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…)
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?
A Softer Side Of Smoke- Charlie Leffler for The Mechanicsville Local
Kyle Petty Not Concerned About Direction Of Victory Junction Gang Camp After Removal of Wife Patti- Bob Pockrass for Sporting News
Jimmie Johnson Repeats As ‘America’s Most Influential Athlete”- Jeff Gluck for SBNation.com
NASCAR Needs More Wrecks and Here’s How It Can Do It- Jeff Owens for SportingNews.com
Birds Of A Feather- Joe Menzer for NASCAR.com
12 Questions with Martin Truex Jr- Jeff Gluck for SBNation.com
Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures:
The expression says it all:
Every single time I go to type Sonoma it comes out Sonomo. I can’t explain why but I can tell you that over the last week or so I have had to correct myself umpteen times. So anyway- Sonoma. I went to this race last year…I sat in turn 7 where all the action was this race…or a lot of it and thought these seats were pretty good except for the potty situation (only portapotties…and nasty gross ones at that…although I do admit I have never been it a portapotty that was the epitome of cleanliness). As a matter of fact this picture here where they are all coming down the hill …this was heading right towards my seat:
So Tony qualified 7th for the race. The word of the day even before the race started is “forward bite” everyone seemed to find it elusive and unfortunately the 14 team was no different, adjusting on the car even on their last pit stop with 24 laps to go. Unfortunately because they were green flag pit stops that put Tony out on the track in 24th. Fortunately Tony was able to fight his way up the field and ultimately finished 9th. He is now 10th in the standings. The race winner was Jimmie Johnson getting his first road course victory in his home state.
Notes on Infineon:
- Did you know that there was an after race altercation between Tony Stewart and Boris Said? Of course not- because TNT failed to mention it. After the checkers Tony went up and knocked into the side of Boris’s car in retribution for a previous on track incident. Said’s crew chief chased Tony into the garage area. You can read about it here.
- Jeff Gordon has made no friends at Infineon. Martin Truex Jr. wants his pound of flesh and made no bones about telling all the television viewers so. Elliott Sadler was also a victim of Jeff’s aggressive driving and wasn’t too pleased either.
Next weekend: Louden!
It’s been awhile since I talked NASCAR commercials. This year has given us a fair share of new ones to consider…and I am prompted to post this entry that has been rolling around in the cargo area that is my brain for about a month now by an email from NASCAR.COM announcing that the winner of their Daytona Commercial Showcase was the David Ragan UPS Three-Wheelin’ Ad (Seriously?? That one?? Did my votes not count because that commercial did nothing for me).
Since I don’t agree with the winner, I am going to tell you Amy’s favorites of the newest round of NASCAR commercials:
1. The Coca-Cola Drivers Commercial. First off you HAVE to give these guys props. They are race car drivers NOT singers- but there they are putting it all out there. I have seen the behind the scenes video and it shows that our favorite coke drivers are singing it themselves. I can’t imagine doing that and then having it broadcast on TV. I LOVE to sing, especially in the car (because I am alone and who can complain except except on the rare occasion I have the sunroof open). I also like that the commercial incorporates some of the crew chiefs like Darian Grubb and Greg Zipadelli. By far a favorite. (By the way you can hear your favorite coke family driver sing the whole commercial alone if you want just go to MyCokeRewards.com/Nascar and scroll your cursor over the driver you want to hear. I say Tony and Elliott Sadler are the best).
2. Second place is a tie but it goes to the same company- Toyota. I can’t decide which I like better Denny Hamlin asking, “Who doesn’t love love?” Or Kyle Busch driving the car with kitties, bunnies and little baby seals. That is some funny stuff…especially the look on Kyle’s face as he is driving, with his head in that kitty cat helmet…Oh I chuckle just thinking about it.
3. My third favorite is the UPS Delivery commercial- I don’t know why but the fact that Santa gets all aggro and tries to climb the fence while Mercury and some of the other delivery guys try to keep him from going over cracks me up.
Now for my least favorite commercials:
Hands down my least favorite is the Martin Truex Jr. Napa commercial. Mainly the part that bugs me the most are the two Napa guys at the end.
But the Sprint Jimmie Johnson commercial bugs me too…for two reasons. Reason 1: why is Jimmie playing golf in a bathrobe but he’s got full on pjs on underneath the bathrobe? Who does that unless they are in the artic? Reason 2: Wouldn’t everyone they call be “the real Jimmie Johnson” and not just Jimmie Johnson the race car driver? Just sayin’.
Here’s a story of a girl named Amy, who went to Infineon for the first time on June 19-21st to see the NASCAR race. In tow- her BFF.
On Friday on a semi lark, we left my home, drove to Santa Rosa to see Tony’s show car:
From there we were off to the hotel. We were staying in in Concord, CA. All I can say is that HOTWIRE has not led us astray yet. This was a nice hotel- centrally located for our purposes. After a moment to refresh we were on our way to Infineon to check out the track- get our bearings and hopefully catch qualifying since we definitely did not catch practice.
You all know I have a fear of heights. Its actually a fairly intense fear- so much that I the Ferris Wheel at Disney’s California Adventure made me cry (as an adult). Well this fear also extends to extremely tall bridges…and I knew we would have to be crossing one so I was a little freaked out to have to drive across a bridge. I must have been envisioning like the Bay Bridge or The Golden Gate- because this one didn’t freak me out at all. So YEY there- since we would have to cross it several times. The other thing I would have to deal with that I have never dealt with before would be a toll! $4.00!! That is crazy- or so I think anyway! That would be 20 bucks a week if I had to cross that bridge everyday for work or something! Of course I would also have one of those fancy fastrac things and not have to wait to hand my money to a person.
Anyway- we follow our directions to the speedway- and in trying to find the parking area- end up by passing the track and the parking area only to end up in nearby Petaluma. Whoops. I never said I had a great sense of direction. So we get turned back towards the speedway and I see that I totally missed the parking area turn off- and get turned into the speedway and parked (next to a pasture filled with sheep and goats I might add). So we walked up to the shuttle stop and just as I was cresting the top of the hill I hear what sounds like my car being pelted with pebbles. I turn to see a jerk in a car peeling out of the gravel lot and peppering my car (which was parked in an end spot) with dirt. Both my friend and I turn and instinctively yell “REAL NICE JERK” and apparently we did it loud enough they heard cuz the passenger turned towards us. I mean seriously use your freaking head people. Anyway, we just happened to hit it right so that the shuttle was there at the stop and made our way down to the grandstand area of the track. We were going to watch qualifying in our Turn 7 seats…but problem there was that we were kinda late by the time we made it to the grandstands and it would require either quite the hike or a shuttle ride!! So we took a place right next to the start/finish line about halfway up- which was actually the optimum place to watch qualifying:
I am going to have to admit that it was a little more disorientating than I thought it would be to be sitting in stands on the “wrong” side of the track. By that I mean that the grandstands at the startfinish line they are on the side of the track that would be considered “infield” at an oval. That was just a little odd to me.
After qualifying we wandered through the tunnel to the merchandise area (you can see it on the otherside of the track over there in the qualifying pictures). I don’t know if it was me or not but there seemed to be signifigantly fewer merchandise haulers at infineon than elsewhere. I don’t know if the others were located somewhere else but I didn’t see that many. When were done with merchandise we wandered back over to the shuttle and left for the day.