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red bull driver, scott speed, rides fake bull

If you’re a Scott Speed fan then you’re in luck. I have a ton of photos of the guy from the latest Texas Motor Speedway media event. The Red Bull Racing driver was in town to promote next week’s Dickies 500 Sprint Cup race by riding a mechanical bull.

Who needs Formula One racing? I think Speed has found his home in NASCAR.


Former four-time bull riding champion Tuff Hedeman (left) stands with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed (right) after he received his "Bull Riding Diploma" following his maiden ride on a mechanical bull in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

Former four-time bull riding champion Tuff Hedeman (left) stands with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed (right) after he received his "Bull Riding Diploma" following his maiden ride on a mechanical bull in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed limbers up before he tangles with the mechanical bull again in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008.    (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed limbers up before he tangles with the mechanical bull again in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed (right) hangs on during his maiden ride on a mechanical bull in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed (right) hangs on during his maiden ride on a mechanical bull in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

Former four-time bull riding champion Tuff Hedeman (right) gives NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed (left) some bull riding tips in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008.  (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

Former four-time bull riding champion Tuff Hedeman (right) gives NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed (left) some bull riding tips in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed takes a break -- and strikes a pose -- after his maiden ride on a mechanical bull in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008.  (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed takes a break — and strikes a pose — after his maiden ride on a mechanical bull in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed, "cowboyed up" in his Charlie 1 Horse hat and Panhandle Slim shirt, takes a break after his maiden ride on a mechanical bull in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008.  (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed, "cowboyed up" in his Charlie 1 Horse hat and Panhandle Slim shirt, takes a break after his maiden ride on a mechanical bull in the Fort Worth Stockyards Tuesday, October 21, 2008. (Photo By Tom Pennington/Getty Images for the Texas Motor Speedway)

scenes from the drive for diversity combine

Laura Hayes of Wilton, Calif. turns laps around South Boston Speedway during the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)Last week was the Drive for Diversity combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. Yes, it’s a tad lame of me for writing about it now, but better late than never right?

Drive for Diversity invited 25 applicants out to the track to show off their racing skills in the hopes of being selected for the 2009 Drive for Diversity season. Fourteen drivers will be selected to be a part of four NASCAR Camping World Series teams and 10 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series teams.

“With the participation of 14 dedicated team owners, we are able to increase our national presence, as well as provide more opportunities to young minority and female drivers,” said Greg Calhoun, president of Access Marketing & Communications, which runs the Drive for Diversity program.

Increasing the number of drivers and team owners will give the program a greater presence at several well respected weekly tracks across the country. It will also increase local team owner involvement in the program. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series teams participating in the program for 2009 represent 10 different weekly tracks across eight different states, including California, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.

According to my count of the combine participants 16 of them were female, which I think is super cool! It’s only a matter of time before we see women competing at NASCAR’s top level. And not just getting in for a race here and a race there, I mean having a real chance at winning, with complete support and great equipment.


Twenty-five minority and female drivers from across the country participated in the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. Ten drivers will earn rides in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and four will earn positions in the NASCAR Camping World Series. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Twenty-five minority and female drivers from across the country participated in the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. Ten drivers will earn rides in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and four will earn positions in the NASCAR Camping World Series. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Trista Stevenson of Pocahontas, Ill. is congratulated by Brett Bodine after her time on track during the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Trista Stevenson of Pocahontas, Ill. is congratulated by Brett Bodine after her time on track during the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Natalie Sather of Fargo, N.D. talks with Drive for Diversity program mentor Wendell Scott Jr. during the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Natalie Sather of Fargo, N.D. talks with Drive for Diversity program mentor Wendell Scott Jr. during the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Managing Director of Public Affairs Marcus Jadotte, who oversees the diversity department, huddles with Lyn St. James, who was offering guidance to the drivers at the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Managing Director of Public Affairs Marcus Jadotte, who oversees the diversity department, huddles with Lyn St. James, who was offering guidance to the drivers at the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Current Drive for Diversity participant Paul Harraka, who won the track championship at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., chats with team owner Bill McAnally during the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Current Drive for Diversity participant Paul Harraka, who won the track championship at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., chats with team owner Bill McAnally during the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Caitlin Shaw of Albuquerque, N.M. gets ready to get in her car during the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Caitlin Shaw of Albuquerque, N.M. gets ready to get in her car during the Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco at South Boston Speedway. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

we’re not in kansas anymore, but it was fun

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, battled throughout the race with Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet for the lead. Both wanted a win -- Johnson for his first at Kansas Speedway, Edwards for his hometown crowd. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)First, in regards to the race at Kansas this past weekend, I have to talk about Pay The Fan and fantasy racing in general. I’m in the Chase for the PTF Cup and I think that it makes the races more interesting. While watching the race I found that I kept asking myself which drivers I had picked, and wondering if I made the right decision. I know that I could of easily gotten up and went over to the computer and double-checked, but it’s much more fun to wait until Monday to review my picks. I find that I’m always surprised by some of my choices.

At any rate my Group A driver is of course going to be Dale Earnhardt Jr. for this weekend’s race at Talladega and he better come through with something since this is one and only time I can use him during the Chase.

About the race, it was so awesome at the end. I loved Carl Edwards’ ballsy move in the last lap to gun it and try to bounce off the wall to victory over Jimmie Johnson. Carl said he’d tried that move in a video game and it worked, but apparently in real life not so much. It was great though. If Dale Jr. doesn’t win the Championship I would be fine if Carl walked away with it. To be honest I really don’t want to see Jimmie win another Championship. It would be boring. I know it would be cool in the grand scheme of things, the whole three-peat thing, but I just want to see someone new.

I think that the luck that Kyle Busch has been having in these past three races is really, really, really sad considering the year he’s had. As much as I didn’t want to think about it I figured he’d run off with the Championship with no problems. I feel sorry for him; I really do because I don’t think it’s fair. He wins 8 races and then nothing? But I must say that he’s still a tool for being so jerky in his post race interview on Sunday.

I get it, he’s frustrated and mad and whatever. I totally get it believe me I do. I know first-hand what it feels like to have horrible stuff happen to you and then have to talk to people about it. I still managed to not sound like a ho though. It is possible to have a graceful attitude even when the chips are down.


During green flag pit stops Kyle Busch and Mike Bliss tangled, leaving Busch's car smoking as he pulled it into the garage on lap 155. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

During green flag pit stops Kyle Busch and Mike Bliss tangled, leaving Busch’s car smoking as he pulled it into the garage on lap 155. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Steve Letarte, crew chief for the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, talks with his driver, Jeff Gordon, during practice Friday at Kansas Speedway. Gordon, who qualified 13th, was able to practice and qualify despite not feeling well all day. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Steve Letarte, crew chief for the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, talks with his driver, Jeff Gordon, during practice Friday at Kansas Speedway. Gordon, who qualified 13th, was able to practice and qualify despite not feeling well all day. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 alltel Dodge, talks to Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet, in the garages of Kansas Speedway during Friday's practice. Both drivers will start in the middle of the pack on Sunday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 400 (Newman at 15th and Bowyer at 24th). (Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 alltel Dodge, talks to Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet, in the garages of Kansas Speedway during Friday’s practice. Both drivers will start in the middle of the pack on Sunday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 400 (Newman at 15th and Bowyer at 24th). (Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Star of the film

Star of the film “Hairspray” and national anthem singer for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV 400 Elijah Kelley reacts to the roar of the 43 race cars starting their engine within feet of him on pit road. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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)

the pocono no-no

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford, in Victory Lane as the winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority about this but I do enjoy a good rain delay. Why? Well I like it when the drivers get out of their cars and are interviewed by the pit reporters, you get to hear about what’s been going on so far in the race and what they think (or hope) will happen next. I dig it.

I’m still irked by the post race coverage, of which there has been little. Maybe it was the rain delay which made it impossible for them to have more than two post-race interviews, but still I want more. Maybe it’s just me being a serious NASCAR fan that can’t get enough, but I want more. And by more I mean more of the drivers. I don’t want to hear from analysts and commentators, nooooooo, I want to hear from the drivers or the crew chiefs or the crew members, anyone who is actually doing something during the race.

And so I must acknowledge David Gilliland’s disappointing finish. Things were going so well before the red flag happened, he was running as high as second, and then he ended up finishing 34th. How that happened I’m not sure about as I don’t recall being told during the race what was going on with David’s car. If they did talk about it and I’m wrong please correct me, but I totally doubt it. You would think they’d talk about it as the dude was running up front and then is shuffled to the back. And I guess for that reason I should hate rain delays, because maybe if that hadn’t happened he wouldn’t have gotten stuck in the pack without clean air.

I will say this about that race I’ve never been so emotionally involved, which I love. Between Dale and David I was all over the place. But I have to say to a certain degree I’m more emotionally invested in how David finishes than I am when it comes to Dale Earnhardt Jr. It’s going to be so freaking cool when Gilliland finally wins his first Cup race, I just hope it happens this year. I’d love to be there for it. It’d be sick if he got his first win at the upcoming Auto Club Speedway race in Fontana, California. I’m hoping to be at that one, which is on my birthday this year, so yea, Yates Racing should totally focus on that one. I’m just sayin’.

:)

Oh, and what was up with Carl Edwards after race in victory lane? My mom stopped by right after the race restarted from the red flag and she stayed until the race was over. When Carl grabbed the big fake Sprint cell phone they put on top of his car and shook it, my mom looked at me like “What was that??” to which I smiled and said “That’s the euphoria of winning.” I like Carl but I don’t know what that was.


David Gilliland drives the #38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2008 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

David Gilliland drives the #38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2008 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford and winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, received congratulations from third-place finisher Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford and winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, received congratulations from third-place finisher Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

These fans of the No. 20 Home Depot were probably pretty happy with driver Tony Stewart's second-place finish in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The cuteness.

These fans of the No. 20 Home Depot were probably pretty happy with driver Tony Stewart’s second-place finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

J.J. Yeley (L), driver of the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota, shows actor Kiefer Sutherland (R) a car spring and the inside of the hauler during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2008 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

J.J. Yeley (L), driver of the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota, shows actor Kiefer Sutherland (R) a car spring and the inside of the hauler during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2008 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

the brickyard eats tires for dinner too

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe\'s Chevorlet, celebrates with wife Chandra after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)So the only question I have after watching the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard this weekend is this: If you know that the Brickyard is notorious for being really hard on tires and you have a new car that puts more weight on the right side tires why wouldn’t you schedule a testing session there??

Someone’s oversight was our craptastic and yet intriguing race. I’m sure everyone probably thought the race was boring but I thought it was fun (and Dale Jr. agreed with me, not in the exact same way, but still). It kept me watching, waiting for someone’s tire to blow. It never got old watching the pit stops and waiting for the shots of the used up tires to pop up. It made pit stops that much more important because at the end whoever got out of there first was pretty much sure to lead the race and ultimately win it.

And that’s what happened for Jimmie Johnson and the fact that it was he who won and not Kyle Busch pretty much left me on cloud nine. I was all set for a one woman riot if Kyle won again.

The thing that bugged me the most about the race came at the end when I had to wade through SportsCenter in order to get to some short interview clips and a shot of Jimmie & his team kissing the bricks. ESPN did a good job before the race with their taped interviews with Jeff Gordon and Richard Childress, but they missed the mark with their post race coverage.

I’m sorry but I don’t care about baseball scores or Brett Favre’s stilted comeback, at least not when it’s RIGHT after the NASCAR Cup race and I want to hear from the drivers and I want to see if the drivers faces are covered in rubber and dust like everybody said they would be.

But yea, I didn’t get that. I didn’t have enough patience to sit and wait and see if they would have more different coverage later on in the show. I just hope they don’t do this with every race.


Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon congratulates Jimmie Johnson on his Allstate 400 at the Brickyard victory. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon congratulates Jimmie Johnson on his Allstate 400 at the Brickyard victory. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(L-R): Crew chief Chad Knaus, Jimmie Johnson, Chandra Johnson and owner Rick Hendrick kiss the yard of bricks after winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(L-R): Crew chief Chad Knaus, Jimmie Johnson, Chandra Johnson and owner Rick Hendrick kiss the yard of bricks after winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Six-year-old Lucille Nace of Farmerville, Ohio gets an autograph from Scott Riggs prior to practice for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Isn’t she cuuute?!

Six-year-old Lucille Nace of Farmerville, Ohio gets an autograph from Scott Riggs prior to practice for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

A view of a Goodyear tire with excessive wear after a competition caution during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

A view of a Goodyear tire with excessive wear after a competition caution during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart is all smiles in the garage after unveiling his new car number and sponsors at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Introducing “sexy” Tony!

Tony Stewart is all smiles in the garage after unveiling his new car number and sponsors at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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)

listen up! i’ll be ‘on pit row’ tomorrow

Here is some very, very cool news: Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 22) I’ll be a guest on the ON PIT ROW radio show. I’ll be a part of their “around the NASCAR net” segment and I’ll be discussing some of the current headlines in NASCAR. Now you’ll all get to hear what I sound like and hopefully that won’t be a bad thing.

You can listen to the live broadcast online tomorrow at OnPitRow.com from 5pm – 7pm EST (or 2pm – 4pm PST).

In other news…
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 -- Los Angeles, Calif -- 2008 ESPY Awards -- IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick (Photo Credit: Rich Arden/ESPN)
– Did you not get enough of Brendan Fraser at Chicagoland? Well then you have to check out the awesome photos (and video) from the great people at Kodak. Their flickr account has some great shots too.

– So I didn’t watch the ESPYs but I did check out some of the photos from the red carpet. I was hoping for more racing related stuff but all I could find was this one of IndyCar’s Danica Patrick. Cute dress and all but I’m not sure how I feel about her hair.

– This is not at all racing related except that I wish that it was. Former NFL quarterback and The Bachelor bachelor Jesse Palmer is an on-air talent guy for ESPN’s show College Football Live and he’s so freaking hot. I really think ESPN should institute some sort of broadcaster exchange program. Maybe we could swap Rusty Wallace with Jesse for a weekend or two?? I’m just sayin’ it could be fun.

:)

and then we came to the end

The sun sets over Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)After driver introductions I slogged back through the grass and onto pit road. I felt awkward about where to stand for the National Anthem. It’s hard to not feel like you’re in the way, plus should I really be out there anyway? I decided to split the difference and I stood at one of the garage entrances, which also left me standing just behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit crew and in front of Jimmie Johnson’s. I looked behind me and there was Ron Malec, car chief and rear tire carrier for the No. 48, looking insanely gorgeous. I’m sorry but that guy is really, really cute. Like really, every time I saw him over the weekend I had to take a moment.

Everybody lined up and then they introduced Gavin DeGraw as a country singer. That was funny. I think I snorted. And then a few of the guys from the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard team said, in unison, “Who???” I think I snorted at that too. Ahh, good times, good times. Later on I caught sight of Gavin taking a seat in Kurt Busch’s pit box next to Kurt’s wife Eva.

I watched the race start and then went back to the media center to eat dinner. That’s another great thing about being in the media center, free food. It really is a great benefit; I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to eat the whole time I was at the track.

I didn’t want to watch the whole race from the lunchroom, and I didn’t want to stand on pit road all night killing my lower back in the process, so I walked down the road to the grassy area next to the infield tunnel. I sat on the grass and watched the cars roll through the space between turns three and four. It was a great place to sit and watch the cars go by. Obviously I had no idea what was really going on with the cars and the drivers that drove them. But I knew that nothing wonderful was happening for Dale Jr. or the Yates Racing guys ’cause their numbers weren’t on the pylon. Well they were but just waaaay down at the bottom where it scrolled through the running order two places at a time.

As odd as it may seem it was really peaceful sitting there. I had earplugs in and it dulled the roar of the engines nicely. I waited until they hit 200 laps before walking back to the pits. I stood behind the pits for the Dave Blaney and the No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota. At one point the crew chief and some other dude were visibly pissed about something that happened to their car because it caused both of them to take their anger out on the pit box.

The end of the race was a rollercoaster. I was up when Carl Edwards took the lead and then down when he lost it. I was up when Jimmie took the lead and then I stayed down when he lost it too. If only he could have held on. If only.

I went into the garage and took pictures of Dale Jr. talking to a TV crew. Carl was next to him doing the same. I caught some of the press conference with Jimmie and Kevin Harvick and then I left just before it was over. I saw both of them as they walked out the back of the media center.

Yet again getting out of the track was a breeze. So remember how I said that I thought I had finally gotten the hang of driving in Chicagoland? Well of course on my last trek I realized I had never taken the right way back to my hotel. I had never gone the exact route my navigation system had initially specified. At some point I had always taken a wrong turn and then it recalculated to get me on the right path. This ended up being kind of a cool thing.

There are two things Joliet is famous for in my mind (besides being the home of Chicagoland Speedway of course). One, it’s the hometown of the very first America’s Next Top Model winner, Adrianne Curry (wife of the guy who played Peter on The Brady Bunch) and two, it’s also home to a ginormous prison that they used to film FOX’s drama Prison Break.

So going into my trip I wanted to see the prison. On my final, and correct, drive back to the hotel I got to see Joliet Correctional Center! The prison isn’t open anymore, they closed it back in 2002. But ok, so it was at night and actually really kinda freaky — especially when you add in the “Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers” sign that sits across the street from it — but it was also cool!

So that was my Chicagoland weekend. The next day, Sunday, I checked into a hotel in downtown Chicago and went to the Gavin Rossdale concert at the House of Blues. At some point I’m going to write about that experience in my other blog.

I had so much fun at the races. On the plane to San Francisco I knew that I wanted to go home, ’caused I missed it and my family, but at the same time I really, really wished I could go to Indy next week.

:)


Ron Malec (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Car chief and rear tire carrier Ron Malec before the start of the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet team (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The crew for the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet before the start of the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge pit crew (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The pit crew for the No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota prepare to go over the wall during the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous

Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks with media after the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

petty tribute: who was missing?

NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers pay tribute to Richard Petty and his 50 years in NASCAR at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)The difference between the crowd gathered for the Nationwide Series drivers meeting and the one assembled for the Sprint Cup Series was like night and day. Friday it was me standing with the security guards but on Saturday I had to contend with a big crowd, a fence and those damn TV crews.

I made sure I was there early, like half an hour before it was all supposed to begin. Matt Kenseth arrived first with a Sirius satellite radio DJ in tow. Matt was very punctual on Saturday, he was also first at driver intros. So as per usual I tried to take as many photos as possible. My attempts at getting shots of guys and their shoes were foiled by guys from TNT filming people right in front of me.

In the drivers meeting they go over what’s going to happen before, during and after the race and what the rules are, or if there’s going to be a competition caution, etc. There’s a lot of stating the obvious, but it’s something you have to do. I couldn’t help but wonder though what it would be like if someone raised their hand at the end and said “So, what do I do if I win the race? Where do I go?” That’d be fun.

Kurt Busch walked into the drivers meeting with none other than pop singer Gavin DeGraw. I didn’t know who was singing the anthem until I saw him arrive. I have lukewarm feelings about Mr. DeGraw. I want to like him, he has a nice voice, but his music always leaves me wanting something more. Anywho, I ended up seeing him a lot after that. I almost bumped into him coming out of the bathroom in the media center; he was pacing around warming up his vocal cords.

After the drivers meeting came driver intros. I trekked out onto the grass and proceeded to get my socks and shoes totally soaked by the soggy field. I decided to stake out the opposite side of the stage that no one was on because it was the best angle to get great photos. Of course security had to come over and rain on my parade and told me I had to go to either the front of the stage or the other side. They had to keep that area clear. Dagnabit!

Okay, so let’s talk about that tribute to Richard Petty and his 50 years of NASCAR racing. It’s amazing it’s been that long. I thought it was such a great idea to have all the drivers wear, what has become his signature accessory, the cowboy hat. However, it was clear that he should be the only person wearing those suckers. The King is the only person who looks good in them as far as I’m concerned.

Check out the photo below. Who’s missing from it? In spite of what they were saying at the time all 43 drivers weren’t there to take this photo. Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards all showed up later just in time for the actual driver introductions. Oh and someone else is missing from the photo too but I can’t remember who it is. Any guesses?


The 43 drivers starting the LifeLock.com 400 pose with Richard Petty, who was celebrating his 50th anniversary in NASCAR. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The 43 drivers starting the LifeLock.com 400 pose with Richard Petty, who was celebrating his 50th anniversary in NASCAR. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Richard Petty (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

He’s always got a smile on his face!

Richard Petty stands behind the stage before his tribute begins at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Robby Gordon and Richard Childress (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous

Robby Gordon walks with Richard Childress to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Singer Gavin DeGraw (left) walks to the drivers meeting with Kurt Busch at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Singer Gavin DeGraw (left) walks to the drivers meeting with Kurt Busch at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Gilliland walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Gilliland walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Jeff Gordon walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Jeff Gordon walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Martin Truex Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Martin Truex Jr. walks to the drivers meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday July 12, 2008. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

encino man at forty

Deep fried Wisconsin cheese curds (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)On Saturday morning I got the chance to sleep in a bit before heading to the racetrack. Things weren’t really starting up until 3 in the afternoon, but I still ended up leaving my hotel at 11. I didn’t want to get stuck in some crap parking spot.

My first order of business at the track was to head back over to the grandstands so that I could try a Wisconsin cheese curd for the very first time. A guy that I’d met a couple months ago is from Illinois and he swore that cheese curds were the best thing ever and that California cheese paled in comparison, so I had to try them. However, I found out they were only serving them in the deep fried format, not fresh. I figured I’d still get the essence of it so I bought ‘em anyway. They were really tasty! It’s similar to eating fried mozzarella but a lot lighter. They’ve got a very mild cheddar flavor.

I sat next to the fountain in front of the main gates eating my cheese curds, people watching. After awhile I headed back to the infield.

Brendan Fraser was the Grand Marshal for the Sprint Cup race and a press conference was scheduled for him and Ryan Newman at 3pm. So of course I was there in the media center waiting for them to arrive at 2:45. I stood in the back of the room next to all the video cameras. Brendan is funny and cool and relaxed. His personality from the minute he walked through the door was so obvious. He was similar to his character in the movie Bedazzled with Elizabeth Hurley, or even in The Mummy. He’s not arrogant or stuck-up. He was totally down to earth and it was clear that was the case when he said that the NASCAR fans he’d met that day were the nicest people.

As I predicted the gathered media had zero quality questions for Brendan. I still couldn’t think of anything myself which irked me later on in the day when I finally thought of one. There was a great moment at the end of the conference when the moderator asked if there were anymore questions and the room was silent. So Brendan made cricket noises. Funny stuff. All told I think it lasted maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
Actor Brendan Fraser at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Ok, so I made a beeline for the exit and rushed to wait outside. Apparently that was everybody else’s move too. The majority of the media swarmed Ryan Newman and asked him questions about his future and his chances for the weekend. Meanwhile Brendan was standing next to Ryan’s mob being interviewed by a local news crew. I stood there in front of him and snapped photos. He’s so adorable, and tall, and cute. *sigh* And as everyone found out later on in the day he gave one of the best “Gentlemen, start your engines” I’ve ever heard. He’s right up there with Matthew McConaughey in my book.

So get this as I’ve said before there are rules for the media about getting autographs and such. You’re not allowed to ask the drivers for them and by extension you would think that would include photos too. Well this one group of local tv people didn’t get that memo. They snapped photos of each other with Brendan Fraser after they interviewed him and then later that night they stopped Jimmie Johnson as he was leaving the media center to get a photo with him too. I just had to shake my head.

The second funny/cool thing Brendan did was after his interview. Ryan was still in the middle of the media mob and I had moved over to that group to try and get a shot of him too. A few seconds later I looked up and over the crowd and I see Brendan snapping photos of Ryan the same way I was. I stepped back and watched as he walked around the mob snapping photos of them and then turned his back to them and started to take photos of himself in front of Ryan and the reporters. The man could not be anymore likeable, it’s disgusting.
:)


Ryan Newman answers questions outside the media center at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Ryan Newman answers questions outside the media center at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Actor Brendan Fraser at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Actor Brendan Fraser at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Brendan Fraser takes pictures of himself and Ryan Newman outside the media center at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

if only i knew what he was thinking

Michael McDowell gets ready to roll out for a practice session at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)After the fun ESPN tour I headed into the Sprint Cup garage. I walked down one row and then another and stopped at the stall for the No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. I took photos and then noticed Michael Waltrip walking towards me. As he passed by he smiled and said “Hello” to me and the guy taking photos next to me. He got into the car and strapped himself in.

Here’s the thing, I knew that the practice sessions were set to start soon, but I didn’t realize exactly how soon. So here I am walking down the garage right in front of the car stalls stopping at each one to take a photo. I started to see a pattern that all of the drivers seemed to be in their cars with their helmets on all at the same time. It didn’t dawn on me that they were minutes from racing out of the garage and onto the track until I got to the end of the row and noticed that nobody else was as close to the stalls as I was and drivers were looking at me as I took their photos like “What are you doing? Who are you? Don’t you know I’m about to run you over?!” It wasn’t that serious, but it was really, really, eerie.

I mean, really eerie. It’s this extreme calm before the storm. They were all just sitting there waiting for the go ahead. As soon as I caught on that they would be racing out at any moment I decided to walk faster and get to a corner where I could get a good view of the cars as they pulled out and stay well out of everyone’s way.

Once practice was over it was time for the drivers & crew chiefs meeting before the start of the Nationwide Series race. First I must say that I love the way the infield area of Chicagoland is laid out. The media center is smack dab in the center of everything and it’s closed off so the fans, even those with pit passes, are kept well away from it. The Sprint Cup garage is to the left and the Nationwide garage is to the right, and the tent for the drivers meeting was behind it.

So back to the drivers meeting, I went to tent area and stood with the security stationed outside of it to keep the fans at bay. Since it was the Nationwide race after all there weren’t that many people waiting with me, maybe like 3 or 4? If that, I’m not entirely sure but I know it wasn’t anything near all of the people that were there the next day for the Sprint Cup drivers meeting. They had to put up steel barriers for that one. But I digress. So I’m standing there and drivers start to trickle in. I snapped Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth.
Clint Bowyer walks to the Dollar General 300 drivers and crew chiefs meeting at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous
And then there was Clint.

Clint Bowyer walks up, all alone and I hold up my camera to take a photo and he looks in my direction. Now, I had no idea if he was actually looking at me or just in my general vicinity. I had no idea what expression he was making and honestly I didn’t want to know. I feel totally fine about taking pictures of people if they’re not looking at me while I’m doing it. Plus he’s seen me directly taking shots of him at Las Vegas and Infineon and now Chicagoland. So I didn’t dare look up from my camera for fear that he might be frowning or something. I don’t know. He went into the tent and that was that.

Later on I looked at the photo in its full size and I cracked up because he is in fact staring straight at me with this weird expression that looks kinda like he’s pissed. But I love this photo. It’s my most favorite photo to date. :) The look on his face is priceless; he’s like “What??” Hmm. Note to self: No more photos of Clint Bowyer, at least for the next race. Or at least not when he’s looking.


Sprint Cup cars roll out to the track for a practice session at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Sprint Cup cars roll out to the track for a practice session at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Tony Stewart heads into the drivers meeting before the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Tony Stewart heads into the drivers meeting before the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Ragan (far left), Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth leave the drivers meeting before the Dollar General 300 on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Ragan (far left), Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth leave the drivers meeting before the Dollar General 300 on Friday, July 11, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

forty-three drivers and he has to win?

Race winner Kyle Busch (18) and runner-up Carl Edwards (99) race side-by-side on the last lap of the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)Yes, the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway was a good race. It was intriguing and crazy right down to the last lap, but of course I hated how it ended.

Why, why, why did he have to win again?? WHY?? If the rest of the season plays out like this I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s sooo boring if the same person keeps winning. Yes, he’s talented and all that, yes, I get it. I can appreciate that fact but it’s so freaking boring to watch. I don’t want to hear the same person in victory lane each week. Even if it was Dale Earnhardt Jr. I promise you I would be bored with that too. It wouldn’t be painful to watch of course but it would be boring.

The coolest thing was seeing David Gilliland running up front. That was truly awesome; I only wonder what could have happened had his pit stop not gone so bad. And see that’s what I’m looking for people, I’m not just out to see Dale Jr. win I wanna see a variety of drivers win. It helps to keep things interesting. If it ever comes to a time when NASCAR only has 4 major teams running several cars, shutting out all of the small teams, then I don’t know if I could watch anymore.


Kevin Harvick (R), driver of the #29 Reese's Chevrolet, stands with wife, DeLana (L), prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2008 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick (R), driver of the #29 Reese’s Chevrolet, stands with wife, DeLana (L), prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2008 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Eury Jr., crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet reacts to race action during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2008 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Uh, yea, my thoughts exactly.

Tony Eury Jr., crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., #88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet reacts to race action during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2008 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Sprint Cup driver Paul Menard earned his first pole Friday at Daytona International Speedway for Saturday's Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Does he smile like ever?

Sprint Cup driver Paul Menard earned his first pole Friday at Daytona International Speedway for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr. chats with Kevin Costner, who performed a pre-race concert with his band Modern West. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr. chats with Kevin Costner, who performed a pre-race concert with his band Modern West. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

the other busch brother finally wins

The No. 2 pit crew hoists their driver, Kurt Busch, after he was declared winner of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)Here’s what I will say about the race at New Hampshire this past weekend: It was a good day for Kurt Busch and that’s pretty much it.

It was a good thing to see Patrick Carpentier capture the pole on Friday; you can’t take that away from the guy. Kurt needed a win in the worst way, but as usual I would prefer it if people could win — especially the much needed ones — with a complete race devoid of rain or controversy. It’s like when Dario Franchitti won the Indy 500. He’s a good guy and deserved the win, but just for me personally I would of felt better about it had it not been rained out. I’m just sayin’.

I didn’t see and hear everything that went on during the race because I was down in Los Angeles for my cousin’s wedding, and so I had to contend with my three nephews and their endless questions about racing. They’re 11, 9 and 7-years-old and they want to know everything. The questions never stop. Who’s leading? Who do you want to win? Who do you want to lose? Who do you want to finish 2nd? Who do you want to finish 3rd? Who do you want to finish last?

I love them I really do, and I desperately want to bring them to a race so they can see it all in person, but it did make me long for the times when I can watch the race in the peace and quiet of my apartment. :)


<br />
The sixth caution came out on lap 273 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. got into an incident wit Jamie McMurray near the entrance to pit road. (Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)” /></p>
<p><em>The sixth caution came out on lap 273 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. got into an incident wit Jamie McMurray near the entrance to pit road. (Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)</em></p>
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During the seventh and final caution, Kyle Busch (top, No. 18) and Juan Pablo Montoya (bottom, No. 42) were involved in an incident that cost Montoya two laps for rough driving in the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo Credit: Chris McGrath / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Polesitter Patrick Carpentier and his daughter Anais meet the crowd during driver introductions before the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Polesitter Patrick Carpentier and his daughter Anais meet the crowd during driver introductions before the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

my infineon clip show

There were a bunch of random things that occurred to me during the Infineon weekend and none of them deserved its own post so here they are:

– At Jeff Gordon’s press conference on Friday I was staring at him and noticed for the first time ever that he’s got grey hairs. It’s not like two, it’s like fifty. That was the precise moment when my camera decided to die so I have no proof. This all means nothing of course, but I just thought it was interesting ’cause he’s always had this boyish look to him and so you don’t associate that kind of thing, ya know, getting old, with him. :)

– When Oakland Raiders play-by-play announcer Greg Papa introduced Joe Nemechek as “Jerome” Nemechek pretty much everyone on pit road looked around with the same “What the???” expression on their faces. Next time it might be a good idea to get someone who actually knows NASCAR to announce the drivers. I’m just sayin’.

– Someone asked Carl Edwards “Beer or wine?” to which he replied “Neither.” This was kind of surprising to me, I mean I always figured him for a granola boy-type (and by “granola boy” I mean those guys who are all about fitness and eating healthy which can be really annoying when you’re, uhm, not) but I didn’t think he went that far. I couldn’t hear his follow-up answer so I’m not sure if he clarified his answer to say that he preferred some other alcoholic beverage entirely, but I doubt it.
Actress Nikki Blonsky waves to the crowd after singing the National Anthem before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway on June 22, 2008 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Nikki Blonsky, the young woman who played Tracy Turnblad in the 2nd movie version of Hairspray, was on hand to sing the National Anthem. I saw her as she walked up the stairs to the media center. She seemed really nice and sweet but she had on these super high, black Christian Louboutin pumps that were obviously causing her some mischief by the way she was toddling around. I know the walk caused by uncomfortable shoes, let me tell ya. Anyway, so it was funny to see her later walking around in a pair of white sneakers. Smart move Nikki.

– At the end of the day on Sunday I caught the media center shuttle van back to my parking spot. On the way there a voice came over the radio to say that Kyle Busch’s mom believed that someone from the racetrack’s staff had taken her bag. So funny! Her son wins the race and then her bag is allegedly stolen? I do hope she got her bag back, it’s a very disconcerting feeling to lose one’s purse.

– Below is a video of my view of the race. For the last 20 laps or so I watched it all go down from a landing area leading up the media center.


My Infineon Race View from Valli Hilaire on Vimeo.

crew members need to feel the love too

The No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion gets pushed through inspection at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)On Sunday before the race I walked pit road taking the usual pictures and I found the pit boxes for the No. 28 and No. 38 Yates Racing teams.

I have to say that I’ve been thinking about the guys on pit crews a lot lately, mostly because you don’t hear much about them individually or even as a group. Drivers constantly talk about how it’s a team sport and they couldn’t do it without their guys but how much do we really know about the men on these teams? And how much do they know about their fans? Unless you’re on the crew for the most popular drivers it’s hard to know who’s rooting for you or if they are at all.

On television in pre-race shows they sometimes do profiles of this crew member or that one for some special or unique story, but it’s never a consistent study of who these guys are and how they feel about their teams chances each week. I suppose it would be really hard from a PR standpoint to control all of those voices but it would be refreshing to hear them.

So with that being said I took the chance to talk to the pit crew guys — that were there — from Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland’s teams. I asked them if they ever went online to their team website to see what their fans were saying. They all said that they don’t go online and some guessed that maybe the comments were negative.

I told them that they had a bunch of fans out there that supported them 100%. So the comments from these guys surprised me and got me thinking. Since these guys don’t have time to spend online searching for what people are saying, I think that if you’re a Gilliland, Kvapil or Yates Racing fan you should send a letter to the crew members. Don’t send it to Travis or David — send it to the guys on the team. Just to be clear I’m not saying you shouldn’t write to the drivers too, you totally should, but don’t forget about the other guys that make up the team.


Crew members from the No. 28 California Highway Patrol Ford Fusion team (from left to right): Tire Runner John Horn, Catchcan Bobby Grant, and Front Tire Changer Cory DeMarco.

Crew members from the No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion team

Crew members from the No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion team

fate is a cruel mistress

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car waits to go out on to the track for practice at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)The NASCAR experience started on Thursday. I was driving through the city I live in — Concord, California — with a friend of mine on our way to get Starbucks. There were haulers for Juan Pablo Montoya’s team at a Holiday Inn down one street and haulers for Michael Waltrip at the Crown Plaza Hotel down another. It’s really not that interesting but it gave me that extra kick of excitement about this weekend. NASCAR really was coming!

When I got to the track on Friday the temperature was in the 80s. It was definitely warm, hot even but not unbearable. That changed of course as the temps hit 107 at the end of the day when I left. Yes, I left at like 5-o-clock whilst qualifying was still going on but I have very good reasons. For one, I was literally melting, even in the shade. Second, and most important, my camera/video camera’s battery died and I didn’t have my charger with me. And third it was friggin’ hot! Since you have to wear pants in the garage area you’re totally screwed when it’s hot outside. So there I am in jeans so jealous of the fans in the paddock area behind the grandstands ’cause they’re in dresses and shorts.

Ok, so on to the good stuff. The top-12 drivers were available to the media outside of their haulers at various times before and after qualifying practice. There was only ONE driver that I wanted to see the most and that was, of course, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale’s media meet-up was scheduled for 2pm, the first one after the practice session. Before the practice session, I went saw Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, and Kevin Harvick. While watching Clint answer questions I decided to try out my video skills. To be sure, they haven’t changed much from my experiment at the testing sessions last week (as evidenced in my earlier post). Anyway, I taped Kasey, Clint and Kevin, with various levels of pretty good sound.

It amazes me that anyone can hear anyone when those cars are grumbling in the garage. This was the first time I had ever attended one of the top-12 media press sessions before. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. The writers gather around the hauler doors before the scheduled time. It’s obvious that the majority of people know each other, which is incredibly intimidating to me since I’m the newbie. The PR reps are the gatekeepers and they’re not taking any crap from anyone. Kasey Kahne’s rep totally laid the smack down on some photographer who asked if he could get an autograph from him. It’s forbidden for media to ask the drivers for autographs, not to mention stupid. Why would you need an autograph when you’re there? I mean look at where you are!

OK, so picture it… You’re me and your computer is Clint Bowyer. That’s how close I was to him. I could have asked a question but I didn’t. For one, I had nothing prepared and two the questions I would want to ask would have nothing to do with the race this weekend.

Oh! I should say that I was given a cold garage pass. I wasn’t super worried about that, as I’ve found in the past that having a cold pass isn’t the worst thing in the world and I could still access a lot of things. So I wasn’t worried. Well not until practice began and the garage went hot. Dale Jr.’s press conference was the first one after practice ended and I was afraid they wouldn’t turn off the “hot” lights until it was too late.

And that’s exactly what happened. I wasn’t able to get back into the garage until after his session was over. I was so frustrated. I couldn’t believe it, out of all of the drivers, he’s the one I was looking forward to hearing from the most and then I couldn’t get in.

My consolation prize was seeing him walk past me as I sat on the ground outside the media center. He had just excited the men’s bathroom and quickly made his way through the fans that were looking for his signature.

One thing about the media center bathrooms, that is the place to be if you want to catch a driver. Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Jack Roush and Carl Edwards all made stops at the men’s room and really that’s the only time I have ever wished I was a guy. Haha.


Kyle Busch meets with the media at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

This photo is kinda eerie ’cause it seems like Kyle Busch is looking right at me, as if to say “What the hell are you doing?” Frrrreeaaaky.

Kasey Kahne speaks with the media at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Kasey Kahne speaks with the media at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Kasey Kahne's jeans and shoes (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

I looked down and happened to notice how cool Kasey’s shoes were, so I snapped a photo. I figured the Kasey Kahne fans out there would appreciate this. :)

Kevin Harvick speaks with the media at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Kevin Harvick speaks with the media at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Clint Bowyer speaks with the media at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Clint Bowyer speaks with the media at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

he finally wins and i miss it??

Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates winning the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The win ended a 76-race winless streak for Earnhardt. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)I’ve managed to shock myself at how long it’s taken me to write something about Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win at Michigan last weekend.

I was in Los Angeles helping to celebrate Father’s Day for my brother-in-law so I wasn’t able to watch the race unfold. I saw the beginning of it before we left for lunch and then when I got back to the house I found that my mom had called me on my cell phone that I had regrettably left behind. I called her back and she asked me if I had seen it, seen Dale win. My first emotion was anger that I had missed it. I was so mad. If you follow me on Twitter you already knew that.

Of course I’m happy for him, ecstatic even, but I’m still sad that I missed it. It’s not enough for me to see the highlights after the fact. I need to watch it live. In the end though there’s nothing I can do about it. I still got to see how it ended and his reaction in victory lane and his interview with ESPN’s Marty Smith. Although, I do wish his win had been cleaner and by “cleaner” I mean that I wish there wasn’t the whole controversy over passing the pace car under yellow. I’ll still take it of course, but still, it lingers.

My mom is traveling and she saw the end of the race in a restaurant in Arkansas. She was taken aback by the crowd cheering for Dale as he won the race. Stuff like that doesn’t happen in Northern California. If you enter a restaurant and the patrons are cheering it’s either because the Giants, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders or A’s are winning. Some places will have the race on TV but it’s usually because there’s nothing else on. At any rate, I want to experience that for myself. I must get myself to Charlotte asap!

In other news….

Kyle Busch has bowed of his attempt at running for a Championship in all three of NASCAR’s series. I think that was a good idea. After two sucky weeks I think it was the thing to do. I don’t think that’s something that I’d want any driver to do, even the ones that I don’t like. :) It’s too much work and it thins out your focus for the most important Championship of all, the Sprint Cup.

Joey Logano won his first NASCAR race and he’s the youngest guy to do it in the Nationwide series. How cool is that? I was really happy for him and it was fun to see his father counting down those final laps. It’s good to see the hype pay off.

– I’m all set to go to Chicago for the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in July. I even added in an extra day to my itinerary so I could check out downtown Chicago and see Gavin Rossdale in concert at the House of Blues.

– The NASCAR race at Infineon is this week and I’m super excited. I’ll be there on Friday. The first order of business will be attending the media gatherings outside of each of the top-12 drivers haulers. Of course I’m not trying to go to all of them. I have my select group of drivers that I’m interested in hearing from the most. I’ll be posting daily during the weekend, probably when I get home each day.

Nikki Blonsky, the young actress who starred in the latest movie version of Hairspray will be singing the national anthem for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Northern California native Guy Fieri, host of the Food Networks show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives will serve as the Grand Marshall.

– For this weekend’s race at Infineon Travis Kvapil and the No. 28 Yates Racing Ford will be sponsored by… wait for it… the California Highway Patrol! Shut up! I know! Cops are sponsoring racing. How crazy is that? I love it.


Tony Stewart climbs in his car to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart climbs in his car to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne, winner of two of the last three races, is all smiles as he waits to qualify for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne, winner of two of the last three races, is all smiles as he waits to qualify for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Ragan is all smiles Saturday after posting the third-quickest time in the morning practice session. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Ragan is all smiles Saturday after posting the third-quickest time in the morning practice session. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Team owner Rick Hendrick congratulates Dale Earnhardt Jr. after he won the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, ending a 76-race winless streak. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Team owner Rick Hendrick congratulates Dale Earnhardt Jr. after he won the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, ending a 76-race winless streak. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Defending race winner Carl Edwards gets ready to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Defending race winner Carl Edwards gets ready to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(L to R) NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Brad Coleman, Landon Cassill, Bryan Clauson, Eric McClure and Jason Leffler talk with 2,700 Nationwide associates prior to the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Nationwide is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)

The really, really young guns.

(L to R) NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Brad Coleman, Landon Cassill, Bryan Clauson, Eric McClure and Jason Leffler talk with 2,700 Nationwide associates prior to the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Nationwide is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)

Joey Logano hoists the winner’s trophy at Kentucky Speedway as Tony Jones, Cincinnati Market Director for Meijer, looks on. Logano was the eighth different winner and eighth different pole winner at Kentucky; he was also the third consecutive series regular to win at the track. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)

Joey Logano hoists the winner’s trophy at Kentucky Speedway as Tony Jones, Cincinnati Market Director for Meijer, looks on. Logano was the eighth different winner and eighth different pole winner at Kentucky; he was also the third consecutive series regular to win at the track. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)

testing the limits (of fun) at infineon

Haulers during a testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Yesterday I went to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma for the NASCAR Sprint Cup testing sessions. Let me tell you it was really cool!

First of all, it was free and you can’t beat free.

Second, everything was open. By open I mean seriously open. I parked my car in the garage area, literally next to the haulers. The garage stalls were right across from my car. When it’s a race weekend, everything is blocked off and you have to have a garage pass. There was none of that yesterday. There were no Hot or Cold garage warnings. If I had the balls to do it I totally could have walked right into someone’s garage and been like “Hey, what’s up? How’s the car handling today?”

That being said you really had to watch yourself ’cause the guys were coming in and out of the garage left and right and there was no one around with a whistle to tell you to get out of the way. Case in point a man with two kids was walking towards me in the grandstand/victory lane area completely oblivious to the grumbling race car right behind them.

I always wonder how drivers feel about having the fans right there looking at them, getting in their way, etc. It’s not like I can walk into the Chicago Bears locker room and stare at Brian Urlacher before a game, although if the NFL decides to start doing that sign me up! Just kidding. Sort of. Ok I’m not kidding.

Anyway, back to yesterday. I stood in the victory lane above pit road and realized that this was exactly where I wanted to be at that exact moment. It was so awesome to just be there, taking pictures and watching the cars drive by. There weren’t a lot of people on hand, although more started to come in as I was leaving, but all in all I probably saw less than 15 people all told — lots of grandparents, fathers and sons.

Travis Kvapil, David Ragan, J.J. Yeley, Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish Jr. and David Gilliland were all there to test cars in anticipation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. J.J., David Ragan, Marcos and Travis tested in GT America stock cars provided by Pioneer Motorsports from Lake Oroville, California (outside Sacramento). David Gilliland drove a NASCAR Camping World Series West car. I seriously couldn’t tell who was who ’cause the paint schemes were not their own, except for Sam’s.

Of the drivers that were present I only saw J.J., David Gilliland and Sam outside of their cars. I got a photo of Sam on his cell phone. It was so odd trying to take a photo them. I felt like a paparazzo. You feel like you should be able to say something but you can’t.

I took some very, very bad video of a couple cars on the track. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of video taping live action events, so forgive me. :)

Here’s a quote from David Gilliland talking about the importance of Infineon:

“People used to think, ‘This is Sonoma, a road race. I’m not good at road races.’ But now, with the points so close, you can’t give up on one race,” said Gilliland. “You can’t have a bad race anymore and expect to be up front. It’s too competitive now, so people are starting to take it more seriously.”


Sam Hornish Jr. chatting on his cell phone during a testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Sam Hornish Jr. chatting on his cell phone during the testing session at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

J.J. Yeley during the testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

This is the back of J.J. Yeley discussing stuff with his crew at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Gilliland talks with a crew member during the testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

And now the back of David Gilliland talking one of his crew members at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

More photos of the cars in my Flickr account!

my 80s flashback at pocono

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other news…

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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