My morning at the racetrack in Sonoma (formerly known as Infineon Raceway) started with a crack. Not the crack of dawn, but the butt crack of some photographer loading himself into the media shuttle van. That was a sight I really could have done without.
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I interviewed Ryan Briscoe, driver of the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara-Honda, at Infineon Raceway during the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend last month. It was great getting to meet him and ask him these fun questions. The more I do it, the more it feels like I’m giving people a 3 minute psych test or something. I love it. When Ryan gave me his original answer for his favorite word he wasn’t totally satisfied with it, so he tweeted me later with his final answer.
It’s IndyCar week here in the San Francisco Bay Area (or at least that’s what I’m calling it) because the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma is this weekend at Infineon Raceway.
Later today at the Macy’s in San Francisco on Union Square (170 O’Farrell Street) you can get autographs from Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Will “I’ll Flip You Off” Power, Ryan Briscoe, Ho-Pin Tung, Mario Andretti and Simona De Silvestro.
It all happens at 6pm in the Men’s Store on the Main Floor. And if that wasn’t enough with the purchase of any IZOD merchandise, you’ll receive a free IZOD IndyCar Series cap. Customers who make a purchase of $50 or more will receive a pair of tickets to Sunday’s race.
So be there or be square! I will be there because I’m interviewing a couple of the drivers, specifically Marco and Simona. I’m debating whether or not to ask them about Danica Patrick related stuff. We shall see what I come up with.
I have to admit that I didn’t see everything that went down at the 37th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach yesterday. I got a late start because of the NASCAR race and then I realized I really needed a nap. But I did wake up with enough time to watch Mike Conway win his very first IZOD IndyCar Series race. That was very cool, I love it when someone wins for the first time. It doesn’t happen near enough.
It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t see the whole race, and so I don’t have a lot to talk about, because I can get right to the photos!
(all images courtesy INDYCAR)
These are photos from a photo/video/web shoot that IZOD did with a bunch of IndyCar drivers a couple weeks ago in the California desert for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar season. I had to share these for sure because I love great photos and Weezer is featured in a couple of them. That’s right Weezer, the band I love for “Undone–The Sweater Song” will be on your TV screens next year promoting IZOD and IndyCar. It’s an interesting combo, don’t you think?
Graham Rahal and his girlfriend, Katie Osbourne.
Will Power, whose name continues to make me smile after all this time, won the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen this weekend.
On Friday all of the Brazilian IndyCar drivers gathered to watch Brazil play The Netherlands in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Brazil lost, which sucks (I’m over the World Cup since the US is out of it — just being honest here), but there were some awesome photos (see below) of Helio Castroneves in some heinous glasses and Tony Kanaan blowing his vuvuzela.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (right), along with Andretti Autosport, announced that they’ve secured enough sponsorship money to continue Ryan’s #37 entry through the rest of the 2010 season. This is great news and to make it even sweeter the team has put together a new program called “Racing For Cancer” to raise money for cancer research.
Ryan’s mother, Lydia, died last year in November from colon cancer and he’s dedicating this racing season to her. For more information go to www.racingforcancer.org. You can also follow them on Twitter @RacingForCancer
Among Ryan’s sponsors for the remainder of the 2010 season is AirTran Airways. I’m noting this because once upon a time I wrote to Southwest Airlines asking if they’d sponsor me and they said they couldn’t because they make a point of not sponsoring things that can crash. Kudos to AirTran Airways for taking a chance and sponsoring a great driver anyway.
Consider this your warning that I’m going to be posting more stuff about the IZOD IndyCar Series. It’s surely not a bad thing. Quite the contrary actually. I have to thank the Indy Racing League for giving me access to their media site because without that I wouldn’t be able to bring you these awesome photos. Who knows, maybe I’ll go to more races too instead of just the one at Infineon Raceway.
Scott Dixon won the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway this past weekend. He was joined in victory lane by his wife Emma and their super adorable baby daughter Poppy. Her red hair is so cute!
Anyway, you all know how much I love to compare drivers to celebrities and I couldn’t help but think that Scott bares a striking resemblance to the lead singer of one of my all time fave bands, Stephen Christian of Anberlin. Check out the comparison below. Don’t they look like they could be brothers? They were born in the same year just days apart. How freaky cool is that??
|Scott Dixon (left) and Stephen Christian (right)|
In other news…
– It’s time for a Richard Antinucci update. If you remember he’s that super hot racer that carries a dual Italian/US citizenship. I gushed about my sightings of him at last year’s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. He was in the IndyCar Series last year for five races and this year doesn’t seem to have a ride. Which boggles my mind considering that Milka Duno gets to cruise around as the resident safety hazard. Anyway, Richard is set to make his debut in the Italian Gran Turismo Championship. He’ll be driving an Audi R8 LMS for Audi Sport Italia in two events at Valleunga this Sunday and Magione in June.
– Check out this great article by Graham Rahal about his stint with Sarah Fisher Racing and his future in the IZOD IndyCar Series. I can’t believe he’s only 21. Racing sure does know how to make young guys grow up fast.
Scott Dixon and his wife Emma celebrate his victory with their daughter Poppy at the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 1, 2010.
Apparently there’s something in the water of the NASCAR garage because everybody is either procreating or getting married these days, which is further proof that I need to get my butt to a NASCAR race ASAP!
Kyle Busch proposed to his longtime girlfriend Samantha Sarcinella at Daytona Thursday night and she said yes. She’s on Twitter now too, so go follow her. Let’s hope she posts the wedding day details!
Photo from @KyleBusch
In other news…
– Did you know that Nicole Manske married IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe this past December? I know, I’m a lamer and didn’t. Anywho, I extend my belated congratulations to the couple and follow it up with another “Did you know?” fact. Nicole — who is now going by her married name Briscoe — and Danica Patrick are both from Roscoe, IL and went to the same high school, although a few years separate them. Cool right? And now, Nicole is married to a guy that races against Danica in IndyCar. Fun stuff.
The photo below is from an interview Nicole did with Danica on ESPN last week.
– On Thursday night Jimmie Johnson hit up the Jose Cuervo Platino Penthouse and Hotel 944 Party sponsored by Jose Cuervo and GUINNESS in Miami, Florida with longtime friend Nick Lachey. Also in attendance was Nick’s brother Drew Lachey and former Miss Teen USA Vanessa Minillo (Nick’s girlfriend). The group ran into rapper Snoop Dogg as you can see for yourself in the photo below. I have to wonder what Jimmie’s rapper name would be but I can’t think of anything good. Ideas??
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, rapper Snoop Dogg and singer/TV personality Nick Lachey attend the Hotel 944 Party sponsored by Jose Cuervo and GUINNESS at Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach on February 04, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by: Vallery Jean /Getty for Jose Cuervo)
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, singer/TV personality Drew Lachey and singer/TV personality Nick Lachey attend the Hotel 944 Party sponsored by Jose Cuervo and GUINNESS at Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach on February 04, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by: Vallery Jean /Getty for Jose Cuervo)
Actress/TV personality Vanessa Minillo attends the Hotel 944 Party sponsored by Jose Cuervo and GUINNESS at Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach on February 04, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by: Getty for Jose Cuervo)
On Sunday, last weekend, at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma when I arrived at the track, again at 8am, I realized quickly that there wasn’t much to do. I sat on pit road and watched as fans and VIPs took spins around the track with professional drivers from the Jim Russell Racing School. The whole thing made me wish I owned an Audi, the car of choice for the day’s hot laps.
Eventually, I ducked into Jennifer Azzi’s press conference. As I wrote a few days before the weekend started Azzi was on hand as the race’s Grand Marshal. It was cool to see her and I must admit that I totally missed my opportunity to introduce myself and tell her what an inspiration she’d been to me as a kid. I’m shy, OK. And I have to work up what I’m going to say in my mind before I actually do it and make sure it’s not lame. There never was a perfect time, but whatever, she’s on Twitter and I plan on saying something to her at some point over there.
Last Saturday I arrived at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma bright and early (8am to be exact) for the start of my Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend.
Not long after I picked up my credentials, got to the media center, picked up the necessary schedules and general information I’d need for the day I had my first driver sighting.
Graham Rahal was in Victory Lane with his No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team car for an interview with a local television station.
Sunday was the IndyCar race day. Driving to the track was a considerably different experience than it is for a NASCAR race, there wasn’t any traffic. Leaving was an entirely different story. It still sucked and what should only take 45 minutes took 2 hours. But that’s the way it goes with race weekends. Although, next year I have a plan for a new route to take me home that should cut down on the time I spend in my car wanting to slit my wrists from all of the stop-and-go traffic.
Anyway, back to the track. It was firefighter appreciation day and as I walked into the paddock area the first thing I saw was this old timey fire truck with the cutest and smartest Dalmatian dog sitting on top of it. I couldn’t believe how obedient he was! He just sat there in the seat and didn’t freak out or bark at the people gathered around staring at him. There was another dog, whose breed I couldn’t tell you, that was barking a lot but the cute Dalmatian could not and would not be baited into barking back.
And then there were these big creamy-colored horses to pull the old timey fire truck. They were huge, but absolutely beautiful. They had a special moment during the pre-race festivities when they pulled the truck down the track and in front of the grandstands.
So I guess IndyCar has this reputation for being more upscale than NASCAR in terms of its fans and such. They’ve got Cristal and Izod for sponsors after all. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s all a bunch of hooey. Why is it that I saw more boobs during this race weekend than I ever have at any NASCAR race I’ve been to? And when I say that I saw boobs I’m not saying that women were flashing them, of course they weren’t but let’s just say they were on display. And why is it that I saw more fans wearing NASCAR gear than anything else? The Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans were out in full effect. Instead of trying to act all hoity-toity I think they should try to soak up some of the NASCAR marketing tactics and get some more butts in the seats.
Oh, speaking of butts in the seats, that’s exactly where they stayed when it came time to try and break the record for the most people doing the twist dance. Yea, that whole idea crashed and burned the minute the music started up. A group of people did dance but mostly everyone just watched. To make something like that work you really have to have a group that’s invested in its success ya know?
So I was totally right when I said that George Lucas would probably make an appearance at the race because Marco Andretti’s car was running the special Blockbuster/STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS paint scheme. George hung out with Marco during the pre-race festivities and then in his pit during the race. Marco’s race suit was made to look like a storm trooper uniform. I’m not a big fan of the whole codpiece detailing.
In the end, Helio Castroneves won the race, his first of the season and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan were mathematically eliminated from the field running for the Championship with only two races left on the year. This win was a sweet one for the Team Penske guys after having their primary cars go up in smoke (literally) earlier in the week. It’s amazing they were able to come back and finish first with Helio’s Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe coming in second. Briscoe has the most awesome accent by the way. I gotta get to Australia.
Danica Patrick walks to the garage after the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Marco Andretti gets ready for a warm-up session on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Ryan Briscoe chats with someone on pit road on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Fans gathered around victory lane to watch the first through third place finishers receive their trophies on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I thought this guy looked a lot like paparazzo/ex-Britney Spears boyfriend Adnan Ghalib only cuter, but I figured he was probably just a guy from William Rast. WR is the clothing company started by Justin Timberlake and his best friend Trace Ayala. The company was the sponsor of Townsend Bell’s car.
Some dude on pit road on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at Infineon Raceway. (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)