I am not a fan of racing at super speedways- much the way some people aren’t fans of road courses. There usually isn’t a lot of mixing it up on super speedways- because it’s just too dangerous to press your luck. I like my races to have at least a little more balance between skill and luck (honstly I like my races to be heavier in the skill than the luck and not vice versa). Races at Talladega are much more luck than skill in my opinion- luck in that IF you can stay out of someone else’s mess then you might have a chance succeed. (more…)
Talk about completely out of order- here it is almost two weeks out from the annual Vegas Racecation and I am just now getting the post up. Urg…forgive me! This year the Vegas Racecation included some new experiences I hope that you will enjoy hearing about! Be warned- this is LONG but rewards you because it’s photo rich!
Misty and I picked up our credentials at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during her lunch on Thursday from her day job! This was a harrowing feat because Misty works by McCarran Airport which is probably about 30 miles from the track. We were able to make it back and forth however, between Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Misty’s work (which is blocks away from McCarran Airport) within the hour without breaking traffic laws- so YEY us. I picked Misty back up after work so we could head directly to South Point Casino so that we could go to an autograph appearance where several drivers were appearing. So we rush over get parked and go into the Casino and can not FIND the autograph appearance…anywhere. We were all over that place. We gave up and went to Steak N Shake for dinner since it was right there.
Friday morning saw me getting to the track insanely early and alone- Misty had to tie up some important work business and would join me later in the afternoon. When I first ventured out of the media center and into the Neon Garage area- it was still fairly early and not crowded at all- so it was no wonder that a Pee Wee Herman impersonator riding his bike through the lower level caught my eye:
Only in Vegas right?!
During first practice I hung around the upper level of the Tony Stewart garage trying to catch a picture of Tony Stewart or Chad Johnston.. Luckily I caught Tony arriving to his pit stall with business manager Eddie Jarvis:
A little over a year ago I posted a #NASCAR Bucket list of sorts- prompted to do so after reviewing the book 100 Things NASCAR Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die because based on the title I thought the book would be a jumping off point for creating such a list (I found out it wasn’t- if you want to know why you can go back and read my review). For some reason unbeknownst to me, I have been ruminating on that original bucket list lately. I decided that it needed to be revised a bit. So here is my NEW #NASCAR Bucket List: (more…)
Since I got all philosophical, sentimental, or whatever you would call that with the Texas Race Report –I left out the “Notes” section where I usually go into all things NASCAR that didn’t fit nice and tidy in the race post. So I present to you- NASCAR tidbits in no particular order that have been floating around in my brain: (more…)
Fan fest for the 2012 Champions Week festivities in Las Vegas was held at the Fremont Street Experience for the second year. Personally- I liked it better when it was held at the track because there was just something magical about being at LVMS when it’s quiet. But then again, I am probably biased because LVMS is where I saw my first ever NASCAR race…it was at LVMS that I turned my already BFF into a NASCAR fan…and it was at LVMS that BG was first granted media credentials – so I have a special place in my heart for LVMS. I guess that they figure that having at the Fremont Street Experience is easier for fans to get to (since the track is WAY OUT THERE)…plus I think the track has a festival of lights set up as many do during the holiday season.
Anyway- several of the cup cars were on display and a red carpet that the drivers would walk down to get to the stage where they would be playing this year’s game show: Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? The red carpet walk that the drivers take is an experience let me tell you. People start claiming their spots HOURS before the drivers are scheduled to appear and then other tourists, who are there for non-NASCAR reasons will stroll by and ask what is going on and then upon hearing that they are waiting for NASCAR drivers to walk by in like three hours they give the fans a look like WOW really? You are standing here because a race car driver is going to walk by in like THREE HOURS? It’s kind of funny to judge their reaction- most give looks like the fans are seriously insane. I don’t know what is more insane…standing around the carpet or walking around in public dressed as a storm trooper and Darth Vader (we seriously saw these characters walking around the red carpet interaction with tourists. Last year it was SpongeBob SquarePants. I don’t think they are official characters- just random people dressed up as them and then trying to make a few extra dollars posing with tourists.
So this year it seemed the red carpet was even MORE chaotic than last year. The drivers were kind of bunched together more than last year so that pretty much everyone was just screaming for their favorite driver’s attention but the actual chances of getting your signature seemed more difficult. I am not sure if the drivers also signed stuff on the way FROM the stage because we left a little early.
Here are some pictures from the event: (more…)
And just like that the season is over. Not much fan fare for this Tony Stewart fan. The last two races in the 2012 season weren’t great for Tony. He spun at Phoenix to finish 19th and fought another ill-handling race care to finish 17th at Homestead-Miami. Points wise, Tony finished 9th in the points standings for 2012. The 2012 Sprint Cup champion is Brad Keselowski.
Brad went into Homestead the points leader to a second place Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie gave a valiant fight but was foiled by a bad pit stop and then a mechanical failure of a rear gear. The Race winner at Homestead-Miami was Jeff Gordon- who won at the track for the first time. Jeff has now won a race at every current sprint cup track except Kentucky (Tony Stewart is right behind him at having won a race at every track except for Kentucky and Darlington).
Important Notes about Homestead Miami-
Tony Stewart ran two special decals at Homestead Miami on his car:
Important notes about Phoenix:
The biggest news out of Phoenix was the ontrack and off track altercations between Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and their respective crews. While yes I was at the track- I did NOT witness the altercations personally. However- I will say this about the whole thing: Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer have been rubbing each other the wrong way all season. Jeff Gordon finally had enough and took matters into his own hands. He stood up for himself and I really don’t have an issue with that. Yes he retaliated and yes he owned up to that right away. He was fined a significant amount of money and points as well. I felt the penalties were just. I do NOT think he should have been parked. If you remember when Kyle was parked he had been parked because he had had multiple incidents of retaliation ontrack- some of which on pit road. He had altercations in multiple series. He was a serial repeat offender. Prior to this Jeff Gordon’s last real altercation was fighting with Jeff Burton on track at Texas two years ago. My only issue with the fines that NASCAR levied as a result of the melee at Phoenix is that I think that Clint Bowyer should have been placed on probation as well…after all he showed intent to join the melee with his now famous sprint through the garage area and then having to be restrained at Jeff Gordon’s hauler.
I did attend the race at Phoenix. Phoenix is one of my favorite tracks that I have been to. Here is a collage of some of the pictures I took:
I got a couple of good post ideas from my time at Phoenix that I hope to flesh out and share with you within the coming weeks.
Unless you happen to be a Tony Stewart fan like me- I bet you didn’t notice the AMAZING comeback that Tony Stewart had during the race at Texas. Seriously- I mean he IS a chase driver so I don’t understand WHY they failed to mention the while he had a mostly mediocre run at Texas- staying between positions 18 and 23 for probably 90 percent of the race- only to end up finishing 5th. I am STILL not sure where he came from at the end of that race- but all of the sudden I noticed he was 10th (my Sprint Cup Mobile scanner for Tony’s radio only worked for about the first half of the race) after a round of pit stops. I was previously distracted by the rivalry brewing between Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson. And then he was 7th, then 6th, then whoo hoo the race is over and Tony is 5th!!! Now while I do realize that Jimmie and Brad are the main contenders for the cup right now and certainly they should garner most of the spotlight…I am pretty certain that Tony’s finish deserved SOME sort of mention.
The G-W-C finish may have pushed the broadcast over it’s allotted time slot a bit, but still I think it deserved SOME mention. We saw replays of the restarts, we saw and heard from Jimmie in Victory Lane, we heard from Brad about the last restart, how about “a let’s hear from Tony Stewart about that comeback to finish 5th” and THEN go to SportsCenter. Because I watched the first couple minutes of Sports Center and then my attentions drifted elsewhere and they didn’t mention it so I wandered away. That race seemed REALLY LONG to me. I think I probably would have dozed off during the first 150-200 laps IF I hadn’t been listening to Tony’s scanner (thank you for keeping me awake Spotter Bob!). To tell the truth? This time change absolutely kills me. With the chase races starting later than regular season races combined with the time change- I was TIRED and the race at the beginning wasn’t THAT exciting until the end, so I got a little heavy lidded from time to time. Especially for Tony Stewart fans- who got to see their driver only on the scrolling banner on the top where the positions are and on a rare occasion during a pit stop to say well they are making adjustments.
Like I mentioned, I listened to Stewart’s radio chatter as long as sprint cup mobile would let me- and they were throwing ALL kinds of adjustments at that car EVERY SINGLE pit stop that I heard. Including putting shims in because the splitter was hitting during one of the cautions. They were discussing taking the shim out of the left front if they got another caution when I seemed to lose all driver radios so I am not sure if they ever made that adjustment. I am not saying they should only focus on Tony- that would be boring and we would have missed the excitement of the racing between Keselowski and Johnson. But just a couple more mentions through out the broadcast and after the race would have been nice!
Race winner was Jimmie Johnson, who has 7 championship points over second place Brad Keselowski. Tony finished 5th, and moved up to 8th in the championship standings.
Notes About Texas:
- Something else you might have missed during the race- Carl Edwards hit his tire changer MikeLingerfeltduring a pit stop. Yikes!!
- This picture of Tony Stewart from practice at Texas Motor Speedway humors me:
- On Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway- several of the Coca-Cola Family drivers took part in a Google + Hangout chat with fans. If you are like me- you probably missed it, but fear not! They have the video up and I have embedded it for your pleasure (of course it doesn’t hurt that Tony Stewart is in it- as is his 100 lb lapdog Hank…which reminds me of Misty’s Gidget who who was such a sweetie- she was german shephard/chow mix and also thought she was a 100 lb lap dog).
Next Race: Phoenix- and YES Misty and I will be there!
As a Tony Stewart fan, I went into the 2011 Sprint Cup chase extremely pessimistic. After all, Tony Stewart went into the chase saying he thought the team was wasting a chase berth with the way they had been performing. Of course we all know what happened; Tony Stewart went on a tear- won FIVE of the ten Chase races (something that had NEVER been done before) including the season closer at Homestead-Miami, thus winning the Chase by TIEBREAKER. It was both exhilarating and stressful to be a Tony Stewart fan towards the end of the 2011 chase. I was AT the Phoenix race and spent most of the race perched on the patio of the media center- watching the race through my fingers. I don’t even remember much about the Homestead race- except that I was so stoked that I promised my family that if Tony won the championship I would treat them to dinner at the Outback. Guess you all know what I had for dinner that night. What made the chase so great last year- especially during Homestead was that it was so CLOSE- and to win it Tony Stewart HAD TO WIN THE RACE- a second place wouldn’t cut it.
This year however, I feel EXCITEMENT going into the chase because this year NASCAR’s Chase for the 2012 Sprint Series Cup could be brought home by ANY of the 12 drivers. I personally do not count ANYONE out. Sure Tony’s the reigning champion and I would LOVE to see him become a FOUR time champion. Denny Hamlin goes in to the Chase seeded first and his crew chief Darian Grubb no doubt feels he has a point to prove. But I can’t count out Jimmie Johnson- he’s won five and is looking hard for 6. With FOUR of the 12 cars being Hendrick Motorsports cars that means mathematically (and I am NOT good at math people) there is a 1/3 chance that winner could be a Hendrick car- and Junior has been looking strong and CONSISTENT all season. And Jeff Gordon has been driving like a maniac (in a good way) these last few races. And Kasey’s had some bad luck but pretty much had that first Wild Card spot in the bag in Richmond. Kenseth no doubt would like to leave the 17 team with a Championship before jumping over to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. Harvick is tenacious and they didn’t give him the nickname THE CLOSER for anything. Then we have dark horses like Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr and Clint Bowyer who have also been RIGHT there all season long. And I would NEVER ever ever count out Brad Keselowski. In my mind- right before we go into the first race of the Chase it is ANYONE’s trophy right now.
As a NASCAR fan, the fact that it is anyone’s championship right now is EXCITING. Of course I still want Tony Stewart to win it!
Who do YOU think will win it all?