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So I have been promising you all a post comparing my experiences at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway.  This is based solely on my experiences at both tracks this year. I was at the Vegas race and the September Fontana race.

I have to say that between the two tracks- although I had a great time at both- I think I perfer Las Vegas.  I like Las Vegas because it seems to be much more fan friendly.  I spoke with people at the box office with each speedway- and had a far better experience with Las Vegas.  I felt that the ticketing agent at Las Vegas (each time I called) had making sure my best interest and experience at heart at all times and was very helpful when it came to purchasing up my tickets for the race.  At Autoclub speedway I felt a little dissuaded. I called and asked about the Jimmie Johnson foundation package because BFM is a Jimmie Johnson fan (her second favorite driver)…and they had no record of it and told me to wait a month before ordering to see if they would go onsale.  They never did and I bought my regular tickets when just a few weeks later the Jimmie Johnson Foundation package went on sale…so while the internal extensive planner in me was pleased to have my tickets, I was dissapointed. I was a little disappointed too because I thought we were sitting closer to the Start/Finish line then we were.

By the way- if you are a fan going to a track you have never been to before? I highly suggest calling to get your tickets instead of using the online ordering…they are more then willing to help you with selecting a good seat in the price range you are looking at.  That’s just my thought.

The facilities at Las Vegas seemed just overall better cared for…the chairs and tables at Autoclub were generally filthy. I think my friend said it best: Have they not heard of a hose? My experience with the bathroom facilities were that the ones at Las Vegas were nicer and the lines were shorter (although that could just be the difference between a well timed potty break and not).  The food was good at both facilities.  I will give Auto Club the A+ for delivering beverages in the stand. There was always someone walking around selling beverages…that was nice.

Auto Club offered Pit Passes where Las Vegas offered garage tickets.  I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Neon GARAGE passes for the Vegas race.  They totally rocked. I loved being able to look in on the the garage stalls. I am pretty sure that for the teams it must be like hanging out in a fish bowl with all these people looking in on them. I spent nearly all of Friday in the Neon Garage….and had a total ball.  The pit passes at Auto Club were ok on friday.  It wasn’t well marked where you could and couldn’t go…and frankly I spent most of my time parked on a pedestrian bridge over by the exit of pit road taking pictures of the cars practicing. It definitely wasn’t as interactive.  At least on Friday.  Now I can’t tell you what Neon Garage was like on Sunday because I didn’t have sunday Neon Garage access, but I did have Sunday pit passes at California Speedway and that time rocked. We walked around on the track. We signed the start / finish line. We walked behind the pit boxes on pit row…watching them set up. BFM had her picture taken in Victory Lane. I took a couples picture in Victory Lane as well. It was just a fun time. I still think I preferred Neon Garage though.

The area that I call the Midway at each track was full of fun stuff. I liked that there was a big home depot facility at the California Speedway. I didn’t see one of those at Las Vegas- but then again- I didn’t walk through the whole area either.

My main complaint about my seats in California (I was sitting three sections to the right of the start/ finish line if you were facing the grandstands) is that I wasn’t high enough up to see the backstretch (I was probably just a bit shy of half way up).  So once the cars went zooming off of corner two? I was lost and just waiting for them to come back into view in turn three. I have heard, however, this counts true for most of the seating at California.  In Vegas I was sitting in the section between turns three and four…our seats favored turn four turn three (for those who saw Tony Stewart wreck in the spring race? Yeah that was right in front of me…he smacked the wall right in front of us and followed the curve all the through 4) I could see the entire track from my seats. I was third row from the top.My main complaint about these seats where that I couldn’t see much of the prerace activities except for the lap where the drivers stand in the beds of the pickups.

Parking is ample and free at both facilities. I will say that it took us over an hour to get out of the parking lot at Las Vegas. Lets just say we had time to watch some guys set up a table, grill their entire dinner, watch them sit at the table ad eat said dinner, then pack up…all while waiting to get out. At California we were out of the lot far quicker and probably sitting down to dinner at a diner in the same amount of time that it took us just to leave the parking lot at Las Vegas.

Overall I really did like both tracks and had a great time but I think I liked Las Vegas better.

Ahh Dover.  I don’t know what it is about Dover but I usually like watching it.  I have no real comments in my notes about the prerace because frankly I missed most of the pre-race because i went out to breakfast with my parents and my dad chose THE SLOWEST PLACE IN TOWN…I am like damn I hope I see the flag drop! I actually got home just in time to realize that Tony was a hotpass driver again. So I got to see Tony’s HOTPass pre-race interview…complete with his little ziplock bag of Chrissy Newman cookies (try explaining to someone the signifigance of the “lucky cookies” and then try to have them take you seriously…yeah that’s me).

Anyway Stewart and Team Home Depot has a lackluster qualifying effort and started 33rd in the field.  Early in the race they were fighting a really tight race car and at the first caution were already taking airpressure to out to help balance the car.   By lap 116 Team Home Depot had moved all the way up to a hard fought 15th place by passing Juan Pablo Montoya.   Judging by my notes (135- Still too tight need more overall grip, 208 tight, 263 Still too tight, 60 laps to go need sitebite and to be tighted up) they never really got the car at a great place.  Tony was able to get up to about 13th and just seemed stuck there.  After the pitstop at 46 laps to go crew chief Zipadelli told his driver Stewart that he “Appreciates your patience here” to which Stewart responged with “We’re not done yet.” And he kept digging and was able to pull off an 11th place finish.  It could have been better- but it could have been a heck of a lot worse (case in point- teammate Kyle Busch who finished 43rd due to engine problems).

Team Home Depot remains in 7th place in the Chase to the Cup, 113 points out of the lead.  There is still time this season to make that up and take the lead for the Cup.

Other Notes About Dover:

  • Best radio communication of the day between Tony and his crew was when Tony stated that he was trying to move up through the field but there were “6 SCUD Missles” he’s “trying to avoid right now.” That made me giggle.
  • Jamie McMurray was having an awesome run! I did appreciate the little tift he got into with Robby Gordon for spinning him.
  • I find it incredibly annoying during the broadcasts when they displace the POINTS AS THEY ARE RIGHT NOW list. That means NOTHING because its how they finish…now where they are at any given point in the race. Please stop doing that. Thanks.

As I said in my last post- the next race is KANSAS…and I have a good feeling about Kansas.

So my fantasy racing league is still at 27% and I didn’t do much better points wise this week than I did last week.  This last weekend my picks were: A. Jeff Gordon B. Vickers and Gilliland C. Kyle Petty.  This week I have a really good feeling about Tony and Kansas…so I am telling you all right now I have already picked Tony for this week as my A driver.  Wish me and Tony luck!


I know I have mentioned the football pool I am part of every year. You pick a team each weekend following these rules:

1. You can’t pick the same team twice.

2. You pick wrong twice and you are out.

Guess what people? I am already out. Three weeks (three picks in).  The Seahawks gave me my first ding…and the Patriots my second.  I KNEW I should have picked someone else. Oh well…so I am out already. Bah.

So my official rank on the fantasy league is 27%. That doesn’t sound too good to me. I have exactly 174.2 points heading into Dover.  Carl Edwards raked me in the most points.

I decided to save Tony and Kyle again.  I don’t want to use them up! Funny that Valli is playing too and she’s saving her favorite driver too (JR). This is not to say that I don’t think Tony will win Dover- I really hope he does! I would just rather “save” him as my choice for the A driver group.

I guess people can get really into this fantasy racing stuff (or fantasy football or baseball or whatever).  What I mean by that is that they do studies…I am more of a gut player. I just pick who I think or want to be hot that particular race. I will tell you who I picked this week and how I faired next week.

Funny though- no matter who I pick for my fantasy race picks of the week- when cheering I am still all about TEAM HOME DEPOT. GO TONY!

So Billy Rhythm gave me the “Make My Day” award. Here are the rules:

(1) give this to people whose blogs mean something special to you – or give it to the blogs whose persons mean something special to you
(2) leave a comment on their blog so they know they got it
(3) you get to pick the number of times you give it

Billy gave his award to three blogs, so I shall do the same. These awards go to:

  1. ETS: I have known her since preblogging days! She rocks…and is always someone I can bounce things off of…
  2. Andrea: She is someone I knew in the flesh back when we were in 6th grade we were bff. Plus I know she has one very cool light lavendar indiana jones hat.
  3. Chrissy: She is someone I “met” online through Tess- she rocks too and writes some gorgeous entries.

Well the first race of the Chase of the Sprint Cup is well over by now and looking over my notes, I really didn’t take many…So this is apparently going to be done by memory.

One thing I did take a note about is how it always disconcerts me at the Louden race that they start the pre-race ceremony with “O Canada.” You would think I would be use to it by now…but I always think to myself “DId Canada buy NH or something?” I know they are really close and all that but still it weirds me out. It always has and most likely always will.

Now onto the race itself:

Team Home Depot had a fairly remarkable finish with their eighth place finish- all things considered.  Johnny Sauter was in the pitbox in front of Team Home Depot and blocked them in a couple times.  Then there was the contact with Sauter on pit road that caused us to have to go in to pull out a bent in fender.  Then just as we were starting to get our positions back on the field  there was the Pit Road speeding violation- that dropped us back down to 22nd.

It was right around that time that I stopped taking notes. Ok I admit it- I walked across the street and watched the race at my brother’s house so I can play with my nephew at the same time…and left my notepad at home because I didn’t want to look like a big dork.  Anyway…I remember setting my nephew down on his play mat and watching team Home Depot work their way back up the field- thanks to some well timed cautions and the like.  I remember at one point sitting on my brothers couch talking to my mom and cheering “Go Tony GO!!!” And my mom laughed  and said “Look at Matthew watching you!” It was funny.  Anyway- Team Home Depot ended up 8th after a couple of late passes to Bowyer and Harvick. However we moved up one position in the standings to 7th. They are a mere 73 points out of the lead.  Nothing a good run of a couple wins can’t fix.

Other Notes About Louden:

  • Joey Logano made his cup debut in the #96 car (also painted with the home depot colors…only this car was more white and less orange).  I honestly don’t remember even noticing him too much during the race.
  • Tony wasn’t using his usual spotter at Louden. The spotter at Louden was Mike and he definitely talks a lot more on the radio than Mark ever did.
  • Boy Kyle Busch had a bad day. An odd bolt failure amongst other issues, dropped him down to 8th in the standings. That is what makes the Chase kind of cool. Someone who dominated can fall in the standings in the blink of an eye.

Next Week: Chase Race 2: The Monster Mile at Dover.

I know some of you might be expecting a post-race report and it’s coming I promise…along with other posts. However this past Saturday I got to babysit while my brother and father went to the range and my sister-in-law had to work.  When I got there he was just winding down for his morning nap…so I put him down. And when he woke back up I got to dress him:

Matthew Wakes Up Happy and Gets Dressed (By his Tony Stewart Loving Aunt)

Matthew Wakes Up Happy and Gets Dressed (By his Tony Stewart Loving Aunt)

Matthew Plays

Matthew Plays

Now if that didn’t brighten your day…there is something wrong with you!

So….I have talked about diving into Fantasy Racing Leagues…since I love NASCAR.  Well…I took the plunge and decided to play in a real bonafide league…but just for the chase races. I thought that might be a good way to ease my way into it. So I picked PAYTHEFAN.COM because it seemed well laid out and the info on the site seemed pretty easy…plus like I said before I really liked that they have a PTF Cup racing series…for us chickens who are too afraid to try for a whole season (you know how long the season is…that is a BIG commitment for a fantasy league. Plus…what if I really suck at this?  I mean there are all these big money prizes but I am not expecting to get anything out of this except maybe a little fantasy racing education.

So today I made my first official picks (gulp) and keep in mind that I am doing this by the seat of my pants and I really honestly have NO idea what I am doing).  I have to pick one driver and I can’t pick them again…so I pick one driver from the A group, two from the B Group and one from the C group.  These are my drivers this week:

Group A: Carl Edwards (My thought here is to save Tony and Kyle)

Group B: Brian Vickers, David Ragan

Group C: AJ allmendinger

So we will see what happens with me after the race. I think I might make this a weekly post to let you know who I picked and how I faired the previous week.

If you want to play with me just check out paythefan.com