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Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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Behind the Scenes at The Auto Club Speedway of Southern California!!

I thought I’d drop you a postcard from wherever we are at – while the name of the track is throwing a few for a loop and broadcasters are stumbling over it -the track hasn’t changed. The Cup cars have, and, oh yea, it never rains in Southern California – yea right. The good news is that despite rained out qualifying in three series yesterday the Nationwide Cars and Sprint Cup Cars and the NASCAR Craftsman trucks were back on the track today and everybody is happy to have practices underway -and racing to cover. Ooopp it’s raining after only 30 minutes of Cup practice. Stay tuned for more schedule changes.

What the heck would anyone have to talk about if Robby Gordon, the RG fans and the Jim Beam PR folks didn’t protest the severity of the team’s penalty for a non-approved nose the team put on the car at Daytona. Today, I took a trip out to the infield to see what the RG fans are doing and they are, indeed, livid and enjoying making a statement and rallying around Robby. The Jim Beam machine came into the media center and handed out “Rally For Robby” t-shirts and people were snatching them up like candy. The fans right outside the garage are wearing their t-shirts and yelling as anyone walks by to make their stand known. They are having fun with it. Those on the other side of the fence (opinion wise) say that while it’s a bad situation for Robby and clearly a mistake- it’s impossible for the sanctioning body to decide intent, case by case, on wrong parts. This could get interesting on appeal. Stay tuned. Does he win?

Have you seen Jeff Gordon’s wife Ingrid Vandebosch in the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit edition? http://www.sportsillustrated.com.

Behind his hauler in the garage yesterday here in California (hey it was a long damp day) Gordon was asked about what he thought of the pictures of his wife clad in a bikini in SI, “That she he looked hot man,” Gordon Responded with a big smile. “Yea, I always have known I’m a lucky guy but after I saw that I was like, I’m really lucky! It was cool I was proud of her. I was excited for her you k now somebody that has been a successful model like she has you know I think that when she came to America , you know, she found out that Sports Illustrated swimsuit is a big deal and I don’t think she ever thought she’d get asked to do it while she was seven months pregnant so she used it as motivation to get, you know, in shape and I think that in all ways it was a positive thing for her.

Have you seen Juan Pablo Montoya’s new Juicy Fruit commercial? It will air during the race on Sunday and I did see an airing of it today as well in the Craftsman Truck coverage. Montoya strolls into the picture and says that nobody tells him what to say – and then adds that they can put their name on his car but he’s behind the wheel. It’s a clever commercial. Montoya told me while he had fun making it. But he told me he really is not a “bad-ass” and that he isn’t a bad guy and that while he had fun making the commercial he doesn’t want people to think it’s so serious that they take it literally to mean he’s cocky. As to whether anyone does tell JP what to say – he says yes, that two people do – “My Wife, and (team owner) Chip Ganassi,”

More coming….we are in a holding pattern again while the rain situation is only going to get worse, and worse and worse.

Stay tuned for updates.

Claire B Lang
XM Satellite Radio
For Infield Parking
Fontana California

Garage Blog Race Day – Daytona 500 February 18, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers.
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A Brother’s Love & Driver’s Meeting

Mike Wallace Changes His Mind – Is Spotting for Brother Today

I ran into Mike Wallace pre race. He spotted for his brother Kenny (Furniture Row Racing) on Thursday in his Gatorade Duel qualifying race – and Kenny raced his way into the Daytona 500. Spotting for Kenny was brother Mike’s idea – so doing it again made sense. But Mike told Kenny he had a family dinner commitment today with his wife and children and would not be back to spot again for the Daytona 500.

“I told him I didn’t want to spot I was going home. Actually, we flew home last night – we went to dinner and then we got a call from his team, Joe Garone, wanting to know if I would come back and spot,” Wallace told me.

“I told him no I am not interested in it,” He continued, “Kenny’s fine he’ll do just a perfect job.” Wallace told me Garone asked him what they had to do to get him there and Wallace told him tongue-in-cheeck that he’d do it if they sent a jet after him. Wallace figured that request would end the discussion.

“Then,” Wallace said with amazement,”they called and asked what time I wanted to be picked up. Now we’ve come to win the Daytona 500.”

Wallace said his wife reminded him this morning that he was forgetting about family values since he and his children had planned a family dinner tonight. “I kinda left thinking I was really low to be honest with you this morning,” Wallace said. Wallace told his brother Kenny today that their redemption would be to win the race.”

Mike Wallace is a race car driver not a spotter. He finished fourth in the Daytona 500 here last year. He said he would not have spotted for anyone but his brother. “It’s the feel good story of the week,” Wallace admitted. Wallace qualified 17th for today’s race.

“It’s just all about him and his team and if I can be just half of a percent of something that means a value to it and I appreciate that. I just want to see him do well and prove to the whole world how good a driver he is,” Mike Wallace told me this morning.

Wallace said that he wants to pay the family back for leaving them at the dinner table without him tonight by helping giving his brother the best chance he can to win the Daytona 500.

Blood is thicker than water and Kenny Wallace has his brother up top in his headset during today’s race.

Daytona 500 Driver’s Meeting

Nothing major at the Driver’s meeting prior to today’s race. Celebrities were everywhere and ranged from Chubby Checker to Tricia Yearwood
to, seemingly, the corporate leaders of most of America’s fortune 500 companies.

NASCAR President Mike Helton recognized Daytona International Speedway for making the 50th running of the Daytona 500 very much a part of history yet part of today. He read the names of drivers racing today who have won the race before and recognized all of the legendary drivers sitting on the stage with him who won the Daytona 500 in year’s past.

“This is what makes the Daytona 500 but also NASCAR so great is the character of the sport,” Helton told the drivers. “If you think about 50 years it would be real easy for something to run its course and be forgotten and there’s another very important element to celebrating the 50th running of the Daytona 500 as well as the 60th season for NASAR itself and that’s the vision, the leadership, the guidance, the support, the mentoring and the opportunity that we all have been given to be part of something wonderful and very special.
And we owe a lot of that to the France family and their foresight and now for the third generation of their leadership that has kept the Daytona 500 not status quo but has kept the Daytona 500 front and foremost as well as NASCAR, but the Daytona 500 front and foremost as a major sporting event.”

Jim France represented the France Family at the drivers meeting saying “I’m humbled to be here in the presence of the great drivers that I’m facing.” He said he was especially humbled by the past winners of the Daytona 500 behind him because, “They are the men that built this sport, they created this great event,” adding, “their actions over the years would establish the history of this place.”

France said if his brother was here today he’d say, “They built it, they did a hell of a job and don’t screw it up.”

No major, unusual, warnings from NASCAR during the driver’s meeting. Race Director David Hoots. Pit road speed is 55 mph, he told them, and during the race the caution car will run 70. “We talk about the yellow line every race,” he said, “drivers this is your warning. Race above it. If, in our judgment, you go below the yellow line to improve your position you will be black flagged. Also we’ll use our judgment, if you force somebody below the yellow line in an effort to stop him from passing you you, may be black flagged. You’ve done good all week with the aggressive driving zones and it’s all the way around the race track, we’ll be monitoring that very closely.”

With that the drivers were led in prayer to say thank you for the ability for everyone to be here for this historic event and a calling for a blessing on all the competitors.


Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Teams.
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On Display In Nationwide Garage – Penalties Announced Next Week

I just took a look at the rear deck lid and spoiler from Junior Motorsports Nationwide car. It’s lying on a table, tagged by NASCAR behind the Nationwide hauler in the Nationwide garage.

Teams are coming over to look at it – One member from another team, wishing not to be identified told me that the infraction has been tried before and folks got caught for it. He said to me “if you’re not cheating your not trying,” and shook his head about why the team would try this particular spoiler modification.

Joe Balash, the Nationwide series director told me ” Yes the deck lid and spoiler of the #5 car for Junior Motorsports was found to have unapproved modifications that would affect the aerodynamics of the car.

We have taken the deck lid and the spoiler from the team and they have to fix the car so they can compete this afternoon and we will look at this for any further penalties.”

Balash said the infraction is “pretty cut and dry.”

The team worked to fix the problem and planned to qualify as scheduled with a car that passed inspection. The 5 car passed inspection and the infraction was discovered by an official after practice who asked the team what they were doing and looked closer.

At that point the piece was taken and impounded.

Claire B
XMSN Channel 144

Pushing at Daytona February 14, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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I’m here in Daytona where in the campgrounds and grandstands the fans are arguing up a storm. Whether it’s about the probation of Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart or the traditional argument of what driver will win the game of 500 Survival on Sunday – there’s a lot of talking going on. Yesterday I read an email on the air that had the phone lines from California to New York on melt down. Read for yourself – and then I’d like your take:

Claire, I enjoy your show and have called in a few times, but I want to start your day with controversy.

I’m a long time fan of what was NASCAR racing, especially Daytona . Now I’m not sure what type of racing to call it. I don’t follow a driver and typically don’t care about the winner, just great competitive racing. I want to ask a serious question, is pushing really racing? In what other form of racing can a winner be pushed by a competitor or teammate to the win? Does it happen in IMSA, SCCA, or USAC? Did John Force become a great racing having others push him to records and wins? Did Michael Shumacher win multiple world championships being pushed, maybe a little blocking but never pushing. Is APBA racing won with a push, heck you can’t even drag a boat to a final position. Did Secretariat win the Triple Crown being butt bumped or drafted?

Daytona is becoming a joke. Both Harvick and JR won at Daytona from a push. They were in position (yes), but would not have won without the help of another driver in the final laps. So is this actually racing or just complementary competition? Nascar needs to strictly enforce the no bump drafting rule and hold firm to it. The bumper or bumpee should not be the winner if they don’t do it on their own. Both Harvick and JR can claim the win and it will never be taken away from them, but did they truly win it on their own merit?

Racing is either aggressive or passive with rules to support all drivers and the actions; not just the favorite driver of the month club. Can you imagine USAC with a no touch rule? NASCAR must be consistent with their rules!

Atlanta, GA


Hey Claire B. Lance does not win seven tours in France without bumping and drafting!
M. Nemelka

If horses had bumpers, . . . . .THEY’D DRAFT !!! John, Ca.


Cb how many times have you seen a football player being pushed over the goal line and it counts!!


I don’t think Mark was being fair to Nascar…Nascar wasn’t looking to eliminate Bump Drafting.. But to tame it down a little bit..They were getting way to aggressive…So when he said that they were trying to stop it… that was wrong. I do understand what he was saying about the not pushing and shoving….. but I don’t agree with him on that…. This is Nascar…Not a third grade play ground…..If you don’t have dents and tire marks you aint racing….I love Bump drafting or Drafting…. and nobody and I mean nobody could do it better than Dale Earnhardt…His son is close but not as good…Earnhardt had a lot more finese.. where Jr. is more physical…

Randy Henry
Old School With An Attitude

JR even stated he did not win the race from muscle, or his skills, he was PUSHED! Notice his comment:

“That was fun,” Earnhardt said. “The Shootout is a neat race. I had a blast those last few laps. I didn’t win the race without Jimmie Johnson pushing me.”

Mark simply wanted a good healthy discussion and he got one. Mark is a NASCAR fan – he just wanted to see what folks would say about this and he got an earful of discussion.

I aired a montage with journalists on the topic and most of them said get over it – rubbin’ is racing and what is the difference between a football player pushing a guy into the end zone and a long-standing tradition NASCAR to have the push or bump draft be a part of the element of this sock car game.

I thought you’d enjoy the discussion. Don’t get too upset – Mark was just enjoying the sport of debate. Food for thought as he explained it.

Claire B Lang
XMSN Channel 144