I finally have time to write things and tell you what I’ve been up to lately. As I said in my last post my day job took over my life in the past month because we were busy launching a major website redesign project for our client.
All posts tagged Travis Kvapil43 Posts
I haven’t missed a Fontana race in 5 years, so it really sucked when I realized I wouldn’t be able to go this year. All the action & drama that happened on Sunday made it that much worse, but then again there’s no guarantee that it would have happened had I gone so I’m using that to make me feel better about the whole thing.
Matt Kenseth is a great race car driver and it’s cool that he won, and as my mom said when I told her that, “well it’s nice that someone different won,” I couldn’t disagree with her. It’s true, but why I am not super excited when Matt Kenseth wins? I have no idea. It’s not personal.
I’m having too much fun with this contest. I was right when I thought things would get much more interesting in Round Two and the results of last week’s voting have set up Round Three to be extra intriguing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Mears just barely made it through in the closest match-up results so far. Dale Jr. beat Scott Speed by just 8 votes! I’m really, really surprised that it wasn’t a closer contest between Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne.
Here’s what happened in Round Two:
Jamie McMurray (75%) defeated Kyle Busch (25%)
Joey Logano (55%) defeated David Gilliland (45%)
Clint Bowyer (56%) defeated Bobby Labonte (44%)
Travis Kvapil (62%) defeated Kurt Busch (38%)
Kasey Kahne (75%) defeated Carl Edwards (25%)
Casey Mears (51%) defeated Kevin Harvick (49%)
Elliott Sadler (70%) defeated Reed Sorenson (30%)
Jeff Gordon (52%) defeated Marcos Ambrose (48%)
Ryan Newman (83%) defeated Juan Pablo Montoya (17%)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (51%) defeated Scott Speed (49%)
Tony Stewart (86%) defeated Sam Hornish Jr. (14%)
Matt Kenseth (65%) defeated AJ Allmendinger (35%)
Regan Smith (77%) defeated Robby Gordon (23%)
Martin Truex Jr. (88%) defeated Greg Biffle (12%)
Paul Menard (64%) defeated Brad Keselowski (36%)
Denny Hamlin (58%) defeated Mark Martin (42%)
This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).
So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Three! You can vote as many times as you want each day until
voting ends on Saturday, January 22nd.
UPDATE: I’ve extended voting through Sunday, January 23rd until 9am, because of a snafu with the voting form. // Voting for Round Three is over! Check out Round Four!
|Jamie McMurray||Joey Logano|
|Clint Bowyer||Travis Kvapil|
|Ryan Newman||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|Tony Stewart||Kasey Kahne|
|Casey Mears||Elliott Sadler|
|Martin Truex Jr.||Jeff Gordon|
|Paul Menard||Matt Kenseth|
|Regan Smith||Denny Hamlin|
Voting for Round Three is over! Check out Round Four!
It’s time for Round Two! But first let’s find out what happened in Round One.
Kyle Busch (68%) defeated Jeff Burton (32%)
Juan Pablo Montoya (62%) defeated Brian Vickers (38%)
Tony Stewart (97%) defeated David Reutimann (3%)
Paul Menard (71%) defeated Jimmie Johnson (29%)
Casey Mears (73%) defeated David Ragan (27%)
Regan Smith (86%) defeated Kevin Conway (14%)
This updates the brackets, which you can see below (click it to see it larger).
And now, I think this is when things are going to get even MORE interesting. Round Two is the largest group, it’ll be fun to see who makes it into Round Three. I was going to let Round Two last for two weeks but I have decided to run it for just a week. Votes poured in for Round One and I can only expect it to get crazier for this one, so I’m trying to contain it. Plus I’m highly impatient and two weeks sound like forever to find out the results.
So let’s get to it! Here are the match-ups for Round Two! You can vote as many times as you want each day until voting ends on Saturday, January 15th.
UPDATE: Round Two voting has ended. Stay tuned for the results and Round Three!
|Jamie McMurray||Kyle Busch|
|David Gilliland||Joey Logano|
|Clint Bowyer||Bobby Labonte|
|Kurt Busch||Travis Kvapil|
|Ryan Newman||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Scott Speed|
|Sam Hornish Jr.||Tony Stewart|
|Carl Edwards||Kasey Kahne|
|Kevin Harvick||Casey Mears|
|Elliott Sadler||Reed Sorenson|
|Greg Biffle||Martin Truex Jr.|
|Jeff Gordon||Marcos Ambrose|
|Brad Keselowski||Paul Menard|
|AJ Allmendinger||Matt Kenseth|
|Robby Gordon||Regan Smith|
|Mark Martin||Denny Hamlin|
UPDATE: Round Two voting has ended. Stay tuned for the results and Round Three!
Travis Kvapil drives the No. 34 Long John Silver’s Ford for Front Row Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Travis was the first driver I’d interviewed at Auto Club Speedway during the Pepsi Max 400 race weekend and he was also the first driver to say that his wife was what turns him on. That ended up being a popular answer that weekend.
You can tell from this interview that Travis is big family guy and loves his children, Kelsey, Carson and Caden, dearly. So much so that he was the subject of a post about that fact over at the Yahoo! motorsports blog From the Marbles.
I dug his answer for least favorite word, I need to remember that saying. Seriously, between Travis and David Gilliland, the drivers at Front Row Motorsports are really helping me become a better person!
What is your favorite word? Green, Green, Green (He loves to hear that every Sunday)
What is your least favorite word? Can’t. I preach to my daughter “can’t never does.”
What turns you on? My wife and fast cars.
What turns you off? Pessimistic, downer-type people.
What sound or noise do you love? Race car engines and probably just my kids running around the house playing.
What sound or noise do you hate? Two or three in the morning when the kids wake up crying from being sick.
What is your favorite curse word? Definitely the F-bomb. I overuse it and I try not to so much around the kids for sure.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I’d like to be a pro football player, a quarterback. I think that’d be awesome.
What profession would you not like to do? Not because it’s that crummy of a job, but a truck driver or freight hauler where you’d be away from your family for a long time.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Welcome.
Read more of my “Inside the Actor’s Studio” questionnaire interviews in the archives and read about how it all started with Tony Stewart.
Something I’ve noticed as I go to more races is that I take less pictures. In the beginning I was taking photos of everything; tires, cars, etc. But now that I know the pain of uploading those photos to Flickr and having to write a title for each one, I’m a lot more discerning when it comes to choosing a photo subject.
My Friday at Auto Club Speedway (ACS) began with me walking from my car to the garage and happening to see Travis Kvapil walking out of the drivers/owners motorcoach lot at the same time. I was set to interview Travis a little later on that morning, but he noticed me then. He must remembered me from when I interviewed him at ACS in 2008. This was, and still is, a big deal to me. He knew we had a scheduled interview for that day and he ended up having time right then so we went ahead and got the Inside the Actor’s Studio questioning out of the way.
Because I feel like the underdog pretty much all the time, it felt like a super cool “win” to walk through the garage, past crew members and whoever was around, with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver who actually REMEMBERED ME. Which is why Travis Kvapil is a super cool guy in my book. He really is genuinely nice and I cannot wait for a Sprint Cup win to come his way. I’ll talk more about him when I post the interview. He was the first driver to answer a particular question a particular way. How’s that for cryptic?
It’s only Friday and I already have so much stuff to share with you guys! It’s awesome. Needless to say I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday. David Hasselhoff is singing the National Anthem and, like, 56 couples are renewing their vows along with 16 couples that are getting married on the start/finish line of Auto Club Speedway. Superfun! Oh and there’s a race or two happening. Jamie McMurray (seen at left post qualifying) is on the pole for one of them, the Pepsi Max 400.
Of course I’m not writing a full post because I’m tired and I have to get up early again tomorrow and I didn’t get a full night’s sleep yesterday (my room makes weird noises at night and trains pass by here). But I can tell you that I had fun watching people flip out when they caught sight of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and I interviewed Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland, Marcos Ambrose, Juan Pablo Montoya, Brad Keselowski and Brad Daugherty. Whew! There’s a lot of great content coming up for sure.
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)
I’m kidding! Calm down Roush Fenway Racing supporters. I was just making a funny.
But seriously, super huge congratulations to Jamie McMurray for winning the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday. Kudos to him and his team for winning a race that further cements a place for him in NASCARs history.
Now, can I talk about Victory Lane or Winner’s Circle at Indy? It’s really lame. It seems like a complete afterthought, like they finished making the hugh jass pagoda and then were all, “Ohh, where are we gonna do Victory Lane? Let’s wedge it over there since we made the stage for the anthem and the command to start engines needlessly large and round.”
It makes me feel squished and I’m not even there. It’s so awkward, why not just do everything on the track? Ok, just had to get that off of my chest it makes me mental every year for the Indy 500 and the Brickyard.
And speaking of Victory Lane how cute was Jamie when he kissed his wife’s stomach? Christy McMurray is pregnant with their first child who is due to arrive in December. So adorable. I’m going out on a limb and calling a set of twins for them. I have no proof, obviously, other than I think someone should have twins.
Jamie McMurray, winner of the Brickyard 400 kisses his wife Christy after kissing the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on July 25, 2010. (UPI /Edwin Joseph Locke Photo via Newscom)
The pit crew for Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet runs down pit road to celebrate their win at the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, IN.
Jamie McMurray, driver of the Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, and his team kiss the bricks after McMurray won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The beard is back and he brought along a friend this time. I dunno if I like this trend.
Team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the Amp Energy Chevrolet with team owner Rick Hendrick before the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on July 25, 2010, in Indianapolis on July 25, 2010. (UPI/Thomas E. Hayden Photo via Newscom)
(R-L) Dallas Clark of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts poses with brother Dan Clark in the flag stand before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Travis Kvapil, driver of the Long John Silver’s Ford, stands by his car during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman, driver of the Haas Automation Chevrolet, stands with his wife Krissie Newman on the grid before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
So, if ESPN has Carl joining them after every race in the studio, do they really need Rusty to stick around?
Carl Edwards, driver of the Aflac Ford, reaches in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
(R) David Stremme, driver of the Air Guard/gtwgps.com Chevrolet, looks on from pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Fans hold up signs outside the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
County music star Luke Bryan walks around in the garage area during the final practice session for the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, IN.
(L-R) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s Chevrolet, poses with singer Jack Johnson in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 23, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
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.
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.
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.
Words cannot express how psyched I am to see that Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland will be teammates again! The two are joining Front Row Motorsports, running Fords, for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season. This is superawesome news and I’m glad these guys are going to be full-time Cup drivers, with full-on organizational support, again.
From the official press release:
As previously announced, Front Row will have two more full-time Sprint Cup programs in 2010. Travis Kvapil is behind the No. 34 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion and Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Kevin Conway is driving the No. 37 ExtenZe Ford Fusion. Veteran crew chiefs Steven Lane and Peter Sospenzo have been named crew chiefs of each respective program. This is the first season Front Row Motorsports, based in Statesville, N.C., will field three full-time programs. The teams will be supported by Ford Racing and Roush/Yates Engines.
Gilliland comes to Front Row Motorsports having been a former teammate with Kvapil at Yates Racing under the Ford Racing banner.
“It’s going to be great to be back in a Ford with Roush/Yates Engines and teammates with Travis and Kevin,” said Gilliland. “Travis and I had a lot of good runs together in the past and I know that Front Row Motorsports has put a lot of efforts into their program during the off-season. I think we can surprise some people.”
I totally agree, they can kick some butt. I remember when I interviewed David he said that he and Travis get on well and that they like the same things in their cars. That’s gotta be helpful in building your teams and setups. Oh and FYI, Gilliland will be in the No. 38 again but with Taco Bell as a sponsor. Niiice.
In other news…
– On Monday night our 4-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson visited the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show and engaged in a little “Bumper Car” racing with Jimmy and actress Ashley Judd, who we all know is married to the adorable Scotsman and reigning IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti. I love Ashley, she’s so cool. I have to admit that I’m planning on seeing the Tooth Fairy because of her (maybe not in the theater, but still), although the fact that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is in it too helps. He’s friggin’ gorgeous, and his arms! Omigosh his arms. Okay, I’m getting off track. Videos of Jimmie’s appearance are below.
Also, The Late Night with Jimmy Fallon blog has a poll up right now asking you to vote on who you think is the best motorsports driver of all time. If you guys let Speed Racer win, we’ve got serious problems!
So, there I was just scanning the headlines on my iGoogle homepage and what do I see?? This: “Bobby Labonte to attempt to qualify in No. 71 car for TRG Motorsports in Atlanta Sprint Cup race”
Uhm, let me see if I can summarize my thoughts at that moment. It was something along the lines of “What the fuck?!” Sorry, I can’t censor myself right now.
What the hell is going on? I mean, really? They’re really letting Bobby Labonte drive the No. 71 at Atlanta this weekend? Why does David Gilliland keep getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop?? For a second I thought/hoped that maybe he was just sick or something, I dunno, something that would prevent you from driving that had nothing to do with other people’s stupidity.
David is a good guy and a good driver. It’s gross how he keeps getting passed over for other people who, with all due respect to Bobby Labonte, haven’t done anything in quite sometime. I think I did a good job of illustrating that back when Bobby and Paul Menard joined Yates Racing earlier this year replacing David and eventually Travis Kvapil. So I don’t feel the need to go through it again.
I’m so irked that this happened again to David at TRG — an organization that I thought understood the potential of the driver in their stable and valued the fans he brought with him. I get it that Bobby has won a Championship and whatnot, but it’s just annoying to me that it’s so hard for some drivers that deserve a ride to be able to get a chance to just grow somewhere.
I have no idea what will happen beyond this year between TRG and David, maybe this is just a blip and next year his ride will truly be his for the entire season.
Ugh. Maybe I am being a bit dramatic but this is getting really old.
Good news Fast and Fabulous fans! I am going to the Auto Club 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in So Cal on February 22nd AND I am also going to the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the following weekend on March 1st.
Whew! I’m exhausted just writing that! It’s going to be great and I’m beyond excited about it, it’ll be a lot of fun to be back at the track in full-on NASCAR mode. So be on the lookout for posts from me those two weekends.
In other news…
– Jeff Gordon went to Disney World with his family this week. It’s just so random. I look at this photo and I’m like, uhm, okay? That being said little Ella is still super adorable. What I really want are photos from Carl Edwards’ or Elliott Sadler’s weddings. Feel free to email me if you have them, nosey people like me want to see them.
Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon (left) takes a spin with his wife Ingrid (right) and two-year-old daughter Ella (front right) February 9, 2009 on the Magic Carpets of Aladdin attraction at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Gordon visited the Walt Disney World theme parks the week leading up to the 51st running of the Daytona 500. (Photo Credit: Garth Vaughan and Walt Disney World)
– ATTENTION DAYTONA DALE JR. FANS! There is still time to get an ‘adidas Hot Pass’ to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr. tomorrow! Here are the deets:
adidas has teamed up with Champs Sports to give local NASCAR fans the chance to meet Dale Jr. tomorrow. The ‘adidas Hot Pass’ promotion kicked off February 6th and the meet-and-greet takes place at Daytona’s Volusia Mall Champs Sports tomorrow at 7 p.m. There are a few “adidas Hot Passes” left and the first 88 fans to purchase $150 of adidas gear at this Champs Sports meet Dale!
– Travis Kvapil secured a spot for himself in the Daytona 500 after posting the eighth fastest time during qualifying on Sunday, which is awesomeness, but remember kids there is free food to be had if he has a good race finish. Said Kvapil, “Locking ourselves into the race on Sunday was a huge deal for the No. 28 team. I knew that Doug (Yates) and Ben (Leslie) would bring a fast car this weekend, and I know they were both really excited when we made the race on Sunday. We have Golden Corral on our car this weekend, which is great for all the kids out there, because if we finish in the top 10, all kids eat for free on Monday.”
– Dancing with the Stars professional/champion and burgeoning country music artist Julianne Hough will sing the National Anthem before the start of the Daytona 500 this Sunday.
– So I was emailed the other day by someone who wanted to know what I have against Jimmie Johnson. I have nothing against him. I actually like him to a certain degree. I just think he can be very boring sometimes, he starts talking about his car and I zone out and can’t remember a word he just said. There have been other times, like when he spoke about how he proposed to his wife, when I was totally enamored by him. It comes and goes I guess.
By virtue of being a woman I tend to lead with my heart. But I’m logical and intelligent and I understand cold hard facts. I know that money is usually the biggest deciding factor in the world of NASCAR race teams and in this economic climate it seems like it’s the only one.
Still, even with those hard truths, I can’t help but feel like there’s more at work with the lack of attention being paid to great drivers like David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil. These are guys that truly deserve more time to prove themselves on the racetrack. Gilliland finished 2nd at Infineon Raceway last year, the best race finish between the two Yates Racing drivers for the season.
So what does his effort get him? Only to be left without a ride and on contract with a company who has given the points he earned to the new guy, Bobby Labonte who hasn’t had a top-5 finish since 2006.
While Kvapil still has a ride for 2009 it doesn’t have a sponsor yet (although Golden Corral has signed on to sponsor him in the Daytona 500) and his points have been moved to Paul Menard. Menard has had only two top-10 finishes in his entire Sprint Cup career and Kvapil has had six.
That just doesn’t sit right with me. Frankly I’m pretty disgusted by it. I understand wanting and needing drivers that can succeed and rack up great finishes. I also understand wanting and needing drivers that are marketable. Both of those criteria are needed to secure sponsorships and I know that Gilliland and Kvapil are completely capable of both of those things.
I had the chance to interview them during the 2008 season and you’re not going to find more genuinely nice, honest and hardworking guys. They’re both well-spoken, good-looking guys with beautiful families. They also have the most important thing: the passion and drive to want to win races. They want to put in the work.
So why did Bobby Labonte and Paul Menard suddenly become the new fresh faces of Yates Racing? Because everybody knows who Bobby Labonte is and Paul Menard comes with a built-in sponsor.
I’m not saying that Yates Racing doesn’t value the talent they have in Travis and David. I don’t think they would have signed them on in the first place if they hadn’t. I just think it’s sad that they couldn’t have held on to what they’d accomplished, built on the team success they had from last year and figured out a way to stay loyal to drivers already in their stable.
It’s really sad when the choice of sponsorship over talent rules the day.
This was such a great year for The Fast and the Fabulous. When I look back at the 2008 NASCAR racing season I smile, grin and laugh. I have had so much fun and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want more! But before 2009 arrives I thought it would be fun to remember the highlights of the year that was:
– Pole Position: There was no way I would have had access to all of the opportunities that came my way this year without my association with NASCAR Pole Position magazine. They really started my year off right and I am so thankful that they asked me to be a part of their publication.
– Flying solo: In attending five races in three different states this year I set a new personal record for myself. This fact alone is just super cool. I’m so proud of myself for following my passion and not caring that I did all of this traveling on my own. To be honest traveling alone is really fun, you always get to do the stuff that you want to and you never have to compromise.
– The interviews: The interviews I obtained this year were truly monumental for this blog. If there had been only one I would have said the same thing. Having the opportunity to ask all of these great people questions was something I will not forget. It’s not like I’m planning to not do interviews anymore, but you never forget your firsts! So here’s a special thank you to Michelle Gilliland, David Gilliland, Travis Kvapil, Paul Menard, Liz Clarke, Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty. Here’s a bit of insider info, I interviewed Shana Mayfield (Jeremy Mayfield’s wife) earlier this year but I shelved the transcription of our conversation, not for any particular reason. She was super nice and very cool. I’m planning on posting the interview eventually. If there’s one thing I learned this year it’s that long conversations equal a super long transcription process.
– Clint Bowyer: He is the subject the greatest photo I have ever taken during a race weekend. As you can see in the photo to the right that is Mr. Bowyer look straight at me like I’m an alien. I love this photo because his expression is priceless. It was one of many cool moments I had during my time at the Chicagoland Speedway in July.
– Carl Edwards: It was a big year for Carl; he got engaged, brawled with Kevin Harvick and gunned for not one but two Championship titles. He came up short on the Championship front but it’s no small feat to place second in two series at the same time. My teensy, weensy encounters, at Chicagoland and the Auto Club Speedway, with Mr. Edwards were perfect examples of what a great ambassador for the sport of NASCAR he is and display his insanely likeable persona.
– Dale Earnhardt Jr.: I think my post, “fate finally throws me a bone,” is my favorite one for the year. It summed up a lot of feelings and explains where I’m coming from to anyone who doesn’t know me personally. The experience itself was definitely the highlight of my year. I’m hoping for 2009 to bring more experiences like that one, for sure.
– Celebrity: I saw a lot of stars and a couple so-called celebrities this year. I’m still highly pissed and irritated that Heidi & Spencer from MTV’s The Hills were at the Pepsi 500. Gag me. On the other side of the celeb spectrum, ya know the side where people actually ARE celebrities for having actual talent; I was star struck when I was in the same place as actor, and major hottie, Brendan Fraser. I think they should have him as the Grand Marshal of at least one race per year. It’s funny though, no matter what actor, musician or TV personality showed up at the races I was always much more interested in the NASCAR drivers.
– What I sound like: Thanks to invites from a couple really cool radio shows you got the chance to hear me talk about NASCAR. I had such a great time spending time On Pit Row with Steve and Charlie and hanging out in the Treehouse Fort with Matt and Tuffy.
– Twitter racing: When I watched races on my TV at home I kept my cell phone by my side at all times, not because I was waiting for the phone to ring or needed to check my email, nope I kept it with me so I could post Tweets about the race as it was happening. It became such a fun thing to exchange opinions, impressions and laughs with my fellow NASCAR fans. I invite you to follow me, so you can be in on the conversations next year!
– It’s the life: I think I’ve talked before about moments where you say to yourself “how did I get here?” Well I asked myself that question about 50 times when I toured the ESPN mobile production studios while I was at Chicagoland Speedway. I learned a lot, it takes a lot of work to put a broadcast together and rear springs are way heavier than I’d thought.
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.
This afternoon I was driving to my local Starbucks for my regular Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte hit and I turned on Sirius’ NASCAR channel. On the channel display it listed the top 5 car numbers for the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega. I freaked out for a moment and thought that maybe I was missing the race that it had somehow slipped my mind that the race was tonight and not tomorrow. Of course I was right, the race is in fact tomorrow and that line up of car numbers was just for today’s qualifying session.
The top car on the list was Travis Kvapil’s No. 28 Academy Sports + Outdoors Ford Fusion. Which is probably why I thought the race was on and maybe he was leading, but to find out that Kvapil is on the pole for the AMP Energy 500 is just so awesome! I can’t believe he’s on the pole. It’s so cool. I am so happy for him and his team. I really, truly hope that he and David Gilliland get a good finish out of the race tomorrow. No, not a good finish, a great one!
Talladega is going to be crazy tomorrow and I cannot wait to see what happens!
In other news…
– This has nothing to do with racing but I feel the need to share. You must, I repeat, you must buy the following two CDs: “Only By The Night” by Kings of Leon and “New Surrender” by Anberlin. These bands rock my world in the most wonderful way. I cannot live without music, it’s probably my second most favorite thing in the world behind writing and these guys are amazing. If you’ve never heard Kings of Leon before they’re this sort of modern southern rock band, and Anberlin is indie/alternative rock. Both have great lead singers with beautiful and unique voices. Check them out, you will not be sorry!