Immediately following the press room session with the Chase drivers at the Bellagio, I got on the bus taking the media over to the starting line in front of Planet Hollywood for the Victory Lap down The Strip (aka Las Vegas Boulevard).
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I arrived in Las Vegas on Wednesday morning-ish. I checked in at my hotel, ARIA Hotel & Casino at CityCenter. I am giving this hotel two thumbs up because when I opened the door to my room (that unlocked after only having to wave my room key in front of the keypad above the door handle) music began to play and the curtains pulled back on their own revealing floor to ceiling windows facing a skyline of mountains.
Office Depot has created an exclusive Tony Stewart calendar for 2011 that features photos of the driver that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. The one below is my favorite so far because I can’t believe how dapper and George Clooney-esque Tony looks. The calendar is available for purchase at select Office Depot stores and online at OfficeDepotRacing.com.
This is clearly the PERFECT gift for that Tony Stewart fan in your life.
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)
As the campaign to prove that Jimmie Johnson isn’t vanilla rolls on, I thought it would be fun to assign an ice cream flavor to each of the drivers in The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship.
I don’t know why Jimmie would mind being vanilla, I mean, it’s a classic and reliable flavor (how do you mess up vanilla??). It’s a trusty, go-to flavor, and doesn’t that make sense for him since we rely on him to win all the time? I’m just sayin’.
1.) Jimmie Johnson – Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk: He has a house in New York and this is as far away from Vanilla as possible. Happy, Jimmie??
2.) Denny Hamlin – Ben & Jerry’s Neapolitan Dynamite: Because Denny is the only one that sort of reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite.
3.) Kevin Harvick – Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby: He’s not chubby, but he is a hubby.
4.) Jeff Gordon – Rocky Road: It’s been one for, like, the past 2 or 3 years, right?
5.) Kyle Busch – Pistachio: I’m not a fan of Pistachio
6.) Carl Edwards – Vanilla frozen yogurt: Carl is all about eating healthy (Subway!), and staying ab-tacular, so this is all he can have.
7.) Tony Stewart – Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey: He had a monkey once.
8.) Matt Kenseth – Ben & Jerry’s Imagine Whirled Peace: He never gets into fights, ok there was that time with Jeff Gordon, but overall Kenseth is Switzerland.
9.) Kurt Busch – Rum Raisin: Alcohol, there’s no such thing as beer ice cream.
10.) Jeff Burton – Ben & Jerry’s Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream: This happens to be my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor and it’s also the only flavor that is remotely related to politics, and ya know Jeff Burton will be a politician somewhere, someday. Just go with me on this OK?
11.) Greg Biffle – Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food: Can’t you imagine Biffle relaxin’ with some of this yummy chocolately, caramely, marshmallowy, fudge fishy goodness?
12. ) Clint Bowyer – Ben & Jerry’s Maple Blondie: He’s blonde, duh.
Sunday at Auto Club Speedway was a big day, not just for the Pepsi Max 400, but for all of the couples that were getting married and renewing their vows on the track. I was so excited about the whole thing and totally looking forward to seeing how it would all go down.
Saturday morning at Auto Club Speedway found me inside the Nationwide Series garage watching as drivers qualified for the CampingWorld.com 300. Driver after driver made their qualifying run and I stood by in the media bullpen area where they keep the top-3 cars. Cars shuffle in and out (and drive by) as the numbers on the pylon change order.
There weren’t a lot of fans milling around in the garage and only a handful actually stuck around to watch drivers get out of their cars and maybe ask them for an autograph. I noticed David Reutimann, in regular dude clothes, standing with the guys from Michael Waltrip Racing. He had on a hat and sunglasses but I still couldn’t get over the fact that people didn’t notice him. I guess it was good for him to not be bothered, seeing as how he’d just come off the weekend before and his infamous incident with Kyle Busch.
As qualifying progressed I watched as Carl Edwards got out of his car, spoke with various members of the media, signed autographs for fans, met with a large group of employees from his sponsor, Copart, took pictures with them, and then went off to the media center. All of that took place in the space of like 10 minutes. Now that’s multi-tasking.
I’m finally writing again! I have so much stuff to post for you guys, please bear with me while I get everything up. There are new Inside the Actor’s Studio interviews coming too. I’m in Las Vegas this weekend for Blog World & New Media Expo, but I’m planning on getting a lot of writing done as well. So stay tuned…
Last Thursday I drove seven and half hours down to Southern California for the start of my Auto Club Speedway/Pepsi Max 400 race weekend.
As I was driving I tried to think of new & interesting questions for Tony Stewart. Tony was having an autograph session at the Office Depot in Rancho Cucamonga that day and he had an open media session before he starting signing things for fans. Yet again I found myself having a hard time thinking of more questions for Tony. I really loved how well my first interview went with him that I didn’t want to ruin it by asking more questions and having it be lame.
Here’s how I feel about the David Reutimann/Kyle Busch incident: Boys will be boys.
I love the idea of throwing that dumb cliche back in the face of people who like to use it to explain away bad behavior.
But seriously, I don’t really care. Reutimann was pissed and he decided to take action. The fact that Kyle is in The Chase is totally irrelevant. Everyone is trying to do the best they can no matter what, if they’re in the top-12 or not. That’s why I hate that Chase commercial where the drivers talk about all the stuff they have to compete against to win the Championship. Never once do they mention the fact that they still have to deal with 42 other drivers, not just 11 other guys contending for the Championship. That’s why winning the Sprint Cup is a big deal. The guys not in the Chase shouldn’t be expected to roll over, on the contrary, they should be getting in the way.
It’ll mean more for the the guy that ultimately wins the thing.
Congratulations to Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M team! I’m so glad the standings within The Chase are still up in the air. Hopefully we can keep it that way for at least a few more races!
Jeff Burton, driver of the Caterpilliar Chevrolet, stands on pit road with his wife Kim prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 on October 3, 2010 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Christa Thomas/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson got to celebrate his win of the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway with his wife, Chandra and their new almost 3-month-old baby daughter, Genevieve. It was, as expected, absolutely adorable to see Jimmie looking so lovingly at his daughter.
This is surely Genevieve’s first of many trips to Victory Lane with her daddy. I can’t help but turn this simple beautiful moment into something competitive and so I can’t help but think about how Genevieve has already beaten Jeff Gordon’s 3-year-old daughter, Ella, at something. She got to celebrate with her papa first. It’s silly, I know, and yes, while Ella hasn’t physically been in Victory Lane she did get to celebrate her dad’s win at Texas after the fact that one time, but still it wasn’t the same.
I guess Ella can take solace in the fact that Genevieve won’t remember last Sunday anyway. Although, Ella has a lot to be proud of, she’s accomplished a lot in the last three years. The two wines — a chardonnay and a pinot noir — that her dad named after her won awards and she designed a paint scheme for her dad’s car. So there.
UPDATE: Sarah, an awesome commenter, has corrected me. Ella has been with her dad in victory lane when she was really little. (this photo is proof) I stand corrected, Ella and Genevieve are even! Thanks Sarah!
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane with daughter Genevieve Marie and wife Chandra after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The two finalists in Office Depot’s “Official Small Business of NASCAR” sweepstakes have been chosen and are attending this weekends race at Dover to find out who will be named the “Official Small Business of NASCAR” for 2010. It all depends on where Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart finish in Sunday’s AAA 400.
Normally, I would write more and give you all the details about the finalists (seen at left) but NASCAR’s Andrew Giangola wrote an AWESOME piece about the Tony, Greg and the finalists. It’s really good away from the track stuff. I mean, I really wish I had been at that dinner. Super fun. Anyway, go read the article!
Oh! And below is a nice video about the two finalists, Rose Berger, owner of Professional Cleaning Service in Greer, S.C., and Mike Pagano, owner of PaganoPhoto – Photos by Mike Pagano in Cedar Brook, N.J. The economy’s issues have affected us all in some way and these two finalists have had their fair share, which is why this contest is so great because it helps these small businesses get a leg up.
In other news…
So, I’m guessing nobody called Carl Edwards (or Kurt Busch for that matter) to tell him that the dress code options for the Chase Media Day in New York City this week were two things: plaid shirts or black shirts.
Carl looks like he’s running for president, while the rest of the drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship just look like regular dudes.
I am a big fan of plaid so I applaud Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer for their choices. You think they called each other the night before and were all “What are you gonna wear??” Hehe. That idea tickles me.
Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Small Business car, signs Sprint Cup posters during the NASCAR Media Day event at the London Hotel on September 15, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by John W. Ferguson/Getty Images)
While I’m not sure who I “want” to win the Championship this year, I can tell you who I think will win it and who I’m sure definitely will not.
I’ve had a feeling for some time now that Denny Hamlin would claim the 2010 Sprint Cup Series Championship, I’m not entirely sure why I feel that way but it just seems like the right thing. I think this kid is determined and it seems like it’s his time.
Now, on to who I think definitely will not win the Championship and that would be Jimmie Johnson. Not because he’s not capable, a duh he’s won 4 in a row, but because everyone else in the Chase wants it more. I think there has to be something to seeing Jimmie win it every year and I think these guys are psyched and pumped to make sure he doesn’t win a 5th. I just think the other guys want and NEED this Championship more than Jimmie does and therefore they’re going to do everything within their power to make sure they’re tops this year.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 10, 2010 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Yea, that’s the whole story. You could have made a drinking game out of the words “loose” and “sideways” and you would of been drunk within the first 10 minutes of the race.
I loved it to much. It was dramatic and people were racing each other and trying not to lose control. I loooooved it. It was hard to watch, which means that it was an awesome race ‘cause I had no idea what was going to happen. It’s amazing there weren’t more wrecks.
How cute was the spat between Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne? Gosh, I wish I was there. I would have loved to have been in that garage when they rolled in together. I don’t know why I find it so cute to see Kasey angry. Ha!
Congratulations to Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice team. I decided that I would only be happy if someone who hadn’t won a race this year won, so I’m totally good with Tony’s trip to Victory Lane.
Annnd another set of congrats to Jamie McMurray and the No. 88 Hellmann’s/BJ’s team for their win in the Nationwide Series on Saturday. That was super huge and awesome for JR Motorsports. I’m so glad Jamie got to win with that team.
So the place where I normally get pictures has no pictures from this weekend yet. I hope it’s yet. As soon as new pictures are available I’ll post ‘em.
The starting field of drivers poses during pre-race ceremonies before the start of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
First, a couple of reminders. If you haven’t already, please fill out the 2010 ‘Fabulous’ Reader Survey. To everyone that’s already taken the survey, thanks a million. I really appreciate all of the kind words and the suggestions! Also, take a millisecond and enter the contest to win a $200 NASCAR.com Superstore gift card.
‘Fabulous’ News has been picking up steam lately, so be sure to check it out for news from teams and sponsors. Good stuff. I also post random photos there as well.
In other news…
– JR Motorsports announced today that they’ve signed Aric Almirola to a multi-year deal to drive the No. 88 in the Nationwide Series starting in 2011. I think this is a good fit for Aric and JR Motorsports, and it’s handy to be signing a big deal when you’re about to get married right?
“The chance to drive full time in the Nationwide Series with a top caliber team is something I am extremely excited about,” Almirola said. “I was at the shop yesterday, and Kelley gathered all the employees around to announce our deal. The energy and excitement was addicting. We raced at ORP together a month ago and had a really good run. There is no reason why we cannot compete like that every race, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be running for a championship. I would expect nothing less.”
– Now is the time to bid on the firesuit and helmet worn by Tony Stewart at this year’s July 10th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. Just go to the brand spanking new OfficeDepotRacing.com website.
… through August 23, fans can bid on the actual Office Depot Foundation firesuit and helmet worn by Stewart during the July 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ race at Chicagoland Speedway. Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy featured a special “back-to-school” paint scheme at Chicagoland, and the unique firesuit and helmet were created specifically for that race.
Both items will be autographed by Stewart, and proceeds from the auction will be used to support The Office Depot Foundation’s award-winning National Backpack Program, which provides new backpacks to schools and charitable organizations that work with children in need across the country.
“It was a lot of fun to have the special back-to-school paint scheme on my No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy earlier this summer, and I’m very proud to partner with the Office Depot Foundation on its National Backpack Program,” Stewart said. “I can tell you from experience how rewarding it is to see the look on these kids’ faces when they get a new backpack – it’s an automatic boost of confidence for them and helps them feel ready to take on the new school year just like everybody else. I hope fans will help support this awesome program by participating in the online auction.”
I missed the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday because I was busy driving two of my nephews (ages 9 and 11) from their home in Los Angeles to my mom’s house in the SF Bay Area. I love my nephews more than words can say but spending 7 hours in a car with them is not something I really want to do again. Who knew that doing word search puzzles could be a competitive thing??
Anyway, I did catch some of the race action from SIRIUS Satellite Radio’s coverage with MRN, but the boys were more interested in hearing music from Drake and, amazingly enough, Katy Perry’s song “California Gurls.”
In between pop music stints I did learn that Kevin Harvick won and that Dale Earnhardt Jr. dropped a couple curse words while being interviewed by ESPN’s Marty Smith.
So this post is going to be super duper photo heavy. Enjoy!
Delana Harvick takes a photo of her husband, Kevin Harvick (29), after he wins the Carfax 400 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Don’t you just want to eat him up? So adorable! I’m talking about the baby, not Tony.
Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot / Old Spice Chevrolet talks with Gavin Grubb, son of Stewart’s crew chief Darian Grubb,during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jack Roush during the Carfax 400 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Martin Truex Jr. (L), driver of the NAPA Toyota, and Sherry Pollex, stand on the grid during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the Cheerios / Hamburger Helper Chevrolet and guest stand on the grid for the National Anthem during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the Philips Norelco Chevrolet, talks with his wife Christy grid during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Greg Biffle, driver of the 3M Ford, stands on the grid with his wife Nicole for the playing of the National Anthem during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Nationwide driver Brad Keselowski celebrates with his mother after winning the Car Fax 250 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.
Joey Logano (20) and girlfriend, Sabrina Simpson, before the start of the Carfax 250 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Carl Edwards stands with his wife, Kate, and mother, Nancy Sterling, during pre-race ceremonies for the Carfax 250 race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
It’s funny when you don’t realize you want something so bad until there’s a chance it can actually happen. For me that was the possibility of AJ Allmendinger getting his first win at Watkins Glen yesterday. He was chargin’, running up front with those guys and it really seemed like it could of been his day.
Well, he didn’t win, Mr. Juan Pablo Montoya did, but I had a lot of fun cheering for AJ. I don’t have anything against Juan Pablo, but during the race when I was imagining who would have a better, more fun, reaction to winning in Victory Lane AJ won hands down. You know he would be waaaaaay more excited and happy and thankful if he’d won that race than Juan was. I love a first-time win, what can I say?
Anyway, congrats to Juan Pablo and the No. 42 Target Chevy team. And bonus congrats to crew chief Brian Pattie for his first Sprint Cup Series win, it was sweet to see his emotions post-race.
Even though I’ve never been to Watkins Glen I think it’s beautiful there. From what I can see on TV it looks fabulous and I really, really wanna go to the next race there. Hopefully that’ll happen next year. Watkins Glen is right up there with Bristol, Daytona and Talladega as the tracks that I want to visit the most.
I know the drivers might not agree but I really wish there were more road course races in the Sprint Cup Series schedule. I love ‘em. It jumbles everything, in terms of the race itself and the points standings. I guess as a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan I shouldn’t wish for that but I have confidence in my driver no matter what, and one day that guy will prevail at a road course.
Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Freight Toyota, stands on the grid with girlfriend Jordan Fish prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Driver Jamie McMurray of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing sits on the steps of the Sprint Cup Series hauler on Friday before practice for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen, New York
Ryan Newman, driver of the US Army Chevrolet, and his wife Krissie, stand on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Boris Said, driver of the Red Bull Toyota, stands on the grid with his family during the National Anthem prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
(left to right) Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott Sadler hang out together before driver introductions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International.
Juan Pablo Montoya clowns around with Tony Stewart prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International.
Mobil 1 driver Sam Hornish Jr. holds his daughter, Addison, before climbing into the car during qualifying for Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY.
Marcos Ambrose (47) celebrates winning the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY.
Martin Truex Jr.’s (56) helmet sits on his car during qualifying for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, NY.
Bo Bice looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 7, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Max Papis, driver of the GEICO Toyota, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 7, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
A.J. Allmendinger (L), driver of the Insignia HDTV Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 7, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I have a deep and seriously irrational love for the Clocked in with Tony Stewart & the Burger King Smoky Cheddar Steakhouse XT commercial.
It makes me smile every time I see it. Maybe it’s because it’s, like, the only NASCAR-related ad I ever see while I’m watching non-NASCAR-related television shows. Or maybe it’s because I adore the expression on Tony’s face when he says, “Just a sandwich or the meal?”
Or do I love that woman who recognizes Tony and tells him she loves him? I think it’s all of that. I love it!
The Coke Zero 400 was fun? I guess that’s the right word to describe a night that was full of crashy-crashes that seemed to take out, like, the entire field of cars. Only 17 out of 43 cars completed all 166 laps of the race. And that’s why Daytona will always be one of my absolute favorite tracks.
Congratulations to Kevin Harvick and the #29 crew for pulling out the win. I’m happy for them but I was actually hoping Clint Bowyer would be the Richard Childress Racing driver to run away with it. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be for Clint just yet.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 4th which catapulted him into the top-12 in the points standings. Now all he needs to do is just STAY THERE. Seriously, please, just stay RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE.
I’d like to remind you guys that my Wiley X sunglasses contest is still going on, you’ve got until July 9th to submit your entry! The prize is worth $150! I think this is the most expensive thing I’ve ever given away on this site.
Photo fun time after the jump!!
I think Drew Blickensderfer really wants to win my 2010 Hottest Crew Chief Award. What do you think?
Drew Blickensderfer waits for practice to begin for the Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. (photo: ZumaPress)
This is just a great photo.
Kasey Kahne, driver of the Budweiser Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sam Hornish Jr. (R), driver of the Mobil 1 Dodge, kisses his daughter Addison after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Darius Rucker performs on stage during the concert held prior to the the Coke Zero 400 race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series held in the Daytona International circuit in Florida, USA on 03 July 2010.
Juan Pablo Montoya kisses his daughter while waiting for the start of qualifying for the NASCAR Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on July 2, 2010. (UPI Photo/Martin Fried Photo via Newscom)
Carl Edwards, driver of the SUBWAY Ford, holds an umbrella on the grid as as rain cancels qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart prepares for the Coke Zero 400 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL.
Professional tennis player John Isner sits on the pit box of Matt Kenseth, driver of the Jeremiah Weed Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Members of Jimmie Johnson’s team rush Mark Martin to safety after a turn 4 wreck during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on July 3, 2010. (UPI Photo/Martin Fried Photo via Newscom)
Kevin Harvick driver of the Shell/Penzoil Chevrolet celebrates with his wife Delana (L) his victory in the Coke Zero 400 held in the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, USA on 03 July 2010.
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.
Clint Bowyer (33) gets turned around into the side of Elliot Sadler’s car Sunday during the Toyota Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. (photo credit: Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune)
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).
That’s Tony on the far right getting out of the car and that’s Frank Stoddard in front wearing the #26 Air Guard uniform.
And so that was my day at the Toyota/SaveMart 350. Photo fun time below!
Cars lined up and ready to go on pit road for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 on Sunday, June 20, 2010 at Infineon Raceway.
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.
One of my absolute favorite contests is back again. For the sixth year, Office Depot has launched the “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot” sweepstakes. This time there’s a whole new wrinkle, one that could give one super lucky small business one million dollars (when you read that you have to pretend you’re Dr. Evil ).
In addition to the possible $1 million, Office Depot, sponsor of the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy driven by Tony Stewart, is working with 3M and that means Greg Biffle is in the mix.
Here are the details of this year’s sweepstakes:
- Now through July 10, small business owners can enter for a chance to become the 2010 “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot” by entering online at www.OfficeDepotRacing.com
- Eligible small businesses should have 99 employees or less.
- The “Official Small Business of NASCAR” sweepstakes is now in its sixth year, but Office Depot has put a competitive new twist on the popular promotion for 2010.
- This year, two small business owners will be randomly selected as finalists in the sweepstakes, and Tony Stewart (driver of the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy) and Greg Biffle (driver of the No. 16 3M Ford) will go head-to-head on the race track to determine their fate during the AAA 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway on September 26.
- Stewart will carry the name/logo of one small business finalist on his race car during the Dover race, while Biffle will feature the name/logo of the other finalist on his car.
- The small business that appears on the highest-finishing driver’s car at Dover will be named the 2010 “Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot.”
- PLUS, if Stewart or Biffle were to win the race at Dover, the small business featured on the winning car will take home the “Official Small Business of NASCAR” title AND $1 million!
Both finalists will receive the following:
- $10,000 small business makeover from Office Depot
- VIP race weekend experience for two during the September 24-26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend at Dover International Speedway
- But if you aren’t one of the two finalists, you can still win big! Every day during the sweepstakes entry window, one lucky small business owner will be randomly selected to receive a $1,000 Office Depot gift card just for entering the sweepstakes.
Both Biffle and Stewart will be promoting the sweepstakes this weekend at the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Enter the contest at OfficeDepotRacing.com
Red Bull Racing has selected Mattias Ekström to handle the road course at Infineon Raceway next week in the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota:
“First of all, I’d like to express my sincere thanks — to Red Bull for inviting a Swede with zero NASCAR experience to compete in the United States and to Audi for the possibility and approval that enable me to fulfill this dream,” said Ekström, 31.
I, too, would like to express my sincerest thanks to Red Bull for inviting a cute Swedish dude to race in NASCAR for the first time ever. Can you say, “fresh meat?” It’s perfect timing since I’ll be at Infineon next week for the Toyota/SaveMart 350. Can wait to see Mattias in action. Zero NASCAR experience and his first race is at Infineon. I love it.
That’s Mattias (left) with Casey Mears, sporting his wedding ring. I forgot Casey got married!
In other news…
– The 2010 Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream was held last night and drivers from all kinds of racing disciplines were on hand, including Travis Pastrana who is famous for his motocross & supercross & general extreme sport background. I really, really wish Travis would try his hand at NASCAR. It would be a good time for sure. That guy is funny and super talented.
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 Thursday night in Charlotte I was laying in my bed at the hotel willing my body to heal itself while at the same time wracking my brain trying to think of questions to ask Tony Stewart.
I was set to interview Tony the next day at the Office Depot in Pineville, a small suburb just south of Charlotte, before he signed autographs for his fans.
I didn’t want to ask Tony the usual questions about his car for the race that weekend, or how he felt about Charlotte Motor Speedway or anything about his team and the usual competition-related questions. I only want to ask people things that I’m curious about. Of course what I really wanted to ask him about was his love life, but since this was my first time meeting him EVER I figured that wouldn’t be the way to go.
Plus, this is Tony Stewart. He’s the most intimidating person, at least to me, to interview. I’ve been at press conferences where he’s cut people down with like two words. I’ve seen people live that Southwest commercial where they ask “Wanna get away???” because they asked Tony something he felt wasn’t worthy of an answer.
On Wednesday my only goal for the day was to visit race shops. My first stop was JR Motorsports in Mooresville, NC. On my half-hour drive up to Mooresville I got to see the famous Lake Norman that numerous NASCAR drivers call home. It is absolutely gorgeous and now I totally understand why you’d want to find a house that sits next to it. I can extend the whole ‘gorgeous’ statement to the whole Charlotte area. It’s really flat, especially to someone like me who has grown up around mount this and mount that, but it’s also really, really green. I thought we had a lot of trees in Northern California but North Carolina has got a lock on ‘em too.
When I arrived at JR Motorsports, passing by Braun Racing in the process, I had another one of those “this is so coooooool” moments. I’m such a geek, but it was really fun to get to be there even though I knew I was only going into the JR Nation store to buy stuff and take a peek inside the actual race shop. I think, as a fan, it’s just as much fun to express your affinity for your favorite driver by buying a mug. I really did buy a JR Motorsports mug, and this cute Dale Jr. magnet notepad. There were a billion more things I could have purchased but I held back because I figured I might need some money to get back home and, ya know, to live.
Today is my last full day in Charlotte and it’s also, of course, the day of the Coca-Cola 600. I have so much to show and tell from this trip. There’s no way I’ll be able to get it out today, but I’m planning on writing stuff up as I travel back home to California tomorrow.
If you follow me on Twitter then you already know that I interviewed Tony Stewart on Friday and he said that my time with him was the most fun he’d had in an interview in a really long time. He said that in front of a lot of other people, so I have witnesses to back me up, and as we all know he didn’t have to say that. He made my life with that comment. It was exactly the reaction I was going for. I can’t wait to write out the whole experience for you! Totally made this trip even MORE memorable. It’ll all be posted this week for sure.
I think you should vote for either David Gilliland or Travis Kvapil in the NASCAR All-Star Race Fan Vote. They’re good guys, good drivers and it would be supercool to see ‘em in the All-Star Race.
It’s that simple. Just do it!
In other news…
– I get to ask Tony Stewart some questions next Friday in person at his autograph signing session at the Office Depot in Pineville, NC. My question for you is, what do you think I should ask him? I was thinking about asking him why he’s always dating blondes, but I don’t know that that’d go over well. So I’m open to ideas.
If you want to come out to the autograph session here are the details:
WHERE: Office Depot
9610 Pineville Matthews Road
Pineville, North Carolina 28134
WHEN: Friday, May 28, 2010 at 4 p.m. local time
NOTE: This event is open to the general public, and 700 wristbands will be distributed for autographs (one per person). The wristbands may be obtained on a first-come, first-served basis at the store beginning at 8 a.m. local time on the day of the event only. Fans with a wristband must be in line no later than 5 p.m. local time to receive an autograph.
– Get your signature on Tony Stewart’s car for the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona in July. How do you do that? It’s easy, just go to BKSignandRace.com to add your signature to the Burger King logo that’ll grace Tony’s car. I did it and it’s superfun. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
And get this, once the race is over you’ll have the opportunity to win an authentic No. 14 BURGER KING® car hood, with the fan endorsed BK logo, through an online auction that’ll take place at BKSignandRace.com starting June 28 through July 7. All proceeds from the auction will go to the HAVE IT YOUR WAY® Foundation.
Yesterday’s Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400 was a rousing success because Tony Stewart had a new blonde girlfriend with him on pit road during the pre-race ceremonies. It’s not everyday Tony has a woman with him on pit road. Actually it’s been quite awhile since we last saw him with his arm around anyone. So yes, I’m that friggin’ nosey.
I wonder if Tony knows that there are thousands of women out there that think he should get married and have babies already. And I’m sure half of those women think that he should do all of that with them. I, for one, think that he would make some cute kids so he should get crackin’.
There is soo much going on in this photo that it’s making my head hurt.
(Left to right) Anheuser-Busch Sports Marketing Manager Brian Dunlap shakes hands with Darrell Waltrip, who also raced this paint scheme at one point during his career. Kasey Kahne will drive the No. 9 Ford at Richmond International Raceway this weekend. (Credit: Harold Hinson)
As you should all know by now, May 21st is NASCAR Day. Today, I drove over to Office Depot to purchase my very own NASCAR Day Pin to show my support for NASCAR and children in need. I would of posted a photo of myself with the pin on but the picture came out horrible, so you’ll just have to imagine me wearing it.
You, too, can get your NASCAR Day Pin at your local Office Depot store. The pins are only $5 and the proceeds will benefit The NASCAR Foundation and the Office Depot Foundation. The pins can be found at the checkout counter. If you don’t see them just ask someone.
So go and get your pin on! But first, a few words from Office Depot driver Tony Stewart:
I am absolutely in love with the little drama between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Sign me up for more of that, please! I think that was my favorite part about yesterday’s racing double-header. As was Jimmie’s post-race comment about not wanting the issue between him and Jeff to be played out in the media. Good luck with that, Jimmie. I actually think Jimmie needs this, to be in a battle with someone, anyone, even a teammate. It’s far more interesting when someone’s pissed off at him. hehe.
I was very disappointed that Jeff didn’t get the chance to be in the race at the end, that wreck had to hurt and I’m not talking physically. Also, loved how Jeff went over to Tony Stewart and was immediately taking the blame but Tony calmed him down and ended up taking some of the heat at the end of it all. Tony was super classy yesterday, I dug it.
And now on to Dale Earnhardt Jr., I was super proud of him, and his team, for their eighth place finish. Even though he didn’t win when it felt like he could have. His tires just weren’t there to do the job he needed in the end. It was a fun race though, it was the first time in a long time that I found myself yelling at the TV for him to kick some butt. That’s saying something because for what felt like all of last year I didn’t even attempt to hope something might happen for him. He’s in the top-10 right now and that, to me, is better than eating cheesecake with The Golden Girls.
Fans spotted NHL Dallas Star’s Mike Modano in the garage at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Good for you, Ryan Newman. It was awesome to see him in victory lane after such a long drought. I loved his post-race interview and the one comment that stuck out the most for me was when he said that, when Tony Stewart came to congratulate him, he told Tony he loved him and that Tony said he loved him too. Isn’t that sweet? Men who are friends, openly declaring their love for each other without being all weird about it. Isn’t that cool? That was fun.
Here’s the video of it, in case you missed it:
Photo fun time!
John Wes Townley inspects the damage on his No. 21 Zaxby’s Chevrolet after an accident in practice. Clint Bowyer will take over driving duties in the No. 21 for the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200.(Credit: Christian Peterson/Getty Images)
– Tonight SHOWTIME® is airing TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story at 10:30 PM ET/PT. The documentary style film is narrated by everybody’s favorite couch jumping hottie, and Hendrick family friend, Tom Cruise.
– Carl Edwards will make his 200th Cup start with Roush Fenway Racing this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. He’s just the fifth driver in the 23-year history of Roush Fenway to do so.
– Did you know that Dale Earnhardt Jr. opened another Whisky River location? Well he did and it’s in Jacksonville, Florida. Kelly Bires will be driving a special Whisky River Jacksonville paint scheme on the No. 88 for the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at PIR this weekend.
Meant to post these photos from the testing of the spoiler at Charlotte Motor Speedway awhile ago, but I still think they’re relevant since everyone seems to think that the real test of the difference the spoiler will make will be at the next Sprint Cup Series race at Texas on the 18th.
Plus, I just love this photo of Tony Stewart. It is quite possibly the funniest photo I’ve ever seen of Tony.
Engineer Matt Borland and driver Tony Stewart mug for the camera in the garage during Tuesday’s (March 23, 2010) testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So I know everybody is putting a lot of thought into Carl Edwards actions this weekend at Atlanta. Was he justified in bumping Brad “I Have No Friends” Keselowski into flight or should he have found him after the race and gently slapped him across the face with a white glove?
I’m in two minds about it, but I know for sure that it was fun to watch. I’m glad Brad was OK after the wreck (and we should never take the strides they’ve made in keeping the drivers safe for granted), but we know that Carl didn’t intend for him to flip around like that.
Now let’s talk about the other disaster in this race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets the pole and then proceeds to lead not a single lap in the ENTIRE race. How is this possible? Holy crap, I love you Dale. I really, really, really do, but what the heck?
Big shout out and congrats to David Gilliland for putting on a great show on Sunday! He led laps and ran up front a whole heck of a lot. Good things are coming for that No. 38 Charter Air Transport / Taco Bell team! It’s so nice when you support a driver and they do good things to remind you why you pull for them in the first place. Seriously, I cannot WAIT till David wins a Sprint Cup race. It’s going to be AH-MAY-ZING.
Fellow Toyota drivers Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers talk in the garage during Friday’s practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)
43 different drivers started the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Shelby American in Las Vegas, but for some reason the same guy that won the race the weekend before won again.
How is this possible? What are the 42 other drivers, and their teams, doing?? I mean, really? This cannot keep happening. It’s not like it’s 5 dudes out there running around. There are FORTY-THREE cars!! Nobody should be winning anything in a row!
Grrr… Step it up please! Frankly, I was very sad that Jeff Gordon couldn’t get the win over Jimmie Johnson. Not because I wanted Jimmie to lose, so much as I just wanted Jeff to win.
Anyway, I have to talk about Amy of Amy’s Bad Groove. She got the chance to interview Tony Stewart, her favorite driver, in person over the Las Vegas race weekend. I am sooooo excited that she got the opportunity, and I cannot WAIT to read her interview with Tony. I have to put you guys on notice that she’s working on it so you should subscribe to her RSS feed so you can get it as soon as she posts it. I’m sure it’ll be awesome. This would be equivalent to me getting the chance to interview Dale Earnhardt Jr. one-on-one, so the fact that she didn’t pass out or forget all of her questions (which could totally happen if I was confronted with Dale Jr.) is awesome. Congrats Amy!
Fans watch Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series practice action from above in Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage. (Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The red flags aside, this Daytona 500 was awesome. Actually I take that back. I didn’t mind the red flags. For one, I was at home sitting on my comfortable couch with snacks, and two, they got to interview the drivers which I always love. We should of been glad it was something fixable and not RAIN. Thank you.
I am so incredibly happy for Jamie McMurray. That was such an amazing ending to a crazy, long race. He leads just two laps and takes his place in history as a Daytona 500 winner in his first race with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing! Talk about redemption. From odd man out to freaking Daytona 500 winner. I love it, those are the best stories. And as if all of that wasn’t good enough, he was emotional in Victory Lane. I’m all for real, true emotion and it didn’t get any better than Jamie’s tears and his hugging of the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 Trophy.
And then Dale Earnhardt Jr. *sigh* I love that guy. He kicked butt and drove from tenth to finish second. I’m so proud! I know he was disappointed that he came so close but he has nothing to feel bad about, he proved that he’s a racer and that he wants to win just as much as the next guy. BTW, I loved his interview with Marty Smith on ESPN, they showed it during the Nationwide race on Saturday. He doesn’t have to explain or justify himself to anyone!
I think it was in his interview with Jeff Hammond on FOX that he talked about marriage and how maybe it wasn’t for him and he wondered if fans could handle him having children without being married. I would like to go on record as saying that Dale has my permission to procreate with whomever he wants in wedlock or not. Again, he should live his life on his terms and everybody else can suck it.
Photos after the jump!
This week was the annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. I wasn’t there (trust me, I’m crying inside) and so all I have to share with you are these photos of drivers sitting in chairs. Enjoy!
(Left to right) Richard Childress Racing’s Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, owner Richard Childress and Jeff Burton take part in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday in Concord, N.C. (Credit: Harold Hinson Photography)
Gather ’round for I have news…
– So I Googled myself the other day, as I often do when I’m bored, and found out that I’ve been chosen as one of 101 Women Bloggers to Watch in 2010 by WE Magazine for Women. Check it out! It’s super cool. I’m totally honored to be on the list!
– A new book written by NASCAR’s Andrew Giangola titled “The Weekend Starts on Wednesday: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans” will be hitting store bookshelves on February 10th and I highly recommend it. It’s all about you and me, the fans of NASCAR. I got to read a couple chapters before it was complete and I think this is a book you’re going to want to pick up. There are stories that will make you laugh and others that will touch your heart. Plus, Tony Stewart wrote the foreword and Kyle Busch wrote the afterword. You can pre-order the book right now over at Amazon.com. And check out this article Texas Motor Speedway posted today about the book, highlighting some of the stories that took place at TMS, along with an excerpt.
– And speaking of Tony Stewart. I have yet another fantabulous photo of him to share with you courtesy of Office Depot. I am loving Tony’s partnership with Office Depot because they keep making him take all these photos in suits where he looks all snazzy and slick. Like, George Clooney slick. It’s cool, he’s making getting organized sexy.
Anywhoo, enjoy the picture and then check out Office Depot’s Facebook page where you can find tips from Tony on how to get organized for 2010 AND get a 10% discount coupon on qualifying organization products and services at Office Depot. Don’t delay; the coupon is only valid through January 16th!
– For my day job I work for a company called Lowepro, a product design company that builds protective gear for photography equipment and portable electronics. They recently launched a new camera sling bag that is absolutely awesome. I used the Passport Sling™ last year at Infineon and Auto Club Speedway and it is the PERFECT bag for carrying all of my raceday gear. So I wrote up a testimonial and they’ve included it on the Passport Sling™ series page on the Lowepro website. It’s pretty neat, if I do say so myself.
Associated Press reported that Jimmie and his wife Chandra are expecting their first child in July.
It’s funny how excited someone else’s pregnancy has made me, considering I don’t know them at all. But I’m super excited for them. This is exactly what we need, more babies on pit road! I’m not making a joke, I’m serious. After baby Edwards and baby Sadler arrive baby Johnson will be future NASCAR driver number 3 for 2010 (so far). Did someone spike the VitaminWater or what?
In other news…
– AJ Allmendinger went go-karting with Jamie McMurray down in Florida last week during the annual Daytona KartWeek By Cometic Gasket events at Daytona International Speedway. This was the third straight year that Jamie participated in the event and AJ’s first time.
Christmastime is the perfect time to give back to those less fortunate. The Office Depot Foundation has created the Teddy B. Caring bear — a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the stuffed bear will help children and families in need around the world. Teddy B. Caring can only be purchased at Office Depot retail stores and online at OfficeDepot.com.
NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy Impala in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, worked with the Office Depot Foundation on its award-winning National Backpack Program in 2009 and is encouraging NASCAR fans everywhere to consider purchasing a Teddy B. Caring this holiday season. Together with the Foundation, Stewart helped donate more than 300,000 backpacks filled with essential school supplies to kids in need across the country during this year’s back-to-school season.
“It has been very humbling for me to be part of the Office Depot Foundation’s National Backpack Program this past year and to see the real impact the program has on kids in need,” Stewart said. “Every child deserves to go to school with the tools they need to succeed and to have that extra boost of confidence in the classroom. I would encourage everyone to consider giving a Teddy B. Caring bear as a gift this holiday season in support of the great work the Office Depot Foundation does all year long.”
Office Depot Foundation initiatives supported by sales of Teddy B. Caring include:
- National Backpack Program – Helping kids succeed in school by donating over 2 million backpacks since 2001.
- Caring Connection – Inspiring people to serve non-profit organizations and their communities by volunteering.
- Dream UP Career Exploration Program – Enabling middle school children to learn about future career opportunities.
- Follow Your Dream Scholarship Fund – Providing scholarships to students with disabilities to assist with college expenses other than tuition.
- 1-888-MY BIZ HELP – Helping non-profit organizations and small businesses recover after disasters by providing access to resources via a toll-free hotline.
To learn more about the Office Depot Foundation and its programs, please visit www.officedepotfoundation.org.
The bear is adorable and a perfect gift for the kid in your life. Also, isn’t the photo of Tony with Teddy B. Caring supercute too!? I say, print out the photo of Tony with the bear, buy the bear and then give both to a Tony Stewart fan.
(photo credit: Action Sports Photography)
The pool of contenders for the best NASCAR commercial of 2009 was pretty small. There weren’t a lot that stood out as particularly funny and that’s why I only have 3 standouts. Perhaps another way the crap economy has affected the sport.
3.) Verizon V Cast Babies – This one is just cute all around. You think the guys are talking about actual cars but it turns out they’ve figured out how to supe up their baby daughter’s walkers.
2.) Tony Stewart School of Endorsements (Burger King) – The ad that launched Estrada Sunglasses! Very, very awesome and definitely the coolest commercial in the bunch. When people see my Estrada sunglasses they’re jealous, as they should be.
1.) Gillette Young Guns – This commercial wins top honors for one reason and one reason only: Kyle Busch on the phone interrupting Clint Bowyer while he delivers his lines. So funny. It, inexplicably, tickles me every time.
After the Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony, I left the Venetian and headed back to my room so that I could change out of my “business casual” dress and into clothes that were much warmer. It was so cold in Vegas. I wished it would get into the 70s but it never got close. Friday night, the night of the awards ceremony it was in the low 50s with freeze warnings in effect.
So I changed my clothes and tried to walk quickly to the monorail at Harrah’s/Imperial Palace station so that I could get to the MGM Grand as fast as possible because that’s where the start/finish line was for the Victory Lap. I wanted to see the top-12 drivers doing burnouts, but it wasn’t to be. I missed the whole thing. What I did see, from the windows of the monorail, was the traffic that was backed up for at least a mile next to the Strip. That was kinda neat.
Overall I think Talladega went down pretty much the same way it would have gone down had NASCAR not instituted the new rules, smaller restrictor plate and no bumping in the turns. Those guys were going to hold off until the end and then crap was going to hit the fan in the final laps. Because really, at Talladega if you’re 35th you’re still in it, it’s all about being there in the end and getting in a good line up to the front.
I wasn’t mad about the whole no touching each other in the corners rule because of the rule itself, but more anxious about the enforcement of that rule. As it is, Talladega is a race that I love but one that also makes me crazy with anxiety because I’m hoping that my driver doesn’t get caught up in the “big one.” I hold my breath during Talladega because you just never know.
So then you add in the fact that my driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., could get caught on some lame rule NASCAR cooked up an hour before the race starts, you’re just tacking on another layer of panic for me to deal with for the ENTIRE race.
– ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue” hit newsstands a couple weeks ago and I finally bought a copy on my way back from Vegas. I was a little disappointed that there weren’t multiple photos of Carl Edwards to drool over, but still it was great that he was included in the issue at all. If you’re a super serious Carl fan then you’ll be happy to know that you can buy a poster of Carl’s cover directly from ESPN. Just go to espnthemag.com/covers.
– Why was Dale Earnhardt Jr. running on a beach with a gnome in his arms?
– This week Office Depot and Tony Stewart announced the winners of the “Show Us Your 14″ online photo contest. Tony personally picked each winner himself and along with each person’s bio is a quote from him explaining why he choose them.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Jeff Strangman of Seabrook, New Hampshire
Jeff Strangman never misses a NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), located roughly 65 miles northwest of his home in Seabrook, N.H., and the loyal Tony Stewart supporter is something of a celebrity among fans at the 1.508-mile track. Every season since 1996, Strangman has attended both Sprint Cup Series events at NHMS with his meticulously branded 1964 camper in tow. He parks in the same spot for each race and enjoys the enthusiastic response his rig gets from fellow fans. Last spring, Strangman estimates he spent 80 hours detailing and repainting the camper from orange to red to match Tony Stewart’s new look with the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice team. “This is as authentic and old school in NASCAR as you can get,” Tony Stewart said about Strangman’s photo.
FIRST PRIZE WINNER: Melanie Hutchens of Hammond, Oregon
Hutchens’ four-year-old black lab, Isabelle, has one of the most colorful dog houses in the neighborhood. After reading about the Office Depot “Show Us Your 14″ online photo contest, Hutchens – who was in the process of painting her home red – decided to extend the hue to Isabelle’s house and incorporated the No. 14 “paint scheme” as well. And if the paint looks a little wet in the shot, well, that’s because it probably was! Hutchens said she finished painting just in time to take this photo and submitted it three hours before the contest deadline. The longtime Tony Stewart fan is excited about her HP prize package and plans to share her winnings with others by donating a laptop to a charitable organization during the holiday season. “The only person other than me in the dog house…sit…good boy!” Tony Stewart said about Hutchens’ photo.
SECOND PRIZE WINNER: Diane Cox of East Alton, Illinois
Dedicated Tony Stewart fan Diane Cox and her four-year-old daughter, Mackenzie Cox, were inspired to build this replica of Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy when Mackenzie and her pre-school classmates at Washington Elementary School in East Alton, Illinois, were assigned a school project to “build a car out of a box” during National Transportation Week earlier this year. It took Diane and Mackenzie – who likes to call her mom’s favorite driver “Tony Stewart Little” after her favorite Disney movie, “Stuart Little” – two days to build the colorful car. “Somebody call the police; a cute young blond stole my car!” Tony Stewart said about Cox’s photo.
Today I found a package on my porch that I was expecting with great anticipation. I was like a kid on Christmas morning ripping open a box that I knew contained Erik Estrada’s “Estrada” sunglasses. I have never been this excited about something that I can’t actually wear in a real, purposeful way.
So I’m sure you remember the Tony Stewart “School of Endorsements” commercials launched by Burger King earlier this year. In the very first one Tony attempts to teach Mr. Estrada and Carrot Top to only endorse things they believe in.
Estrada’s glasses were so memorable and just awesome. Why? I have absolutely no idea. Maybe it’s the way Erik says “Estrada” with an accent that I cannot replicate. I don’t know but it’s the coolest thing ever and now YOU can own your very own pair too!
You’ve got between now and tomorrow at 6pm EST/3pm PST to bid on 150 pairs of the Estrada glasses that Burger King has made available to the public. All of the proceeds from the eBay auction will go to Burger King Corp.’s HAVE IT YOUR WAY® Foundation.
So not only will you get to look like a rock star you’ll also do some good in the process. I must praise Burger King for listening to the people and seizing a huge opportunity. Good job!
This is me sporting my Estrada glasses very seriously…
…and now happy!
So I’m finally wrapping up my posts about the Pepsi 500. It’s only a week overdue, but whatever.
Sunday was of course the Pepsi 500 and the morning was left open to do whatever made my little heart happy.
That weekend had been a celebration of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s birthday, which was October 10th, and Hendrick Motorsports 25th Anniversary. So it was only fitting that there was a Hendrick Motorsports hospitality tent, dubbed the “Party Zone,” where fans who bought tickets could eat, drink, be merry and ask Hendrick drivers, Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon, questions before the start of the day’s race.
Auto Club Speedway picked one fan that purchased one of the special Dale Jr. Birthday ticket packages to meet Dale himself on Sunday morning. The Speedway let me go along for the ride. Well, sorta. I met Stan (photographed at right), the lucky fan who was going to meet Dale and present him with special No. 88 cupcakes from Sprinkles. Stan was a very nice guy, who had been a fan of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and transferred his loyalty over to Dale Jr.
I rode with Stan over to the hospitality tent where we parted ways and I went inside to wait for the Q&A session to begin, and Stan went on to meet Dale just before he took the stage.
I don’t know how their meeting went down, but I’m sure it was cool.
It was while I was standing around watching some country music cover band perform that Erin, a very cool woman who reads this very blog, came up and introduced herself. It was soo nice of her to say hello. Even though I have traffic numbers from Google that tell me people come to my site everyday it still amazes me when I meet a real person who reads my blog and likes it.
I stuck around long enough to watch Dale take to the stage and watch people lose their minds over his very presence. He seemed kinda groggy. It was like 9am PST but back east that’s 6am, so I could understand why he might not be all bright and shiny.
After all that I went back over to the infield to go to the Drivers Meeting. I decided I was going to take pictures of drivers but that devolved into just standing outside of the meeting room and not taking pictures. At that point it just seemed like I’d taken pictures before and what was the point?
It was there that I met Shari and Steve (photographed at left), a couple from Phelan, California who were on the lookout for Tony Stewart. I let them know that Tony was in the driver’s meeting room already and that he had to come out on our side of the building (there are two exits) because his PR guy was standing nearby. They had a Home Depot jacket that they wanted to get Tony to sign, they’d gotten Greg Zipadelli to sign it the day before. As the drivers meeting let out they were able to get Tony’s autograph.
Shari & Steve were super nice people and I was totally glad I could help them out in a little way. It’s actually my favorite thing to do at a track, help people stalk their fave drivers. Ok, not “stalk” but get their autograph or a photo, especially kids. At Infineon this year there was a group of little boys who were waiting near the garage with their mother to get autographs. Security had moved them behind a fence but next to the bathrooms. I saw Kyle Busch sprint to the men’s room just behind them but the kids hadn’t noticed. So of course I took it upon myself to tell them Kyle was nearby and to be on the lookout when he left the bathroom. It’s fun to help people check something off their list, or finish a really cool story they’ll tell their friends later.
So if you see me at a track and you wanna know where so and so driver is I might be able to help you out!
Finally, I’m sitting down to write the first of many posts about my weekend at the Auto Club Speedway for the Pepsi 500.
Friday was the usual routine of top-12 drivers press conferences. I was in a majority of them and some seriously interesting stuff went down. Okay, so it was only during Juan Pablo Montoya’s session that I had one of those Southwest commercial “Wanna Get Away??” moments. And I wasn’t even the one who caused the weirdness.
DirecTV has some serious splainin’ to do. It all seemed to start on Saturday morning. I was watching TV and every now and again the screen would go black for a second and then the picture would come back. I didn’t think that much of it until Sunday when I was home all day and was all set to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods that I noticed this problem hadn’t gone away.
The problem, which could get worse and then clear up just as suddenly, seemed to only affect local channels, and after I spoke to DirecTV I found out that it was only happening to people in the San Francisco Bay Area (including fellow NASCAR blogger Amy!). So I could watch ESPN and another cable & premium channels just fine, but ABC was not behaving. I tried to watch the race with the one of the HotPass channels but that was annoying because I wasn’t in the mood to have to listen to MRN.
So I dealt with it even though it gave me a headache from all the skipping and flickering of the screen.
It is my duty as a sports blogger to have an opinion on everything and to make bold predictions. Normally I’m against this, everything doesn’t need to be said, but I thought it could be fun to make predictions about the outcome of The Chase, predictions that even I don’t take that seriously. Enjoy!
(in the order of the current points standings)
|1.) Mark Martin – I have believe that Mark Martin will win the Championship, unless something happens that makes it so that he doesn’t.|
|2.) Jimmie Johnson – Jimmie will definitely not win the Championship for a 4th straight year, because that would just be greedy and show-offy.|
|3.) Denny Hamlin – Denny will continue to be my sentimental fave for the year, and also my favorite Cribs episode featuring a NASCAR driver. Oh! He’ll also continue to get on people’s nerves.|
|4.) Juan Pablo Montoya – JPM will be frustrated.|
|5.) Kurt Busch – Hmm… Kurt will be all “Whatever” and I’ll be all “Whatever” and then he’ll be all, “Yeah, whatever.” He’s also writing for the Chicago Tribune’s Players Only blog on a weekly basis for the remainder of the season.|
|6.) Tony Stewart – Tony will get close to the Championship but won’t be able to seal the deal. He’ll continue to “mentor” young female drivers.|
|7.) Ryan Newman – He’s in the Chase? Oh, right, right. Ryan will win at least one race before the year is over.|
|8.) Brian Vickers – Bri Bri will be a threat for the Championship. He’ll continue to be supercute and will write a diary for Maxim.com. No really, he’s supposed to do that.|
|9.) Greg Biffle – Biffle’s eyes will pierce through you like lasers. They really do. His stare is intense. Yeah, he’s not winning this thing.|
|10.) Jeff Gordon – Jeff will hopefully *fingers crossed* impregnate his wife a second time and make the second cutest kid ever! I’d like to think he’d win the Sprint Cup but that’d mean I’d have to be mean to Mark Martin.|
|11.) Carl Edwards – Oh, Carly. Well, his Frisbee foot will heal just in time for him to not win the Championship. He’ll continue to confound female NASCAR fans everywhere with his supreme polite gorgeousness.|
|12.) Kasey Kahne – Kasey will pick himself up and dust himself off and start all over again tomorrow at Dover. He’ll improve his position. Kasey will also continue to confound me with his ability to be absolutely adorable without even trying. Look at that photo, c’mon!|
ESPN on ABC’s Countdown pre-race show could have been oh, I dunno, about 45 minutes shorter than its scheduled full hour. I am an ESPN fan, truly, but I can’t take the pre-show anymore. The only useful things are the 5 second driver interviews and that’s about it.
There are no features, no special interviews, nothing. Why does it need to be an hour? I don’t wanna see a recap of the last race I saw it already. And if I didn’t see it on TV I caught up on it online. So there’s no need to rehash the whole thing. And please, for the love of God, stop asking Rusty Wallace his opinion on who can win the Championship. I’m sure he’s a very nice man, and obviously he has a lot of NASCAR knowledge but sometimes I don’t know where he’s coming from.
Do you love the WHOPPER®? Do you love Tony Stewart?? Well today is your lucky day. I have a special contest for hungry Tony Stewart fans. Just tell me, in fourteen (14) words or less, why Tony Stewart is your favorite driver and you could win a $14 Burger King gift card. I’ve got three to giveaway so make sure your entry is the best.
Enter now! The contest ends on October 3, 2009.
Have you been enjoying “The Tony Stewart School of Endorsements” commercials? So have I, they’re pretty funny. I find myself saying “Estrada!” out of nowhere to no one in particular.
Check out this behind the scenes footage from the filming of those ads:
Congratulations to the twelve men that made it into the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup. It’s an interesting little group. I can’t believe the entirety of Stewart-Haas Racing made it in especially since I didn’t think they’d win a single race this year. Brian Vickers proved it really isn’t over til it’s over and made the Chase for the first time. I’m so excited for the No. 83 team.
I think it’s going to be a very fun Chase, at least I hope it is. It better be crazy at New Hampshire next weekend.
– ESPN pit reporter Shannon Spake dropped the news this week at Richmond that she, and her husband Jerry McSorley, are expecting twins! The babies are due in January and Shannon plans on working for the rest of the 2009 season for as long as she can. She might want to talk to Brienne Pedigo and ask her how that expanding firesuit worked out.
Also, if you’re a wedding photo nerd like I am, you should check out photos from Shannon and Jerry’s 2008 wedding in Ireland. They were featured in Carolina Bride magazine.
– Congratulations go out to Elliott Sadler and his wife Amanda. They announced today that they’re expecting their first child in March.
– I think this list of the top ten NASCAR questions submitted to Ask.com are pretty interesting. It’s fun to see what people are searching for as it relates to NASCAR. This is from the past week:
Top NASCAR Questions on Ask.com
1. How much do NASCAR drivers get paid?
2. Who won the Daytona 500 in 2009?
3. How do NASCAR drivers go to the bathroom?
4. Why was Lake Lloyd built?
5. What does NASCAR stand for?
6. Who won the first Daytona 500?
7. Who is Tony Stewart dating?
8. What do NASCAR drivers wear under their suits?
9. What is the closest finish in Daytona 500 history?
10. Why do they call Tony Stewart “Smoke”?
– And speaking of “Smoke” I’m sure by now you’ve seen Tony Stewart’s new Burger King commercials featuring “The Tony Stewart School of Endorsements.” Tony educates fellow celebs Erik Estrada and Carrot Top on the importance of only promoting things you believe in. I love the sunglasses Erik Estrada was trying to push that have his name emblazoned across the front. I really want them, they didn’t seem so bad!
Anywhoo, there will be more commercials, three to be exact; the final one will show Tony’s love for the WHOPPER® being tested by a polygraph machine. So get this, Tony is going to participate in a LIVE polygraph test on October 20th at www.truthabouttony.com. Starting September 28th you can submit and vote on questions to be asked of Tony during his lie detector test. Make ‘em good people!
Also, go to bkracing.com for the chance to win a visit to Tony’s race shop.
Because the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono was postponed from Sunday until Monday because of rain I couldn’t watch it live, on TV, from the comfort of my home. Since I was at work, I casually kept track of what was happening by using ESPN’s race widget in between doing work and sitting in meetings.
Once the race was over and I found out that Denny Hamlin had won I was stoked. Really, I was happy for him more than anything just because it had been what, 58 races since he’d last won a Sprint Cup race? So yes, this was a big deal, and like I’ve said before, I like the Denny.
It wasn’t long after I learned of Denny’s win that I received a text message from Tara, a young woman from Arizona who reads my blog and is one of the biggest Denny Hamlin fans around. She even won tickets to a race at Phoenix by professing her reasons why Denny is her favorite driver. Tara told me that she watched the final laps of the race while having lunch at T.G.I. Friday’s with her grandmother.
Poor Juan Pablo Montoya, the win was in his sights, it was right there and then he’s caught speeding on pit road by barely anything and it’s all over. No win for you Juan Pablo!
The rule is what it is, there’s nothing to dispute. Although I have to think there’s gotta be a way to make the process that drivers go through to set their pit road speed for each race better than what it is today. Pit road speed varies at each race track and drivers mark the pit road speed in their cars before the start of the race based on the speed the pace car sets. It seems like that leaves everyone open to a lot of room for error. It just seems like technology-wise there’s gotta be a way to make that more precise.
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.
Just in time for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona tomorrow the Coke Zero people are launching a new ad. It’s another hilarious commercial showing the Coca-Cola brand managers attempting to persuade the Coca-Cola drivers to do something really not well thought out, like, at all.
I love it.
The first part of this video is a behind-the-scenes, making of the commercial feature and then the actual finished commercial is shown at the end.
And for your viewing pleasure I give you the old Coke Zero ad that I love just as much. It never gets old! Enjoy the track for longer than the other drivers. Ha!
I really, really, really wish I was in Daytona right now. I just had to get that out of my head for the record. I just realized that I haven’t written anything about win at New Hampshire. Hmm. It’s not entirely on purpse. I don’t dislike the kid, I just didn’t want the race to end that way. It was just boring and annoying. I’m not blaming anyone, obviously it was the weather. It was a good race until it had to end. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was doing so well, right? He’s making great progress but then, for whatever reason, something happens and he doesn’t get the chance to let it show.
In other news…
– Office Depot has launched a new photo contest for fans of Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet. From now until my birthday, August 31st (which is a total coincidence, most contests end of my birthday), you can upload photos of the creative ways you’ve incorporated the No. 14 into your life. I have a feeling they’re going to receive some verrrrry interesting entries.
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)?
Sometimes I think the only reason I write blog entries is to use the subject lines I come up with. Often I come up with the headline before I think of the actual content. hehe.
Anyway, this is the story of Saturday at Infineon Raceway during the NASCAR Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend.
So the big thing for me was watching the Camping World Series West race in which David Gilliland, Boris Said and Joey Logano were participants. I’ve never witnessed a Camping World Series race before (East or West) so it was a new thing for me.
I found a choice spot behind the pits next to the start/finish line. For a good portion of the race I was sitting indian-style on the second wall beneath the grandstands. It was the best place to watch the race from because I was directly in front of one of the Sprint Vision screens. I didn’t miss a thing. When the action wasn’t in front of me it was on the screen.
Here’s a little known fact about me. I get seriously nervous driving to the racetrack on the first day of a NASCAR race weekend. I mean, I get butterflies and super anxious. I’ve learned that this is a good thing, because if I wasn’t worried about it then it means it’s no big deal and it doesn’t mean anything to me. If I’m nervous about it I’m doing something right.
So that was me on Friday morning driving the super short 30 minutes to Infineon Raceway from my new home in Sonoma County. I moved to the city of Cotati just to be closer to my day job and cut down on my commute expenses but in the process I received the huge bonus of saving my sanity by not having to sit in excruciating traffic leaving the track each day. It’s a beautiful thing.
When I arrived at the track I picked up my credentials and then headed straight to the media center to grab the necessary schedules. I had to park up top next to the helipad and I made the wrong decision to just walk down the hills to the garage instead of waiting for the shuttle. Luckily for me this super nice man offered me a ride in his golf cart. It was great to not have to walk the whole way, but that ride down the hill in a super open vehicle was frightening. The entire time I was mentally and physically bracing myself for the possibility of being catapulted out of it at any moment. Super fun.
On Sunday I was a guest on the Blogcritics Sports show The Treehouse Fort for the second time. The hosts Matt Sussman and Tuffy are super awesome guys who know a lot about a lot of sports. I admire that, by the way, I have no idea how they keep on top of everything. You should follow them on Twitter.
My segment is about 10 minutes in. You get to listen to me talk about Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeremy Mayfield’s drug test debacle. I am an adult I promise, I just sound like I’m 12.
Some things of interest:
– Athena Barber, Clint Bowyer’s ex-girlfriend, has joined 3 Wide Life as a correspondent and contributor for the nationally syndicated motorsports focused television show. “This is really exciting,” said Barber. “3 Wide Life focuses on the core of racing and I could not be happier to be a part of it. Racing is my life, and this gives me the opportunity to be around something that I love. Plus I get to share it with the fans and racers across the country.” In her first episode she interviews Robby Gordon. Check your local listings for show air dates.
– For the first time ever Infineon Raceway will host the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Father’s Day. Recently some of NASCAR’s Chevy drivers shared their thoughts on Father’s Day and what their dads have meant to them:
“Racing is a family sport and it’s been very good to our family. My dad has been the biggest part of it since Day One when I was racing in motocross when I was four or five years old. He was the one who kept it all together. He instilled in me that hard work pays off and that you get out of it what you put in it, and that holds true for just about anything you do.”
- Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
“When you’re young, you take for granted all the things your father does. But, when you are a father, you think, ‘Wow, you do a lot.’ You have to really understand what being a father is all about to understand what Father’s Day really means. I don’t like being away from my kids on Father’s Day, but this is what I do, and they’ll take care of me some other weekend.”
- Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet
“Being a father makes me really appreciate my father that much more. … I also get to have some fun because I’ve got my daughter and my wife making Father’s Day cards and stuff. It’s cool and it’s only going to get better.”
- Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
“Hopefully (Father’s Day in Sonoma) it will inspire me to go out and win and wish my dad a happy Father’s Day from Victory Lane. My parents sacrificed everything to get me and my brother our starts, and racing has been a big part of my family.”
- Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet
“(My best Father’s Day racing memory) would have to be the Michigan race. We won the race in 2004 on Father’s Day weekend and I told him on the radio, ‘There’s your Father’s Day present,’ and he said, ‘That’s all I wanted.’”
- Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation/U.S. Army Chevrolet
“(My father, Nelson) never pressured me to be the best racecar driver in the world, but he did want me to be the best racecar driver that I could be. He never compared me to anybody else. He expected that what I could do was what I could do. He never said that because this guy over here could do something, that I should be able to do it, too. He pushed me hard, but he was fair about it. That’s probably why you see so much fire in me today, because he always wanted me to be the best that I could be.”
- Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet
“My dad means a lot to me and he’s really done a lot for me over the years and really stuck behind me and what I’ve been trying to do in racing. He’s had a long career in racing himself, and he understands how difficult it can be and how fun it is when things go well. It’s so nice to having him at the racetrack, and I look forward to having him at the track on Father’s Day.”
– Casey Mears, No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet
There’s still time to enter to win a Talladega Pepsi Throwback prize pack. Enter now! Contest ends Friday, June 19th, 2009.
When Tony Stewart announced his plans to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and owner I was skeptical. I had no idea what would happen but I can tell you that I definitely wasn’t thinking he would be leading in the points standings and winning races. Yea, I thought things would be “interesting” which is code for “not winning.” I didn’t think he would stink up the place but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to contend for the Championship like he is now.
His success is great though. I’m happy that Tony is leading and that he won this weekend’s race at Pocono. I know I’ve talked smack about Tony in the past, and I totally stand by it, but there’s something about him that I do like. I couldn’t tell you what it is right now but there’s something.
And because I’m a sucker for emotional things I love, love, loved it when TNT showed Tony’s dad in the pits. I loved seeing him wipe away tears as he watched his son drive into Victory Lane for the first time as a driver/owner. That’s a very sweet moment and those are the things that add that personal, sentimental touch to this sometimes impersonal, corporate sponsorship driven sport.
On Saturday I watched the Nationwide race at Nashville. No, I’m not going to talk about Kyle Busch’s ill-conceived plan for breaking up the race’s trophy into pieces to share with his team. (I basically agree with what Kyle Petty said about it during Sunday’s broadcast.) I want to talk about Brad Keselowski. Is it just me or does Brad seem a lot more mature and manly this year? He seems a lot less goofy (and I mean that in a really nice way!) and more sure of himself. Does winning a race make your voice change? Hmm, if so, maybe there’s hope for Joey Logano.
I kid, I kid. Photos after the jump!
I’ve had DirecTV for not yet a month and I finally remembered to watch the race this weekend on one of their HotPass driver channels. I picked the Dale Earnhardt Jr. of course.
– It’s free this year
– When there’s a commercial break you still get to watch your selected driver’s in-car cameras.
– I can’t mute the TV broadcast and just listen to Dale’s in-car audio, and vice versa. You don’t know how many times I was telling DW, Larry Mac and Mike Joy to shut up so I could hear what the hell Dale was telling his new interim crew chief.
Overall though I love DirecTV’s HotPass and I will use it every single race weekend that I watch from home. Brilliant idea! Although I’d pay an extra 5 bucks a month to be able to selectively mute stuff.
But let’s talk about the race itself. Do you really think it’s remarkable that Jimmie Johnson came from the back and beat Tony Stewart? I do not. I think it was great racing, yes, but I expect those kinds of shenanigans from Jimmie. He and Chad Knaus are always doing amazing things, winning all kinds of races in new and intriguing ways.
I think something strange is happening to me because I was actually screaming at Tony, attempting to will him to not let Jimmie pass him. I’ve seen Jimmie win and I’m over it. Really, it’s been done. I think it would be far more interesting if Tony starting winning race after race because Tony is single and then we’d probably starting seeing a bunch of new lady faces in Tony’s pit box. Riiiiight? I don’t know, but I like to think of new and different ways to make race day interesting for myself.
Everything is fine!
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, finished 12th at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and improved to 18th in the driver standings. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Aww! Too bad he didn’t make the race!
(center) Jeffrey Earnhardt stands between his stepmother Rene and father Kerry before Jeffrey attempts to make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Earnhardt was off of Kertus Davis’ time by two-tenths of a second in qualifying Saturday at Dover International Speedway and was the only driver not to make the race. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I like this photo because Miss Sprint Cup is so posed. It’s like she’s sayin’ “Ta dah!!! Here’s our race winner!!! What prizes do we have for him Bob??!”
Jimmie Johnson celebrates his fourth win at Dover International Speedway and second win of the season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheese Sunday at Dover. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski douses JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. with champagne Saturday in Dover International Speedway’s Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Heluva Good! 200. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
This kid refuses to take a bad photo. And he’s not even trying! I think he should do some professional modeling. Don’t waste the pretty! I know that’s not what Greg Behrendt meant when he wrote the book, He’s Just Not That Into You, but it’s my prerogative to use it in this manner.
Kasey Kahne was one of three Richard Petty Motorsports Dodges to qualify in the top seven on Friday for Sunday’s Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheesen at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Some things I think you should know:
– Congratulations to ESPN/ABC pit reporter Brienne Pedigo and her husband, actor Tyler Christopher of ABC’s General Hospital. The couple is expecting their first child in October! You might have already known that but it’s the first I’d heard of it. Anywhoo, In an effort to help Brienne out in her job as her pregnancy progresses ESPN thought of everything:
To assist her in performing her duties through ABC’s five-race schedule of IndyCar Series events, ESPN worked with manufacturer Impact to produce a special firesuit for her to wear as she works the pits during the races. The suit is equipped with a stretch gusset in the back so that it can be expanded as her pregnancy progresses.
Look for Brienne tomorrow during ABC’s coverage of the Indy 500. Okay, to give you more information than you really need, Tyler Christoper plays Nikolas Cassadine on General Hospital and before he married Brienne, he was married to Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria who is now married to professional basketball player Tony Parker. Whew.
– World champion gymnast and Dancing With The Stars winner Shawn Johnson will be the Honorary Race Official for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway tomorrow. She’s already started the weekend off by riding along with Coca-Cola Racing Family member Kyle Petty. It looks like Shawn was able to show Kyle some dance moves. I think that if Carl Edwards wins the race tomorrow Shawn should run out to his car and do a back flip with him.
– Eddie Bell, a firefighter and small business owner from Tulsa, Oklahoma is the winner of the Office Depot “At The Speed of Smart” sweepstakes. As a result of his win Eddie had the awesome the opportunity to go on a $14,000 shopping spree with none other than the 2009 All-Star Race winner Tony Stewart. From the looks of things Eddie and Tony got on really well. Eddie will also receive a VIP race experience for the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend.
“I am so excited about being the Office Depot ‘At The Speed of Smart’ sweepstakes winner,” said Bell, a lifelong NASCAR® fan who deems himself the “motor-head” of his family. “In my role as district fire chief and as a small business owner of a residential construction company, having a store that carries everything from paper clips to laptop computers is very convenient. I found out about the sweepstakes during one of my weekly trips to Office Depot, and the fact that Tony Stewart is my favorite NASCAR® driver makes winning this sweepstakes very special.”
“I was absolutely thrilled to help Eddie do some damage behind the wheel of an Office Depot shopping cart,” Stewart said. “As someone who gives back to his community every day through his job as a firefighter, Eddie is a very deserving winner and I think he’s going to have a great race weekend experience.”
Bell, who has been a firefighter in Tulsa for the past 30 years, regularly watches NASCAR® race broadcasts at home but this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 (Sunday, May 24, 5 p.m. EST, FOX) will be only the second NASCAR® race he has attended in person. During the race weekend, Bell will also receive a special on-track ride-a-long experience with Stewart in the driver’s seat.
– And since I’m already talking about Tony, did you know that you can win the firesuit he wore for the All-Star Race last weekend? As I write this the auction ends in less than 19 hours. 100% of the proceeds raised from the auction will benefit Victory Junction through The NASCAR Foundation. What I want to know is: Do they clean the firesuit and then have Tony sign it? Or is it better to have it just used and not cleaned?? I’m not sure which is better. I’m thinking if you’re like a hardcore fan you would want it as is, but that might be kinda grody. If anyone knows for sure how it’s delivered I’m curious about the details.
– For the record, the only person I want to see win the Indy 500 tomorrow is Marco Andretti. It would be soooooooooo friggin’ cool! He came so close in 2006 and I’m a big fan of family stories. I wanna see grown men cry!
That was the goal right?
So about that whole All-Star Race thing that was on Saturday.
I loved it! If NASCAR hadn’t brought back the 10-lap shootout at the end it wouldn’t have been nearly as awesome as it was.
It’s kinda weird how happy I was for Tony Stewart to win the thing, when I’m not really a Tony fan. I just think it’s great for Stewart-Haas Racing and it just goes to show that his two-car race team will be a force to be reckoned with, and it’s just a matter of minutes before he or Ryan Newman win a race that has points on the line.
I think that I had more things to say about the All-Star Race but because I’ve waited insanely long to write them down I’ve lost them. Hmmm.
Let’s think about this, what happened at the race? Dale didn’t win. Tony did. Jeff Gordon wrecked.
Oh! What was up with Joey Logano winning the fan vote to get into the All-Star race? He wasn’t on the radar, like, at all! I did not see that one coming. mind = blown. Where are Joey Logano’s fans? Where are you people? It’s not that I think he doesn’t have any, or that he shouldn’t, I just don’t understand it. He’s been around for 5 seconds and he’s getting voted into the All-Star race?
Denied!!! I guess the vote for A.J. t-shirt campaign just wasn’t enough.
AJ Allmendinger is all smiles after posting the quickest time during NASCAR Sprint Showdown practice at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon battled Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman three-wide during the 10-lap shootout before spinning and hitting the wall, ending his night eight laps short of the finish. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images)
Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Joey Logano was announced as in the top 10 in votes for the Sprint All-Star Vote. Logano needs to finish in the top two in the Sprint Showdown or win the Fan Vote to make the All-Star Race. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The crew members of Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet climb the fence to salute the fans after winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Why is it that every time I see the Cheez-It logo I want some, like, immediately? That doesn’t happen with any other snack food.
Hats off to Mark Martin and the No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Chevrolet team for winning the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com. They did a great job racking up their second win for the season. Hopefully they won’t fall off the edge of the earth and never win again. I don’t know why I just said that, that was kinda mean. I want Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win! Grrrrr! When is he going to win?! Gaaaah! The waiting is killing me. It almost feels like Ella Gordon is going to win a race before Dale does. Sheesh. Before everybody gets mad at me I say that with love.
In other news… One of my long held wishes has finally come true. I recently moved to Sonoma County here in California. I’m closer to Infineon Raceway now, but that’s not why I made the move. I did it to be closer to work and save money. In the process I finally got to sign up for DirecTV and I couldn’t be happier. I detest Comcast and I’m glad I finally had the option to switch over to DirecTV. Because of this lovely turn of events I get to watch the All-Star Race this weekend on SPEED. I finally have the SPEED channel!!!!
Also, I’m being a good NASCAR fan by supporting a company that supports NASCAR. So it’s a complete win-win situation.
I’m sure Mark Martin would congratulate me if he knew me.
An No. 33 crew member works on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car after the 10th caution at lap 223 sent Clint Bowyer to the garage Saturday in the Southern 500 Presented by GoDaddy.com at Darlington Raceway. Bowyer’s streak of consecutive starts without a DNF ended at 83, one shy of tying Herman Beam’s nearly 50-year-old record. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Chevrolet, won Saturday’s race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway after starting 12th. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Seeking his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Darlington Raceway, Tony Stewart’s No. 14 is worse for wear after getting a trademark Darlington Stripe during practice. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Prettiest wedding dress t-shirt I’ve ever seen!
(Right to left) NASCAR President Mike Helton congratulates Brenda and Danny Barrett on their 15th anniversary on Saturday, where they were married, at Darlington Raceway. The Barretts drive the Official NASCAR Merchandise Trailer. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Wow, Tony. Just wow. He’s a smoothie! (That’s a movie reference, if you’ve ever seen Robin Hood: Men in Tights then you’ll understand it, if not, then I don’t know what to tell you)
Take a long look at this photo of Tony Stewart (at left) and tell me he doesn’t look like a super duper hottie.
There’s no better promotional image to go along with the announcement of the Official Small Business of NASCAR Sweepstakes Courtesy of Office Depot, after all, Tony is a business man.
“I know how challenging it is to build a successful business and how much hard work it takes,” said Stewart, who has taken on the role of driver/team owner with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. “The ‘Official Small Business of NASCAR Sweepstakes, Courtesy of Office Depot’ is a dream come true for a small business to get its name out there in front of millions of people. I’m excited to carry the winning company’s logo on my race car in front of a national audience.”
So here’s what you need to know: One very lucky small business will receive a $14,000 small business makeover from Office Depot, their logo or business name on the back of Tony’s No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy Impala SS for the Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September and a bunch of other great prizes.
Office Depot has done this contest many times in the past but this year there’s a new wrinkle. They’re giving away a $1,400 Office Depot gift card to one small business every single day of the promotion. From now until May 31st you’ve got the opportunity to enter to win the big grand prize or $1,400. Not bad, not bad at all.
Register online at OfficeDepotRacing.com
Here are the exact details of the Grand Prize package:
- A $14,000 Small Business Makeover from Office Depot
- VIP race experience at the September 4-6 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway
- A private coaching session with NASCAR executives, including an insider’s look at the business of NASCAR
- $1,400 copy & print card from Office Depot
- $1,000 worth of business cards and stationery from Office Depot
- One year of Tech Depot™ Services Tech Support
- The use of the “Official Small Business of NASCAR® Courtesy of Office Depot®” logo until June 1, 2010
Wanna know what my reaction was to the end of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway?
Jaw. On. Floor.
I couldn’t believe it. Here I was thinking that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was going to win it and then Brad Keselowski comes from outta nowhere — after getting in the way all day — and takes it.
Only seven laps in we got a “Big One” that took out guys that I like, including Bowyer and Gilliland, which was highly disappointing. But I still had Dale and the hope that he had read my post and had taken it to heart. Ya never know. Plus well, Talladega is a really good track for him so I’m sure it had everything to do with that and nothing to do with me, but because he left there with a top-three finish (which is what I asked for) I like to think it was mostly me.
Anyway, I congratulate Brad on his first Sprint Cup win.
I’m so glad that Carl Edwards is A-OK and that his crash only looked absolutely horrible and didn’t result in anyone’s death. Actually because of that insane fly through the air Carl will be a guest on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” that airs tomorrow (Wednesday, April 29th, check your local listings).
Apparently Ellen thinks that Carl should take it easy from now on and gives him a new ride, a “Cruzin Cooler”, to be exact. It’s a cooler on wheels. Niiice.
I don’t know the answer to the safety questions surrounding Talladega. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t like watching cars run 3 or 4 wide. It’s pretty cool. And yes, seeing the “The Big One” happen is interesting to me. It’s also crazy to see two cars hook-up and push each other past the entire field. It’s so unique and I like it. Whatever NASCAR needs to do to make it so that people don’t get themselves into the situations that Carl and Matt Kenseth found themselves in this past weekend they should do, but hopefully that doesn’t involve taking the banking away.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left), driver of the No. 88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet, congratulates Brad Keselowski (right), driver of the No. 09 Miccosukee Chevrolet, in Victory Lane on his first Sprint Cup Series win at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marcos Ambrose (right), driver of the No. 47 Little Debbie/Kingsford/Clorox Toyota talks with team co-owner Brad Daugherty (left) during Friday’s first practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates his first NASCAR national racing series win Saturday in Victory Lane after capturing the checkered flag at the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice Chevrolet, waves to the fans following driver introductions and before the start of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Mike Skinner and his No. 5 Bad Boy Mowers Toyota team celebrate winning the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway. The win was Skinner’s first of the season and the first for the team since becoming Randy Moss Motorsports last summer. (Photo Credit: Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet chats with former teammate Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota in the garage during Friday’s practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Earlier in the day, Stewart held a news conference about the 2009 Prelude to the Dream. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ya know, like actual racing with passing and everything.
I know it’s late to be writing about the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville but I had some things to say, and some photos to post, so better late than never right?
– Jimmie Johnson’s win on Sunday was his first for the season but it didn’t feel like that to me. It felt like I was watching a continuation of the 2008 season and I didn’t like that. It’s just boring; I want someone else to win except the same freaking handful of people.
– The race itself was very good. There was passing and the distinct possibility that somebody other than Jimmie could have won it. So I did appreciate that aspect of it. Denny Hamlin is growing on me.
– As the cameras cut to various people during the invocation and the singing of the National Anthem I remember thinking to myself “Who is that person hanging on to Jeff Gordon? Why is she… Oh, wait, that’s Ingrid!” Jeff’s wife, Ingrid, cut her hair like really, really short and I can’t say I approve of it. Not that it’s any of my business, she’s a beautiful girl but I liked it better long.
– I would like to thank Fox Sports for not showing another Digger & Friends episode this week. I am fine with Digger as a graphic element to showcase their embedded-in-the-ground camera but everything else is incredibly pointless. If I wanted to watch cartoons I’d watch the Cartoon Network, not a NASCAR race.
– Something that has nothing to do with racing, I got the new Keith Urban CD “Defying Gravity” this week and it is so freaking good! Although Keith did come up with the Digger theme song I am choosing to overlook that serious infraction because this man has put together some awesome music that I’m sure I’ll be listening to over and over for days and months to come. If I could marry a song right now it’d be “‘Til Summer Comes Around.”
Tony Stewart signs an autograph for a fan prior to climbing into his car for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Country music star Trace Adkins smiles in the flagstand before waving the green flag to start the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Joey Logano signs autographs for two fans while waiting out a rain delay at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
1.) His eyes are actually blue, but I love this photo ’cause it’s so color coordinated.
2.) With his head tilted to the side like that I imagine him thinking to himself “Why are you asking me the same damn questions over and over??”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. speaks with media about meetings he had during the week with team owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(L-R): Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Jeff Gordon discuss their Martinsville driving styles while waiting for the rain to subside. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Some things you should know:
– Clint Bowyer will appear on the March 24th episode of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” Isn’t it interesting that the guy that is sponsored by Hamburger Helper is guest starring on a non-reality-reality weight-loss game show? I don’t remember HH being billed as the healthiest thing you could make for dinner.
– Carl Edwards was in New York this week to film a commercial for Claritin. During the shoot he was interviewed by Beth Stern (radio host Howard Stern’s wife) for a segment on the celebrity news TV show “Extra.” Is anyone else bored by the fact that Carl and other drivers are so boring when they talk about stuff like doing commercials? It should be fun right? But like really fun, not implied fun. It’s the same line over and over with them, “It’s really kind of fun.” Wow, definitely sounds like it. I guess I believe you? I dunno.
– Infineon Raceway gave $5,000 to the North Vallejo Little League on Thursday. Jerks broke into the league’s concessions and storage building and stole all of the uniforms, equipment and $600 worth of candy last week. The nutjobs also decided to break computers and trophies and ransack the building before leaving. Vallejo, where this burglary occurred, is the hometown of Jeff Gordon. The good news is that so far the league has received more than $13,000 from San Francisco Bay Area companies and organizations like the San Francisco Police Officers Associations and the Oakland A’s. “With these checks we really should be able to get back to business,” said the league’s President Tony Hodges. “I feel grateful. We are in a bankrupt city in a disadvantaged area. I appreciate everything that everyone has done for us to help these disadvantaged kids.”
– Jeff Burton made an appearance on the soap opera “General Hospital” and all I really want to know is if he asked them why no one ever says “Bye” before hanging up the phone. I mean, really, what’s up with that?
– Tony Stewart will be meeting fans and signing autographs as a part of the 5th Annual “Mark Martin Fan Appreciation Days” event in Batesville, Arkansas on Thursday, April 9th from 3 to 5pm CST. For more information go to http://www.markmartinfordmercury.com
– Some news for the IndyCar fans out there: Versus will air more than 130 hours of IndyCar Series coverage throughout the season with a minimum of seven hours each week the network airs a race, the most ever during a race week.
“IndyCar fans have been asking for significantly more coverage of the sport and with our new partnership with VERSUS we have responded to our fans in a way that we think they will love,” said Charlie Morgan, president and chief operating officer for IMS Productions. “With the new VERSUS schedule it will be a weekend of IndyCar programming with Qualifying coverage, expanded race day coverage, and race encores. With so many great drivers, teams and sponsors, the time is right for expanded programming.”
The network will air 12 live IndyCar Series events in 2009 beginning with live coverage of the season-opener from St. Petersburg on April 5. Each of VERSUS’ race telecasts will last a minimum of three hours and will include extended pre-race coverage. VERSUS will also air one-hour preview shows at 6 p.m. ET the day before each race which will feature qualification highlights and all of the relevant IndyCar Series stories of that weekend.
And since I’m on the topic of IndyCar I have this message to send out to all of you: If anyone is interested in paying for me to fly down to Long Beach for the 35th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race drop me an email will ya? I would die for the chance to hang out with Keanu Reeves and Luke Wilson and give them the opportunity to realize that I am their future wife. So really you’d be doing them a favor as well.
Racing and all that is all good but here’s what I really want to talk about: Dale Earnhart Jr.’s ex-girlfriend is on the current season of America’s Next Top Model. Her name is Kortnie, she’s 24 and she’s from Houston, Texas.
As a rule (the season pass never leaves my Tivo!) I watch every cycle of ANTM, and I thought it was really interesting that Tyra Banks (the creator/host of the show) called Kortnie out on the fact that she had indeed dated someone “famous” at one point in time. They even showed a photo of Kortnie in victory lane with Dale. What that has to do with whether or not she can actually model I have no idea, but whatever. The thing that I take issue with is that they’re categorizing Kortnie as a plus size model. If she’s plus size then we’re all screwed. She has big boobs and is a bit hippy, but other than that she can’t be bigger than a size 8 at the MOST, and I think that’s even going to far. I’m rooting for Kortnie, because she is a striking girl and because I think it’s absurd to put her in the plus size category.
In other news…
– Congratulations to Kurt Busch for winning the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday. Wasn’t that fun? I thought it was a great race at the end. I can’t believe that I was actually pulling for Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch to win something. I’m usually against them, but these past couple years my outlook has changed. It’s a really weird feeling.
– Nationwide Series driver Burney Lamar and his supermodel wife Niki Taylor welcomed a new addition to their family last week. Their daughter, Ciel Taylor Lamar, was born on Wednesday, March 4th at 11:30am in Nashville, Tennessee weighing in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces. This is the first child for Lamar and the third for Taylor who is the mother to twin 14-year-old boys Jake and Hunter (from her first marriage).
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and his wife Eva participate in pre-race activities on pit road before the start of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet shares a laugh with his car owner and driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, Tony Stewart, prior to Sunday’s start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I like to talk about things in chronological order but somehow I went a little out of order in my account of my Las Vegas weekend.
For example I have yet to talk about sitting on pit road during qualifying. I’ve been to a lot of races but I’ve never stayed out on pit road for qualifying. I usually hang out in the garage and try to snap photos of drivers jumping out of their car after they’ve finished their laps.
It’s just as good trackside, if not better, because the drivers are just sitting on the wall waiting for their turn to come around. If they’re not sitting, they’re standing next to their car just a few feet away from people like me.
When I think of that I can’t help but marvel at all of the access NASCAR fans have to their favorite drivers. I’ve always told people that it’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of when and where you’ll run into your guy. I think it’s crazy to ask these guys to do more in terms of reaching out to the fans. I mean, Sam Hornish Jr. was standing on pit road for like an hour all by himself, not many people were talking to him. Some fans eventually went up to him to take a photo with him, but for the most part he was just there completely available. That just doesn’t happen in the NFL, NBA or in MLB. If I could walk out on to the field at AT&T Park during practice Barry Zito would be mine, or at the very least I’d have enough photos with him to use for my Christmas card for the next 5 years. The San Francisco Giants should make that happen. Think about it Giants, just think about it.
So that was Friday. On Saturday I staked out the garage for photos like wrote about in my last post. For the Nationwide race I went out on to the track for driver introductions and then down to pit road for the anthem. I stood in between David Ragan and Brendan Gaughan’s cars. During the race I watched it from my seat in the media center.
At one point, I went out to the Neon Garage to get something to eat. I sat out there and watched the race on one of the two big screens that sit opposite each other inside the huge courtyard-like area. I ordered the yummiest $9 BBQ pulled pork nachos I’d ever tasted. They could easily cut that portion in half and sell it for $4 and it’d be just as good. Overall though, I highly recommend them!
At the end of the Sam’s Town 300, the top-3 finishers were brought into the media center to field questions, as per usual. Pit road speed seemed to be a problem for a lot of drivers that day and Brian Vickers and Carl Edwards seemed to think that the pace car hadn’t set the right speed before the race start, and that is what caused a lot of drivers to speed on pit road.
And that was Friday and Saturday. Next up: Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
Tony Stewart prepares to qualify for the Shelby 527 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday, February 27, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
(from left to right) Jason Keller, Mike Bliss and Steve Wallace chat before driver introductions for the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 28, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Scott Speed chat before driver introductions for the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 28, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino team lineup for the National Anthem Dale before the start of the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 28, 2009 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
I have made it to La La Land (aka Los Angeles) safe and sound. I’m staying at my sister’s house for the weekend and the weird/sad thing is that for the next three days I’ll hardly see her because I’ll be all NASCAR all the time. I’m even missing the Oscars for this! (I’ve got it set to be recorded on my Tivo at home though)
Tomorrow I’m getting up way too early to head to the Auto Club Speedway to pick up my credentials and then prepare for a day of press conferences and qualifying.
There’s more to tell but it’s super late, I’m tired and like I said, I gotta get up at the butt crack of dawn.
But first, in other news…
– Tony Stewart had his first in-store appearance for one of his new sponsors, Office Depot, last week:
At a recent autograph session at a local Office Depot store in Daytona Beach, Florida, Tony Stewart – driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet – was quick to notice one of the perks of working with Office Depot, the Official Office Products Partner of NASCAR.
“It’s awesome,” Stewart said. “I mean, (this was) definitely the most comfortable chair I’ve done an autograph session in for sure, so that part was pretty cool.”
If you’re interested in getting your own comfortable chair, which I can actually say is true because I bought my desk chair from Office Depot years ago and I still love it, then you should enter The Speed of Smart Sweepstakes which will give you the insanely cool opportunity to go on a $14,000 shopping spree in an Office Depot store with Tony by your side.
Think Tony Stewart is impressive behind the wheel of his No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet?
Wait until you see what he can do with a shopping cart!
The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will personally take one lucky fan on a $14,000 shopping trip to an Office Depot store during the Coca-Cola 600 race weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
Plus, the winner will receive a VIP experience at the race, including a ride-along with Tony around the track in a two-seat race car – talk about a “Smokin’” ride!
To enter, fans should simply visit OfficeDepotRacing.com now through February 28 and type in the transaction code from any Office Depot in-store or online purchase receipt. Every code entered counts as an additional sweepstakes entry.
The Brian Vickers/Dale Earnhardt Jr. incident has been and will continue to be well documented by others so I’m not even going to get into it. Well I will say this; I don’t think that Dale intended to spin Brian out. I think it was an accident and I’m not just saying that because I like Dale. I actually like both of them. I just don’t think Dale would do that knowing there’s an entire field of cars behind him that could be involved. He’s always been pretty honest about his on-track exploits so whatevah.
My Daytona highlights:
– FOX NASCAR racing analysts Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip laugh every time the Digger graphic comes up. I find it funny that they find it so funny.
– All of the NASCAR kids and babies on pit road during the invocation and National Anthem made my entire reproductive system want to explode from their cuteness. How adorable was Macey Waltrip helping her dad get settled into his car?
– Julianne Hough was supposed to sing the National Anthem but she came down with the flu and couldn’t travel. In her place they were able to secure singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw who gave the most pitiful anthem performance ever. I like Gavin DeGraw in general but this was definitely not one of his best performances.
– Keith Urban performed a lot on Sunday. He performed acoustically at a press conference for the media (lucky nerds!) and then for everyone else with his full band behind him before the start of the race. Apparently Keith brought his wife, a little known Australian actress named Nicole Kidman, with him. If that doesn’t blow your mind enough Nicole’s ex-husband Tom Cruise was on hand to lead the field to the green flag in the pace car. I guess we should just call it a Days of Thunder reunion party. Side note: I have yet to watch Days of Thunder all the way through, but I have been on the ride at Great America.
Overall the Daytona 500 was a big ol’ anticlimactic mess for me. I mean, Matt Kenseth is cool and all but races that end with a red flag are just no good. It left me feeling gypped and bored with leftover 5-layer dip.
Oh, one more thing, speaking of Mr. Kenseth he’ll be in San Francisco this Wednesday for all of you Bay Area NASCAR fans:
Fans can see the winner of Sunday’s Daytona 500 this Wednesday at Willie Mays Plaza at AT&T Park at 12:30 p.m. during a fan rally and press conference. Matt Kenseth will be on-hand after taking a Victory Tour through the Streets of San Francisco on a motorized cable car. This marks the first time a Daytona 500 winner has visited SF. The day signals the Official Countdown to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR race at Infineon Raceway in June.
Photo fun time!
Some might say Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, may have had a couple of good luck charms Thursday at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel 1. Wife Ingrid Vandebosch and daughter Ella Sophia hang out with the four-time NASCAR champion the grid prior to the race at Daytona International Speedway that he won. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Don’t tap on the glass, they hate that.
Three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon signs autographs for fans during the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice on Saturday for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Country star Keith Urban performs a pre-race concert prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth celebrates winning the 51st running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Kenseth became the 33rd different driver to win “The Great American Race.” (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Steve and Christine Deuker meet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman (center) on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. The Deukers honored Newman and their son, who passed away in 2001, by buying a brick from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tom Cruise climbs into the pace car for some practice laps around Daytona International Speedway. Cruise led the Daytona 500 to the green flag in the pace car. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart reads a Valentine’s Day card before getting into his car for the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice for the Daytona 500 on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
It was announced today that Burger King has signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing. The deal includes a personal services agreement with Tony and BK will be the primary paint scheme for the No. 14 Sprint Cup car for the July 4th race at Daytona and the September 27th race at Dover.
“I’m extremely happy to welcome Burger King Corp. to the team and really proud to be associated with such a great brand,” said Tony Stewart. “This demonstrates another important step in getting Stewart-Haas Racing ready for the season. I am a huge fan of BURGER KING® restaurants, especially of the WHOPPER® Sandwich, and even received my own customized BK® Crown Card!”
Does this mean that the creepy Burger King King with the ginormous head will be showing up at the track this year? Or maybe they’ll bring the WHOPPER Virgins out for a complete NASCAR experience?
Upon hearing the news that David Gilliland might be the odd man out at Yates Racing I became deeply pissed off.
I know that this is yet another result of the economy but that doesn’t make it suck less, actually it makes it suck worse. Because you know that if everything was ok, he’d definitely have his ride.
I seriously hope that David gets something together in time for the Daytona 500. It was nice to see that he posted a message to his fans on his website to let them know that he’s not giving up. I would expect nothing less. And I’m sure he knows that his fans are not giving up on him either. If I had it my way he’d be in the No. 38 sponsored by Starbucks and that’d be that.
In other news…
– Elliott Sadler got married yesterday, but he may not be able to go on his honeymoon. Elliott spoke with the media last week and apparently he’s having passport troubles:
I’ve had a pretty interesting week. Y’all haven’t asked me the good question yet. The wedding is Saturday. If I have two minutes, I’ve got to tell you something. We’re planning this honeymoon to go out of the United States, so I need a passport. Well, my passport was out of date, so I sent it in to get reinstated, but somehow my passport has been reported lost or stolen. So they’ve got a red flag up on security on my passport, so here I am three days before the wedding, we’re supposed to leave Sunday and fly out of the country on our honeymoon, and I don’t have a passport and don’t know if I’m going to get one. So actually the questions you guys are giving me today are pretty easy to the questions I think my wife is going to ask me Sunday if I’m not allowed to go on the honeymoon.
– Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing might be pared down to just two cars this year. Gag me.
– Out of all of the famous people that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has met, were there any that he was surprised to learn were racing fans? On a recent news conference he sort of answered the question, but the quote that stuck out to me was this one regarding Dave Grohl, lead singer for the Foo Fighters. Said Dale, “In 2000 I sent Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters a guitar, and he got the guitar two days before my dad was killed, so he played the guitar after he found out about the whole story, he played it on a couple shows the next several months, and then he called me, left me a couple messages, and I was too scared to call him back. I regret that one.”
– The dude in the music video for the Toby Keith song “God Love Her” looks just like Kevin Harvick, except with long hair. I’m just sayin’.
Tony Stewart chats with members of the media during the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fanfest at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
“I kind of relish the underdog role,” said NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski during a news conference Saturday at the Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway. “It’s inspiring to me. It drives me to prove that we can do it.” (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
(Right to left) Carl Edwards signs an autograph for a fan during NASCAR Preseason Thunder Daytona Fan Fest Friday at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked about everything from barbeque ribs and driver Brad Keselowski to racing in Talladega and what he names his cars in a news conference Saturday at Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Doesn’t Denny look a lot thinner now? I dunno, he looks cute though. He’s growing on me.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin shares a laugh during a news conference at the Sprint Sound and Speed Fan Festival Presented by SunTrust Saturday at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. (Photo Credit: Steve Green/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Jeff Gordon thought a fan just wanted to whisper something in his ear, but what he got was a kiss on the cheek on Saturday at the Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Defending Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman starts the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Philadelphia Flyers with Lightning mascot Thunderbug saying ‘Let’s Play Hockey’ at the St. Pete Times Forum on January 15, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. (Photo Credit: Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
So here are the things that have been rolling around in my head ever since my last blog post, which feels like an eternity ago and I apologize for that. That being said I’m not sure if it’s going to get any better at least until the season truly starts up again.
– I was listening to a few clips of Jamie McMurray talking about his love for kart racing. He mentions in one of ‘em that he doesn’t like to golf because it hurts his knees and back. I know that’s not huge news but I thought it might be interesting to McMurray superfans.
– The 2009 Sprint Sound & Speed event in Nashville, Tennessee is taking place today and tomorrow. Photos from last year’s festival were posted this week and frankly any photos of Dale Earnhardt Jr. from any point in time are totally fine with me. See below.
– Clint Bowyer filmed a commercial with the Hamburger Helper hand at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California this week. That guy has all the fun doesn’t he?
– Keith Urban, super talented hottie and Nicole Kidman’s hubby, will perform at the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show this year.
– David Stremme, who is coming back to the Sprint Cup Series this year with Penske Racing, spends time with his girlfriend playing Guitar Hero.
– As grand marshal for the Fiesta Bowl Tony Stewart attended the 38th Annual Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. Stewart sat atop a Corvette convertible and waved to fans along the 1.9 mile parade route while two Chevrolets decked out in the branding of his new primary co-sponsors for the 2009 Sprint Cup season, Office Depot and Old Spice, rolled along beside him.
“That was like driver introductions at Indianapolis times 10,” said Tony, in reference to the pre-race activities for NASCAR’s annual race at the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “This is a huge event and I’m just honored to be a part of it. It’s pretty cool to sort of venture outside our box a little bit and take in a game of this magnitude. With the racing season being what it is, getting away to see a college football game is kind of tough. When the Fiesta Bowl Committee called and asked if I was interested in being their grand marshal, I said, ‘As long as I get a ticket and a field pass to the game, I’m in.”
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer gets a helping hand as he tapes a commercial for his new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sponsor General Mills’ “Hamburger Helper” at Auto Club Speedway on Wednesday. Bowyer will debut his new ride in Southern California at the West Coast Premiere of NASCAR Feb. 20-22, hoping to end up in Gatorade Victory Lane following the Auto Club 500 on Sunday, Feb. 22. The new commercial spot is scheduled to begin running in February. (Photo Credit: Auto Club Speedway)
Joey Logano and brakeman Kenneth Stout, who led with only Todd Bodine left to go, watch the TV at the finish line as the eventual champion makes his final run. (Photo Credit: Todd Bissonette)
Country music star Jason Michael Carroll and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Petty pose for a picture during the 2008 edition of Sprint Sound and Speed Presented by SunTrust. Both are scheduled to be back at the event this year on Jan. 9-10. (Photo Credit: Sprint Sound and Speed)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Taylor Swift pose for a picture during the 2008 edition of Sprint Sound and Speed in Nashville. Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to participate in this year’s event on January 9-10. (Photo Credit: Sprint Sound and Speed)
So I was listening to the NASCAR channel on Sirius XM the other day and Bobby Labonte was a guest. He was asked how he felt about leaving Petty Enterprises and his prospects for the future. It was funny/annoying how all of the conversations started with the same thought about how crappy the economy is and then ended with the same question of “Has anyone from this particular race team approached you about joining their organization??” It’s ridiculous.
Honestly, all Bobby needs to tell me is whether or not he wants to race anymore, the rest is obvious. Of course he’s going to keep his options open. Of course things are tough for everybody right now because of the recession.
So about the economy and it’s affect on NASCAR. I’m sick of hearing about it. I know that it’s what’s going on, I know that it’s important and all of that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly depressing. I find myself trying to be extra optimistic about it all because I can’t bear to imagine what life would be like without NASCAR. Did you hear about the Arena Football League? They’re closing down for a year, with the full intention of coming back in 2010. Ew.
I know that NASCAR isn’t the AFL (Thank God), but it’s just one of those things that makes you pause and think about it for a minute.
In other news…
– Chevrolet is welcoming Tony Stewart back into the fold by giving away 30 trips to the 2009 Daytona 500 in February along with the opportunity to meet Tony and Ryan Newman. You can also enter to win Tony’s Chevy Silverado. Go to chevy.com/tony for all of the contest details.
Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team for winning their third consecutive Sprint Cup Championship.
I know in the weeks leading up to this past Sunday I was hoping for someone else to come along and take the Championship from Jimmie, but that was all for the sake of drama. I just wanted it to be more interesting and less boring. You have to admit that while it is a truly amazing, huge task to win any Championship three times in a row it is sort of boring to watch.
But never mind all that, Jimmie has proved that he is a phenomenal driver and Chad Knaus has proved that he’s a crazy smart crew chief. I just wonder how long they can keep themselves together.
For me the star of the post-race coverage was Jimmie’s dad, Gary. I think his reaction and the emotion on his face was priceless. I loved how he talked about having to learn how to text on his cell phone so that he could stay in contact with his super busy son. It was just a really sweet moment. I like seeing things like that — genuine emotions — instead of people trying to capture a moment in time that can’t possibly described. It was easier to understand what winning this Championship meant to Jimmie and his family from listening to his dad talk about remembering the time they used to watch the Ford 400 back home in Southern California.
In other news…
– Congratulations to Carl Edwards for making a valiant effort in challenging Jimmie for the Sprint Cup. Throughout this whole thing what I loved about Carl was his positive attitude and all of the energy he put towards extinguishing every option available to him during the Chase. His final post-race interview in victory lane at Homestead was, to be completely honest, very inspiring. I mean, let’s be real here, there are worse things than coming in second.
– I’ve never been the biggest Tony Stewart supporter but I was sad that he wasn’t able to come home with one more win for the No. 20 Home Depot team before they parted ways this year. It would have been a super emotional victory lane and it sucks that it wasn’t meant to be.
– Congratulations to Clint Bowyer for holding onto the Nationwide Series Championship this weekend! I’m happy for that guy, even if I couldn’t really tell if he was that happy about it. hehe. I know logically that he was but I haven’t quite gotten that guy figured out just yet.
– Congratulations to Johnny Benson for winning the Craftsman Truck Series Championship! The Nationwide and Craftsman Series should have received top billing this year because of how close the points standings were going into their final races.
– I can’t believe Jeff Gordon finished the year winless. That team has some serious splainin’ to do my friend.
Tony Stewart poses with crew chief Greg Zipadelli, team owners J.D. Gibbs and Joe Gibbs and crew members of his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota before his 356th and final start for Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart finished ninth, his 207th top-10 finish. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart greets fans during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2008 in Homestead, Florida. (Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship after the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2008 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, started 37th and finished fourth during Sundays season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)
Johnny Benson, driver of the #23 Exide Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series after racing during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2008 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #2 BB&T Chevrolet, poses after winning the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship after the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2008 in Homestead, Florida. (Getty Images for NASCAR)
I guess I am.
It’s time to take a break. It’s time to take a breath and get ready for next year, for fans, teams and drivers alike. We have three months to familiarize ourselves with all of the new teams and driver changes that happened this year. Someone should make a cheat sheet ’cause I can’t seem to wrap my head around all the changes that’ll be in place next year.
The DEI / Ganassi merger that was announced this week is not helping things. When I read about it all my first thought was what happens to Regan Smith? And why does Aric Almirola have a ride for sure and Regan doesn’t? That’s not a knock against Aric but I’m really curious about how that determination was made. Regan is still in the running for that fourth team along with Scott Riggs and AJ Allmendinger. It’s gonna be interesting to see how this all plays out. I don’t expect the new Earnhardt Ganassi Racing organization to start kicking butt and take names next year, all of this is just an attempt to stop the bleeding.
In other news…
– Have you seen Sporting News’ special collectors issue “60 Most Beautiful People in NASCAR”? I just flipped through it today, haven’t read it completely yet but it’s got some in depth interviews with drivers like Brian Vickers, Kasey Kahne, Casey Mears and Clint Bowyer, plus drivers wives like Krissie Newman, Chandra Johnson and Katie Kenseth. I find it odd that Kyle Busch didn’t make the list, I really do.
– One thing I must state, yet again, Ingrid Vandebosch was not/is not a supermodel. She’s referred to as one in the Sporting News special NASCAR issue. To be a supermodel I have to be able to know who you are by just hearing your first name. Think about it, if we’re sitting around talking about models and I say Tyra or Cindy or Gisele to you, you already know whom I’m talking about. If I said Ingrid you’d be like “Who??” I’m not knocking the woman; I’m just knocking the people who throw the supermodel moniker around like it’s nothing. It’s my personal pet peeve. To be called a supermodel you have to have done many things in your career to take you above and beyond the average working model. OK, I’m officially off the soapbox and I’m never talking about this again.
– Tony Stewart was named the Grand Marshall of this year’s Fiesta Bowl. The announcement took place last Friday in Phoenix and I had to share this photo of Tony at the press conference. I just think it’s funny/cute. He looks awkward in that coat. It’s not a good look; actually I don’t think that jacket is a good look for anybody.
Tony Stewart (center) is introduced as the Grand Marshall of the upcoming Fiesta Bowl by Chairman of the Board Dave Tilson (left) and Executive Director John Junker (right). (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Yesterday I finally finished watching ESPN Ultimate NASCAR (Vol. 1): The Explosion – NASCAR’s Rise. This documentary takes you through the basic history of NASCAR and evolution over the years. I loved it for it’s cinematography, the imagery was absolutely beautiful, and ability to seamlessly merge the past with present.
The Explosion gives you the story up ’til now and covers the bigger stories like Jeff Gordon’s entrance into the sport and Dale Earnhardt’s death. I dare you to not choke up or get emotional when Darrell Waltrip talks about the days after that horrible accident. I couldn’t get through it without crying.
The interviews are all first rate, not to mention the variety of interview subjects. Amongst the usual lineup of drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin there were interesting conversations with Virginia Senator Jim Webb and bestselling author Tom Wolfe.
I highly recommend this DVD, and in the coming days I’ll be posting more reviews of the 4 other volumes in the ESPN Ultimate NASCAR series.
In other news…
– Did you know that Casey Mears has a second home in Scottsdale, Arizona? He bought it during the last off-season. Apparently the guy enjoys the dessert, Casey had this to say: “I’m a West Coast guy for sure. I was raised in Bakersfield, Calif., and spent a lot of down time with my family out on sand dunes. So, I naturally spend a lot of time in the Phoenix area taking my new sand car out on the dunes and just relaxing. The climate is perfect. I’m a flip-flops kind of guy, and this atmosphere just fits with me. I look forward to coming out here throughout the year. We’ve been out here all week since the Texas race. It’s like a second or third home for all of us.”
– Jamie McMurray became engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Christy Futrell, this week.
– Scott Speed is using his passion for fashion to help raise awareness and money for a good cause that is close to his heart. Speed was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2003:
“This is a really cool opportunity for me to work on a project that ties one of my biggest passions — fashion — into motorsports, while also raising money for a great cause,” Speed said. “We’re hoping that through this project we can help create awareness and raise money for conditions such as ulcerative colitis, a disease that affects me personally.”
Muffin Man T-shirts went on sale Monday at muzeclothing.com. Half of the $40 will go to the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation of America. They’ll also be on sale this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, where the Muffin Man’s creator will autograph shirts at an TBD location Sunday from 12:15-12:30 p.m. MT.
Why the Muffin Man?
“Just random, mate,” Speed said.
It’s that time of year again for my list of the best NASCAR-related commercials:
5.) Kasey Kahne Can Dance (Allstate): I can’t help but feel a wee bit embarrassed for Kasey Kahne when I watch this commercial. Not because he can’t dance but just because it’s so funny and such a perfect next step in the Allstate girls’ saga.
4.) Jeff Burton on Teamwork (Holiday Inn): One line sums up how funny this commercial is: “How come you don’t have a mullet?”
3.) Team Tylenol Tackles Your Questions (Tylenol): If I’m being honest Kevin Harvick owns this spot and I love it. I have yet to get tired of his expression after Elliott Sadler looks at him like he’s crazy. Brilliant.
2.) The One With The Talking Bird (Napa): Once again Michael Waltrip is in on the joke regarding his racing performance as of late and makes one of the best commercials of the year with the help of a bird who never forgets.
1.) Taste Infringement (Coke Zero): I love this commercial for a couple reasons, like it has a bunch of drivers in it who all do a good job of acting and the Coke Zero guys have the best zingers, I especially love the one at the end with Tony Stewart. Ah, it’s a classic.
Since the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is this weekend it only made sense to post photos from the Lowe’s testing session that occurred a couple weeks ago.
I’ve been following the presidential election coverage a lot and everybody is looking for a “game-changer” from the debates and in terms of NASCAR I think this weekend’s race might bring just that for the drivers embroiled in the The Chase. At least I hope this race produces a game-changer because I think it’ll be far more interesting if the points lead changes hands again.
Oh and I have something to say about NASCAR’s judgment on the whole Regan Smith/Tony Stewart Talladega finish. So yes they got the call right but they really need to work on being clear on the rules in the first place. This isn’t the first time the rules have been foggy. Even the announcers calling the race heard different things about the rules for the last lap of the race. So the bottom line is they still f’ed up. Thank you.
I don’t know if it’s possible to love and hate a racetrack at the same time but that’s how I feel about Talladega. I love it because it’s a restrictor-plate race and it’s so exciting and nerve wracking to watch the cars go three or four-wide. However, I hate it for exactly the same reasons and because of “The Big One” which I don’t know why we call it that when there’s usually more than one.
For the majority of the race things were going relatively well for me and the guys I was rooting for in the AMP Energy 500 on Sunday. Of course it was a big let down when David Gilliland was involved in a crash, but then things got really sad when Carl Edwards’ mistake took out his teammates, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and all of my highest hopes for Travis Kvapil. I was pretty much done at that point. If you follow me on Twitter you’d know that already.
So done that I didn’t care about the whole last lap controversy involving Tony Stewart and Regan Smith. While I think it’s great that Tony got a win after such a long winless streak, he did deserve it and it was so sweet to see his crew chief Greg Zipadelli get so emotional — something doesn’t smell right.
I guess my irritation lies with NASCAR and I don’t understand why Regan would quote what NASCAR said in the drivers meeting about being able to pass under the yellow line on the last lap, if it wasn’t true. It seems silly to draw that distinction anyway, that you can pass when you’re pushed under the yellow line when you can see the finish line on the last lap but not at any other time during the race. So someone obviously said it was ok to do it. And NASCAR’s official statement on the matter didn’t say that they never said it, it only stated that from now on they’ll never be able to pass under the yellow line ever again at the restrictor-plate races no matter what lap it is.
So whatever. Something that I loved about the race coverage was in the pre-race show, when Dale Jarrett interviewed Dale Jr. I looooved it and I really, really wish DJ could interview a driver before every single race. It was fun and I honestly think that they should try to inject some of that E:60 type stuff into every pre-race show, but that’s just me.
Here’s more from my interview with Kyle Petty. You should note that we spoke last week and so when he mentions “this week” he’s really talking about last week.
Me: I know that you were on a Fitness TV show talking about your fitness regimen and health being a race car driver. It’s not something that people talk a lot about with NASCAR in terms of being an athlete. So how important is that to a race car driver to be physically fit and healthy and to have strength in the car?
Petty: Incredibly important. I think most people assume that if you play stick and ball sports you’re naturally an athlete, you’re in the best shape that you can be in and that’s the way it is. I think you’ve got to be in shape to drive a car at 180 or 190 miles an hour or to make split second decisions that can almost in some instances be life and death decisions. So when you look at it like that from your mental sharpness to your physical sharpness and that goes hand in hand. You hear so much about exercise and how that stabilizes and what that does to your mental well being and your attitudes, I think exercise is important.
Last week the top 12 drivers in The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship were in New York City for Chase Media Day. For the drivers it meant making television appearances and conducting a bunch of interviews with various media outlets.
All twelve drivers appeared on The David Letterman Show to run down Dave’s “Top Ten List”, or in this case, a top-twelve list:
Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson hung out on The Early Show with host Harry Smith:
Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards went on Tony Stewart’s show on Sirius Satellite Radio and they addressed their “rivalry.” There’s a clip of them discussing exactly that over on Tony’s page at Sirius.com. Look for the section on the right-hand side with the “Sounds of the Show” heading.
And now for the photos, I’d like to point out Dale Earnhardt Jr. and how much I loved his sweater/button-up combo. That’s a very good look for him. In fact all of the guys looked really good, kudos to them and anyone that helped them pick out their outfits.
I didn’t get to watch the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire live because I was down in Los Angeles again. It was a very important trip because I was set to meet up with professional photographer Fred Egan so that he could work his magic and take awesome photos of me for this website. I am so excited about these pictures and I cannot wait to show them to off. You can expect a bit of a tweak to the look & feel of the site once I have them. I have to say that if you’re getting married or you just want amazing photos of you or your family just in general you should call Fred. I can’t recommend him enough.
While I didn’t watch the race live on Sunday I was able to listen to some of the race on Sirius Satellite Radio when I was driving to Nordstrom to have my make-up done. I heard about Kyle Busch’s troubles and then after the photo shoot was done I heard about Greg Biffle’s win.
I love the fact that Biffle won because for one the guy deserved a win without a doubt and two because it totally changes the landscape of The Chase. It reinforces the fact that there are more than just two guys that have a real chance at winning the Sprint Cup. That’s really the way it should be because the minute someone runs away with the points lead with a bunch of races still to come it’ll become incredibly boring and I am entirely against that.
I did Tivo the race at home so I saw it last night but of course I couldn’t resist fast forwarding through all of the slow parts, so it wasn’t really the same. I still need to watch all of the post-race interviews with the drivers, I kept falling asleep.
Atlantic Records recording artists OAR meet Carl Edwards after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers’ Meeting at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) Richard Childress talks with his driver Clint Bowyer in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage after Bowyer turned the fastest lap in Saturday’s first practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Bowyer will attempt to defend his Sylvania 300 title on Sunday at the track. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson takes a break during Friday’s practice for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Johnson was second-fastest in practice. (Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart straps into his ride for Saturday’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Sylvania 300, the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Stewart was ninth-fastest in the practice. (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Like Amy over at Amy’s Bad Groove I’m trying out Pay The Fan for the first time this weekend. You have until tomorrow before the green flag drops for the NASCAR Sprint Cup New Hampshire race to get in on the Chase for the PTF Cup. PTF offers you a chance to win real money from participating in a fantasy racing league. You pick Sprint Cup drivers each week and accumulate points based on how your guys finish. If you win the PTF Cup you’ll get $150,000!
It’s funny because Amy decided to save her fave driver, Tony Stewart, for later on and I did the exact same thing in saving Dale Earnhardt Jr. I figure I’ll pick him for a track where I know he does well, say Talladega.
So check it out right now and join!
In other news…
– There’s still time to enter to win one of five Kevin Harvick autographed “Americans for a Gunk-Free Nation” hats! The contest ends on September 30th, 2008. Enter today!
So now we finally know who the top 12 drivers are to make it into The Chase for the Championship this year. I’m glad The Chase to The Chase is over and I can now chew my fingernails down to the nub hoping and praying that something horrible doesn’t happen to my favorite drivers, which is basically everyone except Kyle Busch. hehe. I’m kidding!
The 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field poses with the Sprint Cup trophy after the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The drivers are (Back row L-R) Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton (Front row L-R) Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers celebrate their Chase berths after the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
On to driver introductions. This year the Auto Club Speedway rolled out the red carpet, literally. Basically from the pit road wall to the back stage area there was a long red carpet roped off for the drivers to walk. It was a cool idea and it was nice because it allowed for drivers to be cheered or booed twice before they made it to their racecars.
After all of that I headed down pit road and saw Michelle Gilliland standing next to her husband’s car. I totally interrupted her conversation with someone else and I’m totally sorry about that, but I had to introduce myself and I was afraid I wouldn’t get another chance to do so that day. I hadn’t talked to her since I interviewed her over the phone back in March. She was just as nice and gracious as she was then. We chatted for a bit and then I headed back down pit road trying to figure out where I was going to stand for the national anthem.
It’s always annoying ’cause I don’t want to be in anyone’s way, or be super obvious. It’s one of those moments in life where you just want to be there but you don’t want to be noticed, I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. I dunno. I got as far as Tony Stewart’s car and spied Krissie Newman chatting with him. I also caught sight of Casey Mears being very sweet with his very pregnant girlfriend Trisha Grablander. I watched Dale Earnhardt Jr. give an interview and I ended up standing behind Jeff Gordon’s pit crew with some other reporters and PR people.
I watched the first couple of laps of the race from behind Denny Hamlin’s pits. It had a good view of the start/finish line. I also got to watch ESPN’s Dave Burns give a report and then listen to him as he talked to the kid that has to hold up the mini TV screen for him during the race. It helps the pit reporters so that they can see what’s going on on the track while they run around the pits. This kid that was with Burns seemed to be new ’cause he was telling him to just stick with him at all times. That must be an interesting job. You have to stay with the guy; he doesn’t say where he’s going you just have to follow.
I watched the race from the press box but when there were ten laps left I made sure I was back in the pits in position to get to victory lane. Apparently so were everybody else and their mother. The minute pit road was open everyone raced across to get into position for Jimmie Johnson’s arrival. I was slow and there was no way I was getting close to middle of it all but I did come away with some great shots of Jimmie entering victory lane. He actually drove in at the wrong angle and had to back up, turn and drive in again.
There was no point in standing behind all of those people, looking at nothing so I went back into the garage and headed to the conference room for the press conference with the top three finishers. I caught Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle but there wasn’t much to ask it seemed and not a lot to say about the race. It was a pretty boring race wasn’t it?
I headed back home to my sister’s place where she, my brother-in-law, my three nephews and their cousin had all stayed up to wish me a happy birthday. This had to be one of the most memorable birthday weekends I’ve ever had.
The No. 24 team listens to the national anthem before the start of the Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Jamie McMurray waits with his girlfriend, Christy Furtrell, for the start of the Pepsi 500 on pit road at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Jimmie Johnson enters victory lane after winning the Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday, August 31, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Have you read Rolling Stone’s article about Tony Stewart? It’s in their latest issue (the September 4, 2008 one to be exact) and it’s sort of eye opening and sort of nauseating at the same time. Let’s just say that some of the stuff about Tony’s sex life made me roll my eyes more than once. I was going to post some of the quotes but it’s better if you read it all together within the context of the complete story.
In other news…
– On Saturday Richard Childress announced that Casey Mears was joining his organization, taking over the No. 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet from Clint Bowyer who would be taking on the new 4th RCR team, the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet. During the Bristol telecast it was said that Clint wouldn’t get to keep his crew or crew chief Gil Martin, and that they would be staying with the 07, which totally makes no sense to me at all. I hope that turns out not to be true because I don’t understand why you’d break up an established relationship that doesn’t suck. Oh and another thing, they better get this points thing sorted out because I think it’s really shady to take away the points that Clint and his team earned this year. There’s talk of Childress buying another team’s car to get the points that way. Whatever, just make it right! Actually that’s kind of messed up too. ugh.
Richard Childress (center) announces that Casey Mears (right) will join RCR in 2009 and drive the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet. Clint Bowyer (left) will move to a new fourth RCR team, the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
– I’m off to Los Angeles tomorrow so that I can be at the Auto Club Speedway all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Friday morning. Yay!
– There’s still time to enter to win one of five Kevin Harvick autographed “Americans for a Gunk-Free Nation” hats! The contest ends on September 30th, 2008. Enter today!
The following is the second (and final) part of my interview with David Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 DISH Network Ford this weekend at Watkins Glen.
I think you’ll find that what he has to say is truly refreshing. Here is someone who is determined to see his dreams realized and is all about doing the work necessary to make that happen. And frankly I can’t think of a better reason to sponsor the guy.
Oh and as you read this you should know that I am very aware of the fact that I used the word “feel” waaay too much.
Me: How do you feel about Yates Racing as a whole, as an organization? Do you feel like you guys are definitely moving in the right direction in that the base is becoming more and more solid to become a Championship organization?
I don’t own a NASCAR race team so I don’t know exactly how they evaluate their race team’s performance, and how much weight they put on the driver versus everyone else in the team. But I think it’s lame that Hall of Fame Racing released J.J. Yeley in favor of Brad Coleman. I have nothing against Brad Coleman of course. I just think it’s icky to ditch a guy in the middle of the season. Did he really get a fair shot? I’ll never know of course. I feel the same way about Casey Mears leaving Hendrick. I liked him there and I like him as a driver, I think he’s got more wins in him.
You should know that I have a thing about people changing teams in sports in general. It takes me a while to get used to change and so for example when Barry Zito was traded to the San Francisco Giants (one of my least favorite teams) from the Oakland A’s (my favorite baseball team) it took me awhile to get over it. Okay, I’m still not totally over it but I’m better about it now than when he left.
I also feel for drivers who don’t have a ride set up, people that are left hanging in the balance. Scott Riggs was on NASCAR Now yesterday talking about what his plans for the future are, or at least what he hopes they are. He wants to be with a race team that he can grow with and he thought he had that at Haas CNC but with the addition of Tony Stewart’s ownership he has no idea if he’s still their driver. It just seems like such a tough spot to be in and I hate it for him. I’m not naive, I know that nothing is guaranteed in this world but security means a lot to me and so when I see someone else in a not-so-secure position I don’t like it. I hope that J.J., Casey and Scott all land somewhere that’s great for them and allows them to show their stuff and win.
In other news…
– Speaking of Tony Stewart, for the Michigan Nationwide Series race next week his No. 20 Old Spice Toyota will be sporting a special paint scheme in support of the Give Kids The World organization that sends children with life-threatening diseases (and their families) on week-long, completely free vacations. The paint scheme was designed by a former GKTW Wish kid 14-year-old Emily Marsala.
In celebration of this exciting new partnership, GKTW invites you to host a “View-A-Thon” in support of the Give Kids The World No. 20 car. Our goal is to raise $25,000 in honor of this thrilling race – $100 for every mile of the August 16th CARFAX 250 NASCAR Nationwide Race.
You can help us by making a donation at www.firstgiving.com/GKTWNascar and by encouraging your friends and family to also donate and then cheer on the car later this summer. Your assistance will help GKTW continue to serve special children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Donating through this site is simple, fast, and totally secure. To learn more about GKTW, the upcoming race and more, log on to www.gktw.org.
Tony Stewart and Give Kids The World “Design Tony’s Old Spice car” contest winner Emily Marsala pose next to the No. 20 Old Spice Toyota (photo credit: Give Kids The World)
This past week, before the great American tire debacle race at Indianapolis, I had the great opportunity to speak with the driver of the No. 15 Menards Chevrolet, Paul Menard. Paul is in his second full season as a Sprint Cup driver but is in the beginning of his 5th year of driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that this was my very first interview with a driver. Hell, it was my first time talking to a driver longer than just saying “Hi.” So needless to say I was nervous, and I think it went well but there were some hiccups.
After asking my first couple of questions, without incident, I asked if Paul had made up (or talked to, or made peace) with Tony Stewart since the pit road incident they’d shared last year during the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He just answered “next question.” Yeah, that was awkward. Oh and then later on I asked him, on behalf of all the female fans out there, if he was dating anyone, or had a girlfriend, to which he responded “that’s my business.” Oops. And he was right of course, it is his business, but I wasn’t expecting that.
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)