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The NASCAR Sprint Unlimited race just finished and all I can do is liken it to a frustrating appetizer. Why is it frustrating you ask? Because to me watching the Unlimited is like eating a delicious yet commercial-ridden appetizer only to have to wait a week for the main dinner course (the salad course will be the Bud Duels that are happening on Thursday while I am at WORK! URGH!).  This year the format of the (too short) non-points paying race was voted on by fans (yes I voted too). The fans chose a race that was segmented into  30 laps,  25 laps and 20 laps respectively.  They also (wisely) chose a 4 tire pit stop after segment 1 and for no driver eliminations (don’t worry though- there were only 12 drivers left by segment three anyway and only 10 of them were really in any sort of contention for the win- with two cars being cut off from the main pack).  They also could choose the fire suit that Miss Sprint Cup wore in victory lane.  I think it is fun that NASCAR does things like that to encourage fan participation- especially on non-points races.

Personally I was anxious for the Unlimited because except for a couple laps of pre-season testing and practice- I hadn’t really seen much of the Gen 6 cars on track at all.  Seeing the cars on track- I am liking how easy it is to tell the manufacturers apart with these cars.  And one thing that I was kind of iffy on when I heard about it- the names on the top of the windshields? LOVE it- I find it very aesthetically pleasing.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona Speedway. (Source: Nick Laham/Getty Images North America)

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If you are a NASCAR fan you know that NASCAR strives to be extremely fan friendly using social media- well that goes for sponsors too! What am I talking about? Walmart is putting you, the NASCAR fan, in control of the June 9th Pocono 400.  Walmart wants NASCAR fans to help them NAME THE RACE! How cool is that? But it doesn’t stop there! Not only do you get to help NAME A RACE (the Pocono 400) but you also get to help choose a signature concession and a pace car design for the race!  You the NASCAR Fan are in control of the Fan Driven 400!

And it all starts NOW!

First step? Submit your name for the Pocono 400 race!  Walmart wants YOU to name the June 9th 400 miles race at Pocono! So put your thinking caps on and submit your idea using the My Local Walmart/Fan Driven ap on Facebook.  You only have until February 25th to submit your idea- that is only 10 days people so get to submitting!

Then starting March 11th (don’t worry I will be back to remind you) go back to the My Local Walmart/Fan Driven Facebook page to find out the three names that it was narrowed down to and VOTE on your favorite!!  In April you can vote on one of three types of pierogies to be the featured concession at the race.  Then in May can vote for one of three pace car designs for the to-be-named race at Pocono.  It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure race (am I the only one who liked those choose your own adventure books?) where your votes will decide!

Just to thank NASCAR Fans- Walmart is going to offer 16,000 Concourse grandstand tickets to the June 9th race for $25 each! That is a steal!  Tickets are on sale now through Pocono Raceway or through Walmart.Com/NASCAR. Also- there will be $99 Family Track Pack (that’s 4 tickets, 4 sodas and 4 hotdogs for $99) offers for many of the races (Las Vegas, Fontana, Darlington, Charlotte, Dover, Michigan, Daytona (July race), New Hampshire, Pocono (August race), Watkins Glen, Atlanta and Homestead)…the Family Track Packs can also be purchased at walmart.com/nascar!

So don’t forget to go to the My Local Walmart/Fan Driven Facebook ap and enter YOUR idea for the the name of the race! I will be posting in the future to remind you of the other deadlines!

Am I the only one starting to get antsy for the beginning of the NASCAR season? I can’t be the only one who hears a revving engine and is like…MAN when does NASCAR start- NOT SOON ENOUGH that is when! But our “long off season” – which isn’t actually so long in the grand scheme of other sports – is coming to an end sooner than you can shake a broken transmission at (PSA: do NOT attempt to shake a broken transmission- those things look quite heavy).

The Sprint Unlimited is just a little more than week away (Feb 16th) – this race takes the place of what use to be called The Bud Shootout and then just The Shootout.  Then the Bud Duels (formally the Gatorade Duels) are Thursday Feb 21st (URG I have to work and they are in the middle of the dang day! WHY NASCAR WHY DO YOU TORTURE ME SO?). Then of course, the DAYTONA 500 is on the 24th. So it’s all happening and soon!  I CAN’T WAIT!  Sorry for the excessive caplock usage- but when I get excited I have no other way to let you know that to YELL it in my post.

Can you say (or tweet) #GoTonyGo? (more…)

Sitting in my office last Thursday, I was more fidgety than normal. Why? Just knowing the cup cars were testing at Daytona International Speedway had me aflutter.  I didn’t think to DVR the test, which made me more than a little cranky because from the moment I stood onstage looking at the Team SS Cup Car at it’s debut in Vegas I have been wanting to see the car in action.  The fact that the cars were on track signaled to my brain that Daytona is coming, Daytona is coming and it was all I could do not to run up and down the hall like Paul Revere proclaiming it to all who would listen.  I didn’t because I cherish the job that pays me and makes it possible for me to eat and live and go to races.

Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Chevrolet, leads Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Chevrolet, off of pit road during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

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So- I hope that everyone had a great ending to 2012. I was toying with the ea of doing one more Champions Week 2012 post but thought I would just envelop it into a general 2012 wrap up post so we can move on to 2013!

Wrapping up Champions Week:

So here are all my 2012 Champions Week Posts in one list:

  1. 2012 Champions Week: Fan Fest (with pictures)
  2. 2012 Champions Week: The 2013 Chevy Cup Car Revealed (Finally! With Pictures!)
  3. 2012 Champions Week: The Victory Lap (with Pictures)!
  4. 2012 Champions Week: NASCAR After The Lap (with VIDEO of Tony Stewart doing pushups!)

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NASCAR’s After The Lap is a great event that is loved by fans (including us).  It is also one of the FEW events of 2012 Champion’s Week festivities that require a ticket- the event moved this year from the Joint at the Hard Rock to PH LIVE at Planet Hollywood.  If you remember last year, we had an issue where we bought our tickets the moment the went onsale- only to get an email from Ticketmaster later finding out that our original seats were sold to us in error and we ended up being relocated. Well I no longer think that was a TicketMaster issue any more.  Especially after what happened this time.

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Misty and I have attended every Champions Week since it moved to Vegas and we usually stand at the same spot for the victory lap on the Strip by where the cars do their burnouts. It’s a great spot and we have gotten some great pictures of the cars burning out over the years.  The bad part of this is that we end up standing out there for hours so our spot doesn’t get squatted by someone else and soon we are packed in our favorite area like live sardines in a can. Much like the red carpet at fan fest, chaos ensues. Last year I ended up getting hit in the back of the head by some guy’s lens hood on his camera- multiple times.  This year, though, we decided to try something a little different and hang out by the start/finish line (in front of Planet Hollywood). It was a completely different vibe and it was fun to change things up this year.

This is a beloved event and the fans line the strip for hours in advance of their favorite drivers:

Fans gather on one of several pedestrian bridges hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite drivers during the Victory Lap down Las Vegas Blvd (The Vegas Strip) (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

The start/finish line area of the Victory lap is much more like being around a driver introduction stage at an actual race: (more…)

This was the one event during Champions Week this year I was REALLY looking forward to.  I can’t even explain why- except that you all know that I am a fan of Chevy drivers, I drive a Chevy myself, my father drives a Chevy, I have a love of the Camaro, well I guess I am just a Chevy girl.  So I was REALLY looking forward to this.  I had no idea what to expect. I have been to one other car reveal in my life and that was for the Ferrari FF when I attended Ferrari Days out at Mazda Raceway At Laguna Seca (see A NASCAR Girl In A Ferrari World) a couple years ago.  When I saw that as one of the possible events on the calendar for Champions Week- I signed us right up!

Up until the reveal the only sight I caught of the 2013 Chevy SS Cup car that I had seen was on the Internet in it’s camo paint:

Tony Stewart drives the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet during NASCAR testing at Phoenix International Raceway on October 23, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona. (October 22, 2012 – Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America).

The “camo” paint does a good job of hiding body features…so I think. I was really looking forward to the reveal where I could see the new body style up close and personal- and I was hoping it wouldn’t have the weird camo paint scheme.

The Chevy reveal was our first activity in a Thursday CHUCKED full of stuff to do.  We got to the Wynn early and walked around until they opened the doors and then checked in and found seats (IN THE SECOND ROW) and waited excitedly. I was attempting to live tweet the reveal but neither Misty nor myself got ANY phone reception at all in the theater and very little in the Wynn in general. I think I was able to get this picture out and then nothing:

My Tweet Said: Waiting for the 2013 Chevy SS Sprint Cup Reveal (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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