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New Hampshire Motor Speedway Drivers’ Meeting June 29, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, NASCAR, Trackside.
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New Hampshire Motor SpeedwayImage via WikipediaThe drivers meeting for today’s race here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which just concluded, was short and sweet. There were a few sponsor introductions the normal going over of the rules and regulations and no questions from the drivers. Then we prayed and it was over.

I talked with Robby Gordon coming into the meeting and asked him about his views on a testing policy. He grinned and said,” No testing at all, add 8 races on Wednesday nights for no points. It would be the same as testing.”

I noticed that Kyle Busch is sitting in the last row at the drivers’ meeting with his crew chief. A humble place to sit for the points leader. Joining him on the last row: AJ Allmendinger, T. Labonte, B. Labonte, T Kvapil, J Roush and D.Gilliland.

Details of the drivers’ meeting:

Pit road Speed: 45 MPH
Caution Car Speed: 50 MPH
Pit Road Speed Begins – 185 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: – 75 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 33.66 seconds.

Enjoy the race!
Claire B

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Sunday Blog – running back into garage – transcript of Darby with media June 29, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR.
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NASCARImage via WikipediaNH Sunday Morning –
Caire B. Blog – 6/29/08 8:30 a.m.

NASCAR IS ASKING CREW CHIEFS TO RESEARCH THE TEAM’S PREFERENCES REGARDING 2009 TESTING POLICY –

NASCAR Series Director John Darby was talked to the media after calling a crew chief’s meeting in the garage here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Here’s the full transcript of the media session outside the NASCAR hauler in the garage after the meeting yesterday.

Q: So – what did you and your buddies (crew chiefs) meet about?
Darby: “Typically it’s about this time of year when we start talking to the teams about the next year’s testing and that was today only to start off looking at 09 with instead of handing them survey of tracks that they would like to test at we offered up redoing the whole test policy. What you know is every year it changes, the evolution of the teams change, the amount of resources in regards to seven post rigs and sim tests and rolling floor wind tunnels and all of that all comes into play and the only ones that can actually tell you what they need in regards to testing are the guys that are doing it.

NASCAR is the policy maker but if there’s one thing that is really reliant on the teams input it’s what we test, how many times we test and where we test. In the past it’s just been a matter of here select your race tracks and let’s go. This year, I felt it was time that we just sat down with everybody and talked and said look we’re open to whatever, any suggestions you have from leaving our testing policy exactly like it was in 08 all the way to what I’m going to call wide open testing – no limits -any track any week any time as many times as you want to go.

We’re prepared for either way – it doesn’t matter to us – we’ll listen to what all of the teams come back with for suggestions and formulate a test plan for 09 and go forward.”

Q: What was the reaction that you got?
Darby: “There was a pretty good gasp of air when you got to talking about wide open testing because the immediate perception is holy cats we’re going to be testing 38 weeks a year. After you talk to everybody for a little bit and then ask them to count the actual number of tests that they currently do at all the places they go to test and apply that to a wide open test policy for example or taking those same amount of days and applying them to tests where we race – there probably isn’t a whole lot of difference at the end of the day. But – that’s just food for their thoughts and I told them we’d get back together in a couple of weeks and see what kind of reaction they have and start putting it together.”

Q:Did you have any reference to cut down based on the economy and $5 a gallon for gas -is there a need for some teams to keep expenses down in that area?

Darby: “I don’t know because most of the testing that’s done today it’s under their own guidance anyway. The organized testing that NASAR has is a very small percentage of the amount of testing that’s done so it would be hard to answer that question. These type of plans or meetings or anything obviously the crew chiefs from all the teams are my easiest connection to talk to. Now, being good soldiers of good faith obviously they’ll go back to their organizations and sit down with the car owners and discuss them as an actual full blown team – they’ll make the decisions on their own.”

Q: What does Goodyear have to say about this – have you discussed with Goodyear the need for more tires if there is more testing?

“Darby: Goodyear is flexible. Goodyear can provide the tires for all of the tests if it went the direction that everybody chose to go. All they ask are the simple things like can you set it up with a 45 day advance ordering type situation so our staff can make sure we produce enough tires. All that is the easy stuff. I guess if there are any downsides to the whole thing if you look at what we are doing today to just a simple unlimited testing policy. Todays NASCAR testing because it is organized and is participation by all of the teams the effective cost of a test in regards to the bill you get from the racetracks is split by many more hands and that helps. The safety standards at a NASCAR test are much much higher than they would ever be at an independent test, a team test for example because with the NASCAR test we provide a full medical staff, medivac copters, a full staff of firemen, emt’s all of that and we do that because it’s an organized effort there’s 50 people feeding the kitty so you can afford to do that. A lot of those things wouldn’t be present at the individual tests but they aren’t today if you chose to go outside NASCAR’s testing policy anyways.”

Q: Why did NASCAR feel the need to propose this?
Darby: “Typically the way you really find out what a group of people want is to offer something as large as you can large to them and they’ll either say yea that’s perfect or they’ll say well you know that may be a little too much how about doing something like this instead.”

Q: Was there a consideration about going the other way and saying you can’t do any (testing)?
Darby: “Yea – but we already know – we can’t make that happen.”

Q: A lot of these current tests are not under NASCAR’S Supervision so by changing this would bring them under NASCAR’s supervision – would that be a factor as well?
Darby: “No I don’t know if it’s a relevance really. The relevance I guess would be today you can go to Milwaukee and work really hard for two days to try to simulate being at New Hampshire. If all of your correlation of data is right and if all of your wisdom and educated guess is correct it could potentially help you here at New Hampshire. Is that the right way to do it? I don’t know – maybe the right way to do it is to test at New Hampshire for New Hampshire.”

Q: Why does it matter. With all the computer technology that the teams have – why can’t they test New Hampshire all they want on computer sim. What’s so special about coming to NH to test when they have the ability to get all that data in the shop?

Darby: “Those are all good tools they are all good guides. There still is not anything as accurate as making laps on a race track and testing for multiple purposes. If (Dario) Franchitti had an opportunity to test at Sonoma last week for example – knowing he’s a good road racer anyways he could have potentially lessened his chances of going home. If a driver or a team constantly struggles at Martinsville for example – if they could go back to Martinsville once or twice or three or four times maybe they could get better. The simulation will only give you – a computers a computer – if you put crap in you get crap out you know what I mean? It’s that simple.”

Q: If you get all this feedback back and it comes back a split decision do you throw it back and say ok you guys vote?
Darby: “Were still not a democratic society yet. We listen a lot but somebody’s got to (make the decision) (laughter)”

Q: The car of tomorrow – is it an effort to get these guys a chance to have more time with these cars on the tracks they are racing on to add to the body of knowledge on the new car?

Darby: “No – this piece honest to God doesn’t have any relevance to the new car. I mean this is something that we would have headed to regardless cause we were almost there two years ago and almost there a year ago. Not that what we are doing today is broken but testing should be at the needs of the competitors in the garage and the only way we know what best suits them is to ask them and hopefully we’ll get enough information back.”

Q: All other racing series have been very tight – very restrictive in testing – has there been a lot of consideration that we have some new guys coming in – and we’ve had some people struggled that brought this on or what is more let’s see what happens?
Darby: “I think a lot of it surrounds you know that we’ve always hated doing anything that we can’t police properly and the teams have grown in our sport so large today that if a Roger Penske or a Jack Roush or a Rick Hendrick wants to build a race track or buy one they’re going to. So us having the absolute ability to say nobody’s going to test period is just not realistic. So what you do is try to manage a testing policy that satisfies the needs of the majority of the garage but still isn’t just so insanely crazy that it’s going to put people out of business.”

Q: Would one option be for teams to come in on Thursday to tracks and open the day to testing?
Darby: “That’s a very unpopular choice for a lot of reasons. You can’t plan a test agenda properly knowing that you are going to have to take that same car and race it the next day you know what I mean? The teams look at that more as an extended practice than they do an actual test.”

Q: Will you maintain the tests that you have scheduled the rest of the year?
Darby: “Yes, there’s only one left so yea.”

Q: Did it grow out of any criticism of the new car?
Darby: “No because the new car – there’s more work being done in the lab settings than there is race track stuff. What I mean by that is that’s where the gains on the 7-posts and the computer simulation and the engineers go to work. The teams know what they want for loads and pressures and all the rest of that- this is about testing and testing only.”

Q: If for some reason Kentucky ends up on the Cup schedule next year would they still be able to use Kentucky to test at Kentucky like they do now?
Darby: “Ahm – I can’t speak for what may or may not happen with Kentucky. I know there are no plans – they are not on our 09 schedule now -the only thing I can really talk about are the race tracks that currently hold Cup sanctions and their restrictions which – you’re right they can’t test on a sanctioned track unless it’s organized by us today for 08”

__________________________________________

Tony Stewart Doesn’t Want To Be Asked

The journalists here in the deadline media room and at dinner here in New Hampshire have been talking about Tony Stewart not wanting to be asked about his contract status until he’s ready to announce it. I got a kick out of his quote that at least one entity reported as serious news:

Can you comment about the rumors regarding your future?
“I’ve still got two ARCA teams I’m talking to, a truck team and now the 5 car is available today so I still have a lot of work to do.” Are you negotiating with sponsors to try to get set-up for next season? “I don’t even know who I’m driving for yet so it’s kind of hard to pick a sponsor when you don’t know who you’re driving for yet. It’s kind of like, ‘which comes first the chicken or the egg?’

Stewart’s tongue in cheek reaction to a question about his future is far from breaking news as to what he may do – and, trust me, he’s not going to tell us all that he’s working on until he’s ready. The problem is that doing live radio three hours a day on XM – I get continuous questions about where Tony may go and basically as I gave two team members from another team a lift into the track this morning even the race team guys love to talk about who might go where. It passes time in the garage and, basically even for those inside the sport it’s fun.

I have never been much of a contract-stalker – but I do understand why folks have to ask him. Also, in a sense I don’t blame him. With Tony -you know if he doesn’t want to tell you anything – or has nothing to say – you’ll get a silly tongue in cheek reply (above) or the person with the question will be cut to the quick in no uncertain terms. While people talk about Tony Stewart wanting the media to not ask him about his deal- he’s not the only one who doesn’t want to give regular updates on what’s going on.

Dale Earnhardt Jr was asked over a month ago about the status of Nationwide Series racing and his JR Motorsports effort he mentioned that one day he might look at taking his team racing at the Cup level because it might at that time make more financial sense. Ever since then – the rumors of silly season have included Junior owning a team with someone. Almost every day that rumor gets brought up on the air – and it grows with every chat room mention and fan email. But Dale Jr says that his answering that question led to more attention than the comment warranted.

DALE JUNIOR Comment: New Hampshire Friday, June 27th
“I should have not said that man because I should have just kept that to myself. But I don’t really want to talk about it in the press you know. That’s personal to me – what I do for my business and I damn sure ain’t going to air my time line out over the media. So, you know, if we feel like we’re going to do that we’ll do it and we’ll let you know and that will be that. But I don’t want to answer questions about it every week because it’s really not that big of an issue. My teams doing great I’d be foolish to make too many changes right now….you know keep things where they are while they’re working.”

Remember, Dale Junior did not bring up the issue of moving his nationwide team to cup. He was asked a while back and on that day he answered honestly. From there – that grew to his fans asking regularly about it so much that it required asking him again.

_______________________

EMAILS:
Hi Claire…
I listen to your show every afternoon on my way home…. Love it!!!! I also saw you in the Chevy tent at the MI race on Father’s Day-when you introduced Clint Bowyer and grabbed the kids in the audience to ask Clint questions! You did a great job, and the kids lined themselves up perfectly!!!

I do have one nagging question regarding the Dodge Cup cars….. They went back to the Charger this year, but the grill decal is still the Avenger’s! I am a diehard Mopar fan and it aggravates me to see that grill every week! The reason I say this is the Charger grill is narrow at the top, and the Avenger grill is narrower at the bottom….. The new Charger has the Avenger decal with the Charger R/T emblem. The headlights look ok. Can you ask someone associated with Dodge and find out when they will correct this???

I know, it’s petty, but I notice stuff like that and it drives me crazy that I’m that way!

Thanks for the show and keep up the great work!

Randell
Microsoft Certified Professional

CBL: Thanks Randell – your question is a good one.

The new Charger nose is not approved by NASCAR yet for use in competition, as soon as Dodge is given approval to use it, they will. As of right now they do not know exactly when that approval will be given.

More later – off to the drivers meeting and into the garage.

Enjoy the day!

Claire B
XM Satellite Radio

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Update BREAKING blog- Casey Mears; Greg Biffle June 27, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Drivers, NASCAR, Teams.
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Outside Roush headquarters.Image via WikipediaMore from New Hampshire 11:41 a.m.- I stopped by the radio room here in the Media Center at NHMS for a quick second to send you this update:

Casey Mears was just in the deadline room here and to his fans – I can report he was doing just fine. He’s not one to hang his head and he said that he has known for weeks. Naturally, he said, he would have liked to have stayed but that it’s almost a relief to know what is happening so he can concentrate on the rest of the season. He seemed extremely upbeat at the potential for the future.

He said that he had not thought about next year and at first he was afraid nothing was going to be open but that he’s been talking to a few folks and has been “pleasantly surprised.”

One question to Mears is whether or not he was up for the fourth Richard Childress Racing ride because his name is now being linked to it – he answered, “You know if something like that were to develop that would be a great opportunity.” He added that he’d like to get his future ride tied up as soon as possible so that he can focus on the remaining part of this year at Hendrick Motorsports.

_____________________________________

I’m already getting email from you all:

Sad Sad Sad,I can not believe Mr Hendrick has thrown away Casey,My God these drivers are Human beings with feelings,Why Why would Rick do this,why did he not move CC’s or Car Chiefs Etc.Rick did this last year to Kyle and now to Casey,I hope and pray Casey can get another cup ride Jeez with impending fatherhood How can Rick be so COLD!
Leslie Eaton Addison Mi

Some of you are not as upset – but more interested in who might go in that ride. Send me an email and let me know what you think: ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com
_____________________________________

News on the Biffle contract signing watch. The ink has dried, thank goodness.

Here’s the news release issued this morning from Roush Fenway Racing:

Loudon, N.H. (June 27, 2008) – Greg Biffle announced today that he has
signed a three-year extension of his contract with Roush Fenway Racing.
Biffle has been with Roush Fenway Racing since 1998. During his 10
years at Roush Fenway Racing, Biffle has accumulated 46 wins, 166
top-five finishes and 250 top-10 finishes in 496 starts. In 2002,
Biffle took the NASCAR Nationwide Series title making him the only
driver in NASCAR history with both a Nationwide and a Craftsman Truck
Series championship title. He is currently seventh in the Sprint Cup
point standings driving the No. 16 3M/Dish Network/Jackson
Hewitt-sponsored Ford Fusion.

Biffle is looking forward to the continued relationship with Roush
Fenway Racing as well as a long-term partnership with 3M.

“I’m extremely happy and relieved to have this contract complete,” said
Biffle. “I have a team that can contend for the championship this
season and for future seasons as well. 3M has been an incredible
partner for several years now and having them on board made the decision
even easier. All the elements are in place: the resources of Ford and
Roush Fenway, the excellent team, the outstanding cars and having a
great primary sponsor like 3M for the next few years.”

In addition to Biffle’s Cup Series program, he is also running a partial
schedule in the No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion in the NASCAR
Nationwide Series this season.

“I would like to run another partial schedule in the CitiFinancial Ford
next season,” Biffle said. “We’re still working out the schedule but I
have always had fun racing in the Nationwide Series so I’d say it’s
likely you’ll see me there in 2009.”

I was broadcasting yesterday from Bayside Inn at Alton Bay here in NH and so many folks stopped by to join the broadcast and talk racing. This part of the country has some serious race fans and I love the fact that the Camping world and Modified guys race here too this weekend.

_____________________________________

Oh I got a cool email from a listener named Jason who says there’s a camper here at NH next to him that has a mobile memorial to past stock car racers. Here’s the link to the camper that is taking this memorial across the country – I thought you’d like to see it. Jason, thanks for listening and for the email. Check out the memorial this race fan is taking around the country:
http://www.thecaretaker.ca

More later – gotta run. Duty calls.
Claire B

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BREAKING NEWS- Casey Mears June 27, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Breaking News, Drivers.
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Casey Mears, driver of the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet, talks with owner Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motorsports during qualifying for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2007 in Avondale, Arizona.Image by Getty Images via DaylifeHey! Quick update. Casey Mears is coming into the media center at 10:30 a.m. here at NH. Here’s the official word on Casey (below) Much Buzz about Mark Martin being the name that slips into that ride but that is unofficial and just what I have been hearing in the garage as the guy who goes into it – I’ll keep you posted. Reality is that it’s a done deal on Casey though and Casey is out. Back to the media center deadline room just wanted to get this to you ASAP. More later from NH.

Claire B


CASEY MEARS & HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS TO PART WAYS
FOLLOWING 2008 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES SEASON

CONCORD, N.C. (June 27, 2008 ) – Hendrick Motorsports and driver Casey Mears will part ways following the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

“We’ve put a ton of emphasis on the No. 5 program,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s been a total team effort, and Casey has worked as hard as anyone to help us improve. We’ve tested more than we ever have, but the results just haven’t come.

“None of us, Casey included, have been satisfied with the situation this season. But he’s confident there are other options out there for him in 2009, and we feel like Hendrick Motorsports will have some opportunities, too.”

Mears will finish the 2008 Sprint Cup campaign in Hendrick’s No. 5 Chevrolets.

“I know the effort has been there, but we haven’t had the finishes to show for it,” Mears said. “I’ve never tested this much or put more energy into racing. But for whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to make it click. It’s certainly not for lack of dedication on anyone’s part.

“I’ll talk to people about opportunities and get my 2009 plans wrapped up soon, but I’m also focused on the next 20 races and finishing 2008 on a positive note. We ran well the second half last year, and I know we can do it again. I want to close this season the right way.”

Hendrick Motorsports will announce its 2009 plans at a later date.

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ARCA Sim Racing for MRO; Scott Kalitta memorial June 25, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Items of Interest.
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Hey all!

It was so fun having DW’s brother telling stories last night on the air – prior to the ARCA Sim benefit race. I figured I’d send you a blog today on a number of things from here at my studio in Charlotte, NC.

ARCA Sim Racing Last Night -CBLBLOG UPDATE
Fundraiser for Motor Racing Outreach Last Night Racing On Line!

On “Dialed In’ yesterday, Darrell Waltrip’s brother, Bobby Waltrip (he so sounds exactly like DW doesn’t he?) and DW’s nephew Lee Bob Waltrip talked about their participation in last night’s LIVE on line charity sim racing event to benefit Motor Racing Outreach. Here’s a listener email:

What racing software are they using?
Irvin

Answer:
The software they raced was Arca Sim Racing 08′ from the Sim Factory. It
can be purchased at http://www.theSimFactory.com

This software is also featured and run at http://www.DMP-Racing.com which is Dale
Jr’s league. They race every other Monday, Live at http://www.OnlineRacin.com
(Dale Jr, AJ Allmendinger, TJ Majors, Martin Truex Jr all race there). Next
race is June 30th at 9:30 pm est at the famed Milwaukee Mile! (Joey Logano
helped them set that track up last year in development by the way)

Also, it is featured in Daytona’s 500 Experience center, which opened
yesterday (tuesday).

Here’s an update on last night’s sim racing:

Sim Racing Update: June 24, 2008
The SIM race itself last night went well, a few more cautions than expected, but since
these guys had not races together before, it kind of was not a total surprise. 43 cars
started and I think 33 were in the running at the end. A few self spins
early, the majority of the field was in contention with 20 laps left. This
caused for some extra laps at the end (Arca has unlimited
Green-White-Checkers), and ultimately a last lap move to the front by Josh
Parker and eventual race winner! Money raised for MRO was about $450 in
purse, and several drivers are donating 1/2 or all their race winnings as
well. A rebroadcast is available for offline post race viewing at:
http://www.PSRTV.com (MRO)

A few highlights of sim racing in ARCA sim:

You can have up to 43 cars participate at once (and 43 Live spotters)
Tracks raced are SuperSpeedway, Speedway, Short Track, Dirt oval and
soon even a Road Course!
Simulation has all 5 major manufacturers represented (Toyota, Ford,
Dodge, Chevy and Pontiac)
Scoring can be done in Arca format or Sprint Cup
Drivers seen in online races: Allmendinger, Truex, Dale Jr, McDowell,
Brad Coleman, Colin Braun, Logano, and many more
Software is currently used in preparation and as a traing tool for many
drivers not only in ARCA, but all the major motorsports

** really cool video of AJ racing at Pocono at the Myspace page ( first
one: www.myspace.com/arcasimracing )

Thanks to Bobby Waltrip and Lee Bob for hanging out on “Dialed In” with me last night. They are a hoot aren’t they?

MADISON INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY ALL STAR CHALLENGE
Tuesday Night, June 24 -RESULTS

Here’s an update on racing last night at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsin as the All Star Challenge featured NASCAR superstars Kyle Busch, Matt Kennseth and Tony Stewart. Here’s the finishing order:

SWISS COLONY ALLSTAR CHALLENGE
Madison International Speedway

(Starting position in parentheses)

(2) Steve Carlson
(3) Matt Kenseth
(7) Andrew Morrissey
(11) Nathan Heseleu
(22) Travis Sauter
(5) Rich Bickle
(13) Chris Wimmer
(14) Steve Rubeck
(1) Tim Schendel
(15) Dave Feiler
(17) Steve Holzhausen.
(10) Kyle Busch
(20) Chad Wood
(18) Frank Kreyer
(24) Andy Monday
(9) Tony Stewart
(4) Dan Lensing
(16) Jonathon Eilen
(21) Dan Jung
(6) Nick Hammer
(12) Jeremy Lepak
(8) Bobby Wilberg
(19) Zach Riddle
(23) Eugene Gregorich Jr.

Here’s a link to my buddy Dave Kallmann (Milwaukee Journal Sentinal) who covered the event last night:
http://blogs.jsonline.com/racing/archive/2008/06/24/carlson-first-kenseth-second.aspx

_____________________________

I know that a lot of folks in and around racing have been talking about the Scott Kalitta NHRA tragedy- and you know when we first saw the tape over the weekend we were all shocked – everyone in racing that I know -in NASCAR in the garage– mentioned that it was clear that Kalitta did not have room to stop before his vehicle hit the retaining wall.

The shutdown area seemed insufficient even to those who are not experts – even to casual race fans of another series. I have received a great deal of email on this. This has touched people even if they don’t follow NHRA racing or know Kalitta- because any death in racing in any series is a travesty and also really bad for racing in general.

This death, even as I head to New Hampshire to cover NASAR which has become increasingly safer over the past few years, thank God, saddens all of us. Here is the information regarding Scott’s memorial and where donations can be made. Some of you have asked for this information.

Memorials for NHRA Racer Scott Kalitta
A public memorial service to celebrate the life of Scott Kalitta will be held this Thursday, June 26 at 7 p.m. at Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center, 350 Shady Lane Drive, Norwalk, OH 44857. The Kalitta family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to these charities close to Scott’s heart:

Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School
Attn: Development Office
315 41st Street West
Bradenton, FL 34209
(His sons attend this school)

B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe)
c/o Doug Herbert Performance Parts
1443 E. Gaston St.
Lincolnton, NC 28092 http://www.putonthebrakes.com

Cards for Scott’s family can be sent to:
Kalitta Air
818 Willow Run Airport
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Email condolences can be sent to:
champion@kalittaracing.com

Prayers from here for his family.

Take care…more later. I sure appreciate all your IM’s and email and calls into the show. It means a lot to get to know you all!

Claire B.

sunday blog June 22, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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Good Morning from Brew Town!
 
How’s everyone? At the Milwaukee Mile last night -Carl Edwards racked up his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of 2008 and his first win at The Milwaukee Mile. Fans were screaming for him to demonstrate his backflip after the win- they were calling for it from the stands- but he declined. Edwards tried to move inside Clint Bowyer after the race’s eighth caution, and the two made contact on lap 226, sending Bowyer up the track in Turn 2. Edwards said he would forego the backflip this time for two reasons – because he wasn’t proud of shoving Clint Boyer aside and because of drag racer Scott Kalitta’s death earlier in the day.
 
Speaking of Kalitta’s tragic accident- although I cover NASCAR on the road we’re all one racing family in the sport – it’s very sad. Racers always tempt fate – seemingly none more than the drag racers.  I for one did not enjoy the continuous running of the tape of the crash. ESPN announcers said they had the tape and then instructed folks to look away if they wanted while they played it . That was too much for me. I gotta ask you this -do we have to document a guys death on Youtube? I’ll bet if you looked at the number of hits for the You Tube of the crash the numbers are through the roof. Something about that is sick to me – call me wrong if you like. It’s a sport – but a man lost his life – how many of us want to watch that tape? Not me.
 
Prayers for his family and cheers for him doing what he wanted with his life and living it wide open – no regrets as he came back from retirement more than once to do what he wanted to do. God Speed.
 
Milwaukee last night was buzzing over the Nationwide guys being in town. I can’t tell you how cool it is that they appreciate every single one of the Nationwide racers – not just the superstars. It is a grassroots kind of racing when it’s a stand alone race and the Wisconsin race fans were full of appreciation for the sport.
 
Carl Edwards pulled it off and is back in winning form in the NNS. Want to hear what he and his crew chief had to say post win?
 

CARL EDWARDS AND CREW CHIEF DREW BLICKENSDERFER
 
CARL EDWARDS – No. 60 Save-a-Lot Ford Fusion  TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN. “First of all, a huge thanks to Erik Darnell.  I’m sure Drew would say the same.  He did a really good job and that was very much appreciated by me.  I also have to thank PK [Pierre Kuettel]. We made this crew chief swap this week and I think Drew would also agree with me that PK did almost all the work on this car and got it set up to come here.  He’s a huge part of this win. We’re thinking about him. It just feels good to win a race for Save-a-Lot and for our team and for everybody at the shop and all the guys who’ve been working hard and sticking with this program even though we haven’t won a race for a long time.  It means a lot to have all that support.  This win is a huge relief.”
 
DREW BLICKENSDERFER – No. 60 crew chief – TALK ABOUT YOUR FIRST NIGHT ON THE PIT BOX WORKING WITH CARL. “Obviously it went pretty well. I’m kind of hating to go to Loudon next week, I might mess something up.  At Roush Fenway, we do things in a way that really inspires teams.  The 17 team and the 60 team and the 6 and the 16, all of our crew chief offices are within five feet of each other. We all know what everybody else is doing. We all stay in constant communication. We work hand-in-hand with each other’s team. So coming over to the 60 wasn’t anything new. The guys knew who I was; I knew they were.  It isn’t like I switched teams.  I just went to a different car number, really under the same team, Roush Fenway.  It wasn’t difficult at all coming over to work with a guy like Carl, obviously that makes everything a little easier.”
 
CARL EDWARDS  – WAS THERE REALLY ANY TIME TO ESTABLISH ANY CHEMISTRY WITH DREW TONIGHT OR TODAY AT ALL? “No, we’ve talked for a total of about 10 minutes. We learned a little bit about the way we communicate today.  It was a long race with a lot of pit stops and a real chassis race, so we got talk a lot during the race.  Jason Hedlesky [spotter] actually joked around one time that we talked for a whole lap under caution and Jason thought that was funny. We’re just getting to know one another and hopefully this is a relationship that continues in this manner for a long, long time and that would be very cool for me.” WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT DREW THAT HE’S ABLE TO COME INTO HIS FIRST RACE WITHOUT ANY TIME WITH YOU AND WIN RIGHT AWAY? “I think it says a lot about Drew and his composure.  I mean, he got pretty much called into meeting and told what was going to happen and was very cool that PK and Drew and all the guys on both teams were all okay with all the changes. Everyone kept their heads up and went forward.  I think that says a lot about Drew and PK and all the guys that change like this that we can do it without missing a beat.”
 
 CAN YOU RUN THROUGH THE CHRONOLOGY? YOU MUST HAVE SEEN EACH OTHER BUT YOU BARELY KNEW EACH OTHER ON TUESDAY OR HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? “Yeah, I was just asking him now exactly how to pronounce his last name. I’ve been calling him ‘Drew’ all week because I didn’t want to mess up his last name.”

 
DREW BLICKENSDERFER  – “Obviously, we’re around each other by the race and we’re around each other’s teams at the race track. I probably talked today more to Carl than I talked to Matt [Kenseth] in two years. And we got to talk together more today on the radio that we’ve spoken in the whole time that I’ve been at Roush and he’s been at Roush. Today was a pretty important day for us to get it off that way and looking forward to Loudon where he’s actually in the car in practice and we get to find out exactly what loose means and tight means and each other’s lingo.”
 
CARL EDWARDS CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE BATTLE WITH BOWYER, HOW YOU SET THAT UP AND WHAT HAPPENED? “What happened with Clint, I’m not real proud of.  I like Clint a lot and I have a lot of respect for him and I just got into him. I dove for the bottom and there wasn’t enough room and I hit him.  That’s what happened.  When we restarted, he kind of left the bottom opened and I got in there a couple of times and I felt like my car was really good there.  When he went into [turn] one, I thought he was going to leave it open and I stuffed a nose down there and hit him.  I’m just glad he didn’t wreck.”
 
IT’S MORE THAT A YEAR SINCE YOU WON. WAS THERE A POINT WHERE IT WAS EATING AT YOU REAL BAD? “Yeah, that’s what we do.  I’m a competitor and I want to win more than anything in the world. So, yeah, it’s very frustrating to do all this interviews and they put up the chart and say, ‘Look how great your 2007 season started.  Look how terrible it’s been since then.’ Those are terrible graphics that somebody made up that I have to talk about seems like all the time.  It’s very nice to get back into victory lane. It’s very good.  This is what Jack [Roush] pays me to do and that’s what the sponsors are all counting on and that’s what the whole team works for – to win.”
 
YOU PASSED ON THE TYPICAL CELEBRATION BECAUSE? “The back flip is something that I do because I’m real excited to win and I feel like doing it when I win.  Today, with what happened with Mr. Kalitta and the way I passed Clint, I just didn’t feel like doing a back flip.  I felt bad for the fans, they were a little upset about it, but hopefully we’ll come back here next year and we’ll do it again and I’ll give them a really nice one.”
 
WHAT’S IT LIKE FOR YOU TO HAVE SAVE-A-LOT ON BOARD, NOT A REGULAR SPONSOR AND GET THE WIN? “It’s very good to get the win for Save-a-Lot.  I felt like we could have won at Las Vegas and we ended up wrecked there.  Then we had a spectacular crash at Talladega with them. I was kind of thinking this white car is not that lucky. I couldn’t believe it when they threw the white flag and I made it all the way around and then the checkered flags. It worked. It happened. That’s very cool.  They’re a great company. We’ve had a lot of fun so far. We’re actually going to do a production day there next week and it will be very cool to go to their headquarters in St. Louis on the heals of a win.”
 
 
DREW BLICKENSDERFER  – WILL YOU USUALLY WEAR A RACE UNIFORM OR FIRESUIT? DID YOU NOT WEAR ONE BECAUSE OF HOW FAST THINGS CHANGED? “Actually, I don’t.  I don’t wear a fire suit.  I normally would have a crew shirt on, but yeah, things went fairly fast this week. I kind of went away from wearing a firesuit; the way NASCAR has it know.  If you don’t meet minimum speed you gotta go behind the wall and fix it.  If I need to go over the wall, there’s big problems. We have very qualified guys, especially on the 60; they’re a full time team. Darrell Morrow is too qualified to be a car chief in the Nationwide Series.  He can take care of anything that needs to be done over there. I wore a firesuit changing tires, so I kind of want to stay cool and maybe breathe a little easier without one.”
 
CARL EDWARDS – DO YOU THINK THIS WILL AFFECT WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO TOMORROW? GETTING TO AND FROM SONOMA? “No, if we can get out of here pretty quick and get a little sleep on the plane, this is what I prepare for. I try to be as physically fit as I can be. Tomorrow’s going to be fun. It’s going to be really hot and pretty strenuous and that’s what I train for.  I’m really looking forward to it. As long as Clint is not too mad and I don’t have to race around him, we’ll be all right.”
 
——————————
Listener E-Mail: RE: Carls Win:
 
What was Edwards thinking?  He could have let Lagono win so he could have jumped on an earlier flight out to CA.  Now he’ll have to do all of the victory lane stuff.   All of the guys doing double duty seemed to do OK., wonder how they’ll do Sun.  They better fill up on WI beer and cheese.  Remember to drink a Leinenkugels for Paul Menard – he’ll blame you if he doesn’t do well and you didn’t drink one.
 
 Let those of us who couldn’t see the race know how Edwards managed to lap EVERYONE.  Incredible.  I really wish Joey could have pulled it off.  Hats off to Landon Cassle getting 3rd in the truck series at 18 years old and Michael Annett coming in 6th in his first truck start.  It’s so fun to watch the young guys start off well so we can get excited watching them climb the ranks and hoping they do well each time they climb to a new series.
 
I bet it’s sad to be leaving WI.  Nice of you to cover trucks and Nationwide.  I think all of your listeners agree that you need to broadcast from pubs more often.  You never know who you might meet.
 
_________________________
 
Ha! I got a kick out of that email above. I’m totally psyched for today’s road course race at Infineon. I’ve had a ton of IM’s this morning from fans who are trying to predict who will show their stuff today – and might surprise fans with road course savvy.  I’m looking forward to it.
 
Enjoy the race!  
Claire B.

saturday Blog June 21, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Trackside.
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Greetings from The Milwaukee Mile where I’m sitting in the deadline media room – having just come in from a trip to the garage. The weather is beautiful the fans are so down to earth and appreciative of the show coming to Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Mile is simply one of the sport’s classic race tracks.
 
It’s hard with so much going on in the Sprint Cup garage each week to pay these guys the attention they deserve. This weekend is my effort to do hang out with these guys in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Nationwide Series with no distractions.
 
No huge news here – just shooting the breeze with the guys in the garage and casual conversations with the Nationwide drivers. It should be a good show.
 
These series are incredible and you really get to appreciate them even more when you can focus on them alone for just one weekend . I am also monitoring what’s going on at Infineon Raceway – where the road course racing weekend provides some interesting twists and turns:
 
Tony Stewart Qualifies 39th at Infineon: GEEZE
 
What the heck is happening with the Home Depot team? Even here in the media center at The Milwaukee Mile – the media folks are talking about what happened to Tony Stewart in his qualifying effort at Infineon. Here are his comments:
 
Q: Knowing where you guys are going to line up Sunday, what can you guys do to improve your chances on Sunday?

Stewart: “We just gotta get the car driving as good as we can.  Obviously qualifying sucked.  I was fairly happy with race practice this morning in race trim.  We’re going to have a long way to go, but we’ll just do it like we’ve done before.”

Q: How much of that was qualifying set up, if you had race set up in it, how much does that affect you?
Stewart: “I honestly don’t know.  The track just felt slicker to me.  Obviously there are guys that went faster than what they did in practice and we weren’t one of them.  If I had the answer to why that happened, we wouldn’t be have been in the situation we’re in, obviously.  We definitely don’t want to start deep in the field like that because it makes for a long day – you don’t ever get a chance to take care of your stuff.  You have to fight the whole day.  It makes it to where you lose your equipment early in the race and you hope you have everything left at the end of the day you hope you have brakes left when you get down to the point that it really matters.  We don’t have the luxury of just sitting there and riding around to protect your car.  You have to battle the whole way.”

Q: Have you ever started this deep in the field and done well?
Stewart: “I guarantee this is the worse will have ever started on a road course.  I don’t know.  I’ll have an answer for you on Sunday afternoon after it’s over.  Right now it’s going to be a long way to go.”

Q: You have started from the back before and made up ground -this won’t be as easy:
Stewart: ……”It’s not a Michigan where you have five different spots where you can be at on a race track.  The apex of the corner is the apex of the corner, there’s only one preferred groove around here.  Everybody is going to be in the same mode where we are having to start – they’re going to try to work there way forward and that’s the hard part about it.  Everybody is going to be battling for the same thing all day.”

Q: Can you talk about Patrick Carpentier’s progression?
Stewart: “He’s got a ton of talent and I like him.  He’s got a very open attitude to what’s going on here.  He doesn’t have an ego and is willing to listen to anyone that will give advice.  That’s always the best attitude to come here with.  It’ll help him go a long way.  What he’s done just getting in some of these races being a go or go home guy has been impressive.  That talent is going to carry through to the racing, too.”
 I got a kick out of how Kevin Harvick (Qualified 32nd) handled local media at Sonoma asking about a story that was covered in full last week – the special drivers meeting called by NASCAR. He was asked about the same old thing one time too many :
Q: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF NASCAR’S DISCUSSION WITH THE DRIVERS ABOUT THEIR “WHINING”?  Harvick: “Last week is over.”

Q: DO THEY WANT YOU TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION OR NOT WANT YOU TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION? Harvick: “If they wanted you to know that, they would have invited you to the meeting. It is none of your business, how about that, is that better?  (CHUCKLED)
Q: HOW IS THE KHI DRUG TESTING PROGRAM GOING? Harvick: “We are done setting it up. We go through our whole month of drug testing, the randoms that come out every week. We are all set there; we are just waiting on NASCAR’s final investigation and see where they go with it. We will give them the six weeks that they asked for, then we will put the heat back on.”
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE ROAD COURSE RINGERS SOME TEAMS BRING IN TO SONOMA? Harvick: “They are really fast, but the usually end up running in to something for the day is all said and done.”
And Dale Earnhardt, Junior ( Qualified 15th) who talked about, among other things Tiger Wood.

Q: HOW WAS PRACTICE?
Junior:  “It’s alright.  We are struggling a little bit but we always do.  I don’t know, I’m not very good at road racing.  So we’ll just try to do the best we can.”

Q:CONSIDERING WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS AND EVERYTHING ARE YOU RELAXED THIS WEEKEND EVEN THOUGH IT’S A ROAD COURSE, YOU KNOW EVEN IF YOU SCREW UP IT’S NOT GOING TO MATTER?  
 
Junior: “Oh, I’m going to screw up.  Trust me I’ll screw it up.  Yeah, it’s good to know you got a cushion. I think I can get through Watkins Glen okay I just don’t run good here.  Never liked coming here.  Don’t like the track, it’s not a fun track to compete on.  It’s fun to go around and goof off and raise a little bit of hell.  I don’t like being in competition on it, it’s difficult and these cars ain’t built for it know what I mean.”

Q: KYLE PETTY YESTERDAY WAS SAYING IF TIGER WOODS WENT TWO YEARS WITHOUT WINNING, GOLF MAY NOT SURVIVE IT, BUT HE SAYS THIS SPORT IS STRONG ENOUGH THAT IT COULD SURVIVE SOMETHING LIKE THAT.  CAN YOU COMMENT ON THAT?  
 
Junior: “I think golf would survive it.  All Tiger Woods has got to do is show up.  He don’t have to win every week.  When he does win its great, it’s great for his legacy and just adds more to him being the greatest that’s ever played the game.  Him just being there, hell you know what I mean.  Just being able to see the man play is what people go for.  If he wins, then they were there to see it.”

SOME PEOPLE FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT YOU, THE REASON THEY COME HERE IS TO SEE YOU WIN.  “I’m a lucky guy.  Very fortunate.”
 
I was glad to see that Max Papis and Boris Said got in the show at Infineon. Max was so worried – and almost sick about it – and Boris the same.
 
It’s rough for JJ Yeley, Scott Riggs, Dario Franchitti and Brandon Ash who did not make the show. Franchitti has had some tough breaks – I’ve never met anyone up close and personal who I sensed was more determined not to give up than Dario.  He is such a calm, poised decent guy when you chat with him – but he’s much tougher than he seems from afar. I get the idea talking with him that that guys will take almost any set back and come out of it even more determined not to give up.
 
Here in Milwaukee they are about to hold a news conference with the Wisconsin drivers – and I’m headed in to cover it. Stay tuned for more updates.
 
Take care…
 
More tidbits later.
 
Claire B
XM Satellite Radio
 

POSTCard From: West Allis, Wisconsin June 19, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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2006 Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225Image via WikipediaPOSTCard
From: West Allis, Wisconsin
Claire B Lang BlOG – Thursday June 19, 2008

Hey! Ok – yesterday I did shots, of reality, as I took “Dialed In” To Paulie’s Pub & Eaterie across the street from the historic Milwaukee Mile. It was crazy (what was I thinking?) – there I was doing a three hour broadcast while people were banging dice cups on the table (reminds me of old times) shooting dice and putting down shots and drafts. As I did the broadcast I watched one young guy celebrating the day of his divorce right across from where I was broadcasting talking about the significance of a road course.

I got a kick out of just going out on the road. I live at a race track pretty much – so it’s cool to go out and run into folks and just ask them what they think about things in general and chew the fat (cheese curds) while talking about topics of the day in NASCAR. I took the broadcast to Milwaukee a day early so that I could see my family so the bar was full of mostly regulars. Today, Paulies will be packed not only with patrons but with the race fans who are coming into town to enjoy the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Nationwide Series races here at the Milwaukee Mile. I’m thinking what kind of trouble am I going to get into today? Yesterday, there were times, I could hardly hear myself or the people I was interviewing talk – it was so loud – as people simply enjoyed the late afternoon on a beautiful day in Miwaukee. Today, I’m sure it will be insane and the bar will be packed. Hope you can come along for the ride.

And yes, I was kidding about the shots. I never could handle them.

Last night, after the show, I went to the ball game of my brother’s kid Alex and sat in the stands in Milwaukee on a cool evening at a local ball park and watched the nephew I never get to see cover first base. I don’t get many chances like that and I soaked it up totally.

Shots of reality today on “Dialed In” from Paulie’s Pub and Eatery adjacent to the Milwaukee Mile at 4:00 EST on XMSN Channel 144

Speaking of reality -I wanted to catch you up on what Brian Vickers was so upset about after the race at Michigan. He ended up talking to NASCAR about it. Here’s what he told me:

CBL: Brian you had some questions after the race out on pit road -this past weekend. Did you ever go to NASCAR and got the full explanation so that now you understand better or have a better view of it?
Vickers: “So I had some questions about at the end of the race before the last caution – we passed the 8 car about two laps before the caution came out and then under caution they put the 8 car in front of us and to be honest with you I was furious. I was pretty upset about it and rightfully so and you know wanted an explanation as to why that took place. I feel that in a lot of ways that cost us a shot at the race. You know there’s no guarantees what would have happened but it definitely hurt us. I did talk to them after the race and they said they made an honest mistake – they said the 8 car was supposed to be behind you and you know I think that’s all you can ask for. I mean – you know it’s like when a driver on the race track gets into you. It makes all the difference in the world if they call you up the next day and say, ‘Man I’m sorry. I messed up, I’m sorry, you know lets just move forward from here on out.’ And I totally respect that. I mean I have made many, many mistakes in my life and I will probably make many more and I think that the important thing is to own up to it and move on. Unfortunately, in our sport – and if I was in the tower I couldn’t do any different. You can’t just call a time out and go look at the replay and sort it out. I mean you’re talking about – you look at a football game and they get a bad call on the field and they call a time out and they fix it and they move on. Well that’s one call. For those guys it’s 43 calls up in the tower – they got 43 positions to sort out every caution not one and it’s a tough job – you know. And they can’t just pause the race – they got guys running out of fuel and the race is coming to an end and it’s time to go green and get the checkered out there so you know it’s time to move on.
But, you know, they did say they made a mistake and owned up to it and that’s all you can ask for.”

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for more from Milwaukee.

Enjoy the day!

Claire B
XM Satellite Radio

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How Funny Things Can Be Sometimes…Brand Conflicts June 17, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, Fun Stuff.
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Hi Claire,
Thought you might get a kick out of this. Tony Stewart beans for sale…be sure to scroll down to see where bought by my daughter in law to be.
TonysBeans

She works at Menards. Needless to say they pulled em off the shelf immediately.
TonysBeans2
Ray
_______________

Thanks Ray!
Claire B

Driver Tidbits…. June 17, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, Fun Stuff.
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Good Morning! There were some interesting comments from the drivers recently that I’m not sure that you caught and wanted to share them with you:

Tidbits from drivers driving for free – to what they eat – to cooling in the car:

Claire B
XM Satellite Radio

PS I’m leaving for Milwaukee tomorrow morning to cover the Milwaukee Mile and the race at Infineon. Stay tuned.
____________________

MARK MARTIN ON DRIVING FOR FREE:

Q: THERE ARE A LOT OF GUYS WHO SAY THEY WOULD DRIVE FOR FREE, WOULD YOU DO IT? “I Mark Martin: did last year for the Wood Brothers. Don’t think he (Kyle Busch) is the only guy that ever did it for free. I just never bragged about it. You might be the first person I told about it. I bragged on Kyle, I am not going to get up here and make everybody sick from bragging on Kyle. I paid him a compliment, a very very good compliment and I give plenty. But that is a significant thing that he drives, from what I understand, for the trophy. That is what I did with JTG/Wood brothers last year. So he isn’t the only guy that has ever done that, there are many more. But it is still is significant. But he is also 23 years old. If you are in between, it may be more important that you are making a living than it is when you are like me or when you are first starting.”

____________________

JIMMIE JOHNSON ON WHAT HE EATS BEFORE AND DURING (YES DURING) THE RACE:

Q: WHAT DO YOU DO, DIET-WISE OR MENTALLY TO DEAL WITH THE HEAT?
Johnson: “You’ve got to stay hydrated. You’ve got to prepare a couple days in advance. A big part of it is drinking enough fluid during the race. It sounds crazy but you’re not hungry or thirsty when you’re out there. You’re focused on other things. So Gatorade has a really cool in-car system that has been very helpful for us….. I drank five liters of Gatorade during the race at Pocono and I was out of Gatorade on the last pit stop. I was just sitting there the whole time forcing yourself to drink. Also eating during the event it helpful so you keep your energy up.”

CAN YOU EAT DURING THE RACE?
Johnson: “We try to. They make me eat stuff during pit stops. As they’re changing the right side tires they’ll set some food in there and I have a little pouch on the side of the door I can put it if I can’t get to it, or if I can get it into my mouth before they’re around jacking the left side of the car, I’ll try to eat it. It’s power bars and stuff like that.”

DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL DIET LIKE PASTA A COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE THE RACE?
Johnson: “I don’t see a lot of people focused so much on the diet side. Diet is a big part of it and carbs are in everything. Hydration and making sure you get the right fluids in you during the course of the race is important.”

____________________

Denny Hamlin On The Fans In His Car and Changes To Make It Cooler

Q: Did you change anything about your car for this weekend to make it cooler?
Hamlin: “That’s one thing that I did address just now with my team. We need to do better with our fans inside the race car. Even on the Nationwide Series we have three or four driver fans that we have operating at all times blowing on the driver. Those races are half the distance and we don’t have any over on the Cup side. That’s something as a team that we need to work on. I don’t know whether they’re not in there for performance reasons or what have you. We used to have it and we don’t have it now. I think we kind of got a little bit complacent there and in the future I’m sure we’re going to have plenty of ventilation.”

What do you think it will take to change the cooling systems?
Hamlin: “I think it’s going to take a compromise of both. I think it’s going to take 75 percent on the teams to get better at it and I think it’s going to take 25 percent of NASCAR helping us with — hey, can we get away with running a hose here and there. Maybe it’s not totally within the rules but it’s really going to help driver comfort and driver cooling. I think as long as NASCAR is open to being lenient to things like that it’s going to be better for everyone.”

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