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nascar sprint media tour aka what is happening on top of kasey kahne’s head?

This past week was the Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte, which meant that the NASCAR media corps got to ask the same questions they always ask, hope someone gives an interesting answer (Tony Stewart stepped up), eat free food and get free stuff. So of course I’m annoyed I couldn’t go — because of the free food & swag, obviously — but what can you do. :)

  • 2012-Martinsville2-Dale-Earnhardt-Jr
  • 2012-Martinsville2-Tony-Stewart-Signs-Autographs-Before-Practice
  • 2012-Martinsville2-Kasey-Kahne-Walks-Through-Garage
  • 2012-Martinsville2-Trucks-Denny-Hamlin-Celebrates-In-Victory-Lane
  • martinsville-brian-vickers
  • martinsville_ingrid-vandebosch-jeff-gordon
  • martinsville_martin-truex-jr-sherry-pollex
  • martinsville_delana-kevin-keelan-harvick
  • 2012-Martinsville2-Jimmie-Johnson-Celebrates-In-Victory-Lane

martinsville: that’s enough, jimmie johnson. that’s enough.

All I can say about Jimmie Johnson winning yesterday at Martinsville is this: No. Just, nooooo.

We’ve seen this movie before and I don’t want to see it again. We’ve seen the 4 sequels, too. I’m over it and I want to see something new.

fontana_friday_featured

fontana: racing therapy

I’m all apologies lately. I feel like I’m continually apologizing to you guys about being late and I hate that. I can say, with complete confidence, that I’m not going to be late anymore and I’ll be back on track posting stuff from here on out.

kentucky_featured

kentucky is all apologies

Kyle Busch climbs out of the No. 18 M&Ms in victory lane after winning the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)What a letdown. The racing was boring and tons of fans couldn’t even get to the track to see the boring race.

Kentucky Speedway apologized today and announced a ticket exchange offer. Meanwhile other tracks have offered up rants and comments about the weekend’s traffic debacle giving Kentucky Speedway crap for not figuring out how to deal with the traffic issue ahead of time. Just check out what Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis wrote today.

Here’s the statement NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France released yesterday:

“While NASCAR was thrilled by the incredible response to our inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Kentucky, we also are extremely disappointed by the traffic problems and inconveniences endured by fans who wanted to be part of our races at Kentucky Speedway. NASCAR will be in close communications with Kentucky Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc. to see that they work to resolve the issues. This situation cannot happen again.”

And now Indianapolis Motor Speedway has created a special offer for fans that had tickets to Kentucky’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race:

Fans who present a ticket from the Kentucky Sprint Cup race at the IMS gate will receive one free admission to Brickyard 400 practice Friday, July 29 or will be admitted to Brickyard 400 qualifying Saturday, July 30 for just $5.

Fans holding tickets from the July 9 race at Kentucky also can park for free Friday and Saturday at IMS Lots 1, 2 and 3, conveniently located on the south, west and north sides of the iconic facility. The regular price is $10 per day to park in those lots.

“As an urban track, we offer a fan experience inside a vibrant city that provides restaurants, nightlife, cultural activities and top-rated hotels in addition to the history and tradition of 100 years of racing at Indianapolis,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and CEO. “We have easy, efficient access to and from the track that allows our fans to participate in activities at the track and, in just a matter of minutes, enjoy all that the city of Indianapolis has to offer or be well on the road toward home or the hotel.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, stands in front of his car in the garage as crew members work on the car during testing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway on July 7 in Sparta, Ky. (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, stands in front of his car in the garage as crew members work on the car during testing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway on July 7 in Sparta, Ky. (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint cup Series No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet crew chief Chad Knaus (left) talks with driver Jimmie Johnson (right) in the garage during the testing session at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway on July 7 in Sparta, Ky. The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team was the fastest in this session. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Sprint cup Series No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet crew chief Chad Knaus (left) talks with driver Jimmie Johnson (right) in the garage during the testing session at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway on July 7 in Sparta, Ky. The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team was the fastest in this session. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Reutimann (left), driver of the No. 00 Tums Toyota, talks with his father Buzzy Reutimann (right) in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 8 in Sparta, Ky. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Reutimann (left), driver of the No. 00 Tums Toyota, talks with his father Buzzy Reutimann (right) in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 8 in Sparta, Ky. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Quaker State/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, signs his autograph for a fan in the garage during testing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway on July 7 in Sparta, Ky. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Quaker State/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, signs his autograph for a fan in the garage during testing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway on July 7 in Sparta, Ky. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne (right), driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, talks with crew chief Kenny Francis (left) in the garage during a rain delay prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 8 in Sparta, Ky. (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images)

Kasey Kahne (right), driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, talks with crew chief Kenny Francis (left) in the garage during a rain delay prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 8 in Sparta, Ky. (Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images)

Brad Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire team celebrate winning the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway  (Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire team celebrate winning the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway (Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)

infineon_saturday_featured

saturday at infineon: dale jr. thought of a way to scare me

On Saturday I forgot my cell phone at home, and my camera’s battery died, like, 15 minutes after I arrived at Infineon Raceway.

It was really weird to not have my cell phone or camera on me all day. It was annoying that I couldn’t take any photos or tweet out updates on the fly. I realized that those devices also served as security blankets. They were these things that proved I had “something to do” while I was in the garage. I wasn’t just wandering. I had to take pictures and constantly check my phone for updates–that gave me purpose. So without a purpose I felt like a nerd, just standing around. And I was worried that without the photos that I usually snapped throughout the day I wouldn’t have anything to remind me of what happened.

texas_featured

kenseth messes with texas, wins

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.

:)

Josh Aron stands by the No. 11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota, in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Josh Aron stands by the No. 11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota, in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Freight Ford, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Freight Ford, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, climbs in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 8 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota, climbs in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 8 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, talks his father, Nelson, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, talks his father, Nelson, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, hugs a fan in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, hugs a fan in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Apr. 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards joins the fans following his win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series 15th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Carl Edwards joins the fans following his win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series 15th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Lead singer Brad Arnold and drummer Greg Upchurch of 3 Doors Down perform prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Lead singer Brad Arnold and drummer Greg Upchurch of 3 Doors Down perform prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Going for a weekend sweep, Carl Edwards greets fans prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Going for a weekend sweep, Carl Edwards greets fans prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

2011MediaDay_JeffGordon_Featured

shortcuts: espn the magazine focuses on speed

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…

ESPN The Magazine - Speed issue 2011– 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 ESPNs 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 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.
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)
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 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 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)

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)

indycar championship celebration: tony kanaan throws dario franchitti in the pool

2010 IndyCar Championship Celebration setup at W Hotel in Miami's South Beach (Credit: IRL)The IZOD IndyCar Championship was decided back in early October which wasn’t that long ago even though it feels like it’s been 50 years. I intended to post these photos from their Championship celebration in Miami but got sidetracked. The event was held the day after the final race of the season, taking place at the W Hotel in South Beach.

Better late than never, and really, who cares how long you had to wait to see photos of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti get thrown into a pool by Tony Kanaan? These pics hold up.

:)


Will Power and his fiancee, Liz Cannon

Will Power and his fiancee, Liz Cannon

shortcuts: exclusive kasey kahne photo

MADISON, IL - JULY 17: Trevor Bayne, driver of the  Out! Pet Care Toyota, signs autographs for fans during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway on July 17, 2010 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)Everyday, at least that’s what it feels like, I get press releases or newsy items about teams, sponsors, charities and drivers in the world of racing. I probably get around to posting like 10% of it. It’s not because it’s bad or uninteresting it’s just that I don’t have time to post ‘em all. So that’s why I created a new sub-section here for The Fast and the Fabulous called ‘Fabulous’ News. It’s where you, your friends and PR people can post any kind of newsy news and press releases for everyone to read.

This way you don’t have to wait for me to post ‘em. They still have to be approved before they’re shown on the site but they won’t go through my filter so it’s still a lot better than languishing in my email box.

Of course, if something piques my interest I’ll still highlight it here in the main area of The Fast and the Fabulous.

jeff gordon gets ticked off in texas

Fans filled the stands for a Monday double-header as Tony Stewart leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The track honored all tickets, so fans were allowed to see races (the NASCAR Nationwide Series O’Reilly 300 followed the Sprint Cup race) for the price of one. (Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)I am absolutely in love with the little drama between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Sign me up for more of that, please! I think that was my favorite part about yesterday’s racing double-header. As was Jimmie’s post-race comment about not wanting the issue between him and Jeff to be played out in the media. Good luck with that, Jimmie. I actually think Jimmie needs this, to be in a battle with someone, anyone, even a teammate. It’s far more interesting when someone’s pissed off at him. hehe.

I was very disappointed that Jeff didn’t get the chance to be in the race at the end, that wreck had to hurt and I’m not talking physically. Also, loved how Jeff went over to Tony Stewart and was immediately taking the blame but Tony calmed him down and ended up taking some of the heat at the end of it all. Tony was super classy yesterday, I dug it.

And now on to Dale Earnhardt Jr., I was super proud of him, and his team, for their eighth place finish. Even though he didn’t win when it felt like he could have. His tires just weren’t there to do the job he needed in the end. It was a fun race though, it was the first time in a long time that I found myself yelling at the TV for him to kick some butt. That’s saying something because for what felt like all of last year I didn’t even attempt to hope something might happen for him. He’s in the top-10 right now and that, to me, is better than eating cheesecake with The Golden Girls.

:)


Fans spotted NHL Dallas Star’s Mike Modano in the garage at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Fans spotted NHL Dallas Star’s Mike Modano in the garage at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

indy grand prix of sonoma: i want an audi and a scooter for xmas

Scott Dixon heads back to the garage after practicing on Sunday, August 23, 2009 at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)On Sunday, last weekend, at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma when I arrived at the track, again at 8am, I realized quickly that there wasn’t much to do. I sat on pit road and watched as fans and VIPs took spins around the track with professional drivers from the Jim Russell Racing School. The whole thing made me wish I owned an Audi, the car of choice for the day’s hot laps.

Eventually, I ducked into Jennifer Azzi’s press conference. As I wrote a few days before the weekend started Azzi was on hand as the race’s Grand Marshal. It was cool to see her and I must admit that I totally missed my opportunity to introduce myself and tell her what an inspiration she’d been to me as a kid. I’m shy, OK. And I have to work up what I’m going to say in my mind before I actually do it and make sure it’s not lame. There never was a perfect time, but whatever, she’s on Twitter and I plan on saying something to her at some point over there.

the one where joey logano takes his toys and goes home

The crowd on hand for the Bennett Lane Winery 200 at Infineon Raceway on Saturday, June 20, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Sometimes I think the only reason I write blog entries is to use the subject lines I come up with. Often I come up with the headline before I think of the actual content. hehe.

Anyway, this is the story of Saturday at Infineon Raceway during the NASCAR Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend.

So the big thing for me was watching the Camping World Series West race in which David Gilliland, Boris Said and Joey Logano were participants. I’ve never witnessed a Camping World Series race before (East or West) so it was a new thing for me.

I found a choice spot behind the pits next to the start/finish line. For a good portion of the race I was sitting indian-style on the second wall beneath the grandstands. It was the best place to watch the race from because I was directly in front of one of the Sprint Vision screens. I didn’t miss a thing. When the action wasn’t in front of me it was on the screen.

martinsville delivered something bristol could not

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, started ninth and earned his first win of the season after leading 42 laps during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)Ya know, like actual racing with passing and everything.

I know it’s late to be writing about the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville but I had some things to say, and some photos to post, so better late than never right?

Jimmie Johnson’s win on Sunday was his first for the season but it didn’t feel like that to me. It felt like I was watching a continuation of the 2008 season and I didn’t like that. It’s just boring; I want someone else to win except the same freaking handful of people.

– The race itself was very good. There was passing and the distinct possibility that somebody other than Jimmie could have won it. So I did appreciate that aspect of it. Denny Hamlin is growing on me.

– As the cameras cut to various people during the invocation and the singing of the National Anthem I remember thinking to myself “Who is that person hanging on to Jeff Gordon? Why is she… Oh, wait, that’s Ingrid!” Jeff’s wife, Ingrid, cut her hair like really, really short and I can’t say I approve of it. Not that it’s any of my business, she’s a beautiful girl but I liked it better long. :)

– I would like to thank Fox Sports for not showing another Digger & Friends episode this week. I am fine with Digger as a graphic element to showcase their embedded-in-the-ground camera but everything else is incredibly pointless. If I wanted to watch cartoons I’d watch the Cartoon Network, not a NASCAR race.

– Something that has nothing to do with racing, I got the new Keith Urban CD “Defying Gravity” this week and it is so freaking good! Although Keith did come up with the Digger theme song I am choosing to overlook that serious infraction because this man has put together some awesome music that I’m sure I’ll be listening to over and over for days and months to come. If I could marry a song right now it’d be “‘Til Summer Comes Around.”


Tony Stewart signs an autograph for a fan prior to climbing into his car for the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart signs an autograph for a fan prior to climbing into his car for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Country music star Trace Adkins smiles in the flagstand before waving the green flag to start the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Country music star Trace Adkins smiles in the flagstand before waving the green flag to start the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Joey Logano signs autographs for two fans while waiting out a rain delay at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)

awwwww. :)

Joey Logano signs autographs for two fans while waiting out a rain delay at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks with media about meetings he had during the week with team owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

1.) His eyes are actually blue, but I love this photo ’cause it’s so color coordinated.
2.) With his head tilted to the side like that I imagine him thinking to himself “Why are you asking me the same damn questions over and over??”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks with media about meetings he had during the week with team owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(L-R): Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Jeff Gordon discuss their Martinsville driving styles while waiting for the rain to subside. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)

(L-R): Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Jeff Gordon discuss their Martinsville driving styles while waiting for the rain to subside. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)

was that really bristol?

Here’s my recap of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway this past Sunday: It was boring.

That is all. Now it’s photo fun time:


(L-R): Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and AJ Allmendinger are introduced before the Wii Boxing tournament during Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)

(L-R): Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and AJ Allmendinger are introduced before the Wii Boxing tournament during Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Elliott Sadler celebrates beating Kasey Kahne in a Wii boxing tournament during Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Elliott Sadler celebrates beating Kasey Kahne in a Wii boxing tournament during Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kevin and Delana Harvick celebrate winning the Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kevin's first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory for Kevin Harvick Inc. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kevin and Delana Harvick celebrate winning the Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kevin’s first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory for Kevin Harvick Inc. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Race fan Wessa Miller presents a penny to Dale Earnhardt Jr. prior to the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Miller gave Dale Earnhardt a lucky penny before he won the 1998 Daytona 500. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Race fan Wessa Miller presents a penny to Dale Earnhardt Jr. prior to the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Miller gave Dale Earnhardt a lucky penny before he won the 1998 Daytona 500. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Busch does a burnout on the frontstretch of Bristol Motor Speedway to celebrate his Food City 500 victory. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch does a burnout on the frontstretch of Bristol Motor Speedway to celebrate his Food City 500 victory. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

inside the driver/crew chief meeting

My race view of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was unlike any other Sprint Cup race day I’d experienced before. Why? Because I got to attend the drivers meeting.

Shut up! I know! Yea, I was kind of psyched about the whole thing. Standing in the back of the room with various media and PR people it was definitely a moment where I said to myself “Am I really standing here right now? This is happening? Yes, it is.” At the same time though the whole reality of situation revealed itself and it turned out to be really boring.
:)

It went by in a flash, and while I did see a lot of drivers it was pretty mundane. Maybe I’m getting used to seeing drivers walking around in regular clothes, and being in the same room as them? I know, I can’t believe I just wrote that either. I think there’s something to that though. The meeting itself consisted of a PowerPoint presentation that takes the drivers and their crew chiefs through the specified pit road speed for the day, the entrances and exits for pit road and various rules and regulations.

I found it funny that there were typos in said presentation and that if someone didn’t remember turn off their cell phone they were ushered out of the room as if they’d just tried to throw their shoe at the President.

The meeting ends with a prayer and then everyone is on their way. It was a cool thing to experience and I will no longer have to wonder what the atmosphere is like in those meetings.

After the drivers meeting I headed straight into the lunch room for uh, lunch, and sat at a table with Travis, a member of the Nellis Air Force base honor guard. Travis volunteered to attend the event and present the American flag before the start of the race. We chatted for a little bit before he had to run to get ready. Our conversation consisted of me explaining why NASCAR was indeed a sport. I found it hilarious that I had to defend NASCAR while at a NASCAR race. Classic.
:)

Let’s skip ahead to after driver introductions and imagine me walking from the general area of the stage set-up on the start/finish line over to the race cars parked on the edge of the grass in front of the grandstands.

If you’re by yourself and have no affiliation to a race team it is incredibly nerve wracking to walk around and try to just “blend in” with the crowd, when everybody is just standing around looking at everybody else. I always feel like I stick out like a sore thumb, but I want to stand out there with everybody else ’cause a.) I can and b.) because I can. If you have that access of course you’re going to use it and I’m one of those people who like to extinguish all available options. It’s so cool to be there, but at the same time I feel like people are looking at me wondering why I’m standing next to their car in particular. I dunno. It’s the weirdest thing and it’s hard to explain.

So after what was the coolest fly over ever, I headed to pit road to get a spot to watch the race start. I ended up behind Kurt Busch’s pit box where I saw his wife Eva and her insanely large wedding ring. I want to give you a more realistic example of how large the diamond on her hand was, instead of just saying “It’s a rock alright!” So I’ll say that it looked to be the same size as a peanut M&M.

I watched the vast majority of the race from the media center and then with about 20-30 laps left to go I decided to leave. Yea, I just couldn’t stomach the idea of having to stay at the track until 8pm in order to have the possibility of missing traffic. I couldn’t take it. So I left, missing all traffic and went to Panda Express.

On my way back to my hotel, whilst on I-15, I could see the helicopters from the track making their way to McCarran Airport. It was fun to see them all in a row, it looked like a constellation.

Monday morning I was in the lobby of South Point Hotel & Casino waiting to check-out, and I noticed that Fox Sports NASCAR analyst Larry McReynolds was in front of me doing the same.

All in all it was a great weekend; I learned a lot and met some great people. It seems crazy to say that I’m going to highly enjoy watching this weekend’s race at Atlanta from the comfort of my own couch, but I really, really will. At this point in time my next in-person race will probably be Infineon in June. That gives me plenty of time to recover from two-straight weekends of NASCAR craziness.


Reed Sorenson and Casey Mears make their way to the stage for driver introductions before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

This photo ranks right up there with my shot of Clint Bowyer at Chicagoland from last year. :)

Reed Sorenson and Casey Mears make their way to the stage for driver introductions before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Cars and drivers line up before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Can you spot Sam Hornish Jr. and his baby daughter, Addison, in this photo?

Cars and drivers line up before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Flying Elvi (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Members of the Flying Elvi skydiving team touched down before the start of the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 1, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

preview carl edwards’ wedding invitations

Do you hear that noise? It’s the sound of a big creaking door shutting out my heart. Okay, I’m being a little bit dramatic but sometimes you have to be in order to drive a point home. I think I can honestly say without a doubt I would rather be in Phoenix at this moment, more than anywhere else in the world. If I think about everything that I’m missing… Well it just sucks.

thanks carl, for keeping it semi-interesting

Carl Edwards salutes the fans before doing his trademark back flip after winning Sunday's Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The win was Edwards eighth for the 2008 season. (Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)There’s been a lot of press leading up to today regarding wait times and long lines for voting. Here’s a tip for you, move to the suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area. I went to my polling place, which is right behind my apartment building, and there was no line and the only thing that took a long time was remembering how I wanted to vote on all of the propositions.

Anyway, on to more relevant things like Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

First, I would like to thank Carl Edwards for restoring a little bit of drama to The Chase. I loved the fact that his team took a gamble on their fuel mileage and came out on top. Even if it didn’t work it still would have been cool. What did they have to lose anyway? All in all it was a great call and it made a pretty much boring race exciting in the end.

Ok, so there was that incident between David Gilliland and Juan Pablo Montoya. So David spun Juan out and ended up wrecking both of their cars. NASCAR parked David and I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen NASCAR take such swift and decisive action with someone before. I mean, I know they’ve done stuff like that before but I guess I was never around to see them park somebody during a race. What David did wasn’t good but I still like him. Hehe. I want that guy to win and I want him to get more attention but not from stuff like that.

His actions impacted the race and The Chase in the grand scheme of things, but I think that’s what NASCAR is all about. You have to be strong enough to weather the race, and your fellow racers, to be a champion. As much as racing is about being prepared, talented and having great equipment, it’s also about fate and luck. Kyle Busch didn’t all of a sudden become a big loser and forget how to drive a racecar once The Chase started, he just ran into some serious bad luck. And that’s what I love about the sport, there’s so much that is left to chance.

In other news…

– If you’re interested in donating directly to the Sam Ard Fund, go to his website for more information on where to send your check. If you haven’t already, read this great article by Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press regarding the impact of Kyle Busch’s $100,000 donation to the Ard family.


Jamie McMurray, driver of the #26 Crown Royal Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jamie McMurray, driver of the #26 Crown Royal Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson (right), driver of the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet stands with his car chief Ron Malec (left), started seventh and finished 15th in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Texas Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports).

Jimmie Johnson (right), driver of the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet stands with his car chief Ron Malec (left), started seventh and finished 15th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Texas Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, started from the pole position and finished second in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Texas Motor Speedway. Here he is prerace with daughter Ella Sofia. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

Is she not the cutest little girl ever??

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, started from the pole position and finished second in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Texas Motor Speedway. Here he is prerace with daughter Ella Sofia. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

NASCAR Nationwide Series pole-sitter Carl Edwards meets television host Rachael Ray on pit road Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway before the O'Reilly Challenge. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Nationwide Series pole-sitter Carl Edwards meets television host Rachael Ray on pit road Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway before the O’Reilly Challenge. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clint Bowyer (L), driver of the #07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet, talks with ESPN's Brad Daugherty (R) on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)

This photo cracks me up, I love it. :)

Clint Bowyer (L), driver of the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet, talks with ESPN’s Brad Daugherty (R) on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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)

draft track isn’t really all that great. sorry.

Jeff Gordon celebrates winning his 67th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Award. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)I was watching the practice sessions at Texas Motor Speedway today and ESPN put up a segment dedicated to the creation and evolution of their Draft Track technology. While I have the deepest respect for the people who made this stuff possible, if I’m being honest I have to say that it’s not that useful. I’m sorry.

I understand how the draft works, that’s enough for me. I don’t need to “see the draft” to know it’s there. Sometimes I think networks come up with stuff hoping that we as fans are going to fall all over ourselves to tell them how fabulous it is, and in this instance I can’t do it. Stick with the in-car cameras. I love seeing the drivers hands on the wheel turning left and right, and their feet pushing the gas and the brake. Show how bumpy the ride really is, they’re not driving around in a Lexus ya know.

I’d rather they put together great stories about people instead of showing me what wind looks like in color. Go ask Carl Edwards about his engagement. Ask Casey Mears and Sam Hornish Jr. what it’s been like to be a new father this year.

And for the record when I saw Carl and Jimmie Johnson talking in the garage during today’s practice session coverage I knew Jimmie was congratulating Carl on his engagement. When I saw Carl say “Thank you, thank you” I knew it. Yes, I read lips. :)

In other news…

Jeff Gordon scored his first-ever pole at Texas Motor Speedway today. That’s awesome and I truly hope he can overcome his bad luck in Texas and come out a winner this time around.

– I found out that I’ve received media credentials to the Phoenix race weekend next week, which is awesome. However, I lost my day job due to our crap economy and so I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to go which hurts my heart more than you can ever know. Of course the “I Love Lucy” area of my brain (there’s gotta be a way I can still get in the show!) is working overtime trying to figure out a way to make it work, but I wouldn’t bet on it producing any viable plans. :)

– This just popped into my head: things that I’m excited about for next year’s NASCAR season. Namely, Scott Speed and Joey Logano in the Sprint Cup Series full-time. I think they’ll be fun to watch and talk about. That’s pretty much it. Oh and David Stremme will be back too! Yay Stremme!


Brad Keselowski focuses in practice Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. A NASCAR Nationwide Series regular, Keselowski qualified 37th for Sunday's Dickies 500 as he'll make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski focuses in practice Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. A NASCAR Nationwide Series regular, Keselowski qualified 37th for Sunday’s Dickies 500 as he’ll make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Sitting in second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Carl Edwards straps into his car during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. Edwards was third-fastest in practice and qualified 16th for Sunday's Dickies 500 at the track. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Sitting in second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Carl Edwards straps into his car during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. Edwards was third-fastest in practice and qualified 16th for Sunday’s Dickies 500 at the track. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

the chase: i’m so over it

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, celebrates his win of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 in Victory Lane. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)Apparently the new “in” thing is to call for changes to the Chase format. Whatever. You can’t build in suspense, no matter what you do someone can always run away with it.

It was great that Carl Edwards won at Atlanta this weekend. What wasn’t great was that it didn’t really matter. I still have hope that something amazing will happen, but I can see the writing on the wall just like everybody else. It makes me want to puke.

But it didn’t keep me from wondering out loud to myself why Tony Eury Jr. can’t be more like Chad Knaus. Have you ever wondered what Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s career would be like if he had Chad as his crew chief? Hmmm??

So here’s my suggestion on how to make the Chase better for next year: All of the race teams, that aren’t the 48, need to get BETTER!


Driver David Stremme checks out times during Friday's practice at Memphis. (Photo Credit: Dak Dillon for NASCAR)

Driver David Stremme checks out times during Friday’s practice at Memphis. (Photo Credit: Dak Dillon for NASCAR)

Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge, with his daughter Addison before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 24, 2008 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

So cute!

Sam Hornish Jr. driver of the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge with his Daughter Addison before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 24, 2008 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Marc Davis waits for his turn to qualify Saturday at Memphis Motorsports Park. Davis will start from the fourth position. (Photo Credit: Dak Dillon for NASCAR)

Marc Davis waits for his turn to qualify Saturday at Memphis Motorsports Park. Davis will start from the fourth position. (Photo Credit: Dak Dillon for NASCAR)

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet, started 22nd and finished 12th in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

Apparently it was beanie day for a couple of the Hendrick drivers. :)

Casey Mears, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet, started 22nd and finished 12th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet, stands on the grid with wife Kim and daughter Paige, during the national anthem sung by

Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet, stands on the grid with wife Kim and daughter Paige, during the national anthem sung by “American Idol” alum and Atlanta resident Michael Johns Sunday before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)