Header image

Author Archives: Amy

2018 Daytona 500

Posted by Amy in General - (0 Comments)

After catching the tail end of the Xfinity race on Saturday, I have to admit I was surprised that there weren’t more wrecks- especially at the end.  I am not saying their weren’t wrecks, there were, but with all the inexperience in the field I was expecting more of it.

So the story of the race at Daytona is the ending (isn’t it always?) and that move that Austin Dillon pulled on the 10 or Armirola to move him out of his way.  Upon doing that he caused a multiple car accident that wiped out a lot of good cars. But then again that is just racing at Daytona (and Talladega)- it’s part skill, a big hunk of luck and a bit of ethics  (are you okay with moving someone and causing a big wreck).

It does, however, feel darn good to have cars back on the track after the off season. It seemed like it would never get here!  And just in time too because I have to admit the Olympics are already getting to me!

So what I did that was different this year while watching the 500 is I played along in the Fantasy Life Ben fantasy league- and I found out from necessity that you can change your Garaged Driver multiple times during the race..and I did! I started off with Chase Elliott in the garage, and then moved to Denny Hamlin when he went a lap down because of the pit penalty, and then Joey Logano was in my garage and finally I ended with Chase being back in the garage. I should have swapped out Chase for Keselowski but I was unable t do it before the end of the second stage.  It would have been an easier experience if I didnt have to keep logging back into my account to make my changes! That annoyed me! But other than that it was pretty fun!

 

Ahh- did you hear that? It’s the sigh of a happy race fan girl now that cars are officially back on track for the beginning of the 2018 NASCAR race season.

Keselowski takes the checkered flag at Daytona Speedway on February 11, 2018. (photo credit: Getty Images)

And can you believe that Jimmie Johnson crashed at the Clash yet again? The clash and Jimmie just don’t get along well.  Before his bigger incident at the end of the race he actually had a narrow miss earlier in the race when a car decided to split the difference in the middle. I was impressed though by the power that team Penske seemed to exhibit in the Clash- finishing 1 (Brad Keselowski) ,2 (Joey Logano) and 4th (Ryan Blaney) with fellow Ford Kurt Busch coming in 3rd- a strong showing from last year’s Daytona 500 winner from Stewart-Haas Racing. Winner was

After watching the clash though I have to admit- I am reconsidering some of my drivers that I was going to pick for my first race using the new NASCAR Fantasy Live for certain. I haven’t officially picked my roster yet because it was my understanding that you can’t really select your roster until this week anyway. I am thinking of waiting until the results of the duels. I will miss watching the duels because I am stuck in training sessions most of the day.

One driver I was considering having on my fantasy team that I think I will remove is McMurray. I wasn’t impressed with his performance even before he had his on track incident.  One driver that I wasn’t the least bit considering and now am thinking twice about is Chase Elliott.  He was strong and aggressive at the beginning of the clash. I was impressed I admit.  Although then again at the end of the race he fell back and never really recovered ending up 13th in a field of 17 cars.  So I am kind of wishy washy about selecting him although maybe I could use him as my garaged driver and put him in (before the final stage).

So tell me- did results of the Clash and other on track activity this last weekend make you change your mind about who you will include on your race team this week?

Oh by the way- I have my own league in the NASCAR Fantasy LIVE edition…wanna join? Leave a comment with your email address and I will contact you with the information for joining us.

I guess since the last superbowl is officially in the books and the foosball season is over- we can now officially state it’s the beginning of the NASCAR race season. Thank goodness.

The Daytona 500 is 12 days away.  Anybody have any thoughts about it right out of the gate?

I am seriously considering getting back into the NASCAR fantasy game playing.  I have dabbled with it on and off with variety of different NASCAR fantasy leagues. The ones that seem to hold me best don’t have me going in and changing my driving team on a weekly basis…but that said- I am thinking of trying the new NASCAR.COM Fantasy league. The format seems simplified this year  all you do is pick five drivers for the race as well as a sixth “garaged” driver. Best part this year is that you can dump one of you existing drivers and switch to your garaged driver live during the race as long as you do it before the beginning of the final stage of that race.

You can sign up for their new fantasy league season starting now at NASCAR.COM/fantasy and you can set your driver roster for the Daytona 500 as soon as the official driver entry list is announced next week.

Anyone else going to play?  Even if you aren’t going to play tell me, who are you all thinking of putting down as your must have six driver roster (five active and one garaged) for the 500- tell me now before cars hit the track.

Have a NASCAR fan in your life and struggling to find the perfect gift? Let me give you a few suggestions!

  1. Memorabilia (the gift of Christmas Past): Do you know your fan’s favorite driver? Maybe get them some memorabilia! You can check their driver’s website because if they have their own shop sometimes you can fine unique or autographed memorabilia that way. Or check the Fanatics NASCAR shop and get everything from socks to jackets to license plate frames. Us NASCAR fans love to rep our favorite drivers. Help your favorite fan support their driver with the gift of merchandise!
  2. Donate to their driver’s foundation (the gift of Christmas Present): Many drivers have charitable foundations that support organizations near and dear to the driver’s heart. These organizations are as diverse as the drivers are and support a wide variety of needs on our community now!  For instance The Kyle Busch Foundation focuses on empowering children, families and communities to overcome hardship, The Jimmie Johnson foundation focuses on supporting K-12 public education, and Ryan Newman supports his Rescue Ranch.
  3. Race Tickets (the gift of Christmas Future): Give the gift of race tickets! NASCAR races are likely your favorite NASCAR fan’s happy place. Go large and get them some tickets!  Check the nearest track (or their favorite track)’s website and speak with the box office about purchasing tickets or giftcards that can be used for tickets if tickets are not yet available. I find that when I am going to a track I have never been to before my favorite way to buy tickets is to talk to the box office- the ticketing agents can work with you to get you the best tickets in your price range and may have suggestions for visiting their track if you never have been there before. Better yet go with your favorite race fan TO the race! If your not a fan yet you might find out at the track that NASCAR is much more that just driving in circles! If you want to go really big make it a destination race- remember that Vegas will have a second race this coming year – the usual Spring race in March and the new Fall chase race!
  4. Books! Who doesn’t love books? Do you have a NASCAR fan who is a bookworm on your list? (Maybe that is just me). If so check out my NASCAR Reading list for suggestions of books your motorsports loving fan may enjoy!

So tell me NASCAR fans- what gift are you hoping for this season?

Well since it’s officially the off season for us NASCAR fans. What does that mean? It means that on Sunday afternoons we are now left with a gaping hole in our schedules. Before I get into the looking forward to next year part of this post though- I do want to talk about the awards show. I think I might be the only one who liked that they actually shortened the banquet to 90 minutes. Then again it could be because I didn’t have a favorite driver really this season.  I always found the banquet long with all the comedy and music acts and the long speeches. Keep it short, celebrate the championship drivers and the champion and then wind it up with a quick bow. That is my thought.  And I know I have said this before and I will say it again- I LOVE the design of the new Monster Cup Series trophy. LOVE IT.

What I can tell you is that when you don’t have a definite favorite driver, one that you pull for (and have pulled for for years and years) it is a lot easier to not sit there riveted to the television.  I admittedly skipped a few of the races this year when usually I was watching. And there were even a couple that I just watched the last half of the race.  My cheering this year was more about who I didn’t want to win than who I did want to win.  It was a weird place for me to be as a fan. Although I admit wholeheartedly that my little speed loving heart perked up when I heard mention that Tony Stewart might be wanting to drive some Xfinity series races on the road courses next year (I think he wants to run the roval at Charlotte mostly).  So there is that for me.

I am still not that big of a fan of the stage racing. It seems to me that we have reverted back to racing for points only now the points are on steroids because you get more of them throughout specific spots during the race. I thought the whole idea was to move away from points racing?  What I will say about the stage racing is that it DOES make the races more exciting overall because the drivers feel a sense of urgency throughout the race and not just looking at the big picture of the final checkered flag.I am not sure that this necessarily translates to more excitement on TV or in the stands but I guess an argument could be made that it does. (more…)

This will be the first time since NASCAR’s Championship Week Celebration was in Vegas that I will not be attending.  There is a personal reason I am not attending, but even without that I had not planned to attend this year but instead going to Disneyland this year (postponed Disneyland too for that personal reason).  Mostly because it seems that After The Lap which was always my favorite part of the weekend- has turned more into a concert and less of a driver Q&A. Based on what I see from the schedule of events there aren’t many events for Champions week where all the drivers are together- which kind of bums me out. This year, After The Lap, starts much later, is located in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip and according to everything is scheduled to run a full three hours.  I have also heard that the fees on tickets for the event now cost more then the tickets to the event- so there is that. This part disappoints me greatly. Don’t let me disuade you from going. After The Lap is held at The Cosmo on Wednesday Nov 29th at 8:00 PM: Tickets for After The Lap.

There are improvements to the week long festivities especially over recent years when it was quite obvious to this fan that SPRINT’s support of the series was waning. Last year’s event was minimum and paltry. One of my favorite new events that is part of the champion festivities is that the championship drivers are having scheduled autograph sessions which I think is a great idea. However- you can only attend one of the autograph sessions (although if you a stealthy pair of fans you could have one fan sign up for two tickets to one session and the other friend sign up for another session) so you are limited to the four drivers in the session you sign up for.  A majority of these sessions have already reached their cap for this year unfortunately but there are a few sessions with tickets left so I wouldn’t wait much longer to sign up for one- at Driver Autograph Sessions (best I can tell these are free but you need tickets).

Dale Jr Fans will be especially treated to an event just to celebrate him (I assume that he won Most Popular Driver again). There appear to be tickets left for this event but be warned- these tickets appear to range in price from $188 to over $400 a ticket (YOWZER) tickets to appear to come with a drink voucher (Still YOWZER). This will be held at the Cosmo on Tuesday Nov 28th.  Dale Jr Appreci88tion Event.

There are some other free events- including a the victory lap and fan headquarters at THE PARK (which is located outside of New York, New York)…but if you are going to champion’s week be prepared to shell out some dough to see your favorite drivers (unless you happen to be lucky enough to bump into them in their hotel). For more information on NASCAR Champion’s Week in Vegas visit: Champion’s Week at NASCAR.COM

Martin Truex Jr.

Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 19, 2017 in Homestead, Florida.

Sometimes publishers bring books to my attention or offer me a copy to review and other times when I am reviewing books it’s because I found a book that I had come across that fits with this column. This is the case with Start Your Engines by Jim Cangany.  I am not to proud or too embarrassed to say that while I read a lot of different genres (pretty much everything except SciFi/Fantasy because for some reason I just can’t get into those kind of books). This book falls into the romance genre which I have been reading a lot more of lately for whatever reason.

Start Your Engines by James Cangany

Start Your Engines is what would be called a second chance romance within the racing world. Ten years ago Brad Thomas and Gabrielle Marquez were friends who were just starting to explore the beginnings of a romance while also being fierce competitors on the track, when a crash killed a mutual best friend, and injured Brad bad enough that his career as a driver was over. Gabrielle left the United States to pursue driving in European series while the guilt that she caused the wreck that killed one and ruined a career ate at her.  Fast forward ten years and Brad Thomas is a race director for a smaller struggling team with a driver that just doesn’t seem to be working out.  When the owner of the team hires Gabrielle as a replacement driver will the two be able to work together for the sake of the team? And will the budding romance between the two rekindle?  Add in some possible sabotage into the book and you have the story. Will Gabrielle end up staying in the States or taking the offer of a lifetime in Europe to drive with an elite team?  You will have to read the book to find out what happens.  This isn’t a smutty romance- more along the sweet lines.  With some awesome racing action that I think drives the story along with it.  You will like this story if you are a racing fan, a sweet contemporary romance fan or both.  I enjoyed this story and I think you will too. It looks like this might be a first of a series of books- I can only hope that is the case because I would definitely be interested in reading more of these racing romances.

About The Author: Jim Cangany is a Hoosier through and through. He works in the legal field while looking for ideas for his next book.  You can find him online at JimCangany.Com or on Twitter @JimCangany.

For Full-Disclosure purposes (I am looking at you FTC):

I purchased my copy of Start Your Engines by Jim Cangany for Kindle- it was not provided to me by any entity. As with all my reviews on BadGroove, the words and opinions on this book are my own.

Click here for other installments of Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List