I don’t know why I always feel this way when Jimmie Johnson wins a race. It’s like watching Survivor and getting pissed off when the idiots have the upper hand and they don’t take the opportunity to vote off the obviously stronger player when they have the chance. It’s silly. That’s how I feel when I see Jimmie Johnson leading a race.
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Sunday morning I got up super early so that I could get to Starbucks (a ‘real’ one that I scouted the night before) and beat any race day traffic that might rear it’s ugly head. I was delighted to find that there was no such traffic to fight and I even had time to take a couple pictures of the road I was on so you guys could see what I saw every morning. I did see a dead dear on the side of the road but I didn’t take a picture of that because it was sad (and gross).
I woke up at 6am Sunday morning in New Hampshire and willed myself to get up so that I wouldn’t get stuck in race day traffic. SYLVANIA gave us a tip that we (their invited media peeps) should get on the road by 7:15am at the latest in order to miss the traffic melee. It worked because the drive to the track only took 25 minutes. I have to say that NHMS is by far my favorite track to drive to because the scenery is beautiful, but more importantly it was (basically) a straight shot from the hotel to the track, with one left turn and one stop at the drive-thru Starbucks on Loudon Road.
Ready your Tivo! NASCAR will be discussed on the upcoming season of “The Bachelor” on ABC. Brad Womack is back again to try and find a woman he’ll actually want to propose to this time around.
The connection to NASCAR comes from Emily Maynard, 24, the fiancee of the late Ricky Hendrick. Ricky, the son of NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick, died in a plane crash in 2004 along with nine other people. Five days after the tragic accident Emily found out that she was pregnant with Ricky’s child. Their daughter, Josephine Riddick “Ricki” Hendrick was born in June of 2005.
Emily briefly dated Dale Earnhardt Jr. and has had some racing-related jobs like hosting the TV show “Three Wide Life” and a podcast called “Emily on the Scene” for the SPEED channel.
Now Emily is one of 30 bachelorettes on the 15th season of “The Bachelor” vying for the affection of 37-year-old “drinking establishment” owner Brad Womack. I already know the outcome of the show thanks to websites that have all the spoilers, but I won’t spoil it for you here. To be honest, I’d rather watch the new season of “Wipeout.” But if you really want to know just Google it.
I certainly wish Emily all the best. I can say one thing for sure, if you take a look at all the women on the show, Emily is by far the prettiest. I’m just sayin’.
The show starts on Monday, January 3rd at 8pm ET. Thanks to Tara S. for the tip!
Last week was pretty hectic for me, hence the lack of posts. Between making the turkey (using a brine is the only way to go) for Thanksgiving and then helping my mom get married on Saturday I’ve been a busy little bee!
So I haven’t had much time to think about all of the ramifications of the changes that were announced at Hendrick Motorsports last week.
But my reaction went something like this:
I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting to use that animation of Pee Wee! Cracks me up every time I see it and in this case it totally sums up my feelings when I heard the news. On one hand I was thinking it might be better for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to get Alan Gustafson, but I trust that Rick Hendrick knows what he’s doing. I love all of the new pairings and I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes of it. The teams of the 88 and 24 can definitely use the new energy, so I’m excited.
No. 5 Chevrolet
Driver: Mark Martin
Crew Chief: Lance McGrew
No. 24 Chevrolet
Driver: Jeff Gordon
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
No. 48 Chevrolet (duh, if it ain’t broke why fix it?)
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Crew Chief: Chad Knaus
No. 88 Chevrolet
Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Crew Chief: Steve Letarte
I’m kidding! Calm down Roush Fenway Racing supporters. I was just making a funny.
But seriously, super huge congratulations to Jamie McMurray for winning the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday. Kudos to him and his team for winning a race that further cements a place for him in NASCARs history.
Now, can I talk about Victory Lane or Winner’s Circle at Indy? It’s really lame. It seems like a complete afterthought, like they finished making the hugh jass pagoda and then were all, “Ohh, where are we gonna do Victory Lane? Let’s wedge it over there since we made the stage for the anthem and the command to start engines needlessly large and round.”
It makes me feel squished and I’m not even there. It’s so awkward, why not just do everything on the track? Ok, just had to get that off of my chest it makes me mental every year for the Indy 500 and the Brickyard.
And speaking of Victory Lane how cute was Jamie when he kissed his wife’s stomach? Christy McMurray is pregnant with their first child who is due to arrive in December. So adorable. I’m going out on a limb and calling a set of twins for them. I have no proof, obviously, other than I think someone should have twins.
Jamie McMurray, winner of the Brickyard 400 kisses his wife Christy after kissing the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on July 25, 2010. (UPI /Edwin Joseph Locke Photo via Newscom)
The pit crew for Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet runs down pit road to celebrate their win at the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, IN.
Jamie McMurray, driver of the Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, and his team kiss the bricks after McMurray won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The beard is back and he brought along a friend this time. I dunno if I like this trend.
Team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the Amp Energy Chevrolet with team owner Rick Hendrick before the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on July 25, 2010, in Indianapolis on July 25, 2010. (UPI/Thomas E. Hayden Photo via Newscom)
(R-L) Dallas Clark of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts poses with brother Dan Clark in the flag stand before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Travis Kvapil, driver of the Long John Silver’s Ford, stands by his car during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman, driver of the Haas Automation Chevrolet, stands with his wife Krissie Newman on the grid before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So, if ESPN has Carl joining them after every race in the studio, do they really need Rusty to stick around?
Carl Edwards, driver of the Aflac Ford, reaches in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
(R) David Stremme, driver of the Air Guard/gtwgps.com Chevrolet, looks on from pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Fans hold up signs outside the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
County music star Luke Bryan walks around in the garage area during the final practice session for the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, IN.
(L-R) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s Chevrolet, poses with singer Jack Johnson in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 23, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
I love you. Will you marry me? Seriously, I was smitten with Sex and the City and then I was head over heels with Curb Your Enthusiasm, and now I feel like we should make it official.
I just watched the first episode of 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona and it was so good I didn’t want it to end. 30 minutes was not enough. Luckily for me, and everyone else, there are 3 more episodes left.
First of all, it looked like I was watching it in HD when I wasn’t. It was beautiful. The director, camera dudes and editors all deserve raises. I was geeking out over just how great the whole thing looked.
Second, as usual your storytelling skills were on point. Thank you for the steady voiceover and the reenactment of Rick Hendrick eating cookies & milk off of a Mickey Mouse plate.
It was everything I expected and more. I learned that Jimmie has abs! I found out that Chandra is getting acupuncture treatments to deal with morning sickness! Chad Knaus’ kitchen is ridiculous and he grinds his own coffee beans! I love that stuff.
But on a serious note, I sincerely hope that a ton of non-NASCAR fans take the time to watch this great show. It’s the perfect opportunity for newbies to get a better understanding of — and an inside look at — what it takes to race in NASCAR. You guys have done it again in creating awesome premium television content. This is how Jimmie Johnson’s story should be told.
P.S. – I know the series isn’t about Dale Earnhardt Jr. but could you slip him in here and there? Thank you!!
Thursday, December 3rd was a big day full of events. However, my first event of the day had nothing to do with NASCAR but everything to do with moving from my $40 room at Harrah’s to my awesome not that much more expensive room at the Mirage. I loved my room at the Mirage so much that I took pictures of it. Which, I think, is saying something. For one, it had an iPod docking station & player so I could listen to my playlists while I got ready. The overall room design was modern & contemporary cool, complete with large flat screen TV with HD channels.
Anyway, after I got all checked in at the Mirage and waded through all of the authentic cowboys in town for the 2009 Wrangler National Rodeo Finals, I made my way over to the Venetian across the street for the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony.
Before the ceremony the top-12 drivers were available in an adjacent ballroom for Q&A sessions with media. I only had one question that I had any interest in asking any of the drivers and that was “Do you have any big plans for the off-season?”
Everyone was already engaged with media from various outlets: print, online, and TV. So I did a quick lap around taking pictures, and then chatted with ESPN PR.
Why the heck has he been at so many races this year? It’s common knowledge that Tom Cruise starred in the 1990 film Days of Thunder which was set in the world of stock car racing. Tom and various members of his family have been seen at NASCAR races a lot this year. He was in Daytona for the 500, and I spied his son, Connor, tagging along with Rick Hendrick at the Auto Club 500. Since then Tom, his wife Katie Holmes & their daughter Suri were at Infineon, and now this past weekend at Richmond Tom, Connor and Tom’s mom, Mary, were on hand.
Maybe it’s just because he narrated the Hendrick Motorsports documentary Together: The Hendrick Motorsports Story, which airs on October 11 on ABC before the start of the Pepsi 500. Maybe this is some sort of subliminal promotion for the documentary since a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the DVD will benefit the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The two races at Atlanta last weekend or as I like to call them “The Two Races Dale Earnhardt Jr. Had an Actual Chance of Winning,” were good stuff. What would have made them great of course would have been if Dale Jr. had gone and actually won one of them. But it was not to be.
This might be mean but my favorite part of the race came when Kurt Busch spun out, hitting Reed Sorenson in the process and had to take his Miller Lite Dodge to the garage. Luckily they had the camera on him when he got out of his car and pounded its roof. He was highly pissed and it was television magic.
Since I never wrote up my thoughts on the Coke Zero 400 last week I’m doing a double-double this weekend and including them with my write up of last night’s LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland.
First the Coke Zero 400, I felt that Tony Stewart did nothing wrong to Kyle Busch in the last lap. Apparently when Kyle ends up wrecked it’s whiney time, but when he does it to someone else he’s just racing. Whatever, dude. I do not understand Kyle’s logic, seriously.
With Tony’s win, Burger King definitely got their money’s worth for their sponsorship of his No. 14 right out of the gate. If they don’t do more next year, I think that would be a mistake. But I still think the BK King is creepy.
Now, I should say that I wasn’t all that thrilled that Tony won. I really wanted Denny Hamlin to win, and this weekend too. I’ve never been a Denny fan but he’s really growing on me. I’m not sure why. Well, maybe it had to do with seeing his episode of Cribs on CMT awhile back. He had this piece of paper in his bathroom that read: “I Can, I Will.” I guess it struck a cord with me that he even thought enough to post an affirmation like that, and then to let it be filmed. So I want the guy to win something, that and I want to hang out on the little beach he has in his backyard. It just seemed so relaxing.
Okay, so finally I’m telling you about my Sunday at last weekend’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway.
Saturday night I came home with a mighty impressive suntan/sunburn and you would think that would lead me to make sure I bring a hat and a put sunscreen on the next day, but that didn’t happen. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think to do either of those things. I’ve been to many races and I’ve never had a sunburn like the one I’m still dealing with to this day. I’ve been wearing a hat for the majority of the week to cover up my peeling forehead. Was that TMI (too much information)?
I finally sat down and watched the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards ceremony and I have come up with a list of all of the things that I want in an awards ceremony broadcast. Here’s the list in no particular order:
1.) Speeches: All I want to see are the speeches. I do not want to watch a comedy routine or a popular musical artist perform (even though I am a Matchbox 20 fan). I have Comedy Central and MTV for those things. I just want to hear and see the top ten drivers give their congrats to the Champion, recite the names of their sponsors and thank the fans. Boom, done. I have no idea what Jimmie Johnson said in his speech because my Tivo cut off right as the Sprint CEO was introducing him. Oops.
2.) Who brought who: I want to now who the single drivers & crew members brought as their dates. More specifically I wanna know who that woman was who showed up with Chad Knaus. What happened to his apparently ex-fiancee Bruna Oliveira?
3.) Who wore what: I want more than 3 second shots of the women from the neck up. I want full-length shots of their gowns. You know they put a lot of thought into what they were going to wear and it’s a shame for us to not get the chance to see them.
So that’s all I’ve got and that’s all I want. NASCAR should take note for next year.
I have to give huge props to Rick Hendrick for joking about Kyle Busch acting like he’s 18 sometimes, ah that was priceless, best moment of the night.
And to all of the drivers who thanked the fans, you’re welcome.
When they cut to a shot of Tom Cruise during the show I thought my head was going to explode. It just seemed so… random.
Actor Tom Cruise watches the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony while sitting at Jeff Gordon’s table Friday night at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I usually dig what Chandra wears but I didn’t like this pink, fluffy thing; it’s not doing anything good for her body. I’m just sayin’.
2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson with his wife Chandra enter the Waldorf=Astoria for Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City. (Photo Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, and his wife Ingrid Vandebosch (L), hit the yellow carpet at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria on Friday in New York City. (Photo Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Champion crew chief Chad Knaus escorts his guest Lisa Rockelmann at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. (Photo Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Rob Thomas, Paul Doucette, Brian Yaleand and Kyle Cook of the rock band Matchbox Twenty arrive at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria on in New York City. (Photo Credit: Brad Barket/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)
(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)
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)
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)
Whoa. So the rumors are true. Casey Mears is leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of this season. As per usual with these types of things there are no hard feelings from Casey or team owner Rick Hendrick. Mhmm.
“We’ve put a ton of emphasis on the No. 5 program,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s been a total team effort, and Casey has worked as hard as anyone to help us improve. We’ve tested more than we ever have, but the results just haven’t come.
“None of us, Casey included, have been satisfied with the situation this season. But he’s confident there are other options out there for him in 2009, and we feel like Hendrick Motorsports will have some opportunities, too.”
Mears will finish the 2008 Sprint Cup campaign in Hendrick’s No. 5 Chevrolets.
“I know the effort has been there, but we haven’t had the finishes to show for it,” Mears said. “I’ve never tested this much or put more energy into racing. But for whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to make it click. It’s certainly not for lack of dedication on anyone’s part.
“I’ll talk to people about opportunities and get my 2009 plans wrapped up soon, but I’m also focused on the next 20 races and finishing 2008 on a positive note. We ran well the second half last year, and I know we can do it again. I want to close this season the right way.”
I hate to see this because I like Casey and I liked him with Hendrick but I guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I would really love to know the real, real reasons for this move and change. I’m sure it was based on performance but Hendrick is known for being this powerhouse race team, so you have to think if you can’t make it happen there what else can you do?
In other news…
– Greg Biffle is staying with Roush Fenway Racing. He has signed a three-year extension with the company, extending the relationship that began in 1998.
“I’m extremely happy and relieved to have this contract complete,” said Biffle. “I have a team that can contend for the championship this season and for future seasons as well. 3M has been an incredible partner for several years now and having them on board made the decision even easier. All the elements are in place: the resources of Ford and Roush Fenway, the excellent team, the outstanding cars and having a great primary sponsor like 3M for the next few years.”
– On Sunday’s episode of Outside the Lines on ESPN the show will take a look at how our crap economy is affecting NASCAR and the teams that run in its series. We all know that it takes a lot of money to contend for a race, let alone a Championship, but these days just fielding a team at all requires serious positive cash flow.
“We are committed to getting through this year, but I got to be able to see into ’09 something a little more positive than I see today. I think we’ll make it, but the economy and the struggles the other teams are seeing are the same as ours. It is a tough, tough world out there right now in NASCAR.” – Doug Yates, owner of Yates Racing
Outside the Lines will air on Sunday, June 29th on ESPN at 9:30 a.m. ET; and on ESPNEWS at noon. Check your local listings.
There’s still time to enter the contest to win a copy of the NASCAR DVD set “Full Throttle Adrenaline.” Deadline to enter is Friday, July 4, 2008. The contest is over!
– Are you new here? Yes? No? Either way you should fill out “The Fast and the Fabulous” reader survey, I wanna know what you think of me and the blog. Tell me the truth, I can take it.
– I fiddled around with the layout of the site a bit. I’ve included a new feature in the top right-hand side that shows off some of my favorite posts that I think you should read if you haven’t already.
– Have you ever left a comment here and wondered what that little blue box next to your name was? Well it’s a Gravatar. You can sign up for one at Gravatar.com and the next time you leave a comment the photo/image you registered will be displayed. The great thing is you sign up for this thing once and if you login or leave a comment on any site that uses Gravatars your image shows up every time.
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)
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)
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)
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)
Ya go and try to do something different and everybody’s a critic. I still don’t know how I feel about it, but at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter. I just think it’s funny that there are message board threads dedicated to this topic and that for the past week the number one search term for people coming to my site has been “Tony Stewart’s Hair.” So if that’s what you came here for, who am I do deny you?
In other news…
– Kurt Busch secured the pole for tomorrow night’s Budweiser Shootout in Daytona. He managed it even though he was sick with the flu. I think this quote from his crew chief Pat Tryson is pretty funny:
“He’s a skinny little dude, but he’s as tough as nails,” Tryson said of Busch late Thursday night. “I told him this morning that his health is the number one priority and after seeing him laying there earlier today, I can’t believe he’s done all they tell me he has since then.”
And now more photos…
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch share time together before the Charlotte Media Tour event at Joe Gibbs Racing. (Photo Credit: HHP / Harold Hinson)
(Left to right) Chandra Johnson, President George W. Bush and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson visit for the second consecutive year to celebrate back-to-back championships. (Photo Credit: Mitchell Layton / Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Rick Hendrick, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson share a moment during NASCAR’s visit to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Photo Credit: Mitchell Layton / Getty Images for NASCAR)
2007 Daytona 500 winner Kevin harvick gets behind the wheel of the 2008 Daytona 500 pace car in New York City’s Times Square. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Fickies / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne takes a break during Preseason Thunder testing at California Speedway (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The 2007 Cup season is finally over. Jimmie Johnson is the Championship winner for the second year in a row and I’m just OK about it. Obviously it’s a great thing for him and his team. Hendrick Motorsports had a wonderful year. Three out of four of their drivers made it into the Chase and two of those drivers finished first and second. So instead of being so incredibly excited for Jimmie I’m happy for Rick Hendrick. He’s built an organization that is a force to be reckoned with, there’s no way around that.
Like all of the drivers I’m looking forward to next year. I became numb to the cruel hand fate had dealt to Dale Earnhardt Jr. over the end of this season many weeks ago. I can’t even talk about what happened at Homestead. There’s so much possibility awaiting him at Hendrick next year it’s pointless to waste time being frustrated with his last races with DEI.
2008 is going to be something. The thing that I’m the most excited about seeing is how the teams that are switching to Toyota next year handle the transition. I have a feeling that Tony Stewart is going to have some choice words if things don’t go so well.
Of course next year I want to be there in person to see it all go down. I ask you, what could be more fun than that? Yea, not much.
Matt Kenseth and crew chief Robbie Reiser celebrate the end of their eight-year partnership with a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 pit crew adjust his car during the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon takes a break during practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Car owner Jack Roush and Carl Edwards hoist the NASCAR Busch Series driver’s championship trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ricky Rudd races Kurt Busch in Rudd’s 906th and final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Sunday’s race at Talladega was everything you’d expect from a race at Talladega, three-wide side-by-side racing and of course the “big one” (for those of you not in the know, the “big one” is the big crash the wipes out a bunch of cars at once). The moment Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead I was so hopeful that he would be able to hold on to the lead and finally win one this season. And then his engine blew up which seemed to signal the beginning of the end for the DEI-RCR engines. I was in utter disbelief and I still am because that race was his, it was right there and then poof!
So at this point I’m sure any and every Dale Jr. fan is just counting down the days until he makes his debut with Hendrick Motorsports next year. All of the Hendrick cars did well at Talladega, except for Kyle Busch who’s crappy outlook on things before the race are — I’m sure of it — what helped lead to his involvement in the wreck that took him out.
Oddly enough I was actually happy with Jeff Gordon’s win, I’m usually more interested in seeing a fresh face win, but he made it interesting at the end between him and Jimmie Johnson. For that I am appreciative.
The thing I was most excited about was seeing Michael Waltrip on the pole and running up front. I miss that guy, he’s a great character and NASCAR needs guys like him. He keeps it fun and interesting. It looks like things are looking up for Michael Waltrip Racing and I look forward to seeing that team win a race.
I didn’t watch the race live because I was out checking out apartments for my upcoming move. I caught the entire race on Tivo and I am almost tempted to make this the standard for the rest of the races this season. Why? Because it’s so nice to be able to bypass all the lame commentary by the ESPN on ABC crew. I put being able to skip over Rusty Wallace’s comments above being able to skip commercials, and that’s seriously saying something, especially when I’m beginning to tire of the seeing the same Allstate girls ads over and over.
In other news…
I’m still on the hunt for sponsors for my 2008 NASCAR project and I sent a letter to American Airlines to see if they’d be interested. I got a phone call from them last week and I was told that they don’t sponsor “dangerous sports” because they don’t want to be associated with things where people can crash. I just thought that was kind of funny but at the same time it makes sense, I guess, to not want people to associate crashing with planes.
Ella is a little cutie, and I love her itty bitty sandals.
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Dupont/Pepsi Chevrolet, holds his daughter Ella Sophia, as his wife Ingrid looks on, in victory lane after Gordon won the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 7, 2007 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon (right) celebrates inside Victory Lane with daughter Ella (center) and team owner Rick Hendrick (left) after winning the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 7. (Hendrick Motorsports/Autostock)
Crew members of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, driven by Jimmie Johnson, congratulate the crew members of the #24 Dupont/Pepsi Chevrolet, driven by teammate Jeff Gordon, after winning the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 7, 2007 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
All the hoopla and then in the end nothing really happened.
Jacques Villeneuve was the center of media attention after qualifying for Sunday’s UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Villeneuve qualified 6th. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Crew Chief Tony Eury, Jr. talks to his driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. before practice at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Where to begin… First I guess I’ll express my surprise that it had been over a year since Carl Edwards had won a Cup race. I didn’t realize it had been that long, so good for him. The fun thing about Carl Edwards is his mom. She’s at all of his races and she’s the only NASCAR driver’s mom that I can spot instantly. Like if I saw her at the grocery store I’d be like “hey there’s Carl Edwards’ mom!” If it’s anybody else’s mom I have no clue, their son would have to be standing next to them for me to put it together. I don’t know what it is about her but she stands out. I think it’s her hair. She’s got great hair. Or, duh, it could just be that she’s always there. I dunno though… Some of those guys’ girlfriends and wives are always there and I wouldn’t be able to pick them out of a crowd. It could just depend on who it is.
Ok, I totally went off on a weird tangent there.
In other news…
– I’ve been watching “Fast Cars & Superstars” (on ABC) here and there. I have it Tivo’d so I can watch it whenever. I like the fact that they’ve done this show period, because it proves that there’s so much more to NASCAR than just turning a wheel. While it doesn’t go into the whole strategy part of it, I think people get a sense of the skill involved.
– How nice was it to see Michael Waltrip back in a Cup race? And he finished 10th no less! That was very cool. I’m happy for him. It feels like his whole season has been marred by his little off track accident and the Daytona 500 shenanigans, which is really sad. I’d like to see his team be successful. I know they can be it’ll just take some time. But I just miss the old funny & slaphappy Mikey that we used to see every week.
– Casey Mears. He’s a guy that’s steadily moving up the points standings every week. At one point this year, a few weeks ago I believe, he was in 34th place and now he’s up to 19th. Ya never know, if they keep this up we could see Casey in the Chase this year. That’d be very, very cool.
– Please tell me I’m not the only person who dislikes Marc Fein and Bill Weber? I’d trade both of them in for Mike Joy and Allen Bestwick any day. They’re sooo annoying. I don’t understand Weber, it seems like he’s yelling all the time. He’s just too loud. And Fein seems like he’s not listening to people ’cause his comments after they make a point never seem to match up. Ugh. Luckily we only have 4 more races of them until we’re on to the ESPN/ABC coverage.
– The topic of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s move to Hendrick Motorsports is starting to annoy even me. And I’m a big Dale Jr. fan. Maybe it’s because they seemed to extend the pre-race show for an extra hour and filled it with an interview of Junior and Rick Hendrick that shed absolutely NO new light on the situation. I’d rather they talk about Mikey Waltrip making it back into a race, or the Red Bull boys managing to qualify every week after a slow start to the season. Or why Juan Pablo Montoya seems to have stalled (which is totally fine by me) or what’s going on with Jeremy Mayfield (where the heck is he??).
– In case you’re thirsty for more speculation on the ramifications of Junior’s move to Hendrick, then you should check out this article “Is Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s big move good for NASCAR?” on Slate.com by John Swansburg. He digs my blog, so I’m giving him props. But really it’s a good article and you should read it.