Sunday morning I woke up ridiculously early so that I could get to the track in time to get a ride in the pace car with Brett Bodine. This was my second time getting to ride around the Sonoma Raceway track but it had been long enough since the first time I’d done it to not remember what it felt like. Let me tell you this, Brett Bodine doesn’t lay off the gas pedal just because you’re not a race car driver. That guy went flat out and it was insane.
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Dover was fun right? Riiight?
Pit crew guys were almost run over, there was a big ‘ole crashy-crash and Jimmie Johnson wore a silly rainbow-colored clown wig. Good times. Good times.
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’m not sure what I can say about Kansas except that it was a race and Denny Hamlin won it. So let’s leave it at that shall we?
And he kept fighting ’til the end!
What a race. The Ford 400 was pretty ah-mazing considering there wasn’t serious wreckage. It was all about Tony Stewart driving it like he freaking stole it to the win. Not only winning the race but his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. I’ve never seen anything like that, and it makes me wish we could have a race that looked like that one every weekend. I dunno but Tony certainly put on a show, his restarts were pitch perfect.
I’m oh so very happy for the Office Depot team, and I’m not just talking about the pit crew and Tony, I mean the PR peeps from Office Depot. They’re genuinely some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and have been so good to me over the past few years. All of my awesome moments & interviews with Tony have been because of them and I am so grateful. They totally deserved this win and I can’t wait to see ‘em all in Las Vegas!
Hats off to Carl Edwards for being his usual classy self. I know losing this Championship had to hurt, but he’s gotta be proud in knowing that he’s an elite driver in NASCAR. He’s come so far in following his dream, and like the awesome song “It’s Amazing” by Jem says, “Nothing can compare to deserving your dreams.”
Obviously Tony winning the Championship means that Jimmie Johnson didn’t, and of course leading up to Sunday’s race everybody was talking about how amazing Jimmie’s 5-peat was, and it is, but the thing that annoys the hell out of me is when people say that no one will ever be able to do that again. I just don’t like it when people rule things out. It’s possible. Anything’s possible. It’s also ridiculous to say that Jimmie will never win another Championship (insane that anyone even thought that). I feel like people say stuff just to say things because they have to fill in air time. Whatever.
And to all the douchebags that booed First Lady Michelle Obama you should be ashamed of yourselves. Regardless of your political beliefs she and Dr. Jill Biden were there in support of our troops and their families, show some respect. Idiots.
Anyway… I’m just going to put this out there: I really think that Tony winning this year’s Hottest Driver Tournament was a good omen for him. I might be slightly biased in that opinion, though. The 2012 Hottest NASCAR Driver Tournament will begin right after New Year’s on January 2, 2012. So stay tuned!
Up next… Champion’s Week in Las Vegas!
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.
I set out for my Las Vegas adventure last Wednesday. I drove my VW Eos for 9 hours all the while listening to “The Howard Stern Show.” This was during the height of the Charlie Sheen craziness so the sound clip of Charlie uttering his trademark “Winning” catchphrase has been permanently emblazoned on my brain. It is the one word to describe my entire race weekend experience. But not in a “I’m losing so bad I’m winning” way, it’s more of an “I feel like I’m actually winning, doing good and making progress” kind of way.
Saturday is always my favorite day in the garage because it’s all about practice and we haven’t reached the max level of wandering people that will be around come Sunday.
Something I hadn’t realized about the garage at Infineon is how perfect it is before the cars roll out for the first practice session of the day. Infineon’s garage stalls are all in one long row. You walk a straight line and you get to see everyone. This is especially eerie when all the drivers are sitting in their cars with their visors up just waiting for the call to drive out to the track.
It’s the only time when they’re basically a captive audience. You could jump out in front of their cars and do a little dance or hold up a big sign saying whatever you want and they have to watch because they can’t go anywhere. I didn’t do a little dance, I just tried to take pictures but I recommend that if you’re going to get a garage pass make sure it’s on a day when the guys are practicing. It’s the best time.