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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

Instead of doing a lengthy pre-race post for Louden where all I do is go RAH TEAM HOME DEPOT like I have been doing- I have decided I am instead going to attempt to recreate the wondrous post that was so good- wordpress and firefox3 decided to share it for dinner. So I now present you with the bullets that disappeared on me.

  • First off- did you read my accounts of the Fontana race weekend? If not start here. This is one post for each of the four days I was in Fontana.
  • Next week I will post a final recap comparing the track at Fontana with Vegas…this is a post I have had written for weeks in my head- its just a matter of getting the thoughts out in wordpress.
  • Valli over at the Fast and the Fabulous is becoming quite the reporter! Her most recent interview was with Dale Jarrett. She does an amazing job because I would probably stutter all over myself. Pretty much like when I met AJ FOYT as a teen and my dad basically had to push me at him. I was all slack jawed. Silly rabbit. Anyway- Part 1 of DJ article, Part 2 of DJ interview, Part 3 of the DJ interview. Part 4 and Part 5 of the interview are all up on her website. Check them out…you won’t be sorry!
  • Also…speaking of Valli- she was in Fontana at the same time I was, we were suppose to meet up but I forgot her phone number at work…big fiasco.  However- You have to read this post she made: fate finally throws me a bone. See Valli gets media credentials and I loved all of her behind the fontana scenes posts because I was there and I can picture them…but the one I linked too? Its the best of them all!
  • One more must read post is over at The Nascar Insiders: Helmet Cam: Pit Stops Through Our Eyes. I have noticed these Helmet cams and love the views they present. I only wonder if they are heavy enough where the crew member notices them?
  • OK- can someone explain to me how this little frustrated spattering of conversation between Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli got so freaking sensationalized?  Yeah there was Stewart’s sarcastic tone on the radio and his little hissy fit (which unless you were watching his hotpass channel- you didn’t even get to see the WHOLE fit! Normal broadcast only showed the incar fit. You gotta love the hotpass).  Then there was Greg Zipadelli’s defensive retort to the sarcastic Stewart…both driver and crew chief I am sure felt they did their absolute freaking best that day and just came up a little short and blew of some steam at each other. Big Woo. Are these journalists making such a big deal out of this so perfect that they have never been frustrated and blew some steam off? I mean seriously. Hell I remember once being so frustrated with a Chemistry assignment in high school that i picked up my book and threw it across the room (mostly because I got talked into taking honors chemistry only to find myself WAY over my head math wise.  I am still not sure how I passed that class). A couple months ago I was working (very hard) on a baby bunting that I needed to finish before the baby shower and found that somewhere along the line I had dropped a stitch and the damn thing was all fugly and had to undo over half of it to fix it. That pissed me off and the yarn ball went a flying. Luckily it was a yarn project and not a say…woodcarving project or something because I am sure flying wood causes damage.  Yeah…so back to my original point. Blowing off steam….not a big deal. Frankly they probably wouldn’t have even gave it a second thought if it weren’t for the fact that the Stewart/Zipadelli partnership (which I am going to post about hopefully next week as well) is dissolving at the end of this season.
  • Judging by the weather at Louden this race is gonna be a washout…and Monday isn’t looking much better.
  • I am pretty sure that there are some other things I wanted to talk about but I can’t remember what they were.  Oh well if they are still relevent- more fodder for next week.

Or maybe it was evil FireFox3 (the one I am still having loads of issues with…don’t make me switch to google Chrome Firefox…I just may!). Well whoever did it…I had three forths of a gorgeous bulleted list post get eaten when my browser froze…nice one. So I didn’t even retain part of my entry. That is sucktacular.

Susan (Beloved) sez: OK, this week’s questions are random questions I found online & thought they’d be interesting to answer sometime. So here goes:

  1. Would you rather have one great friend or 5 pals? One great friend is better than 100 acquaintances.
  2. Are you better at remembering names or faces? Between the two- faces. But actually I am best with voices because due to the nature of my work I talk to ALOT of people on the phone.
  3. What books on your shelf are begging to be read? All of them. I haven’t been in a reading frame of mind lately.
  4. Will the world be better or worse in 100 years? Better. We have to be hopeful right?
  5. Is your best friend now anything like your best friend from childhood? That depends on your definition of childhood…because I am still best friends with someone I have been best friends with since Junior High School (8th grade).

Friday Fill-in #89

1. I enjoy learning new things.

2. Time and where it all goes is something I wonder about often lately.

3. In your heart, you knew you were right.

4. Take shrimp, add a little dried onions, salt, cayenne pepper, bacon and barbeque sauce and you end up with my special shrimp plate. YUM.

5. Life has gifted me with good teeth- just ask my dentist. I was just there for a cleaning yesterday.

6. Reading is an instant vacation.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to hanging out at home, tomorrow my plans include general chores and hopefully a visit with my nephew and Sunday, I want to watch Tony win Louden!!

Click here to see the previous entry: Day Three: The No Nascar Edition

It dawned on my sometime Saturday that I not only forgot Valli’s phone number, but I also forgot to DVR the race before I left.  I called my mom and my brother happened to be there so I asked him if he would mind going and doing it for me. He told me it would cost me a race souvenir but sure.  Oh great I thought…that means I am going to have to visit a merchandise hauler on race day!

Well we get up on the early side and shower and dress and get our race gear packed in our backpacks (spf 80 Sunblock? Check! Hat? Check! Money? Check!).  We had breakfast and headed out to the track by following the directions on our parking permit. It seemed odd because we were sent past other lots to our lot but whatever.  We find our way into orange lot and park.  If you have never been to a NASCAR race- even the parking lots are quite the experience- let me tell you. Flags are flying- massive tailgating parties are set up…people are just milling around the parking lots. Its kinda crazy. Remember that most race tracks hold more spectators than your average football or baseball stadium- so think of all those people- times two or three.  We make our way to the gates- get in and decide to hit the midway first.  I definitely need some race souveniors and since the people I am buying them for are Tony fans like me (my brother and my dad) I went to the Tony merch hauler. My friend grabbed my shoulder and is all “Its a fire sale at the tony hauler friend!”  Tony’s merch was greatly reduced. I ended up getting a a tshirt, three hats, and two seat cushions for less than $40.00 A steal if you ask me.  While waiting in line we decided that it was just that they are trying to get rid of the Tony 20 stuff to make way for the Logano stuff- because they actually had a couple of LOGANO 20 hats and shirts and they were full price ($25.00 each).  We visited a couple more merch haulers and I begged my friend yet again to have her picture taken with a sea lion but she again refused. I tried in vain to find my friend a Jeff Gordon PEPSI hero card. She already had the regular Jeff Gordon one but she wanted one the Pepsi ones- but damn if I could find her one. We then decided to find our seats- which we were able to do quite quickly. I set up our little Tony seat cushions…which ended up working out quite well and as luck would have it were only a stone’s throw from the stairs that lead out onto the track.

Our pre-race pitpasses gave us access to the track- and we definitely decided to take advantage of these.  I have been on one track before in my life…and that was Laguna Seca in the mid ninties when my dad surprised me with those paddock passes.  Let me tell you- I was surprised that for a “flat” track that the speedway had quite the banking to me! I can’t imagine what it is like to try to stand on a higher banked track.  My friend was quite excited too. The first thing we did is head over to the Start/Finish line to leave our mark. I just wrong GO TONY GO….real original huh? She wrote accolades for both her favorite driver (Jeff Gordon) and her favorite crew chief (Chad Knaus). We meandered around on the grass. I took BFM’s picture in victory lane.  I sat on the pit wall and leaned into the pits to take a shot down pit road. I took some awesome pictures of the scoring pylon. Then we meandered back behind the pits so we could watch the crews setting up the pitboxes. That rocked. Most of the teams were just starting to set up their boxes. The Lowes crew was wiping down their monitors and gluing lugnuts onto the tires.  Same for the dupont crew.  The home depot crew (outfitted in their subway firesuits) were still just laying things out and running back and forth.   A mother asked two of the home depot crew if she could take a picture of her son standing with them and they nicely obliged despite being busy.  I was loving it. I would have loved to stand there for the entire race because I have that (my friend would say unnatural) fascination with pit crews and pitstops.  I was having a freaking blast.  If they didn’t look so busy I would have probably eventually gotten up the nerve to ask a question or two but everyone looked so busy and I didn’t really have any pressing questions so I just meandered about and enjoyed myself.  We then walked around some more on the lawn and on the track and eventually made our way back to the stairs and into the grandstands.

The PreRace ceremony was fun except for the fact that the trucks hauling the drivers around during their parade lap didn’t go by us on the track but instead pulled down pit road. That kinda bit.  I loved the skydivers….and I hated the fly over…but at least I didn’t grab the person sitting next to me and screech during it like I did during one at Laguna Seca- that was embarassing.  Then it was race time. Whoo! Let me say this- at California Autoclub speedway you can really feel and hear the speed of the cars. They seem much louder and faster than at Vegas.

My favorite picture I took the whole weekend:

Sunset at Autoclub Speedway...my favorite picture of the weekend

Sunset at Autoclub Speedway...my favorite picture of the weekend

Some other favorites from Sunday:

Click on the picture to see all 210 photos and 3 videos taken during the Pepsi 500.

Click on the picture to see all 210 photos and 3 videos taken during the Pepsi 500.

The Previous entry in this set is Day Two: Qualifying Day

On Saturday my friend and I decided that we weren’t going to go to the Nationwide race. Ok..I admit it- we didn’t buy Nationwide tickets. So we decided to drive to Long Beach and visit the Queen Mary. So if you are here only to hear about my NASCAR adventures you might want to skip this one.

It took us probably about an hour to get to Long Beach- maybe a little longer. Honestly I was just glad I wasn’t driving. I begged my friend to drive- she is far more familiar with the southern California highways as she lived there for a couple years, and she had been to the Queen Mary before. Plus I just wanted to ride in her new car (a Nissan Versa hatchback- very cute and comfy). She suggested the Haunted Encounters Tour so we took that even though she had taken it before. It was pretty fun…but then again- I dig things like that so maybe I am just nutty. We also wandered around on some of the self guided tour parts- but we didn’t really use the map- I mostly followed her since she had been on ship before.

After Queen Mary fun we had a late lunch at Ruby’s and then drove south on the PCH through Huntington Beach. That too was fun- as I saw parts of the California coast line. But I had stowed my camera in the back of her car and didn’t get any beachy pictures. Here are a couple of my favorite Long Beach pictures though:

As always click on the picture to be taken to my Queen Mary Flickr Set

As always click on the picture to be taken to my Queen Mary Flickr Set

Next up: Day Four: The Pepsi 500

Check out the first post in this series: Day One=Fan Fest

Ok- so I wake up in my wonderful hotel room and we laze about a bit. Qualifying is in the  afternoon and we don’t want to get to the track too early…so we both shower and dress and goof around. On our way downstairs to go to breakfast is when we discover crew guys are actually staying at our hotel. Jeff Burton’s Nationwide crew and Joey Logano’s crew appear to be milling around the lobby waiting for something or someone…probably their ride to the track.  We on the other hand head across the street to breakfast.  After having breakfast we head over to starbucks where I get my staple (venti iced black tea lemonade with extra extra ice).  We finally land our keisters at the track and spend a good portion of the morning walking around the midway area (I am sure they call it something different but I call it a midway). We visited sponsor booths and driver merchandise booths. I was able to refrain from purchasing anything- but I did get a free box of ant stakes and a couple of packets of turtlewax Ice.  Oh and a nifty Richard Petty Driving Experience bag that I ended up giving to my mom.

Can I just say this…it was really freaking HOT there. I don’t mind hot but it was hot and humid I guess and it was miserable for me. I was so freaking thirsty half the time. I ended up going through like two bottles of water and three gatorades that day alone. After I hydrated we walked to the pedestrian tunnel to the infield and set up our pit passes and went and explored the pit area for awhile. I got some good shots of some of the cars coming and going for practice. It was hot and I spent some quality time with some misters by the refreshment stands.  We then hiked back out of the pits back through the pedestrian tunnel. Did anyone else who was there think the poor sealions on display looked a little sad? They seemed sad to me.

Then we sat in the stands and watched the end of practice for the Nationwide race and then watched qualifying for the cup guys. My friend screamed her approval so loud when Jeff Gordon was qualified second that it startled me and I nearly dumped red Gatorade down my shirt!  Of course he was knocked off that by Allmendinger and she claimed she was MAD at Allmendinger for knocking her beloved Jeff out of the P2.

Mostly for me Qualifying day was just hot and dehydrating and sticky. We then hiked back to the car and that was fun.  Here are some of my favorite qualifying day pictures:

Click on the picture to be taken to the Flickr set for Qualifying day.

Click on the picture to be taken to the Flickr set for Qualifying day.

Coming Soon: Day Three: The No Nascar Edition.

So I got up at the horrific hour of 4:28 AM. While I like to think I am a morning person, I don’t consider 4:28 morning. I am just saying. Why so early? Well I had to be in San Bernardino by noon.  It was a mostly self-imposed deadline- especially considering that our hotel doesn’t really consider check in until 3:00PM. For me it was pretty much a 6 hour drive. For my friend from Vegas who was meeting me there- it was only a 3.5 hour drive so she could sleep in. I got up- showered, dressed, did my hair. Warning- do not use scalding hot flat irons while half asleep or you may flatten more than just your hair. I then threw my already packed luggage into the cargo area of the HHR, along with a soft cooler of coke zero, my clear 20 race backpack and a present for my friend.  My wheels hit the highway at 6:01 am. I was right on time. I had my directions printed out to the hotel…and hoped that my friend remembered to print some out to the speedway because I didn’t (not that we would end up needed them- the route was actually well marked).  My drive was fairly easy and I had driven this route a couple times before so it wasn’t that bad actually- I am just paranoid about getting lost hence the directions printed out and the piece of mind that Onstar was there helped too.  The drive went fairly quickly. I hit my favorite gas station in Lost Hills and hopped onto the 5 finally and it was right around here that I realized that I totally forgot Valli’s phone number. And there was no way I could even get it because it was popped from my account onto my work computer because I am a nimrod.  I did keep an eye out for her on the highway- but I figure she probably left at a much saner hour than I did.  My friend called me well into my drive to chat while she too drove towards our meeting place (our hotel the Hilton in San Bernardino). That made my drive go by way faster.  She got there first- but only like 15 minutes sooner so it wasn’t like she had to wait hours for me (I was the one who made the hotel reservations so she couldn’t check in with out me).

Luckily the hotel let us check in right away because once whe drug our luggage up to the room, used the facilities and tried to figure out the air conditioner little did we know we wouldn’t be back to our room until well after 10 pm.  BMF grabbed her directions to the Home Depot in Rancho Cucamonga. Yes Tony Stewart was doing a driver appearance at the store and it was time for BFM to get her face to face Tony Time.  I got to do this at the race in Vegas – but she was sick as a dog that day. So we stood in line for a couple hours to get our wristband for the appearance. In the blazing sun. With no sunscreen. We were finally wristbanded up and went to go seek somewhere cool to sit and ended up at a McDonalds.  So we hydrated up, enjoyed us some Coke and just chatted a bit since we had not seen each other in quite awhile (yes we talk in some form or other daily but its not the same) and return to line to stand some more in the blazing sun. Tony was late.  I took a brief reprieve and went into home depot for a bathroom break…and when I finally found the bathroom I found out that Tony was still not there and I could tell because the bathroom must have been by the backdoor because there were two cops and three security guards in all black standing by the door just milling about.  We finally did get to him- but it took us forever.

Tony was hot and asking the security guy to adjust the fan towards him.

Tony was hot and asking the security guy to adjust the fan towards him. He doesn't know hot. Hot is standing in the home depot parking lot with no sunblock on for hours.

Misty and I were both happy, and sat in my car for a few minutes and looked over our pictures from the event. Then were were off to the speedway for fanfest which actually only took us like 10 minutes to get from Home  Depot to the speedway.  There were other drivers doing appearances but we didn’t get there in time to get tickets so we just watched and snapped a few pictures.  Our main reason for going to fanfest was to catch an upclose glimpse of Jeff Gordon- BFM’s favorite driver because he would be playing ROCKBAND onstage with some people who donated money to the Jeff Gordon foundation. By this time I was hot and kinda cranky (and sunburned) and hungry but it was Misty’s favorite driver and there was no way in hell I was gonna be the cause of her missing that.  We made our way to the stage and stood there and waited and finally we go to see that. He was actually early and that was really fun to watch actually. I got some video snippets of him playing but I can’t figure out how to embed them. So you can check them out in my Fan Fest Set on my Flickr.

Stay tuned for: Day Two: Qualifying