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BREAKING NEWS- Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards Probations! August 27, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, NASCAR.
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Hey! Well penalties are out on the Kyle Busch – Carl Edwards post race bumping. I thought that I’d post them right away. We’ll definitely talk about this today (4:00 EST) on “Dialed In”

KYLE BUSCH, CARL EDWARDS PLACED ON PROBATION FOR NEXT SIX RACES

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 27, 2008) – NASCAR announced today that it has placed Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards on probation for the next six races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of their on-track incident last Saturday at the conclusion of the race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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Ok talk about it amongst yourselves and either email me at insidercbl@aol.com or join me on “Dialed In” today and we’ll discuss it on air. By the way – what the heck does probation mean? Anything?

Claire B

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Kyle Bush vs. Carl Edwards Poll August 25, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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TRANSCRIPT Richard Childress Racing (RCR) News Conference August 23, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, Sponsors, Teams, Trackside, Transcripts.
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Saturday, August 23, 08
Bristol Motor Speedway

RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER OF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING, met with members of the media to announce the driver alignment for the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Impala SS and the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Impala SS for 2009. Full transcript:

RICHARD CHILDRESS: “We have talked to the press several times over the last few months and said we are going to let you know, we are going to let you know, who is the fourth driver, what we are going to do. We did a lot of work, Mike Dillon, Ben Schlosser, our whole group. We looked at all the competition throughout RCR, we have picked Casey Mears as the driver of our fourth team, which all teams are equal, but he will be driving the Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet next year.”

CASEY MEARS: “First of all, I am just very excited obviously to be a part of the Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet. To still be affiliated with Chevrolet is a big deal for me. Being a part of RCR is very exciting. Richard and I have known each other for quite a while now. He has been one of those guys throughout the garage that even though I was driving for other owners; he would talk to me quite a bit throughout the past few years. Always noticed if you did well, if you had a good race, he would come up and say something to me. I am very excited to be a part of their team. Excited to be partners with Clint (Bowyer), Jeff (Burton) and Kevin (Harvick). I think it is going to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to get started. Obviously being affiliated with Jack Daniel’s as well is a big thing for me; I am very excited about it. I just can’t wait to get started; I am ready to get going.”

CHILDRESS: “I have watched Casey’s career from the time he first came in, he has always impressed me. I have stood there and watched races with his Dad. He almost won the Michigan race one time and I think I was pulling for you about as hard as I was pulling for our cars. We are proud to have him and for Jack Daniel’s, we couldn’t be happier for everything they have done for the sport. What we are going to do with our Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, a great group of people to work with and very patient with RCR and so is Jack Daniel’s. Now I want to introduce our driver of the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, Clint Bowyer.”

CLINT BOWYER: “How is everybody? Hot? Just excited to be a part of all of this. Obviously about bringing Casey Mears on board. I have been a big fan of the Mears Gang for a long time. He is a family guy, just like all of us are. I think he will fit in our family just great. Looking to forward to the opportunity ahead of us. Real excited to work the General Mills people and having the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet on the track next year. Looking forward to it.”

CHILDRESS: “There have been a lot of questions asked about what we are doing and the one I get a lot is the points on the No. 07, are we changing them, what are we doing? The points will stay with the No. 07. We have all the confidence in the world in Clint and his team that we’re going to be ok there. We have some things working there as well. Right now, like we do every year at this time, we start evaluating our competition. Where we are at with all of our teams. We use Jeff’s and Kevin’s input a lot. Kevin is doing an appearance but Jeff is here, glad to have you Jeff. We are just thrilled about next year. We have our work cut out for us the next three weeks and that is what we are concentrating on right now is to get in to the Chase and at that point we want to be a championship contender which I know we will be. We’ve got to get through that and once we do that, then we will start addressing other things.”

Question: CASEY, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A FRESH START WITH ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER ORGANIZATION? “I am really excited. A little bit I have been to the shop looking around. Obviously RCR has all the equipment to be a championship contending team with all the success they had last year and this year. The tools are there, the parts and pieces are there. From what I can see and already knowing Clint, Jeff and Kevin, I think we are going to get along just fine. I am a big team player. That is how I like to race, that is what I like to do. I have seen a lot of success with it in the past in what I have done with other teams. Really looking forward to getting there, working with these guys, seeing what they have learned and just being a part of it. I think a good match for everybody. From the outside looking in, it feels like it is going to be a good fit. Obviously, with knowing Richard and the little bit that we have talked here and there, he is the type of guy I want to race for. I am ready to get started.

“I have a lot to focus on the remainder of this season and I am going to focus hard on that. I want to finish the season off strong, but as soon as that season is over, I am going to start focusing on this direction and look forward to getting started on it.”

Question: RICHARD, ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A WAY TO GET OWNER’S POINTS FROM SOMEONE IN THE TOP-35? “We are going to be just fine. We’ve did a lot of research and looked in to a lot of different things. At this time, we really can’t say what the plan is, but we are definitely working on a few things.”

Question: CLINT, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT STARTING NEXT YEAR WITH NO OWNER’S POINTS?
“It is like I told him (Richard), beats beatin’ dents in the body shop.”

Question: CLINT, HOW TOUGH IS IT FOR YOU TO MOVE AWAY FROM THE NO. 07, A TEAM YOU HELPED BUILD? “Absolutely, I have had a tremendous amount of fun and learned a lot from the Jack folks. Just great folks to work with. Uncle Jack is a good brand to tie your name to. I enjoyed it and it has been fun. Casey will do a good job with it. He is a pretty good looking dude so he will be able to market good and have fun with it. The biggest thing is, it is all about team work and making RCR bigger and better. Jeff, Kevin and I all three know we need a fourth driver and fourth team to be able to bring resources in and make our teams better, no matter who those teams are. Make us drivers better. Just looking forward to being part of the package and moving forward.”

Question: RICHARD, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT CREWS? “We are working on all of that at this time. Like I said, we aren’t going to get in to all of that. We are evaluating every direction, we have some really good plans. At this time, we’re not going to say what we are doing there because we have to concentrate on the next three weeks. This is really important, this is an important day for all of us. Bringing Casey on and Jack Daniel’s staying with us and General Mills with Laura Rather and her group over here, it is a special day. But, we all know what work we have cut out for us for the next three weeks. We have been working on this fourth team for quite a while and we have some great plans and no matter which way we go, it is going to be successful.”

Question: CASEY, HOW LONG IS THE DEAL AND ANY ASSURANCES THAT YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE THE SAME CREW AND THE SAME CREW CHIEF FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR?
“Right now we are focused on getting in to next year. Like Richard was saying, there is still a lot of details to work out about exactly how things are going to fold out and who is going to be with who. What’s going to happen there behind the scenes. But now that have gotten to this point, we can get back and evaluate that and find out who is going to be with who, what crew chiefs are going to go where, what team members are going to go where. I am looking forward to sorting a lot of that out in the next few weeks. From the RCR standpoint, they have a lot of things to focus on right now as far as getting in the Chase and then getting through the Chase. Once the dust settles, we will be working out a lot of those details. The deal is for three years.”

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Bristol Motor Speedway Blog- August 23, 2008 August 23, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, NASCAR, Teams, Trackside.
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Bowyer's 2007 car.Image via Wikipedia Hi all – Welcome to Bristol Motor Speedway! Sorry I’ve not blogged more – these two days are, seemingly, the fastest in motorsports. Thank you for all your kind emails and instant messages. I wish that all of you could be here to be a part of this race event. It’s one of the special races on the circuit and the fans are charged up – but with the two-race, two day schedule it’s fast paced. I just got back from the Wypall stage where I emceed interview sessions with crew chiefs from across the Sprint Cup Series and in between I went up to emcee Chevy hospitality with Regan Smith (starts 4th) .

I have to say I’m impressed with that kid. He and I talked about how he needs a nickname to differentiate him from David Ragan (starts 27th) and he told me that a couple of his team guys were working on that but they haven’t come up with it yet. I told him maybe my listeners could help – he liked the idea so start thinking. His middle name is Lee by the way.

I have had emails from some of you looking for information on the announcement today on the fourth driver for RCR – so here are the details.
RCR Names Drivers for ’09 Jack Daniel’s & General Mills Programs

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 23, 2008) — Richard Childress Racing announced today that Casey Mears will drive for its No. 07 Jack Daniel’s® team and Clint Bowyer will move to its new No. 33 Cheerios®/Hamburger Helper® team for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

With focus on having all three current RCR teams making the 2008 Chase for the Championship, RCR will continue its on-going process of evaluating team performance throughout the year to determine the crew chief, engineer and crew member lineups for the 2009 season.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve RCR and feel strongly that this driver lineup will improve our company as a whole with our move to four teams next year,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “These changes will continue to raise the bar and we have every intention of getting all four teams into the Chase in 2009 with the ultimate goal of one of our teams winning the championship. RCR is very fortunate to have partners like Jack Daniel’s, Shell-Pennzoil and AT&T, in addition to new sponsors Cheerios, Hamburger Helper and Caterpillar, that work with us and support our making the competition decisions necessary to provide them with the best on-track performance possible.”
ears will join RCR for his seventh season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. The Bakersfield, Calif., native earned a dramatic victory in the 2007 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and also has three poles to his credit.

“This is a great opportunity and I’m honored to become part of both the Jack Daniel’s family and the RCR family,” said Mears. “Richard Childress and everyone at Jack Daniel’s have put a lot of faith in me to continue the winning tradition that’s been established by the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s team over the last couple of years and I look forward to the chance to live up to those expectations.”

Jack Daniel’s® has been a primary sponsor partner of RCR since its first year of involvement in NASCAR in 2005. The Jack Daniel’s Distillery, located in Lynchburg, Tenn., is the oldest registered distillery in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We thank our friend Clint Bowyer for all of his efforts to bring Jack Daniel’s and our responsibility message to the forefront. We remain committed to Clint and are excited to watch him race his way in to the Chase in the No. 07 and vie for a 2008 Championship,” said Tim Rutledge, VP, Brand Director, Jack Daniel’s Americas. “We look forward to providing our support to Casey Mears, the Jack Daniel’s Racing team, and our responsibility message in 2009. Casey is a seasoned veteran that is primed for great success in the No. 07 in 2009.”

Bowyer, the current leader in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings, made his Cup Series debut in 2005 and has been with RCR since 2004 when he ran a partial Nationwide Series schedule. The Emporia, Kan., native has earned two victories and two poles since being named the full-time driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet for the 2006 season.

“I’m proud to be joining the General Mills family,” said Bowyer. “Cheerios and Hamburger Helper are brands my family and I grew up with. General Mills is a great sponsor and has been in NASCAR for many years. I look forward to driving the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet Impala SS to victory lane.

“At the same time, I have to thank Jack Daniel’s for taking a chance on a rookie Cup Series driver and giving my career a great platform to build on. My focus now is to get into the Chase and again compete for the championship.”

The 2009 season will mark General Mills’ 13th year of sponsorship involvement in NASCAR. Based in Minneapolis, Minn., General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies.

“We are thrilled to welcome Clint as our new driver,” said Pat Simmons, Vice President of Customer Marketing for General Mills. “Clint is a top-tier competitor. His performance on and off the track fit with the family-friendly values that Cheerios and Hamburger Helper are known for. We’re excited to build a winning partnership with RCR and Clint Bowyer.”

————————————–

It was an interesting news conference. Clint was most positive about giving up the Jack Daniels sponsorship for General Mills – but initially it seems hard to associate Bowyer with a cereal and easier to associate him with Jack Daniels. Boyer is a team player, that is obvious, and he understands that to have a sponsor and a ride with RCR is something that is enviable and that there are many racers across the country who would trade places with him in a skinny minute. Bowyer gets this – and he’s doing what he’s been asked to do for the good of RCR. Knowing Richard Childress – he won’t forget it.

More later…enjoy the day

Claire B

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JD Gibb- transcript- Part 2 August 17, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Controversy, NASCAR, Teams.
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Tony Stewart, driver...Image by Getty Images via Daylife Q: Did Toyota have any knowledge of what happened prior to the dyno test?

Gibbs: “No. We kind of do our own motor program for our Nationwide stuff and our Cup stuff. It’s separate from their stuff.”

Q: Are you furious that you didn’t know about this decision?

Gibbs: “Trust me, I’m sure there’s a whole lot of things that I don’t know and I’m glad, but for the most part with our guys and this team they all understand from the day we started this team in 1991 — racing the 1992 season — we’re going to do things a certain way. If you can’t abide by that, go find somewhere else that you can do it. It’s not worth it for us. Hopefully that’s the history that we have. I think if you look back that’s the way it is. So we’ll deal with this and move on. It’s obviously frustrating for all of us.”

Q: Is this a slap in the face to NASCAR for adding the plate a few weeks ago?

Gibbs: “I think more for the guys — they were just frustrated and wanted to make a point like, ‘Hey, we did it and we’re even farther off than you thought.’ I’m not sure exactly what would go through their minds because again, our guys kind of take pride in winning those engine dynos. That’s the only time you can take all of those manufacturers, lay them out there and say what do you got. For us, to win that it’s kind of like a notch in their belt.”

Q: Who called you last night regarding what happened at the track?

Gibbs: “It was a couple guys from our team.”

Q: Is there a time frame in which you will take some action within the team?

Gibbs: “Yeah. Once we get back tomorrow and kind of sit down and hash through it I think you’ll see something pretty quick from our side.”

Q: Is there any indication that NASCAR will respond with a severe penalties?

Gibbs: “I talked to them (NASCAR). I think in years past they kind of looked at the engine dyno-thing as hit or miss — put it on there. But, now they’re starting to make rules based off that. So, I think that becomes a more important piece in their arsenal as to how they keep the playing field level in their mind, and a tool. I think for them it will be bigger, and I don’t know exactly what. I met with them this morning. I’m sure it will be a pretty big slap.”

Q: Do you believe what people have said that the Toyota ‘advantage’ has become a ‘disadvantage’?

Gibbs: “I think when you go back — kind of what we talked about a few weeks ago — is here’s the box to play in. I think our guys have done a really good job utilizing that. I don’t care if it was GM, Dodge, Ford or Toyota — we invest a lot in that and spend a lot of time on it. And, so we want to make sure we are on an equal playing field. I think there was again some frustration there — that’s a separate issue. A rule is made, decisions are made — okay move on and lets work on what we have now. So, to be able to come out of that dyno and have — and again come up with the best horsepower — that would have been a huge notch for our guys. That was the discouraging part.”

Q: How much power have you gained back since the new tapered spacer?

Gibbs: “I probably won’t get into that. That’s all been hashed out a lot in the past weeks. I’m just kind of more focused on what happened here yesterday. I would say it definitely cuts you back some and we’re always working to get it back — what we lost. We are definitely not where we were — we think we were before. But, I think for us — whether they took anything away or not — we’re always working hard to find more stuff.”

Q: Do you believe NASCAR has put the Toyota teams in this position because they gave Toyota too much initially?

Gibbs: “I think when you look at the big picture you usually go — before we were even involved with Toyota — they had a motor and NASCAR made them redo it to be eligible to run in the Nationwide Series. That all took place. They changed a bunch of stuff. Now here’s a new package. It fit within the ‘box.’ Now, as time goes on — you’re always going to have new (things). GM is going to phase in the RO7 and let the SB2 go away. The problem you have in Nationwide I think — the biggest problem in Nationwide — is financially there are such constraints on what you can do. So, I think for us, here’s a package. So, now you change us and we have to go back and spend more money figuring out how we can get back to where we were. I can see Jack’s (Roush) point. NASCAR says here’s some parts for you to use to build new motors. He’s like, ‘I don’t want to build new motors that costs too much money.’ Which is a valid point. So, you are kind of stuck in between. What you don’t want to do is lose sight of our guys that have invested time, effort and financially. Apart from Toyota have invested a lot in these motors to get them to where they need to be. So, that’s frustrating I think for us and for every owner out there. I’m not going to say, Who’s to blame? That’s just part of life. We’ve been through this for 17 years and sometimes you have bodies getting changed years ago. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen any more. That’s to NASCAR’s credit. We’re not changing bodies every couple years. The motor thing is a big piece and I think NASCAR has a pretty good ‘box’ on it. Our thing is we just want to have a level playing field and go to work and do a better job than the next guy.”

Q: Will you still field two NNS cars the rest of the year? Who could be the crew chiefs for those two cars?

Gibbs: “We are not going to speculate on that. We will definitely field two cars the rest of the year. I’m not sure — there might be a race or two where we don’t have two cars lined-up on our schedule. I’m not sure. Things will go on unchanged for us on the racing side.”

Q: Do the individuals you believe were responsible also work on your Sprint Cup teams?

Gibbs: “No. For what we’re talking about here, it’s pretty much that would be there own decision. It is unrelated to the Cup program. Obviously, we have one engine shop that builds motors for everyone, but it would be unrelated to any

Q: Does this fall on the crew chief no matter who in the organization did this?

Gibbs: “Ultimately it starts with, to me, ownership. It falls on our shoulders and then you’ve got management in place and you’ve got crew chiefs in place. I think everyone has a level of responsibility there and it starts with us. That’s the frustrating part. People know how we operate and this isn’t it. I think the crew chief, yeah, they are responsible for what happens at that car and at that track. If something happens that they don’t know about they should’ve known about it. So, I agree with that.”

Q: Did the drivers have anything to do in this whole issue?

Gibbs: “No, our drivers did not have anything to do with this process here.”

Q:
Did the drivers have anything to do in this whole
issue?

Gibbs: “No, our drivers
did not have anything to do with this process
here.”

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Michigan Sunday August 17, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, NASCAR, Teams, Trackside.
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Claire B. Lang
Blog – Sunday August 17, 2008
Michigan International Speedway
 
 
Shenanigans. Under a full moon here in the Irish Hills after the Nationwide Race on Saturday – A poor decision was made to try to withhold accurate numbers from NASCAR by manipulating the dynamometer testing on the #20 and #18 Joe Gibbs Racing teams  . Who did it, for what reason and how they should be held accountable has been under great discussion since the Sprint Cup garage opened here today. Everyone here has been talking about it and the bottom line is that because of it JGR and Toyota (by asssociation) have egg on their faces and NASCAR is not happy. The investigation is under way – and if what NASCAR thinks was done (using a magnet to hold back the throttle) it is likely severe penalties will be handed down from NASCAR and JGR next week.
 
The president of Joe Gibbs Racing, J.D. Gibbs addressed media at at 12:30 p.m. EST in the trackside news conference room here at MIS today regarding the issue.  Here’s the transcript:
 
Opening Statement J.D. Gibbs:
 
Gibbs: “Guys – On behalf of JGR…. Just a little background. I got a call late last night kind of informing that hey there was an issue after the race doing the dyno they found a piece there – again I’m not going to go into technical (detail) on what it was cause I am not even sure yet on the race car- so there was a piece there that wouldn’t let the pedal  apparently go all the way down in the dyno and show like we had less horsepower than we actually did. So let me just say first and foremost that we -that was a really poor and foolish decision on the part of our key guys there at JGR. I want to apologize to NASCAR to our partners to Toyota guys a couple guys chose to make a decision there that impacts all of us. To me the frustrating part is you know —why? I know they were probably frustrated from the standpoint that – wanting to show that we have less horsepower than ever before and wanting to make it look like we’re handicapped you know even more than we actually were I understand that. But that is not an excuse. I think for us we kind of feel like I know with us with the engine shop that’s kind of badge of honor. You win that engine dyno – good for you. We felt like the past few years and Mark Cromquest and those guys really feel like they want to win that thing. So to me …to come back after you’ve been chopped to come back and then win it again that’s awesome – that’s a great story. So that wasn’t able to be told so now we’re sitting here going over  issues from the guys it sounds like again they made a poor decision on our part so we apologize to our partners and we think going forward hey we’re going to have to address some of those things no matter what NASCAR does we’re going to address those issues in house. Figure out exactly what happened and those responsible and hey there’s  going to be punishment for them – you know that’s just part of life. You can’t do that – you put everyone else at risk. So any questions you guys have along those lines feel free to fire away – knowing that  I don’t have all the details on it – but I have a pretty good idea.”
 
Q: To follow up on the last part you said – do you have any idea how high it goes and is there any possibility that heads will role and you’ll have to fire people?
 
Gibbs: “Yea I think for us any violation is a serious one so I think you know  keep in mind it wasn’t  an on track issue. In no way was the caron the track issue. In no way was the car we had on the track we were racing anything other than it should have been .You know – that would have been an extremely big deal. Even that so off the track- going through the dyno again I understand the guys frustration – I think there’s probably a few of the guys on the Nationwide team wanting to make a point and so..we’ll go through it – hey we have had some pretty hard stuff we’ve done in the past before and we’ll continue to do that in the future.”
 
Q: We’ve been trying to remember – you guys don’t usually get caught for doing things. The last we can remember was when the 20 car was taken back at Texas. So is that particularly distressing because you have such a good reputation within the garage?
 
Gibbs: “Yea I think for us..look, .if you can’t come in whatever business you are in and do it the right way you know what’s the point? We want to do it – to get the satisfaction do it the right way. If you ask NASCAR we’ve been a great partner throughout the years and I think with them and trying to do things the right way. So yea that was the last thing and I still think that our guys will say that was a mistake on our part and was not intentional. This one here is clearly – if it turns out what it is – that’s an intentional opportunity to lead someone astray so we’re not going to do that.”
 
Q: This was not in place for the race only during the dyno test?

Gibbs: Yea. And thankfully not in place during the race because what it did it definitely lowers your horsepower so for us it was just after the track thing trying to – and NASAR has been taking that down to the track for quite a few years now so to my understanding – I don’t know what it exactly was-  a piece placed there to kind of show less horsepower than we’d normally have and the intention was to either to say hey you hurt us worse than you thought or whatever I’m not sure. Either way it came out the wrong way.
 
Q: I believe your teams have 14 wins in the series this year. Do you believe this stains any of those wins?
 
Gibbs: “Yea I would say if it was an on track thing it would definitely  stain them but being an off track things and trying dinking around with the dyno personally I don’t see how it would affect those wins there but again hey it’s still a serious issue with NASCAR even if it is off the track working the dyno so there was no reason for that.
 
Q: Have the individuals or individual involved who committed this transgression stepped up and said it was me. Have you identified who it was?
 
Gibbs: “Yea I have had some conversations with a couple of  our key guys and I got a pretty good idea but not enough now that I want to say here’s exactly what it was …and now enough to say here’s what I’m going to do but I’ve got a pretty good idea of who the guys are on the Nationwide team that are responsible.”
 
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Toyota about this to gauge their reaction?
 
Gibbs: “We have and I met with a couple of those guys there and really I think it’s frustrating to everyone at this point. I think what happened is our guys were doing it based on Joe Gibbs Racing. They want what is best for us. Keep in mind what you do with our motives also reflects poorly on Toyota. It looks like hey now they are involved in something that they don’t want to be involved in. I think for us it was clearly a Joe Gibbs racing – you know our guys did it and It was I’m sure discouraging for them. Again, hey we are in the middle of an owners points chase too you know so I think at the end of the day I keep going back to our guys we want to win the engine dyno thing that’s the frustrating thing. ….To me that’s satisfaction not to go out there playing games.”
 
-more later-
 
The anthem is playing now. I need to go to the grid. More of this transcript coming up later when I get back in.

Statement from Joe Gibbs Regarding Alleged Infractions by Joe Gibbs Racing  
The following is a statement from Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing regarding the alleged incident:
“If this alleged incident proves true, it goes against everything we stand for as an organization,” Gibbs said. “We will take full responsibility and accept any penalties NASCAR levies against us.  We will also investigate internally how this incident took place and who was involved and make whatever decisions are necessary to ensure that this kind of situation never happens again. The expectations we set for everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing begins with me, and I personally apologize to NASCAR, our partners and our fans for the negative light this situation has cast upon all of us.”
 

 
Enjoy the race.
 
Claire B
Michigan International Raceway
 
 

Saturday Garage Blog:”Don’t Count Jeff Gordon Out – Ever!” August 16, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside, Transcripts.
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Jeff Gordon in August 2007 a...Image via Wikipedia Claire B. Lang
Saturday Garage Blog:
Michigan International Speedway – August 16, 2008

“Don’t Count Jeff Gordon Out – Ever!”

I’m here in the media center at MIS. I promised I’d post a transcript of what Jeff Gordon had to say when I asked him the questions you have been asking me on air and in email (insidercbl@aol.com) about his team’s performance which has not been catastrophic yet -but not up to tradition especially at specific tracks where his fans expect a ray of light.

As always, which is a great thing about Gordon, is that when I went searching of an answer – he was open to answering a lot of questions – and for a man who is 6th in points headed into this race I don’t think that he’s in a crisis position. “Never rule Jeff Gordon out,” is what everyone in the garage, from his teammates to his fellow competitors will say when asked and I agree. But with so many callers asking me and wondering what I think I felt it was time to go ask him. You know it’s not like me to answer for the driver -I’d rather go ask him so that I’m fair and not making up as I go along with what I think he’d say.

Jeff answered everything and it was helpful (see post below). When I told Jeff that some of the fans feel that a champion like him should be able to drive through an ill handling race car – compensating for the lack of handling despite the challenges he didn’t want to comment. That ,he said, was best reserved for the way that the team handles issues which is internally. Later in the transcript he explained why. Gordon is not the type to slam his team – nor does he want to be lectured on how to drive a race car – not by the fans and not by anyone. I don’t blame him. No one except the guy behind the wheel, least of all the well intentioned who are fans of his, or not, but have never driven a race car or his race car.

Here’s the transcript of is answers. Most of the questions were mine – other reporters standing by added some good questions……

CBL: LATELY I’VE BEEN GETTING A LOT OF CALLS ABOUT EITHER STEVE (LETARTE) OR YOUR PERFORMANCE, IT’S REALLY YOUR FANS THEY LOVE YOU BUT THEY ARE GETTING UP ON THE EDGE OF THE WHEEL, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? “You got to love them for that but at the same time it’s a competitive sport. We focus on everything from how internal communication is, how people are doing their jobs. If making a change was going to fix it then there might have been changes, but that’s not the issue. I think Steve Letarte is doing an awesome job. I feel like last week was not a great performance for us. We’ve had that happen this year. It’s just been one of those years. I believe in what we have. There’s areas where we’re looking to getting stronger and better. The fans have to just be patient and I remind everybody of what we did last year.

“We were an awesome race team last year. Had one of the best years that I’ve ever had and Steve was the guy that was guiding that ship so I believe one hundred percent in him. Your confidence gets down and a lot of things happen. Performances aren’t always there and it’s the toughest thing to rebound from that and that’s kind of the situation we’re in right now. We’re working really hard. We tested this week in Kentucky and we just continue to work hard at it.”

CBL: HOW FAR OFF YOU? THEY SAID THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE FAR OFF TO BE WAY OFF. “Not with this car. You can actually have a good car and just lose track position and be done. That was a combination of what happened to us last week. We weren’t very good there at the beginning on the long run and then we had the radio problem. We lost a lot of track position and it’s just so hard to make it up. We didn’t have enough cautions to work on the car.

“All those things contributed to the type of day we had not to mention Robby Gordon spinning me out on the last lap. My favorite part about it was Mark Martin sending me a text, he said hey man we had a tough day but its tough days that make you appreciate the good ones a lot more. You know he’s so right and I appreciated that very much. That’s the way we think and focus.”

Reporter: IS THERE ANY ONE THING THAT CAN HAPPEN FOR YOU GUYS TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER? “Again, even though we’ve been hit or miss this year, I feel like those last ten races are all good tracks for us other than Texas. Texas is a track that has been our Achilles heel and we’re going to work hard to try to fix that. When you’re looking at a deficit of eighty or ninety points going into it from the way Kyle Busch has been running this year, that’s a lot to overcome. We know we need some bonus points before we start that Chase and all our focus is on is racing hard and trying to get those wins and get the best finishes that we can.”

CAN YOU TAKE A GAMBLE OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS IF THAT WIN IS THERE FOR YOU? “No, we’re not in a position to take a gamble right now. We’re in a tricky position right now because we have one or two bad finishes where we could find ourselves very easily slipping back and not be secure going into Richmond. We want to be secure going into Richmond and so these next couple of weeks if we put good finishes together then we might be in a position to take some more risks. I say risks, it’s experimenting with things that you’re testing, its taking gambles on pit strategy calls, those types of things.”
HOW MUCH ARE YOU WATCHING POINTS NOW? “I pay attention to it. I try not to get too caught up in it because it doesn’t change how we approach things every weekend unless you have a big points lead or if you’re on the outside of the top twelve. If you’re on the outside of the top twelve you’re going for broke right now. You’re taking gambles. When you’re up front, you got nothing to lose. We were in that position last year. Right now we’re pretty much just kind of doing what we normally do which is go out there race hard, clean and put the best average finish we can together.”

REGARDLESS OF YOU ARE FINISHING POSITION, WHEN YOU GET OUT OF THE CAR SUNDAY WHAT DO YOU NEED THAT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE MAKING PROGRESS AND HAVE SUCCESS ON SOME OF THESE BIGGER TRACKS? “I think that it’s being able to get to the front. I feel like if you’re talking about us being in championship position we got to go out there and lead a lot of laps and being in contention. It doesn’t necessarily mean we have to win the race which we do need the bonus points. We need to be out front, competitive, contending for the lead and then plan the pit strategy right. All those other things have been good for us, pit stops, communication and the pit strategy. We just lacked a couple of things, track position.

“If you have a car that’s working good you could take a few more gambles to maintain the track position. If your car is not good enough then you’ve got to work on it and put four tires on it. That’s what we need this week is a good enough car to be able to stay out or take two tires and do some of those things that are paying off for those other guys.”

IS THAT MORE HANDLING OPPOSED TO HORSEPOWER? “When have we ever complained about horsepower? Horsepower is not an issue with us, not at all. Power is good.”

CBL: YOU ARE GOOD AT WEATHERING TOUGH TIMES BECAUSE YOU’VE SEEN IT BEFORE
“Yeah, as I get older, it gets a little bit more difficult. Every race, every year, is crucial and important and you want to do well and you feel like you’ve got the team capable of doing well and it’s always frustrating. It’s just how you show it. I feel like if I go stomping my feet and throwing things around here, it doesn’t make me run good. It doesn’t make it any better. So going back to the fans talking and calling in and stuff, the reason why I don’t really respond to that is because we respond to it internally. We deal with it internally, like any good business should. When you start getting into trying to explain to outsiders, it doesn’t make it any better. I only hope that our fans support me and Steve and the whole team, and I know that they are. They just want us to do good. The funniest thing happened to me in 2000. I had a fan come up to me and said you need to tell Robbie Loomis he needs to get that thing going! And I said, ‘Hey, trust me. We’ve got as much on the line as anybody.’ And he goes, ‘I’m losing a lot of money on all my bets every weekend, because I pick you every weekend.’ And that’s when it hit me how far the fans take it and why they take it so avidly for many different reasons. It could be that type of situation or it could be just that they’ve been a longtime fan and their pride is on the line. But I still promise you, we all have a lot more on the line than anybody else.”

YOU SAID YOU DON’T STOMP AROUND. IS THERE EVER A TIME WHEN THAT MIGHT BE NEEDED FOR A TEAM?
“No, I meant I don’t stomp around and throw things out here (laughter). I do plenty of that. Don’t worry. We handle things the way that I feel like is productive. And you don’t just turn the other cheek. You don’t deny what’s going on. You face it head on. Everybody handles it professionally and you can only have the type of relationship like Steve and I have, where we don’t take things personally. He can criticize me and I can criticize him and we only want to get better and know that he’s the leader of this team and I’m the best tool that he can possibly have to help make the car better. And I have a responsibility; he has a responsibility, and that’s where our focus is.”

CBL: WHAT’S COOL IS THAT YOUR TEAM ISN’T EATING ITSELF UP ON THE INSIDE
”No, we’re very fortunate in that sense. We’re not having a terrible year, you know? It’s frustrating because I know we’re capable of running better and we should be. But we still are sixth in the points. We’ve been outside of the Chase before, so we’ve had worse years. So it’s nothing that we need to start quitting our jobs and moving to other teams and all of that type of things. It’s nothing like that. And we’re fortunate that when we do have tough seasons that our guys don’t leave. We’re still able to continue to get quality people at our organization and that’s what gets us through the tough times.”

So, that’s what he’s saying. He’s cool as can be – no sense of stress or lack of confidence that the team will figure it out. I have talked with the team and they are confident that they will find the answers and rebound because that is what this team does. My guess is that they will be ok – they have too good a driver and too many resources not to get over this speed bump.

Back with more later…I wanted to get this up and to you since I promised.

Hope all of you are enjoying the weekend. The weather is exceptional here. This is such a beautiful part of the country.

Enjoy!

Claire B
MIS Saturday 3:32 p.m. EST

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Michigan- Mobile Unit Live Broadcast August 13, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, mobile unit, My Show, NASCAR.
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Michigan- 3M Performance 400- “Dialed In” With Claire B. Lang – Broadcast Location
Thursday -Aug 14 and Friday August 15 – LIVE from Michigan the XM Mobile “Dialed In” broadcast unit – LIVE Thursday and Friday from:

Victory Lane Speedway
11547 Brooklyn Rd
Brooklyn, MI
behind victory lane quick lube

You can always check:
https://claireblang.wordpress.com/mobile-unit-locator/

Breaking news blog – Where is Casey Mears Going? August 10, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Drivers, NASCAR.
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Claire B.Log
Covering Watkins Glenn International

Where is Casey Mears Going in ’09? ——-Options as of August 10, 2008

Casey Mears (Driver of the #5 Kellogg’s Carquest Impala SS) addressed reports that he is the top candidate and will take the fourth ride at Richard Childress Racing when he leaves Hendrick Motorsports next season. Today (Sunday) he clarified his current progress on plans for ’09 which seem to be fluctuating as negotiations continue.

Q: WHAT IS THE LATEST ON YOUR SEARCH FOR A NEW TEAM BEGINNING NEXT SEASON?

MEARS: “Just looking. Right now, nothing is done at all, still talking to a couple of different teams trying to get it sorted out. Obviously there is a lot going on and things have been said this week, but nothing is signed. I am still trying to figure out what is going to be the best possible program for myself.

“Just really focused more than anything on this weekend and during the week focused on what is going on with next season. Hopefully, we can get something sorted out soon. Really right now, nothing is happening other than talk with a few different teams. Until we get that sorted out, there is not a whole lot to say.”

Q: DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE GOOD CHOICES?

MEARS: “There are a couple of good teams. I mean, all of them right now are good choices, just depends on how you look at it. What the potential is for the future versus where the teams are right now. There are teams that have room for growth and a lot of potential for the future. There are teams that are ready to go right now. Really, just have got to get sorted through everything right not. Nothing is signed.

“Like I said, I am down the road with a couple of different guys trying to sort things out. Hopefully, soon we can get it nailed down and have answers for everybody.”

Q: DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE A WEEK OR 10 DAYS AWAY FROM HAVING THIS FINALIZED?

MEARS: “I would like to think so, if we can get something sorted out. But then again, it could take another month. It just depends on the details and after we sit down and look at all the details of the agreements and exactly how everything is, no telling how long it can take. Obviously the sooner the better for me if we could just get it sorted out and be able to focus on the remainder of this season; then focus on next year when it comes, would be good.”

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM DRIVING A CAR AT THE START OF NEXT SEASON THAT DOESN’T HAVE ANY OWNER POINTS?

MEARS: “I wouldn’t be real comfortable with that. Obviously I have to weigh out my options and see how things are. When you compare things, you have to compare teams. If you know you are going with a team that is very capable of making those first five races, then it definitely makes things a little bit easier. If you know you are going with a team that maybe in the past didn’t look like it had as good of a shot to make those races at times, you have to weigh out how all that is. As of right now, it is still pretty wide open. I mean there are some things that look good. Don’t get me wrong. I am excited about some things that are happening but right nothing is signed.

“I have always been one of those guys man, I have always talked about things before they happen or got excited about them before they happen and then have to explain why they didn’t. Until things are signed and done, I really don’t know what exactly is going to happen yet. Some things look good, but right now, there is just not a whole lot to talk about.”

Q: HAVE YOU NARROWED IT TO TWO OR THREE TEAMS OR DO YOU HAVE A NUMBER?

MEARS: “It just depends. At times I was down to one, at times it gets back up to five, it just depends on where those teams are. Where they are with their sponsorship and what they want to do with their current situations. There are a lot of guys that are thinking about doing things different for next season and it might be a month down the road before they know exactly what is going on. There are some guys that are ready to go now. I want to get something done sooner than later. Hopefully we don’t have to deal with talking about this too much longer and we can get something announced soon and go on about our way.”

Enjoy the race – I’ll keep you posted on breaking news.

Centurion Boats at The Glen – Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Sunday | 1 PM | ESPN

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“Faster, Higher, Stronger” August 8, 2008

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LongJumperJOHNBENNETT

Claire B.log – Friday, August 8, 2008

Hey Race fans! To kick off today’s blog I wanted to tell you something on a note that means a lot to me personally. Every kid feels that his or her dad is a champion – and that he is a super hero that can go longer, faster and farther than the dad of the other kids down the street. In my case this is true.

As the Olympics kick off today in Beijing – I’ll have a special feeling of pride in my heart for my dad who will be watching with special interest in what the Olympics stands for.

My father, John Bennett, earned a medal in the 1956 Olympics in the long jump. He is a two-time NCAA champion from Marquette University (graduation class of 1954), a National AAU champion, double winner in the Pan Am Games of 1954 and a Silver medallist in the Melbourne Games of 1956. Best jump of 26′ 3 7/8″ (8.01m).) Of course, if this is all that he had done in his life – he would already have accomplished achievements worthy of worldwide acclaim by many. To achieve at that level takes the ultimate in focus, and commitment to hard work and excellence. A God given gift doesn’t make an Olympian – it’s the training and desire to achieve at the highest level and the desire to put in the kind of hard work that makes some rise to the highest level of achievement.

But the Olympic medal is not all that John Bennett achieved in his lifetime. Far from it.

My first father died when I was three years old – and when John Bennett came back from the Olympics he met my mother, married her, adopted us three little girls (I was three years old) raised us as if we were his own (which we were)- and set out to become a world-class medal winning father. Together, my parents had a boy, Brian, who would carry on the Bennett name. If you ask why I carry the B. in Claire B. Lang it is in honor of the Bennett father who I was lucky to get – and a man who inspired me to work hard in life and to do things to the highest of my ability.

I never knew another dad and so to me John Bennett is my dad – and has been as long as I can remember. So, as I watch the opening ceremonies and see what pride the athletes have in representing their home country and in knowing that they are the best in the world I think of the pride I have in what my father accomplished on and off the track.

In life, it’s what do after you win the medal counts so much – and I think about the pride I have in what he accomplished and I also think of the influence he had on me and how I ended up in life.

I love the Olympics, I love watching them and at the very same time, back at home in Wisconsin, there’s a really cool guy who will be watching with special pride. I wanted to salute him today.

Claire B
XM Satellite Radio

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