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I really do NOT want to continue to beat a dead horse by going into the Richmond stuff again- but I feel that I have to respond to the penalties that followed the NASCAR race at Richmond especially after I posted my opinions on what happened during the race and what I thought NASCAR should do and what I thought they would do (which as I mentioned were two separate things). I posted an initial reaction to the penalties on my Facebook page, and retweeted several tweets if you follow me there- but I really feel the need to expound on what I said in both places.

Well, I think the first thing is all of us to remind ourselves, it’s a sport.  It has a tremendous amount of fun to it.  Occasionally, and particularly our role, is to regulate the sport and police it and officiate it so that everybody has got a reasonable playing field to participate in.  So we have days like today that we run across and have challenges that our role is to react to, and this is one of those days.-- Mike Helton, NASCAR President (source: 9-9-13 press conference transcript)

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2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Field

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase field as it stands from Saturday night after the race at Richmond International Raceway- but should two of the drivers in the field really be there? (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Richmond, a d-shaped 3/4 mile track in Virgina, is one of NASCAR’s crown jewel short tracks and the stage for the last regular season race of the Sprint Cup season or as NASCAR fans know it “The race for the Chase.” The chase- by design is a 10 race shootout of tracks for the championship where the points are basically zeroed out- with a seeding by number of wins for the top ten drivers with the including of two non-seeded, wild card drivers. Only the top 12 drivers in the regular season have a chance at the championship as the Chase currently stands- making these last ten “chase” races the play-offs of NASCAR.  One of the interesting effects since NASCAR went to a “play-offs” type championship seasons is that just making the CHASE becomes the main goal for teams. Also, as a result of this system- there is the “bubble” who is in and who is out.

This particular Richmond race- there were 11 drivers vying for the 6 remaining “non-clinched” spots in the chase (including the two wild card positions).  As the race was run- those drivers that were in and those that were out changed with each lap it seemed.  Ryan Newman was vying for one of those cherished wild card spots- most of the time against Martin Truex Jr.  Ryan pretty much had to win the race, or Martin Truex Jr had to have a tragedy because if they tied for the wild card the only way Ryan would win the wild card spot would be with another win for the tie breaker. Conversely, driver Jeff Gordon could not hope for a wild card spot- if he was to make the chase Jeff Gordon absolutely had to finish with in the top 10 in the points standings since he has no wins yet this season. (more…)

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…)

Wow am I late with this race post- but as happens with nearly all races I attend in person- I go to the race- have a blast and then come home and slammed in the face by “reality” when I get back. Sigh. Plus I took 1800+ pictures myself,  with Misty taking an additional 650+ pictures.  I had to then weed through them and process some of them for the blog- which takes time as I am sure you can imagine! A big  thank you to all of my readers for being so patient.

Sonoma Raceway Grandstands

Sonoma Racway 2013. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Misty and I get to Sonoma Raceway early on Friday, pick up our respective credentials, park in lot M as directed by the parking attendants (which in both Misty and I’s opinion seem to be the BEST at nearly any track we have been to thus far), shuttled to the media center- found our respective spots (schwing- right next to each other- no having to ask about swapping and BONUS we had front row window seats that looked out onto pit road and what would eventually be Greg Biffle’s pit stall) and then we headed towards the garage area before it got to crowded. (more…)

Someone please tell me what is it with Misty and I? Of the last three races that we have been able to attend in person (Fall Phoenix 2012, Las Vegas, and now Autoclub) post race fights have broken out at two of them and each fight included one of our favorite drivers (Phoenix had  Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer going at it and of course you may have heard that my driver went a little agro on Joey Logano at Autoclub).  I will get into the post race pugilism a little later. First let’s get to the actual race.

The Naval Re-Enlistment Ceremony before Driver Introductions at AutoClub Speedway. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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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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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…)