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Author Archives: Amy

While watching the beginning of the Kansas race I thought the big thing I would have to discuss was Chase Elliot clipping Michael McDowell as Elliot was leaving his pit and McDowell was entering his. Honestly I am surprised that doesn’t happen more often. I think that really that’s his crew chief Alan Gustafson was not on the ball watching for other cars as Chase was leaving his pitstall.

However the story ended up being the big wreck involving Danica Patrick, Joey Logano and Aric Almirola looked absolutely brutal and to be honest the more I have watched it between the replays that evening and re-watching again during this writing-the worse it looked. All three drivers involved hard hits…however if you were to show me the footage and say one of these three drivers gets injured in this wreck which would you think it would be. I would have picked Aric every time. Why? Because not only was the initial impact hard but the fact that the rear of car went airborne and then slammed back down (rewatch it at speed and you will see what I mean about that slam down on the rear) I would be incredibly surprised if that was NOT what caused Almirola’s T5 compression fracture. These cars are safe…and funny thing was is I was just touting the day before the new increased metal around the “driver cocoon” as we call it in my house. But increasing rigidity of the space around the driver to prevent movement of car parts into their area will not keep drivers completely safe- as seen by the injuries suffered by Almirola.  I mean the car gets semi airborne and then slams onto the ground- the normal safety equipment (I am thinking things like hans and whatnot) all did their jobs no doubt and protected all three of the involved drivers from suffering from more serious injuries. But much like your regular passenger car- the safety equipment will do it’s job if engaged properly but it won’t prevent every injury- there is no possible way. Aric’s injury also serves as a reminder that auto racing in whatever form you enjoy it in comes with inherent risks. (more…)

Happy Motorsports May everyone! I am obviously a huge fan of motorsports in general- not just NASCAR although NASCAR the main focus of this blog.  So May is a big month in the motorsports world. I am pleased to say as a reader I have also been looking forward to May. Why? Because one of my favorite author’s was releasing a book today and I know you are going to LOVE it.

Speaking of readers- some of my fellow readers might understand this feeling I get. It’s a feeling of incredible anticipation that the next new book by a beloved author until that moment when you finally have said new book in your hands only to then experience a fairly significant dread about the fresh book in hand.  What if the book isn’t all that I hoped it would be? What if, gasp, I don’t like it? What if my high expectations are disappointed? Maybe I am alone in these feelings but I have them quite frequently with my “beloveds” as I call them when they have a release day.  I don’t get it when I am reading a new-to-me author because I usually go into those books with low expectations. But I hold my “beloveds” to a higher expectation and then I worry that I am setting myself up for a big disappointment.  Am I the only one?

This feeling of dread hit me when I pulled out the advanced readers copy of the latest Kate Reilly mystery Kiss The Bricks by Tammy Kaehler from the package.  I have loved all the previous books in the Kate Reilly series and I always greatly anticipate the next book in the series.  For those who are unfamiliar with the series- each book takes place entirely during a race weekend (or weeks in this case). My anticipation/dread was really two-fold for Kiss The Bricks. Not only is it the next book in the series about racer Kate Reilly but it also takes place during the weeks preceding and including the Indianapolis 500 (which takes place in real life at the end of this month). It’s an iconic race and so much could go wrong. But luckily this book did not disappoint me in either aspect.

“Racecars make it all better, even if they’re not running.”Kiss The Bricks by Tammy Kaehler

Kiss The Bricks follows our heroine, Kate Reilly, a female racer in the Indycar Series (if you haven’t read the series you should- while the books could read as stand alones- I really think that you would be doing yourself a disservice not to read from the beginning because you get to watch Kate develop as a driver and a person through the span of the books) during the month of May.  We begin with Kate pulling into the pits from her first practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway confused why everyone around her suddenly seems out of character. Bald John is unusually fumble-fingered helping her get out of the car, her PR person greets her as she get out of the car with her water and towel- when usually a crew member does that. Something is definitely off and she feels it right away.  What she doesn’t expect is the reason WHY- that she was the fastest in first practice. (more…)

(Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

It seemed like forever since I have watched a race? Why? Because first we had the Easter break with no racing and then first race back from Easter was Bristol which was delayed until Monday. Well we are coming up on enrollment deadlines at work so it wasn’t possible for me to be able to sit in my office and pay attention to the race as it happened. I knew I would find out who won (Jimmie) and I heard that the racing was really good at Bristol- which made me jealous that I decided to forgo DVR’ing it. Why would I do that? Well there are a couple of reasons. I knew I would know who the winner was before I could get home and watch it (and indeed I did) so I would have already known the outcome. Plus- honestly I didn’t think I would feel like coming home and watching a race.  Too bad because I heard from more than one source that the racing at the track was excellent.

(Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

There was so much terrible weather across the United States I was grateful that they were able to race on Sunday at Richmond. I was jonesing for some racing action and I honestly think I got it.  When I am talking about racing action- I am talking about side-by-side racing for position. It seems to me that NASCAR was right after all with this segment racing and it really shines on the short tracks.  It seems to put a sense of urgency in the racing that seems to make it so that the drivers are not just biding their time for the end of the race.

It seemed that a big complaint among the race fans I follow were the in-race penalties during the race at Richmond. There were several pit road speeding penalties, a couple of lose tire and equipment leaving the box penalties but no more than any other race I thought. So I am wondering if people weren’t talking about the commitment violations for pit road (I guess technically we can’t really call them commitment cone violations since they don’t use a cone at Richmond but instead use an orange square. Apparently it use to be okay if your right side tires hit the orange commitment square on the track but this race they changed the rule so that the tires had to be completely on the left side of the box for pit road and the right side of the box to remain on track.  During the national broadcast they said that the change was communicated during the driver’s meeting and I don’t know if a few of the drivers just weren’t paying attention to the rule change or if they were unaware.

I think a lot of people are talking about the incident with Joey Logano ducking in quickly and blocking the view of the commitment box from Kyle Busch who then clearly ran over the box because it was blocked from his view by Logano.  Some people think it was a dirty thing for Logano to do. Some people think Kyle Busch is being a whiner.  I can honestly see both sides. As the race leader Joey Logano’s job is to protect that lead. Ducking into the pits at the last minute is nothing new- it’s probably one of the oldest “tricks” in the pit strategy sleeve. Nor do I think Kyle has reason to be called a whiner- he was upset- that penalty cost him a decent finish and possibly a win.  It’s quite understandable to be upset with the call- especially when you yourself can’t see the box because the view is blocked by the car in front of you. Kyle doesn’t have the vantage point the people on TV have or even the people in the stands.  I would call that a “racin’ deal” pure and simple.

Stewart-Haas had a pretty good day overall. All four cars finished in the top 20 with one top five (Harvick), one top ten (Busch), One top 15 (Bowyer) and one top 20 (Patrick).

Drivers that impressed me: Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Daniel Suarez

Drivers that disappointed me: Dale Jr, Clint Bowyer,

Motor Girls: How Women Took The Wheel and Drove Boldly Into the Twentieth Century by Sue Macy.

Sue Macy’s Motor Girls: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly Into the Twentieth Century caught my attention right away because I would have been a great target audience for this book when I was in the target audience age.  It’s audience is an upper elementary school audience and what a perfect audience that is for a book like this. I would have LOVED this book at that age because I was the only girl I knew who watched Motorsports on a regular basis. Also back then I loved a good library and read well above grade level. It was not uncommon during the summer for me to  library’s non-fiction section and pick a subject and read all the books about that particular subject.  I would have likely been drawn to the fact that this was about women and cars…and I liked cars and the publisher was National Geographic.   However even as an adult I loved this book and was fascinated at the history of women and the automobile as I read.

These days it’s more common than not to drive a car. If you saw me driving my Chevy Equinox down the road you wouldn’t give me a second glance unless it was to try to figure out my vanity plate: TSTEW(heart symbol) or to try to figure out what the stickers in my back window say/mean. The fact that I was a woman driving a car wouldn’t be a big deal.  But back when the “horseless carriages” were being first engineered, produced and then mass produced this the idea of a woman driving was a major deal. (more…)

(photo source: HHP/Harold Hinson)

Ahh I always look forward to the All-Star race- who doesn’t? It’s time for the drivers to just drive. No points- it’s purely for the cash at the end of the day.  For those who are not in the know – the 2017 All-Star Race format has changed (which is no surprise- they seem to tweak this on a yearly basis).

How The All-Star Race Will Work

Four stages for a total of 70 laps. The first three stages are twenty laps a piece.  The last stage is a 10 lap shoot out that only 10 cars will race in (whot? I know we will get to that in a second).

The winner of each of the first three stages is guaranteed a spot in the final stage provided they are on the lead lap at the end of stage 3.  The rest of the final stage (7 additional cars unless the same car wins multiple stages) will be filled by the cars with the best average finish in the first three stages will make up the remaining spots needed to fill the 10-car final stage again providing they are on the lead lap at the end of stage 3.

The final 10 car field will be lined up by average finish of the first three stages and given the option to pit. If they pit and  how they come off of pit road WILL effect how they start the final stage. The winner of the final stage gets the $1 million dollar race purse.

How A Driver Qualifies For The All-Star Race  (more…)

(Photo source: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

I have been kind of quiet lately as I process the new racing format and a couple of other issues. To catch you up- if you haven’t been reading me very long- I came out against the new “stages” format at the beginning of the season.

However, it was at the Las Vegas race that my mind started to turn slightly.  While at the Vegas race I was talking to Misty and she stated that she thought the stages actually did bring excitement mid race to races that usually lacked a little something in the middle. Because of this it held her attention longer. Also while in Vegas I was privileged enough to listen to Chad Knaus (crew chief for Jimmie Johnson) talk to a group of fans and associates at a Lowes in nearby Henderson Nevada and one of the fans posed a question to him about his thoughts on the new format. He stated that he thought it was a good thing on their end because it honestly keeps even the team more engaged during a long race.  I decided to continue to keep my mind open about these stages.  It wasn’t until the Martinsville race though that I really personally saw the excitement that the stages bring to the races. I do still think the new format needs some tweaking though. Mainly I think that the caution laps that immediately follow the stages should not be counted towards the total laps of the race. There should be something put in place there so that these cautions – which tend to be longer don’t impact the race so much. (more…)

(Photo Source: Charlotte Bray for Skirts & Scuffs)

I have to say that so far I am admittedly impressed with Stewart-Haas this season. Yes I know that we are only two races into the season and all but all four cars seem strong so far for the most part.  Oh and no I haven’t forgotten that they switched manufacturers in the off season. To me this makes their showing early in the season even more impressive.  While it was regrettable that Kevin Harvick dominated, and I mean DOMINATED the majority of the race from the pole only to be foiled by his own hand (or foot in this case) with a pit road speeding penalty after a late race caution when many drivers took the wave around, it’s Harvick’s performance that you can judge the team by. He has been a strong teammate since joining Stewart-Haas Racing and while I know that it can make for a boring race when one car is so dominate the way Harvick’s was- it’s a pretty damn good indicator to me that the move from Chevy to Ford is not the learning curve or difficult transition that many thought it would be.  This has always been the little team that could since it’s inception in 2009 and look at them charge up that hill. (more…)

(source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

The Daytona 500 is the first NASCAR anything I have seen all season.  I missed the Clash because we were in the midst of a 52 hour power outage thanks to hurricane force winds that showed up with one of the many rain storms this area has received over the past several months. I always miss at least one of the duels because of work and this time I missed both duels. I don’t usually watch qualifying or practices for work reasons as well.

So settling in to take in the Daytona 500 was my first experience as a driver-less race fan as far back as I can remember. You may have noticed I have purposely not made a sweeping declaration of whom I will be supporting because I feel that will have to come organically and naturally as it did back when I picked up being a Tony Stewart fan way back when I did. Since no one applied to by my favorite driver I am forced to adopt a wait and see attitude driver wise.  I have a certain pool of drivers that I pull for but we will see who ends up being a stand out. As for the race itself- I have decided I want to discuss certain components of the race before I give my thoughts on the race as a whole.  (more…)