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Lucky Dog! Joey Logano Wins at New Hampshire – Smart Crew Chief – In Position to Win! June 29, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Drivers.
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4 comments

Victory Lane: A Moose, A Lobster, Kid for a Winner , Mom, Dad & Coach!

Congratulations to Joey Logano on his first Sprint Cup Series win! When a driver scores his first Cup win and I’m in Victory Lane I try to soak it all in (no pun intended on the word soak) and etch it in my mind so that years from now I can reflect on more than simply a number in a record book. With this particular victory celebration, I will remember, a bit of chaos, a gigantic lobster, an almost stunned to be there and thrilled young driver (heck even the car chief seemed a bit shocked to have pulled this one off), a smart crew chief, Coach Joe Gibbs and the rain.

At a distance, I’m sure, Logano has seemed almost too good to be true – leaving folks to look for cracks, but there are not any. Looking ahead I think that Logano will show that he’s edgier than he may initially come across (remember how young he is and that he’s a rookie) and not afraid to say what he thinks. Later in his career, we’ll see how hard-charging he is and so not shy about doing what it takes to win. In this case, Logano’s job was to listen to his crew chief, follow directions, and do what many missed, work his way up from his 24th place starting position to be in position to win should it be his day when the rains opened up and victory fell from the sky. The kid did his job.

I received so many emails after the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 – I couldn’t possibly post all of them. The comments were all over the board. From congratulations to young Joey Logano to notes about the TV coverage and the rain shortened race to comments about the attempted three wide move of Kyle Busch during the double file restart on lap 175, which led to the crash involving eight cars, which he later apologized for. Was the apology enough? Martin Truex Junior was really angry – steamed would be the word and you can’t really blame him. “I hate that it happened,” is not a new phrase in NASCAR – and the question I am left with today is a simple one. Do fans want to see bold, aggressive moves (with rain coming) that may or may not end in what we saw?

Would you rather Kyle Busch not have made the move? I am asking honestly. It doesn’t matter who you follow as a driver..is this or is this not the kind of move you want to see? If you can separate who you root for and how this affected your driver – I think the question is a simple one. Do you want the guy to go for it or not? Martin Truex Junior was clear that he felt it was a “stupid” move – and it did take out a number of cars. What direction are you taking on this?

I had some great conversation on my radio show from some who said that Kyle Busch should be repaid by one of the drivers who were angry about his move – and who crashed as a result of it. They said that if that happened Busch would be more careful next time when he wants to get aggressive. This is true – it’s how the garage has worked in the past.

The garage has always regulated itself. That is in the DNA of the sport. When drivers have had enough of someone or don’t like his moves they put the hammer down on the guy. Do you want the hammer down on this move? Or, do you like it when a guy takes a chance and goes for it with rain coming.

You’re the fans – You buy the tickets, you pay the bills. Tell me, what is it that you want? If we want drivers to go for it then we are going to see some of this. If we don’t the racing will be more finesse racing. That’s ok too. The question is what do you want?

Here are some, in some cases a portion of, the emails in my box today:

Part of an email from Michele in Virginia:

……..I am a Dale Jr fan. I am proud of my driver both on and off the track. I am patient and I feel he has the talent. There hasn’t been much to cheer about lately, but I am a believer that things move in cycles. BUT, I am the first to omit, that if it is the middle of the race and the guys are just logging laps (so they can get to the end and be in a position to win), it is Kyle Busch that I am going to be watching to see what he is going to do next. I know I am going to be rewarded with him going three wide into turn 1 on the outside during a restart, passing six cars along the way and stirring up the next controversy for the next week of talk radio call-ins.

With all this as background, it came to me this morning that the reason everyone is talking about Kyle Busch 24/7 – from the listeners to the media to the radio/TV hosts – is because we want a rival to Kyle and there just isn’t one out there now. Kyle is the “black hat” – the bad boy – the young upstart who won’t follow the rules – in life and in racing. The problem is we don’t have a “white hat” racing on his same level, on the edge, to balance him out. What is the first thing a caller says when he calls in to complain about the latest misstep by Kyle – “the boy can race, BUT….” – and then they list their latest complaints. He said the wrong thing to the media… he didn’t stop and talk to the media… he wasn’t gracious enough in victory lane… he wasn’t….. Since we don’t have the white knight who can race the same way Kyle can AND say and do everything the fans want – they attack Kyle the persona and the personality, because they can’t hold up their driver to argue about the racing. Other drivers will have flashes of brilliance across the series, but no one is racing like him every race.

Face it what we really want is a rivalry where both drivers are evenly matched in skill and equipment. We want both drivers to be racing on the edge for a win every lap. We want one to go three wide to the outside while the other is making it four-wide on the inside. We want them to beat and bang and then we will hold our breath as we wait to see who wins this time. Because we know they are so evenly matched, that the outcome may be different next time. Then, we can spend the next week calling into the talk shows talking about the RACING!!! Not how someone was acting with the trophy in victory lane.

And here lays the problem…. I am not sure this is even possible. But it is what every fan wants.

Am I a Kyle supporter…. probably some. I love to watch him race across the three series. He is driving on the edge to win the race. But it is a crash and burn mentality of a 20 something that probably won’t win him a championship. Did I like him smashing the guitar at Nashville? The 45 year old mom part of me shook my head, wrinkled my nose and threw my hands in the air saying “that stupid inconsiderate kid.” But part of me also feels like that 20 something. That part of me still exists and was under the stands at Charlotte during the multiple rain delay doing Jell-O shooter – that part thought “YEAH!!”. That is the blessing of age – we learn to control our inner 20 something and act appropriately. But is it as much fun??

I hope that Kyle remains Kyle – with all his mis-steps. He sure is fun to watch. AND, I hope someone comes along soon to be the rival. I am ready for us to go back and spent time talking about this week’s race winner or the three-time consecutive champion. It has gotten to the point that what Kyle did or didn’t do overshadows the remaining 42 drivers. NASCAR is not about one driver…. But, there is always the next race!!!

As always, thank you for all you do! Dialed In is still the best show on the NASCAR channel!

Michele
Richmond, VA

From Jeff in Minnesota:

Oh ok its ok for Dale Sr to rub and bump every chance he got in every race he won but its not for Kyle?. Kyle should start grinning at interviews.
Respectfully
Jeff
MN

From Jim in Florida:

I think the TV coverage could be better. The announcers seem to have a small # of drivers they are going to talk about no matter what happens during the race. It would have been nice to know what happened to the #9 about half way of the race. He had driven up to 5th place when the caution flag waved. When he came out of the pits he was 19th. I think a short explanation was in order, but not one word was ever said about. This brings me to my question. What did happen on that stop? If you don’t know maybe you could ask and let me know. also last week when I looked at the standings Kahne was only 3 points behind the #42 the #9 finished 10th today and the #42 12th why is the #42 still ahead in points? thanks
Jim, in fl.

From Race Fan:

Claire:

What are some of your listeners drinking Junior Johnson’s sippin’ whiskey?

For the sake of argument lets say the same holds true for mid-race yellows that come just as pit stops start.

Some drivers make it to pit road before the yellow but then…. NASCAR parades around for 10-15 extra laps before opening pit road waiting for other drivers to run out of gas.

Just as nutty as one of your emailers I should think.

On the rain issue and earlier starting times…. Since when does it NOT rain at 1pm vice 2-3pm?

From Dusty:

Brian (Vickers) should know about stupid being forever, he lives it everyday. Can you say takes out the front of the field at Daytona including Kyle or maybe that his only Sprint Cup Win was accomplished by crashing a teammate. Oh & it couldn’t be JRs fault for spinning his tires on the restart cause JR never does anything to cause a wreck. Maybe instead of bashing Kyle about him being a hard charger Truex should try being a little more of a hard charger himself. I believe it’s 1win to 15wins in favor of Kyle. That’s Dusty’s opinion.

From Joyce:

For the most part I thought today’s race was the best I’ve seen so far this year. I love the double file restart, only hope the drivers will learn how to race the new format and not cause a “big one” like on lap 175. I’m sure Jr. didn’t spin his tires on purpose and I am also sure Kyle didn’t run into Martin Truex Jr. intentionally, I hated the wreck, but the side by side racing for the lead was awesome. I also loved the lap 151 caution for debris and how the race cars took care of it. LOL

I think the television broadcast would be more tolerable to watch if the commercials weren’t so mind numbing repetitive, if they would just change them up even if it were for the same product I would like it better. I’ve even decided to boycott some of the wares the ads hawk just because I feel like they are trying to tattoo their product on my brain…

Joyce,
Arkansas

From Bob in New Hampshire:

Claire B–

I trust you enjoyed your trip to the White Mountains and a big fat lobster. Just wanted to give credit to the New England race fans who filled at least 99% of the seats at NHMS today. After watching a sea of empties at Atlanta, Texas and other tracks, the full house in Loudon today is worthy of note when people start talking about future race date allocations, don’t you think?

Sorry about all the rain! Enjoy Daytona and thanks for all you do.

Bob in NH

From Marv:

Hi,

Let’s just say this is one of the lamest NASCAR seasons ever. Another rain win by someone who was not remotely competitive all day just like Kenseth and Ruetimann. They should have run 10 more caution laps to run the lame cars out of gas. Add to this debacle the fuel mileage races and this season really sucks. I usually get to 4 or 5 races a year and I am not renewing season tickets for a couple of tracks next year.

Marv Odell

From Dallas:

i don’t feel Kyle was the big cause of the big wreck.dale jr caused it by spinning his tires on the restart.
7 times out of ten their will be a wreck. and what Kyle said on the restart it is pretty close quarters and watching that double file restart,it was bumper to bumper for at least 2 laps. maybe if Martin Truex jr would of responded and made a hard left turn the wreck might not of happened. he knew what was gonna happen.in other words u check up your gonna get rear ended thanks

dallas

congratulations to joey logano

Randy from Ilinois:

I just know Truex has been running good and can’t catch a break….I could care less that NASCAR gave Logano a win…Lets see now we’ve got at least 3 wins this season that guys didn’t deserve or earn…So I didn’t get all mushy over NASCAR giving the boys the wins….They say a win is a win I quess…
Randy
Old School With An Attitude

From Tony in NY

Sure people would be mad if the race time got moved up for weather. Besides the fact that race fans generally like to gripe, I really think that race fans would be disappointed if they found they missed the call to fire engines.

Congrats to Joey. I’m happy with the win even with my favorite driver finishing second.

Tony in NY

—————————————————————

Well – in NASCAR the show must go on. The haulers and teams have to pick up and move on to Daytona on Wednesday. It’s a quick turnaround and everyone will be scurrying to get it all in place for the Fourth of July Daytona NASCAR show.

In our sport – we race, we run around rain, and when we get it dumped on us the decision is made from the tower and we move on.

We have to – the show doesn’t stop.

Thursday, Joey Logano visited the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) and David’s house which gives health care to young children. While there he dropped off several video game consoles and games from his NASCAR Nationwide Series sponsor, GameStop, and visited with many of the children and families who use David’s House while receiving treatment at CHaD. Logano also made the trip next door to CHaD to visit with children who were not able to make it to the David’s House event.

Maybe the skies opened up and the win was a Karma win!

What I will remember of this win was an almost dazed with victory Logano. He handled victory lane and the media exceptionally and I don’t mean that as if he didn’t know what to do. He was fine in Victory Lane. I have been to victory lane with seasoned drivers with many wins who as a result of a finish could not seem to really soak in the win yet. It was so like that for Logano. He had dreamed all his young life about this moment and there he was….he got it thrust upon him when the skies opened he was moved, hustled, hugged, photographed and interviewed and it still had not sunk in.

He was being hugged by a moose character, handed a gigantic live lobster, embraced by coach Joe Gibbs, visited by Tony Stewart, beamed at by his tearful mom and proud dad who was handling the cell phone calls, yelled at to face a different direction by photographers pushing for space in a crammed garage as the car is being wheeled in and the trophy slid in front of him. He just kept smiling and smiling. He was warm and interesting in the interview, but he was a bit dazed by the win. That is what I will remember. It was almost surreal.

Today, and tomorrow, he’ll relive and relish it.

He’s a great kid and I congratulate him.

Enjoy the day!

Claire B

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Heading Off To New Hampshire June 25, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Drivers, NASCAR.
2 comments

Hey all! I hope this finds you all well.

I’m on my way to the airport but figured I’d drop you a line with my broadcast schedule for the weekend and some thoughts for the day.

Dialed In: (Schedule for Thursday – Sunday)

Thursday, June 25, 2009
“Dialed In” 7-10 EST from New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Friday, June 26, 2009
“Dialed In” 7-10 EST from New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Saturday, June 27, 2009
“Dialed In” 1:30-2:00 p.m. EST — Leading into the Start of the Camping World 200 Nationwide Series Race

“Dialed In” AFTER the Camping World 200 Nationwide Series Race until the start of the Memphis Travel.com 200 Camping World Truck Series Race at Memphis at 5:30 p.m. EST

“Dialed In” AFTER the Memphis Travel.com 200 Camping World Truck Series Race until 10:00 p.m. EST

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Claire B Lang in the booth for the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show 10:00-12:00 EST

Then: In Victory Lane for the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Post Race Show

Followed by “Dialed In” until 11:00 p.m. EST Sunday after the Post Race Show

Three for Three on the Bets:
How the Heck Did That Happen?

I have taken bets for three weeks- wild bets on the races pitched by the listeners. I’ve taken one a week. I take the scraps…meaning they pitch the bet and I take the side that they don’t want. I’m not actually betting something I’m taking the other side of their bet. Sometimes they are crazy bets and yet –I keep winning. I have no idea how that keeps happening. Maybe karma for taking the underdog in the bet.

The week before last I bet with John in Louisiana. He’s a helicopter pilot that takes workers out to the oil rigs. He bet that that Dale Jr would finish in the top 10 at Michigan and he lost. He had to take picture next to his helicopter with a sign….(see picture here posted on site). I loved it…..you have to zoom in to read the writing on the sign but it’s a good one. Just posted today (6/25/09) along with this column. Most of the time the bets I take should never win. Last week I took the other side of a listeners bet that Kyle Busch would finish ahead of Carl Edwards. He picked Kyle and I had Carl. Well – Kyle who started second finished way below Carl at Infineon when it was all over. I won again. How did that happen?

Richard Childress Racing –Regrouping

What is the reason for the slump at Richard Childress Racing? Yesterday, Clint Bowyer had some thoughts about it that led me to believe that like some other teams, without testing -they shot the direction they figured was right and they went the wrong direction:

Clint Bowyer: “Kevin last year at the end of the year was really running good and they were on some drastically different things that we were running at the time, so we all kind of over the off-season put a lot of — our eggs in that one basket, hopefully that being the answer for the year starting off strong. It just wasn’t. So we have had to drop back and punt so to speak. We have had to come back and cut our cars up and change front clips, change body designs around, aero designs around, whatever the changes were. It takes time to get those all acclimated and back in place as a group and as a whole so we can all get back to running well. That’s kind of where we are at. We are starting to see all of the hard work of getting things back to where we were, you know, and going down the right path. We are starting to see some results, especially on my side. So I’m excited about the races to come here. I think we have got ten races left, to be a part of this Chase, I feel like we are starting to run good at the right time…….. But it takes that long to find the problem, fix the problem and get those changes that you’ve made acclimated into the system. You know, when you’ve got an organization as big as ours, it’s not something where you can just make one change and fix the whole problem. Everybody’s cars have to be changed. You know, if we find advances in the engine department, we have to make sure that those changes will live, and so a lot of sim and a lot of dyno work goes into place and making those changes and making a smart change.

So that’s the thing is when you get behind, it just takes a while to dig yourself out of that hole. I feel like when I said “stop the bleeding,” I feel like that meant we found the problem, we fixed the problem. And now it’s taking a little bit of a problem to get that problem and get those changes acclimated into our system. We are already starting to see results and things turnaround.”

————————————————-

It’s going to be an interesting weekend. If I don’t get going I’ll miss my flight and then – I’ll not be there to blog you from the track…so I’d better get in gear.

Enjoy the day.

I’ll write you when I get to New Hampshire.

Claire B

Team Members Thinking of Dad on Special Day at Infineon June 21, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Fun Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , ,
4 comments

Fathers Day – June 21, 2009

It’s Sunday, race morning, Father’s day and I’m walking down pit road prior to the start of the Toyota Save Mart 350. Ryan Tschudi, the quiet and sincere underneath mechanic for the 77 Mobile One Dodge walks up to me and asks if I have already done my SIRIUS NASCAR Radio show for the day. I tell him that I just finished the broadcast…..why? He said that he wanted to do a shout out to his dad for Father’s day.

The stunt pilot for the Red Bull Helicopter is doing flips in the air, the Infineon Raceway girls are posing with teams up and down pit road, the colors and sounds and energy of the moment are beyond intense. The pre race is unfolding and Ryan is thinking about his dad.

I raised my microphone, turned on the m audio player and asked him to do a shout out to his dad if he’d like. I’d find a way to work it into the post race show even if they do not win and visit Victory Lane. I’m thinking I will have to be creative on getting this one on a post race show but, darn it, I’ll find a way to do it. He said he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. He had heard me have the guys do a shout out to their dads on the Friday broadcast and wanted to have his dad included. That’s cool.

“I want to wish my dad LeRoy a happy Father’s Day,” Tschudi said into my microphone.
“My dad is actually headed to Texas right now, he’s taking a load down to Dallas. Happy Father’s Day!,” He added.

I called my dad (John Bennett) today. He’s up North in Wisconsin with Mom at the lake fishing and enjoying the day. I appreciate all he did for me in my life and I am lucky that I can go on the radio and shout out to him and tell him so.

So many of the guys who are never home for special days and anniversaries and Father’s Days cannot. They would trade what they do for anything,but guys like the underneath mechanic on a team are unsung heroes of race teams. No one gives them attention and when the cameras are rolling and the live broadcasts are happening and the features are being shot – they are where they live, underneath the race car. They get no attention and they ask for nothing for themselves.

I think it’s really great that Ryan came up to me – and while he’d never ask for something for himself – he wanted to do a shout out to his dad.

I’m sure he didn’t expect me to mention it in my blog.

But you know it’s the small things about this sport that make some of the best stories and most compelling stories in NASCAR. On pit road and in the garage and back at home at race shops there are guys who would do just about anything to get to Victory Lane so they can call their dads from there and give them some attention.

Happy Father’s day to all the guys in the sport and all the fans back at home.

Ryan thanks for the shout out to your dad. I know that you never figured it would be in this blog – but you know your dad must be pretty special and that is way cool.

More Later – Enjoy the day!

Claire B.

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Welcome to Infineon Raceway…Pressure June 18, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Listeners, My Show, NASCAR.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

I just arrived at Infineon Raceway and am setting up my home away from home in the studio here at Infineon Raceway. I got a bunch of email about whether I’m going to Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Mile again this weekend instead of Infineon which has been the mode the last couple of years.

This year, while my heart will be home with family and friends I’ve met in Milwaukee, I’ll be situated in the Sonoma Valley covering both races. Since I am in the booth for the pre race show it would be hard to anchor the show from a bar in Milwaukee across from the Milwaukee Mile. But it sure was fun wasn’t it? I’ll figure out a way to do that again one day – but this weekend I’m in the beautiful Sonoma Valley.

My “Dialed In” With Claire B. Lang broadcast schedule is as follows:
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Dialed In 7-10 EST LIVE from Infineon Raceway

Friday, June 19, 2009
Dialed In- 3-6:30 EST LIVE from Infineon Raceway (pre Sprint Cup Qualifying)

Saturday, June 20, 2009
Dialed In -5-8:30 p.m.EST leading up to the start of the NorthernTool.com 250

Sunday, June 21, 2009
Dialed In – 11-1 p.m. EST leading up to the start of the Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show.

SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show- Sunday, June 21 – 1:00-3:00 p.m. EST
Claire B. will be in the booth for the Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show

SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Post Race Show – Sunday, June 21 POST RACE
Claire B will open up LIVE from Victory Lane on the Sirius NASCAR Radio Post Race Show

Enjoy the day!!

  • Oil Rig Helicopter Pilot’s Bet on Dale Jr’s Michigan Finish:

    NOTE: See the photo of John in Louisiana’s landing spot (he’s the guy who made the bet with me last week that Dale Junior would finish in the top ten at Michigan. He lost the bet so he is going to send me a photo of him with a sign indicating he lost and with at least one of the oil rig guys near the helicopter and the sign. Check out where John has to land his helicopter when he shuttles the guys to the rig each day woah!

    Helecopter Pilot 174

    Read these Billy Joel Lyrics and then my notes below it.

    Pressure (Billy Joel)

    You have to learn to pace yourself

    Pressure

    You’re just like everybody else

    Pressure

    You’ve only had to run so far

    So good

    But you will come to a place

    Where the only thing you feel

    Are loaded guns in your face

    And you’ll have to deal with

    Pressure

    You used to call me paranoid

    Pressure

    But even you can not avoid

    Pressure

    You turned the tap dance into your crusade

    Now here you are with your faith

    And your Peter Pan advice

    You have no scars on your face

    And you cannot handle pressure

    All grown up and no place to go

    Psych 1, Psych 2

    What do you know?

    All your life is Channel 13

    Sesame Street

    What does it mean?

    Pressure

    Pressure

    Don’t ask for help

    You’re all alone

    Pressure

    You’ll have to answer

    To your own

    Pressure

    I’m sure you’ll have some cosmic rationale

    But here you are in the ninth

    Two men out and three men on

    Nowhere to look but inside

    Where we all respond to

    Pressure

    Pressure

    All your life is Time Magazine

    I read it too

    What does it mean?

    Pressure

    I’m sure you’ll have some cosmic rationale

    But here you are with your faith

    And your Peter Pan advice

    You have no scars on your face

    And you cannot handle pressure

    Pressure, pressure

    One, two, three, four

    Pressure

    Pressure

    Exposure, Television Mentions, Superior Performance More Crucial Than Ever

    The song “Pressure” by Billy Joel summarizes the state of drivers and team members in the sport headed into this weekend’s race here at Infineon. It struck me of late that when I am live with the winners in victory lane how many drivers and crew chiefs are now talking about the great vehicles that the manufacturer that they race for puts on the show room floors. Arm chair quarterbacking after the fact is always easy but maybe some more of that should have been going on before the economic crisis hit Detroit’s big three.

    Tough times teach us a lot – and I always say when times are tough the Good Lord is preparing us so that we’ll be humble when we win the lottery. Good times are coming. What lesson are we supposed to learn at this juncture? Am I the only one who thinks that some of what we have experienced, yes even in our sport, has made us appreciate it more?

    While GM teams ponder where to cut back to assist GM in their restructuring while professing long-standing support to Chevrolet – sponsors looking ahead to renewing or signing contracts with the sport look to the performance of teams and drivers like never before.

    Team members are uneasy, not sure where budget cutbacks will come from and hoping this is not the weekend that they mess up. Team owners and drivers say that they are resourceful and I agree. No one has seen yet what teams and drivers and crew guys will do to make teams thrive in tough times. I think it’s not like anything you’ll see in other sports — I think the resourcefulness of folks on NASCAR teams (creativity is what made winners in the sport) will lead to decisions that no one has yet thought of. Other sports – No I don’t see that resourcefulness not to the level of what will come from decisions made in tough times by smart team owners. Add to that the loyalty of the true fans and even in tough times, maybe more so in tough times, the sport will find a way.

    The pressure to perform which has been a part of this circuit forever is ramped up to a level these days that will absolutely affect the racing -perhaps for the positive. This is not the time to be mediocre and survive. This is a time when funding is on the line like never before and no one can race unmentioned at the back of the field and stay in the game for long with sponsors looking for the payback on every penny to justify the spending to boards of directors. Does NASCAR give the payback to sponsors? With everyone on their game yes – and the game will be stepped up.

    Drivers and team members know that, and since these guys (team members) do not dwell on the negative but rather the perpetual series of opportunities for hope that each race presents – they are not talking about it much. Where will the cutbacks come from? What programs, what team members and are layoffs in the future for these teams? These questions are inside, unsaid within the sport this race weekend.

    Those answers are yet to come. Team owners are positive and loyal and they will find a way.

    But as we head into this weekend -even more so than ever…for many in the sport – there is more pressure.

    Welcome to Sonoma. It’s going to be a heck of a race.

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    Michigan: Brian France Media Chat about GM and issues of the day June 14, 2009

    Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Items of Interest.
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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    GM logo
    Image via Wikipedia

    Greetings from Michigan International Speedway
    NASCAR CEO Pre-Race – Manufacturer Cuts, Economy, Four Team Limit, Best Racing in the World, Most Loyal Fans In Sports

    It’s a beautiful day pre-race in Michigan. There’s so much to talk about leading into today’s race. I wanted to get a quick post up from the chat NASCAR CEO Brian France had with reporters in the deadline room shortly before the race started. Here’s the transcript – of what he said in response to questions. I’ll have more to tell you when the race is over..for now enjoy the race. I’ll post tidbits when the race is over.

    Take care…Enjoy the race:

    (MEDIA asking NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France about issues of the day on Sunday pre- Lifelock 400)

    What about the cutbacks in NASCAR from GM :

    Well obviously they’re having a you know everything that they are doing – every program’s being affected and we’re no different. We were hoping to have the most minimal of the impact with their decisions to restructure their business and the details aren’t all out yet as to exactly what that will mean to us but obviously we are affected. I think our job now is to figure out how to be good partners with them. They’re trying to restructure their entire company and be a different company on the other side and for us to be a part of that and I think we will. I’m very confident that they will be in the sport for many, many years because it works well but obviously under different terms and our teams are affected that’s more than any one – the tracks have already felt the restructuring last year and now individual teams at all levels are going to feel it and that’s not the best case scenario for us but it’s the reality of where we are and we’ll deal with it.

    Obviously they want to come out of bankruptcy do you think NASCAR is still a good viable model for them or other manufacturers to help make that happen?

    Well sure I think we’re the best opportunity to help build a new company, sell different cars – the same cars or a combination thereof. So I’ve always felt good about that and they do too it’s just the reality of having to do a restructuring across the board and what they said is when they got done reviewing that, that there would be some hard choices and obviously these are the result of those hard choices.

    Are you going to go to Detroit and talk with the big cheese about your deal and their deal?

    Well we have. We’ve been talking to them all along. I went in last year -ah last fall to all the manufacturers, myself and Mike Helton and Jim France and others. We’ve been in constant contact with them – they are a big integral part of what we do and that is unchanged.

    With all this uncertainty are you actively talking to companies that might end up healthier, such as Honda – the German companies?

    Well we have been talking to people off and on for a long time. These are decisions in terms of a new manufacturer joining the sport that would take a long time to evaluate and actually enter. So those aren’t something that if we turned the light switch on tomorrow morning that it would happen – but of course we are the preeminent place in North America for car manufacturers to build their business with an auto racing group. So we remain that and clearly there are some companies that are going to look at opportunities that may not have even been there in the past that could be presented in the future. Now listen we’ll have our philosophical approach to that in terms of welcoming new companies in as we did with Toyota – it is under a very clear set of circumstances that manufacturers come to NASCAR to compete and that will not change.

    Are there two or three that seem particularly interested or you have hopes for down the road?

    Well, I am not going to name names. But we have companies that are interested in particular in developing the North American market as robust as they can. And you’re well aware as we all are that there are lots of foreign manufacturers now producing cars here in America, as Toyota did. That was part of the rationale that Toyota used that that helps them associate more with this market and we are the preeminent place to consider should a company want to do that.

    Is the development of generic race cars – have anything to do with mfg support?

    No I don’t think that’s the case. Although it was certainly very helpful because the costs have come down so when some of the teams are affected whether direct support or technical support in theory and it’s certainly our expectation that the new car will serve that particular problem well and those teams will still be able to put competitive race cars forward albeit not as easy and not under the best of circumstances but it certainly gives them an opportunity to stay in the game and that’s what we’re going to be working with.

    Are there certain things that NASCAR can do to help the teams. Do you have to reassess some things to help these organizations and would you consider the four car team limit?

    Let me say , look the four car limit is designed to increase new ownership and that remains the case. If you had seven, eight or nine teams under one place that is too daunting of a task for a new team owner to come into NASCAR. We still believe that now more than ever. The question is with falling revenues in every sports league – what are you going to do to help figure out the way forward. For us, we have the, as you well know, a huge interest in the sponsorship level we are more dependant on it than anyone else so we are affected. So for us it’s going to be helping our teams, tracks and other constituency members figure out new companies that are building their brands, new technologies. You’ve heard me talk about the green industry that will be created over the next five or ten years we want to be a part of that – the green economy – in some intelligent way – we will be. So we will be looking at figuring out like anyone in our position – how to create new opportunities for new companies building brands or services here at NASCAR because existing companies that our teams in particular have relied on are changing and that’s just the reality.

    Can you ask a team that has five cars all fully sponsored like Roush to drop a car in today’s economic environment because of that rule?

    We’ll listen, listen we made the rule several years ago and that’s the timing of it and it may not be the perfect timing given the circumstances but the conclusion that we want to get to is the right one and we’ve worked, listen we gave Jack (Roush) an enormous amount of runway and we’ll continue to work with him if there’s anything we can do to make that adjustment easier then we will and Jack’s aware of that.

    Do you think today’s race car (car of today) has done what you wanted it to do?

    We think it has and it doesn’t mean that in our town hall meeting that we had a couple of weeks ago that there aren’t some adjustments that we can make to do even better and that’s what we talked to our teams about in particular, talked to the drivers directly had them all under one place as you are all aware and that was very good for us, very effective. But listen, the new car is putting on great racing and it’s always debatable when you try something new that something is going to be better than it was before and invariably you get fair debate about that. But as things settle down and settle in and more important as the teams and the drivers get more comfortable with this car – which has been no small thing. It’s very new very different form the old car…that takes some time. That’s settling in and to the extent we can make an adjustment and we think we have some things we’ll look at and they’ll be adjustments they won’t be wholesale changes – to make this even better for the drivers. We want them to feel as great as they can about the cars they are driving that is why we had a great meeting a couple of weeks ago.

    There are ominous reports of Brickyard attendance as low as 100,00 or 150,000?

    No – I think that’s overstated by far. I don’t know what the attendance will be we won’t know – but we also know that people are buying tickets later -much later in the cycle. Our fans are waiting as they are all nervous – I understand that. They are also waiting a little bit to figure out if we can get the track correct which we will in terms of the tire issues we had. So listen depending on where we are we are going to have some – I would call it in the grand scheme of things – some modest attendance dips we are going to have some – and that’s to be expected and the whole country’s down.

    If fans stayed away from there in part out of anger in a certain sense at least in the short term that would be understandable don’t you think?

    Listen I’m not going to put my shoes in every race fan’s..that’s their choice they attend what the events they want to attend. The Brickyard is a spectacular venue for us has been since 1994 and there’s been some great racing , great tradition and that’s going to continue. Sometimes things happen where everything lines up in the reverse of what you’d like to see. That’s happened here in Michigan where it’s probably the hardest state hit with unemployment job loss and you know the idea that NASCAR can cruise around and do business in every state and not have some effect on this economy and have the sponsorship business model and be tied to the manufacturers in the way they are and to not feel that – That would be unrealistic to think that would be the case. But what I have said and I’ll say it today – When you look at it – and I look at this every day -we are doing better than most. We are not perfect, we’ve got our issues but we are doing better than most industries, most sports. We have some spots we want to improve on a lot of spots we want to improve on. But we will get through a tough time – and our fans are the most loyal in sports and we will do what we have always done which is put the best racing in the world forward and that is what is going to be what is the deciding factor long after the economy turns the corner and gets better again. Have a great race today.

    (end of session with France)

    ……..

    There is a lot of talk about a GM meeting supposedly to be held with teams this week to outline what is coming next for Chevy Sprint Cup teams as far as cutbacks. Everyone in the garage is buzzing about what might happen and which teams might be affected – how much and who would be affected the most.

    Enjoy the race – it should be a good one!

    Claire B

    I’ll be covering details of this story and will keep you posted.

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    Kyle Busch’s Polarizing Persona June 9, 2009

    Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Controversy, Drivers.
    Tags: , , , , , , ,
    11 comments
    Talladega, AL 4-08 arriving for nascar race
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    Note: CBL’s Broadcast Schedule this week is below this most recent blog posting

    Phone Lines Light Up – At Mention of KB’s Name

    The phone lines are on melt down ever since Kyle Busch did the “rock star”, share-the- trophy-with-the team smashing of the Gibson Guitar trophy at Nashville. He won the Nationwide Series Race – but he crashed the trophy- in victory lane. It was impulsive but real emotion – yet he got criticism for being over the top.

    Kyle’s fans want him to push the limits, race hard and have an outside- the-box, less than vanilla persona. Non fans are livid. One thing is for sure – simply mention this racers name and the phone lines light up. Folks want to talk about and weigh in on Kyle every week.

    Because I simply could not get to all the KB calls on my show the other day and needed during the pre race coverage to get on with covering racing – I asked my listeners to write what was on their minds and that I’d post a great sample of them on my site in an unbiased manner. Here goes:

    From Tennessee:
    I live in Tennessee and I thought what Kyle did was AWESOME! Be a ROCK STAR if you like. It’s his trophy to do with it as he wants. The people that are getting upset need to first accept that the guy is great and second, get a grip on the history of music and rock and roll. I guess they are mad because Nashville is not Rock and Roll headquarters. Cleveland, OH is. If Sam Bass is OK with it, than the rest of the world needs to take a chill pill. Way to go SMOKE!

    From Jesse in Orlando:
    This kid is slowly pushing the limits of what fans will tolerate in a supposedly professional racer. This kid tries every, way shape or form to irritate and unsettle some traditions of NASCAR. Plus this person is a role model for future generations, you do not teach destruction to young people. Kyle is not a rock star, he is a sports figure. We do not want children imitating this imbecile. Kyle mostly acts before the mind goes in gear, he has no conception of fallout. This causes him to be extremely dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether or not he had Sam’s or NASCAR’s Blessing. He is a shock jock of the first order and therefore will likely drive many parents to prevent their kids from watching NASCAR. Controversy only causes momentary spikes in ratings. I also take offence to the many times this is being replayed on TV. This is to give Media fuel for the fire. This will not ultimately help the TV nor Radio ratings as this gets old quickly. Too bad he doesn’t know how to lose, he would go much further if he did. Life is the judge of how successful a person is, and this kid is not winning this war. Plus there are a slew Rock n Roll figures that committed suicide because they could not deal with reality. Trophies are not expendable guitars. Ask any racer who has lost ones in fires or had them stolen. Many non-fans who viewed “Talladega Nights” thinking this is what NASCAR is all about. Not a true picture of what NASCAR racing is at all. Kyle is portraying the same image as Ricky Bobby, and I take offense. For every action there is reaction, mine is disgust.

    From Mike:
    KB is an idiot. If he wanted his to have a piece of the trophy order one and cut it up for them . But don’t show disrespect as many of us saw it . Yes he can drive a race car, and if I were J.D. Gibbs he would be standing tall in my office Monday morning. Idiot!!

    From Kenny in Delaware:
    Kyle Bush. What can be said? I’m not a fan per say but here is another case where I give kudos. The trophy smashing was a classic. I don’t think he meant any disrespect to Nashville Super Speedway or Sam Bass. He wanted his crew to have a piece of the trophy. There are many rock band guitarists who smash their guitars at concerts. I believe he was mimicking that act and also getting his team the pieces he needed to give to them. It is freedom of speech. A way to express himself. Many will agree with this act and many won’t. But it was his trophy and his choice. It was his freedom that let him do this. And it is his right.

    All sports need more celebrities who are spontaneous and natural and not some puppet on a string who always do what is politically correct. This is what makes Kyle, Kyle. I applaud him for it and encourage him and others to continue on with being themselves.

    From Brian in Morristown, Tennessee
    Can you say “Actions detrimental to NASCAR Racing”!!!!!!!!!
    Kyle Bush’s actions in winners circle should brought into question. Is it appropriate for anyone to destroy there trophy. Yes you can say it was a “rock star moment” but after that I don’t care to even see him on the track again. I’m not Kyle bashing, I would be upset without regard to whoever did something like, that it’s just un-sportsman like conduct. If he wants to do something to share with his team, why not tear up the winnings check and hand out the pieces. Yes it is his trophy, but he is a representative of the NASCAR family.

    From Cheri in Kentucky:
    I was appalled when I saw Kyle Busch smash the trophy at Nashville. Not only was it a trophy, it was a work of art. His “rock star” analogy does not work. When a rock star smashes his or her guitar, it is the instrument they use to touch the fans, the “tool” of their trade. And it can easily be replaced. They don’t smash their platinum records, or music awards. These are displayed proudly. Kyle smashed a trophy, a work of art, and what should have been a revered memento of his win at that track. If he wanted to emulate a rock star, he should have taken a saws-all to the car, the tool of his trade. Sam Bass’s comments after he talked to “kyle” show that he is a class act. No artist could appreciate seeing a piece of their work destroyed by a brat. I do not blame the fans at Nashville one bit for uninviting him to their local track. That young man is in need of some serious “home training.” He is a perpetual sore loser, and cannot even figure out how to be a gracious winner. His actions make NASCAR less enjoyable for me.

    From Heidi in Lewisberry PA
    I defend Kyle’s right under the Constitution to do what he did to the Sam Bass guitar and even found it honorable that he would keep the promise he made to his crew to smash it, so all may have a piece of the trophy. I even found it to be an entertaining Victory Lane celebration. However, at the same time the guitar was smashed, my heart cried. It wasn’t just a guitar that was smashed, it was a piece of artwork that was destroyed. I found it comparable to burning a fine piece of literature or even the flag of our fine country.

    From Bryan:
    Plain and simple. Sounds like Sam Bass accepted Kyle’s explanation, so that should be the end of it. What some people don’t understand ,is Kyle was just doing his imitation of Pete Townsend, and Paul Stanley. Two rock icons that were known for breaking guitars on stage. I’m sure there are others besides them, that has done it. For those who got offended, or feels disrespected.get over it! Sam is and so should you. What’s next, you gonna sue him for pain and suffering?

    From Texas:
    Claire no matter what Kyle does he is wrong.Tony in TX

    From Bob in Bedford, Texas
    I was delighted to meet you a couple of years ago at TMS. I wanted to share my disgust about Kyle Busch’s destruction of the beautiful Gibson. I am a guitar player and own some beautiful Martin acoustic instruments. I am sure there are thousands players like me that are NASCAR fans and will NEVER have anything but disgust at his wanton destruction of a beautiful instrument made more special by the artistry of Sam Bass.

    I sort of admired Kyle for his skill but now realize he is so far removed from the fans that he has no regard for this valuable instrument. I guess it just shows what happens to these kids when they become millionaires before they reach 21. I don’t buy the stupid excuse that he wanted to share it with his team.

    A pox on his house.

    From Kevin In Fort Myers, Florida:
    I think that KB is a good driver but he is immature! very immature!!
    I thought that the guitar smashing was disrespectful for the sport/sam bass/and the tn speedway
    He would have finished better at pocono if he wasn’t such a punk at Nashville. Karma!
    Kevin House

    From Alberto in Nazar, Texas
    I sent an email last year about Gordon blaming Jr when he got beat by Kyle Busch- just so you know…..let’s talk about what’s happening now. Brace yourself. I hear a lot of phone calls about Kyle that scares the hell out of me- the state of mind of the callers is what scares me. Yesterday I blew my top when I heard a lady with a husband and 2 daughters who loves Jr and Harvick complain about Kyle’s statement-so hear me out. I can’t tell you what Kyle was thinking when he said that but I’ll tell you what I think he was thinking-he was putting himself on the line to defend a friend who is going to become the next victim they are going to have with the mess with Jr. He was concerned about the crew chief that helped him out when he was driving the #5. He knew the facts -the risk-and that’s why he said what he said. So I’d like to tell that lady to spend more time teaching her daughters not to hate anybody. Being hateful to others is wrong and is not the right way to live. I am not a Kyle fan-my driver died a long time ago. And a lot of your listeners don’t know he won lots of races driving Oldsmobile #2 , Pontiac #2 and Ford #15 before he drove a bowtie product-#3. When someone put a mike in his face he spoke his peace and a lot of times they had to turn the mike off.- when he was running to his hauler trying to escape people chasing him he said “I don’t have a TV in my car”- “its just racing Man”. Kyle reminds me a lot of him. I don’t think he has to look back at anything or apologize to the Jr fans because Jr is not
    winning races. If he goes and says what he feels they bitch about it-and when he runs to his hauler without talking to anybody they bitch about it. Get over it Man. This is not a beauty parlor contest-it’s just racing.

    Love you and God Bless You-I listen to you all the time

    From Ron in Chicago:
    The very instant I saw Dumb#%& Kyle Busch try to smash his guitar into pieces I thought “I can’t believe how big of As57ole he really is! Buy doing what he did, I and many others, thought he disrespected Nashville speedway, Gibson Guitars, Sam Bass and everyone who has ever won one of these rare and beautiful guitars. I noticed that after he did that the representatives from Federated Auto Parts (the race sponsor) walked out of victory lane. I think someone should but this idiot in his place. Sure he is a great driver, but he has ZERO respect for almost everyone and everything. Why does he think his crap doesn’t stink, and that everyone else at any given race is below him. I for one, even though he is a great driver, will NEVER be a fan because it is time for him to grow up, act his age and show just a little responsibility for his actions. I say, I hope he never sells another die-cast, hat, shirt or anything else. I would really like to see M&M’s pull their sponsorship and move it to a driver that would do them proud. Kyle is just a immature BRAT.

    ————————-
    You are either on one side or the other regarding Kyle Busch and, on this issue, there is a line in the sand and the NASCAR fans are divided. Some folks are really upset. I can understand some of that – it’s everyone’s right to have an opinion and for some – Kyle should have thought through the perception of it all even though it was his trophy.

    Fans always bring in him talking to the media or not when he doesn’t win. I am used to taking the approach the drivers take – race someone as they race you no matter what he does to anyone else and Kyle has always been fair to me and never rude, not once. I don’t run after race car drivers as the run from the track if they don’t want to be interviewed – you know that. I usually figure I’ll give the time to someone who wants or needs the exposure at that moment. If a guy is too mad to talk – it means that he is so mad he doesn’t want to talk. I think I get the picture. Sure everyone wants to hear what he might say.

    Kyle has admitted himself that he is a sore looser and indeed he is – even he admits that. Way too much sometimes it seems but how do I know what motivates him to be up on the edge? Does racing so many races in so many series keep a guy up on it emotionally to the point that keeping the edge prevents him from handling not winning in an appropriate manner? I wonder.

    Point is – it doesn’t matter what Kyle does –appropriate or not – people want to talk about him. He gives us fodder plenty of times to discuss his actions but even on a quiet week for him – I mention his name related to qualifying or practice and the phone lines light up. It’s wild to see. Do folks want him to misbehave so they can talk about him? Do fans desire that in a sport?
    I’ll post more of these later – I am just getting unpacked from Pocono. I’ve not posted for a while -but have now caught up on things and will be back on the blog regularly.

    Broadcast Schedule This Coming Weekend:
    Dialed In with Claire B. Lang at the following times:
    Wed. June 10 –“Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Charlotte, NC Studio
    Thursday, June 11 – “Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan
    Friday, June 12 – “Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan
    Saturday, June 13, “Dialed In” 1-1:30 EST LIVE from Michigan leading into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 200 in Michigan
    AND Saturday “Dialed In” 4-8 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan leading into the Meijer 300 Nationwide Race in Kentucky

    CBL Pre and Post Race:
    Sunday, June 14th -Claire B is in the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio booth for the Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race show which starts at: 10:15 a.m. EST
    Claire B will be in Victory Lane LIVE after the race and “Dialed In” will follow the post race show two hours after the race is over until 10 p.m.EST.

    Time to unpack!
    Enjoy the day.
    Claire B

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