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So…for those keeping track. I finally did it. I know you probably thought I was all talk before…but I bit the bullet and bought tickets for my first Nascar race. I am now the proud owner of two grandstand tickets in Blue4P at Las Vegas Motorspeedway for March 2nd. And I will be the first to admit that I got carried away and got Sunday garage passes too. I am excited and nervous…all at the same time.

I don’t know how you fans out there can afford to do multiple races because it is about killing me to know that I laid down a very sizable chunk of change for ONE DAY at the track. ONE DAY…and I am not even sitting where I wanted to be sitting because those tickets? Forget about it.

I am fairly sure that I paid more for one ticket to see the nascar race in March (not including garage pass) than my dad paid for the time he bought us tickets to see the Indy Cars at Laguna Seca the first time…and his tickets included Primo Seats in the coveted Turn 11 (not so coveted now that they built huge pit suites that block the view of the hill) and paddock (garage) passes for the entire weekend Thursday through Sunday. I could go on and tell you the embarrassing story about how we were wandering around on Friday in the paddock area and my dad saw A.J. Foyt giving autographs at the back of his hauler..(yeah THE AJ FOYT!) and he literally had to PUSH me at the man to get his autograph because THAT WAS AJ FOYT! (and let me tell you while most race car drivers tend to be smaller in person than you would imagine…he is bigger. He was very nice…but for some reason he intimidated the bejeebuz out of me).

That being said…I am soo excited about the race I could bust! I can’t wait to hear it…smell it…taste it…feel it. I remember all those sensations when I went to my first race…they assault you…and you either love it (like me and my dad) or you think it is kinda of gross (like my mom). I can’t wait to compare them with Nascar.

I am not going to even claim to understand why, but the televised Nextel Cup Series is covered by four different major stations during their season. First it is covered by FOX, next is TNT, then ESPN and then, lastly ABC. The only reason for this that I personally can think of, is that the Nascar Cup series has one of the longest seasons of a sport (starts at the end of February and ends in mid-November) and Nascar is thinking that they should spread the wealth during televised coverage so that they can reach a broader fanbase.

Believe it or not I see a big difference in the quality of the coverage (we are now three races into the coverage on ABC).

To me…the best coverage comes from FOX at the beginning of the season. It might just be that I really like the commentators (Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds totally rock as commentators and I miss them during the rest of the season!). But I also find that the camera angles actually seem to be better and if there is anything going on during the race- you were there when it happened. They have the cut-away car and explain things in simple terms quickly and it isn’t overused.

The second best was TNT. The reason that I didn’t like TNT as much as FOX? A big part of it had to do with the lack of Darrell Waltrip. Don’t get me wrong though- I liked Kyle Petty as a commentator but I missed DW more. The cameras also seemed to catch less of the action so there was more having to go back and see things in replay.

I find the coverage on ESPN and ABC to be very similar…and very annoying. ESPN especially uses too much filler. There is too much going to the tech center to explain this that and the other. While I do like more information on some things- they go to the tech car far too often far to long to explain things. They have all these fancy animations for engine parts and the like- but frankly…just tell me and get me back to the race already. I also find it annoying that when they come back from commercial (especially ESPN but ABC too) they will replay the last major accident right before cutting back live- so as a view I am unsure if this was something I missed during the commercial break or them doing another race recap. They even did this during the race today – they came back from the caution and were replaying the pre-race interviews…which confused me because for a minute I thought that Martin Truex, Jr got knocked out of the race on lap 53 or something like that.  It is confusing! The announcers also have the ever annoying tendency on both stations to talk over the in-car audio when they cut to it…and the in-car audio is my favorite part of the races…seriously. Both ESPN and ABC’s announcers seem to talk just to hear themselves talk..and that irritates me. I like to form my own opinions when a race is happening and they just blather on and on and on.

I really wish Nascar would pick ONE station (FOX) and stick with it all season.

(after sniffing the inside of my purse):

Why does my purse smell like a drunk man on the inside?

Susan says: My inspiration this week is the season premiere of Survivor: China.

1. Usually someone will emerge as a leader in each tribe, but last  night, one tribe sort of thrust leadership upon someone. He accepted the role, but said it made him a little uncomfortable. Do you feel you are a natural leader or is it something you had to learn? Or, on the flip side, something you were neither born with or learned?  I am not really a leader- or at least I don’t view myself as one.  Sometimes I will take charge of something but only because it is something I like to do or something I want to be done right…but I don’t view myself as a leader.

2. The contestants had trouble sleeping because they got soaking wet while trying to construct shelter. What is the longest you have gone without a significant amount of sleep & why?  I am one of those people who need at least 5-6 hours of sleep to function correctly.  Occasionally I will go through bouts of insomnia – usually triggered by stress.  My last one was Sunday night. I came to work and was trying to function on 2.5 hours of sleep. I was pretty useless and could barely keep my eyes open…I ended up going home early and taking a nap…even thought I only napped for about an hour I felt 900% better.

3. When the contestants first arrived on the island, they had no shelter or fire & only the clothes on their back. They were given one pot of rice, but no other supplies. So what’s the most important thing to make first–shelter or fire? I think fire…because with fire can come warmth and the ability to eat to sustain your self and purify your water which are all essential elements for living.  However I do think Shelter is pretty high up there on the list.

4. One of the first things the contestants had to do was participate in a Buddhist ceremony in a temple, with several idols lining the walls. The host made a point of saying that he realized the group was made up of people who had a variety of beliefs, so this ceremony was not worship, simply a way for the Chinese to say “welcome”. One of the women said she was not “religious”, but she has a personal relationship with Jesus & that when she bows it will be only to Him. Do you think she made the right decision? What would you do?  I think she made the right decision for her. It obviously upset her and she was not comfortable- so she left.  I am really a “You Can’t Please Everyone So You Got To Please Yourself” (to quote Rick Nelson) type of person- especially when it comes to spirituality and religion.  If it had been me- I would have gone through the ceremony.

5. The prize is a million dollars. Is it worth being separated from family & friends, risking your health & living very primitively for 39 days? My answer to this is a resounding AW HELL NO!  Not that I wouldn’t want a million dollars but I am not really that outdoorsy and this is not something I would do for a chance…and is probably not something I would do if I was definitely going to get a million dollars just not a chance at it.  It made me laugh when the one girl on Survivor China said “I am no not the outdoorsy type” and my answer was “They why the heck did you sign up for the show…you had to know what it was about.”

On of my Dad’s favorite movies use to be Dances with Wolves. Since he has had his shoulder operated on he gets a little stir-crazy during his recouperation. The back patio has two hummingbird feeders..although the little buggers will only drink out of one of them and then only one at a time because they each chase the other hummingbirds away. They are a very territorial bunch- these birds. Anyway we have created “Dances with Wolves” types of names for our hummingbird visitors:

Stands On Top- So named because after drinking and sometimes before he stands on top of the feeder to protect his food source.

Notch Head- So named because well…he has a notch on his head.

Red-headed Chief (or sometimes we just call him Chief)- So named because he seems to be the bossiest of all the hummingbirds that visit. Distinguished by his brilliant red head. Although lately, Stands On Top has been giving chief a run for his money.

Peers Around- So named because she sits down on the feeder, drinks and then leans way over to peer around the feeder to see what is going on in the kitchen.

Ok..you try to combine a NASCAR post with Talk Like A Pirate Day and then we’ll talk.

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Arrrg, tis no surprise that the number of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s ship car is to be number 88. Thar had been lots of speculation that this be the case.  Avaste, it surprised this captain a might bit that the new sponsors be who they be.  For Sony be not in the picture (ok that is a total pun…get it in the picture as in like a tv?).  Nay instead we have ye Amp Energy Drinks/Mountain Dew (which should not surprise up since PEPSI is a major sponsor of Hendrick Motorsports) and Ye Ol National Guard.  Thar be two different color schemes for the number 88…aye- a blue white and red theme for Ye Ol’ National Guard car and a green white and red theme for ye Amp/Mountain Dew car.  In Ye Ol’ press conference it was mentioned that the rear deck on each scheme would be flat black and it be my understandin’ that the rear deck those scallywags be speakin’ of is what we common folk call a “trunk”.  Ye cars in ye picture in ye linked article have white “trunks.”

International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

And the day we find out the new number/sponser of Dale Jr.

What more could a girl ask for in a Wednesday?

For the Chase races (the last races of the season) I decided to pay the $20.00 to get the HotPass with DirecTV to see if it is something I might want to consider next season (A full season is $80.00 I believe).

Anyway…this is a LOVE/HATE list of things to do with HotPass:

LOVE: Hearing the radio communications between driver and crew.  It totally enhances the experience for me.

HATE: When the announcers try talking over the radio communications.

LOVE: The focus on a specific driver with information on where others are at etc.

HATE: That you are limited to picking from only the five HOTPASS drivers of the week. For instance…this week I got to ride with Tony. Next week? Tony isn’t a HotPass driver.

LOVE: That most of the time one of the things on the screen is the race as it is being broadcast on whatever channel it is being broadcast on (ABC right now).

HATE: That they still play commercials (however you do see the race going on in the corner but the audio is the commercials).

HATE: I find the bumper music distracting when they come back from a commercial break.

LOVE: The fact that they try to at least make corny puns with the musical choices for dreaded bumper music. For instance: Smokin’ in the Boys Room, Smoke on the Water…(for those not in the know…Tony Stewart’s nickname is Smoke).

LOVE: The fact that you get to hear from your driver and crew chief post race no matter where they place.

HATE: That my tv is small and seeing the screen split into three sucks sometimes (not DirecTV’s fault!).

Overall…while I really enjoy Hotpass I don’t know that I would pay $80.00 to watch it all season.