Header image

I am a NASCAR fan- but moreover I am a motorsports fan and there is no day quite as good for us motorsports fans as May 28th. It’s a day of solid motorsports- starting with Monaco in the wee (for a weekend day) morning and ended with NASCAR’s version of the endurance race, the Coca-Cola 600. And sandwiched in the middle was the ultimate event in all of motorsports- the Indy 500.

(photo source: Zimbio.com/Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)

I will be the first to admit that as much as I love motorsports- I also love sleep- so I didn’t catch much of the F1 race in Monaco (remember I am on the West Coast). But I caught every lap of the Indy 500. There is just something about the race that makes it special- so special I will even sit there and watch the pre-race pomp and circumstance that surrounds it- and I will do it with glee in my motorsports loving heart.  I agree with the people online who state that “Back Home Again” without Jim Nabors is just not the same. It totally isn’t.  I am pretty sure I am the only native born Californian (who had never even been to Indiana) who knew the words to it in elementary school. It was because when I was a kid- I looked forward to the INDY 500 with great abandon. Bubble Day was my favorite qualifying day and I would sit there on the edge of my seat waiting to find out who would make the field and who would be bumped. It was my thing.

I found this year’s Indy 500 to be much more exciting than those of Indy 500′s in the recent past. There seemed to be more racing for position and less follow the leader train style. THAT is what I look for in a race to make it exciting for me. I like to see people passing each other…trying to pass each other.  It was a good race with an exciting finish. What was NOT exciting was the Jay Howard/Scott Dixon crash- for many reasons. I was of course rooting for Jay Howard (and Pippa Mann) since he was the Team OneCure driver…but that withstanding that accident was horrifying. With all the safety measures taken across ALL forms of motorsports it’s easy as a fan to become complacent when it comes to the dangers associated with all forms of racing.  And while it was wonderful to see that driver capsule hold strong around Scott Dixon- it was scary to see the car take flight like that and come crashing down nearly cockpit down on the retaining wall…only to then roll and indeed land cockpit down on the pavement before righting itself. I was sure we were going to see him removed on a stretcher. When he got out of the car and WALK to the ambulance. Wow.

After a walk of the dogs and doing some other chore like things in between I sat down ready to start the second half of my motorsports day and I was just as excited. This is NASCAR’s version of the endurance race- it’s 600 miles! That is THE longest race. And I know some people don’t like the long races- honestly most of the time I am one of them…but I still think there needs to be at least one 600 mile race. It’s a whole different skillset for the drivers. Just like I am a hearty believer in the road courses- I love road courses because they again require a whole other skillset of the drivers.  Do I think the resin helped the 600? Yes I do. I saw lots of passing and racing for position. What didn’t help was the rain delay- but that happens. I am glad it wasn’t along delay as far as rain delays go. It rained and they were able to get the track dry and the race underway in an hour and forty minutes or something like that? That’s pretty quick for a weather related delay.  I am thankful that the air titans where there to help with that and get the race back underway.

Now that I consider myself a fan without a driver I necessarily pull for- I find fuel mileage races more exciting I will admit that. It’s a part of racing- who figured out their fuel mileage the best. Who was able to each out that extra little dribble of fuel in their car? Congratulations go to Austin Dillon’s team for doing just that.

(photo source: Zimbio.com/Sarah Crabill/Getty Images North America)

Now let’s talk about the post-race event that everyone seems to want to talk about- Kyle Busch’s short comment in post-race media. “Nothing surprises me any more. Congratulates. *mic drop*” As always there are people on both sides of the fence with Kyle’s comments. I can see and acknowledge both sides of it. I see he’s obviously disappointed. He’s probably hungry (I agree with Dale Jr) and tired. The last place he wants to be is answering questions about a race he REALLY wanted to win but didn’t. Yes it’s his job and he should meet all his media obligations as part of that job. Does it bother me? Not really. He was rude. People have bad days. He was in a bad mood. I am not going to defend his actions but I am not offended by them either. It is what it is and I take them at face value. Drivers say things in the heat of the moment and the face of defeat out of their passion for the sport- as a Tony Stewart fan this is something that I know and expect from drivers so it does not bother me. This behavior and passion for his sport is what makes Kyle Busch Kyle Busch and without a Kyle Busch the sport would be boring.

Now I want you to ready for this because I am probably going to blow some socks off here- because I am about to defend Brad Keselowski.  After the media got a hold of Kyle’s words,  Brad tweeted something to the effect of him not being sure that Kyle Busch’s behavior is the way to define “hating losing” and that he should probably just keep his mouth shut but he “was taught to hate losing by working harder next time, not by being disrespectful to others.”  That is Brad’s opinion and it’s articulately voiced. Andy Graves, a Toyota Racing Development executive got involved and tweeted at Brad that “should have just kept his mouth shut.” That was totally uncalled for in my opinion. You either like Kyle or you don’t. You either like Brad or your don’t, but as an executive representing a manufacturer in the sport I think you should be held to a slightly higher standard in how you voice your opinions.  (You can watch Kyle’s comments, read Brad Keselowski and Andy Grave’s tweets in one place here in this article on Fox Sports: NASCAR).

Indy 500 drivers that impressed: Fernando Alonso

Indy 500 drivers that disappointed: I am going with a manufacturer instead: Honda

Coca-Cola 600 drivers that impressed: Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch

Coca-Cola 600 drivers that disappointed: Jimmie Johnson (more Chad Knaus really for the fuel mileage fail), Ryan Blaney

 

Hello my fellow readers and race fans- can you believe I already have another entry for the #NASCAR Reading list? And boy do I have another great book for you to add to your TBR lists!  That book would be the The Sheer Force of Will Power by David Malsher. I usually run hot or cold when it comes to biographies or autobiographies but as a race fan I LOVE this one! Maybe it’s because of it’s witty title (I mean seriously why didn’t make the correlation before between willpower and Will Power), or because my first race was an IndyCar race but when I was offered an opportunity to read this book for review purposes I jumped on it. I am so glad that I did.

First off, I use to be hard core into IndyCar driving back when the series was called CART.  When the series broke up to form IRL and CHAMP I kind of drifted back to NASCAR for my fandom. Now I am a devout NASCAR (Tony Stewart) fan yet I am a still a casual fan of IRL. If there is race on and I don’t have anything better to do I will watch it. Of course this holds true any time any type of motorsports- the other day I was watching dirt bikes because it was the only racing I could find, but I digress. So I “know” the IRL drivers in that, I know their names, car number, sponsors…the basics. But I don’t know their stories.  This book gave me the chance to dive into Will Power’s story and get to know Will on a deeper level. But I don’t think you have to be a Will Power fan to appreciate his story.

“You can’t leave it to drivers and say to them, ‘Take care of each other out there.’ That’s bullshit. We are paid to win, so we’ll do whatever it takes to win, and if that means going four-wide one inch apart, that’s what we are going to do.” – Will Power, pg 254,  Power, W., & Malsher, D. (n.d.). The sheer force of Will Power.

The book starts off with him growing up a child who “played racing” as a child. Of course it didn’t hurt that his father was a grassroots racer in Australia.  It follows his career through his eyes and the eyes of those closest to him, including his family and close friends.  It spans the course of his racing from a young boy in Toowoomba Australia (and now I know where the name of my favorite dish at the Outback comes from) as an up and coming driver in Australia, to his move to England for F1 and then eventually to America and then to Indy car and everything in between.  The book aptly covers both the extreme highs of winning a championship and the lowest of lows throughout different points in Will’s carrer. There are parts of Will’s career that will ring true to any racer, any style of motorsports- especially his early struggles to attain much needed sponsorship money as an early racer in Australia, to what could have been a terrible career ending injury at Sonoma Raceway. And then there is living the horrifying accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that took fellow driver Dan Wheldon’s life through Will’s eyes. Let’s just say it was a good thing I wasn’t wearing mascara when I read that chapter. (more…)

Raced by K. Bromberg

 

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago right here in my last Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List, I adored all three books in K. Bromberg’s Driven Series. Those books (Driven, Fueled and Crashed) follow Rylee Thomas, a woman who has buried her past to the point of walking through life numb until she quite literally falls into the arms of smokin’ hot Indy Car driver Colton Donovan.  Colton on the other hand is the exact opposite of Rylee. Colton purposely lives a life in sensory overload to outrun the demons from a past he is afraid will not just catch up with him- but completely ruin life as he knows it.  The series is told primarily in Rylee’s point of view- with a couple of chapters in Colton’s point of view scattered into Fueled (Book 2), and more than a couple scattered into the final book, Crashed (Book 3).

“She thought I was done with her.” – Colton Donovan, Raced by K. Bromberg

Raced is NOT a novel in the trilogy (obviously since if it were then it technically wouldn’t be a trilogy). Raced is the much anticipated companion to the trilogy that is entirely in Colton’s point of view. It’s chapters revolves around several key scenes/chapters in all three books. Her fans begged for it and Bromberg delivered.

Personally, I had been anticipating Raced greatly after devouring the entire trilogy in a little over a weekend. Was Raced what I expected? Yes and no.  Yes in that Colton’s POV’s were exactly what I had hoped they would be: raw, honest and full of the conflict and emotion behind the race-face Colton wears through life. It was exactly what I wanted and what I got in aces (ha- pun totally intended).

What was unexpected? Two things. The first being a sob inducing scene between Colton and his father towards the end of Raced (that is all I will say- spoiler hounds).  The second second thing- I didn’t expect but totally loved was the author’s description that was before each of the chapters of Raced. These chapters let readers know what she was thinking, or why she picked a particular part of the saga to share in Colton’s voice.

“How do I explain that the way she made me feel caused the demons I’d buried deep down to start to whisper that I don’t deserve anything from her.” Colton Donovan, Raced by K. Bromberg

Remember Raced is NOT a stand alone novel- nor does it claim to be one. Think of it as the extra deleted scenes from your favorite movie that you get when you buy the director’s cut. Raced adds a certain richness and emotion to the story told throughout Driven, Fueled, and Crashed.

If this companion leaves you wanting more of Colton & Rylee- fear not! K. Bromberg plans on releasing a yet-to-be-named novella that covers key points in the ten year gap that takes place at the end of Crashed and it’s epilogues some time in early 2015. Also fans of the trilogy can anticipate Slow Burn, a novel focusing on Haddie Montgomery (Rylee’s bestie and roommate) and Beckett Daniels (Colton’s crew chief and best friend) from the original trilogy. Slow Burn is currently available as a pre-order for it’s February 24th, 2015 release.

____

For “Full Disclosure” I bought the original trilogy at the urging of a friend and enjoyed it so thoroughly so I ordered the reading companion as well. I was not asked to review it by anyone- I did so because I loved what I read and thought you might too.

Cars on track at Laguna Seca

This picture has nothing to do with the post other than it’s a favorite of cars on track at Laguna Seca that I have taken. This was taken during the 2012 ALMS race in what I believe is turn 7 but I could be wrong about the turn number. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

So several weeks ago I promised you all a story at the end of this post about the first Chase race. Really it’s the story of my first ever race…and I am not talking my first NASCAR race.

Not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away- back when the IRL series was known as the CART series, my dad decided that my fandom of motorsports was not a flash in the pan and I think secretly he was thrilled.  The Indy cars were coming to Laguna Seca- which is very close to where we lived.  At the time I was into that series (I lost interest in it when CART split into IRL and CHAMP and half of my favorite drivers went one way and half went the other way). Since I had always shown a love of racing and specifically CART at the time- my dad laid down what I know was big bucks for him at the time for weekend grandstand tickets in Turn 11 as well as weekend paddock passes for the two of us for the race in Monterey.  I was a teenager at the time- so it was probably somewhere around 1990-1991 I think.  My parents even excused my absence from school so that we could take full advantage of our weekend tickets. (more…)