All posts tagged Sam Hornish Jr.

29 Posts

who knew a parking spot could mean so much?

Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Okay… So here’s the first of several posts on what happened while I was at the Auto Club Speedway for Labor Day Weekend:

On Friday I got to the track and picked up my credentials and I found out that I got two things I’ve never had before. The first was a Victory Lane sticker and the second was a reserved parking spot in the media parking area. This may seem really insignificant but it seriously made my weekend. The parking spot alone was awesomeness. Why? Because it meant that I got to drive in between the driver & VIP bus lot and the garage area and park right next to the Nationwide Series garage, and all of that made my walk to and from the media center super short. It’s the small things people!

I got into the media center and grabbed a copy of the driver media availability schedule. I had to plan my day and the first thing I had to do was find out how the haulers were situated and whose hauler was where. I think it was funny/interesting that Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch were set up right next to each other in the garage after the incident at Bristol the weekend before. It’s not like it really matters seeing as how they’re never really in the garage for that long at any given time, and when they are they’re busy with their teams and their cars. So ya know getting into a fist fight is probably the last thing on their minds even though it would be the greatest thing in the world to see from my perspective. :)

But I digress. There was time before all of the press meet-ups were scheduled so I enjoyed some pastry in the media lounge while listening to Sam Hornish Jr. and Regan Smith talk about being rookies in the Cup Series over the loudspeaker. Because I couldn’t see them or hear the questions that were being asked I got to play a fun game of “Guess Whose Voice That Is” in my head.

After the top two rookies had their press conference there was another press gathering for Michael Waltrip Racing and Affliction Clothing. Affliction sponsored the No. 00 car that was being run that weekend by Mike Skinner. In promotion of this they had a group of Mixed Martial Arts fighters on hand (and a butt load of what I’m assuming were their girlfriends and such) to take photos and talk about the upcoming MMA fights. I got to see Michael Waltrip, who seems to me these days like a gentle giant, well, a gentle giant in designer jeans. I wanted to snap a photo of them but I couldn’t without it being incredibly obvious that I was trying to take a shot of his butt.

Auto Club Speedway implemented a bunch of misting stations in time for the race weekend. It was such a brilliant idea and I’m glad they did it ’cause it made standing around in that insane heat so much more bearable. Actually it was pretty windy too and that helped, although I have a serious tan and sunburn on my back. I remember taking a shower on Monday morning and at the very top of my back, just beneath my neck, it was all sore from sunburn.

The highlight of Friday morning was of course meeting Travis Kvapil and interviewing him in his hauler. I tried to catch Kasey Kahne’s session but it was totally pointless because there were cars in the garage revving their engines and I couldn’t hear anything.

I caught sight of Clint Bowyer sitting outside of his hauler during his specified media time but nobody was crowed around him. I debated going over and talking to him, but of course I didn’t. First, I found it highly odd that someone like him would just be left alone like that with nary a writer in site and I didn’t want to look like a doink asking if I could talk to him only to find out it had been moved to another time or it was earlier or something. Plus after reading a transcript of a press conference he’d had, the one I’d missed apparently, he had some really short answers and he kind of strikes me as someone who’s not that interested in talking. So I don’t regret not going up to him.

For lunch I went to the Panasonic tent in the infield where they were hosting a special BBQ for the gathered media. As soon as I walked in I was greeted with a pink lei placed around my neck and a free USB drive. The place was decked out in what I’m calling “Tiki BBQ Chic” decor. There was a bar in the middle serving soft drinks and water and outside in the back was the aforementioned BBQ. Of course they were promoting Panasonic goods including the largest plasma TV screen in the world. It is 100 inches wide. It was crazy big and of course I would love to have that sucker on my wall. They were showing off a video game on it and I wanted to go and try it but the power went out and I left.


Clint Bowyer hangs out outside of his hauler at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Clint Bowyer hangs out outside of his hauler at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Kasey Kahne

Kasey Kahne chats with the media at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Car

That’s me in the reflection!

Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet is rolled out to pit road before a practice session at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Travis Kvapil's No. 28 Car

Travis Kvapil’s No. 28 Hitachi “Inspire the Dream” Ford Fusion gets pushed out to pit road before a practice session at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Panasonic Tent

The big screen tv inside the Panasonic tent at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

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!

celebrating 20 years of nascar at infineon

Infineon RacewayAs the NASCAR race weekend in Sonoma draws closer I’m getting more and more excited. It helps that on Tuesday Cup drivers David Ragan, Travis Kvapil, J.J. Yeley and Sam Hornish Jr. (along with Nationwide Series driver Marcos Ambrose) will be rolling into town to test at Infineon. The testing session (from 8:30am to 4:30pm) is open to the public, free of charge and yeah, I’m so there. Did I even need to say that?

NASCAR has been coming to the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty years now and some of the drivers expressed their thoughts on the road course:

“They have kept up with the times, as well as brought a tremendous amount of diversity to the sport. One of the things that Sonoma has done is bring a different culture, a different type of race fan, which I think is really cool. The racetrack is so unique. It’s very different, the racetrack itself is different. The grounds are different. The location is incredible.”
Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet

“The track is definitely sentimental to me in terms of spring-boarding my career. Some of the big owners saw me win that (Southwest Series) race, and I was on ESPN that day, and in 1999 they had just changed the track configuration to use the Chute, so a lot of the big teams were watching that day. It was very exciting. We had a great Southwest Series team and ran for the championship that year and Infineon Raceway really put us on the map.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge

“What’s so special about Infineon Raceway is that it’s so difficult. I grew up racing on a three-eighth mile dirt track in Missouri. To come to a twisting, turning, uphill, downhill road course where you’re shifting gears in a 3,400-pound stock car, against guys like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and Boris Said is a very, very tough thing. To be able to come here and win a race, I think for any driver, and I know for me would be one of the most satisfying wins in all of NASCAR.”
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford

“I was born in Vallejo, right down the road from Sonoma. So to be able to come out and see my family and friends, who I don’t get to see very often, and then we were able to win fairly early in my career out there, which is a lot of fun winning on the road course. And we’ve had a lot of wins since then. To go the last couple of years and have some exciting news and excitement in my personal life, which has all coincided with that race, has been very exciting. And now it gives us something to celebrate every time we come out there. This year we’ll be celebrating Ella’s first birthday when we come out there, so that will be fun.”
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet

“Infineon Raceway is one race on the schedule that I absolutely love and look forward to coming and running. I mean, I like running the road courses, and we’ve had success out there. We ran really, really well. The people at the racetrack are always great. It’s an awesome crowd that’s very energetic and loves to see the Cup Series run there and it’s a track that I really have a lot of fun driving on so I always look forward to going there.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota

In other news…

– Did ya hear the news about Casey Mears?? He’s going to be dad! His girlfriend is pregnant with his first child. This tidbit of information was dropped in an article from the AP but Answer This has a little bit more detail. Congrats Casey!

Clint BowyerClint Bowyer spoke with the media here in the Bay Area today in anticipation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. When asked if, in this sport, it was important for fans to have someone to dislike Clint had this to say:

“It’s the same way with racing in general or any kind of sport. Everybody loves the winner until they win too much, and then they don’t like them anymore. The guys who have been very successful have seen both sides. Jeff Gordon, you either love him or hate him, but bottom line you respect him. There’s a big difference between a guy like Jeff Gordon and a guy like Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch is winning races and he’s on top, but there’s not that love-hate relationship. I think it has nothing to do with his performance on the track. People don’t respect him because of the things he does when he gets out of the race car.”

And then when asked if it’s easy for fans to find someone to boo Clint said this:

“I think it’s pretty easy. That’s what makes this sport what it is — the personalities. That’s what separates this sport from other sports is that you’re able to get so much closer to these personalities. There are a lot fewer people in this sport, there are only 43, whereas football and baseball there are hundreds. You see a lot more of the personalities of the drivers in this sport. I think it’s a good thing about our sport that it’s so fan friendly and they can get that close to the action.”

And I believe that he’s totally right on both points.


sam hornish jr. had a baby

Actually, his wife did the majority of the work.

Sam and Crystal Hornish welcomed their first child this morning. Addison Faith Hornish was born at 6:24 a.m. on Monday, February 4th. Baby Addison weighs 7lbs 2oz. and measures 18 inches. Both mom and baby are doing well.

Congratulations to the Hornish family!

tony stewart’s hair: better long or short?

Ya know, I’m not quite sure which I like better. I’m usually a big fan of dudes with long hair but I don’t know how I feel about it on Tony.

At any rate, here are more fantastic photos from the second week of testing at Daytona. These were taken yesterday.

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR

Tony Stewart shares a laugh with the media during a Preseason Thunder news conference following Tuesday morning’s test session. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood / Getty Images for NASCAR

Sam Hornish Jr. signs autographs for fans on Tuesday morning during the second week of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR

Dario Franchitti puts on his balaclava as he gets ready to test on the second day of the second week of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR

Three-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Jarrett will go for gold in his final Great American Race on Feb. 17 at the Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR

Dale Earnhardt Jr. poses with the special 50th running of the Daytona 500 edition of the Harley J. Earl Trophy during Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR

It’s like he’s staring into your soul. Great photo. :)

Bill Elliott takes a break from testing the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford during the second week of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images for NASCAR)

let’s do the penske points swap

Or lets not and say we did.

This Penske points swap doesn’t sit well with me. I just don’t like the idea of this new guy coming in and taking credit for someone else’s hard work so to speak. I’m not even a Kurt Busch fan and I still think it’s shady. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m also not a big Sam Hornish Jr. fan either (he’s so freaking boring, I’m sorry). Actually, no, I don’t think it has to do with any of that, it’s just wrong. I’m sure Kurt will make all the races but there’s still a chance that he might not — which will make for a great platform for drama next year I’m sure.

So what else is new? Things are kinda slow, at least for me, because of the holidays. It always feels like nothing gets done during this time of year. I cannot wait for Christmas to be over so that things can start happening again.

Here are some photos I missed out on from a few weeks ago at the Bush Series Champions dinner:

Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images

Carl Edwards and his mom Nancy — such a sweet photo

Carl Edwards and his mother, Nancy, celebrate his 2007 NASCAR Busch Series championship. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images

Who knew David Ragan was such a hottie?? Maybe he should take Jimmie Johnson’s spot as a Gillette Young Gun

Not only did David Ragan finish fifth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings, he won Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors and collected $1,229,394. (Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images)

50 cent and cousin carl get sirius

After yesterday’s technical difficulties all is back to normal in Fast & Fabulous land. I’ll soon be moving this site and my others to a new host in the hopes of avoiding yesterdays service interruption. Yay.

Anyway, on to the news. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports will be revealing the last pieces of the puzzle next week when they announce who the major sponsors of Dale’s car will be and the number that will be on said car. Rumor has it that will be a combination of the energy drink Amp and the National Guard. I guess the National Guard seems likely since they’re the ones that currently co-sponsor the #25 that next year will turn into whatever number Hendrick has been able to get it’s hands on. I’m hoping they grabbed the 88, that’d make the most sense, and for those numbskulls out there that got the #8 tattooed on their bodies it would be easy (in theory) to add another 8.

I love Ashley Judd, I love her whole family (one of my first concerts was in fact a Judds show). The woman is just plain cool. If Dario Franchitti does in fact make the switch from IndyCar to NASCAR I’m all for it if it means we get to see Ashley. She’s so fun; it’ll be great to get her perspective and opinions on the competition. She gives her opinion on things whether or not it’s been asked for and I totally dig that, like last weekend when she called out the No. 23 team of Milka Duno for being so slow on the track, which in Ashley’s words was putting other drivers in danger. She wasn’t way off base, the announcers basically agreed with her, without actually saying so though.

Oh and while I’m on the subject of IndyCar, there’s one driver that I won’t be so excited to see in NASCAR and that’s Sam Hornish Jr. He is so friggin’ boring. I feel like taking a nap every time I hear him speak. He seems so lethargic and devoid of any personality. He never seems that excited about anything. He could just be a quiet, low key person, which I totally get ’cause I’m like that, but still show me something!

In other news…

– In an effort to not be outdone by Tiger Woods, Jeff Gordon has posted a gallery of photos of his daughter Ella.

David Stremme has been dubbed “Mayor of the Infield.” But just when he gets props for being loved by fans he’s supposedly losing his ride. How screwed is that? Apparently it’s so screwed that even Juan Pablo Montoya is sad about it… although I doubt he’ll cry.

Fun Friday photo — worlds are colliding!:


Carl Edwards meets music artist 50 Cent while at Sirius Radio for Chase Media Day. (Photo Credit: Sirius Radio)

the nuge

The Nuge is here! Yes folks Ted Nugent is at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma today. It looks like he got to take a hot lap around the track with IndyCar driver Sam Hornish Jr. I snapped a quick picture through the window of the media center. It’s not the greatest photo but still. :) Danica Patrick was also driving a Honda Safety Car around the track. I have no idea why the Nugent is here, although he did play a show at the Fillmore earlier this week, but he’s not the Grand Marshall. Whatever the circumstances it’s very cool to see a rock legend enjoying the races.

Ted Nugent (left), Sam Hornish Jr. (center) and some dude (right)

Danica Patrick behind the wheel of a Honda Safety Car (the official pace car)

Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma 2006 Photo Gallery

kiss the bricks!

So my heart softened just a little bit for Jimmie Johnson this weekend. Normally he’s on my crap list, especially with that suspect crew chief of his Chad Knaus, but this week I could really sense genuine feelings and emotions from him, like winning this race really meant something to him.

And so it should, it was the Brickyard 400 after all, oops I mean the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. This is one of the few times I’ll ever take issue with sponsors but when the race is at Indy it should be called Indy or Brickyard. They’re never going to change the Daytona 500 to the McDonalds 500 at Daytona. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is steeped in history for Indy cars, but not so much for stock cars. But if you watched the pre-race show on NBC you’d think Jesus walked on those bricks. :) I kid, I kid…

The thing I hated about the race was that the finish wasn’t a nail biter. It didn’t come close to this year