All posts tagged Travis Kvapil

43 Posts

expressing gratitude & support at walter reed

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 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)

(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)

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)

(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)

menard to yates?? what?!

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.

who knew a parking spot could mean so much?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:)


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

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

Kasey Kahne

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

Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Car

That’s me in the reflection!

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

Travis Kvapil's No. 28 Car

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

Panasonic Tent

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

interview: meeting travis kvapil – part two

Travis Kvapil inside the No. 28 Hitachi 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.

interview: meeting travis kvapil – part one

Travis Kvapil at Pocono earlier this year (photo credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)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.

where will i be in 2009?

Highway 5 in California (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)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.”

no such thing as a nascar secret

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 (photo credit: Chucke Walkden)

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)

Travis Pastrana in Pocono, June '08, (c) David Vaughn (Courtesy of Red Bull Racing Team)

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)

interview: chatting with david gilliland – part two

David Gilliland (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images for NASCAR)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?

interview: chatting with david gilliland – part one

David Gilliland (Photo Credit: Mike Doran)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.

reason number fifty to attend a track walk event

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…

Karah-Leigh wrote an awesome article about NASCAR blogs over at SpeedwayMedia.com. She included The Fast and the Fabulous in her list of the top blogs on the web right now. Yay! :)


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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

crew members need to feel the love too

The No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion gets pushed through inspection at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)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

Crew members from the No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion team

he finally wins and i miss it??

Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates winning the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The win ended a 76-race winless streak for Earnhardt. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Defending race winner Carl Edwards gets ready to practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(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)

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)

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)

testing the limits (of fun) at infineon

Haulers during a testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)Yesterday I went to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma for the NASCAR Sprint Cup testing sessions. Let me tell you it was really cool!

First of all, it was free and you can’t beat free.

Second, everything was open. By open I mean seriously open. I parked my car in the garage area, literally next to the haulers. The garage stalls were right across from my car. When it’s a race weekend, everything is blocked off and you have to have a garage pass. There was none of that yesterday. There were no Hot or Cold garage warnings. If I had the balls to do it I totally could have walked right into someone’s garage and been like “Hey, what’s up? How’s the car handling today?”

That being said you really had to watch yourself ’cause the guys were coming in and out of the garage left and right and there was no one around with a whistle to tell you to get out of the way. Case in point a man with two kids was walking towards me in the grandstand/victory lane area completely oblivious to the grumbling race car right behind them.

I always wonder how drivers feel about having the fans right there looking at them, getting in their way, etc. It’s not like I can walk into the Chicago Bears locker room and stare at Brian Urlacher before a game, although if the NFL decides to start doing that sign me up! Just kidding. Sort of. Ok I’m not kidding.

Anyway, back to yesterday. I stood in the victory lane above pit road and realized that this was exactly where I wanted to be at that exact moment. It was so awesome to just be there, taking pictures and watching the cars drive by. There weren’t a lot of people on hand, although more started to come in as I was leaving, but all in all I probably saw less than 15 people all told — lots of grandparents, fathers and sons.

Travis Kvapil, David Ragan, J.J. Yeley, Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish Jr. and David Gilliland were all there to test cars in anticipation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. J.J., David Ragan, Marcos and Travis tested in GT America stock cars provided by Pioneer Motorsports from Lake Oroville, California (outside Sacramento). David Gilliland drove a NASCAR Camping World Series West car. I seriously couldn’t tell who was who ’cause the paint schemes were not their own, except for Sam’s.

Of the drivers that were present I only saw J.J., David Gilliland and Sam outside of their cars. I got a photo of Sam on his cell phone. It was so odd trying to take a photo them. I felt like a paparazzo. You feel like you should be able to say something but you can’t.

I took some very, very bad video of a couple cars on the track. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of video taping live action events, so forgive me. :)

Here’s a quote from David Gilliland talking about the importance of Infineon:

“People used to think, ‘This is Sonoma, a road race. I’m not good at road races.’ But now, with the points so close, you can’t give up on one race,” said Gilliland. “You can’t have a bad race anymore and expect to be up front. It’s too competitive now, so people are starting to take it more seriously.”


Sam Hornish Jr. chatting on his cell phone during a testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Sam Hornish Jr. chatting on his cell phone during the testing session at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

J.J. Yeley during the testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

This is the back of J.J. Yeley discussing stuff with his crew at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

David Gilliland talks with a crew member during the testing session at Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

And now the back of David Gilliland talking one of his crew members at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

More photos of the cars in my Flickr account!

celebrating 20 years of nascar at infineon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other news…

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

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

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

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

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

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

:)

sponsors should get focused on kvapil, not busch

Kyle Busch celebrates winning the Best Buy 400 Benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks, his fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the season (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen / Getty Images)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)

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)

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)

the all-star race and why i won’t be watching

NASCAR All-Star RaceI 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)

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)

dear diary, kyle busch won again. ugh.

Polesitter Greg Biffle (No. 16) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. lead the field to the green flag of the Dodge Challenger 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)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.


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)

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)

dale does the retro thing, but he’s not the only one

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)

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)

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)

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.”

don’t sleep on gilliland and kvapil

Yates Racing teammates Travis Kvapil (left) and David Gilliland compare notes after practice for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)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.

allmendinger gets his wings back


Talladega Cartoon by Buck Jones (courtesy of Red Bull Racing)

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.
New No. 84 silver paint scheme (courtesy of Red Bull Racing)

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)