And everybody has one. Especially about this whole Michael Waltrip Racing cheater McCheaterson thing.
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Sunday morning I woke up ridiculously early so that I could get to the track in time to get a ride in the pace car with Brett Bodine. This was my second time getting to ride around the Sonoma Raceway track but it had been long enough since the first time I’d done it to not remember what it felt like. Let me tell you this, Brett Bodine doesn’t lay off the gas pedal just because you’re not a race car driver. That guy went flat out and it was insane.
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.
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 don’t know if you heard but there was a little incident at Phoenix International Raceway yesterday. It was so small that it caused #NASCAR to be a trend nationally on Twitter and for The Today Show to mention it this morning. Just a bunch of dudes getting in to a fist fight in the garage that’s all.
Good job, Clint Boywer, good job.
There are five races left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship and I’m wondering exactly how much can change in that time.
First, let me apologize for my serious delay in writing about Sonoma. The Monday following the race I came down with a cold and subsequently felt like crap ever since and didn’t feel like doing anything at all except breathing.
I’m not sure what I can say about Kansas except that it was a race and Denny Hamlin won it. So let’s leave it at that shall we?
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.
Maybe it’s because I watched Scream 4 (there was A LOT of stabbing going on in that movie) over the weekend that the old song by the O’Jays, “Back Stabber,” comes to mind when I think about yesterday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega.
I’m not saying that guys were being back stabbers on purpose, I just think that this whole two-car tandem racing thing puts them in that position. At some point you have to be selfish, or team-ish, or manufacturer-ish, and it’s not that enjoyable to watch. Clearly in racing you have to go for yours, and not worry about anyone else, but because of two-car craziness it puts people in awkward situations that they wouldn’t normally have to think about.
I don’t like what Talladega has become, it’s kind of boring and since we all know the drivers don’t like it, it makes it less fun. It’s just something they have to get through. It’s not really racing, it’s elementary school all over again trying to find someone who likes you enough to play with you. While strategy obviously plays an important role in every NASCAR race, the strategy that comes into play at Talladega becomes an annoyance.
That being said, I was happy for Clint Bowyer and Richard Childress Racing. And it was extra special because RCR scored their 100th win.
Anywhoo, can’t wait for Martinsville!
I flew into Kansas City, Missouri on Friday in the middle of the day. I knew that I was going to miss out on all of the top-12 driver press conferences, as well as Clint Bowyer’s big, non-surprise announcement that he was going to Michael Waltrip Racing next year in the #15 5-Hour Energy car. I knew all of that going in and it wasn’t a problem seeing as how the fact that I was going to the race weekend at Kansas Speedway at all was a big deal.
There was a point during the last 30 laps of the Aaron’s 499 where I told myself to just let go of whatever outcome I was hoping to see and just let it happen. Is it funny or sad that I get so wrapped up in these races that I need to tell myself something like that? I have absolutely nothing at stake but I still get so caught up in wanting a certain person, or persons, to win that I’ll stress myself out over it.
Anyway, I couldn’t believe Jimmie Johnson pulled off that win; I was sure it was going to go to one of the Richard Childress Racing guys. Clint Bowyer had been running up front all day and Kevin Harvick has been, well, winning.
When I saw Jimmie trying to give the checkered flag to Dale Earnhardt Jr. I knew Dale wasn’t going to want it. It was a really classy move by Jimmie, I must say. As much as I would have been ridiculously thrilled for Dale Jr. to have come away with the win I’m still insanely excited that he’s 3rd in points right now. That’s just fantastic. O! And another fantastic thing: Huge congrats to David Gilliland and the No. 34 Taco Bell Ford team for walking away with a 9th place finish!
Every week when the latest points standings are published I read through them and then create my own “fantasy” top-12, it’s the list of drivers that I think would make for a super entertaining Champion’s Week. So it’s not a “Who do you think WILL make The Chase?” list, it’s a “Who do you WANT to see in the Chase because you know they’ll be superfun to interview during Champion’s Week?” It’s really early to be thinking about Champion’s Week but I can’t help it, it’s my favorite time of the year.
My current list is as follows (in no particular order):
1.) Tony Stewart – He has to host his annual “Stewie Awards” from Vegas, it wouldn’t be the same with him.
2.) Clint Bowyer – He needs his own talk show to host during Champion’s Week. I’m just sayin’.
3.) Kasey Kahne – He’s adorable
4.) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – People will lose their minds
5.) Kevin Harvick – Another guy with personality
6.) Denny Hamlin – Denny adds a layer of honesty and he likes to instigate drama (or at least he did at last year’s After the Lap event)
7.) Brian Vickers – Because he had some good stories to tell about Jimmie Johnson, and I’m sure there has to be more right??
8.) Jimmie Johnson – I’m including Jimmie because he’s a good sport, not because I want him to win a 6th straight championship.
9.) Brad Keselowski – I think he’d have a ridiculously good time to Vegas and would be very entertaining at the various events.
10.) Jeff Gordon – Jeff has that honesty vibe too, and he’s also very chatty. Chatty & honest are two ingredients for good times.
11) AJ Allmendinger – He’s someone that can definitely bring a lot of comedy relief.
12) Kyle Busch – Another honest guy with a personality that lends itself perfectly to the Champion’s Week festivities. Plus he’s the hometown guy.
Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California started out with the customary trip to THE Starbucks. I call it “THE Starbucks” because it’s the one everybody goes to during the race weekend, and by everybody I mean literally everybody. It could be groups of fans apart of some racing package deal or pit crew members, PR people, and NASCAR drivers. I always see someone. On Saturday morning it was Michael Waltrip and Michael Waltrip Racing general manager Ty Norris. Sunday I chatted about the weather with a pit crew guy that recognized me from the garage.
I love a good NASCAR-related commercial. I really do. Those Sponsifier commercials are on point this year. But I was recently asked to help promote TUMS’ new NASCAR campaign that features Michael Waltrip Racing driver David Reutimann and his team owner, Michael Waltrip.
Their new TV commercial features Michael getting beat up by a rib, which is really funny to me and also very disturbing in the same instance. The whole food fighting you concept is both smart and creepy, but mostly smart because it totally plays up the importance of TUMS’ product. Anyway, I can appreciate that.
TUMS has added a new component of their campaign and that’s the following video in which we see a giant hamburger challenge David Reutimann to a duel, of sorts. The cool part is that you get to chose the ending. Does David fight back and take TUMS or not? You decide!
My favorite part is when Michael Waltrip slowly closes the doors on his hauler. Funny!
TUMS, Michael and David were on hand at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Friday and it was fun to hear them talk about their experience in creating the videos, mostly Reutimann cracking up at Waltrip having a remote controlled rib smack him in the face repeatedly.
Be on the lookout for more videos from TUMS on their Facebook page.
Trevor Bayne continued his “Miss America Tour,” that’s what I like to call it (Because don’t you remember when winning Miss America was an actual big deal and they always did a TON of press afterward? Well I do and it’s the only thing I can compare it to), wherein he does various media interviews and appearances to celebrate winning the Daytona 500.
He was in San Francisco yesterday at Ghiradelli Square to scoop some ice cream and meet fans:
Bayne arrived in San Francisco late Tuesday afternoon and was driven from the airport under California Highway Patrol escort to Ghirardelli Square, where he walked the red carpet before assembling the very first Trevor Bayne Sundae, Sundae, Sundae, featuring rocky road, chocolate chip and chocolate ice cream, as well multiple toppings and all the fixins. The item is currently a feature on the Ghirardelli Square Ice Cream Parlor menu.
(credit: Getty Images)
I was there and it was freezing out. I’m from California and so anything under 60 degrees is not good. I had no gloves and I quickly lost feeling in my toes and my fingers. I’m not kidding. My cell phone lost battery power after 30 minutes and it was friggin’ cold so I didn’t stay for the WHOLE shindig, but I did get to see a bunch of foreign tourists ask everyone what the hell was the going on and watch their expression not change when people told them that the Daytona 500 winner was coming. I also got to see serious NASCAR fans cheer and go crazy for Trevor as he exited his Escalade. I watched Trevor happily recreate his triple-scoop sundae. I didn’t try the sundae myself but I did manage to get my numb fingers to grasp the cup that held a small single-scoop hot fudge sundae they were giving away for free to fans, even though I was FREEZING I couldn’t pass up free–delicious!–ice cream.
All in all it was a very cool and fun event. It was neat to see non-NASCAR fans stop to see what was going on and then once they were told who it was go “Oh! That’s the youngest person to win the Daytona 500!” That’s gotta be good for NASCAR, right?
Trevor was in Los Angeles today and he filmed an appearance for “The Ellen Degeneres Show” that will air tomorrow, Thursday, February 24. Check your local listings, of course. Ellen presented Trevor with a gift — a hula dancer dash board bobble head and a personalized ELLEN car sticker — which you can see in the photo below.
(credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.)
Here’s one exchange between Ellen and Trevor about girls that’s pretty cute:
On winning the race…
Trevor: The Daytona 500, to me, has always meant a lot. I grew up wanting to win it as a kid but I didn’t know it meant this much to the rest of the world so to see these kind of fans and this crazy stuff going on, I love it.
Ellen: You must have girls all of a sudden going crazy over you because you’re adorable and now you’re getting all this attention. You getting proposals and stuff like that all ready?
Trevor: Well, I didn’t have a Valentine this year so I’m hoping for better things next year.
Ellen: You will. I think you’ll be okay.
In other news…
– Yesterday Michael Waltrip’s oldest daughter, Caitlin, gave birth to a baby boy named Bryson.
– Danica Patrick and Carl Edwards will make appearances on the inaugural sports awards show, Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards. Danica will pick up the “She’s Got Game” Award (aka Best Female Athlete) and Carl is a presenter. The show, hosted by Jimmie Johnson’s friend Tony Hawk, airs on the Cartoon Network at 7 p.m. (ET) on Friday, February 25th.
Repaved Daytona International Speedway = Racing INSANITY!
It was nerve-wracking to watch but still superfun!
Congratulations to Trevor Bayne and Wood Brothers Racing. What an amazing finish! I was flabbergasted at that finish, but NOT because of Trevor Bayne. I’m happy for the kid and all that, and for the Wood Brothers, but I’m going to be honest, I was more stoked for David Gilliland. When I saw Carl Edwards had hooked up with David I start screaming at the television. I really, really, really wanted David to get up there and contend for the win, but I was totally satisfied with his 3rd place finish. He’s 2nd in points right now, and I know that’s only after one race but it’s a really great start!
I know it’s not Festivus, but I’d like to air some grievances. Ok, there’s really only one and it’s about the post-race coverage from Fox Sports. They didn’t interview David Gilliland post-race, but they did interview David Ragan who finished 14th. I understand why they talked to Ragan ’cause he made a small mistake that ended up possibly costing him the race (I say possibly because there’s no way to know for sure that had he not been black flagged he would of won), BUT if you only have limited time wouldn’t you automatically go to the top-3?! Ugh.
Anyway, I understand that directing and coordinating a live broadcast is hard and for the most part they get it right but it’s still really annoying when they mess up.
I’m EXTRA excited for Phoenix. I’ve decided not to attend that race, I’m still really looking forward to watching what happens. I’m still going to Las Vegas for sure and I CANNOT wait to get there.
Back to Trevor Bayne really quick, he’ll be at Ghiradelli Square tomorrow (Tuesday, February 22) in San Francisco at 5:30pm to create the “Trevor Bayne Sundae, Sundae, Sundae” and then he’ll be in Los Angeles on Wednesday at a free fan event at L.A. Live in Downtown Los Angeles (800 W. Olympic Blvd.) at noon.
I LOVE the expression on this girl’s face. It is priceless. I can just imagine what she’s thinking!
Kasey Kahne signs autographs for fans in the garage Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Michael Waltrip celebrates in victory lane with his No.15 crew after winning the 2011 NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart celebrates with his crew in victory lane after winning the Drive4COPD 300 Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Danica Patrick talks to Dale Earnhardt Jr. about the No.7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in the Garage during practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Paisley entertains the crowd during the pre-race show before the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Not a very good command at all. But I love the Transformers race cars.
Honorary Grand Marshals Michael Bay, Josh Duhamel and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley give the command to start the engines for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Brandon Goodman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The Baltimore Raven’s Ray Rice visits the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage and takes a look in the No. 42 Target Chevrolet Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Motorsports Images and Archives)
National Anthem singer Patty Loveless shows her support for Drive4COPD Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Martina McBride sings the National Anthem before the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: ISC Archives/Getty Images)
Dierks Bentley performs during the Daytona 500 pre-race show Sunday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Great moment–I held up 3 fingers too even though I wasn’t there!
The fans salute Dale Earnhardt on lap 3 by holding up three fingers during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway at Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carl Edwards and David Ragan congratulate Trevor Bayne in victory lane after the 53rd Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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)
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)
I know I’ve used that title before but I love it.
Friday at Infineon Raceway was day one of the Toyota/SaveMart 350 festivities. It was a pretty big day for me because it held actual things for me to do. My usual shtick is to just show up and let things happen but this time I setup interviews with drivers. Since things went so well with Tony Stewart and the Inside The Actor’s Studio questions I decided to make it my “thing” for now and to get as many drivers to answer the same questions.
On my schedule for the day were one-on-one’s with David Reutimann, Regan Smith, AJ Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler. I’ll write about each of those experiences in separate posts. Stay tuned for those.
Back in the media center I sat in on press conferences for Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, and a little bit of Denny Hamlin.
Tony Stewart’s presser was, of course, by far the most entertaining of the bunch. His session was after practice and he wasn’t very happy with his car. I think that Southwest airlines should use his press conferences as the basis for one of their “Wanna Get Away???” commercials. I had this uncontrollable urge, every time someone asked something cringe-worthy to look down and start playing with my cell phone. There are always a few questions that bug Tony and after sitting in on a few of his pressers I’ve learned that Tony is a lot better when you ask him questions that are very real to him. He laid it out pretty plainly that he only cares about racing. He wasn’t in the mood to get all theoretical or philosophical about racing after having a crappy practice session. It wasn’t helping that people were asking the same questions they’ve asked year after year, my favorite being “Should there be a road course race in The Chase?” That was the one that really bugged him and got him to eventually say that he had no interest in giving his opinion on such things, he just wanted to race.
To answer Melody’s question from my previous post, I was in Tony Stewart’s hauler for all of 5 minutes. It was luxuriously air conditioned and I didn’t see the back lounge area. Plus Tony wasn’t there he was out practicing but it was very cool to be inside a hauler for any reason and any amount of time.
Sunday was of course the Coca-Cola 600 and on my drive in to the track I couldn’t get over the amount of tailgating that was going on seemingly EVERYWHERE. Every blade of grass surrounding the track was filled with trucks, tents and people with barbecues. Even the parking lots of commercial office buildings had groups of people crowded together. It was so neat to see. There’s tailgating at the California races but nothing to the degree of what I saw outside of Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s something that you have to witness for yourself.
I got to the track in time to attend a tweetup organized by SBNation’s Jeff Gluck. I went to meet up with ‘Fabulous’ readers Tara S. and Penni. It was really cool finally getting to meet them in person. I seriously adore the women that read my blog, you guys are the bestest! This is the perfect time to thank you all for the sweet comments about my interview with Tony Stewart. I really appreciate the encouragement.
As I alluded to in the title of this post, the Coca-Cola 600 was really all about Bradley Cooper and his hotness visiting a NASCAR race for the first time. He was there with three of his other cast-mates to promote their new movie “The A-Team.” I thought Brendan Fraser’s presence at Chicagoland a couple of years ago was a big deal but Bradley really brought out the ladies. Media and PR people alike make it a point to be in the media center for the cast’s press conference. As soon as Bradley walked into the media center people were requesting to have their photo taken with him (as you can see at right, that’s not me, unfortunately), which he happily obliged.