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Mother’s Day Special! May 14, 2012

Posted by claireblang in 2012 Season.
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Home is where the heart is – Reflections on Mother’s Day Weekend!

As I sat in studio at Darlington Raceway Saturday and cut up with NASCAR’s famous moms on my annual “Dialed In” Mother’s Day broadcast special on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio I felt a little homesick in my heart as I wasn’t able to be with my mom on this  Mother’s Day weekend.

It was  my mother’s birthday and it was Mother’s Day so, while interviewing the most famous moms in our sport behind the microphone, I was thinking about my own brave, smart, wonderful and talented mother. My grandmother, who lived to be almost 100 and has since passed, was way ahead of her time and, along with my mother,  is another woman I greatly admire.  I’d give anything if my grandmother could have been around to talk to today.

Together, my grandmother and mother instilled in me a spirit that has enabled me to open a door wide open for the women who followed. These two women, by being willing to use their lives to raise children who would carry their dreams into another generation and accomplish things that they could never have dreamed of in their era, paved the way through me. The unselfishness of that is overwhelmingly kind and loving  to me.

My Mom! Therese!

This is my mother (left) holding a flower from her garden, which is a work of art! Beautiful, the flower and her! 

I thank my mother often for naming me Claire.  I treasure having a unique name that was picked especially for me. What a gift that she took extra time when she was so busy with my sister, who was just a toddler when I was born, to give me  the kind of name that I could make a mark with later in life. She must have been very smart to know it was an important task and she must have seen in me,  before I even came into this world, all the things that I could do with that name. The thought of that gift alone  is humbling to me and I think of it often when I sign off using my name on the radio. The credit, I always feel, should be hers.

My mother pushed me out of the nest and made me fly. When I graduated from college I sent tapes out for radio jobs and almost immediately got one in Iowa.  I won’t lie to you, I was not brave and I was not ready for the world on my own and I for sure did not want to leave and go to Iowa.

I could not imagine leaving my boyfriend and my friends and moving alone to Iowa to co- anchor a morning show. I was young and I was afraid.  I had no earthly idea that women at the time were not on the air in radio. My mother would not hear of me turning the opportunity down and almost kicked me out to go see the world. I cried a whole lot and it was the hardest thing that I ever did.

How immature! Thank goodness for my mom or I might have missed so much and may never have been a part of the world that I cover today.  Somehow, she knew that I had the raw talent (although not the bravery or the independent soul) and that I needed to use it.  My mother didn’t want me to miss what adventure and opportunity that she knew was out there for me. I didn’t see it myself but she did and,  somehow,  she knew that I could handle it.

Now, when I’m driving through Vegas, or leaving the LA Airport on my way to a track or driving up the Pocono Mountains in the dark of night,  I call my mom and tell her thanks. We  laugh about me having been the least independent of the children in the family, the least likely as a child to be the one who moved far away from Wisconsin and the one you’d never guess as a sensitive child would be the one traveling to these places and driving in the big city alone.

I don’t know how to possibly thank my mom enough. She’s an incredibly smart and talented woman – an artist, a brilliant mind, a skilled tailor following in the steps of my great, great grandmother who brought the first sewing machine from Germany to Wisconsin.  If given the chances my era had I’m quite sure my mother would have been a doctor. It’s so noble of a profession to have been a mother, to have been tough enough to give birth to and raise a child and then kick the bird out of the nest only to watch her  fly.

I hope that not only in my public life but in my private life that I never take what she gave me for granted and that I do her proud.

My grandmother Mamie!

Grandma Mamie and the Harley Davidson! Amazing Woman!

My grandmother Mamie had a personality that drew everyone to her. She was spunky, but a real lady. She married later in life for the standards of the day – when her mother told her either to marry her long-standing  boyfriend Ferd or let him go. She was a little woman and my grandfather built her a special kitchen so that she could work in it easily and he adored her.

When I got the first Harley Davidson in our family, or so I thought, I found out later that my grandmother Mamie hid a Harley Davidson in the barn that her parents did not know was there.  I adored my grandmother, who always made me feel special, and I miss her. Several years before she died I interviewed her and have the interview on CD so that her story, in her own words, can be passed on and remembered. I spent one whole day years ago  going through the antique photos that she passed along to me, her wedding picture and the wedding pictures of her mother and my grandfather’s mother. Mamie was spirited, and full of life and was the kind of person you wanted to hang out with over a cup of coffee.  She always had the pot on and she always had people from the neighborhood dropping in to sit a spell and just chat.  She made everyone feel special and welcome.

On this Mother’s Day weekend I thought  of something that I read one day that your mother stops so that her children can move forward. She is your first best friend, and the one who gives you life and helps you learn what to do with it.

My grandmother gave me unconditional love. She could have had a hundred grandchildren and she’d find a way to make you feel as if she understood you just a little bit more than the others. She  found every single special talent and sensitive spot that you thought no one would ever notice that you had inside and understood it.

My mother gave me strength, and intelligence and the bravery that I didn’t know that I had and my grandmother gave me a piece of her personality and an understanding of my creative side.

Together they gave  me all that I needed and more to make it this far and beyond in the world! The rest was up to me.

Mom, I love you,  Happy Mother’s Day!

“Dialed In” Mother’s Day Special

Co-Host Carol Bickford and the NASCAR Driver Moms Rock in Studio!

(Left to right) Nancy Sterling, Gaye Busch, Carol Bickford, MaryLou Hamlin! Rockin’ Moms in studio with me

(Left to right) Gaye Busch, Tammy Kahne, Carol Bickford!
Amazing women on the radio!

I want to thank Carol Bickford (mom of Jeff Gordon), Mary Lou Hamlin (Denny Hamlin’s mom), Gaye Busch (Kurt and Kyle’s mom, Pam Boas (Tony Stewart’s mom) Nancy Sterling (Carl Edwards mom), Tammy Kahne (Kasey Kahne’s mom), Meredith Bowman (Jeff and Ward Burton’s mom, Kay Keselowski (Brad Keselowski’s mom) and the rest of the moms who joined me for my annual SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Mother’s Day Special.

Carol Bickford is so much fun, so kind and easy to work with and each and every one of the moms who join me each year  make this one of my favorite shows of the broadcast season! Above,  are some of the pictures from the broadcast! It’s easy to see how these drivers made it into the top level of their profession with the love and support of mothers like them!

Mother’s Day is now a memory and it’s off to the All-Star Race but neither I nor the drivers take for granted that we have the support of our moms, not just on Mother’s Day but forever!


Hope your Mother’s Day was special too!

Full NASCAR NW Penalty Here! May 1, 2012

Posted by claireblang in 2012 Season.
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Six NASCAR Nationwide Series Crew Chiefs Fined; Crew Chiefs, Car Chiefs Placed On Probation For Infractions At Richmond International Raceway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 1, 2012) – NASCAR announced today that six NASCAR Nationwide Series crew chiefs had been fined and placed on probation for violations during this past weekend’s event at Richmond International Raceway. In addition, the teams’ respective car chiefs have also been placed on probation for the remainder of the year.

Crew chiefs Luke Lambert (No. 2 team), Danny Stockman (No. 3 team), Trent Owens (No. 30 team), Jimmy Elledge (No. 31 team), Ernie Cope (No. 33 team), and Mike Shiplett (No. 38 team) have each been fined $10,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Additionally, the teams’ respective car chiefs – Phil Gould (No. 2), Robert Strmiska (No. 3), Shannon Rursch (No. 30), Ronald Hornaday III (No. 31), Paul Balmer (No. 33), and Christopher Meyers (No. 38) – have likewise been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.

The rules violations referred to Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20-A of the rule book); 20A-2.1E (streamlining of the contours of the car, beyond what is approved by the series director will not be permitted. Installation of air directional devices, underpans, baffles, shields or the like beneath the car or the car’s hood and fender area, front firewall, floor, rear firewall area, rear deck and quarter panel will not be permitted. If, in the judgment of NASCAR officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance, will not be permitted. All cars must remain standard in appearance); 20A-3.10A (front upper bumper cover must be from the respective OEM manufacturer and must be approved by NASCAR. The front lower bumper cover and rear bumper cover must be from an approved manufacturer and must be approved by NASCAR. Once approved, the front lower bumper covers may be used on all approved models. NASCAR officials may use bumper covers provided by the respective manufacturer as a guide in determining whether a competitor’s bumper cover conforms to the specifications of the NASCAR rule book. Unless otherwise authorized by the series director, cutting and reshaping of bumper covers will not be permitted.)

The infractions were discovered during opening day inspection on April 26.

Great to see you Ernie Irvan! April 30, 2012

Posted by claireblang in 2012 Season.
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Another Irvan racing up through the ranks!

It did my heart good to run into my old friend and classic NASCAR racer Ernie Irvan (15 cup career victories) at Richmond International Raceway this past weekend. It was fun to just see Ernie again and to hang out in the garage and catch up on the Irvan family and interview him before the race for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

It’s so hard to believe that Ernie and wife Kim’s daughter Jordan and son Jared are so grown up now and making their own mark on the world. With the support of Ernie and Kim -Jordan and Jared are flourishing. Jordan is an 18-year old high school senior who has been riding and showing Paso Fino horses and winning awards since she was 4 years old.

Jared is 14 years old and these days is behind the wheel racing. With his father’s skill, experience and tutoring, Jared is working hard to try to make his way into the NASCAR ranks one day.

Ernie beamed with pride as he took his phone out in the RIR garage on Saturday and showed me photos of his family!

So what about this young Jared Irvan? Chip off the old block?

“I’m trying to get him exposure to be able to race it if he wants to,” Ernie told me. “I don’t want to have him to do it if he doesn’t want to. Right now, he’s just eating and sleeping racing. Every weekend we go someplace because he wants to race. We’ve been running down to Anderson Speedway to run a small modified, we ran a Ford Focus and now were going to get ready to start testing a late model sometime this summer.”

Ernie said he doesn’t really know how it’s going to go but added, “I always expect it is going to be good and that is going to be the problem. Everything we do keeps costing more money but I want to help him all I can.” Irvan told me that he told his wife it doesn’t matter if they use up everything they have, if they can be there to support their kids’ talents then that is what they will do.

Ask a fan about Ernie Irvan and the most common answer I get is, “He was the man!” So is Jared Irvan like the storied Ernie Irvan, who gained a reputation as a hard-core up-on-the-wheel racer?

“I think he is a lot smarter than me because he knows when to lift,” Irvan told me of his son’s racing. “I think he’s aggressive with a lot of finesse. I was aggressive, but I forgot to learn the finesse part of it.”

Irvan told me that he learned finesse later in his career adding, “Hopefully Jared won’t ever have to go through those times and I don’t think he will have to but right now he’s aggressive with a lot of finesse so he does real good.”

The Irvan family moved back to the Charlotte Area fromCharleston,SCrecently for a number of reasons and they are  intact and thriving.

It’s hard to not to breathe a “Thank God” every time I see Ernie after remembering the horrific crash Ernie suffered at Michigan Speedway in 1994 while driving for Robert Rates Racing. He made a miraculous recovery and returned to racing at the end of the 1995 season with two top-10 performances. He returned to victory lane in 1996 with wins at New HampshireandRichmond.

You can follow the family on the newly created Irvan family website www.irvan.com.

Through the web site you can even send in photos and have them autographed and returned to you.

By the way, I asked Ernie Saturday who his pick was to win the Capital City 400 Presented by Virginia is for Lovers Sprint Cup Race Saturday night atRichmond.

His answer, “Kyle Busch.”

What Matters Most April 7, 2012

Posted by claireblang in 2012 Season.
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Starting my 11th Season on SiriusXM


The microphone in my broadcast studio

It’s hard to believe that this 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is my 11th year of covering NASCAR for satellite radio.  I had been a reporter for years, covering NASCAR on television, radio and as a writer before satellite radio and the NASCAR Channel even existed.

I honed my skills and got tough in the trenches as a morning news anchor, morning show co-host, and news director, working my way up from college radio (no one else wanted to do the early morning shift) to local small-market radio to larger stations until I landed where I am today, host of “Dialed In” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

To tell you the truth I can hardly remember when I wasn’t in radio, near or holding a microphone, a great deal of the time in the field.

Last season, I celebrated my 10th anniversary on the NASCAR Channel without any hoopla because I was so busy covering an ever-moving sport, and traveling to race tracks from February to November.

What matters most to me is that when I am done with all of this – some little girl, your daughter or granddaughter, will benefit from what it took to kick the door down and gain respect on sports talk radio.

For many of my years in terrestrial radio the female was the “swizzle stick” and I wanted to be Anderson Cooper.  It’s hard to put into words the support and respect that I got from the team members and drivers and their wives and owners in the sport since I walked into the garage with a microphone with the intent of turning all the attention on them. They have been most giving and have been the reason that I have been able to make it in my chosen field telling their story. I can’t thank them enough for the trust they put in me to be fair.

I am thankful for the work ethic that my parents taught me because it is true that if you work hard enough for long enough you can achieve your goals. I also believe that learning how to fall and get back up – is the one thing that separates those who achieve their goals and those who don’t. Success is easy, failing or getting knocked down and getting back up is the one key element leading to long-term achievement.  Everyone gets knocked down on life’s journey, a lot, and forks and pits in the road are part of life….so you get back up again and again and again until you get there.

This past Daytona 500 Speedweeks I was honored by the Living Legends of Auto Racing, along with a number of legendary drivers and those who have helped to make the sport what it is today. The Russ Moyer Media Award was presented to me by NASCAR President Mike Helton, and I was humbled to receive it. To be honored in the presence of the living legends whom I have covered for so many years is hard to put into words.

My studio is in my house and above the broadcast unit on my radio board is an engraved silver bar that reads “Be CALM, Be STRONG, Be GRATEFUL.”  I am truly grateful today to be in a medium that fits what I do in broadcasting. Satellite radio is like a canvas to paint on to me as I tell the stories of the truly amazing people in this sport.

Thanks to the listeners on Sirius XM many of whom have been loyal since the beginning. You all have seen this medium grow to where it is today, and into something, especially for those of you on that long and lonely highway in the big rig, it would be hard to live without.

I’ll keep working hard to do you proud.

Claire B Lang

March Madness NASCAR Style! March 15, 2011

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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It’s time for March Madness! When NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France responded this past week that, “This (NASCAR) is a contact-sport,” after being asked about aggressive racing, France slammed the door on any thoughts that the sanctioning body was inclined to respond softly when it comes to allowing the elite of NASCAR to get it on on the race track. Hello up on the wheel!

So with this being an off-weekend for Sprint Cup Series racing, it’s the perfect time to contemplate what we’ll see as we head from the final races of the early spring into the searing, frustrating, burning summer.

Mark Martin says that the drivers were giving every ounce of what they had inside to the racing last season. Yet, even  he said that what happened at Phoenix early in the race, as racers were extremely aggressive early,  had him taking a deep breath. “Even myself, I’ve been up on it and that’s ok but , you know,when you are up on it every second you are bound to make mistakes sooner or later.”  Martin said these are long races and the drivers are fighting for it every single lap. Martin added, “I think it would do us all a little bit of good to take a breath before the flag comes out and think about what we’re trying to really accomplish.”

Kyle Busch has a sense of humor when it comes to how he’s seemingly noticing the big picture, which is less of blowing up over the moment and now comprehending what it would take to win a championship.

When I asked him about it he joked that everything is going well because it’s early in the season. ‘It’s young in the year, were all still fresh,” He told me while grinning at his crew chief. “We’re not wore out, were not sick of each other after being together for thirty straight weeks or something like that. Times are good.”


We’ve seen the Kyle Busch, the boy. We’ve seen the hard-to-guard Kyle Busch but what about the grown up, mature kyle? When I told him that we can’t even imagine yet  how he could race when he gets to that juncture of his emotional development he responded, “Well. hi, nice to meet you.”

I interviewed Carl Edwards both mid-week before Las Vegas, when he almost won and got an apology from Kyle Busch and again after he won at Vegas. He too is thinking bigger picture. What angered him to fits of action earlier on in his career is now something he is tempering, as he assesses what it would take to get the champion’s trophy after Homestead.

For all these guys, in the hunt for NASCAR’s biggest trophy who are all seeing the big picture early on- just wait. As Kyle said, it’s early in the season and everything is still fresh. But the true test is the race season that is just beginning to unfold.

Let’s check out the frazzled, frustration if some of the drivers who are used to being in the hunt don’t have better races soon, after the bloom is off the dogwood and the summer get’s hot and steamy.

It’s going to get interesting.

Spending Monday with Dale Earnhardt, Jr October 23, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
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Spending Monday with Dale Earnhardt Jr.Ride Alongs, Giving a Kid a Helmet, One on One on his Crew Chief, Owner, Mood Headed Into Martinsville

By: Claire B Lang

Is it just me – or does it seem at times that when Dale Earnhardt Jr. yells on his radio or snaps that he “doesn’t care” at a reporter after a bad finish the exposure is massive?  I’m not talking about coverage during a race, when he gets attention no matter where he qualifies or finishes. Earnhardt Jr. has a massive fan base that sticks by him. He often, however, also gets credit for not caring enough, for being lax, for being whatever the nay sayers want to say that he is not as a young man, as a human being, as a person, because of struggles on the race track.  When he is something – shows tremendous character or does something extremely special, does it get as much attention?

I was invited to come out to Charlotte Motor Speedway this past Monday for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Foundation Day.  It was my day off but I decided on a whim to stop by just to see what was going on. What I found was truly special.

Dale Jr. came to the track to raise money by doing ride alongs and meet-and-greets with fans who came from as far as Germany to take a ride along with him.  The group included a doctor who pitched in $8,800 to charity to ride along, the head of an organization that raises money to feed hungry kids in the local area and Dillon, a young Make-A-Wish child, who got the surprise of his life from Dale that day.

Amy Laws is the wish director for the Make-A-Wish foundation.  “Dillon is a local child,” she told me. “His one wish was to ride around in a race car with Dale Earnhardt Jr., which we all know is a very rare experience but one we were able to work with The Dale Jr. Foundation to make happen,” she said.  “It’s something that’s so special. Dale Jr. has been an incredible friend to our foundation, not only providing incredible wishes to children but, in May, he actually granted his 200th wish to the Make-A-Wish Foundation on the national level. He’s one of only about a handful of people who have reached that level,” she said. “He really does put his money where his mouth is.”

Nine-year-old Dillon, the Make-A- Wish child, was star struck before he even met Dale.  I asked him what he liked about the popular race car driver. “Mostly everything” he said.  “I want to go at least 180 miles an hour,” he added. What are you going to do when you meet him?” I asked.  “Probably goin’ to faint” Dillon said.

Stan Curtis is the founder of Blessings in a Backpack. Curtis told me how Dale Jr. provides children food in North Carolina at risk of not having any food on the weekends after they leave school on Fridays.  “He packs backpacks with food in them and the kids take the backpacks home and have food over the weekend,” Curtis explained. He told me that one ride-along donation that day of $8,800 will feed 110 children for a whole school year. “Dale Jr., you know what he means?” Curtis asked. “He means a young generation of Americans who are standing up and being advocates for children,” said Curtis.

From Ontario, Canada, to Germany – came the fans who gathered to pitch in money and get a ride along from Dale. There was a young I-Racing winner and an 85-year-old man who just wanted to experience the thrill.

Rion Mariscal, from Rhode Island, won the ride through an I-racing contest. “I just want to feel the best adrenalin rush I can get,” he said before he climbed into the car with Dale Jr.. “I’ve been a fan of Dale’s since I started watching racing. My first race I went to was when I was13 days old.”

How much money did Dale, Jr. raise last Monday?  His  foundation folks say over $50,000 for an hour of Dale’s  time.

Jr. Gives Dillon, with Make-A- Wish, his helmet

Dale Jr. got out of the car, after the final ride along of the day, this one with young Dillon. He leaned over, and handed Dillon his custom-made racing helmet, something that drivers rarely do.

Later, I asked Dillon about the experience.  “It was really fun, 175 miles per hour!!” he said.  “It was really, really fun. Was he nervous? “Just kinda, a little bit,” Dillon admitted. He said his friends at school would not believe him -so he was going to take the helmet to school to show them proof.  “He said here, you can have this,” Dillon said about Dale giving the helmet to him. “He’s just got a big heart for kids.” What does he like about Dale? “Probably everything now,” he said. “I Hope they have a good time and they watch the race,” Dillon said about those who might hear of this story, adding, “Go Dale Earnhardt Jr.”
Charity contact information:


Check out the online donation program called the ‘Hard Card’ membership,that gives fans cool gifts when they donate to TDJF!  That link is:



I was surprised to be given some time after the ride alongs to talk with Dale Jr. one-on-one about the experience and about how he’s doing these days. Here’s a transcript of the interview that I had with him.

Claire B:  What did you think about that ride with Dillon

Dale Jr.:  “I enjoyed it. I think he obviously enjoyed it more than anybody else but I enjoy meeting kids like Dillon and giving them an opportunity to take home a lasting memory and I know that this is a special memory for him. Hopefully he got everything he expected out of it. We enjoyed spending time with Dillon and working with Make-A-Wish and putting our best foot forward with our foundation and being proactive and making a difference in as many peoples’ lives as we can.”

Claire B: One of the things I think is really cool is that you got out of the car and gave it to Dillon and that doesn’t happen very often. What made you decide to take your helmet off and give it to the kid, Dillon. It’s awesome.

Dale Jr.: “I don’t know, you know he just, we had plenty of outlets to get new helmets. That was one that that is that I raced and used for a year or two and then we were using it as a test helmet here this past season. So it was something he could take home and would be a memento to help him remember what he experienced today and something he can show his family and take home to his relatives to show them what he took away from this event.”

Claire B: It’s really people get to see you when you are not racing. One today guy paid $8,800 for Blessings In A Backpack. That’s a lot of pressure on a ride along – an $8,800 ride along. What do you think when you take people on a ride along for a great cause.

Dale Jr.: “Well, I enjoy getting people in the car and showing them what the race track is like and the g-forces and everything. You know it gives them a good idea, they have a better appreciation for what’s happening out on the race track and what’s going on in the races when they’re watching them. They’ll have a better understanding for what’s happening. It’s fun for me to give people that experience and to be involved in their experience you know that they are having going around the track.”

Claire B: Do you remember a ride along you took when you were a kid. You know where somebody plunked you in a car and you never forgot it. You were always around cars a lot.

Dale Jr.: “Yea. I rode in a lot of cars. I guess I went for a ride in Myrtle Beach with my father one time in a Nationwide car back when it was the Busch Series. But, you know that’s one that I probably never will forget. That was a lot of fun for me. Course I didn’t have a seat like Dillon had today so I was sliding around on the floor board.”

Claire B: Can I ask you how things are going these days? You have had some good qualifying efforts and that razzes up your fans and they call in like crazy (when you qualify well) and the qualifying seems to have stepped up a little:

Dale Jr.: “Yea we’ve learned a little bit. We went testing at Homestead for Goodyear and feel like – I think we found a little bit of speed for the qualifying package. We gotta figure out a way to translate it over into the race set up, though, and get that program moving forward a little better. We just got a few races left in the season we want to capitalize – put some good runs together.”

Claire B: Do you know what you need? I mean has anyone figured out a direction where you know…I mean people always say well I could make a million dollars if I knew the answer to that question.

Dale Jr.: “Yea, well we’re really searching really hard and trying a lot of new, non typical ideas to see if we can find some speed out of the car and see what happens.”

Claire B. What about Martinsville?

Dale Jr.: “I enjoy racing there. It’s a fun track. I like short tracks, beating and banging and trading paint and it’s a good place to get it done. Hopefully, we’ll get the car rolling in the center real fast and keep the forward bite in it all day long and have a good run.”

Claire B. What about here today – all the people that you met. Do you take home all the people that you run into? It’s such a short shot to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr. but it’s a short shot for you to meet these people too.

Dale Jr.: “Yea, I met one of the fellows that we gave a ride to was from I-Racing. I’ll probably see him on line racing here over the winter time. So we swapped email addresses. Dillon has an open invitation to come visit us any time he wants. He’s a good kid and it’s fun to be around people like that got so much energy and enthusiasm for life like he does. He just enjoys being around race cars and maybe he’ll grow up to be a race car driver one day. Maybe this is a kick start for his career.”

Claire B: Also – People will say how is Dale doing? I know you’re struggling you guys are learning, you’re trying to communicate better; you’re pitching everything into it. When I come back they’ll be like how’s he doing, how did he look? What’s going on with him? Say something to your fans about how things are going (personally) with you.

Dale Jr.: “Well, we are struggling on the race track but our attitude is good and our personality and outlook is good for the future. I feel confident that things will cycle around and we’ll get back to where we need to be and will be more competitive as a race team.  It’s been a tough year but we got a long ways to go before we’re going to give this thing up and we got a lot more we want to accomplish and I feel real sure we’ll get back there one day.”

Claire B – You want to stay with Rick Hendrick? There’s all these things floating around – about oh he leaves, and people have a dream team idea about you. Your fans do. That, oh if we just put him with this guy. But you and Lance (McGrew) and Rick (Hendrick) are you a team for a while where you are going to stick it out and figure it out?

Dale Jr.: “Well, I’m definitely dedicated to Rick – he’s been great to me. I’ve enjoyed working with Lance. I’ll just leave it in Rick’s hands as to what he wants to do. But, you know I believe in him obviously as an owner. My commitment’s 100% with him and what he feels is the best.”

Claire B: Recently Rick got on the radio and he gave you a compliment–said your communication was better. Is that something that is helping a lot?

Dale Jr.: “Well you try to communicate as good as you can. You know try to make it as easy as you can on the crew chief -try to decipher what he needs to do to the race car. The driver’s the only guy that can really do that. You give him the most information, and try to give it to him in a good honest and direct way.”

Claire B. What do you do for the rest of the day? Dale Jr. comes out on his day off. Mike Davis (PR person) says he doesn’t know if it’s really your day off cause you are working all the time.  But, today’s your day off. What does Dale Jr. do now, when you leave Charlotte? What are you going to do?

Dale Jr.: “I’ll probably go over to JR Motorsports to sign some autographs. We got an autograph room full of stuff that still needs to get taken care of. Trying to get that done so maybe we’ll get over there and do some of that.”

Claire B. Well word to all your fans that you’re doing a good thing on your day off, raising a lot of money for your foundation, making a young boy happy with a big smile and giving him your helmet. It’s really awesome. Thanks for taking the time.

Dale Jr.. “Well, I hope you enjoyed it, you know. It’s all about Dillon and obviously those people that participated today. We raised a good amount of money in a short period of time for Make-A-Wish and hopefully Dillon takes a lot away from this experience and we can have more success with the Dale Junior Foundation in the future.”

Claire B. You got it have a great day.

Dale Jr.: “Thank you!”

PENALTY TALK September 24, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season, Teams, Trackside.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Clint Bowyer
Image by TheGeekiestMark via Flickr

The aftermath of the RCR New Hampshire Sprint Cup Series #33 Penalty – Reaction here at Dover!

As you can imagine the discussion here at Dover with many of the drivers and crew chiefs is about the severe penalty  for the #33 after New Hampshire. Below is what Clint Bowyer had to say about the matter this morning here at Dover in the deadline media room in the media center. Also listed below are comments from Jeff Gordon

Clint Bowyer (Media Center Appearance at Dover International Speedway)


“You always want to win races. You’re very proud to win races and I’m still proud of that win. I don’t believe that we did anything wrong. I guess I’ll go on record and say that, first and foremost, in my opinion. I want my fans to know that. There is a lot of integrity that goes into this sport. I’m damn proud of being a part of this sport. I love this sport and I wouldn’t cheat to win a race in this sport. We have a lot more integrity for myself and our race team at RCR. Hopefully I only have to do this once. I woke up about 6 o’clock this morning, which is uncharacteristic for me. I just grabbed a notebook and wanted to make some notes. You know, for myself and for you guys. I know a lot of you guys have a lot of questions; trust me; there are a hell of a lot of questions that I have too. And I’m going to go through them. I like to have facts when something like this comes down. I’ve got a timeline of facts.

“I’m going to start with number one: We were warned after Richmond that the car was too close to tolerances. Number two: We were told by NASCAR they were taking the car after New Hampshire, no matter what; first or 43rd. Number three: The car passed pre and post-race inspections at the race track. Number four: Monday, the rumors started about all this and in my opinion, forced NASCAR’s hand to do something about it. Number five: Wednesday came and it was a 150-point fine. And the sixth thing, and at least an answer, you know, I’m looking for answers too. There are several things but one of them is a two-ton wrecker pushed me to victory lane.

“I’m going to elaborate on them. I think the first one (is) we were warned that both sides of the car were high after Richmond. Both sides. After the race in New Hampshire, after it got back to the Tech Center or whatever they call that place, just the left side was high. I think this shows that we definitely had it fixed; something within that race happened.

“Number two: after being told that they were taking the car, we made double-sure before it went to New Hampshire that that car was right. Who in their right mind, knowing that they’re going to take that car, wouldn’t have made triple sure that thing was right before it went to the race track? I could have hit the wall doing a burnout, I could have done a lot of things that other drivers have done and that other teams have done in a post-race celebration this year. I didn’t. We didn’t want to push that in NASCAR’s face. We appreciated them warning us on the fact and we tried to fix the situation. They told us about that situation Wednesday. Wednesday the car leaves. We had about two hours to jump on that car and make sure that thing was right.

“And number three:  The car passed pre and post-race inspection, and three days later get such a huge fine? They take the car apart, completely apart to measure this thing and in my opinion that’s not the way the car was raced on the race track. I think that’s something to be said.

“Number four: Once the rumors started it wasn’t long before the penalty. I think NASCAR has a lot of problems with a lot of cars on the race track being out of the box and I think they needed to set an example with something.

“Number five: I don’t think the penalty fits the crime. Sixty-thousandths of an inch, folks. Grab a quarter out of your pocket (holds up a quarter). That’s sixty-five thousandths of an inch thick. Less than the thickness of that quarter right there resulted in a 150-point fine. Before or after this, grab that and ask yourself if that was a performance-enhancing thing right there.

“And the last thing, my question is, is it possible that a two-ton wrecker could bend the quarter panel of this thing sixty thousandths of an inch? You have to ask yourself that. I got hit during the race, turned a couple of times; racing is tough. Now if this thing was knocked out a half of an inch, I could see something being made. But if it passed the height sticks afterwards, the very height sticks the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) did not pass, then miraculously enough when that same pit crew pushed it back around after 20 minutes it passed, that was pretty amazing. You know it passed those same sticks.

“And, you know, my dad owns a towing business and has since I was born in 1979. I know a little something about wreckers. About 15 years ago they took them push bumpers off the front of them for this very reason. I remember back when people used to come (during) a snow storm and (say) please, push me out of the snow bank. You push them out of the snow bank and two days later they’d show up with a body shop bill in their hand, wanting you to pay the body shop bill for the damage you did to the back of their car. This could happen. That’s the only question I had for you guys (media) is to ask yourselves if it is possible for that to happen. That’s all I’ve got to say.”


“I’m angry about the whole thing. This tarnished my win. It’s something you’re very proud of. I’m very angry about it. I’m angry for my fans for our sponsors. I’m angry about it. I think that there are a lot of things a lot of people don’t know about, media included, and I don’t understand it about as much as you do. So I found myself all week, instead of celebrating a win, trying to figure out what the hell they were talking about. The rumors, in my opinion, I truly believe that these rumors forced their hand in making a decision.


“I think NASCAR does a great job of policing and maintaining common ground. Look at the racing.

”Now last year and the last two years, when an organization was as dominant as they were, do you think they had something up on the competition? This year it’s as close as it’s ever been. I think it’s pretty damn good racing on the race track. I think it’s the best as we’ve had since this car was put into inception. So, I think they do do a good job. I respect the fact that what they have to look at each and every week. My personal opinion, I don’t like the R&D Center. I think what you bring to the race track is what they inspect. And, you know? Three days later the car the car (is) completely taken apart from something that you haven’t even raced. I mean it’s a completely different vehicle, you know? You take the suspension off the thing; these are all components that bolt on. It ain’t a decal you took off. These things are bolted on and could interrupt the way the car is measured. How can that possibly be kept in the same box?

“So I think there is a lot of cars that are close to being on the out of the box side. I think that’s what crew members and crew chiefs are paid to do and you know, yeah; I do think there are a lot of cars that are very close. I think they do a good job. I appreciated the fact that they warned us, you know? That’s why we tried to fix the thing. That’s why we did fix the thing before it went to New Hampshire so this wouldn’t happen. Not to rub it in their face and say well you know what you’re talking about, we’re going to continue to do this and don’t think you’re going to do anything about it. I mean you’ve got to appreciate this sport and respect the sport and we darn sure did and it bit us in the rear for it.”

THAT WIN HAD BEEN A LONG-TIME COMING FOR YOUR SPONSOR, CAN YOU JUST TALK ABOUT THEIR REACTION AND HOW MUCH OF A CONCERN THAT IS? “I hope they are happy. Like I said, if of any of you guys, or anybody else, think I won that race because not the quarter panels are high; not because the splitter is this much higher; because of some measurement that nobody even understands in this room or watching on TV, if that won me that race, I would gladly give it back to them. We won that race on fuel mileage is what it ended up being. If you want to start looking at something, look at our fuel cell. How could the quarter panels have won that race? I’m proud of that win. I am proud of giving General Mills their first win in this sport. They’ve sponsored this sport for a long time and that was a good win for all of us.”

WAS ANYONE WITH RCR ALLOWED TO GO TO THE TECH CENTER AND WITNESS THE INSPECTION EARLIER THIS WEEK? ALSO, HAS THERE BEEN ANY DIALOGUE AND WHAT HAS THAT BEEN LIKE WITH NASCAR OVER THE CONTENTION THAT THE TOW TRUCK PUSH ACTUALLY CAUSED THIS INFRACTION? “They do call you down there. At what point in the inspection do they call you down, who knows. Had they looked at the car before? Probably. That is the thing about the R & D center that I don’t like. It’s, it’s…who knows. You don’t know. To answer that question, I don’t have a clue. They were down there at one part of the inspection. I don’t know if it was the part that mattered or not. I do know, one other fact, the left rear quarter panel was split. The bumper cover from the quarter panel, the rivets were pulled out of it and the rear quarter panel was kinked. You know. We have a picture of that. I know that if it was hit hard enough to have split that…like I’m saying, it wasn’t a half of an inch. You are talking less than the thickness of that quarter right there. Could it have moved it that much? I would say that was my only explanation of the whole mess.”

ON THE DIALOGUE WITH RCR AND NASCAR OF THE TOW TRUCK DOING THE DAMAGE: “IN OTHER SITUATIONS LIKE THESE, WE HAVE SEEN DRIVERS GO THE PC ROUTE, NOT REALLY GO ON THE DEFENSIVE. WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO MAKE A STAND? “Because I feel like we were warned. We were told they were going to take the car. We had no reason to take that thing there out of the box. We knew they were taking that car and we knew that was our good shot at winning the race and it didn’t matter whether we finished 43rd or won. They were going to take that car and they were going to look at it. And after being warned, if it was out of the box again, they were going to penalize us. They already told us that. Why in the hell would you take a car to the race track knowing that they are going to take the car and they are going to penalize you if it is out of the box?

“We fixed the problem and that is the only reason I am defensive about this. Richard grabbed everybody, I’m telling you it was an ugly meeting after that warning. This isn’t something that was taken lightly. He took everybody involved with that thing from the fabrication shop to me to Mike Dillon…everybody. Scott Miller, crew chief and it was a butt-chewing and it was a make sure, make damn sure that car passes tech when we go. I’m telling you, everybody did that. That is why I am defensive.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THE DOVER CAR THIS WEEKEND DID YOU TAKE IT TO R & D TO MAKE SURE IT WAS OK? “Good gawd, I’m talking about last week. It is hard to even focus on this week. That is what sucks. We are riding a momentum wave, huge boost of confidence over the last month and we get to Dover and all this mess. This is a good race track for me. Won two Nationwide races here and love this race track. I think we can win again. I sure hope so. I can’t wait to be back in this very room talking about ‘wonder if this thing is illegal?’. I bet not.”


“I just answered that. I don’t know.”


“You know, it could. And that’s where all the frustration is. I apologize for coming in here and being stern. This isn’t me. This is completely out of character for me. I don’t like being in this situation. But if it paints you into the corner you’ve got to be able to react to it. Does it take away? I’m sure it does. I apologize to Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton and everybody at RCR for that very reason. This is something that shouldn’t have happened; something that’s completely complicated. I think there is about probably 80 percent of the people in the media and everywhere else that don’t understand what the infraction even was.”


GIVEN WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NO. 33, CLINT BOWYER AND THAT TEAM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, DOES THAT PUT YOUR TEAM IN ANY HEIGHTENED AWARENESS OR HEIGHTENED SECURITY TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS BUTTONED UP? “You have to remember, we have experienced what they have gone through in the past. So, we kind of feel like we were the first ones that were made aware of how tight the tolerances are and I’m not exactly sure of what are all the details of what went on there. I know there is an appeal. Because of we’ve been through this, we already are aware that this can happened to any of us at any time and that you really have to build the best race cars you possibly can but they have to be able to go to that (NASCAR) Tech Center and come back to your shop without the phone call from NASCAR.”

IF A CAR PASSES HERE ON SUNDAY, DO YOU THINK THERE ARE OTHER CARS HERE IN THE GARAGE THAT ARE PROBABLY ILLEGAL AND DO YOU THINK THAT DURING THE CHASE, ALL 12 CHASE CARS SHOULD GO TO THE NASCAR TECH CENTER? “I really wish that I had Steve Letarte (crew chief) up here to answer that question because he knows so many more details about the processes, how close those tolerances are. And that is the difference. Here at the track, the tolerances they can only get so close. When they go to the NASCAR Tech Center, they are checking it with lasers. I think that is when they can really get into the details of everything that is going on with those cars. All I can tell you is that since they started that process, it’s made it a whole different ballgame and a whole different process of inspection and how you build your cars. These days for us, we can run a car and we basically have to rebuild the sheet metal on that car just from a race without ever touching a wall. Without ever being hit by the two truck, anything. The body flexes and moves just from the banking or just from the torque, all those things. So, it’s tough for certain areas of the car to meet those tolerances just after a race. I think what I see with this situation, I guess there was something that they noticed after Richmond and so they focused on that area. If you notice, these cars now-days, they are going down the straightaways sideways. We have obviously learned that putting a lot of side force and twisting, we used to twist the bodies, now we are trying to run the car sideways through the toe of the rear-end housing; how we setup the straight line from front to back to basically run the body sideways on the car and that is all legal. We have all figured out how to do that within the rules. Because you realize that is helping the car, then you want to push everything maxed out to figure out how to get more side-force, more down-force. So, there is no doubt that is going to push everybody in the garage area to try to find out where that limit is. I’m not sure if that is what happened with the No. 33. I really don’t want to speculate. There is no doubt that this is racing and teams are always trying to find an edge. I wouldn’t be surprised I if…they don’t take ever car every weekend. It is hard to say how many would pass and how many would fail.”

THE PRECEDENT WAS SET YEARS AGO THAT THEY DON’T TAKE WINS AWAY. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY THAT IS AND DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS A GOOD REASON FOR THAT IN CASES SUCH AS THIS? “I’m sure there is a good reason. I don’t know what it is though. I’m not really sure. In my opinion, taking points away, might as well take the win away. I don’t know if I have ever asked that question before to be honest with you. I try to stay pretty clear of any discussion that have to do with points, fines, wins taken away. Those are usually not conversations I have with them.”

DO YOU AGREE THAT A WIN SHOULD STAND IN A CASE LIKE THIS? “There is still an appeal process going on. I think at this point, who knows what is going to happen. But, I don’t know. I have just felt like this is the process that we go through. This is what we know goes on in our sport and that is just the way they do it. Do I agree with it or disagree with it? Gosh, I mean I don’t know. I really don’t know. I would have to think about it a little bit more. Like I said, in my opinion, they’ve already taken the win away. I’m sure if you ask Clint, he would probably say ‘Might as well’ because the penalty is certainly very extreme. I don’t know. It seems like to me like there at least should be an asterisk next to the win.”


ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 DELPHI/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET: The good thing about a concrete track like Dover is that we’re not out chasing the track due to temperature changes. That just doesn’t affect concrete like it does on asphalt. The big challenges are where the rubber builds up on the racetrack and the joints where the concrete was poured. Dover is really bumpy. We tend to fight making the car run well over those bumps more than we fight the simple fact that it’s concrete


Kyle Busch has two Sprint Cup wins at Dover. What is his game plan this weekend? Kyle Busch (Driver of the #18) “Our game plan is to try to repeat what we did in the spring. Obviously, we had a good race going. We qualified well. We raced well all through the event. Toward the end of the race, it came down to the final pit stop between Jimmie (Johnson) and myself and we were able to get out of there smoothly and cleanly. Jimmie didn’t. He got caught speeding on pit road. We’ll just go back there with our Interstate Batteries Camry and try to make the most of the event and the weekend and get a good, strong finish and keep our momentum rolling here and try to get through the final 10 races strong in order to get a shot at the championship come Homestead.

NASCAR’s Four Car Team Limit Rule: Kasey Kahne in 2011 While at Red Bull September 2, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season.
Tags: , , , , , ,
Kasey Kahne
Image via Wikipedia

I asked Kasey Kahne on the NASCAR teleconference this week if he is able to have unlimited contact next season with the Hendrick Motorsports group while racing for Red Bull in 2011. I wondered if there are any regulations or rules related to the four car team ownership rule that would restrict him from testing or limits as to what he can do with Hendrick Motorsports next season while he’s at Red Bull, since it is already arranged that he will move to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.

Kahne answered, “Actually I was kind of wondering some of that same stuff. To this point I haven’t really asked a whole lot about it because I have been more worried about what I was going to do next year and what I was going to be doing the following year.”

Understandable. In the past – limitations have been managed by the teams themselves. If a driver is moving to a new team the next season – the team he is on and the one he is moving to (and the contract the driver signs) usually settle what, if any, limitations there are regarding team meetings, testing, information sharing and the like.

But this arrangement is a bit different. Since Kahne is only going to be at Red Bull only until the way can be cleared for a seat at Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 are there limitations related to the four car team limit? Well – technically Kahne is not Rick Hendrick’s driver until 2012. It’s drawn up simply as if he’s racing for another team in 2011.

I took a look into the four car team limit rule in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book to see if anything applied. The outcome – I don’t think any rule covers this situation and it does not appear that there is any limitation outlined by NASCAR.

Here’s the rule:

3-7 Minimum Car Owner License Requirements

A. To secure and maintain a NASCAR Competitor License as a car owner, a NASCAR Member at a minimum must :

1) Be at least 18 years of age, unless the applicant is a business entity

2) Own a racing car

B. NASCAR will issue the license in the name of the car owner as named on the license application. If the car is owned by a partnership, corporation or other business entity, the license will be issued in the name of the partnership , corporation or business entity, and the license will further indicate the name of the individual principally responsible for the ownership and operation of the business entity. That person will be the party responsible for all communications and contact with NASCAR regarding all business (as opposed to racing competition) matters in connection with the car.

C. NASCAR will indicate on the license the car number assigned to the licensee by NASCAR, subject to sub-section 3-7D. The licensee may use the assigned car number on the car or cars owned by the licensee as follows. During an Event, the licensee may use an assigned number to identify a particular car. A number may not be transferred by the licensee to another car during the Event except as provided by sub-section 9-6F. At a subsequent Event, the licensee may use the number to identify a different car owned by the licensee,so long as the number is not transferred again during the Event except as provided in sub section 9-6F. Points and other prizes for car owners will be awarded to the licensee, depending upon the performance of the car identified by the number assigned to the licensee. If NASCAR changes a car owner’s number during the season, NASCAR, at its option, may transfer to the new number championship points accumulated using the previous number.

D. NASCAR reserves the right to revoke, reassign, or transfer car numbers to another licensee at any time. Car numbers are non- assignable and non transferrable, except by NASCAR.

E. A car owner Competitor License is non assignable and non-transferable. The licensee shall inform NASCAR Headquarters in writing promptly if the partnership is altered in any material manner or the corporation’s stock or assets are sold (other than routine daily stock sales) or become the subject of a merger or the business entity’s ownership interest materially changes. When NASCAR is informed of such a change by the licensee or otherwise, NASCAR, in its sole discretion, may revoke the license as of the date of the change or otherwise. If NASCAR revokes the License, the new partnership, corporation or business entity must submit a new license application. NASCAR may assign the old number or numbers to the new licensee, or it may assign a new car number or numbers. NASCAR in its sole discretion may assign to the new licensee championship points earned by the former licensee if doing so is in the interest of competition and stock car racing. NASCAR may make such other determinations regarding scoring, point funds and the distribution of the purse or prize monies, as it determines to be in the interest of competition and stock car racing.

F. (1) During a single racing season, unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR, NASCAR will not assign more than four (4) car numbers to Teams participating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that are owned and controlled by the same Car Owner or by a “Affiliate Group.” Two (2) or more Car Owners will be deemed an “Affiliate Group” if:

a. one (1) or more of the Car Owners is entitled to receive (or actually receives), directly or indirectly, from the other Car Owner(s) any financial consideration or other form of value based upon the participation, performance or degree of success of the car(s) entered by the other Car Owner(s); or

b. the Car Owners are subject to any direct or indirect form or amount of common, joint, or shared control, ownership, financing, management or revenue-sharing.

By way of example only, an Affiliate Group may include two (2) or more Car Owners that have formed a cooperative relationship for any race-related purpose , or that are controlled or indirectly by an automobile manufacturer and/or its intermediaries, or that supply or share at or below cost engines, chassis, parts, competitive engineering data, personnel, services, and/or any combination of the foregoing which creates a potential threat to racing competition.

2) The determination(s) whether Teams are owned or controlled by the same Car Owner or by an Affiliate Group or whether two(2) or more Car Owners constitute an Affiliate Group will be made soley by NASCAR and shall be final, non- appealable and non-litigable. In making such determination, NASCAR may consider all facts and circumstances with respect to the relationship between or among the Car Owners, including without limitation the following:

a. any ownership interest in the Car Owner, whether tat ownership interest is held directly or indirectly by or through another person or business entity and whether it is held as a limited or general partner, shareholder, trustee or other form of ownership: and/or

b. any financial interest in or of the Car Owner, including but not limited to the financial investment, underwriting, below market capital funding, below market private or public loans or other similar interest and/or

c. the scope and extent of management or other control exercized by, over or through the Car Owner, whether through the ownership of voting securities by contract, de facto, or otherwise: and/or:

d. any receipt or consideration of services, property and/or other form of value, or of the proceeds from the sale or barter of any services, materials, and/or competitive data on other than a free market basis basis.

3. If, after NASCAR has assigned car numbers to the Teams of one (1) or more Car Owners, those Car Owners enter into or otherwise become an “Affiliate Group,” NASCAR in its sole discretion may take any action deemed appropriate by NASCAR with respect to such Car Owners including but not limited to revoking its assignment of the car numbers, ceasing to award championship points, refusing to accept an entry, and/or prohibiting a Car Owner from competing in any Event. If NASCAR elects to revoke its assignment of car numbers to one (1) or more Car Owners in the Affiliate Group in order to limit the assignment of car numbers to the Affiliate Group to a maximum of four (4), NASCAR will consult with the Members as to which car number assignment(s) will be revoked but NASCAR’s decision in that regard will be final, non-appealable and non-litigable.

4. NASCAR may make reasonable requests for information from a Member, including without limitation a Car Owner or Car Owner Competitor License applicant as it deems necessary for purposes of making a determination regarding the existence and make up of an Affiliate Group. Each Member or Member applicant shall cooperate fully with NASCAR’s reasonable requests, under an appropriate confidentiality agreement. NASCAR may refuse to approve an application for a Car Owner Competitor License if the applicant fails to cooperate with such requests fully and on a timely basis. NASCAR may suspend or terminate a Car Owner Competitor License if the Member fails to cooperate with such requests fully and on a timely basis.

5) Not withstanding any other provision of this sub-section 3-7, a Car Owner may submit a fifth car number for competition in a maximum of seven (7) starts during the 2010 racing season for the purpose of enabling a rookie driver, as determined and approved by NASCAR under sub-section 9-4-D, to become familiar with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Competition.

The regulation as outlined above does leave itemsup to NASCAR’s discretion. It doesn’t appear that Red Bull is an “affilate group” of the Hendrick Motorsports Operation in any way. It would appear that there will be no limitations. But I am not an attorney – and, again, there is just enough open area in the above rule outline to make it subject to NASCAR interpretation and oversight.

Again, outside of what Red Bull feels is fair during the year Kahne races for themand that Red Bull has drawn up in the contract Kasey will race within, I’m not sure that there need to be limitations on testing or contact. One would think Red Bull would manage that and mandate in the agreement what is comfortable for them without the need for NASCAR to limit any contact or relationship that Kahne shares with is future employer, Hendrick Motorsports.

Your thoughts?

Fans name the Johnson baby! July 9, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.

Chandra and Jimmie Johnson welcomed a baby girl Wednesday, July 7 at 1:44 p.m. ET in Charlotte, NC. She weighed 6 lbs., 14 oz. and measured 19.5″ long. Dad offered that she is absolutely beautiful and affectionately referred to her as “Baby J” as the proud parents have yet to decide on a name. While commenting that sleep was at a minimum last night, he is extremely happy about getting to spend time with his girls before leaving for the race weekend in Chicago.

Name The Johnson Baby!

Race fans had a field day – taking on the challenge of naming the new Johnson baby. Currently “Baby J” until they decide on a name – I got tons of suggestions for the happy Johnson couple as to what to name little Miss Johnson. Below are some of the emailed suggestions. Think you have a better one? Email insidercbl@aol.com. The race fans came up with some doozies.

Here (below) are some of the emails I have received:

I’m in the Safety Clean trailer at Chicagoland Speedway, by the way, where I’ll be broadcasting from this weekend and I’m reading all the emails laughing.

You all crack me up!

Claire B



I have the perfect name for the baby: Fontana!

Jamie Tucker

Jennifer Jade Johnson is a cute name. Has a nice ring to it. Jade is a rare gem as is a beautiful baby Girl.
*Chris from MT.


Dale, Darrel Waltrip, Richard Petty, Rusty, Awesome Bill, Irvan, Gordon, Earnhardt Smith…..Johnson…..Jr.


My choice. Loni-Caye Johnson. Did I win. Did I win

Impala Bowtie Johnson? From Aaron in Maine
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Listening to your show. I think the Johnsons should name their baby Chayse.


Clare, my last name is Johnson as well, when my daughter was born I thought it would be great to name her “Imma Johnson ” maybe they will too lol. My wife didn’t agree so I didn’t win lol.


Patience Summer johnson


Chadra J Johnson

Barry Einhellig

hey CBL,

l like the name Riley Johnson.

….John, California

Jaycee for the first name Spells there initials


How about sierra
Or. Deshanka June

Deshanka means child of GOD

You can send my prize to me now.

Angel Johnson
Mackenzie Johnson
Melanie Phoenix johnson
Kimberly Meredith johnson



Hi Claire,

If it was a boy Chevy Chase would be a great name. But since it is a girl and she was born on Wednesday. Wednesday would be a great name, remember Wednesday on the Adam’s family? And later on in life, when the boys begin calling, Jimmie can tell them,
“you will have to call her Wednesday.” At least it will work 6 days a week.
I am going to be at the races in Chicago this weekend, maybe see you there.
Greg in Wisconsin

I think that I heard you say that Jimmy’s wife’s name is Shandra…or Chandra. I think that they should to name their baby

Chammy…or Shammy




HI Claire B:

My Suggestion for Jimmie and Chandra’s new baby is Lowes, pronounced “Lois”.

– Tricia in CA


How about Fate for a name? It’s a contraction of forty-eight.
I’m sure that no matter what name is chosen, she will be a lovely baby.



Rikki Bobbi Johnson


Milynn Johnson


Boogidy boogidy Johnson from Kevin peoria il


I think since there are thrr people in “that relationship” that the
thid person deserves some credit. C h a d r a

Have a great race weekend CBL!



I am not sure how shandra, or chantra spels her name, but how about

Shimmie Johnson just athough, I do believe shanny had the hard part?

Brad Hansen
Jennifer Julienne Johnson cause a daughter should be a triple J


Maggie Ann Johnson

Sent from Rodney’s iPhone


Golden horseshoe Johnson


Charlotte Bristol Johnson

Elizabeth Bynog


How about Cheyenne? One of my favorites! Mary Lou from Wisconsin


Jenna Johnson or Christal Johnson

Percilla Johnson or champane Johnson

Sent from Rodney’s iPhone


Precious Johnson
Kimmy Johnson



How about Anybody But Johnson?
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


How about chase Dayton johnson.it’s about the chase for jimmy and daytona.
Jack in Arizona
Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone


Tonya Stewart Johnson?…GO 14!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Bristol for Jimmie’s 50th win at a track he really wanted to win at.

Michelle, IL


Miss Claire,
So sweet for the Johnson Family. Sweeeeeet. 🙂 Is Wednesday Adams Johnson ok? Sincerely, Vaughn

Jimmie is my favorite driver, but I think they should name their little girl Parker.

Melissa from Maine


I think they should name her Charlotte. Billy in TN


Speedena Johnson or claire B Johnson




Take CARE!!!!


It’s cambydon with the suggestion “Chevonne”


Trophy Johnson

Hey Claire, how about “Victoria Lane” for Jimmy’s baby girl? How appropriate for a guy who’s been in victory lane so much! Stan from Louisiana


Treasure Johnson


Name her Chad, lol! have a great show, Mac in PA


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry



Claire B

Jimmy and Shanny should name their baby girl Victoria Layne. It’s my story and you are stuck with it.

Too Many Denny from Missouri



Baby J???? That’s a hell of a name. These people have had 9 months to
come up with a name. What?? They couldn’t find Chad for his approval???

Ann from Indiana


Well – there you have it. Let me know if you can come up with something better…and congratulations to the Johnsons on their new baby.

Claire B


Hey Clair, listen to you all the time, been a long time 24/48 fan.

My new name for jimmy girl is LOWE-LA KABOLA Johnson, Lowela , is for Lowes sponsor, Kabola is for Kobalt tools , who is on

Jimmy’s car from time to time. Said like LOLA KABOLA Johnson , sounds great doesn’t it. My wife said NO WAY

Hard-Earned Post Win Vacation For Kevin and DeLana! Body Shop for Most of the Field! July 6, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season.
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Greenhouse Down!

“Greenhouse Down” is a race shop term that means you leave the the roof and the A, B and C pillars on the race car but replace the rest. That’s what will happen to the cars that made it through the carnage at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. Kenny Francis, the crew chief for Kasey Kahne (finished second) says their car will get the greenhouse down treatment.

For many of the teams more will be required, as much of the field ended up being towed off the track after multi car accidents.

Meanwhile, the perfunctory, “What happened?” that reporters normally ask drivers at the care center after a big wreck- resulted in a number of unclear answers simply because of the close racing and the melee on the track.

Jeff Burton: “No, I can’t (tell you what happened) I know the two car had a really big run coming and I was just coming down and I don’t know we just hit one of those bad wrecks that happens at Talladega and Daytona but I don’t really know what happened to be quite honest.”

Kyle Busch “I don’t know ……..the 42 was on my quarter panel and the air on both of our cars just started steering me right, right across the nose of his car. I mean I didn’t turn right to wreck myself why would I do that?”

You’ll have that….when racing at Daytona at high speeds.

The list of “I don’t know” answers just kept on coming because, frankly, the cars were nose to tail and the average speed was 130.814 miles per hour. There were 9 cautions for 37 laps, 47 lead changes among 18 drivers, ad the margin of victory was .092 seconds.

Happy Birthday DeLana

Meanwhile, Kevin and DeLana Harvick, who celebrated in Victory Lane, are enjoying a long-awaited vacation this week. “We are actually going on our vacation, a vacation we have not been on together in several years. So, (a win) is the best way to kick off a vacation. We are going straight to Chicago, not even going home,” DeLana told me in Victory Lane. “My birthday is Wednesday so if (Kevin’s) trying to get out of getting me a birthday present, it’s not going to work,” She added smiling.

The Club House in Victory Lane!

Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway is, as Dale Earnhardt Junior said Saturday night, a special place to be. “Victory Lane is like when you are a little kid and you got a tree house or you and your buddy has got a club house in the woods or whatever,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “That is what Victory Lane is to me and I like going there.”

I’m lucky enough to be LIVE in Victory Lane each week on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio after the race is over. There’s always a lot going on, and it is, as Dale Junior explained, not only something extremely special but for a brief few minutes one of the happiest places on earth.

Even the son of Crew Chief Gil Martin got in on the victory lane action – as Kevin Harvick dumped a bottle of champagne on the head of Martin’s son Ford. “That’s the first time I’ve been to victory lane in my life…14 years, and the first time I’ve ever been to victory lane,” young Martin told me.

Ford and his family went off to Universal Studios to celebrate after Saturday’s win. The young Ford said he was “praying like crazy” as the race was drawing to a conclusion.

You just won the Coke Zero 400 presented by Coca-Cola, what are you going to do now?

Going to Universal Studios!

Mail Bag:

Below are some of the emails that I got over the past few days. Write me at insidercbl@aol.com:

The Golden Horseshoe

Claire, I guess we still know that Harvick has that Golden horseshoe I sent him at the beginning of the year.

Jeff in California

(Note: Jeff, sent Kevin Harvick a gold horseshoe after hearing the comment about the strategically placed horseshoe of Jimmie Johnsons.)

Letter to Brian France from a Fan:

Dear Mr. France,

If you are looking to update or tweak the Chase format… I have the BEST way to do it.

You want to reward drivers for winning races, but if a driver doesn’t make the chase then those 10 bonus points don’t mean a thing. So first adjust the weekly race scoring. Make it so the winner of the race score a least 25-30 more points than second. That is incentive to go for the win. Make it so first place receives 210 points and second gets 180, then as usual from there. And still add on the bonus points for most laps and laps led. Then the driver receives an immediate reward for winning. And that winning helps him get into the playoffs.

Then for the chase, take the points they’ve earned and cut them to 10%. So if the driver in first leads second by 210 points, he starts the chase leading by 21. and if third place is 279 points behind, he starts 28 points back. In this fashion, a driver who is 570 points behind doesn’t start ahead of other drivers just because he won a couple more races. The drivers are rewarded for their performance for the ENTIRE regular season, not just a few races. It makes no sense for drivers to get a better position in the playoffs when they performed at a lower level during the season.

I’ve been a fan for years, and I appreciate you consistently trying to improve the sport. Some fans say “leave it as it is”, but they probably don’t like the forward pass in football either. If you don’t always look to improve, look to make things better, you will never get new fans and casual fans will lose interest, and eventually you will die.

Thank You
Stephen W Barnes

From a Jeff Gordon Fan:


Talk about some hard racin’! Jeff survived by driving like he was on
a dirt track. It was awesome. He was sooooo close once again. He
just didn’t have all his teammates up there supporting him, like the
RCR guys. Several times tonight Jeff tried to get the 48 to help him
and JJ would either jump to the other lane or cut him off. The last
time JJ cut Jeff off, Jeff got shuffled and then the big one
happened. Where Jeff had been, there was JJ. And, therefore, the 48
got in the big one and not Jeff. Bravo to the 48 crew for pulling
Mark Martin out of his burning car! Hey! Jeff is second in points!!
Woohoo!!! I know it’ll get him a glass of yesterday’s ice water once
the Chase starts, but it’s still great. He seemed genuinely surprised
when someone told him at the press conference.

Ann from Indiana

List of thoughts

One listener sent me this – a list of things that he was thinking

This is bigger than Jr:

1. What a shot in jr’s arm he can win if he or his fans thought different.

2. Should he re think running both races the drivers that do win more often ? U might have the % done for the radio.

4. Will a lot say it was the # and not the driver.

5. If I was jr I would drive out were dad died and got out and walk away from the car. What u think.?

6. If he wins tomorrow what are they going to say then? (sent after Junior’s win but before he finished 4th in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Race)

7. Was the noise louder than most wins ? It could have been the mike but it sounded like other fans were jr’s fans at end of race.

Thank you Ron

NOTE: Ron, the noise for Dale Junior is always loud at Daytona so it seemed very loud. But probably no more than it always is. I don’t see Junior getting out of the car and paying special note to his dad – I think he prefers to hold that close to the chest and mark it in his own private way. I think that is how he usually carries himself. Thanks for the note.

Email from Jennifer


You do not know how happy I am to wake up….turn on my Sirius Radio…and hear you this morning! I am so happy to hear you on here! Too often, I have to work in the evening and I miss your evening edition on Dialed In Wednesday – Friday so I am really enjoying this opportunity this morning! Thank you so much for agreeing to do your show this morning!

In regards to Dale Jr and the 88 team….Dale Jr is doing the very best that he can out there and he is driving his ass off every week…but I am so fed up with Lance McGrew and his attitude during, and in some cases, after the race. The comment that Dale Jr made after the Cup race about the setup that was under his and Mark’s car…that really caught my attention. He knew what setup was under his car and he knew it was different than what the 24 and the 48 had and even he wondered why that was.

After all, he said they ran the same setup in February and they did not run well then either, several timely cautions just allowed Jr to move up through the field and finish 2nd in the 500. Why put that same setup in the car again?…especially under such different conditions because the weather was very different. Use the setup that the 24 and 48 were using…it couldn’t have hurt. It really makes you wonder if the 2 shops are truly sharing because if they were then they would all be working off the same setup.

Instead, Lance just seems to throw something up into the air, hoping that it works for them. It seems to me that his attitude is…if it works that’s great…if it does not work…oh well! Lance does not seem to care at all because he acts as if the way Jr ran at Daytona Saturday night is no big deal. Well, I want to let him know that Dale Jr running well at Daytona and Talladega…leading laps…contending for the win most of the time…is a very big deal. It is a very big deal to Jr and it is a very big to us as his fans! It’s time Lance figure that out and if he has not figured that out then somebody needs to tell him!

I know Jr cannot win them all at Daytona and Talladega. I realize things are going to happen to keep him from always winning or always running well so I am not asking for perfection….I just think the effort is not always there on the crew chief’s part to make him the best he can be at those tracks. I do not believe that Lance believes in Dale Jr like he should…that is a shame!

I know that Friday night’s Nationwide Race was perfect…Dale Jr won and it was perfect!…and I know that will not happen every time. However, I was…and still am…so impressed with the overall effort from Tony Jr and that entire team on the Nationwide side. I am not only just impressed with their performance Friday night…I am extremely impressed with the effort that Tony Jr and the team put forth leading up to the race as well. They were well-prepared….they were truly a very cohesive team and they all seemed to gel so well. I am just so proud of the effort and all of the hard work that Tony Jr put into the race. They worked hard and it shows in the finish. Tony Jr was truly so happy after that race was over with and it showed in his emotions!

I just wish Dale Jr had that advantage on the Cup side…unfortunately I do not see it out of Lance McGrew. Every week on that 88 Cup car something else goes wrong…there is another excuse for a bad practice…a poor qualifying effort…or a poor race or finish. Something broke….somebody made the wrong adjustment….something was put on the car wrong….somebody messed up a pit stop. It seems to me a lot of crap goes on over on the 88 Cup car and it seems to me that Lance puts up with it and shrugs it off. Something tells me that if it was happening to the 24 or 48…it would not be “put up with”….heads would roll over there! I just wonder what HMS has to say about the fact that the 88 team is lagging behind every other HMS team, and the crew chief does not seem to care??? It is just a shame to have a driver so upset about how he ran but yet nobody else sees a problem with it. A crew chief who truly cared, would see a problem with it.

You know, Friday and Saturday night there were a lot of similarities with the 2 races Jr was in. The driver, of course, was the same…Dale Jr drove in both races. The pit crew was the same. According to the drivers, the new Nationwide COT drove a lot like the Cup COT does. There was one difference between the two races….the crew chief! Tony Jr Friday night and Lance McGrew Saturday. Friday night Jr seemed to do very well with Tony Jr…an crew chief it was obvious was giving his all to winning that race….obviously so because he won!

Saturday night it all falls apart under the so called “leadership” of Lance McGrew. To me, that speaks volumes and it tells me that Tony Jr should still be leading Jr’s Cup team. It may not ever do any good put I will always be a Tony Jr supporter and a big supporter of him being Jr’s crew chief. From where I stand, Jr was in a much better position when Tony Jr was leading his team because Lance McGrew seems to be grasping at straws out there! I just wonder when Rick Hendrick is going to come around to seeing this and actually do something about Lance McGrew because it is not working!

Thanks Claire….I have so enjoyed listening to you this morning!

Jennifer in SC

July 5th “floating holiday”

(much discussion on air over whether July 5th is a real holiday and who was working on this day versus whom is taking the day off).

Your schedule is insane. After that crazy Saturday/Sunday, now you are driving to Chicago tomorrow?
I know that is why we get all the news but you are only human. Really you need some rest this afternoon.
By the way, I am off today. I am a software engineer for an aerospace company and it was a legal holiday for us.

Points Discussion – One Word – “Golf”


With all the hubbub about the points, I’ll throw my 2 cents in–1 word–GOLF scoring format..Take away all the bonus points and give the driver and owner the points of their finish..1 point for 1st —
2 for second and so on…..At the end of the year..THE LOWEST SCORE WINS!!!! The chance of a tie is almost impossible but if it happens use a no points race to break the tie…Its just an idea but I guess its as good as any…

I drive a truck coast to coast hauling meat and listen to your show all the time–Keep up the good work and Love your show.

I root for the Busch brothers—-go 2 and 18.

Steve Neece

CBL On the Road Again:

I’m on the road again, and heading to the Midwest tomorrow. I’m traveling on the road to Chicago today (Tuesday) and then staying in the Midwest between Chicago and Indianapolis for the running of the brickyard.

I can’t wait to be in my home stomping grounds again for a while, see some family and cover the racing at the same time.

You can catch me on “Dialed In’ on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio or email me at insidercbl@aol.com.

Enjoy the day! Thanks for listening and for emailing.

Claire B