Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Big Stories of 2009

Since it's the summer, and I'm already bored, I decided to write a blogpost... It's been forever!
Anyways, I'll go through the big stories of 2009 so far.

1) Tony Stewart get his first win as an owner. I think this is really big and it really says something about the team and what Tony has brought to the table. Haas CNC racing was a nobody in racing. Tony goes over there and right off the bat he's running well as well as Ryan Newman. Stewart Haas Racing finally got their first win at the All Star race with Tony. That was pretty cool. This past weekend was pretty funny with the whole "Billy Bad Butt" deal. Haha!

2) Jeremy Mayfield tests positive for drug test. This was a big shocker, and as most people do, when i first heard that I thought "Wow! Jeremy Mayfield doing cocaine, etc. Unbelievable!" It is still unclear what the WHOLE story is. As you know, there are two sides to every story. It is really turning into an ugly "he said, she said" type deal. Jeremy says the positive test was a result of mixing prescription medicine with an over the counter medicine (Claritin). Nascar says there is no way that that would result in a positive. Jeremy says NASCAR still has not told him what he tested positive for, while Nascar declares they have told him face to face. Who do you believe?
Some people are saying Nascar needs to go ahead and release the substance that Jeremy tested positive for to the public. They say it is just making Nascar look bad by with holding this information. As a result of this whole ordeal, Mayfield has hired a lawyer and they are considering taking legal action if necessary.
This also raises to question of whether or not Nascar should have a list of banned substances. Some drivers say yes (Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman) and some say no (Kasey Kahne). As Kasey put it in an interview the other day "I'm healthy. I eat normal food and drink water and a little bit of Budweiser and that's about it so I'm fine the way it is." haha!

3) Joey Logano. I don't wanna jump the gun or jinx Joey, but he is really starting to improve...BIGTIME! At the start of the season he was struggling, but now as we are going to some of these tracks for the second time, he is really starting to show what he has learned...and it's obviously a lot! He's starting to live up to all the hype!

4) Dale Earnhardt Jr. Where do I start? It has just been bad race after bad race for Jr. From pit road mistakes to just not running well, he has truly experienced everything. Some say it is Tony Eury Jr, his crew chief. I don't know who the blame lies on becasue i don't follow Dale Jr that closely, but something is up and if I were Rick Hendrick, there would be MAJOR changes to that team.
During the 600 I heard the announcers, who were discussing this topic, say that Jr's team is running something different or doing something different than the other three Hendrick teams. Well, whatever they're doing, I'd stop it! It's obviously not working. There comes a point when you have to face facts. The other three teams (the #5 of Mark Martin, the #24 of Jeff Gordon, and the #48 of Jimmie Johnson) have all won at least one race a piece. Mark's already won two and his first season isn't even over. Dale's only won one so far in the 2 seasons he has been with Hendrick. It's hard to deny Hendrick's success with the three teams, not to mention the satellite teams (Stewart-Haas). The only answer is Dale Earnhardt Jr. has GOT to step up.
Tony Stewart- Rusty Jarrett/ Getty Images for NASCAR
Jeremy Mayfield- Jerry Markland/ Getty Images for NASCAR
Joey Logano- John Harrelson/ Getty Images

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Joe Gibbs' Drivers

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch is a very talented 23 year old driver who started racing at the age of 13. You've probably heard of Kyle Busch by now and winning is not new to him. From the time Kyle was introduced to cars his parents instilled in him 2 very valuable lessons: School work always came first and Kyle was responsible for working on, repairing, and paying for his own cars. He quickly learned that he had to be careful on the track or otherwise he might wreck and not race the next weekend. From 1999 to 2001, Kyle Busch racked up more than 65 (!) wins in legends cars and won two championships. He moved on to Late Models and won 10 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In 2002 he graduated high school a year early with honors. At 16, he ran his first NASCAR race in the Craftsman truck series for Roush Racing. He ran well but had to stop racing after six starts, because NASCAR put a rule into place that said you have to be 18 years of age to race in any of the top three NASCAR series. As soon as he was 18, he immediately started racing in NASCAR again, but this time up one level, in the Nationwide Series. He won 5 races which is the most any rookie has won. In 2005 he moved up to the Sprint Cup Series driving for Rick Hendrick. He set two records for youngest pole winner and youngest race winner. In 2007, he won the first ever Car Of Tomorrow race at Bristol. For 2008, Kyle signed with Joe Gibbs Racing. He replaced J.J. Yeley in the #18 car. Kyle has won 7 times this year in NASCAR Sprint cup Series, 6 times in Nationwide Series, and twice in the Craftsman Truck Series. He currently leads the Sprint Cup Series in points with a 176 point lead. Because Kyle is so well known he has many nicknames such as, Rowdy Busch, Wild Thang, and Shrub. People often compare him to the late Dale Earnhardt.

Joey Logano

Joey Logano is another driver that Joe Gibbs has successfully chosen to possibly be the face of their organization. He is only 18 years old but people say he acts way older. Joey got his start in quarter midgets at only 6 years old! He won championships is almost every thing he raced. At 13 He and his family moved to Georgia where he raced in the GA Late Models. He raced many places in Georgia including Albany and won several races. In 2005, Joey signed a development deal with Joe Gibbs Racing. He then started racing the Hooters Pro Cup Series at just 15. In just his second start in that series, he won! In 2007, he raced in the Nascar Busch East Series, where he won seven races and rookie of the year. In 2008 he moved to the Nationwide series racing the #20. He had to wait until after his birthday, May 24, so he would be 18. He moved into a highly successful car that has now won with 4 different drivers. Joey got great hype coming in. In his first start, he finished sixth. In a post race interview he said, “Well, sixth ain’t nothing in my book.” That shows how competitive he is. He won his first Nationwide race at Kentucky Speedway in just his 3rd start! He runs a limited schedule in Nationwide. He continues to be successful in the Nationwide Series, running a limited schedule. Team owner, Joe Gibbs has even said that he might race a few races in Sprint Cup later on this year. Since Tony Stewart announced he was leaving JGR, there has been much speculation that Joey could move up to Sprint Cup replacing Tony in the #20. Joey has been called “The Real Deal” by Mark Martin and his famous nickname is “Sliced Bread” because he is the next best thing since sliced bread. Joey has an incredible career ahead of him, and I hope he does get the #20 ride next year!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Trip to the Coke Zero 400

Getting There
This past 4th of July weekend my dad took me down to Daytona to see the Coke Zero 400, formerly known as the Pepsi 400. We had a great time. We woke up early Saturday and left about 5 AM. that whole week i was busy getting information and maps and the schedule of events that would be taking place so we would know when and where to be.

Sprint Fanzone
In addition to tickets for the race, my dad bought us Sprint Fanzone Tickets, which were amazing. Gates for grandstands opened at 2, while the Sprint Fanzone opened at 1. We were pushed for time. For some odd reason, they had us park on the Backstretch, so once we got to the stands we had to take a tram to the Frontstretch, then go through the line for the Sprint Fanzone, and go into the "Turn 4 Tunnel." It's cool going down in there, knowing the race track is above you.

The Interviews
We walked all through the infield and finally got to the Sprint Fanzone just as they they did the interview was, only a few fans got to ask questions. There was a guy up on the stage with Kasey that was mainly asking the questions. And of course it was mostly questions the media asks him 24/7. One of the questions that was asked by a fan was did Kasey have a Dodge Challenger (Those are my favorite cars. I want one when I turn 16!!) Kasey said there was one at the shop that they gave him to drive and he liked them. Another fan asked him what some of his hobbies were. He said that during the season he likes to stay at home and go to the lake that he lives very close t were announcing, "Welcome Budweiser Racing driver Kasey Kahne!!!" If we had stopped to buy a t- shirt or something like that, we would have missed my favorite driver! It was amazing though. And yes, he is just as cute in person as he is on tv! There were alot more people in the Fanzone than I thought there would be. The wayo, and in the off season, he likes to be in the cold and go skiing and ride the snow mobile. Another fan asked Kasey if he had any heroes or favorite drivers. Everybody started yelling out names for him to pick ( Bill Elliott and others) and one guy up front yells, "YOURSELF!" Everybody started laughing and Kasey said, "No, I'm long from my favorite driver, but I would say... I grew up you know, Sprint cars and Indy Cars and Nascar, I watched every one of em and you know I kinda had my favorite driver in each one and it's tough to say, I mean the guy...ugh I don't know I don't wanna say him but...let me think...maybe Mario Andretti. Mario Andretti is probably my favorite all-time driver. What he's done and what he did and how he raced everything in dirt, pavement, Indy cars, Nascars, Sprint cars. He raced everything he could and he won in every single car he could. To me that was a great driver and probably my favorite." I'm pretty sure the driver he was referring to first, that he didn't want to say, was Jeff Gordon. I've heard him say many times that that is his favorite driver. He probably just didn't want to lose any fans. The interview didn't last very long, only about 10 minutes. He was quickly whisked away to an engineers meeting. He rode off in a golf cart and was on the opposite side, so I didn't get to touch his hand. We also saw interviews with Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, and David Ragan.

Garage and Inspection
After Kasey's interview, we toured the garage. Of course, since it was an impound race, nothing was going on. When we got to Kasey's, there were girls everywhere. I had to squeeze in to get a picture. Fortunately, Kasey's garage window slot was open, so I got to take a good picture without the glare from the window, even though the car cover was on the car. There was Sharpie writing all over the window. "Kasey, will you marry me?, We love you, Kasey!", was cleverly written backwards, so when he was in the garage and viewing the window from the opposite side, he could read it. Those were just two of the hundreds of messages. I didn't sign it, though now I'm wishing I did. We rested a while. (It was incredibly hot!)and then went to inspection. That was one of my favorite things. one of the Nascar Officials came over and was talking to the guy next to me. He talked about his schedule, how often he was gone, what it was like to be an official, and the rules about the height and weight of the car. It was cool to get an "insider's" view on their job. Before, I had viewed officials as just handing down penalties and not really caring about the teams, but after hearing what he said, my opinion changed 100%. He was really nice. He was easy to talk to and seemed easy to get along with.

The Track
After inspection, we went to Gatorade Victory lane. I got my picture taken at the entrance to that. Then, we went to the track. We got to walk in the grass and actually go out on the track. It was indescribable. Words can't explain it. All the history that track think about all the drivers who have raced's just incredible. the track is so steep. VERY STEEP! The tv shows nothing. It looks flat, but it was a climb. We went to the Start/Finish line. I brought my Sharpie, so I could sign it. There were alot of people signing. It was hard to find room, but finally we did. We signed two blocks from the wall. It was cool. Knowing your signature is on the Start/Finish line at Daytona?! That's awesome! I got to see the SAFER Barrier walls. That's pretty cool seeing today's technology up close.

After that we just sat and watched the pre-race activities. Lady Antebellum performed a concert. They sounded great. I love them. Speaking of concerts, Kevin Costner performed a concert. He was pretty good. It was cool seeing an actor there. With Nascar, you get a little bit of everything, and that's what I love!

The Race
It was finally time for the race to start, and we found our seats. The racing was great. Kasey started 41st, but came back to finish 7th. Dale Jr. led for a while, and of course, most people were cheering when he took the lead. There at the end though, Kasey had some choice words for Jr. as did Kenny, Kasey's crew chief. Overall, it was a great race. Even though I would have preferred Carl Edwards to win over Kyle Busch, it was still cool to see Kyle win his 6th race of the season. This was Kyle's first Daytona win, so it was good to be a part of that history.

Even though I didn't get to meet Kasey, I did get very close to him, and I got to see him live and in person. Visiting Victory Lane, walking the track, and seeing a great race were only a few of the fun things I got to experience. It was incredible! It was definitely the best highlight of my summer!!

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Kasey Kahne in Victory Lane!! (part 2)

Winning the Coca-Cola 600 is such a hard task. But it proved to be quite easy for Kasey Kahne, who won the race with more than a 5 second lead over second place Greg Biffle. The Coke 600 is the longest race of the year, 400 laps or 600 miles. Kyle Busch won the pole with Kasey Kahne starting 2nd. Kasey is still riding a huge wave of momentum from last weekend's win in the All-Star Race. when the Green flag fell, Kasey Kahne started losing positions quickly, dropping back to about 8th or 9th place. I started to get worried that this might be a long night, but then remembered that this is 600 miles, and you have to go through the transition from day to night. The race starts at 5 and ends at 10, so the track cools down alot. When you first start out, you want your car to be a bit loose, so that when it does get night time it will tighten up.

The Endurance Race
The first hundred laps looked like it was shaping up to be somewhat like the All-Star Race, but then we started to see the cautions we predicted. We saw several guys who led that looked like they could end up competing for the win. Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. all looked like they could win.

Bad Luck Strikes the Leaders
I was hoping that Brian Vickers would have a good run. He is a pretty good driver. They are just one of those teams that needs some luck on their side. He led for a while, and then was running 2nd when all of a sudden, the left rear tire just flew off. It was pretty funny the way the tire went. It rolled and bounced. I thought it was gonna hit an ambulance, but it narrowly missed it and bounced over the fence into an infield camping ground. I wonder what those people thought. Security came and took the tire to look at it to see exactly what happened.
Dale Jr. was another guy that looked very competitive. He likes to run right up against the wall every lap. He had a flat tire go down and smacked the wall. Then J.J. Yeley ran right into the back of him. Dale Jr. and his crew chief Tony Eury Jr. were smart about it though. They did not want to go a lap down, so they came onto pit road and fixed part of it. They went back on the track (this is still under caution), so they would not lose a lap. Then when they came back around, they sped on pit road in order to make sure they would have enough time to fix the car. They figured if they sped, the only penalty they would get would be to start at the back of the pack, which they were already gonna have to do. It almost came back to bite them though. NASCAR almost penalized him for endangering public safety crews, but after further review NASCAR rescinded the penalty stating that Jr. gave plenty of room. Jr. ended up finishing 5th, so it wasn't that bad.
Kurt Busch led for a while, but he also hit the wall. Kyle Busch was another guy that was having problems. Something was wrong with his battery, but they fixed that, and he was a contender there at the end. Jimmie Johnson also ran very well, but he blew an engine, so that ended his night.
At one of the restarts, Tony Stewart was 1st with Kasey Kahne 2nd. Tony for some reason slowed down a little bit, and that caused a chain reaction. When they replayed it, you could clearly see the accordion effect. They stacked up and about mid pack, they started crashing. That brought out the caution and some of the guys in the back went on to pit road to top off with fuel. The leaders stayed out though, because they had just had a caution and didn't want to give up track position. That left us to wonder if maybe some of the guys in the back would try stretch it out and make it on fuel. These would be guys like Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards, who hadn't run well all night but might end up winning this thing. Alot of the guys who were good at some point in the race, had trouble.

The Finish
When they finally did get back going, it was somewhere around 60 laps to go. We knew the leaders would have make a green flag pit stop. They would only need about 3 seconds of fuel. This made me worried. On the last green flag stop, the pit crew cannot make any mistakes. This pit stop determines whether you win the race or not. Kasey was one of the first to hit pit road. He got 6 seconds of fuel. Tony Stewart, who was still leading, got about 3 seconds, so at that point, everyone figured Kasey's night was over. I was praying for a caution or for something to happen to Tony. Kasey was about 5 seconds behind Tony. Then with two laps to go, our miracle came. They started screaming, "Tony's got problems! Tony's got problems!!" That's when I knew Kasey was gonna win. Kasey did win with a huge lead. Tony had a flat tire. As for those guys who topped off with fuel on the last lap, Carl Edwards was the only one to risk it. He ran out of fuel, but ended up 9th. This is Kasey's first points race win in 52 races. He joins a list of greats, because he is only the 6th driver ever to win both the All-Star Race and the Coke 600. This list includes Darrell Waltrip, Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson. Kasey's comment on this: "That's probably the coolest thing I've ever done if I'm on that same list as those guys." If this is any indication of Kasey's potential, he has a bright future ahead of him!

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kasey Kahne in Victory Lane!! (part 1)

I'm super excited!! Let me go on and say it...Kasey Kahne won the All-Star Race last week and about 30 Minutes ago he won the Coca-Cola 600!! Woo-Hoo! They are so great right now!!

All-Star Ra ce Format
The Sprint All-Star Race last weekend was at Charlotte. The format is complicated and changes about every year. This race is NOT a points race. T his is just a fun race for a million dollars. They have a short race right before the All-Star race called the Sprint Showdown. This is for the drivers who did not qualify for the All-Star Race. In order to qualify for the All-Star race, you have to have either 1) won a race in 2007 or so far in 2008 or 2)you have to have won an All-Star race. But those aren't the only ways, there are two more. You have to finish first or second in the showdown or get voted in by the fans. They don't announce the fan-vote winner until after the showdown. Once the All-Star race starts, you race 4 25-lap segments. After the 2nd segment, they give you a 10 minute break to work on the car. Then, you go back and race the last two segments.
Kasey Wins Fan vote

Now for the Showdown. I had high hopes for Elliott Sadler. He started on the pole, but at lap 7, AJ Allmendinger put him into the wall. That ended Elliott's night,which was really sad. All was well for Allmendinger, however, because he went on to win the Showdown. After the Showdown, AJ Allmendinger said, "I feel like I won the Daytona 500!" Sam Hornish Jr. finished second, which was a great run by him.
The race was alright for Kasey. He ended up finishing 5th, so his only hope for getting into the real race was the fan-vote. Kasey fans, including myself, stepped up to the task and voted Kasey in!! I think I alone voted probably a hundred times or more! What was interesting though was that Dale Earnhardt Jr. told his fans to vote for Elliot Sadler, so everybody expected him to win, but obviously they didn't vote enough. I was watching a Carl Edwards interview. And what was funny was that he said, "So Kasey got voted in by the fans...well...just goes to show you what a bunch of women can do for ya." It was quite funny.

Kasey IS an All-Star
AJ Allmendinger, Sam Hornish Jr., and Kasey Kahne transferred into the All-Star Race starting 22nd, 23rd, and 24th respectively. Kasey was very good in the All-Star race. I thought the race was interesting, but that may be because Kasey was passing people or leading. There were no cautions except for the cautions ending the segments. Nobody crashed. The final call, that proved to be the winning one, was when Kenny Francis, Kasey's crew chief, elected to take no tires, only fuel in order to get Kasey track position. Kasey and Jimmie Johnson were the only ones to do that, the rest took two tires. This didn't work so well for Jimmie, but worked great for Kasey. Kasey took the lead with about 15 laps to go, and I was praying that he could keep the lead. Greg Bifle (who took two tires) came close one time, but he decided to wait, because he thought he would have time later. That wasn't so. Kasey took the checkered flag. I was screaming. Kasey was screaming on the radio. He was so excited. I thought I might cry. It was such a great race. Everybody was in shock that no tires prevailed over two. It was a great night. Kasey didn't even make the race, gets voted in by the fans, starts last, and still wins!! Kasey is the first driver to get voted in by the fans and win the All-Star Race. It was great. In all with the Showdown winnings, Kasey Kahne won $1,047,000!! I'll be back tomorrow with a rundown of the Coke 600.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Funniest NASCAR Commercials

I thought I'd make a post about my favorite Nascar commercials. The Daytona 500 was a couple of weeks ago, and alot of commercials premiered during that time. But many have aired since then. Nascar commercials are great. People often compare our commercials to the Super Bowl commercials. Super Bowl commercials are funny, but they are missing something.....THE PLAYERS!!! Most of the Nascar commercials star the drivers, which is good for the tv companies because it keeps the fans viewed in during the commercial breaks. They are very funny because these drivers aren't actors so seeing them act is cool. Because I'm sort of new to Nascar, I've tried to talk to some people who have been watching it for a longer time to get some of their favorites. Some of my favorite commercials are the ones starring Michael Waltrip and Kasey Kahne. The ones about Michael Waltrip spotlight his terrible season last year. On the other hand, all the Kasey Kahne/Allstate commercials spotlight his cuteness.

The best commercial I think I have EVER seen is this one. This is Kasey Kahne's brand new commercial that just aired Sunday. It is starring the Allstate girls of course.

Here are the some Michael Waltrip commercials.

This is also one of my favorites. This is a commercial of Jimmie bragging to Elliot Sadler about winning the championship.

Of course there are many more great commercials. but these are just a few of them.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

1st Victory in Two Years for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Bud Shootout

Well last Saturday was the 2008 Bud Shootout. It was filled with lots of good racing. Before I start talking about the race, I would like to talk about one of the practices that happened before the race got started. The final practice for the Bud Shootout was Friday night. It was jam packed with action. First it started off with Clint Bowyer spinning out Ryan Newman. That took out Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Ryan. So with the last practice, they had to pull out a new car which they had no driving time with. Then Tony Stewart tried to squeeze in next to the wall and Kurt Busch making it three-wide. There wasn't enough room, so they wrecked. It wasn't that bad though. Well when they were headed to pit road, Kurt started ramming into the side of Tony Stewart. They were immediately called to the "Oval Office", that's the NASCAR hauler. They were still bickering about it, and Tony allegedly threw a punch at Kurt. Anyway, they let them go and told them they would meet in the morning after everything had cooled down. The final punishment was both of them were put on a 6 week probation. And let's not forget this isn't the first ontrack confrontation they have had. Remember Bristol? lets just say that these two aren't the best of friends

Now for the actual race. It was great racing. I wasn't too pleased with Kasey Kahne. Absolutely no one would draft with him. They would shuffle him around until he was in the middle, and then no one would draft with him so he dropped to the back. It was very frustrating. I was rooting for Dale Jr. to win or Tony Stewart. Both of those would have been memorable. For Tony it would have meant that he won the Bud Shootout on his first try with Toyota. That ould have been huge for Toyota. On the other hand, for Dale Earnhardt Jr., it would have been even bigger. Dale Jr. did win. I was so excited for him. That was big. It was his first race with Hendrick Motorsports. Wow that right there says how great that team is. To be able to hire a new driver and then that driver to win "right outta the box"...that was great. He had been with the company his father founded, but left at the end of last season because of he and his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt. I know that was tough for him, but man did it pay off. It was emotional to see him whenever he came to victory lane. Rick Hendrick was there. Everyone was there. It was cool. He was grinnin' from ear to ear. That is the first time we have seen a true smile on his face in a LONG time. They all talk about "Oh, I'm excited to be driving with this team...we're gonna have a great season.", but they say it with the dullest faces. This was amazing. I know he was happy. This was his first win since the middle of 2006. Let's not forget how he got the win Saturday night though. His teammate Jimmie Johnson bumped him twice, which was just enough to slide past Tony Stewart for the win. Hendrick Motorsports will be even better than last year.

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