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Race Day – November 9, 2008 November 9, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, In The Garage, NASCAR, Teams, Transcripts.
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Blog – Phoenix International Raceway
Race Day – November 9, 2008
Claire B Lang

Brian France – NASCAR Chairman and CEO Q and A with the media heart at Phoenix pre-race today:

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France came into the media center for Q and A’s this morning. We were given about a ten minute notice and told we could ask anything. The topic of conversation revolved around the economy and the stress on NASCAR with the tough economic times with the auto manufacturer’s being in dire straights.

France said NASCAR is not immune to a tough economy but the sanctioning body is working at trying to understand what the partners are going through and how it relates back to the team owners and teams.

I asked him about what Rusty Wallace said here Friday in an interview about the Nationwide car of tomorrow (COT):

Here’s what Rusty said:

Rusty Wallace: “Unfortunately I think that NASCAR is going to put a rule out that we are going to go to the (Nationwide) car of tomorrow and a lot of people will say we’re NOT going to do it. Under this economy and as hard as it is to find sponsors you simply can’t take 21 cars and throw them all away with nobody finding any sponsors. Right now is the wrong time to do that.”

CBL to Brian France: “Rusty Wallace …yesterday said he though that some Nationwide teams might refuse to run the Nationwide Car of Tomorrow or that the cost was just too much. Can you maybe talk about whether that is a reality or not and whether you intend to continue the Nationwide Car of Tomorrow program?”

Brian France answer: “Well we’re not there with deciding that the COT is going to appear in the Nationwide series. What we said is that the Nationwide series will evolve and it needs more of its own identity quite frankly. It has a new sponsor in Nationwide and we’re going to do a number of things that we need to do to keep reestablishing – it’s the number two motorsports series in the US. And I certainly heard those discussions… We do an unprecedented amount of background and working with the team owners before we make any significant moves. We’ve done that on my watch the last five years – more so than we’ve ever done. So the car of tomorrow was as an example two or three years of discussions. Mike and I both led those respectively. We met with every team owner, every crew chief, multiple engineers. We heard all the issues. We didn’t just make a decision in six months. We took a long time to do that. We got an unprecedented amount of feedback. That’s what we will do on any major initiative. The difference is we’re not going to stand up here each week and announce the progress report on that. But that is the progress report for significant rules that affect them.

France had a lot to say- mainly that NASCAR is meeting with not only the manufacturers but also the TV partners related to ad revenue and looking and continuing to look at cutting costs that might help the teams, manufacturers and partners. He said that if a manufacturer pulled out of NASCAR, which he doesn’t think will happen, the sport could survive.

Ray Evernham- What’s Next?

It is not a shocker that word is out that Ray Evernham would look at selling his share in Gillette Evernham Motorsports as he investigates where his passion for racing will take him.

I spoke with Ray this (Sunday) morning and I am including the full transcript for you. Because, unless you hear all of what he says – it might be easy to miss the point.

CBL: Ray it’s not a surprise that you are looking at these options and at pulling back:

“Quite honestly we’d been working in this direction. As I said I’m enjoying TV, I’m enjoying helping the Gillette family and it’s something that you know I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I want to slow down a lot. I’ve been having a good time with Ray Jay and doing a lot of different things. With that said I still have commitments to Gillette Everham. I am on the board – I’m still a minority owner but I’m just not as actively involved as I was. So – you know Mr. Gillette is a guy that knows how to win championships. I mean right now he owns the winningest hockey franchise in history so the best way I can assist him the way I can and kind of stay out of the way.

CBL: So what would you like fans to understand as they read about you and chat about this on the internet:

“I’ve had a great career and I really appreciate the fans and I appreciate – I have been really blessed to have been able to do everything that I’ve done in the sport. But there also comes a time – you know like as did Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace and I thought Mark Martin or Bill Elliott you know people want to walk away a little bit not totally. It’s just time for me to do that. I have had a good run but nothing lasts forever. So I would hope that people would look at me and say, ‘wow this guy has been good for the sport.’ I feel like I’ve brought a lot of innovations. I think that we did a great job bringing Dodge back when you look at overall what was going on and helped with a lot of charities, done a lot of different things and have always tried to give back to the sport. I’m going to continue to do that through the grass roots programs. I’m working with short tracks, I’m working with kids, I’m doing all those things to try and help short track racing across America. So, there’s not always some big conspiracy when somebody just wants to slow down a little bit. This has been part of a long term plan. I have said over and over again that at some point the business side of this sport was going to grow much bigger than a) either I was capable of doing or wanted to do. And I think it’s reached that right now. I think it’s going to take people that are as powerful as George Gillette, Rick Hendrick and guys like that to continue to grow it. At this point in my life right now I want to enjoy racing again. I don’t want the stress. I don’t want to have to listen to family worried about all the stuff that is being written on the internet. I’m a racer, I’ve always been a racer. I started my career as a racer and hopefully I can end it that way.

Again, I made a 10 year commitment to Dodge you know and then certainly now – next year will be the ninth year of it. But we’ve had a great run a great partnership. RIght now, the economy is making people change and do things and what not and it’s just best for me to be in a position where I can help. Because if I thought I could engineer the redesign of something of a company I would have done that but right now I’m not at that point in my life.

When will you pull out totally?
We don’t know. Right now my plan is not for me to be totally out of it for a while. It’s just a matter of how much George (Gillette) needs me to do and what exactly we are going to do.

I’ve visited a lot of short tracks. I’m looking at helping some of the diversity programs I am working with some people to do that. I’m looking at purchasing a short track in North Carolina. We’re doing a lot of different things to get back to the grass roots to see now again – you’ve gotta be able to give something back. When you look at Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and guys like that you know they are at the point in their career where they are looking at giving back. I’ve always said – I ‘ve been on the diversity council with NASCAR before and I’ve always said that I would love to be able to help where I work with people like Ingersol Rand and Stanley Tools and all those people. We’re going to be looking at doing programs around various vocational schools to get kids involved in racing. I want to have a little bit of fun and hopefully transfer some of the knowledge and give somebody the opportunity that people gave me

Everybody reaches a point where it’s time to retire you know. Whether you are at any sport – and I don’t know that I’m 100 percent at that point in my life but you know I’m 51, not 21 you know there’s a big difference.”

Pick your friends as carefully as you do your enemies
Which does Jack Roush like least – Toyota or Ron Hornaday? Answer Toyota

When Ron Hornaday crashed in Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race here at Phoenix Jack Roush sent some of his guys over to help repair the truck. Hornaday was really touched. “I had more tears in my eyes to see them guys working on that truck,” he said. But – why did Jack send his guys to help? Below is Roush’s answer

Jack Roush:
“Well the thing about Hornaday is that he’s Drew Blickensderfer’s father in law. And so every time Hornaday has run into one of our guys – in the truck series which has happened repeatedly Drew has paid the price. I’ve thrashed him pretty hard for it and so I felt that I owed Drew that (Friday) night since we had capacity – we had fabricators and we didn’t have anything involved in the wreck. Kevin Harvick flagged me down when he was in the Nationwide car ready to qualify and I had walked up to watch one of our guys qualify on the line before they went on pit road. He flagged me over and he wanted to thank me and he did thank me and I appreciate that. I said, ‘Don’t misunderstand, I do NOT like Ron Hornaday. I don’t want anybody to get that impression but he was definitely the lesser of the evils that I was confronted with. You need to pick your friends as carefully as you pick your enemies and I had a chance to define some space there and I think I made the right call.'”

The Politics In Racing – JGR Gibbs Racing’s #11 team:
Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin made a comment here at Phoenix as he talked with reporters about the chemistry on his race team. Interesting – read closely what he said –

Do you feel like a little shake up with the team management on the No. 11 car would give you a fresh start for 2009?
“I don’t know. I think we know what our problems are. It’s just real political in the shops. It really is. Just because we know what we want to fix within our race team, there’s other departments, there’s other heads of departments that have been there a long time that think maybe there’s a better way to do it than the way we’re doing it. It’s tough to say. A lot falls on Mike Ford’s (crew chief) shoulders to go out there and help this car perform. I think he’s done a great job of that. I’m behind him, I really think that Mike’s one of the best crew chiefs in the garage with the things he has to work with, I guess you can say. We’re trying to do everything we can and we’re not performing the way we were at the beginning of the year. The No. 18 team isn’t performing the way they were at the beginning of the year. As a team we have to get better. I think to do that we’re going to have to have everyone within that race shop be a little bit more open-minded.”

Roush Driver -Jamie McMurray Pops the Question:
“She Said Yes!”

Jamie McMurray is engaged. After qualifying second for Sunday’s race he said the week was special for another reason. In the media center he gave all the details…..

McMurray: It’s been a really exciting week for me, getting engaged – what about that? That’s pretty exciting stuff, huh? So, it’s been a fun week.” DID SHE SAY YES? “Yeah. Actually, what her words were, ‘Are you kidding? Are you serious?’ ‘Yeah, I’m serious. What are you thinking?’ So, to come here, it’s cool. Qualified second here before and on like the fifth lap I had something on the grille and had to pit, and hopefully Sunday will go better.” WHERE AND HOW DID YOU PROPOSE? “Actually, I did it at the Phoenician, at the hotel here in town. Christy and I stayed there, three and a half years I’ve known her, so every year we’ve stayed there. Did it after the race on Sunday, we got back and went and hung out and went and had dinner and went back to the room. I had it planned out, and I really didn’t get nervous, but I wanted to wait another day, and I’m, like, ‘I can’t wait another day. I’ve got to do this right now.’ It was cool. We’ve had so much fun this week. It’s exciting for me because it’s certainly a big deal to find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, but to see, Christy’s been glowing, that’s been so cool to me to see how excited that she’s been. I think she likes me.” WHAT DAY? “Monday, November 3rd.” WHAT’S CLICKED ON FOR YOU? JUST CIRCUMSTANCE? “I don’t know. I was just talking to the engineer about that in the trailer, and our cars have been very good over the last, like, three months. We’ve been a lot faster the second half of the year; things just haven’t worked out – whether you just got caught up in accidents, things have just clicked. There’s been a little more fortune on the race track. They just have made really good adjustments to my car, and I think I’ve probably been a little better driver explaining what I’m feeling. When we unloaded at Texas, you kind of know the tone of your weekend when you run your first few laps, like if it drives good we can work on this or you have weekends where you think, “We’ll never get this right,’ and at Texas we unloaded and I thought, “This is going to be tough.’ And we came into the garage and made we made a few adjustments and I pulled back out and I’m like, ‘There you go. It feels great again.’ So, they just have done a really good job of being pretty methodical on the adjustments, and they seem to work.” DID YOU GET ON A KNEE WHEN YOU PROPOSED? “Yeah, I was pretty nervous. I did. Yeah, I got on my knee. Christy and I have been together for so long that it’s weird when you’re talking to your friend. You picture that as a child, I think, doing that, and you don’t know what the person looks like, but we’re sitting there, and I’m, like, ‘Gosh, this is my best friend.’ I kind of felt corny. Do I have to get on my knee? Because I’m certainly not Romeo, by any means, you know? Not even close.”

    Drivers Meeting:

Pit Road Speed: 45 MPH
Caution Car Speed: 50 MPH
Pit Road Speed Begins: 250 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: 105 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 31.87 Seconds

Time to go out to the grid. More later – stay tuned.
Enjoy the day.

Claire B

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Email from Jason’s girlfriend November 6, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Help Out, My Show.
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I received a follow-up email from Jason’s girlfriend.

email November 5th


My friend Gabe Calton gave me your email address. I am Jason Deel’s girlfriend of 3 years. This has been the hardest thing I have ever been thru. Jason and I are more that we are best friends. We’ve been to so many races together we live close to Bristol and have season tickets we go to charlotte and other places. Jason loves nascar so much and he would appreciate all the prayers. If anyone wants to send E-Cards they can go to http://www.ohiohealth.com/homegrant.cfm?id=321 and click send E-Card he is in Grant Medical Center.

Thank you so much for everything

I attached a photo of Jason and I today at the last Bristol race. He has a Kahne shirt on but dont get me wrong he is a GORDON ONLY fan 🙂 he lost a bet and had to wear the Kahne shirt.


Tara and Jason

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Race Day Texas Motor Speedway November 2, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside.
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Texas Motor Speedway on NASA World Wind 1.3.Image via WikipediaBlog – November 2, 2008
Claire B Lang

The Dickies 500 will take the green flag today at 3:30 p.m. EST and ABC-TV will begin live coverage at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Driver’s Meeting – Get out the Vote:

NASCAR Race Director David Hoots opened the pre race drivers’ meeting here at Texas Motor Speedway today by asking the drivers and crew chiefs gathered in the auditorium in the media center here to vote on Tuesday.

“I’d like to remind everybody to take the opportunity – use the privilege that we have – be an American to vote this week – so everybody do that if you would please,” Hoots noted as he took the microphone prior to the review of the race rules and regulations.

Race Director David Hoots Asks Drivers Not To Get Lax:

David Hoots today also made a special note to remind the teams and drivers about safety vehicles. “We’ll take three pace laps. Crew chiefs, each week we ask you to have your spotters take notice to where the fire trucks and emergency equipment is coming out. They are located around the race track. Do that on the pace laps if you would,” Hoots said.

Hoots added, “Once the caution lights are illuminated you are under caution. Slow down to a cautious pace. Let’s not get lax on this because I think we have a tendency but let’s not get lax. Be aware and very respectful of those emergency services vehicles and personnel out on that race track. They are responding to somebody that needs them. Slow down around the equipment and give them the maximum amount of room possible. If you can’t have clear vision on your car if you’ve been in an accident stop and let us come help you and get the car in the garage. Give them a lot of room and give them a lot of respect.”

TMS – Pit Road and Speeds:

Pit Road Speed is 45 mph.

Caution Speed is 55 mph.

Minimum Speed is 34.11

There were no questions asked….and we prayed.

Gordon on the Pole:

Jeff Gordon will start from the pole today. His award – a Beretta shotgun.


“Texas has not been one of our best tracks but today has been a great day for the DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. We started off, the car felt good, but didn’t just quite have the speed. We worked on it and the last lap we made in practice, we really hit on something and it followed all the way through qualifying.

“We have made huge gains on these mile and a half race tracks. Things that I feel good about and we can be consistent with. It is just how you get good information back to your team to fine-tune things. That is how we go faster. We are finding it, we are just unfortunately finding it a little bit late. Not quite enough too late, but this is great for us. A good start to the weekend.

ON WINNING THE BERETTA SHOTGUN FOR GETTING THE POLE: “It is a beautiful shotgun. It takes about a year to get it after all the engraving that goes in to it. It is really a prize worth going after. Late in the season, we haven’t gotten a win. We haven’t been able to qualifying for about a month. This is just exciting to get out there and put a lap down. What a great day for the DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. The team was unbelievable today, we unloaded with a fast race car but just kept improving on it all through practice.

“Certainly a lot more comfortable on these mile and a half tracks than we were earlier in the season. This is just half the battle, just qualifying and one lap. We feel like we still have some work to do for the race. We will find out about that tomorrow, but I know our race car are so much better at this point in the season will all of our testing and our hard work. The mile and half have been pretty decent to us the last few times we have been to them, so we know we have made improvements. Texas has been hit or miss for us. We have been here capable of winning before and been here when we were the worst car or I was the worst driver, whatever it was, we weren’t fast. We really want to turn it around this weekend.

“I am so proud of this race team. I think it has been pretty well documented how tough of a weekend we had here in Texas back in April. This team has been working so hard and today was a real sign of that effort. Track position is so important at this place. We put a lot of effort and focus on qualifying and it paid off. That green machine is starting on the pole and we have to go to work tomorrow to get ready for the race and try to get it there.

“I just think that it is so ironic that the last three tracks, Martinsville, Charlotte and Atlanta, all tracks that we felt like we could win the pole at, we didn’t get the opportunity because of rain. I thought the last place we could win a pole was here at Texas. Here we are on the pole. Anything is possible.

“We have started from the pole here but not legitimately, it was because of rain. Top of the board practicing and now qualifying.

TALK ABOUT YOUR WEEKEND HERE IN APRIL: “In my opinion, the car does the talking for me. I drive it in the corner and it does whatever it is going to do. I don’t really do anything different. I try to improve all the time and get the most out of it. But, when the car does what I am asking it to do and it sticks, we go fast. I am not saying that meaning that the guys have to get the car right, it is all of us working together through testing, through communication, everything that it takes to get to get the right setup, the right feel, everything that matches up with how I am driving the car. When we were here in April, we just weren’t even close off the truck. I knew we were in trouble. It just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t fast, the times in qualifying showed up. Today is the exact opposite. I said our car feels pretty good. It is a little tight, but it is comfortable going through the transitions in the corner, I wasn’t having some issues I was having in the past. We kept freeing the car up. A lot of times when you free the car up here, you just get loose in, loose off, it doesn’t really fix the middle part of the corner. All the adjustments we were doing were helping in the right spot and the car just kept going faster. We put up a big lap there at the end of practice and were able to back it up. It is a great feeling and definitely a boost to the confidence of our team.

“I like the night races and I think if you are close, you should be able to adjust on it from the daylight in to the night time. To me track position is just so important at this track. To me it plays out way more than what the car is going to do from day to night. Obviously we have to keep up that. All we can do is go off of our notes from last year and our teammates and go in to practice and see what kind of balance the car has. You have to be careful trying to pay too much attention, you have to think about track temperature changing, but you have to be careful about putting too much emphasis on it. We will just go in to practice tomorrow and make the best of it. In the early practice will be the closest it will be when the race goes in to night time.”

WOULD IT BE FITTING FOR YOU TO WIN HERE TO BREAK THE WINLESS STREAK? “Well, I wasn’t expecting to get the pole, I can tell you that. I definitely not expecting to get the win either, but it doesn’t stop us as a team and me as a driver from trying to make that happen and putting out every bit of effort that we can. I mean, it really doesn’t matter what our stats are, good or bad at any race track. We go in to that weekend believing we can win the pole, that we can win the race and constantly pushing the car and ourselves to improve whether we won the last race there or finished dead last. That is just the kind of team that we are and I think today pretty much proves that and shows that, we know everybody is talking about us not winning and certainly know that our stats here are not great. Yet, we come out with a great car today, win the pole and that all we have to go on right now. We have to wait until Sunday to see how the race unfolds. I can tell you that the track position is huge here and can play a big role.”

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO.1 BASS PRO SHOP/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 2ND: “It was a good run. The car was good off the trailer and we were able to go out there and just hold it wide open. I was hoping we had a shot at keeping the pole, but nevertheless it was a good run for our Bass Pro Shops Chevy.

HOW GREAT IS THE SENSATION OF SPEED HERE? “Not really. I don’t think it seems faster than any of the other tracks we go to. Doesn’t seem any faster than Atlanta. I think after 100, they all feel about the same. It isn’t too bad.”

IS THIS A CAR YOU HAVE RUN A LOT? “We’ve been kind of all over the board here lately. We actually ended up fairly similar to where we were here in the spring, we came with a different setup with some stuff we learned last week in Atlanta and at Charlotte. It didn’t work. That is the thing with these cars, you can’t really seem to be able to take it anywhere else. I don’t know it is. It is like every track you go to has its own things that it likes. Until you figure that out, you are kinda going to chase yourself around in circles. We went back to close to where we were in the spring, kinda like the stuff we ran last year with this car earlier in the year and it seemed to work pretty good for us. It is hard to tell exactly what it is you need to do to get better when everywhere you go is a little bit different.”

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 3RD: “It was good. We unloaded good. I was proud of the guys. Qualifying hasn’t been our strong point all season long. We’ve been getting lucky the last three races starting fifth. We earned a top five this time and all is well.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 7TH: “You see a big number like the No. 1 car put out, you know what you did in practice and the adjustments that have been made, you try and compute all that and say OK, my mark was here and I am going to try to go to here and hope it sticks. Getting out there and remembering those things is really the tough part. But, when you have a great race car like I did today, you can go out and do a good job with it, get a good lap. Very happy with the Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet and looking forward to a good weekend.

“It was a great lap. I have wanted to be on track the last few weeks like everyone else. It was some really good tracks that got rained out of qualifying.”

I am headed out to the garage. I’ll keep you posted. I’m in the radio room behind the auditorium where the Motor Racing Outreach service is going on and they are playing guitars and singing. It’s extremely inspirational to hear that and see the drivers gathered for church service before a race like this.

Enjoy the day. More later!

Claire B

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Texas Blog November 1, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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Greetings from Texas.

Do you like “Deal or No Deal?” Today the winner the “Dickies 2008 American Worker of the Year” had a chance to take his shot at winning $1 million here at Texas Motor Speedway. The winner was Hale Hughes, an oilfield roughneck whose wife survived a battle with breast cancer and went on to survive an accident at work that left him severely injured to battle back and be chosen one of the countries hardest working Americans.

The Dickies girls marched into the news conference today with metal briefcases, each containing the number of a race car in Sprint Cup.

Hughes had to pick a case with a car number in it. If the car number in the case he picked wins the race on Sunday he’ll get $1 million He decided to pick the case right behind Richard Childress who was seated as part of the announcement. He turned to the media in attendance and tod them he felt Childress would give him good luck in his selection.

Hughes opened the case, pulled out the envelope and opened it up.

He had selected the case with the #24 inside it.

Hughes began to tear up.

Let’s see if Jeff Gordon is magic for Hughes on Sunday.

Gordon was 33rd fastest in the final practice session. He was 8th fastest in the first session Saturday.

Final Practice:

1- Carl Edwards Time: 29.657 Speed 182.082 1 lap of 44 the fastest
2-Kyle Busch Time: 29.769 Speed 181.397 1 lap of 47 the fastest
3- Kurt Busch Time: 29.806 Speed 181.172 1 lap of 45 the fastest

A shredded right-rear tire on Tony Stewart’s #20 Home Depot Toyota during the first practice session ripped apart the right -rear quarter panel and side window forcing Stewart and team to pull out their backup race car and prepare it for Sunday’s 500-mile race.

Stewart himself worked on the back-up car to get it out for the second practice. I was in the garage watching Stewart, in his Home Depot driver’s uniform, not only work with a screw driver under the hood of the car but also to get down on the ground and work under the car as the team thrashed to prepare the back up.

The team, with Stewart assisting, was able to prepare the car in time to participate in almost all of the final practice session

First Practice:

Greg Biffle posted the fastest single-lap speed during the first practice session on Saturday:


Biffle: “We got the 3M Ford Fusion car a lot better in that session. I just wish I would have had that lap yesterday in qualifying. I just got too tight down there in three and four and got a terrible starting spot for tomorrow’s race, but I feel a lot better. The car is real fast in race trim and we’ll keep working on it. I was a little too free at the end of that session, but running down a lot of guys we’re racing with, so I’m pretty happy about that. If we can just get the back of it under it a little better for a long run, we know it’s gonna be hot and sunny and slick, so we’ll just get it the best we can.”


Biffle: “Actually, the last lap I ran the top down there trying to get a run on the 24 car and when I got up there it was just a little loose all the way around the corner. That tells us we need to tighten up just a little bit to be able to run up and down on the race track, but that was only about the second groove. That wasn’t the one up next to the wall. That will come in later.”

Dale Junior’s Comments:

Dale Junior was 25th fastest in the final practice and 12th fastest in the first practice. I thought you’d like to read word-for-word what he said in his media session here at Texas: He had some interesting things to say about Jimmie Johnson:


ON JUNIOR GIVING THE SHOTGUN HE RECEIVED FOR WINNING THE POLE AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY IN APRIL TO HIS CREW CHIEF, TONY EURY, JR. “I’m going to let Tony (Eury), Jr. my crew chief look after this one for me. I promised him if we won it that he would get it. So I’m going to let him take it home and hopefully we will make it two-of-a –kind after today.”

“He asked me for that shotgun before we came here last time and didn’t tell me nothing about it being worth $65,000 (laughter). I’ve got plenty of 12-gauges. I didn’t know nothing about it being $65,000.”

ON THIS WEEKEND’S RACE. “I’m just glad to be back to Texas. This is a fun race track to come to. The fans are really excited about us coming out here. They enjoy the facility and we have such a great facility here it’s good for the fans. They seem to be repaying us that favor by showing up every time we come back and they get real excited about it. They love seeing the sport come this way. We’ve had some good success here too so that helps a lot and makes us get excited about coming back. I just kind of like the enthusiasm that the crowd has and the people that are from in and around this area have for when we come here so it gets me excited.”

WITH TALLADEGA PRECEEDING THIS RACE NEXT YEAR, DO YOU THINK WE’LL SEE A TIGHTER GROUP THAN WE DID THIS YEAR AMONGST THE GUYS IN THE CHASE? “I don’t know. Talladega is just such a wild card. It could have went either way as far as separating or keeping people tighter together for the Chase. I think you just can’t take anything away from what Jimmie’s (Johnson) been able to do up until this point. In my opinion the Chase does what it’s supposed to do. There’s no real true formula that anybody in this room could come up with to make the perfect Chase every time. I think you’ve just go to give Jimmie and those guys credit for what they’ve been able to accomplish up to this point. They’re a dominant team in the sport at this time and you can’t handicap an individual for being great. Next year is going to be interesting. The one thing that I’m probably most excited about is I think I heard in there somewhere we were going to get an extra weekend off, so that will be kind of cool.”

KELLEY (EARNHARDT, GENERAL MANAGER OF JR MOTORSPORTS) SAID EARLIER THIS WEEK THAT THE NO. 5 NATIONWIDE TEAM WILL PROBABLY RUN A LIMITED SCHEDULE NEXT YEAR, DO YOU KNOW ABOUT HOW MANY RACES THAT TEAM WILL DO AND ARE YOU FRUSTRATED OVER THE SPONSORSHIP SEARCH IN THAT SERIES? “To be honest with you, this is really the truth of the matter when we merged the No. 88 and the No. 5 together we were entirely too big for what we were setting out to do but under the current situation we didn’t want to merge the teams together and lay off a bunch of people that were dedicated. We made it work this year and we tried to pinch when we could and really kind of came out even on the budget but without the ability to secure another full-time sponsorship for the No. 5 and without that program has not really progressed this season like we wanted to, we just weren’t able to put the money together to be able to run that car again. Up until this year, we’ve lost probably an average of two million dollars a year in our racing program at JR Motorsports and that was just a one-car team. Working in the Nationwide Series, even in the Cup Series is not really a money-making kind of program or a money-making deal for a car owner. You are trying your best to budget yourself to make even and just come out even. We felt like we had a pretty good package for Brad (Keselowski), we had one program that was ready to sign and we couldn’t sign it because it was a conflicting sponsor with one we already had at HMS (Hendrick Motorsports), so we ran into a couple of hurdles that were just too tall for us to jump over. It’s tough. Not only is there a lack of interest in sponsoring the Nationwide Series which is probably going to be growing unfortunately over the next year or so, but there’s those other hurdles you don’t think about where you’ve got a guy that comes in and says I’m ready to do 15 races and you can’t because his product conflicts with another product that is already on your car or the No. 5 or my No. 88 Cup car. So you have all kinds of little things that kind of jump up and bite you. It was unfortunate. We had to trim down. Like I said, when we put those two teams together we were really too large in the first place. To be honest with you, Rick (Hendrick) is the kind of guy he wanted to keep everybody on and try to get through this season and we did the best we could. I think we did a really good job as far as our accounting staff and all that. Going into next season without the same package financially, we weren’t able to maintain the many employees we had. We had probably 100 or 80 people in the shop. That’s too many for two Nationwide teams. I read somewhere that this was kind of like a correction more so than a recession, that we were all kind of living beyond our means. We definitely were. We were employing more people than we necessarily needed to do the job that we were trying to do. I feel like that a lot of us in the sport lived in excess as far as that goes. It seems like it’s all kind of coming back down to Earth.”

THE PUBLIC’S PERCEPTION OF JIMMIE JOHNSON IS THAT HE IS POLITICALLY CORRECT, CLEAN CUT AND A COOL GUY. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT JIMMIE THIS YEAR AND IS THAT WHO HE REALLY IS? “It’s unfortunate and I talk to Jimmie about this all the time. I’m in a different situation and I tell him man you know if you would just act like you act to me and other people you know really well, if you were just like that all day long at the race track and in front of the camera and to the media and just in general people would really see what type of guy you are. Most of you guys know Jimmie. He’s really cool, he’s really a good guy and he’s got a great attitude. He’s never acted like a fool. He’s never thrown a tantrum per say and he’s never said anything really out of context. He’s just always held his head on real straight and he’s a great person. He does a lot of things. He’d give his shirt off his back to you if you needed it. He treats me that way anyways. See I’ve always been able to say whatever I wanted to say and act however I wanted to act. When I tell Jimmie you ought to be more like that, more open and just be yourself, he says I can’t do that like you can do it and I don’t really understand why as much as they understand why. I really feel like its unfortunate that Jimmie isn’t able or hasn’t been able to get his personality truly across to the fan to where they knew exactly what type of person he was. I mean there’s a lot of drivers like that too. I wish that each and every one of these fans could spend several hours with all the drivers for good and bad reasons (laughter). That’s another story. We all are very colorful, even Matt (Kenseth). If you really get to know Matt, Matt’s got a great sense of humor and he’s really funny. He’s got a lot of Wisconsin in him but he’s a great guy. I will never go to a Green Bay Packers game with him though in Wisconsin again. We’ve had a great relationship and he’s a real, real good friend of me and I know what kind of guy he is. He’s funny. He’s got a great sense of humor. He’s got a good outlook on the sport. He sees the sport for what it is. He doesn’t take it too seriously. He takes what he needs to seriously. Jimmie is sort of the same way. They’re very colorful. I don’t know, I think they personally choose to limit their access because down the road how much privacy they’re going to want when they get older. The older you get I think the more privacy you wish you would maintain and I feel like they are just kind of trying to do their job while they’re here and when they’re not here anymore they want to have a life of their own. Maybe that’s what they’re trying to protect. I’m not really sure.”

YOU’RE WRAPPING UP YOUR FIRST HENDRICK SEASON, GIVE ME A SENSE OF WHAT YOU’VE REALLY ACCOMPLISHED AND GAINED AND WAS IT WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR WITH THE CHANGE IN TEAMS? “Well I got a lot of things I was looking for. I was looking for peace of mind and some satisfaction and being able to enjoy my job and do my job like I wanted to. I got all those things. We didn’t run like we wanted to obviously. I was real happy with the first half of the year. I thought we were really strong. We kind of held our own there and ran really well. There was some high points. We ran fast pretty much every week. We led a lot more races than we normally lead but we didn’t get the finishes in the second half of the season that we normally wanted. The second half of the season we were nowhere near what we wanted. Rick (Hendrick) and them have some pretty interesting ways to try to remedy situations which I’m willing to do whatever it takes. Hopefully next year we can try to do a better job the second half of the season. I want to really purposely focus on the summer. The Poconos and those types of tracks and try to do better to just prove to myself that I can get it done at those certain tracks. It’s been pretty good. I’m really, really, really happy. I’m really lucky to have what I have and have the opportunity with Rick. I thank him all the time for giving me the chance to drive one of his cars. Every time I get in my car, it’s the best race car I’ve ever seen. I thank my guys for how good of a job they do building the cars. They honestly to me look the best in the garage. I know there’s probably no big difference visually to the eye from one car to the next, but to me mine are the best prepared in my mind. I feel real lucky to have that opportunity. I feel like the first half of the year I was out there making a case for myself for getting that opportunity. The second half I didn’t. So I want to make sure next year I can put it together the whole season.”

YOUR TEAMMATE JEFF GORDON MAY BE GOING THROUGH HIS FIRST WINLESS SEASON SINCE HE WAS A ROOKIE, YOU DID IT ONLY ONCE IN YOUR CAREER AND THAT WAS LAST YEAR, WHAT DOES THAT FEEL LIKE TO GO THROUGH A WHOLE SEASON AND NOT WIN A RACE AND HE SAID IF HE DIDN’T WIN IT WOULD BE OKAY BECAUSE HE WOULD BE THINKING TOWARD NEXT YEAR, CAN YOU REALLY THINK THAT WAY? “Well you are. When I didn’t win last year I didn’t want the season to end. That’s the way I felt. I got to Homestead and I was still winless and I was like I wish we were running 10 more races because you don’t want to go out like that. That was the first and only time I’ve not wanted the season to end at Homestead. When you’re left with that option and that option only, you do as maybe a self-defense mechanism to keep from crying, you start laughing to try to look forward to the next season and look forward to what the opportunities are in the future. I feel very confident that Jeff’s still got great opportunities to win before the end of the season. He always has a way of getting it done when it comes time to get it done. He’s such a competitor and they’re such a great team. It’s tough. Yeah you don’t want the season to end and when you realize the reality of the situation you just want Daytona to start the next week because you don’t want to be winless. You want to win a race or two if not more.”

“I think when you go to New York you get a lot of confidence because you’re in that group and you’re part of that group that is getting ready to start the Chase. So you get a lot of confidence at that point. At this point you’re just sort of watching the battle like everybody else. You’re still a participant but you’re clued in to whose going to win it, what’s happening up front. It’s really an honor when you go to New York at the first of the Chase and you’re honored by being there and being a part of that but if you’re not a part of the actual battle for the championship coming down to the last two or three races, you’re on the sidelines like everybody else. You’re still out there trying to win races. It’s tough. Last week I was trying to run really good. I had a car that was good at certain points of the race and bad at others and I was behind Jimmie at one point and trying to race past him and I felt like wow, what am I supposed to do here? Am I supposed to be racing him this hard because I had to run him hard for like five laps to get by him? You try to take care of the guys that are in the battle for the championship, especially your teammates. But you’re out there trying to race and do your job and make a case for your season as well.”

IS THE CHAMPIONSHIP TOO BIG OF A DEAL? HAVE WE GOTTEN TO THE POINT WHERE THE BALANCE BETWEEN TALKING ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP 36 WEEKS OUT OF THE YEAR HAS TAKEN AWAY FROM EACH WEEK’S RACE? “Not really. What’s happened is we have saturated the market with race after race after race. The NFL, they do such a great job. I hate to keep comparing to them and using them as examples but they do the best job. They give you just enough to keep you wanting more. The season ends before you want it to. You just get just enough to get excited and then it’s all over and there’s such a long wait. The model works. We have basically a very similar reaction that baseball, hockey, a lot of other sports do that have long enduring seasons. There’s lulls and inactivity between the fan and the sport itself at times. There’s no way to fix that. We’re driven by the ability to go make another dollar and make more money and there’s no way we would ever trim it down. But when we were a 28-race schedule, some of you here were around at that time; the sport was giving you just enough to get really get excited about the next season. When we were racing at 12:00 people were racing home from church to get to see the start of the race. We’ve just made it too easy and too much. We sort of lost a lot of the substance that we really had before and the character the sport I think has waned a little bit but its part of the times too. I don’t think it’s all our fault, I think it has a lot to do with a lot of other things going on. The temperature of the world out there and the economy. I think the model that the NFL has is the perfect one and I feel like that’s really our best bet for the most amount of success and to maintain it I think also that’s the best way. We’ve already passed the point of no return. No way we would ever trim the schedule back. There’s no way we would change what we really already have here.”

EVERYBODY WANTS TO KEEP TALKING ABOUT TWEAKING THIS AND TWEAKING THAT WOULDN’T YOU RATHER JUST KIND OF LIKE TO SEE IT STAY THE SAME FOR A FIVE, SIX, SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD TO JUST KIND OF SEE HOW IT PLAYS OUT? “I think it’s fair to throw discussion out there about changing the qualifying format and all the different things, but I think it’s not a good idea to go making a bunch of changes especially with the Chase. How do we understand what to change and how to make it better if we can’t watch it and look at it for seven years or eight years and see how it’s working and really get a good look at how it is working and not working? How can we really know what to change and make the right change? We shouldn’t keep changing and changing until we stumble on the right spot and the right options and the right ways to have things. The qualifying order is kind of the same way. It’s been done the same way for a long, long time. We had some poor luck with weather and now we have an argument on our hands that’s really not got an answer. I think they should really remain the same for a while so we can get a good, especially with the turbulence with the economy right now we all need to be really kind of watching and looking in different areas to make sure things are working right. We’ve got to make sure we’re doing all the right things to keep the sport healthy and get through the tough times that we’re going to have in the next year. I think we leave the things as they are. Jimmie (Johnson) just had a great season. They’ve just been that good. It is kind of foolish to want to make changes. This is kind of how we got in this spot in the first place. It’s just going to snow ball into more and more corruption and disagreement if we continue to change and change and change just because a guy has such a great year. Matt (Kenseth) was really consistent when he won his championship that really started the argument to make this happen and get the Chase. But I think the playoff atmosphere is better and I do enjoy it. We need to really kind of watch it happen for a while before we know what kind of change to make.”

DOES IT BOTHER YOU WHEN JIMMIE (JOHNSON) GOES OUT AND KILLS EVERYBODY THE WAY HE HAS THESE LAST SEVEN RACES THAT SOME COMPETITORS WANT TO TALK ABOUT WAYS THEY CAN CHANGE THINGS RATHER THAN MAYBE JUST CELEBRATE THE FACT THAT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THIS HAS BEEN DONE IN OVER 30 YEARS AND THEY SHOULD TALK ABOUT THAT RATHER THAN TALK ABOUT HOW TO CHANGE IT? “That’s a great point. Everybody has a responsibility especially in this room to try to help keep this sport on a pedestal and try to bring some of the greater topics to view for the public. What Jimmie’s been able to accomplish is truly amazing and it’s really incredible how dominant they’ve been in this day and age where competition is so tough. What Cale (Yarborough) and them did is really great but they were battling half of the competition that we’re battling today. To take nothing away from them but for Jimmie it’s truly amazing. They’ve been so, so consistent. I mean they’ll get their credit and you guys will be the one to give it to them but otherwise to keep it interesting until the last lap at Homestead we’ll discuss this and that idea about how to change things to make them better. I really think they are just fine how they are. It’s tough to take away a big points lead after 26 races from a guy. If you’re 12th or 10th or 11th in points you’ve got to feel a little sympathy for the guy that’s in the points lead and see the points lead be nearly lost and you’re back in it. You’re 400 or 500 points out of the race and now you’re back in it. Now you got a chance and it really makes no sense to me. I’ll take it, shoot. I don’t want to get in an argument but it’s important that we do realize what Jimmie’s done and how big of a deal that is. He is a good guy and he deserves that kind of credibility and that kind of accolade. I’m sure he’ll get it too if he wins the championship.”

That’s it for now. Going on to pre-race for the Nationwide Series event.

More later.

Enjoy the day!
Claire B

Claire B. Blog Monday, October 20, 2008 October 20, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, Items of Interest, Listeners, NASCAR, Transcripts.
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Ryan Newman in August 2007 a...Image via WikipediaClaire B. Blog
Monday, October 20, 2008
Charlotte, NC

Good morning from Charlotte! All the way home last night we debated sports in which the same team/person wins all the time and how fans of various sports react. That will be the topic today. I have had emails on how frustrated Kurt Busch was —ready to pull his car off the track – and asking for permission to do so……Penske management saying no. I have had emails from Johnson fans and fans of other drivers regarding the chase and statistically the chances that anyone can catch him.

I got this from a listener: Larry maintains that most race fans who are “up on the wheel” today about their driver’s chances in the chase do not understand that “IF” their driver were to win all the remaining races, why wouldn’t they be in first place and win the championship.

Larry writes, “Given that most of us thought it would take something like an average finish of 5 to win the championship, you will notice that ONLY three drivers can conceivably finish with a 5 or better average and that is ONLY if they win the remaining races. But what is really hard to fathom (for most) is that winning does not “dig oneself out of a deficit” because if a specific driver were to win and the top three drivers were to finish 2nd, 3rd and 4th, the largest point gain over the leaders would be a mere 10 points. At +10 points per weekend, it would take 10 weekends to make up for a 100 point deficit and then only if you won every weekend…the top drivers are “there” every weekend…..and to catch the 48 car, he will have to finish outside of the top 10 “more than once” for deficits to be made up.”

Potential best avg if….IF any of the drivers were to win all of the remaining races…however unlikely….
Chart- for Chase 10-20-08

Obviously, at the rate we are going, says Larry, a “sub-avg-5” will not guarantee a championship….but something well below a sub-5 avg….maybe.

Thanks Larry!

Claire B


Ryan Newman is driving a truck this weekend at Atlanta. I wrote the story from a source in a blog a couple of days ago and now it’s official.
Ryan Newman, known as “The Rocket Man,” slides in behind the wheel of the No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) American Commercial Lines (ACL) Chevrolet for the first time at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Newman has never driven in the Truck Series, but has an honorable pole record in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with seven poles in thirteen Sprint Cup starts at AMS. Newman is currently tied for the all-time pole record in the Sprint Cup Series. Newman has two starts in the Nationwide Series and has one pole and a second place start in that division.


Newman: “It’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to run in the Truck Series. Everyone has always told me how much fun they have running the trucks, and now I’ve got the shot to see what it’s like. I expect to go there and have fun. But in saying that, we should have a shot at the win in the end. KHI has two really strong trucks. My teammate is Ron Hornaday, who is currently second in points, and I think he was second at Atlanta earlier this year so I expect we’ll have a really good truck – a top-five or top-10 truck. And by halfway, I’d like to be in a position where we have a shot at the win.”


Newman: “First off, I have never driven a truck before and it was really something that I wanted to have the chance to do. Secondly, Kevin and DeLana (Harvick) are good friends of mine and (wife) Krissie’s, and when the seat came open in their 2 truck, we talked about it and he asked me if I would be interested. The timing was just right. It’s kind of a difficult time for them with having the need for a driver to fill the seat for the last few races, and I am glad to help them out at Atlanta this weekend.”


Newman: “I don’t know since I haven’t driven one yet. I’m sure I will be talking to Kevin and Ron a lot over the weekend so that we can get the No. 2 truck up front.”


Newman: “From what I understand, running the truck there, you are wide open. It’s a really fast track, trucks stick really well. The biggest thing I will have to learn is how the trucks race. It seems like they get pretty loose inside each other.”

CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 2 ACL team will bring chassis number 014 to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The chassis took to the track earlier this season at AMS where the No. 2 team earned their first top-10 finish of 2008 with a sixth-place finish. Chassis 014 also competed at Bristol (Va.) Motor Speedway and was rebuilt after the event due to a crash. The team refers to this chassis as “Old Faithful” due to the fact that this is the oldest downforce truck the No. 2 team has in their stable of chassis. “Old Faithful” also has a consistent record of being solid throughout a race and coming on strong at the finish.

Thanks all….back to work in the studio getting today’s show ready. Thanks for checking out the blog!

Claire B

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Claire B Blog- Martinsville Speedway October 19, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, In The Garage, NASCAR, Trackside.
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An older Wells Fargo branch, located in Berkel...Image via WikipediaBLOG – MartinsvIlle Speedway
Claire B. Lang – Sunday October 19th, 2008

Good Morning and welcome to Martinsville Speedway!

I asked Richard Petty today about the rumored merger talks between Petty Enterprises (Boston Ventures) and Dale Earnhardt Inc. While talks have been going on – it’s just conversation between many teams as they posture their companies and adjust their business plans to include looking at satellite teams or mergers. Here’s Richard’s answer about the possibility of a merger – I’m sure parts of it will be used by others who were taping – but I wanted to give you the full answer to my question to Richard about the possibility of a DEI Petty Enterprises merger:.

CBL: What about the reports of a merger between Petty Enterprises and DEI:

Petty: “You read in the paper that Wachovia and Wells Fargo was trying to get together and everybody else is trying to get together. The Japanese sent a bunch of money to buy a bank in New York. Everybody in the world is talking about this crap. OK and that’s just the trend of the time right now. Yea, we’ll talk to anybody. I’d like to talk to Wells Fargo somebody that’s got a lot of money. I don’t, some of these teams that’s trying to join up they ain’t no better off than we are so we need to get some better help than that.

CBL: That would be wild if two rivals (Earnhardt /Petty) Merged:

Petty “What happens is the way the system is now as far as the economy and also the way the system is with some of the other race teams that’s got satellite teams – here we’re sitting with two teams and some of these guys from the major satellite part is sitting there with eight teams. (It’s) kind of hard to compete with so I think that everybody’s looking at different angels of you know how do you compete with what’s out there right now.”

Petty also said that he would not comment when asked a follow-up by a reporter who asked if DEI needed Petty more than Petty needed DEI.

“Can’t never tell man – liable to be three or four names in there,” Petty added when a reporter followed up by asking if it would be Earnhardt Petty or Petty Earnardt if the merger ever did happen.

The word is that while everyone’s talking to everyone the meetings are more like fact-finding meetings and with a number of players in the garage – not just the two meeting to hammer out a deal.

Drivers Meeting:

Couple of quick notes – the main warning at the driver’s meeting from race director David Hoots was about Martinsville’s pit road: “LET’S LEAVE THE RACING ON THE RACE TRACK AND NOT ON THE PIT ROAD,’ Hoots emphasized. “We all know how small it is,” he added, “It’s been redone it’s nice and smooth – Let’s leave the racing out on the race track.”

There was one question in the driver’s meeting. It was from #48 Crew Chief Chad Knaus:
“Last race here it seemed that you guys opened up the pits kind of late. We were almost all the way through one and two – can you guys push that back?”

David Hoots answered: “Chad’s question is the last race we opened the pit road a little bit late and around one and two – we’ll try to advance it as much as we can but we also look at how the field is spread out and see if it makes sense but we’ll try to take care of that for you.

Pit Road Speed: 30 mph
Caution Car Speed: 35 mph
Pit Road Speed Begins: 110 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: 75 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 23.00 seconds

No more questions and we prayed.

I’ll have more coming up – headed into the garage for a few more. I just wanted to get this posted.

Claire B

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Martinsville Blog October 16, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Trackside.
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AMP Energy (lemon-lime), O...Image via WikipediaHey all!

This weekend at Martinsville I will be in the Chevy Mobil Broadcast Unit on Friday from 3-6 p.m. EST – I’ll be at the Chevy Display in the fan area at Martinsville Speedway broadcasting “Dialed In’ live.

I heard from a source today that Ryan Newman will be racing a truck at Atlanta. I’m loving that thought…..Newman in a truck! I’m hearing it will be announced soon.

I have never entered a contest in my life….but you know I started thinking about all the contest winners I have interviewed at tracks. I got to thinking the only reason other folks win things is because they enter. I’m not eligible as a reporter but I’m thinking that for all of you. Are they serious? See this below. Win a bus?

WIN A BUS: Fans can go to http://www.AMPEnergy.com to sign up for the “Ultimate Talladega RV” sweepstakes. One lucky fan will win the one-of-a-kind No. 88 AMP Energy-branded bus (the bus that drove around at Talladega). Special features include an entertainment system, cooler for AMP Energy drink, custom wheels and autographed Earnhardt memorabilia.

LOL Email of the day:

I got a kick out of this email from Texas. I am still LOL:

Hey Claire B,

………..I came to a conclusion I know why Dale Jr blew a tire this weekend. It’s Jessica Simpson’s fault (LOL) she was wearing a Dale Jr shirt and an AMP Jacket. You know she brought bad luck to Tony Romo and he broke his finger last week during the game. Anyway just a Wednesday conspiracy theory. (LOL) Have a good day and thanks for all your hard work.

Debbie Long……..Addison, TX

It is “Conspiracy Theory Thursday” so while I’m at it here’s another “conspiracy” email. I got a kick out of it.

Claire B:

What do you think the chances of Carl Edwards’ ignition problem that was
“Magically” rectified, being a stealth penalty imposed by NASCAR to
remind the #99 Driver who is running the show?

Unless Rousch admits that Cousin Carl hit the kill switch, my money is
on NASCAR being behind the electronics failure….it wouldn’t be hard to

Happened on pit road….

Magically went away….

Carl is on probation….

Mike B.

Well Roush Fenway mechanics replaced the box – so that’s when it “magically” went away it was because the box was replaced. RFR is currently looking into what made the box fail.

I’ll keep you posted.

Claire B
“Dialed In”

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Race Day Blog – Lowe’s Motor Speedway October 11, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, NASCAR.
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Claire B Lang – Pre Race
Race Day Blog – Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Saturday October 11, 2008

The Edwards Harvick Argument Photograph……Has Been Outed

Welcome to Lowe’s Motor Speedway. I just saw a photo of the Carl Edwards/ Kevin Harvick scuffle in the Nationwide garage on Thursday here at LMS. The photo series has started to make it around to the various web sites. There are various accounts as to how the photos got out.

We knew that, eventually, the photo would get out somehow – it was just a matter of time. It always does somehow. I’ve heard various stories of why the photo of the argument was not released and was kept under wraps by a handful of photographers.

Several media members covering the race here at Lowe’s Motor Speedway noted that, in their minds, the photo would have been rushed to Associated Press immediately if H.A. Humpy Wheeler was still on staff here at LMS because, of course, he’d know how good it was for business and would have seen to it that the photo got out. Maybe some think that the photo is bad for the drivers involved or their sponsors but traditionally photos like this are good for ticket sales.

Last night here at LMS several of us in the media corps talked about why the several photographers who got the shot, who are photo and commercial journalists, would have agreed to not publish the photo. This usually happens due to pressure from sponsors that the photographers double dip for on side jobs or from the track or the Roush team. The discussion was that it was no different than someone getting a story off the record and deciding not to use it.

Also, many of the photographers who shoot in the sport do other jobs -and make extra money shooting for corporate and sponsor entities that might conflict with a shot like that getting out. Then are they not photo journalists? Some in the photo room say that the photo was in the garage, a place that is not the same as on pit road and therefore should not be released. Others in the photo room disagreed – saying that there are a lot of fans in the garages now and that while you would hold a photo of two drivers fighting in the motor coach lot, which is their neighborhood, the garage is more public. Now, the photo series is out.

I am asking you this. How much of an impact does a series of photos like this have on your support of a driver or sponsor. Here’s what I think – I think if you are a Kevin Harvick fan you do not change your thoughts about him related to this photo series and you support and back Kevin. If you are a Carl Edwards fan you support him and see the photo series a different way. It all depends on who you support how you see this series of photos right?

Bottom line – these photos will not change fans opinions of either the sponsor nor the driver.

Not one bit.

Am I wrong?

You can find the photos on any of the racing web sites. Let me know what you think

Claire B

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ON LOCATION: “Jail and Bail” October 8, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Fun Stuff, My Show, NASCAR.
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Claire B Lang

LIVE on Location Blog – Wednesday October 8th 2008

Today I am broadcasting live (3-6 EST XM Channel 148) from the Brickhouse Tavern – in Davidson, NC (209 Delburg St.) LIVE in the Chevy Mobile Broadcast Unit today – broadcasting live from the first official “Jail and Bail” raising money for the Brienne Davis NASCAR Technical Institute Scholarship Fund.

Brienne was a Universal Technical Institute graduate and a NASCAR official who was killed in a car accident six months ago today (April 8th). The NASCAR community – drivers, crew chiefs and crew members and officials have rallied to raise money today for a scholarship fund in her name.

If you can come enjoy the music – meet the participants and help bail out the likes of Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya and others. If you can’t come listen on the air on Channel 148 and we’ll tell you how can participate.

I have had so many emails and instant messages regarding the finish of the race at Talladega – and I am going to post more of them later tonight. I’ve been busy on location – last night at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and tonight at the Jail and Bail.

I have read your emails and they are good….. here’s a sampling:

You just made a comment that a rule is a rule. That is 100% correct. If you
force someone below the line, you get the black flag. I can’t stand how
Nascar keeps changing the rule.
Brad Karlovec

Dear Claire,

How many races is NASCAR going to let Goodyear ruin before they either bring in some competition or a different manufacturer to make tires that do not determine the outcome of the race. After the debacle at the Brickyard earlier this summer, I, personally, would have thought that Goodyear would have been going above and beyond, even making a tire that was too hard, to make sure that tire failures did not affect the outcome of another race this season. Tire failure not only affected the outcome of the race this past weekend, it may, ultimately, have affected the outcome of The Chase and who the champion will be. The luck of the draw and whether the driver received a set to tires that wouldn’t inexplicably EXPLODE was very much present on Sunday. Denny Hamlin spent the night in a Birmingham hospital on Sunday after his tire exploded. This shows not only the frustration that the exploding tires was causing, but also the danger.

Four drivers were either starting backup cars or had crews that spent extra long hours fixing their cars Friday & Saturday after Dale Jr. had a tire blow up during practice on Friday. As a fan who wants to see the drivers determine the outcome of the race and not their tires, I believe that Goodyear should be on extremely thin ice with NASCAR.

Just my thoughts!

I have been a little disconnected from the whole world the past two weeks. So Monday when I actually was able to get to my XM and couldn’t find your show I freaked. I am happy to have found you on your new station. Knowing that it was going to be a good one after the race on Sunday. I hate that I missed it but am sure that there were a lot of unhappy/happy people. I am one of those fans that was very excited to see Tony get a win (first of the year) as well as his first at Talladega.. GO Tony.. Tell Regan that he wouldn’t of wanted to get a win this way people would of questioned him getting his first win with an illegal pass. When people talk about his first win he wants it to be because without a doubt he earned it. Keep your chin up Regan it will come and then you will give people something to talk about.




I think Nascar should make the rule for all tracks and noit just the super speedways. This way it is the same rule for all the tracks.

I believe Nascar has more important problems to fix. Luckly they have not had anyone hurt in the big one yet, they need to look at how to break up the big packs before someone is. I don’t want to see that happen but if you play with fire or are bound to get burnt.


Hi Claire B,

Kudos to you for being there with Regan where the real story is, and kudos to Regan. Regan, You have made a name for yourself! Now I can place a face with the firesuit. I and the Biff agree that you were robbed. Did you notice how subdued the interviews were on NASCAR Victory Lane? I will be rooting for you!

Associate of Robinhood

Regan is a class act the way he is handling this travesty. Can you imagine
the whining going on if this had need to Kyle Bush? The more I think about
this, the madder I get. That call was a joke, once again!

Hi Clare:)
I have been listening to all the banter regarding the finish at Dega
this past weekend and in a nut shell what Nascar has done by
rewarding Tony the win was let the drivers know that it is ok to
cause the big one on the final lap at Dega and Daytona. They have
basically just told anyone who is leading on the last lap to block
and force your opponent below the yellow line and you win.

They have really just told all drivers that they need to pass the
leader on the outside and only the outside on the last lap because if
you try the low side you will be forced below the yellow line by the
leader because we are ok with blocking. So now every leader will
always know that the guy in 2nd will be passing on the outside or
wrecking a lot of good cars trying the inside and holding his line.

Nascar has become a joke. every week I become more and more
frustrated with this sport I love.

Keep The Rubber Side Down


wouldn’t go so far as to say there was a conspiracy theory that NASCAR wanted Tony Stewart or a big name to win the race, however, do you (or others) think that if the move pulled off by Regan Smith would have been pulled off by a bigger name that there would have been a different ruling?

In the NBA there were the Jordan Rules where we got the better calls by officials and I’m just wondering if a guy like Regan doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt like others would.

Mark C. Winkler

Please tell your listeners that the Talladega horse is dead, move on, get over it, it’s a done deal. TONY WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wayne in NJ

He is a racer and wanted the win but he was justified in staying low and
just backing off. He did not have to try and get back inline and would
have gotten second.

I hope this silences all the crazies that call in and say Stewart would
never win a race in a Toyota!

I’ll post more of the hundreds of emails that I have when I get off air tonight.

Take care…raining in Charlotte…pouring in fact.

How much money will it take to bail out Tony here tonight?

Claire B

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Talladega Drivers Meeting October 5, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, NASCAR.
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Casey Mears Girlfriend – Is not in labor:

Note: Despite conflicting reports that you may read or hear – I am told she is not in labor. She is in the time frame where technically she could go into labor but is not in labor at this time (Sunday 12.24 EST) . So – unless something happens he’ll be fine to race. They are just being prepared. The Hendrick folks told me today that she was not in labor – and asked if I’d clarify. So-that’s the accurate story as of this hour.

Talladega Drivers Meeting:

Pit Road Speed: 55 mph
Caution Car Speed 70 mph
Pit Road Speed Begins 175 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: 75 feet past the last pit box.
Minimum Speed: 54.66 seconds

THIS IS YOUR WARNING DRIVERS: Race Director -David Hoots told the drivers and crew chief’s today “This is your warning. If you race below the yellow line and in the judgement of NASCAR you advance your position, you will be black flagged. If, in NASAR’s judgement you force someone below the yellow line in an effort to stop him from passing you , you may be black flagged”

Hoots added: “Aggressive driving zones..first off don’t place yourself in position of opening up in our judgement of what’s aggressive. It’s considered all the way around the race track with much emphasis and observation placed on the turns and in the tri-oval. If you think that you are getting ready to go over being aggressive back off and let’s get to the end of the race.

Hoots also warned the group about speeding. “I would remind you all we had numerous speeding penalties yesterday at the entrance and exits and yellow line to yellow line,” he said.

NO Questions:
When asked by Hoots if there were any questions – the room of drivers and crew chiefs was silent.

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