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!
So I’ve been meaning to post these photos for the past couple of weeks and now I finally have the time to put ‘em up. NASCAR drivers and team owners visited with soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.
It’s no secret that NASCAR has a deep respect for those that serve our country, you can see evidence of that at the racetrack each weekend, but I think it means so much that NASCAR takes the time to bring themselves to the people that have given up so much for all of us as Americans.
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch and former NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip visit a soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Military Advance Training Center in Washington, D.C. NASCAR made its annual visit to the facility to salute the troops on Thursday. (Photo Credit: Larry French/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Riggs visits a soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. NASCAR made its annual visit to the facility to salute the troops on Thursday. (Photo Credit: Larry French/Getty Images for NASCAR)
A soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Military Advance Training Center in Washington, D.C welcomes, from left to right, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Travis Kvapil, NASCAR President Mike Helton, Yates Racing GM Max Jones and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland. NASCAR made its annual visit to the facility to salute the troops on Thursday. (Photo Credit: Larry French/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(Left to right) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Greg Biffle signs an autograph for a soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Military Advance Training Center in Washington, D.C. NASCAR made its annual visit to the facility to salute the troops on Thursday. (Photo Credit: Larry French/Getty Images for NASCAR)
This is the exact reaction I had after reading the AP headline of “Paul Menard to leave DEI for Yates Racing.” While I can’t say I didn’t see this coming, rumors of this have been around for a long time, it’s still a big thing to read. I mean, really? Seriously??
This better not affect David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil negatively. I’m just sayin’. I don’t put anything past anyone these days. With the economy being what it is, I would not be surprised if the field of cars for each race next year is down to only 13 teams. Wow, I just thought about that. That would really suck.
Okay… So here’s the first of several posts on what happened while I was at the Auto Club Speedway for Labor Day Weekend:
On Friday I got to the track and picked up my credentials and I found out that I got two things I’ve never had before. The first was a Victory Lane sticker and the second was a reserved parking spot in the media parking area. This may seem really insignificant but it seriously made my weekend. The parking spot alone was awesomeness. Why? Because it meant that I got to drive in between the driver & VIP bus lot and the garage area and park right next to the Nationwide Series garage, and all of that made my walk to and from the media center super short. It’s the small things people!
I got into the media center and grabbed a copy of the driver media availability schedule. I had to plan my day and the first thing I had to do was find out how the haulers were situated and whose hauler was where. I think it was funny/interesting that Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch were set up right next to each other in the garage after the incident at Bristol the weekend before. It’s not like it really matters seeing as how they’re never really in the garage for that long at any given time, and when they are they’re busy with their teams and their cars. So ya know getting into a fist fight is probably the last thing on their minds even though it would be the greatest thing in the world to see from my perspective.
But I digress. There was time before all of the press meet-ups were scheduled so I enjoyed some pastry in the media lounge while listening to Sam Hornish Jr. and Regan Smith talk about being rookies in the Cup Series over the loudspeaker. Because I couldn’t see them or hear the questions that were being asked I got to play a fun game of “Guess Whose Voice That Is” in my head.
After the top two rookies had their press conference there was another press gathering for Michael Waltrip Racing and Affliction Clothing. Affliction sponsored the No. 00 car that was being run that weekend by Mike Skinner. In promotion of this they had a group of Mixed Martial Arts fighters on hand (and a butt load of what I’m assuming were their girlfriends and such) to take photos and talk about the upcoming MMA fights. I got to see Michael Waltrip, who seems to me these days like a gentle giant, well, a gentle giant in designer jeans. I wanted to snap a photo of them but I couldn’t without it being incredibly obvious that I was trying to take a shot of his butt.
Auto Club Speedway implemented a bunch of misting stations in time for the race weekend. It was such a brilliant idea and I’m glad they did it ’cause it made standing around in that insane heat so much more bearable. Actually it was pretty windy too and that helped, although I have a serious tan and sunburn on my back. I remember taking a shower on Monday morning and at the very top of my back, just beneath my neck, it was all sore from sunburn.
The highlight of Friday morning was of course meeting Travis Kvapil and interviewing him in his hauler. I tried to catch Kasey Kahne’s session but it was totally pointless because there were cars in the garage revving their engines and I couldn’t hear anything.
I caught sight of Clint Bowyer sitting outside of his hauler during his specified media time but nobody was crowed around him. I debated going over and talking to him, but of course I didn’t. First, I found it highly odd that someone like him would just be left alone like that with nary a writer in site and I didn’t want to look like a doink asking if I could talk to him only to find out it had been moved to another time or it was earlier or something. Plus after reading a transcript of a press conference he’d had, the one I’d missed apparently, he had some really short answers and he kind of strikes me as someone who’s not that interested in talking. So I don’t regret not going up to him.
For lunch I went to the Panasonic tent in the infield where they were hosting a special BBQ for the gathered media. As soon as I walked in I was greeted with a pink lei placed around my neck and a free USB drive. The place was decked out in what I’m calling “Tiki BBQ Chic” decor. There was a bar in the middle serving soft drinks and water and outside in the back was the aforementioned BBQ. Of course they were promoting Panasonic goods including the largest plasma TV screen in the world. It is 100 inches wide. It was crazy big and of course I would love to have that sucker on my wall. They were showing off a video game on it and I wanted to go and try it but the power went out and I left.
Clint Bowyer hangs out outside of his hauler at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Kasey Kahne chats with the media at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
That’s me in the reflection!
Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet is rolled out to pit road before a practice session at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Travis Kvapil’s No. 28 Hitachi “Inspire the Dream” Ford Fusion gets pushed out to pit road before a practice session at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
The big screen tv inside the Panasonic tent at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Friday, August 29, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
Finally, here is part two of my interview with 32-year-old Wisconsin native Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 28 Hitachi Power Tools Ford Fusion for Yates Racing.
I had intended to get this online yesterday but I didn’t get home until late Monday night after driving over 300 miles. Plus Tuesday morning I interviewed retired NASCAR driver and current ESPN racing analyst Dale Jarrett. So when you combine trying to come to terms with the fact that I did indeed speak to THE Dale Jarrett yesterday and the amazing birthday weekend I had at the Auto Club Speedway and the fact that I haven’t been feeling well these past couple of days it has led to me being very late with posting all of this stuff. So bear with me!
I know in part one of this interview I’ve already stated that Travis was super nice but I have to say it again and add that he was honest and forthcoming. I like writing about the Yates Racing guys because I feel like they’re in a very good position to do great things in their careers, their stories are just beginning really, and it’s nice to know that in meeting Travis it didn’t cause me to lose my belief that a win for him and his teammate are just around the corner.
I had the opportunity to speak with Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 28 Hitachi “Inspire the Next” Ford Fusion, one-on-one before practice and qualifying today at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. I have to add that this is the first time I’ve interviewed a driver in person. The whole morning leading up to it my stomach was in knots and I was so incredibly nervous. In the end though, it went really well.
Travis was really nice and super easy to talk to, definitely a good guy with a realistic understanding of the sport of racing. I should confess that the real reason I’m breaking this interview up into two posts is that I forgot to bring my laptop charger. It never fails; I always forget something when I go on a trip. When I went to Chicagoland I forgot my toothbrush.
And so here’s the first part of my session with Travis. Part two should be posted sometime Tuesday after I get back home. I’ll also have a ton of other posts to share about my Labor Day weekend in general.
The 2009 NASCAR schedules were released today (check out the full 2009 Sprint Cup Series schedule here). When this happens it makes me examine my life and what my plans are for the year ahead. I wasn’t intending for that statement to sound so… ominous? serious? Anyway, when I get to the Auto Club Speedway later this month I will have attended 5 NASCAR race weekends this year, which is a new personal best, but it leaves me well short of my goal of attending at least one race a month.
I really want to do something awesome next year but I’m not quite sure how to frame it and where to start. About a million ideas run through my head everyday. Most of which involve an Airstream trailer, my own show and a driver to take me everywhere so that I only have to worry about how I could possibly interview the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr. without sounding like a nut job. Whether the show is a podcast, vodcast or reality show is still up in the air.
Of course the real problem with all of this is that pesky little thing called money. I think you might have heard of it. I truly think a major oil company should sponsor me (and all of my exploits) next year. It just makes sense. I’d feel a lot better about paying $4 a gallon if Shell, Sunoco, Exxon or Chevron was footing the bill for me to live the dream next year. Wouldn’t you? Okay, maybe you wouldn’t but you’d get the benefit of it by reading all of my funny stories about life on the road as a crazy California girl NASCAR fan.
In other news…
– Bristol Motor Speedway is Eva Busch’s favorite race track and she had this to say about it:
“It was the very first track I ever visited and that trip to Bristol will always stand out as being so special,” Eva explained. “Kurt and I hadn’t been dating that long back in 2003 when he invited me to come to Bristol for the night race (on Aug. 23, 2003). I took him up on the offer, but really didn’t know what to expect. Having the Bristol night race as a first-race experience was impressive enough, but to be there and see Kurt win in my first time to the track was extra-special. There’s always something special about coming to Bristol and I think there will always be. The night race there is just unbelievable. You have to experience it to believe it. As exciting and impressive as it is on TV, there’s just no way to do it justice. You really have to be there to witness it live. I guess you could say that I got spoiled pretty fast at Bristol. Kurt won the night race in 2003 and we came back for the spring race of 2004 and he won that one, too. I know just how much Kurt loves the track and that affection for Bristol has certainly rubbed off on me through the years, that’s for sure.”
– Travis Kvapil will be driving KITT this weekend at Bristol. Suhweet! Okay, not exactly but his car will promote the NBC show “Knight Rider,” which is still really cool:
Yates Racing and NBC announced today that in a unique partnership between Ford Motor Company and NBC, Travis Kvapil will pilot the No. 28 “Knight Rider” Ford for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23rd. The sponsorship by NBC of the No. 28 Ford comes in anticipation of the television series premiere of NBC’s “Knight Rider” on Wednesday, September 24th at 8:00 p.m. EST.
On the heels of NBC’s hit movie, the iconic 1980′s television classics comes roaring back to life as a reinvented, updated and super-charged action series showcasing the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand). As absolutely the coolest car ever created, KITT is equipped with “AI” (artificial intelligence) that is capable of hacking into almost any system. The vehicle’s weapon system matches that of a jet fighter, its body is capable of transforming into other vehicles, and the car uses sophisticated holographic imagery to elude villains.
“This is such an awesome sponsor for our team at Bristol,” commented Kvapil. “The television series ‘Knight Rider’ is a show that everyone can get hooked on. I think it’s really cool that NBC has chosen to reinvent the series for the Fall line-up. The best part about the show was always the car, KITT, and this is amazing that I get to drive a version of KITT for the night race at Bristol. It’s every guy’s dream to feel like they are an action hero and I get to have that chance under the lights of Bristol with our No. 28 ‘Knight Rider’ Ford.”
So apparently Ryan Newman is set to be announced as the second driver for Stewart Haas Racing. The official announcement is supposed to happen tomorrow. This is yet another one of NASCAR’s worst kept secrets. I really want someone to send me a NASCAR secret so that I can blab it to everyone.
In other news…
– I’m going to the Pepsi 500!!! I’ve got media credentials again and I’m super excited about attending this Labor Day race weekend at the Auto Club Speedway in Southern California. The Sprint Cup race falls on my birthday (August 31st) and do you know what the greatest present would be? Well, besides winning the lottery, the best present would be if one of my guys would win the race. So I’m putting David Gilliland, Travis Kvapil, Clint Bowyer, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on notice.
– And now for some random photos that I haven’t had the chance to post before today:
Oakland A’s pitcher Brad Ziegler gets a ride to his game on Wednesday from former IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton in a two-seat IndyCar. Hamilton drove the pair to the Oakland Coliseum from downtown Oakland, the drive was a promotional event in advance of the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County at Infineon Raceway, August 22-24, 2008.
(photo credit: Chucke Walkden)
Motocross star Travis Pastrana took in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono back in June of this year. He recently won the gold medal for Rally Car racing at the Summer X Games in Los Angeles.
Travis Pastrana in Pocono, June ’08, (c) David Vaughn (Courtesy of Red Bull Racing Team)
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?
What a difference an interview makes.
Today I had the opportunity to speak with NASCAR Sprint Cup and Yates Racing driver David Gilliland. He’s a true class act and a pleasure to talk to, so much so that I’ve decided to break this interview up into two posts. When you listen to him talk about racing you truly get the sense that this is a guy that is dedicated to being the best that he can be and making the most of his career in racing. He also comes across as very realistic and genuine.
In this segment we talked about how he feels about his car for tomorrow’s race at Watkins Glen International plus his thoughts on his chances at landing his first Sprint Cup win this year.
Me: So first let’s talk about Watkins Glen, how do you feel about your car after being in practice today and your chances for tomorrow?
Gilliland: Yeah, I feel like we’re good. We just worked on all race trim stuff obviously because we’re not qualifying or anything like that. So that was the main thing, we just worked on race trim stuff. We’ve got the car to where it feels good and comfortable and consistent on the times. I think we’re starting 26th or 27th tomorrow, so just gotta be there at the end.
Me: How do you feel about going against the so-called road course ringers? I mean, you did really well at Infineon; you had your best finish of the year, and your career in Cup so far, at Infineon, so do you feel like you can give them a run for their money tomorrow?
Gilliland: Yea, I think Infineon, I’ve had some experience there, I’ve raced there before while Watkins Glen I’ve only raced there one time. So it’s definitely a little more challenging for me, Watkins Glen is, but we came a long ways today and I’m definitely much better than I was here last year. I felt good [about the car today]. And a lot of the road course guys they run a lot of the different series that the road course guys race and run Watkins Glen quite a bit so they have a lot of laps on this track. I think that’s definitely an advantage but we’re going to just do our own deal and we feel really good about our race car, it’s the same car we had at Infineon so we’re just going to try and do what we can.
Me: Do you feel like your team is capable of winning this year?
Gilliland: Yes, I do. I think we had a shot last week at Pocono and we ran out of gas, which was a very big disappointment for us, but we had a very fast car, we qualified third, ran well. Infineon I felt like we had a very good car. At Daytona this year we ran very, very well, had a car capable of winning. There have definitely been some cars that have been capable of winning. Our team, we’ve got a lot of new guys and I think that’s where some of the struggle has been this year, but that will come with time. Hopefully we can put everything together and get our first win this year.
Check back tomorrow for more from my interview with David where we cover topics like his connection to Kyle Busch, his Yates Racing teammate Travis Kvapil, and how he feels about his fans.
There were a bunch of great photos from the NASCAR race at New Hampshire this past weekend that I didn’t want to put them all in one post. So the rest of the best are below. My comments are in bold as usual.
In other news…
Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland play at a Guitar Hero: Aerosmith demonstration at the Target Chip Ganassi Racing hospitality tent at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday night (Photo Credit: Chris McGrath / Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch hugs wife Eva after the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was declared official on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
On Friday in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway media center, Jimmie and Chandra Johnson turn the first screws in a project for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation that will provide a home to a family in need. Johnson was second-fastest in Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
This is the cutest photo ever!
Carl Edwards picks up a fan during Saturday’s NASCAR Foundation Track Walk following the NASCAR Nationwide Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I really need to watch more soccer, seriously.
Adam Cristman, Brad Knighton, and Wells Thompson of Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution walk the grid prior to the start of qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 27, 2008 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
On Sunday before the race I walked pit road taking the usual pictures and I found the pit boxes for the No. 28 and No. 38 Yates Racing teams.
I have to say that I’ve been thinking about the guys on pit crews a lot lately, mostly because you don’t hear much about them individually or even as a group. Drivers constantly talk about how it’s a team sport and they couldn’t do it without their guys but how much do we really know about the men on these teams? And how much do they know about their fans? Unless you’re on the crew for the most popular drivers it’s hard to know who’s rooting for you or if they are at all.
On television in pre-race shows they sometimes do profiles of this crew member or that one for some special or unique story, but it’s never a consistent study of who these guys are and how they feel about their teams chances each week. I suppose it would be really hard from a PR standpoint to control all of those voices but it would be refreshing to hear them.
So with that being said I took the chance to talk to the pit crew guys — that were there — from Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland’s teams. I asked them if they ever went online to their team website to see what their fans were saying. They all said that they don’t go online and some guessed that maybe the comments were negative.
I told them that they had a bunch of fans out there that supported them 100%. So the comments from these guys surprised me and got me thinking. Since these guys don’t have time to spend online searching for what people are saying, I think that if you’re a Gilliland, Kvapil or Yates Racing fan you should send a letter to the crew members. Don’t send it to Travis or David — send it to the guys on the team. Just to be clear I’m not saying you shouldn’t write to the drivers too, you totally should, but don’t forget about the other guys that make up the team.
Crew members from the No. 28 California Highway Patrol Ford Fusion team (from left to right): Tire Runner John Horn, Catchcan Bobby Grant, and Front Tire Changer Cory DeMarco.
Crew members from the No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion team
I’ve managed to shock myself at how long it’s taken me to write something about Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win at Michigan last weekend.
I was in Los Angeles helping to celebrate Father’s Day for my brother-in-law so I wasn’t able to watch the race unfold. I saw the beginning of it before we left for lunch and then when I got back to the house I found that my mom had called me on my cell phone that I had regrettably left behind. I called her back and she asked me if I had seen it, seen Dale win. My first emotion was anger that I had missed it. I was so mad. If you follow me on Twitter you already knew that.
Of course I’m happy for him, ecstatic even, but I’m still sad that I missed it. It’s not enough for me to see the highlights after the fact. I need to watch it live. In the end though there’s nothing I can do about it. I still got to see how it ended and his reaction in victory lane and his interview with ESPN’s Marty Smith. Although, I do wish his win had been cleaner and by “cleaner” I mean that I wish there wasn’t the whole controversy over passing the pace car under yellow. I’ll still take it of course, but still, it lingers.
My mom is traveling and she saw the end of the race in a restaurant in Arkansas. She was taken aback by the crowd cheering for Dale as he won the race. Stuff like that doesn’t happen in Northern California. If you enter a restaurant and the patrons are cheering it’s either because the Giants, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders or A’s are winning. Some places will have the race on TV but it’s usually because there’s nothing else on. At any rate, I want to experience that for myself. I must get myself to Charlotte asap!
In other news….
– Kyle Busch has bowed of his attempt at running for a Championship in all three of NASCAR’s series. I think that was a good idea. After two sucky weeks I think it was the thing to do. I don’t think that’s something that I’d want any driver to do, even the ones that I don’t like. It’s too much work and it thins out your focus for the most important Championship of all, the Sprint Cup.
– Joey Logano won his first NASCAR race and he’s the youngest guy to do it in the Nationwide series. How cool is that? I was really happy for him and it was fun to see his father counting down those final laps. It’s good to see the hype pay off.
– I’m all set to go to Chicago for the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in July. I even added in an extra day to my itinerary so I could check out downtown Chicago and see Gavin Rossdale in concert at the House of Blues.
– The NASCAR race at Infineon is this week and I’m super excited. I’ll be there on Friday. The first order of business will be attending the media gatherings outside of each of the top-12 drivers haulers. Of course I’m not trying to go to all of them. I have my select group of drivers that I’m interested in hearing from the most. I’ll be posting daily during the weekend, probably when I get home each day.
– Nikki Blonsky, the young actress who starred in the latest movie version of Hairspray will be singing the national anthem for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Northern California native Guy Fieri, host of the Food Networks show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives will serve as the Grand Marshall.
– For this weekend’s race at Infineon Travis Kvapil and the No. 28 Yates Racing Ford will be sponsored by… wait for it… the California Highway Patrol! Shut up! I know! Cops are sponsoring racing. How crazy is that? I love it.
Tony Stewart climbs in his car to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kasey Kahne, winner of two of the last three races, is all smiles as he waits to qualify for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Ragan is all smiles Saturday after posting the third-quickest time in the morning practice session. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Rick Hendrick congratulates Dale Earnhardt Jr. after he won the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, ending a 76-race winless streak. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Defending race winner Carl Edwards gets ready to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The really, really young guns.
(L to R) NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Brad Coleman, Landon Cassill, Bryan Clauson, Eric McClure and Jason Leffler talk with 2,700 Nationwide associates prior to the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Nationwide is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)
Joey Logano hoists the winner’s trophy at Kentucky Speedway as Tony Jones, Cincinnati Market Director for Meijer, looks on. Logano was the eighth different winner and eighth different pole winner at Kentucky; he was also the third consecutive series regular to win at the track. (Photo Credit: Padraic Major for NASCAR)
Yesterday I went to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma for the NASCAR Sprint Cup testing sessions. Let me tell you it was really cool!
First of all, it was free and you can’t beat free.
Second, everything was open. By open I mean seriously open. I parked my car in the garage area, literally next to the haulers. The garage stalls were right across from my car. When it’s a race weekend, everything is blocked off and you have to have a garage pass. There was none of that yesterday. There were no Hot or Cold garage warnings. If I had the balls to do it I totally could have walked right into someone’s garage and been like “Hey, what’s up? How’s the car handling today?”
That being said you really had to watch yourself ’cause the guys were coming in and out of the garage left and right and there was no one around with a whistle to tell you to get out of the way. Case in point a man with two kids was walking towards me in the grandstand/victory lane area completely oblivious to the grumbling race car right behind them.
I always wonder how drivers feel about having the fans right there looking at them, getting in their way, etc. It’s not like I can walk into the Chicago Bears locker room and stare at Brian Urlacher before a game, although if the NFL decides to start doing that sign me up! Just kidding. Sort of. Ok I’m not kidding.
Anyway, back to yesterday. I stood in the victory lane above pit road and realized that this was exactly where I wanted to be at that exact moment. It was so awesome to just be there, taking pictures and watching the cars drive by. There weren’t a lot of people on hand, although more started to come in as I was leaving, but all in all I probably saw less than 15 people all told — lots of grandparents, fathers and sons.
Travis Kvapil, David Ragan, J.J. Yeley, Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish Jr. and David Gilliland were all there to test cars in anticipation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. J.J., David Ragan, Marcos and Travis tested in GT America stock cars provided by Pioneer Motorsports from Lake Oroville, California (outside Sacramento). David Gilliland drove a NASCAR Camping World Series West car. I seriously couldn’t tell who was who ’cause the paint schemes were not their own, except for Sam’s.
Of the drivers that were present I only saw J.J., David Gilliland and Sam outside of their cars. I got a photo of Sam on his cell phone. It was so odd trying to take a photo them. I felt like a paparazzo. You feel like you should be able to say something but you can’t.
I took some very, very bad video of a couple cars on the track. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of video taping live action events, so forgive me.
Here’s a quote from David Gilliland talking about the importance of Infineon:
“People used to think, ‘This is Sonoma, a road race. I’m not good at road races.’ But now, with the points so close, you can’t give up on one race,” said Gilliland. “You can’t have a bad race anymore and expect to be up front. It’s too competitive now, so people are starting to take it more seriously.”
Sam Hornish Jr. chatting on his cell phone during the testing session at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
This is the back of J.J. Yeley discussing stuff with his crew at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
And now the back of David Gilliland talking one of his crew members at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)
More photos of the cars in my Flickr account!
As the NASCAR race weekend in Sonoma draws closer I’m getting more and more excited. It helps that on Tuesday Cup drivers David Ragan, Travis Kvapil, J.J. Yeley and Sam Hornish Jr. (along with Nationwide Series driver Marcos Ambrose) will be rolling into town to test at Infineon. The testing session (from 8:30am to 4:30pm) is open to the public, free of charge and yeah, I’m so there. Did I even need to say that?
NASCAR has been coming to the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty years now and some of the drivers expressed their thoughts on the road course:
“They have kept up with the times, as well as brought a tremendous amount of diversity to the sport. One of the things that Sonoma has done is bring a different culture, a different type of race fan, which I think is really cool. The racetrack is so unique. It’s very different, the racetrack itself is different. The grounds are different. The location is incredible.”
–Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet
“The track is definitely sentimental to me in terms of spring-boarding my career. Some of the big owners saw me win that (Southwest Series) race, and I was on ESPN that day, and in 1999 they had just changed the track configuration to use the Chute, so a lot of the big teams were watching that day. It was very exciting. We had a great Southwest Series team and ran for the championship that year and Infineon Raceway really put us on the map.”
–Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge
“What’s so special about Infineon Raceway is that it’s so difficult. I grew up racing on a three-eighth mile dirt track in Missouri. To come to a twisting, turning, uphill, downhill road course where you’re shifting gears in a 3,400-pound stock car, against guys like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and Boris Said is a very, very tough thing. To be able to come here and win a race, I think for any driver, and I know for me would be one of the most satisfying wins in all of NASCAR.”
– Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford
“I was born in Vallejo, right down the road from Sonoma. So to be able to come out and see my family and friends, who I don’t get to see very often, and then we were able to win fairly early in my career out there, which is a lot of fun winning on the road course. And we’ve had a lot of wins since then. To go the last couple of years and have some exciting news and excitement in my personal life, which has all coincided with that race, has been very exciting. And now it gives us something to celebrate every time we come out there. This year we’ll be celebrating Ella’s first birthday when we come out there, so that will be fun.”
– Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
“Infineon Raceway is one race on the schedule that I absolutely love and look forward to coming and running. I mean, I like running the road courses, and we’ve had success out there. We ran really, really well. The people at the racetrack are always great. It’s an awesome crowd that’s very energetic and loves to see the Cup Series run there and it’s a track that I really have a lot of fun driving on so I always look forward to going there.”
– Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota
In other news…
– Did ya hear the news about Casey Mears?? He’s going to be dad! His girlfriend is pregnant with his first child. This tidbit of information was dropped in an article from the AP but Answer This has a little bit more detail. Congrats Casey!
— Clint Bowyer spoke with the media here in the Bay Area today in anticipation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. When asked if, in this sport, it was important for fans to have someone to dislike Clint had this to say:
“It’s the same way with racing in general or any kind of sport. Everybody loves the winner until they win too much, and then they don’t like them anymore. The guys who have been very successful have seen both sides. Jeff Gordon, you either love him or hate him, but bottom line you respect him. There’s a big difference between a guy like Jeff Gordon and a guy like Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch is winning races and he’s on top, but there’s not that love-hate relationship. I think it has nothing to do with his performance on the track. People don’t respect him because of the things he does when he gets out of the race car.”
And then when asked if it’s easy for fans to find someone to boo Clint said this:
“I think it’s pretty easy. That’s what makes this sport what it is — the personalities. That’s what separates this sport from other sports is that you’re able to get so much closer to these personalities. There are a lot fewer people in this sport, there are only 43, whereas football and baseball there are hundreds. You see a lot more of the personalities of the drivers in this sport. I think it’s a good thing about our sport that it’s so fan friendly and they can get that close to the action.”
And I believe that he’s totally right on both points.
I must admit that I fell asleep watching the Best Buy 400 Benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks. I accidentally took two Tylenol PMs instead of the regular Tylenol. Woopsie!
Anywhoo… I know I didn’t miss much. I was awake to see Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s chance at a win evaporate and that pretty much took the wind out of my sails. I woke up at the end managed to make out Kyle Bush’s figure in the winner’s circle. I rolled over and went back to sleep again.
So here’s something I’ve been thinking about, when I saw Kyle’s Combos paint scheme I was reminded of the conversation I had with Washington Post writer and author Liz Clarke. She felt that the constant changing of a guys paint scheme made it harder for people to care about the driver. I think she’s so right on and putting my feelings about Kyle aside I actually feel bad for him that he doesn’t have a consistent “brand” or “look” each weekend.
It’s annoying for his fans (all two of them) that they don’t have a particular color scheme to look for on the track. It’s frustrating. They need to pick a sponsor and stick with ‘em, M&M’s and that’s it! Or Hot Shot could sponsor him again, I think it’d be hilarious but so totally perfect for his persona.
Another reason this whole musical chairs o’ sponsors is bothersome to me is that there’s a guy like Travis Kvapil out there with all the talent in the world and some great runs to prove it and he’s got nothing on his car, while Kyle has been hawking a different product almost every week. Travis finished 11th on Sunday. Uhm, hello sponsors!?!!!
In other news…
– I’m proud to report that my older sister sat down and watched DALE: The Movie. This is huge because for the longest time my sister has been flabbergasted over my love for NASCAR. She loves me and supports me in everything that I’ve done but to her this whole NASCAR thing has been perplexing, although it’s not out of the ordinary for me. My sister and I have always been very different in terms of our interests. She was a star athlete in high school and college, while I was just an awesome spectator. She was the homecoming queen and I was not. She’s into R&B and hip hop and I’m into alternative and indie rock music.
Anyway, my point is that my sister watched the movie about Dale Earnhardt and now has a much better understanding of and appreciation for racing. It made my day to hear that she wanted to understand what I have been putting so much of my energy into for sometime now. So thank you, Mika! I love you.
Denny Hamlin celebrates his second victory and fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Dover International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
A 10-car crash brought out the first caution of the Best Buy 400 Benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. The race red-flagged for 16 minutes and 13 seconds to clean up the track. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
I still don’t have the SPEED channel and therefore won’t be able to watch the NASCAR All-Star event. Yes, I know it’s shameful and sad but for as many reasons that I have to justify the cost of having the channel I really don’t want to pay all that extra dough to move up to the channel plan I would need just to get one extra channel. I say bring on a la carte pricing!
Anyway, as soon as I move I’ll be sure to get DirecTV and I can avoid using those price gougers at Comcast.
So, yeah no All-Star festivities for me this weekend but I did vote for the drivers I want to see in the All-Star race on Sunday night. The All-Star Fan Vote has been going on since April and you have until this Saturday at 7pm to submit your vote. You can do it online by going to NASCAR.com or by texting the word “NASCAR” to 7777 on your Sprint phone. I highly recommend voting for Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland, Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip or J.J. Yeley. Since these guys are amongst the drivers that don’t have a spot locked in, they’ll have to either race their way in from the Sprint Showdown or be voted in by the Fan Vote.
In other All-Star news…
– Dale Jarrett will be at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the last All-Star race of his career. They’re making the occasion extra special by introducing Dale last during driver introductions and instead of sitting in the back of a Toyota Tundra, like the other drivers, to wave to the fans around the track he’ll be driving (finally!) the UPS Big Brown Truck. Sounds like it’ll be a really cool send off.
– The first ever NASCAR Day telethon is set for tomorrow at the Sam Bass Gallery in Concord, North Carolina. Various Sprint Cup drivers including Casey Mears and Brian Vickers will be on hand to field calls for donations. Call 1-888-MAY16TH (1-888-629-1684). SIRIUS Satellite Radio will be broadcasting from the telethon all day starting at 7 a.m. and SPEED will be cutting in and out throughout the day as well.
– On Sunday the rear panel for Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Office Depot Ford will carry a super cool message from the winner of the Harlequin & Office Depot “Say Yes to a Winning Proposal” contest. I’m soooo excited to find out who the lucky couple is and I hope someone produces some kick butt reaction photos of the soon-to-be bride. They’re unveiling the winning proposal tomorrow, so I’ll see what I can see, but be on the lookout for Carl’s car on Saturday.
– Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle spent some quality time together this week while helping to build a KaBOOM! playground (in one day!) for Elon Homes for Children in Charlotte. Think they talked about swapping rides next year??
Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the #20 Home Depot Racing car & two-time Series Champion and Greg Biffle, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the #16 3M Racing car help build a build a racing-themed playground in just one day at Elon Homes for Children (Photo Credit: CIA for KaBOOM)
On Saturday I went to a friend’s birthday party so I missed the entire race. I taped it, of course, but when I heard that Kyle Busch had won the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington my desire to watch it plummeted.
I’ve said before that racing can’t be reheated and it’s true. There’s too much desire to fast-forward so you don’t get the full experience like you do from watching it live. I watched the pre-show and then the first laps and then sped through most of the middle until the end and then watched the post-race interviews.
Instead of dwelling on the boringness of Kyle’s win I shall focus on the good things. For one, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth which is still awesome and he’s still third in points, can’t complain about that.
Also, and most importantly, the Fox Sports guys finally focused on Travis Kvapil and his team’s awesome top-ten finish. David Gilliland’s 20th place finish is also nothing to sniff at. Travis is now ranked 18th and David is 21st in the point standings.
One thing bugs me though, this is Travis’ THIRD top-ten finish of the year and they acted like it was his first. C’mon guys these Yates teams have been impressive all season so far.
In some added good news, FreeCreditReport.com has extended its relationship with Yates Racing by sponsoring the No. 38 for an additional set of races for the 2008 season. The press release didn’t say exactly how many races that was, but at any rate it’s a good thing that they’re staying aboard.
Even though it’s him, it’s still a great photo.
After winning the Dodge Challenger 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Darlington Raceway, Kyle Busch gets doused by the No. 18 team in victory lane (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
If you’ve been living under a rock then you don’t know that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be sporting a retro look this weekend on his No. 88 Chevy. His car will feature a Mountain Dew paint scheme similar to the one Darrell Waltrip used in 1981 and 1982.
Dale says, “I think the Mountain Dew retro paint scheme is very fitting for the history at Darlington. The car itself is an old paint scheme on a new car, and we’ve got an old racetrack with a new surface. It’s going to be very interesting. It’s going to be fun to see how to get around that track and where the fast grooves are — where to find the grip and speed. It’s a real good-looking race car so I can’t wait to get some good photos — old school type photos — when I get out there.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. waits for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice to get under way at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen / Getty Images)
Driving a retro Mountain Dew paint scheme at NASCAR’s second oldest track, Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives through the garage area at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen / Getty Images)
I think it looks awesome; I love the look of retro racing stripes.
But don’t think that Dale Jr. is the only one who knows how to go back in time. Travis Kvapil’s No. 28 Ford Fusion will be decked out in a special paint scheme similar to the one Fred Lorenzen used in the 1960′s when he was sponsored by LaFayette Ford.
With a paint scheme reminscent of one driven by NASCAR legend Fred Lorenzen, the No. 28 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team prepares its car for Travis Kvapil (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
(April 29, 2008) Yates Racing announced today that LaFayette Ford, who sponsored the No. 28 with driver Fred Lorenzen from 1962-1967, will again sponsor the No. 28 entry but this time with driver Travis Kvapil for the Sprint Cup series race at Darlington Raceway on May 10th. Kvapil’s No. 28 will sport a paint scheme reminiscent to that of Fred Lorenzen’s during the 60’s when LaFayette Ford sponsored Lorenzen’s No. 28 machine.
“It’s really a neat idea that LaFayette Ford wanted to sponsor our No. 28 Ford for the race at Darlington,” commented Kvapil. “The No. 28 has so much history associated with it that I’m honored to be a part of that legacy. Our paint scheme is a vintage scheme similar to the one Fred (Lorenzen) used to race and I think the car’s going to look great out on the track. I’m flattered that LaFayette Ford chose to sponsor our team at Darlington and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Again I call for Fox Sports and ESPN/ABC (whenever they take over the coverage duties of NASCAR) to fill their pre-race coverage with profiles of the drivers instead of pointless 5-second interviews and shots of Darrell Waltrip dancing (I love you DW, but I could live without watching you dance).
And for the first of these semi-in-depth profile interviews they should head on over to Yates Racing and talk to Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland. Why? Because those guys have been quietly kicking some race day booty. Gilliland, currently ranked 18th in points, has finished the last three races in 15th place and led 2 laps of the Aaron’s 499 on Sunday. Kvapil, ranked respectfully 23rd in points, finished 6th at Talladega — his second top-ten finish of the year.
Kvapil’s No. 28 Ford Fusion still needs a full-time sponsor and if his 6th place finish at Talladega isn’t proof enough of his abilities then I really don’t know what to tell you. Maybe Northern Tool & Equipment will sign on for the rest of the year? Who knows, but somebody needs to snap this team (and the rest of Yates Racing) up ASAP, these guys are really going places.
AJ Allmendinger will be back in the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry this weekend at Talladega, taking over for Mike Skinner who had the ride for the last 5 races. That’s good for him, I know having to sit out “for the good of the team” must have been a hard thing to do. But really, maybe the time off lit a fire under his butt and a serious urge to prove himself, we shall see. Oh and his car will have a new silver paint scheme which I think is a brilliant idea, it’ll make spotting him out of the crowd a lot easier for the fans and his spotter alike.
Allmendinger still faces the dreaded go-or-go-home qualifying situation, and this week it comes at a track where driver is at the mercy of machine.
“After seeing Mike drive the No. 84 car and seeing him struggle with some of the same problems I had been having,” Allmendinger said, “it was a little bit of a relief for me to realize that while I had plenty of room to improve as a driver, we also have a long way to go as a team. Collectively, we still need to get better.”
In other news…
– Travis Kvapil and his Yates Racing team have a sponsor for this weekend’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. Northern Tool + Equipment stepped up to sponsor the No. 28 Ford Fusion:
“I’m thrilled to have Northern Tool + Equipment as the sponsor of our No. 28 Ford Fusion for this weekend,” commented Kvapil. “This is a very exciting time for our Yates Racing organization because we’ve had some really great races to open the season with, and because of that, we’re able to showcase our strengths and the benefit that a sponsorship with our team will entail. I’m very flattered to represent Northern Tool + Equipment this weekend and I know that our team is going to do them proud on Sunday.”
So go on over to Northern Tool + Equipment’s website and buy a Go-Kart.
– Jon Wood will make his Sprint Cup debut at Talladega this weekend. I post this because it is an interesting thing, someone to look for this weekend to see how he does, but I’m also posting it ’cause he’s driving the No. 21 Honey Buns Ford Fusion and I just think that’s funny. (Nutty Bars are better in my humble opinion, but whatever)
Jeff Burton’s win at Bristol last weekend was awesome. I’m sorry that Tony Stewart was spun out by Kevin Harvick in those last laps but that was a cool ending. It just makes for great TV. Even though I was so pissed when Brian Vickers spun out Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson at Talladega in 2006 it was generally entertaining — things can still be entertaining even when they break your heart.
I think the overall theme for the day was how great it was to see David Gilliland and Aric Almirola finish in the top ten. I was so happy for them. Let’s hope that this helps Yates Racing in their search for permanent sponsors for both of their cars. And I can’t help but wonder why anyone wouldn’t want to sponsor a NASCAR race team. Especially drivers like Gilliland and Travis Kvapil. Your company would get to be a part of their story, for better or worse, but you’re still apart of it and people will remember that. Even if the guy finishes 30th each week he’s still out there and there’s always the possibility that he could win.
In other news…
– Guys, there is still time to enter the “Say Yes To A Winning Proposal Contest” and ladies — there’s still time to print this out and put it under your boyfriend’s nose. He’s got until March 31st to write out his profession of love for you (in 50 words or less). So get crackin’.
Looking to declare your love in a memorable way?
Thanks to Office Depot and Harlequin, one lucky couple will have a chance to do just that – and at speeds of more than 180 mph.
Harlequin, a leading publisher of women’s fiction worldwide, and Office Depot® (NYSE: ODP), the official office products partner of NASCAR, are offering one lucky couple the ultimate NASCAR wedding proposal or the chance to renew their vows with the “Say Yes To A Winning Proposal” national contest. Individuals can submit their proposals online, and the winning wordsmith will have his or her declaration of love featured on the back of Carl Edwards’s No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion during the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race in May and will win a VIP prize package worth more than $10,000.
From now until March 31, anyone can enter by submitting their proposal at www.GetYourHeartRacing.com in 50 words or less.
In addition to having their proposal highlighted on the back of Edwards’ car, the contest winner will also receive a diamond ring, customized stationery provided by the Office Depot Design, Print & Ship DepotTM and a trip for two to Sedona, Arizona.
I’m only posting this photo because professional hockey player Jeff Carter is friggin’ hot! Seriously.
Philadelphia Flyers center Jeff Carter (left) shows off his new Shell/Pennzoil jacket while Kevin Harvick displays his personalized #29 Philadelphia Flyers jersey. (Photo Credit: Richmond International Raceway)
Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz (left) looks on as NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick tastes a fresh-off-the-line Diet Coke at the Richmond Coca-Cola bottling facility. (Photo Credit: Richmond International Raceway)
Dale Jarrett gets a ride around the track from father Ned before his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start (Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carl Edwards admires a paper that was printed before he was penalized 100 points and knocked from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point lead. (Photo Credit: CIA Stock Photo)
Carl Edwards follows through as he seeks a strike while bowling with media in Johnson City, Tenn. (Photo Credit: CIA Stock Photo)
Race winner Clint Bowyer awaits word on the conclusion of the race. It was eventually called due to inclement weather after 171 laps (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
It’s no secret that I don’t like Kyle Busch. While I respect his talent and I can appreciate his drive for winning, I still find him to be the most annoying and obnoxious driver on the Sprint Cup circuit to date. Even when he wins he can’t help but complain or take a jab at someone. I think it all stems from insecurity and immaturity but whatever, maybe he’ll grow out of that.
And now for some random fabulousness:
– I interviewed Washington Post sportswriter Liz Clarke a little while ago and I would love it if you’d read our conversation. I only point it out because I’m really proud of it and I think you could get something out of it. I’m just sayin’.
– If you’re new to my blog or are a regular reader please take a second to fill out my reader survey. It’s nothing fancy and I’m not selling the information I receive, so it’s all just for my knowledge. I’ll be your best friend, ok, not really but you know what I mean.
– My mom will be mad at me if I don’t mention the fact that on Sunday while we were watching the race we saw a commercial for Domino’s promoting some special NASCAR deal. We called our local Domino’s restaurant and the manager had no idea there was such a deal available. He’d never heard of it apparently and then my mother proceeded to ask him what kind of manager he was and then he hung up on her. Yep, that’s my mom. Anyway, we ended up getting pizza from Round Table, where, I might add the guy went out of his way to find a coupon for us to use since we didn’t have any. Good job picking up the slack Round Table!
– Do you read The Onion? Well you should because they’re hilarious and they write the funniest stuff. They decided to make fun of Carl Edwards and his backflip tradition. Ya gotta check this out… Carl Edwards Does Mournful ‘Did Not Finish’ Backflip (Onion Sports)
– If this doesn’t work I don’t know what will. In an attempt to secure a sponsor for the Yates Racing No. 28 car driven by Travis Kvapil they’re running a special “11 Million” paint scheme at Bristol this weekend. The “11 Million” stands for the average number of people that watch the race coverage on FOX each day. Of course it goes without saying, if I had the money I’d totally sponsor this team. Can’t you just imagine “The Fast and the Fabulous” Ford zooming around the race track? hehe. Maybe Travis and the guys at Yates are glad I don’t have the money.
The 2008 NASCAR TV season is already off to a great start with an average of more than 11 million people per race day watching the No. 28 Yates Racing Ford during FOX’s coverage. This three-race average doesn’t include the 33.5 million viewers that watched the Daytona 500. With TV ratings up, and the No. 28 team still looking for sponsorship, it only makes sense to highlight one of the many benefits of a primary sponsorship with Yates Racing and the No. 28 team by placing “11 Million” on the hood of the Ford Fusion. Driver Travis Kvapil thinks it’s a unique approach to attracting sponsorship and hopes that he can get his No. 28 “11 Million” Ford to the number one position this Sunday at Bristol.
“I think it’s pretty creative,” said Kvapil. “When you stop and think about it, that’s a lot of eyeballs watching you every weekend, and this is just a fraction of the coverage that we get each week. I can’t imagine what the number would be if you added up all the media coverage along with the practice, qualifying, pre-race and post-race shows. That’s huge.”
Sponsorship opportunities are available; please contact Kevin Thomas with Yates Racing at 704-706-2120.
– Speaking of Yates Racing, be on the lookout for my interview with Michelle Gilliland, wife of David Gilliland who drives the No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford. I should be posting it in the next few days.
I’m posting this because I think Connie Montoya’s dress is super cute! That is all.
(Left to right) Felix Sabates, NASCAR CFO R. Todd Wilson, Chip Ganassi, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, Connie Montoya, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Petty and NASCAR Foundation Executive Director Sandy Marshall traveled to Colombia to raise awareness for the Montoyas Formula Smiles program and Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp. (Photo Credit: Special to NASCAR)
Scott Speed is one colorful dude.
Guenther Steiner (R), the technical director for Red Bull Racing Team, talks with Red Bull Racer, Scott Speed (L) a few hours before his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Martin Truex Jr. qualified third for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota / Getty Images for NASCAR)
After the track was dried, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series got in a final practice. In his quest for three consecutive Atlanta wins, Jimmie Johnson turned the eighth-fastest lap. (Photo Credit: Marc Serota / Getty Images for NASCAR)
I don’t know why the weather at this track is always so extreme. When I was here in 2006 for the Labor Day race, it was 100 degrees and too hot to live. Today it’s rainy, wet and miserable. You could also say that about me. The bottoms of my jeans are soaked thanks to some cleverly disguised puddles. That made the race track staff giggle.
I had to trek back to my car to drop off my laptop, as there was no room set aside for me in the media center. It’s cool, better to travel light anyway. This post is coming to you from cell phone.
I have seen some cool stuff though. I was witness to Charlotte Observer writer David Poole joking around with Larry McReynolds. Poole said that Larry Mac had never worked a day in life. All in fun of course.
I passed by Travis Kvapil coming out of the garage. It looked like he was headed for the motorcoach parking lot. Smart idea.