick.
– Jimmie Johnson will be the subject of a segment on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. The show airs Tuesday, Februay 15th. I’m looking forward to this as Real Sports is one of my FAVE shows.
– Rock band Good Charlotte is set to perform live before the start of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 27th. I’m totally looking forward to the performance and hopefully the band’s lead singer Joel Madden will bring his wife, Nicole Richie, along for support. Auto Club Speedway has special ticket packages available for starting at just $55. For an additional $25 you can have access to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Check out ‘Fabulous’ News for more news like this.
– Michael Waltrip has been doing a lot of media interviews in support of his new book, “In the Blink of an Eye: Dale, Daytona, and the Day that Changed Everything.”
While talking with the New York Times Michael revealed that he had never watched the 2001 Daytona 500, the race that he won and took the life of his team owner at the time, Dale Earnhardt. That is until this past July. Michael’s sister Connie tapes all of his races, and he came across the DVD — decorated with hearts and stars and the words “2001 Daytona 500 Winner!” that she’d written on it before Dale’s death had been announced — and watched it for the very first time, commercials and all.
Michael hadn’t been able to talk about the 2001 Daytona 500 for many years but in watching the entire race and then writing a book about that day in Daytona he was able to deal with his feels and find peace with everything that happened.
Andrew Giangola has a review of Michael’s book here, and I was told that Mikey’s book will debut at No. 11 on the New York Times’ Bestseller list when it makes it’s debut on February 20th, the same day as the 2011 Daytona 500.
– Yesterday was NASCAR Media Day down at Daytona International Speedway. The whole thing reminds me of a combination of the first day at school and picture day all wrapped up into one. The drivers spend what looks to me like all day walking around in their new firesuits answering all sorts of questions from the media from all over the place, taking new photos and shooting video spots. I really need to experience that whole thing for myself one day. Anyway, here are photos:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano speaks to ESPN’s Nicole Briscoe during media day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya answers questions from the local media Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during media day.
2010 Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray poses during media day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson poses for photos Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. during media day. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne reads liners for MRN during media day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.(Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Greg Biffle talks with Pete Pistone and Mike Bagley from The Morning Drive on Sirius during media day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
It’s time for the FINAL round in the 2011 Hottest Driver Tournament. Who will be voted the Hottest Driver of 2011? Well, it’s down to Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth.
Here’s what happened in Round Five:
Tony Stewart (82%) defeated Jamie McMurray (18%)
Matt Kenseth (53%) defeated Martin Truex Jr. (47%)
This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).
So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Six – The Finals! You can vote as many times as you want each day until voting ends on Saturday, February 12th.
UPDATE: Voting has ended. Stay tuned for the results.
|Tony Stewart||Matt Kenseth|
Matt Kenseth. What can I say about Matt Kenseth? Well, he’s funny for one. He made fun of my name when I interviewed him in Las Vegas a couple months ago during Champion’s Week. He’s also the first driver I’ve interviewed to end up not answering all of the questions in the “Inside the Actor’s Studio” questionnaire. As you’ll see below at “What turns you off?” there’s an exchange that involves me, Matt and Jeff Burton, but there’s no actual answer. We came back to it, but he still didn’t have any answer. Which was curious to me because I would think it’d be harder to think of an answer for “What turns you on?” than the opposite of that.
Anyway, Matt was supernice and a very good sport. Definitely another good interview.
What is your favorite word? Lately I’ve been noticing everyone says “Like” all the time, and I caught myself doing it so I’ve been trying to get myself to stop doing it when everyone around me uses it like crazy.
What is your least favorite word? When somebody uses God’s name in vain.
What turns you on? My wife
What turns you off? Can’t answer that one. (Me: what turns you off?) These are tough questions, where are you going to write these at? You’re going to get me in a lot of trouble. I can’t answer that. [To Jeff Burton] How can you answer all these? Like ‘What turns you off?’ (Jeff Burton: Everything’s not sexual, Matt). [To Me] Ok, let’s keep going. (Me: You want to come back to it?) Yeah.
What sound or noise do you love? I like hearing race cars start up
What sound or noise do you hate? A couple people’s voices. Gosh, I’m not quick thinking on my feet today. Can I come back to that one too?
What is your favorite curse word? I don’t know, I try not to curse. I guess I don’t have a favorite.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Well it’s way to late in life to do it now, but if I was going to be something else I probably would have been interested in joining the Air Force, try to be a fighter pilot.
What profession would you not like to do? Well I’m pretty fortunate because it’s hard to call this a job, so I think anything other than this would be not as good.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Welcome in!
Read more of my “Inside the Actor’s Studio” questionnaire interviews in the archives and read about how it all started with Tony Stewart.
Here we are in Round Five of the 2011 Hottest Driver Tournament and we’re down to just four drivers! It was a close one between Elliott Sadler and Martin Truex Jr. but Martin won out by just 36 votes!
Here’s what happened in Round Four:
Jamie McMurray (56%) defeated Clint Bowyer (44%)
Tony Stewart (88%) defeated Ryan Newman (12%)
Martin Truex Jr. (51%) defeated Elliott Sadler (49%)
Matt Kenseth (66%) defeated Regan Smith (34%)
This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).
So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Five! You can vote as many times as you want each day until voting ends on Saturday, February 5th.
UPDATE: Voting has ended, stay tuned for the Finals!
|Jamie McMurray||Tony Stewart|
|Martin Truex Jr.||Matt Kenseth|
I’m sad I missed the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte this week. But, if I’m being honest, it’s only because I just read this article about all the swag the media received, that I missed out on. There were cupcakes and cookies and wine!
Anyway, here are photos from the week. It’s one of my favorite things to post photos of the teams wearing those annoying long sleeve shirts. I don’t know why I hate them so much but they just look wrong. I say this every year and no one listens to me.
It’s just like bridesmaid dresses: it’s really hard to pick on dress type that works on every body type. Which is why brides have started letting their maids pick a fit that suits them individually and then just going with the same color and/or print for the group. I think NASCAR teams should adopt this same principle. Some teams have, but definitely not the majority.
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler, (second from left) speaks with the media, as drivers (left to right) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason Leffler, and Aric Almirola look on, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Michael Waltrip’s familiar No. 15 NAPA car is on display during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)
(Left to right) Bobby Hutchens, director of competition for Stewart-Haas Racing; Tony Gibson, crew chief of the No. 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car; Ryan Newman, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver; Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner and driver; and Darian Grubb, crew chief of the No. 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, pose for a picture during the 2011 Sprint Cup Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Regan Smith stands in front of his No. 78 Furniture Row ride during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(center) NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty stands between his two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers AJ Allmendinger (left) and the newest addition to Richard Petty Motorsports Marcos Ambrose during the Sprint Media Tour hosted byCharlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Jack Roush (center) poses with drivers (left to right) Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, speaks with Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Hilton University on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Richard Childress, team owner; Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet; Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet; Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Chevrolet, and Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Menard’s Chevrolet, pose for the media during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Richard Childress Racing on Tuesday in Welcome, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, owner Rick Hendrick and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. pose for a team picture Wednesday at Hendrick Motorsports Media Day during the Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, speaks to the media as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Penske Racing on Monday in Mooresville, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Joe Gibbs (third from right) poses with J.D. Gibbs (third from left), Joe Gibbs Racing President, Joey Logano (left), driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, Kyle Busch (second from left), driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, Denny Hamlin (second from right), driver of the No. FedEx Toyota, and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brian Scott (right), during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, on hiring Tony Stewart: “For 1997, we wanted to form a second team. We asked all the guys to write down the name of the driver they wanted the most and put it in a hat. There was one name on every piece of paper. That was Tony Stewart.”
Team owner Joe Gibbs (center) speaks about the 20th anniversary of Joe Gibbs Racing, as (left to right) JGR President J.D. Gibbs, former JGR drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, JGR senior vice president of racing operations Jimmy Makar and Interstate Batteries CEO Norm Miller look on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on Thursday in Huntersville, N.C. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The No. 21 Motorcraft Ford proudly displays the new American Ethanol sponsorship around the fuel hole during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Roush-Fenway hanger of Concord Regional Airport, on Thursday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson/HHP)
(Left to right) Juan Pablo Montoya, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, team owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates and Jamie McMurray, defending Daytona 500 champion, pose for a picture during the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing stop on the 2011 Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday at the Hilton Charlotte University Place in Charlotte, N.C.(Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Yesterday Jack Roush inadvertently announced that Greg Biffle, and his wife Nicole, are expecting their first child. Biffle wasn’t planning on having Roush share the news but there it was, along with a semi-confirmation that Carl Edwards and his wife are expecting their second child. It also turned out that the Biffles learned the sex of their baby yesterday and Greg announced via Twitter that they’re expecting a girl. Matt Kenseth and his wife are also expecting another child soon, but we already knew that.
Which leads me to more Biffle and Edwards news. Both drivers will appear on this weekend’s episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” on ABC to demonstrate the dangers of texting & driving:
“Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous and I think it’s an extremely important message to get out to everyone right now but especially teenage drivers,” Biffle said. “While Carl and I had a lot of fun taping the segment for ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’ it is a very serious issue. Being a part of the show really opened my eyes to the dangers of texting while driving and I’m sure it will do the same for all of the viewers. Ford has a great program to educate teenagers about safe driving skills and you can get more information at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.“
The RFR teammates’ appearance is in support of the Brown family of Wellman, Texas who lost their daughter in a tragic auto accident involving texting and driving. Since the accident the family has dedicated their lives to communicating the dangers of this practice. Biffle and Edwards are joined by Justin Bieber and Emma Roberts on the show.
The show will air on Sunday, January 30, at 8 p.m. (ET). Check your local listings.
Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards pose with Leigh Anne Tuohy, a designer on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Leigh Anne is also the mother that the movie “The Blind Side” was based on, ya know, the role that won Sandra Bullock an Oscar last year.
UPDATE: Right! Forgot to post this too. David Ragan doesn’t know how to make a baby.
He said it, not me. Thanks for the tips, Tara!!
I’m having too much fun with this contest. I was right when I thought things would get much more interesting in Round Two and the results of last week’s voting have set up Round Three to be extra intriguing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Mears just barely made it through in the closest match-up results so far. Dale Jr. beat Scott Speed by just 8 votes! I’m really, really surprised that it wasn’t a closer contest between Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne.
Here’s what happened in Round Two:
Jamie McMurray (75%) defeated Kyle Busch (25%)
Joey Logano (55%) defeated David Gilliland (45%)
Clint Bowyer (56%) defeated Bobby Labonte (44%)
Travis Kvapil (62%) defeated Kurt Busch (38%)
Kasey Kahne (75%) defeated Carl Edwards (25%)
Casey Mears (51%) defeated Kevin Harvick (49%)
Elliott Sadler (70%) defeated Reed Sorenson (30%)
Jeff Gordon (52%) defeated Marcos Ambrose (48%)
Ryan Newman (83%) defeated Juan Pablo Montoya (17%)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (51%) defeated Scott Speed (49%)
Tony Stewart (86%) defeated Sam Hornish Jr. (14%)
Matt Kenseth (65%) defeated AJ Allmendinger (35%)
Regan Smith (77%) defeated Robby Gordon (23%)
Martin Truex Jr. (88%) defeated Greg Biffle (12%)
Paul Menard (64%) defeated Brad Keselowski (36%)
Denny Hamlin (58%) defeated Mark Martin (42%)
This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).
So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Three! You can vote as many times as you want each day until
voting ends on Saturday, January 22nd.
UPDATE: I’ve extended voting through Sunday, January 23rd until 9am, because of a snafu with the voting form. // Voting for Round Three is over! Check out Round Four!
|Jamie McMurray||Joey Logano|
|Clint Bowyer||Travis Kvapil|
|Ryan Newman||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|Tony Stewart||Kasey Kahne|
|Casey Mears||Elliott Sadler|
|Martin Truex Jr.||Jeff Gordon|
|Paul Menard||Matt Kenseth|
|Regan Smith||Denny Hamlin|
Voting for Round Three is over! Check out Round Four!
It’s time for Round Two! But first let’s find out what happened in Round One.
Kyle Busch (68%) defeated Jeff Burton (32%)
Juan Pablo Montoya (62%) defeated Brian Vickers (38%)
Tony Stewart (97%) defeated David Reutimann (3%)
Paul Menard (71%) defeated Jimmie Johnson (29%)
Casey Mears (73%) defeated David Ragan (27%)
Regan Smith (86%) defeated Kevin Conway (14%)
This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).
And now, I think this is when things are going to get even MORE interesting. Round Two is the largest group, it’ll be fun to see who makes it into Round Three. I was going to let Round Two last for two weeks but I have decided to run it for just a week. Votes poured in for Round One and I can only expect it to get crazier for this one, so I’m trying to contain it. Plus I’m highly impatient and two weeks sound like forever to find out the results.
So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Two! You can vote as many times as you want each day until voting ends on Saturday, January 15th.
UPDATE: Round Two voting has ended. Stay tuned for the results and Round Three!
|Jamie McMurray||Kyle Busch|
|David Gilliland||Joey Logano|
|Clint Bowyer||Bobby Labonte|
|Kurt Busch||Travis Kvapil|
|Ryan Newman||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Scott Speed|
|Sam Hornish Jr.||Tony Stewart|
|Carl Edwards||Kasey Kahne|
|Kevin Harvick||Casey Mears|
|Elliott Sadler||Reed Sorenson|
|Greg Biffle||Martin Truex Jr.|
|Jeff Gordon||Marcos Ambrose|
|Brad Keselowski||Paul Menard|
|AJ Allmendinger||Matt Kenseth|
|Robby Gordon||Regan Smith|
|Mark Martin||Denny Hamlin|
UPDATE: Round Two voting has ended. Stay tuned for the results and Round Three!
2010 was the year of the baby in NASCAR. People were giving birth all over the place and because of this I can’t keep all of them straight. So I’ve compiled a list of the babies that were welcomed into the world this year and the ones that are on the way continuing the baby blitz into 2011.
Wyatt Herman Fritts Sadler
Parents: Amanda & Elliott Sadler
Born: February 15, 2010
Parents: Kate & Carl Edwards
Born: February 24, 2010
(Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Genevieve Marie Johnson
Parents: Chandra & Jimmie Johnson
Born: July 7, 2010
(Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Manuela Montoya Freydell
Parents: Connie Freydell & Juan Pablo Montoya
Born: July 19, 2010
Brooklyn Sage Newman
Parents: Krissie & Ryan Newman
Born: November 18, 2010
(Credit: Ryan Newman (facebook) – Photo by Karen Will Rogers Photography)
Carter Scott McMurray
Parents: Christy & Jamie McMurray
Born: November 25, 2010
Eliza Jo Hornish
Parents: Crystal & Sam Hornish Jr.
Born: December 28, 2010
Arriving in the new year will be…
– A girl for Cortney & Johnny Sauter. The couple’s daughter is expected to join her big brother, Penn, in April of 2011.
– A sibling for Katie & Matt Kenseth’s daughter, Kaylin, due in early 2011.
– (From what you guys have told me) A sibling for Kate & Carl Edwards daughter, Anne.
Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 CAT Chevrolet Impala for Richard Childress Racing, is cool. He finished the year 12th in points and out of the drivers I interviewed in Las Vegas he struck me as the most “polished.” And I guess what I mean by that is that he was professional but relaxed and just himself. He just seemed the most mature, not that everyone else wasn’t it’s just that you understand why people always look to him for his opinions.
Later when I was interviewing Matt Kenseth, Jeff was standing nearby waiting to hear Matt’s answer for “favorite curse word.” When I asked Matt about what turns him off he had a hard time and looked to Jeff and said, “How can you answer these?” to which Jeff replied, “Everything’s not sexual, Matt.” It was so funny and all said with a laugh.
Friday, December 3rd was the day of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony & Banquet at the Wynn Las Vegas.
NASCAR After The Lap started off mostly like last year, with hostess Jamie Little asking the drivers questions submitted by fans. There were a few new wrinkles like some of the fans asking the questions in person, and the drivers walking in through the crowd with Jimmie Johnson making his grand entrance in his No 48 Lowe’s Chevy.
Thursday was filled with events including the NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, the Victory Lap and After The Lap at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
As the campaign to prove that Jimmie Johnson isn’t vanilla rolls on, I thought it would be fun to assign an ice cream flavor to each of the drivers in The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship.
I don’t know why Jimmie would mind being vanilla, I mean, it’s a classic and reliable flavor (how do you mess up vanilla??). It’s a trusty, go-to flavor, and doesn’t that make sense for him since we rely on him to win all the time? I’m just sayin’.
1.) Jimmie Johnson – Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk: He has a house in New York and this is as far away from Vanilla as possible. Happy, Jimmie??
2.) Denny Hamlin – Ben & Jerry’s Neapolitan Dynamite: Because Denny is the only one that sort of reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite.
3.) Kevin Harvick – Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby: He’s not chubby, but he is a hubby.
4.) Jeff Gordon – Rocky Road: It’s been one for, like, the past 2 or 3 years, right?
5.) Kyle Busch – Pistachio: I’m not a fan of Pistachio
6.) Carl Edwards – Vanilla frozen yogurt: Carl is all about eating healthy (Subway!), and staying ab-tacular, so this is all he can have.
7.) Tony Stewart – Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey: He had a monkey once.
8.) Matt Kenseth – Ben & Jerry’s Imagine Whirled Peace: He never gets into fights, ok there was that time with Jeff Gordon, but overall Kenseth is Switzerland.
9.) Kurt Busch – Rum Raisin: Alcohol, there’s no such thing as beer ice cream.
10.) Jeff Burton – Ben & Jerry’s Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream: This happens to be my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor and it’s also the only flavor that is remotely related to politics, and ya know Jeff Burton will be a politician somewhere, someday. Just go with me on this OK?
11.) Greg Biffle – Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food: Can’t you imagine Biffle relaxin’ with some of this yummy chocolately, caramely, marshmallowy, fudge fishy goodness?
12. ) Clint Bowyer – Ben & Jerry’s Maple Blondie: He’s blonde, duh.
Here’s how I feel about the David Reutimann/Kyle Busch incident: Boys will be boys.
I love the idea of throwing that dumb cliche back in the face of people who like to use it to explain away bad behavior.
But seriously, I don’t really care. Reutimann was pissed and he decided to take action. The fact that Kyle is in The Chase is totally irrelevant. Everyone is trying to do the best they can no matter what, if they’re in the top-12 or not. That’s why I hate that Chase commercial where the drivers talk about all the stuff they have to compete against to win the Championship. Never once do they mention the fact that they still have to deal with 42 other drivers, not just 11 other guys contending for the Championship. That’s why winning the Sprint Cup is a big deal. The guys not in the Chase shouldn’t be expected to roll over, on the contrary, they should be getting in the way.
It’ll mean more for the the guy that ultimately wins the thing.
Congratulations to Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M team! I’m so glad the standings within The Chase are still up in the air. Hopefully we can keep it that way for at least a few more races!
Jeff Burton, driver of the Caterpilliar Chevrolet, stands on pit road with his wife Kim prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 on October 3, 2010 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Christa Thomas/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson got to celebrate his win of the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway with his wife, Chandra and their new almost 3-month-old baby daughter, Genevieve. It was, as expected, absolutely adorable to see Jimmie looking so lovingly at his daughter.
This is surely Genevieve’s first of many trips to Victory Lane with her daddy. I can’t help but turn this simple beautiful moment into something competitive and so I can’t help but think about how Genevieve has already beaten Jeff Gordon’s 3-year-old daughter, Ella, at something. She got to celebrate with her papa first. It’s silly, I know, and yes, while Ella hasn’t physically been in Victory Lane she did get to celebrate her dad’s win at Texas after the fact that one time, but still it wasn’t the same.
I guess Ella can take solace in the fact that Genevieve won’t remember last Sunday anyway. Although, Ella has a lot to be proud of, she’s accomplished a lot in the last three years. The two wines — a chardonnay and a pinot noir — that her dad named after her won awards and she designed a paint scheme for her dad’s car. So there.
UPDATE: Sarah, an awesome commenter, has corrected me. Ella has been with her dad in victory lane when she was really little. (this photo is proof) I stand corrected, Ella and Genevieve are even! Thanks Sarah!
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane with daughter Genevieve Marie and wife Chandra after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Absolutely loved the first race in The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship! Clint Bowyer won it! Yaaay!
You know what this means? It means that The Chase will not be a predictable bore-fest. It’s going to be fun and intriguing and it’s not going to suck. Of course now that I’ve said that Jimmie Johnson will proceed to win the next 9 races.
I slept through the pre-race show ’cause I thought it all started at 10am PST, but that’s when the race started. That meant that I missed the pit road debut of little Genevieve Marie Johnson who is cute as a button (see below)!
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s / Johns Manville Chevrolet, holds his baby daughter Genevieve Marie as he stands on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
The perils of being Miss Sprint Cup
Team owner Richard Childress celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kiss my granite!
Clint Bowyer, driver of the Cheerios / Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, kisses the start/finish line after he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sorry but one photo wasn’t enough!
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s / Johns Manville Chevrolet, holds his baby daughter Genevieve Marie as his wife Chandra looks on from the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Scott Speed, driver of the Red Bull Toyota, walks back to the garage after his car suffered damage on track during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Little Kaylin is rocking some supercute True Religion Brand Jeans.
Matt Kenseth, driver of the Crown Royal Ford, looks at his daughter Kaylin Nicola on the grid during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the JEGS.com Chevrolet, stands on the grid with his wife DeLana prior to the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series TheRaceDayRaffleSeries.com 175 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 18, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So, I’m guessing nobody called Carl Edwards (or Kurt Busch for that matter) to tell him that the dress code options for the Chase Media Day in New York City this week were two things: plaid shirts or black shirts.
Carl looks like he’s running for president, while the rest of the drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship just look like regular dudes.
I am a big fan of plaid so I applaud Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer for their choices. You think they called each other the night before and were all “What are you gonna wear??” Hehe. That idea tickles me.
Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Small Business car, signs Sprint Cup posters during the NASCAR Media Day event at the London Hotel on September 15, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by John W. Ferguson/Getty Images)
While I’m not sure who I “want” to win the Championship this year, I can tell you who I think will win it and who I’m sure definitely will not.
I’ve had a feeling for some time now that Denny Hamlin would claim the 2010 Sprint Cup Series Championship, I’m not entirely sure why I feel that way but it just seems like the right thing. I think this kid is determined and it seems like it’s his time.
Now, on to who I think definitely will not win the Championship and that would be Jimmie Johnson. Not because he’s not capable, a duh he’s won 4 in a row, but because everyone else in the Chase wants it more. I think there has to be something to seeing Jimmie win it every year and I think these guys are psyched and pumped to make sure he doesn’t win a 5th. I just think the other guys want and NEED this Championship more than Jimmie does and therefore they’re going to do everything within their power to make sure they’re tops this year.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 10, 2010 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Finally got access to more photos from last week’s race at Atlanta and there were two cute photos of Casey Mears with his daughter Samantha and Matt Kenseth and his daughter Kaylin. I have to post them, and a couple others I thought you might be interested in.
Casey Mears (R), driver of the GEICO Toyota, holds his daughter Samantha on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch (R), driver of the Miller Lite Dodge, stands with his wife Eva on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth (L), driver of the Crown Royal Ford, holds his daughter Kaylin Nicola on the grid prior to the start ofduring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
If Mr. Buffett would like to give me some of his money, I’d more than happily accept it.
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, watches the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin (R), driver of the Sport Clips Toyota, stands on the grid with girlfriend Jordan Fish prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
They don’t call it “The Tricky Triangle” for nothing. The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway was one crazy race, but in the end I’m so incredibly glad/relieved that Elliott Sadler was able to walk away from that gnarly crash, as well as Kurt Busch. Pocono has some serious work to do to make that backstretch far less treacherous in the future.
It’s amazing how you can go from winning one race one day to just making it out alive from another one another day. I’m super stoked and happy for Elliott that he won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125 race on Saturday.
Congratulations go out to Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M Ford team for winning the Sprint Cup Series race. It was the perfect way to wish team owner Jack Roush a speedy recovery from his accident. He was upgraded to fair condition last night at Mayo Clinic, so that win had to have been the best medicine.
Matt Kenseth (L), driver of the Crown Royal Ford, holds his daughter Kaylin Nicola Kenseth on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Des Moines, Iowa native Michael Annett, currently 14th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings talks with his home state media Friday at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa (Credit: Jennifer Coleman)
Greg Biffle, driver of the 3M Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Crew members cheer on Greg Biffle, driver of the 3M Ford, from pit wall as he does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The wrecked Air Force Ford, driven by Elliott Sadler, gets towed through the garage area after he hit the wall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Elliott Sadler, driver of the Grand Touring Vodka Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mario Gosselin, driver of the TireMonkey.com Chevrolet walks on the grid with his family prior to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
A decal placed on the Aflac Ford, driven by Carl Edwards, that reads ‘Get Back to the Track, Jack!’ in support for Team owner Jack Roush prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 31, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Roush was hospitalized due to injuries he received after crash-landing his jet at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on July 27 2010. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Office Toyota, signs autographs for fans during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Greg Biffle (L), driver of the 3M Ford, talks with Jamie McMurray, driver of the AXE Twist Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
On the morning of the Toyota/SaveMart 350 I attended the NASCAR Tweetup held in front of Victory Lane. It was there that I met an awesome ‘Fabulous’ reader, Angela (aka @caligirl88 on Twitter). She was super nice and she totally surprised me because I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone that read my blog. Thanks again Angela for your kind words!
After checking in with Dawn, my fabulous friend who is the queen of efficient packing for NASCAR races (she also makes great cupcakes!), I headed over to the driver’s lounge for the driver’s meeting. For some reason my memory of that room was that it was much, much bigger than it actually is. Once the meeting started we were packed in there like sardines. Even some drivers and crew chiefs had to stand.
Nothing earth shattering happened in the driver’s meeting but I like being in there and knowing that I’m in there with ALL 43 drivers. It’s kinda neat. Matt Kenseth was the first driver in the room, showing up 30 minutes early, which is smart move if you want to get a seat. I find his punctuality refreshing.
Post-driver’s meeting I met up with Kristen (read her blog) and the No. 2 Miller Lite “Brew Crew” as they walked their Dodge through inspection. I don’t remember if I’ve ever talked about Kristen before, I apologize if I’m repeating myself. Anyway, back in 2007 she won the “Miller Lite Next Great Sportswriter” Contest and she got to spend a bunch of time and race weekends with Kurt Busch and the entire team doing interviews and writing. She’s been their “unofficial tool cart girl” ever since and she’s superfun to hang out with. We have an awesome time swapping gossip and chatting about this and that.
So Sunday was no different, we got to watch as some Cougar tried to hit on one of the Brew Crew dudes. This woman was a piece of work. I hope she doesn’t read blogs. Anyway, she seemed a little tipsy to me. A couple inspection stations later we saw the same woman touching a security guy. Hilarious.
Oh! So this is good, remember how I said Ron Malec probably thinks I’m some crazy person following him around? Well the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy & crew were in front of the No. 2 in line for inspection. So the entire time I’m standing with Kristen, Ron Malec is in front of us pushing the 48. I’m dead serious when I say that it was purely a coincidence and the last thing I want to be thought of is as a pit lizard. I have no desire to lick anyone’s helmet (although I’m sure that Cougar did!). I’m just an appreciator of good lookin’ dudes, so of course I took yet another photo of him (see right).
For driver intros I didn’t go behind the stage, thought it better to stay out on pit road. There cars were lined up one-by-one side by side faced out instead of in the usual two-by-two. It looked good and was a better use of space, in my opinion. I walked down to Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet because I know Lisa, who is a PR person on behalf of Office Depot. I never know where to stand on pit road for the Anthem and all that, so it’s nice to know someone and have a place to stand where you don’t feel like people are looking at you like “What is she doing here??” I don’t know that people actually think that but it’s what I think they’re thinking and it weirds me out.
Anyway, Tony’s dad, Nelson Stewart, was on hand for the day, he even walked out with Tony during driver introductions. He was at the car when Kevin Harvick stopped by specifically to talk to Nelson and give him a hug. It was a cute moment, photos of which you can see below.
After all the invocation, National Anthem and the command to start engines I walked pit road to get a spot behind the pits to watch the start of the race. Luckily, there was a spot right where I wanted to be, right behind the start/finish line. I stood on top of the little wall that sits at the back of the pits, right in front of the grandstands and got the best view of the green flag to start the race.
I hung around down there for a little bit and then headed to the media lounge tent to hang out away from the sun. I ended up meeting a French guy named Mat who was attending a NASCAR race for the first time. He was stranded outside of the garage because he lost his Hot Pass and his roommate that he came to the race with was nowhere to be found. We had an interesting time trying to talk in between the roar of the engines and me trying to understand his accent. It was fun though.
With about ten laps left I went down to Turn 11 to see what I could see and got a front row seat to Clint Bowyer’s caution-less spin out. I asked one of the photographers standing next to me if they could send me the photo and Tyler Takeda of The Madera Tribune obliged (see below). I was too busy screaming, “Ahh! Whoaaaaa!” to take a picture myself.
Clint Bowyer (33) gets turned around into the side of Elliot Sadler’s car Sunday during the Toyota Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. (photo credit: Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune)
Instead of rushing over to Victory Lane to take my usual picture of the winner driving his car in, I decided to pass through the garage. It’s an interesting place to be post-race since cars are coming in smashed up and crew members are rushing around trying to be the first team out of the track. Those guys are super fast, it’s amazing how quickly they can pack up. Maybe they can help me out the next time I have to move?
I was there when Boris Said’s crew chief Frank Stoddard yelled at Tony Stewart — as Tony was climbing out of his car — to “Come on! You fat fuck!” Tony just sort of waved him off and went into his hauler. I wasn’t quite sure I had heard him right until I locked eyes with a smiling GoDaddy.com crew member walking toward me. It was then that I knew I had heard him perfectly and rushed off to the press conference room where my cell phone was charging to send out a tweet about it. Funny stuff. (If you want the full story on what went down and caused that outburst check out the article over at SBNation.com)
Although now that I look at the photo I took in the garage just before Stoddard make his comment, I think Tony might have said something first (see below).
That’s Tony on the far right getting out of the car and that’s Frank Stoddard in front wearing the #26 Air Guard uniform.
And so that was my day at the Toyota/SaveMart 350. Photo fun time below!
Cars lined up and ready to go on pit road for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 on Sunday, June 20, 2010 at Infineon Raceway.
Eva Busch, wife of Kurt Busch, walks down pit road to her hubby’s car. If I ever reach a point where I can have an assistant at the track their entire job would be to take pictures of WAGs. Between making sure I got pictures with my cell phone for tweeting and my regular camera, I missed stuff! Grr!
In the second photo here, of Kevin Harvick greeting Tony Stewart’s dad Nelson, you can see the top of Tony’s head. He was kneeling to do something with his shoes.
The pit crew for the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevy lined up for the National Anthem.
The green flag drops for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway. My view! So cool.
Kevin Harvick. Yet another one of my “I don’t know how I got that photo” photos.
Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson
Dale Earnhardt Jr. pulls into the garage after the race. So glad he finished 11th! Now he’s 13th in points! Yay!
Red Bull Racing has selected Mattias Ekström to handle the road course at Infineon Raceway next week in the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota:
“First of all, I’d like to express my sincere thanks — to Red Bull for inviting a Swede with zero NASCAR experience to compete in the United States and to Audi for the possibility and approval that enable me to fulfill this dream,” said Ekström, 31.
I, too, would like to express my sincerest thanks to Red Bull for inviting a cute Swedish dude to race in NASCAR for the first time ever. Can you say, “fresh meat?” It’s perfect timing since I’ll be at Infineon next week for the Toyota/SaveMart 350. Can wait to see Mattias in action. Zero NASCAR experience and his first race is at Infineon. I love it.
That’s Mattias (left) with Casey Mears, sporting his wedding ring. I forgot Casey got married!
In other news…
– The 2010 Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream was held last night and drivers from all kinds of racing disciplines were on hand, including Travis Pastrana who is famous for his motocross & supercross & general extreme sport background. I really, really wish Travis would try his hand at NASCAR. It would be a good time for sure. That guy is funny and super talented.
Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the day of the Nationwide Series race, the TECH-NET Auto Service 300 powered by CARQUEST. It was also the day that I forgot to put my sunscreen on and got a nice little tan.
The two days that hold the Sprint Cup Series qualifying and Nationwide Series races are always my favorite days during any race weekend. It’s because there’s always, like, 50% less people running around the garage. I know it’s silly but I love feeling like I have the garage all to myself. And practice is always the best time to get pictures of the cars as they exit and enter the track.
On this particular day I witnessed something that has been going on forever but I only discovered it last weekend. I’m not sure what the process is but some cars come off the track and before going to their garage stall to make adjustments they stop at some designated area near or in the garage and the guys from Goodyear check out their tires. There’s also a crew member from their team checking stuff and taking notes.
So that was some race at Martinsville yesterday. There were cautions galore, lots of beatin’ & bangin’ and Denny Hamlin grabbed the checkered flag in spectacular fashion.
I loved that finish, especially since Larry McReynolds didn’t think Denny could pull it off and then voila he rushes to the front and takes it. That was so cool. If only we could have finishes like that every week, and if only Dale Earnhardt Jr. could be the one rushing to the front to take the win. I could live with that, I really could.
I was hoping Jeff Gordon would go and find Matt Kenseth after the race and shove him again like he did that one time, but he didn’t. Lame! That would have been funny. hehe. I think I have issues because I love it when drivers get pissed at each other in any shape or form. Am I what’s wrong with NASCAR? ha! The correct answer to that is no, of course not.
Denny Hamlin celebrates winning the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500, his second straight victory at Martinsville Speedway. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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)
I distinctly remember watching the AAA 400 pre-race show on Sunday and thinking that there was no way there would be another gnarly crash like the ones they were showing from past races at Dover because when something is hyped up that means the race will be boring as heck.
In this case, I was very, very wrong! Poor Joey Logano, his accident on the 31st lap was absolutely insane. I couldn’t believe he flipped that way and that much. It was neat, but I was oh so glad that he — and everyone else involved — were OK. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must feel like and from his reaction it wasn’t anything good.
Okay, so I said that the race wasn’t boring, but that was just for the first 31 laps. After that it headed down Snoozeville Road. Jimmie Johnson dominated the race and won it, and that is just not good. As I’ve said a billion times before, I don’t dislike Jimmie. I just find it highly annoying if he keeps winning all the time. It’s the same show over and over. Bleh.
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.
Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth and his wife, Katie, welcomed their daughter Kaylin Nicola Kenseth into the world on Monday, July 6th. Mom and baby are doing fine.
That’s all I know, but it’s very cool news. Congratulations to Katie and Matt!
Let’s see if I can put into words how excited I am about the upcoming Toyota/Save Mart 350 race weekend at Infineon Raceway.
Mmm. Okay, yea I can’t. This weekend means a lot to me for reasons I can’t specifically describe to you in this post. Let’s just say that I need this opportunity, now more than ever, to be immersed in the world of NASCAR and to think of nothing else for three whole days. NASCAR is my escape. It’s funny, this weekend I watched “Into The Wild,” a film based on the true story of one man who got rid of all material possessions except for a backpack and clothes and headed to Alaska to be with nature. I also read the Vanity Fair article about Johnny Depp (on newsstands now) and learned all about how he escapes (in short, he owns islands in the Caribbean and big boat). After taking all of that in I realized that I use this blog and NASCAR as my escape from all of the trappings of “the real world.” This blog isn’t work, it’s fun.
Wanna know what my reaction was to the end of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway?
Jaw. On. Floor.
I couldn’t believe it. Here I was thinking that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was going to win it and then Brad Keselowski comes from outta nowhere — after getting in the way all day — and takes it.
Only seven laps in we got a “Big One” that took out guys that I like, including Bowyer and Gilliland, which was highly disappointing. But I still had Dale and the hope that he had read my post and had taken it to heart. Ya never know. Plus well, Talladega is a really good track for him so I’m sure it had everything to do with that and nothing to do with me, but because he left there with a top-three finish (which is what I asked for) I like to think it was mostly me.
Anyway, I congratulate Brad on his first Sprint Cup win.
I’m so glad that Carl Edwards is A-OK and that his crash only looked absolutely horrible and didn’t result in anyone’s death. Actually because of that insane fly through the air Carl will be a guest on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” that airs tomorrow (Wednesday, April 29th, check your local listings).
Apparently Ellen thinks that Carl should take it easy from now on and gives him a new ride, a “Cruzin Cooler”, to be exact. It’s a cooler on wheels. Niiice.
I don’t know the answer to the safety questions surrounding Talladega. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t like watching cars run 3 or 4 wide. It’s pretty cool. And yes, seeing the “The Big One” happen is interesting to me. It’s also crazy to see two cars hook-up and push each other past the entire field. It’s so unique and I like it. Whatever NASCAR needs to do to make it so that people don’t get themselves into the situations that Carl and Matt Kenseth found themselves in this past weekend they should do, but hopefully that doesn’t involve taking the banking away.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left), driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet, congratulates Brad Keselowski (right), driver of the No. 09 Miccosukee Chevrolet, in Victory Lane on his first Sprint Cup Series win at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marcos Ambrose (right), driver of the No. 47 Little Debbie/Kingsford/Clorox Toyota talks with team co-owner Brad Daugherty (left) during Friday’s first practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates his first NASCAR national racing series win Saturday in Victory Lane after capturing the checkered flag at the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice Chevrolet, waves to the fans following driver introductions and before the start of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Mike Skinner and his No. 5 Bad Boy Mowers Toyota team celebrate winning the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway. The win was Skinner’s first of the season and the first for the team since becoming Randy Moss Motorsports last summer. (Photo Credit: Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet chats with former teammate Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota in the garage during Friday’s practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Earlier in the day, Stewart held a news conference about the 2009 Prelude to the Dream. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I’m a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan and lately things between Dale and I have been, uh, just so-so.
He won one race last year and it wasn’t a really great, clean and obvious win. I feel like there’s something missing from our driver/fan relationship, something that only a truly mesmerizing, hard fought and clear-cut win could cure.
It used to be that when I’d sit down to watch a Cup race I’d be all nervous and anxious for Dale. Nowadays I’m pretty sedated. I know that Dale has it in him to win but those old feelings just aren’t there like they used to be. Even when he’s leading a race I’ve learned to not get my hopes up because something usually goes wrong.
I don’t blame Tony Eury Jr. I don’t know who to blame to be honest with you. Dale isn’t the only guy in the field that hasn’t won a lot either. If you’re name isn’t Jimmie, Matt, Carl or Kyle you’ve got some splainin’ to do of your own.
It occurred to me recently that I don’t feel that same excitement and butterflies I used to get when he’d hop into his racecar. I find my eyes wandering off to other drivers and I feel kind of guilty.
If Dale wants me to feel the same way I did when we first met he needs to produce some entertaining finishes. He must promise to remember where his pit box is and he must remember my birthday (he totally forgot last year! sheesh!). Okay, all kidding aside, I believe in Dale or else he wouldn’t be my number one favorite driver but I need him to give me a reminder of why I wanted to believe in him in the first place.
If this was a normal relationship roses and a really sweet card would cover it but because it isn’t I’ll settle for a top-3 finish instead.
It seriously hurts my heart when I write something and then in a moment of complete insanity I lose everything I’ve just written because my computer crashes. That’s just what happened to me, so I apologize if this post sucks.
I finally have some time to write up my thoughts from last weekend’s races at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
Saturday was pretty uneventful, so I’m skipping that and getting into Sunday.
I hovered outside the drivers meeting room to get photos. While doing that I spotted Cody, the PR guy for Kyle Busch. I introduced myself to him not to ask him if I could interview Kyle, but to ask him if he knew that he had fans. Now you’re probably wondering how a PR guy can have his own set of fans but it’s totally possible. Anytime you see Kyle on TV walking through the garage to things like driver intros or to his appearances Cody is always by his side. Plus he’s a young guy who happens to be pretty good looking. So it’s understandable that there would be people out there, people who asked me to ask him if he has a Twitter page. Cody said that he didn’t know that he had fans and that he doesn’t have an account with Twitter (at least as of Sunday).
Later on I headed out to the grass area for driver introductions. The red carpet was rolled out once again for all of the drivers and it was a complete mob scene with fans jockeying for position along the roped off area. At that point I realized that trying to get any kind of photo would be futile so I stood back from it all.
Earlier in the day during one of my cupcake trips over to the FanZone I caught a portion of a performance by the hard rock band Rev Theory. I watched them do a couple songs and I thought they were great. While I was waiting for driver introductions to begin I spied the guys from Rev Theory walking through the grass. I told them that I’d seen them earlier and that they were really good. Introductions were made and I chatted with the drummer Dave and their personal assistant/handler guy Nice (that’s his nickname) about the virtues of Twitter. They were really nice guys and were super fun to talk to. I love band dudes.
After driver intros I played the pit road version of musical chairs. What you do is you start walking and then stop when you hear the PA announcer say “Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise…” I ended up standing behind the pit crew for the #88.
When I turned around after the flyover, which I love to death by the way, I realized I had been standing in front and to the left of Carl Edwards, his wife Kate and all of the guys from Band From TV.
My race day ritual, which I don’t think I’ve ever talked about before, is to stand behind the pits with a perfect view of the start/finish line for the race start, and
then at the end of the race with about 10 laps to go. It’s a compromise between actuallyseeing the race right in front of me and then going back to the media center to watch it through a TV screen.
So the sweetest, most adorable moment of the day was during the post-race press conference with the top-3 race finishers. Before Jeff Gordon arrived (he finished second) his wife Ingrid walked in carrying their daughter Ella. I think I’ve said it like a million times but I’ll say it again she is so freaking cute! When Jeff walked in he went over to Ella, picked her up and gave her a kiss. So cute! Then when Jeff went up to the stage and sat down Ella kept saying “da da” and pointed at him. Cute overload!
I was sad that Jeff didn’t win the race; he was so close to ending his losing streak. But I believe he will be in victory lane very soon because in that press conference he exuded passion, excitement and positivity about his race team. He said that they were head and shoulders above where they were last year. I truly hope that all of that optimism will pay off for him.
I love this photo.
Kasey Kahne’s #9 Budweiser Dodge on pit road before the start of the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Brian Vickers waits to be interviewed by SPEED at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (Photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Billy Ray Cyrus at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Saturday, February 21, 2009. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
OK, this is Michael Waltrip. I took this photo because I saw the big purple stain on his back pocket and thought it was curious. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The band Rev Theory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2009. (Photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I think this UPS Truck golf cart is the coolest thing. I wanted to drive it! (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Gosh, where do I begin?
Let’s start with Thursday night when I arrived at LAX and picked up my rental car from Thrifty. I usually go with Hertz, but this time around Thrifty was cheaper and I was, well, trying to be thrifty. It was sort of a mistake. There was drama from the second I walked in the door. Some woman was trying to pay with quarters and one dollar bills and some other dude was trying to cheat the rental company out of money which ended with the Thrifty employee telling the dude to never come back there again.
What a glorious way to start a trip! Actually it wasn’t all bad, when it was my turn they got me out quickly, and I was able to pick the car I wanted. I ended up with a black Dodge Caliber. I’ve never driven one of those before and they said it was a compact car, but it totally doesn’t feel like it. I feel like I’m driving a boat.
Anyway, Yesterday morning I set off for the track with more butterflies in my stomach than ever. I always get nervous because I have no idea what is going to happen and I’m always seriously afraid that I’ll look like a nut job. How I would make myself look like a nut job I will never know, but I fear it nevertheless.
I arrived at the track, picked up my credentials and grabbed the press conference schedule. So I’m used to having to go from hauler to hauler for each session, but this time around the majority of the gatherings were in the drivers meeting room in the garage. So I just sat there as driver after driver came in and took a seat behind the table on the stage.
Here is a quick rundown of things that occurred to me as each driver spoke:
– Kurt Busch is kinda growing on me. I used to dislike him a lot but now, eh, not so much.
– I was dying to ask Matt Kenseth point blank whether or not his wife Katie was pregnant, but I do not have the balls to ask that kind of question. It’s none of my business, of course.
– A.J. Allmendinger is talkative, friendly and funny. He joked that he told USA Today that he might be doing steroids in an effort to get them to write an article about him.
– Kyle Busch talked about the incident at Daytona a little bit, all without actually saying Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s name. A reporter called him on it and asked why he wouldn’t say his name, Kyle replied (in a sort of annoyed tone) that he didn’t say the other guys’ (Brian Vickers) name either.
– I really liked the Kobalt Tools hat that Jimmie Johnson was wearing.
– Kasey Kahne kinda looks like the actor Robert Pattinson, who played the Edward character in the movie “Twilight.” They’re not dead ringers, but c’mon there are some similarities.
– When you ask Jeff Gordon a question he will never, ever answer it with just one word or one sentence. It’s not a bad thing, he just tends to go on more than others.
– David Ragan is my new favorite driver! Why? Read my next post!
When I wasn’t listening to drivers talk about the track and their feelings about the upcoming race I spent time in the garage Twittering and taking photos. Oh, and I monitored the Port-A-Pottie usage of a few drivers like Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan. These are the kinds of important updates you get when you follow me on Twitter.
The Brian Vickers/Dale Earnhardt Jr. incident has been and will continue to be well documented by others so I’m not even going to get into it. Well I will say this; I don’t think that Dale intended to spin Brian out. I think it was an accident and I’m not just saying that because I like Dale. I actually like both of them. I just don’t think Dale would do that knowing there’s an entire field of cars behind him that could be involved. He’s always been pretty honest about his on-track exploits so whatevah.
My Daytona highlights:
– FOX NASCAR racing analysts Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip laugh every time the Digger graphic comes up. I find it funny that they find it so funny.
– All of the NASCAR kids and babies on pit road during the invocation and National Anthem made my entire reproductive system want to explode from their cuteness. How adorable was Macey Waltrip helping her dad get settled into his car?
– Julianne Hough was supposed to sing the National Anthem but she came down with the flu and couldn’t travel. In her place they were able to secure singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw who gave the most pitiful anthem performance ever. I like Gavin DeGraw in general but this was definitely not one of his best performances.
– Keith Urban performed a lot on Sunday. He performed acoustically at a press conference for the media (lucky nerds!) and then for everyone else with his full band behind him before the start of the race. Apparently Keith brought his wife, a little known Australian actress named Nicole Kidman, with him. If that doesn’t blow your mind enough Nicole’s ex-husband Tom Cruise was on hand to lead the field to the green flag in the pace car. I guess we should just call it a Days of Thunder reunion party. Side note: I have yet to watch Days of Thunder all the way through, but I have been on the ride at Great America.
Overall the Daytona 500 was a big ol’ anticlimactic mess for me. I mean, Matt Kenseth is cool and all but races that end with a red flag are just no good. It left me feeling gypped and bored with leftover 5-layer dip.
Oh, one more thing, speaking of Mr. Kenseth he’ll be in San Francisco this Wednesday for all of you Bay Area NASCAR fans:
Fans can see the winner of Sunday’s Daytona 500 this Wednesday at Willie Mays Plaza at AT&T Park at 12:30 p.m. during a fan rally and press conference. Matt Kenseth will be on-hand after taking a Victory Tour through the Streets of San Francisco on a motorized cable car. This marks the first time a Daytona 500 winner has visited SF. The day signals the Official Countdown to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR race at Infineon Raceway in June.
Photo fun time!
Some might say Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, may have had a couple of good luck charms Thursday at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel 1. Wife Ingrid Vandebosch and daughter Ella Sophia hang out with the four-time NASCAR champion the grid prior to the race at Daytona International Speedway that he won. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Don’t tap on the glass, they hate that.
Three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon signs autographs for fans during the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice on Saturday for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Country star Keith Urban performs a pre-race concert prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth celebrates winning the 51st running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Kenseth became the 33rd different driver to win “The Great American Race.” (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Steve and Christine Deuker meet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman (center) on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. The Deukers honored Newman and their son, who passed away in 2001, by buying a brick from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tom Cruise climbs into the pace car for some practice laps around Daytona International Speedway. Cruise led the Daytona 500 to the green flag in the pace car. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart reads a Valentine’s Day card before getting into his car for the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice for the Daytona 500 on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The big newsy news of the day is that Casey Mears‘ first child was born yesterday. According to a post by Casey’s mom Carol on the Mears Gang message boards Samantha Mae Mears was born yesterday at at 12:42pm, weighing in at 8lbs. 7oz.
Congratulations to Casey and his girlfriend Trisha!
In other news…
– Do you ever wish that there was one place on the web were you could find all of the top headlines about racing? Well there’s no need to look any further than Alltop. It’s a site the pulls in website and blog feeds (including The Fast and the Fabulous!) from around the web in what they’re calling a “magazine rack” approach. It’s worth checking out.
– Here is a fun quote from Mike Skinner about Scott Speed who will make his Sprint Cup Series debut next year:
“He’s a really funny guy. He acts so goofy on the outside. But when he puts on that helmet and gets in that race car, he does a great job. He gives good feedback, and I think the kid’s got a bright future. Red Bull is really, really high on him. Heck, he’s already won in ARCA few times, he’s won in the truck series, he was second-fastest at the Charlotte test. I hope to be his friend for a long time and help him any way I can.”
– The Third Annual Jamie McMurray Foundation Golf Tournament will take place on Monday, October 13th in Mooresville, North Carolina. The Jamie McMurray Foundation raises money for austism awareness and research:
“It’s hard to believe the golf tournament is really next week,” said McMurray. “We’ve put a lot of work into this year’s tournament to make it nothing short of first class. There are a lot of people that made this event what it will be, but nothing would have been possible without the help of our sponsors. Crown Royal stepped up as the primary sponsor, along with Stanford Group, Coca-Cola, Aflac, Sprint, Motorsports Authentics and a ton of others. The list goes on and on, and it’s really those sponsors who have made this all possible.”
Joining McMurray for an afternoon of golf are his fellow Roush Fenway Racing teammates Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan, along with Denny Hamlin, Rusty Wallace, Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson and others.
“I really can’t thank those guys enough for taking time out of their schedules to come out and support our foundation and help raise money for such a great cause.”
The JMF was formed in May 2006, and since has provided more than $200,000 to Autism Speaks and other autistic foundations throughout the United States.
Last week the top 12 drivers in The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship were in New York City for Chase Media Day. For the drivers it meant making television appearances and conducting a bunch of interviews with various media outlets.
All twelve drivers appeared on The David Letterman Show to run down Dave’s “Top Ten List”, or in this case, a top-twelve list:
Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson hung out on The Early Show with host Harry Smith:
Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards went on Tony Stewart’s show on Sirius Satellite Radio and they addressed their “rivalry.” There’s a clip of them discussing exactly that over on Tony’s page at Sirius.com. Look for the section on the right-hand side with the “Sounds of the Show” heading.
And now for the photos, I’d like to point out Dale Earnhardt Jr. and how much I loved his sweater/button-up combo. That’s a very good look for him. In fact all of the guys looked really good, kudos to them and anyone that helped them pick out their outfits.
So now we finally know who the top 12 drivers are to make it into The Chase for the Championship this year. I’m glad The Chase to The Chase is over and I can now chew my fingernails down to the nub hoping and praying that something horrible doesn’t happen to my favorite drivers, which is basically everyone except Kyle Busch. hehe. I’m kidding!
The 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field poses with the Sprint Cup trophy after the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The drivers are (Back row L-R) Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton (Front row L-R) Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers celebrate their Chase berths after the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The difference between the crowd gathered for the Nationwide Series drivers meeting and the one assembled for the Sprint Cup Series was like night and day. Friday it was me standing with the security guards but on Saturday I had to contend with a big crowd, a fence and those damn TV crews.
I made sure I was there early, like half an hour before it was all supposed to begin. Matt Kenseth arrived first with a Sirius satellite radio DJ in tow. Matt was very punctual on Saturday, he was also first at driver intros. So as per usual I tried to take as many photos as possible. My attempts at getting shots of guys and their shoes were foiled by guys from TNT filming people right in front of me.
In the drivers meeting they go over what’s going to happen before, during and after the race and what the rules are, or if there’s going to be a competition caution, etc. There’s a lot of stating the obvious, but it’s something you have to do. I couldn’t help but wonder though what it would be like if someone raised their hand at the end and said “So, what do I do if I win the race? Where do I go?” That’d be fun.
Kurt Busch walked into the drivers meeting with none other than pop singer Gavin DeGraw. I didn’t know who was singing the anthem until I saw him arrive. I have lukewarm feelings about Mr. DeGraw. I want to like him, he has a nice voice, but his music always leaves me wanting something more. Anywho, I ended up seeing him a lot after that. I almost bumped into him coming out of the bathroom in the media center; he was pacing around warming up his vocal cords.
After the drivers meeting came driver intros. I trekked out onto the grass and proceeded to get my socks and shoes totally soaked by the soggy field. I decided to stake out the opposite side of the stage that no one was on because it was the best angle to get great photos. Of course security had to come over and rain on my parade and told me I had to go to either the front of the stage or the other side. They had to keep that area clear. Dagnabit!
Okay, so let’s talk about that tribute to Richard Petty and his 50 years of NASCAR racing. It’s amazing it’s been that long. I thought it was such a great idea to have all the drivers wear, what has become his signature accessory, the cowboy hat. However, it was clear that he should be the only person wearing those suckers. The King is the only person who looks good in them as far as I’m concerned.
Check out the photo below. Who’s missing from it? In spite of what they were saying at the time all 43 drivers weren’t there to take this photo. Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards all showed up later just in time for the actual driver introductions. Oh and someone else is missing from the photo too but I can’t remember who it is. Any guesses?
43 drivers starting the LifeLock.com 400 pose with Richard Petty, who was celebrating his 50th anniversary in NASCAR. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
He’s always got a smile on his face!
Richard Petty stands behind the stage before his tribute begins at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Robby Gordon walks with Richard Childress to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Singer Gavin DeGraw (left) walks to the drivers meeting with Kurt Busch at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
David Gilliland walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Jeff Gordon walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Martin Truex Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
After the fun ESPN tour I headed into the Sprint Cup garage. I walked down one row and then another and stopped at the stall for the No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. I took photos and then noticed Michael Waltrip walking towards me. As he passed by he smiled and said “Hello” to me and the guy taking photos next to me. He got into the car and strapped himself in.
Here’s the thing, I knew that the practice sessions were set to start soon, but I didn’t realize exactly how soon. So here I am walking down the garage right in front of the car stalls stopping at each one to take a photo. I started to see a pattern that all of the drivers seemed to be in their cars with their helmets on all at the same time. It didn’t dawn on me that they were minutes from racing out of the garage and onto the track until I got to the end of the row and noticed that nobody else was as close to the stalls as I was and drivers were looking at me as I took their photos like “What are you doing? Who are you? Don’t you know I’m about to run you over?!” It wasn’t that serious, but it was really, really, eerie.
I mean, really eerie. It’s this extreme calm before the storm. They were all just sitting there waiting for the go ahead. As soon as I caught on that they would be racing out at any moment I decided to walk faster and get to a corner where I could get a good view of the cars as they pulled out and stay well out of everyone’s way.
Once practice was over it was time for the drivers & crew chiefs meeting before the start of the Nationwide Series race. First I must say that I love the way the infield area of Chicagoland is laid out. The media center is smack dab in the center of everything and it’s closed off so the fans, even those with pit passes, are kept well away from it. The Sprint Cup garage is to the left and the Nationwide garage is to the right, and the tent for the drivers meeting was behind it.
So back to the drivers meeting, I went to tent area and stood with the security stationed outside of it to keep the fans at bay. Since it was the Nationwide race after all there weren’t that many people waiting with me, maybe like 3 or 4? If that, I’m not entirely sure but I know it wasn’t anything near all of the people that were there the next day for the Sprint Cup drivers meeting. They had to put up steel barriers for that one. But I digress. So I’m standing there and drivers start to trickle in. I snapped Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth.
And then there was Clint.
Clint Bowyer walks up, all alone and I hold up my camera to take a photo and he looks in my direction. Now, I had no idea if he was actually looking at me or just in my general vicinity. I had no idea what expression he was making and honestly I didn’t want to know. I feel totally fine about taking pictures of people if they’re not looking at me while I’m doing it. Plus he’s seen me directly taking shots of him at Las Vegas and Infineon and now Chicagoland. So I didn’t dare look up from my camera for fear that he might be frowning or something. I don’t know. He went into the tent and that was that.
Later on I looked at the photo in its full size and I cracked up because he is in fact staring straight at me with this weird expression that looks kinda like he’s pissed. But I love this photo. It’s my most favorite photo to date. The look on his face is priceless; he’s like “What??” Hmm. Note to self: No more photos of Clint Bowyer, at least for the next race. Or at least not when he’s looking.
Sprint Cup cars roll out to the track for a practice session at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Tony Stewart heads into the drivers meeting before the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
David Ragan (far left), Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth leave the drivers meeting before the Dollar General 300 on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The 2007 Cup season is finally over. Jimmie Johnson is the Championship winner for the second year in a row and I’m just OK about it. Obviously it’s a great thing for him and his team. Hendrick Motorsports had a wonderful year. Three out of four of their drivers made it into the Chase and two of those drivers finished first and second. So instead of being so incredibly excited for Jimmie I’m happy for Rick Hendrick. He’s built an organization that is a force to be reckoned with, there’s no way around that.
Like all of the drivers I’m looking forward to next year. I became numb to the cruel hand fate had dealt to Dale Earnhardt Jr. over the end of this season many weeks ago. I can’t even talk about what happened at Homestead. There’s so much possibility awaiting him at Hendrick next year it’s pointless to waste time being frustrated with his last races with DEI.
2008 is going to be something. The thing that I’m the most excited about seeing is how the teams that are switching to Toyota next year handle the transition. I have a feeling that Tony Stewart is going to have some choice words if things don’t go so well.
Of course next year I want to be there in person to see it all go down. I ask you, what could be more fun than that? Yea, not much.
Matt Kenseth and crew chief Robbie Reiser celebrate the end of their eight-year partnership with a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 pit crew adjust his car during the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon takes a break during practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Car owner Jack Roush and Carl Edwards hoist the NASCAR Busch Series driver’s championship trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ricky Rudd races Kurt Busch in Rudd’s 906th and final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
First, I want to say that I still have one pair of tickets to the NASCAR Sharp AQUOS 500 at California Speedway, courtesy of Kodak, available to giveaway.
Email me and they’re yours. Winners have been selected.
Watkins Glen was… something. That’s really the best way to describe it. It wasn’t fun for Dale Earnhardt Jr. which is incredibly annoying to me. I could not believe it when they said his engine blew up. I didn’t think that DEI could be trying to sabotage Dale on his way out, but after this weekend I can’t rule it out entirely. I mean this is just too messed up for words. I don’t know if I can take another Chase without Dale in it. The world will not be right. So I’m not counting him out yet until it’s all over, said and done. A lot of things could happen between now and when the Chase is locked in. Right? Right.
A few things that tickled me about the race this weekend:
1.) Juan Pablo Montoya as the in-race reporter. Yea, I knew that wasn’t going to work out well from the get-go. He’s a punk and even before the race started he couldn’t talk or give any insight because he was too busy whining about his steering wheel. Ok, I’m sure he had real concerns, but I just thought it was funny that the first chance they try to talk to him he’s pissed.
2.) The tussle between Juan Pablo and Kevin Harvick was classic. I loved it. I don’t care if Harvick was overreacting — he is a hot-head so I’m not shocked that he got into a shoving match over something that wasn’t even really JPM’s fault. It was highly funny and Harvick outdid himself at the end of the race when he said that he wanted to kick Montoya’s a**. It’s a shame he’s going to get fined for that. I dunno how I feel about the whole fining thing for saying a “bad” word. I’m ok with the money part, but the docking of points is a bit much. And I do agree with Rusty Wallace that instead of that money going to the points fund, they should give it to charity. That’d be a far better use of that money.
3) Ok… so what was up with that fool who decided to try and get Matt Kenseth’s autograph during the red flag? That was very bold of him and yet so very stupid. Although it would have been better had Matt actually signed his hat for him. I wonder if NASCAR would have fined him for that? I guess you wouldn’t want to encourage that kind of behavior.
4.) Seeing Jeff Gordon frustrated was a highlight. It is sad that he lost the entire race with one mistake, but after seeing Junior fall out of the race with his engine issues I wasn’t that sympathetic. I guess the thing I appreciated about seeing Gordon pissed after the race was that those were real, true emotions and he had no one to blame except himself, and he knew it. Plus I also liked the fact that he didn’t put on that happy face racers are always famous for doing, putting some happy spin on top of the fact they lost. But there was no getting away from this one, this was a hard loss.
A couple weekends ago I caught some of the Fox Sports Net series Beyond the Glory, it’s like Behind the Music but for sports. This particular installment was about Matt Kenseth. The content of the show was good, it talked about the year he won the Cup Championship and then the year following and Matt’s quest to prove that he could win races.
The thing that got me about this show was the voice over guy. His tone was terrible. He made everything sound so dark and depressing. Get this guy some Prozac. Jeez. I think they were going for some sort of edgy effect but it ended up just sounding completely uninspired and lame. Matt deserved better.
I don’t care.
I don’t care that four crew chiefs were suspended for cheating this week. And you wanna know why I don’t care? Because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t do anything to their teams. Yes it sets them back in points and money, but they’ll find replacement chiefs and the team will still compete on Sunday.
The race is what matters and if NASCAR really wants to punish people for cheating they shouldn’t allow them to compete. It’s ridiculous.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. accidentally curses on national television (this was a couple years back if my memory serves me) and he’s docked points but a bunch of people cheat on purpose and they’re docked points too. It doesn’t match up in my eyes.
Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth are hot, big name drivers right now, but I think we could live without them in the Daytona 500 this year if that’s what it takes to get teams to realize that you can’t get away with this type of behavior anymore.
This is a big weekend for NASCAR fans. This Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami is the last race of the 2006 season and it will decide who will win the NEXTEL Cup Championship.
Jimmie Johnson leads the Chase and has to finish 12 or better to clinch the title, but at the same time there are 4 other drivers that are still mathematically eligible to win the Cup.
I really, really want Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win, this should come as no surprise, and he still has a slim chance of at making it happen. I’m not saying that I want Johnson’s car to run into some problems, but I am.
I will say this though, I do agree with Matt Kenseth when he compared Johnson’s team to the Indianapolis Colts. They’ve both come so close to winning the championship in the past but always seem to get in their own way and can’t seem to close the deal. And for that reason I won’t be completely irked if the Lowe’s team comes out on top this year.
Since this is the last race of the season I should probably be sad, but I’m not. NASCAR isn’t like football or baseball when you have to wait for months and months for the season to begin again, so long that you forget who got traded where. With NASCAR it’s basically two months and we’re back in the game again.
Sunday also marks Juan Pablo Montoya’s first ride in a Cup car. I can’t remember which race it was earlier this year but they interviewed JP during a pre-race show and asked him how he liked NASCAR so far. He said that he found pit road to be a bit scary, with the crew members jumping out in front of his car as he made his stop. I was sooo glad a real racer said that, because those Formula 1, Indy Car peeps have it easy. They’re already in place for their stops, they don’t have to run and carry big, heavy tires.
But then again, it’s still dangerous, check out this F1 pit stop:
We’re finally down to the last ten races of the season that will determine who will win the Nextel Cup Championship for 2006. The top ten drivers — Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne — spent a few days in New York making the rounds on TV to remind America that NASCAR still exists, and oh yea, they’ve got a playoff season now.
The only thing that I was able to Tivo was Live with Regis & Kelly, where everybody but Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (I think) were there to throw cream pies at Regis, Kelly and Gelman for some sort of record. That’s not the point of this story. The thing that got me about that appearance was Matt Kenseth’s posture. He has the worst posture ever!! I want to shake him and attach a stick to his back to make him stand up straight.
In this photo he’s talking with Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the Chase driver’s dinner in New York earlier this week. Notice the slouch? It’s not as pronounced in this shot as it was when he was on Letterman. He looked almost Mr. Magoo-ish.
So now the top ten drivers are separated by only 5 points each. This is where it gets fun and really stressful. Not just for the drivers but for me! At least the drivers have something to do, I can only eat so many potato chips before I get sick. I don’t know if I can handle hundreds of laps hoping and praying that nothing happens to my favorite drivers, er, driver.
There’s a rumor running around that, on the heels of the announcement of Juan-Pablo Montoya coming to NASCAR from Formula 1, Danica Patrick might be pondering a jump from IRL to NASCAR.
I have very mixed emotions about this. First off I have no idea why she’d want to make the move. I don’t understand why she’d think about coming to NASCAR just because her contract with Rahal-Letterman Racing is up at the end of this season. It’s not like she’s made such a huge impact on IRL yet. Yes, she’s a woman and yes she’s the first woman to ever lead laps in the Indy 500, but she didn’t win the race. She should actually wait and do something before moving on to something else. Win the championship, win more races. Make a name for yourself outside of just being a woman. I’m not saying that she isn’t trying but I just want a real reason outside of her dad (he’s also her business manager) wanting her to go to NASCAR.
I’m a total feminist, I’m all for women excelling in male dominated arenas. I just want us to push past all of the excitement that we’re running with the big boys, I want us to pass/beat the big boys too!
The only thing that’s bugged me about Danica is a comment she made in an interview a while back. The writer asked Danica if she kind of thought of herself as the Gloria Steinem of racing, to which Danica said something like “Is that bad? Who is that?” You could have knocked me over with a feather. How can you not know who Gloria Steinem is and be a woman at the same time?? Ugh! While I don’t expect her to know everything about Steinem’s career, you should at least have a general understanding of what she’s about.
If Danica is to come to NASCAR she should work her way up, start out in the Busch series at least. Oh and don’t get me started about the Busch series. Why can’t they keep the Nextel Cup full-time drivers out of Busch racing? I think Busch would be better if it was full of unknown, up & coming drivers leaving the Nextel Cup series as something even bigger to aspire to than it already is for them.
About this past race weekend at Chicagoland; how cool was it to see Jeff Gordon spin out Matt Kenseth? And then how awesome was it to see Matt Kenseth super pissed off after the race?? I love that stuff. I know NASCAR frowns upon that kind of thing but there’s nothing you can do about it. The drivers are human and I would hate it if they acted like weren’t. The best thing about competition in general is the human spirit and passion behind it. Plus you know we’re all going to be tuning in next weekend to see if Kenseth retaliates! We can only hope.