Yea, I don’t know. I’m just going with it.
Congratulations to Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team on their win at Michigan this weekend.
Yea, I don’t know. I’m just going with it.
Congratulations to Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team on their win at Michigan this weekend.
First, I apologize for taking so long to write about Sonoma. Life, work, blah, blah, blah.
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.
I haven’t missed a Fontana race in 5 years, so it really sucked when I realized I wouldn’t be able to go this year. All the action & drama that happened on Sunday made it that much worse, but then again there’s no guarantee that it would have happened had I gone so I’m using that to make me feel better about the whole thing.
I was going to write a whole paragraph about how traveling sucked but I figured what’s the point. You guys have been there, you know what I was dealing with on my flights from San Francisco to Charlotte and then on to Miami. Although I have to say I have NEVER been on a flight so full of babies & toddlers as I did that Saturday. It was crazy and it made me vow that if I ever have kids I’m not flying anywhere with them until they’re adults.
So we’re really doing this? I can’t express to you how incredibly boring and soul crushing it is when Jimmie Johnson wins AND continues to lead the points in the Chase.
Nothing important changed after the race at Kansas yesterday. Brad Keselowski still leads the points standings by 7 points over Jimmie Johnson. Denny Hamlin is still third. Sooo yep, that’s about it.
We all know that Ron Malec, car chief of the No. 48 Lowes Chevy, is indeed the hottest car chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. But did you know that the jackman for the 48 is pretty hot, too? In fact, TJ Ford been nominated for the 2012 Cosmo Bachelor of the Year Contest. Check out his profile (and photo!) and then vote for him (here) before the contest ends on Thursday, October 18th at 6AM EST.
I feel like I should send Carl Edwards a care package. Or at least a nice handwritten note that reads: “Buck up, kid! Everything happens for a reason.” Seems like the right thing to do since he hasn’t won a race this year and crap keeps happening to him.
The Saturday of our 3M Racing Experience began with all of us gathering in the lobby of our hotel and then heading over to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Once there we were picked up and shuttled to the Fan Zone area, in spiffy 3M branded golf carts, at the entrance of the track.
I woke up early Sunday morning to clear skies and no rain. When rain is a possibility during a race weekend I’ve taken the stance of not talking about it. At least not in the negative. You don’t know for sure what the weather is going to do, so why stand on negative side of the fence and go on an on about how it’s going to rain and we’re not going to get the race in, blah, blah, blah. I’d just rather not and deal with what’s actually happening.
I flew into Kansas City, Missouri on Friday in the middle of the day. I knew that I was going to miss out on all of the top-12 driver press conferences, as well as Clint Bowyer’s big, non-surprise announcement that he was going to Michael Waltrip Racing next year in the #15 5-Hour Energy car. I knew all of that going in and it wasn’t a problem seeing as how the fact that I was going to the race weekend at Kansas Speedway at all was a big deal.
I woke up at 5am in order to get to Infineon Raceway by 7am (with a quick stop at Starbucks along the way) at the latest. I wanted to make sure I got a ride around the track in the pace car with NASCAR’s Brett Bodine. You think because you’re going in the pace car it wouldn’t be intense, but you’re WRONG. I sat in the back seat and proceeded to be bounced around the my seat and fellow passenger next to me.
When I arrived at Infineon Raceway on Friday I was late. It was only 9am but it was late. The garage opened at 7am and that’s when people showed up, so the media lot was full when I arrived. I was stuck in lot 1 which is next to the helipad. It’s not a big deal (there’s an awesome shuttle that takes you right to the media center no matter where you’re parked) but it’s funny to me how 9am can be considered late for anything. Anyway, Friday was the day of press conferences for the top-12 drivers.
There are no words. I have no words.
But I do have pictures.
Jimmie Johnson (L) kisses his wife Chandra as she holds their four-month-old daughter Genevieve, after winning the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at the Ford 400 race in Homestead, Florida November 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)
On the morning of the Toyota/SaveMart 350 I attended the NASCAR Tweetup held in front of Victory Lane. It was there that I met an awesome ‘Fabulous’ reader, Angela (aka @caligirl88 on Twitter). She was super nice and she totally surprised me because I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone that read my blog. Thanks again Angela for your kind words!
After checking in with Dawn, my fabulous friend who is the queen of efficient packing for NASCAR races (she also makes great cupcakes!), I headed over to the driver’s lounge for the driver’s meeting. For some reason my memory of that room was that it was much, much bigger than it actually is. Once the meeting started we were packed in there like sardines. Even some drivers and crew chiefs had to stand.
Nothing earth shattering happened in the driver’s meeting but I like being in there and knowing that I’m in there with ALL 43 drivers. It’s kinda neat. Matt Kenseth was the first driver in the room, showing up 30 minutes early, which is smart move if you want to get a seat. I find his punctuality refreshing.
Post-driver’s meeting I met up with Kristen (read her blog) and the No. 2 Miller Lite “Brew Crew” as they walked their Dodge through inspection. I don’t remember if I’ve ever talked about Kristen before, I apologize if I’m repeating myself. Anyway, back in 2007 she won the “Miller Lite Next Great Sportswriter” Contest and she got to spend a bunch of time and race weekends with Kurt Busch and the entire team doing interviews and writing. She’s been their “unofficial tool cart girl” ever since and she’s superfun to hang out with. We have an awesome time swapping gossip and chatting about this and that.
So Sunday was no different, we got to watch as some Cougar tried to hit on one of the Brew Crew dudes. This woman was a piece of work. I hope she doesn’t read blogs. Anyway, she seemed a little tipsy to me. A couple inspection stations later we saw the same woman touching a security guy. Hilarious.
Oh! So this is good, remember how I said Ron Malec probably thinks I’m some crazy person following him around? Well the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy & crew were in front of the No. 2 in line for inspection. So the entire time I’m standing with Kristen, Ron Malec is in front of us pushing the 48. I’m dead serious when I say that it was purely a coincidence and the last thing I want to be thought of is as a pit lizard. I have no desire to lick anyone’s helmet (although I’m sure that Cougar did!). I’m just an appreciator of good lookin’ dudes, so of course I took yet another photo of him (see right).
For driver intros I didn’t go behind the stage, thought it better to stay out on pit road. There cars were lined up one-by-one side by side faced out instead of in the usual two-by-two. It looked good and was a better use of space, in my opinion. I walked down to Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet because I know Lisa, who is a PR person on behalf of Office Depot. I never know where to stand on pit road for the Anthem and all that, so it’s nice to know someone and have a place to stand where you don’t feel like people are looking at you like “What is she doing here??” I don’t know that people actually think that but it’s what I think they’re thinking and it weirds me out.
Anyway, Tony’s dad, Nelson Stewart, was on hand for the day, he even walked out with Tony during driver introductions. He was at the car when Kevin Harvick stopped by specifically to talk to Nelson and give him a hug. It was a cute moment, photos of which you can see below.
After all the invocation, National Anthem and the command to start engines I walked pit road to get a spot behind the pits to watch the start of the race. Luckily, there was a spot right where I wanted to be, right behind the start/finish line. I stood on top of the little wall that sits at the back of the pits, right in front of the grandstands and got the best view of the green flag to start the race.
I hung around down there for a little bit and then headed to the media lounge tent to hang out away from the sun. I ended up meeting a French guy named Mat who was attending a NASCAR race for the first time. He was stranded outside of the garage because he lost his Hot Pass and his roommate that he came to the race with was nowhere to be found. We had an interesting time trying to talk in between the roar of the engines and me trying to understand his accent. It was fun though.
With about ten laps left I went down to Turn 11 to see what I could see and got a front row seat to Clint Bowyer’s caution-less spin out. I asked one of the photographers standing next to me if they could send me the photo and Tyler Takeda of The Madera Tribune obliged (see below). I was too busy screaming, “Ahh! Whoaaaaa!” to take a picture myself.
Instead of rushing over to Victory Lane to take my usual picture of the winner driving his car in, I decided to pass through the garage. It’s an interesting place to be post-race since cars are coming in smashed up and crew members are rushing around trying to be the first team out of the track. Those guys are super fast, it’s amazing how quickly they can pack up. Maybe they can help me out the next time I have to move?
I was there when Boris Said’s crew chief Frank Stoddard yelled at Tony Stewart — as Tony was climbing out of his car — to “Come on! You fat fuck!” Tony just sort of waved him off and went into his hauler. I wasn’t quite sure I had heard him right until I locked eyes with a smiling GoDaddy.com crew member walking toward me. It was then that I knew I had heard him perfectly and rushed off to the press conference room where my cell phone was charging to send out a tweet about it. Funny stuff. (If you want the full story on what went down and caused that outburst check out the article over at SBNation.com)
Although now that I look at the photo I took in the garage just before Stoddard make his comment, I think Tony might have said something first (see below).
And so that was my day at the Toyota/SaveMart 350. Photo fun time below!
Eva Busch, wife of Kurt Busch, walks down pit road to her hubby’s car. If I ever reach a point where I can have an assistant at the track their entire job would be to take pictures of WAGs. Between making sure I got pictures with my cell phone for tweeting and my regular camera, I missed stuff! Grr!
In the second photo here, of Kevin Harvick greeting Tony Stewart’s dad Nelson, you can see the top of Tony’s head. He was kneeling to do something with his shoes.
The pit crew for the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevy lined up for the National Anthem.
The green flag drops for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway. My view! So cool.
Kevin Harvick. Yet another one of my “I don’t know how I got that photo” photos.
Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson
Dale Earnhardt Jr. pulls into the garage after the race. So glad he finished 11th! Now he’s 13th in points! Yay!
I know I’ve used that title before but I love it.
Friday at Infineon Raceway was day one of the Toyota/SaveMart 350 festivities. It was a pretty big day for me because it held actual things for me to do. My usual shtick is to just show up and let things happen but this time I setup interviews with drivers. Since things went so well with Tony Stewart and the Inside The Actor’s Studio questions I decided to make it my “thing” for now and to get as many drivers to answer the same questions.
On my schedule for the day were one-on-one’s with David Reutimann, Regan Smith, AJ Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler. I’ll write about each of those experiences in separate posts. Stay tuned for those.
Back in the media center I sat in on press conferences for Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, and a little bit of Denny Hamlin.
Tony Stewart’s presser was, of course, by far the most entertaining of the bunch. His session was after practice and he wasn’t very happy with his car. I think that Southwest airlines should use his press conferences as the basis for one of their “Wanna Get Away???” commercials. I had this uncontrollable urge, every time someone asked something cringe-worthy to look down and start playing with my cell phone. There are always a few questions that bug Tony and after sitting in on a few of his pressers I’ve learned that Tony is a lot better when you ask him questions that are very real to him. He laid it out pretty plainly that he only cares about racing. He wasn’t in the mood to get all theoretical or philosophical about racing after having a crappy practice session. It wasn’t helping that people were asking the same questions they’ve asked year after year, my favorite being “Should there be a road course race in The Chase?” That was the one that really bugged him and got him to eventually say that he had no interest in giving his opinion on such things, he just wanted to race.
To answer Melody’s question from my previous post, I was in Tony Stewart’s hauler for all of 5 minutes. It was luxuriously air conditioned and I didn’t see the back lounge area. Plus Tony wasn’t there he was out practicing but it was very cool to be inside a hauler for any reason and any amount of time.
Sunday was of course the Coca-Cola 600 and on my drive in to the track I couldn’t get over the amount of tailgating that was going on seemingly EVERYWHERE. Every blade of grass surrounding the track was filled with trucks, tents and people with barbecues. Even the parking lots of commercial office buildings had groups of people crowded together. It was so neat to see. There’s tailgating at the California races but nothing to the degree of what I saw outside of Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s something that you have to witness for yourself.
I got to the track in time to attend a tweetup organized by SBNation’s Jeff Gluck. I went to meet up with ‘Fabulous’ readers Tara S. and Penni. It was really cool finally getting to meet them in person. I seriously adore the women that read my blog, you guys are the bestest! This is the perfect time to thank you all for the sweet comments about my interview with Tony Stewart. I really appreciate the encouragement.
As I alluded to in the title of this post, the Coca-Cola 600 was really all about Bradley Cooper and his hotness visiting a NASCAR race for the first time. He was there with three of his other cast-mates to promote their new movie “The A-Team.” I thought Brendan Fraser’s presence at Chicagoland a couple of years ago was a big deal but Bradley really brought out the ladies. Media and PR people alike make it a point to be in the media center for the cast’s press conference. As soon as Bradley walked into the media center people were requesting to have their photo taken with him (as you can see at right, that’s not me, unfortunately), which he happily obliged.
On Sunday, I was watching a bit of the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals that took place in Houston, Texas. Melanie Troxel, whom I totally dig because she’s kick ass and we have the same birthday (August 31st), is sponsored by In-N-Out Burger in both Funny Car and Pro Mod. She’s leading the points standings in Pro Mod, by the way.
Anyway… The In-N-Out Burger connection got me thinking. First about how yummy their burgers are and then about how every time the NASCAR drivers are in California or Nevada they can’t NOT talk about how they all have to stop by In-N-Out at least once during their stay in the West. So I was thinking why isn’t In-N-Out Burger sponsoring like, ANYTHING in NASCAR? At least for the races at Infineon, Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas and Phoenix?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers wax on and on about how they love In-N-Out.
And then I started thinking that maybe all those NASCAR groupies should forget about trying to dress all sexy in the garage & pits and just bring a bunch of In-N-Out burgers and fries (animal style, of course) with them instead. They do say that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, well there ya go. Nobody said you had to be the one doing the cooking.
In other news…
– ‘Fabulous’ reader Leila emailed me today and was all, “Wouldn’t Ron Malec be perfect for ABC’s next Bachelor? I would love to see it!” and I was like, “You’re totally right!” Ron would make an excellent Bachelor (as would Michael Waltrip) but I do know that as of the Sprint Cup Championship banquet last year he had a girlfriend. But still ABC should direct their attention to the world of NASCAR to look for their next Bachelor, for sure.
Instead of starting from the beginning, I’m going to start with the end and work my way backwards.
Friday was of course the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony at the Wynn in Las Vegas. I woke up that morning with a slight hangover from the previous night’s festivities. I spent the majority of the morning willing myself to feel normal and to not vomit even though vomiting probably would have made me feel better, but whatever. I went down to Carnegie Deli and got their chicken soup, which helped tremendously.
That morning I had to go over to the Wynn (I stayed at the Mirage Thursday and Friday, and Harrah’s on Wednesday) to pick up my ticket to the banquet. Passing through the lobby I caught sight of Ron Malec, car chief of the no. 48 Lowe’s team, taking pictures with his girlfriend.
Along with the ticket to the event that told me my table number for the night, I also got to pick up the wristband to get me into the after party and a mini replica of the Sprint Cup Championship trophy. It’s as cute and cool as you’d expect, and it also doubles as a paper weight.