All posts tagged Nationwide Series

13 Posts

i got to go inside tony’s hauler, too

Matt Kenseth takes his No. 17 Jeremiah Sweet Tea Vodka Ford Fusion out for practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 29, 2010 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)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.

interview: brian scott tops the rookie charts

Brian Scott (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)Brian Scott drives the No. 11 AccuDoc Solutions Toyota Camry for Braun Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The 22-year-old Idaho native currently sits 8th in points after last weekend’s crazy-as-usual Talladega race. He’s also leading in the hunt for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award.

In talking to Brian I was struck by how self-aware and contained he was, just like all of the Nationwide drivers I’ve interviewed recently. They really know who they are and what they want to accomplish. I don’t want to be all cheesy but they’re really driven to succeed, and Brian Scott is no different.

Workin the phones: @bscottracing does a phone interview for The Fast and the Fabulous.. #NASCARAnd in case you were wondering what drivers look like when they’re chatting with me over the phone for these interviews Brian’s PR guy took this picture at right (click it to view full-size).

Enjoy! :)

interview: michael annett digs chick flicks

Michael Annett speaks with the media during NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway on January 15, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)Michael Annett drives the No. 15 Pilot Travel Centers Toyota Camry for Germain Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. After this Monday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway Michael is ranked 15th in points. With his time in the ARCA series where he racked up two wins, at Talladega and Daytona, he’s proven that he’s an up-and-coming driver that you should keep on your radar for sure.

I spoke to the 23-year-old (he turns 24 in June) former hockey player for the first time last week to chat about what life is like in the Nationwide Series.

I’ll be totally honest with you guys the part of this interview that I LOVE the most is when Michael reveals what his true favorite food is and his affinity for chick flicks. I thought it was really cool that he was willing to admit that fact and I told him so. So ladies, if you’re not already a fan of this guy you will be after you read that. Oh, and did I mention that he’s also adorable?

:)

interview: meet scott lagasse jr.

Scott Lagasse Jr. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)Scott Lagasse Jr. drives the No. 43 Ford Fusion for Baker Curb Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The 29-year-old Florida native is currently 10th in the point standings, one of only three Nationwide Series-only drivers in the top-10. This weekend at Texas Motor Speedway his Ford Fusion will sport the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon in honor of Autism Awareness Month.

I learned about Scott last year and, I’m being completely honest here, I was taken with him because (1) he’s taller than most of the Nationwide Series drivers and (2) he looks like the guy I had a crush on when I was 19. But seriously, he’s a really talented driver that’s risen quickly through to ranks to make his way into the world of NASCAR racing.

I had the opportunity to ask him some questions and he was super nice. Here’s the result!

nationwide is on the fan’s side

Ever since Nationwide became a series title sponsor they’ve been working on giving fans more information and access to drivers.

They’ve been posting some great candid photos of drivers and crew members on their Flickr account as a part of their behind the scenes Twitter coverage of races. A couple of my faves are below. Make sure you follow the Nationwide Series on Twitter (@nationwide).

nationwide drivers decorate easter eggs

Happy Easter! Joey Logano won the Nationwide Series race at Nashville yesterday. I have no commentary because I didn’t see the race. I was too busy enjoying the sunshine and relative warm weather we’ve been having here in the Bay Area.

I do have photos though and they speak for themselves. Enjoy! :)


Joey Logano and Kenny Wallace dye Easter eggs as part of a driver and media contest on Friday. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Joey Logano and Kenny Wallace dye Easter eggs as part of a driver and media contest on Friday. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Justin Allgaier won top rookie honors for his black and red egg that matches his car's paint scheme in Friday's egg dying contest. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Justin Allgaier won top rookie honors for his black and red egg that matches his car’s paint scheme in Friday’s egg dying contest. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Stephen Leicht's intense work wins him the top driver honor in the egg dying contest. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Stephen Leicht’s intense work wins him the top driver honor in the egg dying contest. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Joey Logano celebrates in victory lane with the Sam Bass designed guitar trophy. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Joey Logano celebrates in victory lane with the Sam Bass designed guitar trophy. (Photo Credit: John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)

dale jr.’s ex could be america’s next top model

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels / The CW - © 2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.Racing and all that is all good but here’s what I really want to talk about: Dale Earnhart Jr.’s ex-girlfriend is on the current season of America’s Next Top Model. Her name is Kortnie, she’s 24 and she’s from Houston, Texas.

As a rule (the season pass never leaves my Tivo!) I watch every cycle of ANTM, and I thought it was really interesting that Tyra Banks (the creator/host of the show) called Kortnie out on the fact that she had indeed dated someone “famous” at one point in time. They even showed a photo of Kortnie in victory lane with Dale. What that has to do with whether or not she can actually model I have no idea, but whatever. The thing that I take issue with is that they’re categorizing Kortnie as a plus size model. If she’s plus size then we’re all screwed. She has big boobs and is a bit hippy, but other than that she can’t be bigger than a size 8 at the MOST, and I think that’s even going to far. I’m rooting for Kortnie, because she is a striking girl and because I think it’s absurd to put her in the plus size category.

In other news…

– Congratulations to Kurt Busch for winning the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday. Wasn’t that fun? I thought it was a great race at the end. I can’t believe that I was actually pulling for Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch to win something. I’m usually against them, but these past couple years my outlook has changed. It’s a really weird feeling.

– Nationwide Series driver Burney Lamar and his supermodel wife Niki Taylor welcomed a new addition to their family last week. Their daughter, Ciel Taylor Lamar, was born on Wednesday, March 4th at 11:30am in Nashville, Tennessee weighing in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces. This is the first child for Lamar and the third for Taylor who is the mother to twin 14-year-old boys Jake and Hunter (from her first marriage).


Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and his wife Eva participate in pre-race activities on pit road before the start of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and his wife Eva participate in pre-race activities on pit road before the start of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet shares a laugh with his car owner and driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, Tony Stewart, prior to Sunday's start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet shares a laugh with his car owner and driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, Tony Stewart, prior to Sunday’s start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

clint bowyer gets his ring

2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion driver Clint Bowyer shows off his championship ring and trophy. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)My intention for this post was to talk about the Nationwide Series Champions Week, but I realized that I don’t have much to say ’cause I wasn’t there, but I will say that Clint Bowyer is pretty cute when he’s smiling. Isn’t the photo to the left a great shot of him?

Thanks to ESPN we all get to find out what happened at the awards banquet, all of the important things like who was Joey Logano’s date and other items of that nature. Highlights will be shown on ESPN2 at noon (EST). Check your local listings.

give a little bit: the sam ard fund

Kyle Busch celebrates a record-tying 10 wins in a season in Texas Motor Speedway's Victory Lane after taking the checkered flag in the O'Reilly Challenge on Saturday. Busch tied the record of Sam Ard, who set the mark in 1983. Go to NASCAR.com/foundation for more information on Ard and to participate in an online auction to raise additional funds for the Sam Ard Fund. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Nationwide Series O’Reilly Challenge today at Texas Motor Speedway, his tenth win in the Nationwide Series this year. Kyle tied Sam Ard’s record and in victory lane pledged to give $100,000 Sam and his family. How cool was that? I was genuinely proud of Kyle in that moment.

Sam Ard is a former Nationwide Series Champion who once won 10 races in 1983. In only three seasons, Ard accumulated 22 wins, 24 poles, 67 top five and 80 top-10 finishes. Instead of battling for wins these days he’s faced with Alzheimer’s disease along with financial woes and his wife Jo has a degenerative eye disease that is slowly taking her vision.

I encourage you to check out the online auction for the Sam Ard Fund that is going on now through November 17th, 2008. Visit www.nascar.com/foundation

Last week at Atlanta Motor Speedway Kevin Harvick donated the van that was used in the Shell commercials to Sam Ard:

“Sam Ard has been a huge part of NASCAR and an inspiration in my career,” said Harvick. “A lot of people don’t understand how hard those guys raced and how different it was back then. Those guys spent everything they won on racing and I am just happy that we are able to help Sam because none of us would be able to do what we love to do if it weren’t for guys like Sam Ard.”


Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, presents a minivan to Robert Ard, the son of former Nationwide Series Champion Sam Ard, while DeLana Harvick and Jim Hunter, Vice President of Corporate Communications for NASCAR join them outside the Media Center, prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, presents a minivan to Robert Ard, the son of former Nationwide Series Champion Sam Ard, while DeLana Harvick and Jim Hunter, Vice President of Corporate Communications for NASCAR join them outside the Media Center, prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

this time carl bumps but doesn’t run

Cars lined up for Cup Series practice on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)On Saturday on my drive into the track from my sister’s house in Encino, I stopped by a Jamba Juice in Upland and bought a sixteen ounce Razzmatazz. I also decided to put the top down my on my car. It was 90-something degrees outside but I was wearing a hat and if you can’t put your top down when it’s hot what’s the point?

The day was about getting photos of anything and everything. During the Nationwide Series qualifying session I stood in the garage and watched as the top qualifiers came in and were interviewed by the crew from the SPEED channel.

After that I wandered the garage and spied Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Cheryl Burke with her new partner, Olympic sprinter and gold medalist Maurice Greene shooting some sort of video thing next to the pace car. Cheryl got to wave the green flag for the Camping World RV Service 300 presented by Coleman later that evening.

I made sure to keep close to the conference room in the middle of the garage where they hold all of the driver’s meetings and major press conferences. The Nationwide Series drivers meeting was set to start and I wanted to be in a good position to try and get good photos, but for some reason I got nothing of people going in, and then when they came out everybody was grouped together and they rushed out, so I didn’t get much.

One cool thing that happened was just a little bit later when the Cup Series guys got ready to go out for their final practice session of the day. Cars started to pull out from the far side of the Cup garage and made a long line out to pit road. They were all stopped and a second line formed right in front of me starting with Jeff Burton. He was so close that I could have easily walked up and touched the car and then poked my head in beside the window flap. Of course I didn’t, but there were photographers that did. They pushed their lenses right on inside the car to get close up shots of the drivers. I wondered what that must be like to have people basically shoving their cameras in Carl Edwards' No. 99 gets up close and personal with Jeff Burton's No. 31 at the Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, August 30, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)your face to get a shot, right when you’re about to go out on the track.

But moving on, while I’m standing there Carl Edwards drives his car up behind Burton and rolls to a stop, and then starts to roll again and bumps into the back of Burton. I took a photo before Carl backed up. I’m assuming he meant to do that. They must like each other right?

So I’m standing there taking a couple photos and I’m like, I dunno, five feet away from his car and Carl waves at me. So I waved back, smiled, laughed and said “Hiii!” It was too funny.

After the Cup practice was the Nationwide Series race and oh how I love a Nationwide Series race. I love the fact that there’s way less security and structure to the driver intros, at least behind the stage, you get way better photos and experiences because of it. I got some great photos of drivers looking right at me as I took their photo, like the one below of David Ragan.

Okay, so I have to put in one more “Awww, Carl” story. There were these two teenage girls who kept calling to Carl to come over and sign their stuff. He eventually came over, talked to them and signed whatever it was they had. To hear their reaction was so cute, they were all “We got Carl! We got Carl! Omigosh!” I love that.

Nothing too noteworthy happened after all of that. I think some dude named Kyle Busch went on to win the race, but I’m not sure.

:)


Cheryl Burke and Maurice Greene

Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Cheryl Burke and her new partner gold medalist Maurice Greene hang out before the start of the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Gilliland

David Gilliland chats with his crew after qualifying for the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Carl Edwards

Look closely and you can see his eyes peeking out through the window net!

Carl Edwards sits in his car, waiting to start practice on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Stanton Barrett

Stanton Barrett signs an autograph for a fan before driver introductions on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Ragan, Joey Logano and Carl Edwards

David Ragan (center) chats with Carl Edwards (right) and Joey Logano (left) before driver introductions for the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

on ditching j.j. yeley

J.J. Yeley (right) and crew chief Steve Boyer at Phoenix this year (photo credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)I don’t own a NASCAR race team so I don’t know exactly how they evaluate their race team’s performance, and how much weight they put on the driver versus everyone else in the team. But I think it’s lame that Hall of Fame Racing released J.J. Yeley in favor of Brad Coleman. I have nothing against Brad Coleman of course. I just think it’s icky to ditch a guy in the middle of the season. Did he really get a fair shot? I’ll never know of course. I feel the same way about Casey Mears leaving Hendrick. I liked him there and I like him as a driver, I think he’s got more wins in him.

You should know that I have a thing about people changing teams in sports in general. It takes me a while to get used to change and so for example when Barry Zito was traded to the San Francisco Giants (one of my least favorite teams) from the Oakland A’s (my favorite baseball team) it took me awhile to get over it. Okay, I’m still not totally over it but I’m better about it now than when he left.

I also feel for drivers who don’t have a ride set up, people that are left hanging in the balance. Scott Riggs was on NASCAR Now yesterday talking about what his plans for the future are, or at least what he hopes they are. He wants to be with a race team that he can grow with and he thought he had that at Haas CNC but with the addition of Tony Stewart’s ownership he has no idea if he’s still their driver. It just seems like such a tough spot to be in and I hate it for him. I’m not naive, I know that nothing is guaranteed in this world but security means a lot to me and so when I see someone else in a not-so-secure position I don’t like it. I hope that J.J., Casey and Scott all land somewhere that’s great for them and allows them to show their stuff and win.

In other news…

– Speaking of Tony Stewart, for the Michigan Nationwide Series race next week his No. 20 Old Spice Toyota will be sporting a special paint scheme in support of the Give Kids The World organization that sends children with life-threatening diseases (and their families) on week-long, completely free vacations. The paint scheme was designed by a former GKTW Wish kid 14-year-old Emily Marsala.
Give Kids The World Design Tony's Old Spice car contest winning entry by Emily Marsala

In celebration of this exciting new partnership, GKTW invites you to host a “View-A-Thon” in support of the Give Kids The World No. 20 car. Our goal is to raise $25,000 in honor of this thrilling race – $100 for every mile of the August 16th CARFAX 250 NASCAR Nationwide Race.

You can help us by making a donation at www.firstgiving.com/GKTWNascar and by encouraging your friends and family to also donate and then cheer on the car later this summer. Your assistance will help GKTW continue to serve special children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Donating through this site is simple, fast, and totally secure. To learn more about GKTW, the upcoming race and more, log on to www.gktw.org.

Tony Stewart with Give Kids The World Design Tony's Old Spice car contest winner Emily Marsala

Tony Stewart and Give Kids The World “Design Tony’s Old Spice car” contest winner Emily Marsala pose next to the No. 20 Old Spice Toyota (photo credit: Give Kids The World)

missing the goo goo dolls

I had fun being on “On Pit Row” yesterday. More fun than I anticipated and I really don’t know what I was worried about my voice. I think I sounded good. I know bringing up Michael Waltrip’s possible divorce might not have been in good taste, but I can’t help the fact that I want to know. And it is a big story, considering the fact that the man proposed to her in victory lane, everybody knows them and she’s listed as the owner of some of his cars. So yea I’m curious. :)

It’s true too that I could care less which team this guy or that guy is going to in a general sense. I feel like it’s all really important when things are said and done, what’s the point of speculating on something that makes no difference to me? There are certain topics that are interesting like Tony Stewart co-owning Haas CNC or just the idea that Teresa Earnhardt would take on partners. Those are definitely conversation starters. But where Ryan Newman is going isn’t something I think about.

The “On Pit Row” experience got me thinking though and I’ve got an idea I want to try out. Once I figure out how to do it I’ll let you know what it is. How’s that for being vague?

In other news…

– I’m sad, deeply sad that I’m not going to Indy this week and not for the reasons that you might think. The Goo Goo Dolls are performing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday in the infield on Turn 10 of the road course. I looove them. Johnny Rzeznik. *sigh*

– If you’re a lucky person and you’re going to the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard or you just happen to live in the area you can meet Kurt Busch at Scotty’s Brewhouse (located at 3905 East 96th Street in Indianapolis, IN) from 6pm to 7pm on Friday. He’ll be serving Miller Lites of course.

– During the week off, Ryan Newman went to his hometown of South Bend, Indiana where they named a road in his honor. To visit Newman Way you must travel the half-mile stretch of highway near the South Bend Regional Airport.

Casey Mears will participate in a Q&A session with other Chevrolet drivers during Chevrolet’s annual Fan Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’ll also sign autographs and drive Chevrolet winners around the track in the official Chevy pace car.

– Do you want to question Jimmie Johnson about his season or about his hair (seriously, what’s going on there?)?? Well here’s your chance:

Starting today (Monday, July 21), The Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Richmond International Raceway Cares are auctioning off the opportunity to pose questions to Johnson on The Final Round with McElroy on Sports Radio 910 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. Proceeds from the auction will benefit both charitable foundations and the winning donation is tax deductible.

For those who would like to bid on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, please visit www.sportsradio910.com. The winner will be awarded with a seat next to Johnson, driver of the #48 Chevrolet, where he or she will be able to ask questions. The winner also receives two tickets to the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 6. The auction closes on Monday, July 28, at 7:00 p.m. EST.


Trevor Hoffman, the all-time saves leader in Major League Baseball, was a guest of Mike Wallace at Saturday night’s race at Gateway International Raceway. Hoffman (far left) and his San Diego Padres teammates were in town for a series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Joining Hoffman on Wallace’s pit box were Chase Headley, Kevin Jarvis and Trevor's son Quinn. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)

Trevor Hoffman, the all-time saves leader in Major League Baseball, was a guest of Mike Wallace at Saturday night’s race at Gateway International Raceway. Hoffman (far left) and his San Diego Padres teammates were in town for a series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Joining Hoffman on Wallace’s pit box were Chase Headley, Kevin Jarvis and Trevor’s son Quinn. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)

Landon Cassill (L), a native of Cedar Rapids, Ia., and Carl Edwards, who is from Columbia, Mo., lead fans on a charity track walk Saturday at Gateway. Proceeds from the event went to the American Red Cross and its outreach to Midwest flood victims. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)

Landon Cassill (L), a native of Cedar Rapids, Ia., and Carl Edwards, who is from Columbia, Mo., lead fans on a charity track walk Saturday at Gateway. Proceeds from the event went to the American Red Cross and its outreach to Midwest flood victims. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)

the nicest thing

Carl Edwards prepares to practice for the LifeLock.com at Chicagoland Speedway. Edwards posted the quickest time in Friday's final practice. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)I have a new appreciation for Nationwide Series races. For one there are less people around for all of the pre-race festivities so it makes getting closer for photos a lot easier. It also seemed like security was a little more relaxed, not that they weren’t paying attention or taking care of things, it’s just that it felt like there was less hassle.

Before driver introductions began the pit crews pushed their cars out to pit road and drivers started walking out to the stage at the start/finish line. I was in the Nationwide garage debating whether or not I would even go out there. I decided it was worth it (I don’t know why I would think it wouldn’t be) and headed in the direction of the stage. When I stepped on to the grass I noticed a small commotion to my right. There was a cameraman walking backwards, and another guy helping him, while filming Carl Edwards who was walking about 6 feet from me. I couldn’t catch what he was saying or what they were filming it for, but they quickly finished and left Carl alone.

I was watching the whole thing and when the camera guy was gone I was still looking at Carl. He saw me and then smiled and said “hello” to which I said “hi” back. To be honest I don’t think I’ve smiled that big in quite some time. Just thinking about it makes me feel like a big geek. I can say this about Carl, when he looks at you, and really it seems whenever he interacts with people, he gives you his full attention even if it is just for a moment. He just oozes this really genuine nice guy vibe.

After our exchange our paths split. I was already replaying the whole thing my head over and over again as I walked up to the right side of the stage.

Being out in the grass, and then on the track itself right up against the grandstands is truly surreal. It’s like, can it get any better than this? That’ll never get old to me, never.

After driver intros I went back down to pit road for the anthem where I happened upon Joey Logano signing stuff for a fan and David Stremme’s totally packed pit box, and I caught the start of the race there too. I watched the majority of the race in the lunch room of the media center and then caught the last laps outside from behind Victory Lane.

We all know how the Dollar General 300 ended. Ugh.

I headed back to my car where I was invited to some sort of motor home/bus party by a random guy that I had never met before. Apparently he had been tasked by his friends to get all of the girls to their little shindig. I politely declined and headed back to my hotel. My driving experience going back to the hotel was way better than the day before since the sky was clear for the most part and I prepared my change for the toll roads in advance. I was finally getting the hang of driving around Chicagoland, or so I thought.


Joey Logano signs his autograph for fans on pit road before the start of the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Joey Logano signs his autograph for fans on pit road before the start of the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The grandstands and the track before the start of the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The grandstands and the track before the start of the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

It was a full house for the first few laps of the Dollar General 300 in David Stremme's pit box (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

It was a full house with standing room only for the first few laps of the Dollar General 300 in David Stremme’s pit box (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)