jump to navigation

Race Day – November 9, 2008 November 9, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, In The Garage, NASCAR, Teams, Transcripts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

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.”

JACK ROUSH:
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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Race Day Texas Motor Speedway November 2, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

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.

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NICORETTE IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 1ST:

“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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, Items of Interest, Listeners, NASCAR, Transcripts.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

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


NEWMAN TO DRIVE A TRUCK AT ATLANTA:

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.

Q: THIS IS YOUR FIRST TRUCK RACE. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS?

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.”

Q: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO RUN A TRUCK SERIES RACE FOR KHI?

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.”

Q: WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN A TRUCK AND A SPRINT CUP CAR?

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.”

Q: WHAT IS THE KEY TO RUNNING A FAST LAP AROUND ATLANTA?

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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

September 20, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, My Show, NASCAR, Teams, Trackside.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Claire B.log

“On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of millions who when within the grasp of victory sat and waited and waiting, died.” William H. G. France, 1979

Dover International Speedway
Saturday – September 20, 2008……….3:00 p.m.

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m in the radio room right behind the stage in the deadline room here at Dover International Speedway. NASCAR just held a news conference announcing their new substance abuse policy. NASCAR will do random testing of team members, officials and drivers beginning next year. Drivers have been in support of random testing in general for some time now.

“NASCAR has taken a lot of steps to elevate our sport to the level of the “Big Four” leagues. We’ve entered new markets. We draw hundreds of thousands of fans each weekend. So it’s time that we police ourselves as one of the biggest sports leagues in the country. The new drug policy is another step in the evolution of NASCAR and the safety of the sport. Make no mistake, what we do is dangerous. We need to make certain that the competitors are clean when they hit the racetrack. NASCAR did a great job in outlining the rules, what is legal and illegal, and it’s up to the drivers and their doctors to make sure they are within the guidelines.” -Bobby Labonte, driver, No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge

The reporters in here are debating the new policy because it doesn’t specify the substances that are banned from NASCAR. There are two sides of the room – one says that a policy that doesn’t tell a guy what is banned specifically is open to lawsuits etc. Some say those media members are totally missing the point. Which is that NASCAR prohibits the misuse or abuse of any drug period – could be cough syrup could be anything. The problem with lists of substances, NASCAR says, is that it restricts what you can look for – this policy is open to abuse of anything that would affect a driver’s ability to be safe on the race track. Drivers are saying this is not shooting hoops or hitting a fast ball – that anything that affects a driver’s ability should be off limits because it’s life or death.

The saying above from Bill France, Sr. about hesitation is well documented – it’s painted on the wall at Pocono Raceway. Somehow on a cool Saturday in Dover the part about bleached bones for those who hesitate within the grasp of victory is compelling. It’s a motivator for sure to kick the cobwebs out and make something happen. That’s just what some teams need to do to stay in the chase this weekend. Jeff Gordon and the 24 team are on the pole and I have gotten so many calls on air and emails from Gordon fans saying they hope that the pole is a sign of good things to come. I have to say that there was some confusing information circulated regarding Gordon testing with his team this past week at Kentucky. After qualifying Gordon confirmed that he was, indeed, at the test himself despite a trip to Washington DC.

“We had a test in Kentucky this week. I wasn’t scheduled to be there. Brad Keselowski was going to drive the car and I was able to work my schedule around to be there. You know we tested until 9:00 p.m. over there on Wednesday night. so it’s things like that. It’s going in the shop it’s showing up early for practice and it’s putting a big lap out there like we did today” Jeff Gordon Media Center Post Pole Dover

Good for Gordon. I still maintain that they have a better test session and are more successful if Gordon can get to the test himself. It’s a positive move that he rearranged his schedule to be at the test instead of letting Keselowski do it for him.

Sunday with The Fallen Firefighters at Dover!

I volunteered to pitch in and emcee hospitality tomorrow for the over 500 supporters of the Fallen Firefighters Foundation —-in support of the over 100 firefighters who lose their lives each year in the line of duty. The track asked if I’d help out and how cool is it that guys like Jeff Burton and Richard Childress volunteered to speak to them on their own time. Of course I’ll pitch in – I’d be honored. It’s a small, small thing to do to pay back those who serve and protect. At the races here at Dover, by the way, over 250 fire and EMS Crews work to keep drivers, crews and fans in attendance out of harms way.

Hallam Moves from Formula One to NASCAR and Joins Michael Waltrip Racing

Steve Hallam, a 56 year-old-Englishman will leave his post as Head of Race Operations for McLaren Racing and join MWR’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Operation following the conclusion of the Formula One season. Hallam has established himself as a respected engineer and manager of the past 27 years in Formula One, participating in 430 Grand Prix, winning five World Championships while working for only two teams: Team Lotus and McLaren Racing. Hallam has worked as Race Engineer with such world-class drivers as Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Michael Andretti, Gerhard Berger, Mika Hakkinen before moving on to become Head of Race Operations. In this role he developed a group of the most capable trackside engineers in Formula One resulting in Lewis Hamilton’s current challenge for the Formula One title, a four-time winner this year who is leading the World Championship Driver Point Standings.

I talked with MWR’s Cal Wells about Hallam and what he lends to the program. “We’ve been talking with him for a long, long time. He’s been at the same place for twenty plus years so it’s a pretty big leap for him but he has been to a six pack of races in the past. He’s got some friends that work in the garage one that drives. So I flew over and spent some time with him, and then Rob and I spent some time with him and then Mike and Rob and I spent some time with him and we just thought that this guy would be the right guy to really fully leverage all of the assets that Toyota has as they start to blossom. Cause you know they really haven’t yet. When their Salisbury facility is just opening up this week. We won’t actively be allowed in there for I don’t know how long – a month or two or three -I’m not sure yet. But whenever that really gets going we need to be able fully exploit all of that. We’ve got to have somebody on the ground that’s at the track every week extracting the maximum of our engineering group extracting the maximum amount of what they can provide and really making the cars faster every single week.”

TED MUSGRAVE – HT Motorsports – Las Vegas – What is the deal?

Ted Musgrave crashed in the second lap of the first practice for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Las Vegas and in the half hour break between the first and second practice – he and the team GM Donnie Baden I am told had a heavy conversation and they apparently agreed they should part ways and another driver was brought in to qualify and race the truck. Talk that someone thought he intentionally crashed the truck was flying around the garage – you know how garage talk spreads. Team sources say that there was not a feeling that he had crashed the truck on purpose at all- but rather that some stress had been building the last couple of weeks and that the events today “just brought the situation to a head,” and they mutually agreed to separate. Here’s the team release that was issued shortly after the conversation:

Musgrave and HT Motorsports Part Ways Effective Immediately

Ted Musgrave and team owner Jim Harris, owner of the No. 59 Team ASE/HT Motorsports Toyota Tundra, have mutually agreed to part company effective immediately. Stacy Compton will replace Musgrave for Saturday’s Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“Stacy Compton will drive the No. 59 for tonight’s race in Las Vegas,” said HT Motorsports team manager Donny Vaden. “We will evaluate our options once we get back home and make an announcement on our driver or drivers for the rest of the season then.”

Compton was HT Motorsports’ first driver in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition, competing in four races in 2001 and three races in 2002. He scored top-10 finishes in his first five starts with the team, including a fourth-place finish after starting from the pole at Phoenix in October 2001.

Compton has started 16 NCTS races in 2008 driving for the BHR-VA team for which he is a co-owner. His best qualifying effort of the season was a second at Nashville in August and his best finish is a sixth in the season opener at Daytona. Overall he has four top-10 finishes and although he’s missed the last two races he stands 21st in the series championship standings

-o-
The drama is everywhere in NASCAR. I’ll keep you posted. I put up some new emails in the Claire’s email bin above. Check it out.

Thanks for finding me on the new XM channel # 148 and new time 3-6 EST. You all rock! Greetings from Dover!

Claire B

Unwritten NASCAR Rules…… September 14, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Controversy, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
3 comments

Claire B. Lang – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008
There are a set of unwritten rules in NASCAR – amongst the drivers and the crew members and one of them, I think, played out on Saturday after the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race as team members from two teams fought. David Starr was confronted inside his car on the grid after the race by a crew member from another team. Anyone who knows me knows how much I respect the NASCAR crew members and how much I work to tell their story as well as that of the drivers. However, I can see why Starr drew his fist and used it.

My understanding has always been that the cockpit of a guy’s race machine, car or truck, is his sanctuary and it’s his area. For another driver to come up and pull him out would be setting up for a fight – and I think all drivers would agree to that. For a crew member from another team to go to a driver’s vehicle and grab or confront him- is beyond an unwritten rule – it’s fighting time. In an argument about racing – the crew member and driver are not on the same level. It’s driver to driver and even then there are set areas of acceptable confrontation. David Starr immediately drew his fist – and used it after he was pulled from his truck angered that a crew member would pull him out of his vehicle. In the NASCAR Sprint cup garage today I talked with crew members and drivers about the unwritten rule and the above is how they saw it exactly.

Members of several teams said that they are not even to confront another driver – or ask him why he did something verbally and that the level of pulling another driver out of his vehicle would definitely result in them being fired. The team haulers of the 48 and the 18 teams are parked next to each other in the garage here. The team guys said to me that they get along really well and that if their drivers got in a fight they would not think it was their place to get involved in it…unless a driver came to their pit area- and then that is their turf. What happened violated an unwritten rule. You fight for your team – you’d do anything for your team – but a crew member does not confront a driver. It’s just not how it’s done because the argument was between two drivers. That, despite the fact that the team guys build the cars and trucks and have a lot invested themselves. So, there will be much said about this. I likened it to someone coming up to a guy in a bar and flicking his cowboy hat or baseball cap off. There’s something about that that every guy knows is so over the line that it is violating a “guy” unwritten rule.In this case the crew member violated a driver unwritten rule. He went over the line – and Starr reacted. So, does star get punished for the punch? Does the crew member get fired? “When a crew member comes to a driver and wants to fight…man that driver needs to kick the tar out of him,” Joe Nemechek told me after the drivers’ meeting. “That’s wrong, that’s the worst thing that can ever happen.”Nemechek said that additionally, “In my opinion that crew member should be fired from his team and banned from NASCAR.”

Drivers Meeting:
The drivers’ meeting was over and the prayer was said. No questions were asked but the doors were locked and no one was allowed out. We were waiting for a “special guest” who was, of course, US Senator and presidential candidate John McCain. He came into the drivers’ meeting with the media corps that follows him on the campaign trail. The media who were ushered in looked confused being in a steamy and humid drivers’ meeting garage with the drivers and crew chiefs prior to this race with McCain. McCain thanked the group in the drivers’ meeting for supporting the US Military – and the men and women who are serving…”I thank you, they thank you and God Bless America,” was the basic message McCain delivered. He received a standing ovation from those in attendance at the drivers’ meeting.

Crew Chief Handout Info from Drivers’ Meeting:

Pit Road Speed today: 45 mphCaution Car Speed: 50 mph
Pit Road Speed begins: 185 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed ends: 75 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 33.93 seconds

The race may be influenced by the weather. Let’s hope not. We’ve been soaked all morning and it’s supposed to clear up so – let’s go racing and stay racing through the completion of the entire race.

I’ll keep you posted Claire B



***REMINDER “Dialed In with Claire B Lang” will air 3-6 ET beginning Monday, Sept 15th XM Channel 148 (not 144)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

My Location For Richmond September 4, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside.
1 comment so far

How’s everyone?

I arrived here in Richmond just after lunch today and wanted to blog you quickly to let you know that the XM Mobile Broadcast Unit is here at Richmond International Raceway – in the midway area near the TV compound just outside of turn one.

The broadcast unit is located in between the Team Tylenol fan hauler and the Sun Trust Bank Machine right near the large American Flag Pole.

A programming shuffle today. Today’s “Dialed In” will be on at a different time 8-11 EST – LIVE from the Midway here at RIR – a pre race weekend kick off party. That broadcast time is just for today – LIVE from the XM Chevy Mobile Broadcast Unit.

Tomorrow (Friday) I’ll be back on 4-7 EST for “Dialed In” Live from the Midway at RIR. If you are in the area come by and say hi!

Meanwhile I thought you’d like a sneak peak at Joey Jogano’s New Car: Check this out:

Sneak Peak at Logano’s New Car

MA Logo
Joey Logano will debut his No.20 Home Depot car this weekend at Richmond. While his success in the Sprint Cup Series is still to be seen, he already has proven to be a hot commodity among fans buying Logano t-shirts and diecasts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btMhWVkvb3Q
Take care – and stay tuned. I hope today’s different time slot did not confuse you – and that you are ramping up for discussion of the last race before the seeding is set for the chase.

I’ll blog more later! Enjoy the day!

Claire B

TRANSCRIPT Richard Childress Racing (RCR) News Conference August 23, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, Sponsors, Teams, Trackside, Transcripts.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Saturday, August 23, 08
Bristol Motor Speedway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, NASCAR, Teams, Trackside.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

————————————–

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

More later…enjoy the day

Claire B

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside, Transcripts.
Tags: , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Jeff Gordon in August 2007 a...Image via Wikipedia Claire B. Lang
Saturday Garage Blog:
Michigan International Speedway – August 16, 2008

“Don’t Count Jeff Gordon Out – Ever!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Drivers, NASCAR.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Claire B.Log
Covering Watkins Glenn International

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

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

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

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

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

Q: DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE GOOD CHOICES?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zemanta Pixie