Jeff Burton stepped in to substitute for Tony Stewart at this past weekend’s race The Pure Michigan 400. He was starting to pull up through the field after qualifying the 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet 27th. It was a brand spanking new car and unfortunately it seems that at some point during the beginning of the race the tailpipe had cracked and caught the heat shields of the car on fire. Jeff Burton radioed in and stated that he smelled smoke in the cockpit- and it smelled electrical. Around lap 75 or so he brought the car in for a regular pit stop and a quick look from the 14 pit crew. While they smelled the odor they were unable to figure out what was causing it. Jeff Burton returned to the track only to be called back in a lap later. After another look Chad Johnston decided to take the 14 back to the garage to fix it right. The crew worked really hard to get the 14 car back out on the track- albeit 24 laps down. I love that never quit spirit! Jeff Burton continued to pilot the car for the rest of the race and brought it home to a 37th place finish. The 14 car is now 23rd in owner points. (more…)
I had no idea how this race would play out. The qualifying on it’s own wasn’t the best considering that the #14 team’s performance over the last several weeks showed marked improvement. At Michigan however Tony qualified the #14 Bass Pro Chevrolet 26th. It was a bit disappointing considering that the 14 team’s performance over the last several weeks showed marked improvement. But then on the first practice on Saturday morning Tony finished 6th on the speed charts. And then later during last practice- they finished 31st on the speed charts. Down and up and back down again. And while I honestly don’t usually pay too much attention to practice speeds this yo-yo of performance left me wondering what the heck the race would be like.
During the first lap of the race there was a caution, then the race went green again and again there was a caution. By this time Tony had already moved up into the top 20 but I thought it was possibly due to attrition because of the cautions. Then the race went green for awhile and Tony was able to steadily march forward into the top 15, then the top 10. Yeah this definitely wasn’t attrition at work- Tony had himself a competitive car that he could pass with. Another good sign was that while listening to his radio he didn’t say too much about the car’s handling. At one time during an early pit stop he did ask for a little more air pressure with one of the rear tires but that was really all he said for a majority of the race. (more…)
First off I like seeing that the NASCAR race at Dover fully embraces the name of the race: The Autism Speaks 400. It’s not just a race sponsor- many drivers ran special Autism awareness puzzle piece decals on their cars for the race, and Denny Hamlin even ran a special FEDEX Autism awareness paint scheme! I love to see that, but what I loved seeing the most? They had special suite seating for families with autistic children, complete with special toys and a place to get away from the overstimulation that a race track can bring. LOVE THIS! This was the best picture I could find of Denny’s special paint scheme- it’s hard to tell from this picture but the entirely of the blue on the car is comprised of puzzle pieces with names on them- very cool: (more…)
Over my life, my racing fandom has wavered between NASCAR, IRL and even NHRA for awhile before I settled back on NASCAR in the late 90s. I know I have mentioned this here before (usually right around this time of year) but I started off as a mostly IRL fan (technically it was before the inception of what is now called IRL- back then it was called CART and if anyone mentions that I am showing my age- I will sock you in the eye) likely because that was the premier racing series that the track closest to my home ran at the that time. I remember watching many an Indy500 “bubble day” with bated breath wondering who was going to make the field and who was going to go home sad. I knew the words to “Back Home Again In Indiana” before my own state song. I have no trouble sitting down and watching an IRL race, and did so with even more glee than usual on Sunday – all because Kurt Busch was running the double. As I listened to the Indy500 pre race show as I flitted about the house before settling into watch some racing, I said after the pre-race interview with Kurt “If he doesn’t crash the Indy car I have no doubt he will do it.” Little did I know what exactly he would do that could in the Indy500 side of the double. I mean- technically it was his first time in a IRL race. And racing is different than testing, and qualifying and all that. When Kurt tied Tony’s best Indy double finish…I was IMPRESSED! I was so disappointed for him when he suffered an engine failure in Charlotte. I HOPE that doesn’t dissuade him from attempting this again! I love the double and would actually LOVE to see more drivers attempt it- it adds something to the Indy 500 to me as well as the Coca-Cola 600.
That said- let’s talk Coca-Cola 600. It’s the longest race of the NASCAR season- I know that there has been talk that it’s too long- but I think there needs to be at least one 600 mile race in the season. In a time when the trend is to want to shorten races in general- I think it’s important to have a long race to showcase the endurance of the drivers, team and equipment. I think of it as the endurance race of NASCAR. (more…)
What do I have in common with Tony Stewart? That is easy- I also drove 500 miles on Monday. Of course his drive took far less time than mine did, but in my favor- Tony didn’t get to take potty breaks. I was an hour and a half into my drive when the Duck Commander 500 started and well- lets just say I still had about two and a half hours left in my drive when it ended. (more…)
(Here are links to Celebrating A NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion…Vegas Style Part One and Celebrating Part Two)
First off I wanted to let you know that you can see all of our pictures from Champions Week over in our Sprint Cup Champion’s Week 2013 flickr set (all pictures no commentary) so I hope you enjoy those.
Here are my favorite (often times silly and possibly only funny to us) “outtake” moments from this year’s NASCAR Champion’s Week celebration:
1. That the only part of Tony Stewart Live that Misty and I managed to catch (since Tuesday was my travel day) was Jimmie Johnson saying that Chad Knaus was aging in dog years and he didn’t know how much more he had in him. (For those not in the know- Misty’s favorite driver is Jeff Gordon- but Chad is her favorite crew chief). Okay- well maybe only I (Amy) found that hilarious- am pretty sure Misty didn’t find it too funny but don’t worry- she gets me back in this department with outtake 3. Needless to say “aging in dog years” became the catchphrase of the week.
2. That time Robin Leach (yes he of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous fame) photobombed Misty’s picture of Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth during The Victory Lap (and all three of the drivers were smiling- not an easy thing to catch):
Misty and I have been attending NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Champion’s Week celebrations since they started having them in Vegas. I can NOT encourage you to go enough if you can at all swing it! Attend Champion’s Week! Seriously. It’s one of my favorite events of the year!
The fan events usually start with Fan Fest- which is usually held on Wednesday. They started out having fan fest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the infield. I loved it there because I enjoyed being at the track when it was “quiet” and I loved watching the fighters from Nellis Air Force Base fly around as we waiting for the red carpet event. Eventually they moved it out to the Fremont Street Experience – since the speedway is off strip quite a ways. Unfortunately it’s usually cold under the awning that covers over Fremont Street and this year was no exception. I was certain there would be less fans- because it was COLD and I mean COLD. I must have momentarily forgotten the tenacity of my fellow NASCAR fans (after all I was out there in the cold wasn’t I? And my driver wasn’t even there). Here are some of the sights from Fan Fest this season: (more…)
On Sunday November 17th, 2013 Jimmie Johnson was crowned NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion for the the 6th time in 8 years.
I KNOW I am not in the majority here but I think what Jimmie and the 48 team has managed to do is historic- possibly bordering on- wait for it: legend-ary. We are witnessing one of the greats in NASCAR- and I am interested to see just how many championships Jimmie can amass. Yes I am a diehard Stewart fan- but I can appreciate what Jimmie and Chad and the rest of the Lowes racing team is doing. They obviously have a little something more than the rest of the field. I don’t know if it’s more dedication, more drive, more talent, better engineering, the fact that their crew chief openly admits he has no life outside of work. Whatever they have- they have just a wee little bit more- and have had it six times now. Misty mentioned that she didn’t understand why Jimmie and team are so widely despised. I told her “Haters just hating on success…they are just jealous.”
Of course you can be dang sure if he was running up against Tony Stewart for that championship I would have been all sour grapes about number 6- that is just the way I am- and I freely admit that. (more…)