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Morning from Daytona July 5, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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20080217-kab-1392Image by kBasarab via FlickrGood morning from Daytona. I hope you all are enjoying the 4th of July weekend.
The garage doesn’t open for hours so I thought I’d write you a quick post -ramping up to the start of tonight’s race. I’m in my hotel room writing you a quick blog before heading to the track.

Race Couch Notes:

Tonight’s Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup Series race will be televised on TNT, beginning with a 90-minute prerace show at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Sprint Cup Garage opens -3:00 p.m.
Driver Crew Chief Meeting -6:00 p.m.
Driver Introductions -7:30 p.m.
Green Flag 8:00 p.m. -(160 laps – 400 miles)

PACE LAP: Kyle Petty:

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran and TNT analyst Kyle Petty will serve as the honorary pace car driver for the 50th running of the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Petty, who is a member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family of Drivers will pace the 43- car field in a Chevrolet Corvette Z08 before the race goes green.

Oh No – Thunderstorms!

Check out the weather – the Garage opens at 3:00 p.m. – the rain chances start at 1:00 today (scattered thunderstorms) and build up to 50% by race time (depending on which weather forecast site you use – the chances could change.) Please tell me that this race will not be delayed by rain into the early morning hours. I always wonder with the race taking so much mental focus how those delayed Daytona nights are not grueling for the drivers mentally.


What was Carl Edwards upset about?:

Carl Edwards (finished 11th) was upset after he got out of the car after the Nationwide Race last night right? Carl Edwards:
“Yeah, real upset. When Colin Braun wrecked on the back straightaway, I was 100 feet in front of Clint Bowyer and then on the restart, because I drove through the grass, I didn’t go through their timing loop there, so they scored me behind Clint, which was very frustrating. I felt like we had a chance to win. And then on the restart, it just didn’t work out for us. Very, very frustrating. Congrats to Denny and those guys, they did a great job, and I hope the fans enjoyed the race tonight. It was a lot of fun out there on the race track.”

Who the heck is racing against me?

Dale Junior (finished 3rd) thought Tony Stewart was in the #20 Nationwide car – Hamlin (race winner) got a kick out of it when told in the media center after the race that Dale Junor thought he was racing Tony Stewart all night: Denny Hamlin:
“I think honestly a lot of the confusion probably is cause it’s the same colors as what Tony usually runs but – I don’t know – my head is a lot smaller than his (Tony’s) so you couldn’t see that – but ahh I don’t know you could take it as another thing as I was driving a lot like Tony which is a compliment in my eyes. If I was driving like Tony on a super speedway that’s pretty dang good so I’ll take it. (Pause). Maybe he would not have helped me if he woulda knew it was me.

Missed Pit Stop Communication – What was that about?

What happened with the missed communication on the pit stops with Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin? Kyle Busch:
“We were going down the back straightaway and it was 78 or 77 — one of the two and we were either supposed to be on pit road on lap 78 or 79 — I don’t remember which one. But anyways, we were going down the back and it was one lap shy of when we were supposed to come in and Denny was waving like, ‘I’m pitting this time, I’m pitting this time.’ And so I figured if he was going to come this time then I’m just going to come with him and he came off of turn four and kept digging and I was slowing down so I don’t know what happened there. I don’t know why he was waving unless he was just saying hi. Somehow we just missed communication there. It didn’t really matter much. I got out in front of him after the pit stops were over and he charged right back through the field and had one lap fresher tires, which really didn’t make the difference. He just had a faster car and got by us all.”

The Nationwide Cup Freight Train:
Brian Clauson was the top Raybestos Rookie in the Nationwide Series Winn Dixie 250 last night. Did he have drafting help during the race?

Clauson: “For a little bit. In the beginning of the race a lot of the Cup guys banded together and it looked like a Cup freight train rolling by me for a while.We kind of settled back in there and picked our way towards the front and you just kind of all of a sudden got pretty loose and I’m not sure if we were off a little bit on air pressure or what but about 20 laps into a run we’d just get real, real loose. It’s hard to really pass a guy unless I had him cleared mid-corner, kind of use up the racetrack because anytime I have to pinch it off the rear end would come around on us. But like I said we had a good car and I threw it away there at the end. We had a really strong car there and the driver made an error on that restart and missed a shift and cost us. I’m really disappointed for my team. They gave me a great car. We kind of fell off there in the middle of the race, got real loose. Not sure what happened there but we were still a top-five, top-10 car there. Just made a mistake and cost us a good finish.” He finished 19th after starting from the pole.

That’s it for now. Time to get over to the race track. More later. Enoy!

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Happy 4th of July- Big Hendrick Announcement July 4, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Drivers, NASCAR.
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Mark MartinImage via WikipediaHey all! Good morning. God Bless the troops – remember what 4th of July is really about – and God speed their safe return to America if they are serving overseas.

I arrived here in the media center at 8:00 a.m. and there was no one here. I’ts July 4th and I guess everyone figured the garage doesn’t open until 9:00 and it’s a holiday. I wanted to get in early and write you all a note and get some things done before everything starts cooking here.

The big Hendrick driver announcement will be today at 12:30 p.m. (I’ll have an update on the sports nation (Channel 144) during the breaking news update right after 12:30 p.m. – It’s funny – almost everyone in the garage has talked about Mark Martin joining Hendrick Motorsports in the #5 car -in a round about way.

Drivers on Mark Martin – as heard in the garage Thursday, July 3rd. (One day before the announcement):

Aric Almirola:

“Yeah, but I’ve talked to him about it and he is still the same Mark Martin. He’s going to be at the race track and if anything, it would almost be better because now weekends that I’m in the race car, he’s going to be in the race car too so I can walk over and grab him and speak with him for a second and ask him if his car is doing this or that or whatever. He’s been a big help for me this year with stuff on and off the race track, but I think he’ll be just as much of a help to me for the rest of my career. He’s a phenomenal race car driver and he’s taught me a lot and hopefully he doesn’t stop teaching me.

Dale Earnhardt Jr:

Q. (Question regarding Mark Martin.)
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: They haven’t announced anything yet. Mark’s a great racecar driver. He’s done a great job driving the No. 8 car this year. He’s a veteran that all the guys look up to. He’s a great tutor for the sport, for young guys. I think that anybody that gets a chance to work with him can learn a lot.

Q. (Question regarding retirement and keeping going.)
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: A lot of different reasons. You know, it’s really hard to put it down, I suppose. As tough as the schedule is, it’s pretty hard to just stop and not do nothing or do something else, I suppose.

Jeff Gordon:

Q. Is there still something you could learn from him?
JEFF GORDON: You know, I learn from everybody. But I absolutely will learn from Mark. Mark has amazing patience, but he has amazing drive and commitment. You know, you look at the shape that he’s in. You know, there’s not too many guys – I’m not saying he’s old – I’m just saying not too many guys are out there, you know, or have been out there in the past at his age that are as competitive as he is through all the changes that have gone on through cars, teams, everything else. You know, that to me is one of the many things I admire about him.

Tony Stewart:

Do you think Mark Martin is capable of winning a championship at his age?

“Oh, absolutely. There’s no doubt in my mind. I think eight or 10 years from now he will still be able to win championships. He’s just that competitive. You look at how good of shape he’s in and how good of a job he does at taking care of himself. He’s a guy that could go as long as he really has the desire to go. You’re never going to lose that talent and that ability and as long as he stays healthy like he’s been doing, he realistically could do this for another eight or 10 years if he really wanted to.”

What is inside of an athlete that makes you want to keep doing this forever?

“The fact that you have that never quit attitude. It’s hard to walk away from something. I tried walking away from open wheel racing when I started my contract with Joe (Gibbs) and J.D. (Gibbs) in 1998. I quit running midgets and Sprint cars and that lasted about five months and I was back in a car. It’s hard to stay away when it’s something you spent your whole life and dedicated your whole life to it. It’s hard to just up and stop and do something different. I think it was nice for Mark (Martin) to be able to do a partial schedule this year and catch his breath a little bit. This series takes a lot out of you with all of the obligations and testing and everything that goes along with it. For him to not run the full schedule this year I think has kind of given him enough of a chance to catch his breath and get ready to go full-time again.”

And the race fans called “Dialed In” In droves Thursday to talk about Mark Martins choice. On Wednesday – almost all the fans called with critical comments about not retiring after he said he was going to. Thursday the Mark Martin fans called to support his decision saying that they were the kind of fans that settled their thoughts a little before calling. Here are some of the emails that I received:


Hey Claire,

On the Mark Martin thing, If I remember correctly, he never said retire. Just cutting back some after all the years of 36 and 37 races.
Besides, if all the so called Mark Martin fans who called in yesterday bitching and complaining about him going to Hendrick, first they should be mad at Jack Roush for not working with him on cutting back, second it’s not even confirmed as of yet that he is going to Hendrick……………..ok so we all know that, that is what’s going to be talked about tomorrow.
Shoot, the man has the right to race where ever and for who ever he wants or will hire him. Any team would be foolish not to hire hime, part time or full time.

Just my 8 cents worth.

Happy 4th to you, be safe and careful in your travels.

Were going racing this weekend……………well all right tomorrow night in the Camping World West at Irwindale. Will keep you posted on the results.

Hauler Driver
Borneman Motorsports
Send the 8 car

Hey clair i agree (fans should) lay off mark. Go jr. Send the 5 + 88 around

mitch in. Nm

Hey Claire,
Maybe the reason that they are so hard on Mark is because if you listen to some of his interviews, he always say that he loves this team or that team that he is currently on. Fans like drivers to stay with one team for alittle while. It is hard to follow a driver if there only in the car half of the races and they don’t get to see there driver all the time. My personal feeling is that it doesn’t matter. Mark Martin is a great driver either way.

With Tony Stewart it might be alittle different because it Tony decides to change teams there is a real good chance that Home Depot would go with him. Fans would not have to change that much. Maybe only the number.

Lisa in New Jersey



I would be so happy to have Mark on any time I could not cheer him on because if he won so did Theresa. That just ticked me off
Go mark
Sent from my iPhone

I’m all for what Mark Martin wants to do……..I just hope he know’s and understands what he “signs on for” since Rick Hendrick’s record shows he dumps drivers when something else better comes along……….”driver beware”.

Sandy from Georgia

Miss Claire,

I just went out to listen to your show.Now what is your opinion. Same as Mark Martin. are you glad that Bret is talking about coming back? or should he just stay retired? Mark said he was done and now he is still out there racing. Is it money or just the drive to drive? I used to like Mark But his flip floping makes me want to puke. Or does money Talk and b.s. walk? Yes i want Bret Back. He is Packer Football. But i think he should just be done and go to the Hall of Fame in 5 years.

Bill A.

Gulfport, Ms.

OK, so here’s the deal…Mark RETIRED, but then said he HAD to stick around for Jack Rousch. Then he had to help younger drivers. Then he could pick whatever he wanted. 26 races per year isn’t part-time, it’s messing up who he is “sharing” with. Eric hasn’t got any better and Regan Smith didn’t either because they never got to race. I remember “retiring” like Rusty – did you hear retire or is it just me? I didn’t pay for any merchandise so that’s not it. I am just sick of Mark doing what Mark wants to do. Who is he helping this time other than himself…
OK, I won’t bug anymore on this, but who didn’t hear retirement? Yeah, it’s his decision and it’s a bad one.

I’ll be back later after the Hendrick announcement with details here. Or, if anyone sneezes in the garage (which opens in ten min) I will let you know.

Happy 4th of July- be safe and enjoy!

Claire B

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BREAKING NEWS: Kerry Earnhardt to Drive Dale Earnhardt Inc. No. 8 Chevy in July Daytona Nationwide Race July 2, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Breaking News, Drivers.
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logo of Nationwide SeriesImage via WikipediaHere’s some news for you to sip with your coffee today – something for K. Earnhardt fans. I’m headed to the airport to fly to Orlando and then Daytona. I’ll catch you from Daytona at 4:00 EST from the XM Chevy Mobile Broadcast Unit. Have a good morning and thanks for all the calls and emails and IM’s – you all are the best!

Here’s the scoop:

For the first time in his career, Kerry Earnhardt, the son of seven-time NASCAR Champion Dale Earnhardt, will drive a Dale Earnhardt Inc. entry in a NASCAR race. Earnhardt will pilot the No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet in the July 4 Daytona 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

“I’ve won several races with DEI in an ARCA car, but I’m really looking forward to driving a fast car at Daytona under the DEI umbrella,” Earnhardt said. “I appreciate DEI giving me the opportunity to get back in a car; especially one that I know will be fast and competitive. I love running the speedways (Daytona and Talladega) and can’t wait for the weekend to get here.”

Earnhardt, who currently works at Dale Earnhardt Inc. as a team liaison, will be making his 70th career start in the series, but only his fifth Nationwide start since 2003. He most recently competed regularly in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2006.It will be Earnhardt’s ninth career Nationwide Series start at Daytona International Speedway.

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Felix Sabates Interview on ceasing operations of #40 Team July 2, 2008

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Shot by The Daredevil at Daytona during Speedw...Image via WikipediaNASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced (Tuesday) that due to a lack of sponsorship funding it will cease operation of the team’s No. 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Dodge driven by Dario Franchitti beginning this weekend in Daytona.

Felix Sabates told Claire B. Lang on “Dialed In” on XMSN (XM Channel 144) Tuesday evening that a number “in the low 70’s” of employees have been laid off.

CBL: You didn’t have a sponsor – people forget this team was unsponsored:

Sabates: “What happened to us we kind of got hung out to dry by Coors. Coors was with me for almost ten years and they had a management change and the new people come over and told us don’t worry about it – don’t look for a sponsor we’re going to be back with you in 2008, 2009 so we never looked for any sponsors and come October they come and tell us well Coors is going to do something else. They’re going to sponsor the NASCAR Coors pole and this and that so then it was too late (for the 2008 season)…so we have been running all year long without a sponsor.”

CBL: Talk about the options for Dario Franchitti:

Sabates: “Dario had a hard time with it. He made a change from the Indy Racing League to come here. But truth of the matter is he needs more seat time. We gave him an option to go in the Nationwide car because we do have a sponsor for the #40 Nationwide car. He’s going to decide what he’s going to do in the next few days and maybe he’ll be racing in Chicago (Nationwide race July 11)…..I hope he does get in the Nationwide car. He’s a very talented driver and if he gets a few more months under his belt maybe we can get a sponsor for next year and we can go racing next year.

Sabates told CBL on the cost of running the team and how much he’s paid to keep it running: – “It cost you $20 to $21, $22 million dollars to run a competitive team and if you run 15 races and you don’t have any money coming in you have already lost $10 or $11 million dollars.”

Sabates on Dario’s choices: “Chip pretty much told him if he wanted to go to back to Indy that, because it doesn’t cost near as much money there as it does here, and over there Chip is the Rick Hendrick of over here – so he can get a sponsor for an IRL car very easily. So he got his choice – if he wants to drive the Nationwide Car – get some more experience, maybe we’ll get a sponsor for next year or go back to the IRL it’s up to Dario – he has a contract and we intend to honor it.”

Sabates on what he thinks Dario will do: “At the end of the day – I think he will get in the Nationwide car- he needs more seat time anyway.”

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Posted by claireblang in Drivers.
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Dale Earnhardt, Jr.Image by Bristol Motor Speedway & Dragway via Flickr

I am told that there is absolutely no truth to the story/rumor that Dale Jr plans to be in Australia during NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion’s week in New York city racing V8 Supercar down under. Since the story ran that Junior planned to race in Australia I’ve been getting emails like this:

Hi Claire B:

I just read that Dale Jr plans to run a V8 Supercar race in Australia December 4-7. How does he plan to do that, when the banquet is December 5th?? Surely he doesn’t think he’s going to fall out of the top 10???? Can you get the scoop on this, please? Thanks.

– Tricia in CA

I contacted Mike Davis at JR Motorsports who said that the story about him racing V8 Supercars in Australia then is not true.

Of course, Dale Jr, who is focusing on getting in the chase would not have made plans to go out of the country during Champion’s week.

Claire B

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Claire B Mail & Mobile Unit Location Daytona July 1, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, mobile unit, NASCAR, Tracks.
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Thanks for all the great emails you’all send me. I have posted a collection over at my Claire B Mail site.

I have also put my mobile unit location update in for Daytona hit the “Mobile Unit Locator” tab above or click on this link https://claireblang.wordpress.com/mobile-unit-locator/