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Krissie Newman Co-Hosting “Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang from Michigan June 10, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season, Fun Stuff, Live Show.
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Pit Road Pets – Show Thursday Night 7-10 EST SIRIUS NASCAR Radio

Krissie Newman has agreed to co-host “Dialed In with Claire B. on Thursday night from Michigan International Speedway. Stay tuned for some wide-open, kick back and have fun for a good cause radio time! From the minute Krissie came on the circuit and married Ryan Newman she’s been one of the most well-liked wives out on pit road. The team guys love her cause she’s fun, she’s honest, she’s smart and she’s using all of those talents to help make a difference for animals. She’s also helping Tony Stewart build his new house, so even the boss man likes her! The racing community has rallied around the cause that she and Ryan selected to lend their time to and the second edition of the book “Pit Road Pets” featuring the stars and fans of NASCAR will be featured in a special autograph session at the track this weekend.

The Photo Shoot!

Photographer Karen Will Rogers took her camera equipment on the NASCAR road and behind the scenes to capture the love of the NASCAR community for their pets. In some cases she went to the homes of NASCAR personalities, and in other cases she captured them behind the scenes with their animals at the track. Fans were included in the camera shoot and featured in the book as well. What resulted is a close up look at NASCAR, through the eyes of the pets that they love.

The Radio Show! “Dialed In” Thursday, June 10th.

Krissie will be in studio at the track to co-host the show Thursday night (June 10th) which will feature a guest list of NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs and media people who appear in the book, telling stories about their pets and the shoot. The show will be packed with guests and good times in support of the book and the autograph signing on Friday evening.

The Autograph Session:

An A-list group of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, crew chiefs and their family members will participate in an autograph session at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, June 11 from 6-8 p.m. in the speedway’s Budweiser Acceleration Club.

The autograph session is open to fans that purchase the “Pit Road Pets:The Second Lap NASCAR Stars and Their Pets” . Fans can buy the book at the Ryan Newman Foundation’s display tent located near the Kids Zone in the New Holland Fan Plaza. Fans that have already purchased the first or second editions of the book may also bring their copy and participate in the autograph session.
The session is limited to 400 fans and passes will be handed out Friday beginning at 10 a.m. at the Ryan Newman Foundation display tent following their purchase of the book. The Newman’s and others will sign copies of the Pit Road Pets book and one other additional item per person.
Scheduled autograph participants are as follows and subject to change:
Ryan and Krissie Newman
• Kasey Kahne
• Clint Bowyer
• Marcos Ambrose
• Martin Truex Jr.
• Max Papis
• Kyle Petty
• Regan Smith
• Casey Mears
• DeLana Harvick
• A.J. and Lynne Allmendinger with dog Misty
• Aric Almirola with fiance Janice Goss
• Chad Knaus (Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief)
• Steve Letarte (Jeff Gordon’s crew chief)
• Tony Gibson (Ryan Newman’s crew chief)
• Darian Grubb (Tony Stewart’s crew chief)

The Book:
The newest edition of the book will be on sale from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, June 11 for $24.95 each. Books can also be purchased at Newman’s trackside merchandise trailer, the MIS gift shop located in the track’s administration building or online at http://www.ryannewman.org. Proceeds from book sales during the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 race weekend will benefit the Michigan Humane Society.

Check out some of the behind the scenes shots with SIRIUS NASCAR Radio host Claire B. Lang and dog Dakota Rose that did not make it into the book…..

Photo Credit: Karen Will Rogers
Pit Road Pets The Second Lap – NASCAR Stars and their Pets

Photo Credit: Karen Will Rogers
Pit Road Pets The Second Lap – NASCAR Stars and their Pets


Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Night May 19, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season, Crew Chiefs, Crew Members, Fun Stuff, Pit Crew Challenge.
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The Boys Are Back In Town!!

It’s a highlight, back-home, bragging rights night in Charlotte, North Carolina tonight for the pit crews of NASCAR who are back in town for the All-Star Race activities and who will compete in the Sprint All Star Pit Crew Challenge. Opening ceremonies are at 6:45 p.m. EST at Time Warner Cable Arena.

There are 24 eligible teams who will each be able to bring five sets of tires and their own lug nuts to the event as well as air guns and jacks. Teams can bring four support members in addition to the seven competitors. The teams supply their own “push” car with tech requirements stipulated by NASCAR in the NSPCC Technical Bulletin. This stuff is serious!

All drivers, car owners, crew members and team members must have a valid NASCAR license that has not been suspended or revoked. Participating crew members have to be licensed to the team they are competing for and must be active on the current roster of “over the wall” crew members.

Seeding is done through the 2010 Sprint Cup Series Car owner point standings through Dover, and the top eight teams in points will receive a bye into the second round of competition. In addition to the fastest team in the event receiving the honors of champion, the fastest crew member at each station will be crowned as the individual champion and each of the winning individual crew members will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

The key to the event is the 40-yard push – where after completing their duties as jack man, tire carrier, tire changer, gas man, etc., the team must push their 3,200 pound race car (steered by their driver) across the finish line.

Speeds Coverage of the event begins at 9:00 p.m. (tape delayed) “Dialed In” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will begin LIVE coverage as the event begins at 7:00 p.m. EST

Last year, the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet pit crew outpaced the No. 43 US Air Force Dodge team to capture the team title. While doing so, the team set a new event record with a time of 22.115 seconds and earned a $70,675 payout, which equates to $10,096 per crew member or $3,195 earnings per second.

Individual winners in 2009 were:

Dennis Terry, Front Tire Changer No.1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy 14.855
Shannon Keys, Front Tire Carrier No.1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy 14.855
Jake Seminara Front Tire Changer No. 18 M&M’s Toyota 14.900
Kenny Barber Rear Tire Carrier No. 18 M&M’s Toyota 14.900
Preston Cordell Gas Man No.1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy 10.072
Eric Hoyle Catch Can No.1 Bas Pro Shops Chevy 10.072
Jeff Kerr Jack Man No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy 5.666

Take a look at the bios of the team guys on the roster for tonight’s event and you’ll see many of them are racers or who knew people who were in racing. These guys first jobs range from commercial fisherman, to golf course manager, log cutter, steel tower construction, air craft refueler, commercial driver and firefighter, to name just a few of the interesting occupations these guys held before their current team role in NASCAR. Trevor Lysne the Front Tire Changer for the No. 42 Target Chevy worked in a treatment center for troubled children before racing. Kenneth Purcell the jack man for the No. 48 Chevy used to work at his dad’s animal hospital before joining the team.

The team guys have nicknames within their teams, like Jeff Patterson the two-time individual champion gas man from the No. 14 Office Depot Chevy whose nickname is “Gooch” and Mike Morneau the rear tire changer for the No. 14 who the guys call “Shrek.”

And their teams have nicknames too. The over-the-wall teams nickname for the No.333 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevy is the “Helping Hands pit crew.” Each crew member has the Hamburger helper hand on their firesuit doing their respective position. The jackman has the Hand holding the jack, the fueler has a gas can, etc.

Some, come from a long line of crew member or racing families. Take, for example Jeremy West from the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet. He and his father worked on David Gilliland’s car in the Winston West series. They won the championship in 1996. Jeremy changed and his dad, John, carried.

These guys have played football and rugby, wrestling, baseball and soccer in college and several have been semi-professional athletes. Shaun Peet the jack man for the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota is a former professional hockey player. Some of them have been carrying or changing tires for a race team for over years. Their pit crew coaches train them hard with everything from weights to yoga, aquatic and heat training.

These guys have seen their share of close calls on pit road and some have been hit in the line of duty. Eric Maycroft the rear tire changer for the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota said, “Yes, (I’ve been hit) by AJ Allmendinger, the wing caught me and flipped me into the next pit stall head over heels.”

The pit road warriors who have their time in the spot light tonight at the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge are an integral part of winning in NASCAR Sprint Cup series that most of their drivers will attend tonight’s event to show support and these guys are scouted, under contract, and in the pressure-cooker that making up time on pit road presents must be at the top of their game physically and mentally to have made it to the level of pit crew member for NASCAR’s elite division teams.

Tonight, is their night. These guys are the best of the best and their families and their team members and their drivers and their fans will be there to cheer them on.

It’s a great event. For more information check http://www.pitcrewchallenge.com.

Media Pit Crew Event!

On Tuesday national and local media members competed in the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge at Time Warner arena. The event, just for fun, pitted media members from various national and local broadcast and television entities against each other in the media pit crew competition. For the second year in a row as the driver of the car for the winning team, after surviving two heat races and the final face off against a team from the Carolina Panthers (pushing the car like it was Super Bowl Sunday) I felt just a slight sensation of what these guys will feel like tonight. Just as the final heat race was about to begin while filing a report, it was a rush to get into the race car in the nick of time, secure the steering wheel and be pushed to the line. The key to driving the car in this event (a role a number of driver’s wives will handle tonight) is to not brake while you are pushed towards a brick wall, and then just in the nick of time slam on the break. Ah, sweet victory!

See the photo of the winning crew, including my team mates Ray Dunlap, Phil Parsons and Jeff Hammond from Speed and Fox.

Hope you can make the event or catch it on Speed or SIRIUS NASCAR Radio tonight. It’s well worth it and one of the fun events of All-Star week in the heart of racing in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Claire B Lang

“Hallo-Dega” November 5, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Fun Stuff.
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It’s Claire B Lang and Mike Bagley in costume at “Hallo Dega”


Claire B

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

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Fun Stuff.
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Fathers Day – June 21, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Later – Enjoy the day!

Claire B.

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WE WON the media challenge! May 14, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Fun Stuff.
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Whew — WE WON!

2009 MediaPitCrewChallenge

Driving the car in the Sprint Media Pit Crew Challenge!
Speed Team, O.A.R. Drummer, Michael Waltrip, Brian Vickers

My team in the Sprint All Star Media Pit Crew Challenge. Michael Waltrip, Brian Vickers, Rick Allen, Ray Dunlap, Phil Parsons, O.A.R. drummer Chris Culos, and former Patriot safety Tony George. A shout out to those guys, they knocked it out of the ball park pushing the race car, changing tires, jacking, and of course the key to winning the challenge……… pushing!

Ok, so I was asked to represent the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio team in the event. Naturally I wanted to do well for the team. Daniel Norwood, our SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Program Director told me to just go, represent the team, and have fun. He reminded me that I was participating just to have fun. Right. I get to the Time Warner Arena and one member of my team is putting on knee pads. Sign number one. Then, the first thing that happened was Michael Waltrip addresses the team by telling us all, “Just remember we’re NOT doing this for fun, we came here to WIN!.” Oh Noo!! I was there for the wrong reason!

The team gives me the job as the driver of the car since I am the lightest. I am to steer towards a brick wall and not brake until they tell me to. I went to Brian Vickers who was on my pit crew for advice, “You can screw up…only if you turn the wheel or brake too early,” he says. He told me that as the driver I could get mad if he screwed up on the pit crew. “You just cuss me out. Just drop everything you’ve got,” he said of what I, as the driver,was allowed to scream at the tire changer in angst if he under performed. Sounds like fun!

“When we cross the finish line and the car is about to slam into the wall and they’ve declared us the winner, we’ll tell you to hit the break,” SPEED’s Ray Dunlap told me with a grin. He was not joking, or was he?

Waltrip, who was going to carry tires gave me advice on being the driver. “You can complain a lot. You can say you need more money and say you need for somebody to pay for your motor coach and a bunch of things like that,” Waltrip joked. Wow, this driver thing was going to be ok.

“Do not touch the brake, DO NOT TOUCH THE BRAKE,” Rick Allen instructed. Two minutes later, he turned to me and he repeated, “AGAIN, the most important thing is NEVER TOUCH THE BRAKE. I mean the wall will stop you, he joked. Beautiful. Is he joking?

“Local news is here we’re going to kill them,” Ray Dunlap told us. “MRN is here they’ve got no chance,” Dunlap says, trash talking from the start. Then, I eye and point out the team from the U.S. Army and, come on, they looked pretty tough.

Chris Culos, the drummer from O.A.R is on our team. I got a kick out of him. The discussion is whether he or Vickers changes the tires. Chris has changed a tire on the side of the road before but it took him an hour. “Chris, you are our rhythm,” Rick Allen tells him. “I can do that,” he says with a smile. Culos is the tire carrier and Vickers the tire changer.

Former Patriot safety Tony George, appears and we are willing to trade anyone on the team for him. I think the’s guys would trade their mother to get him on the team. We take him, and he’s not only strong and fast, he’s motivated.

We get through the first round and some of the guys on the team are only slightly winded. Not Waltrip, he’s a machine.

You did a good job, you didn’t hit the brake,” Vickers told me after the first round. Phil Parsons also gives me a high five, “Good job driving,” he said.

Waltrip pulled us into a team meeting after we moved ahead through the first round and changed positions on the team to set us up for an even faster round. This was not his first rodeo and he was in it to win it.

“Ray (Dunlap) went to feed the meter -are you kidding me?,” Allen jokes while Waltrip is giving a pep talk and reorganizing. Everyone does what Waltrip says and his team meeting was a key to the win.

By the time we got to the finals I asked Tony George if he had any Patriots motivational words for us, “Absolutely, we can’t talk about it we have to BE about it,:” he says. Nice. ” It’s time to go and GET IT now.” Why do I start to think if I mess up I might get thrown into that darn brick wall.

“You got anything left?,” I ask Dunlap, before our last and championship round. “I am about out,” he says. ” I wake boarded yesterday on Lake Norman and I’ve got muscles that I didn’t know I had. But guess what, we are in it to win it THAT’S WHAT WE CAME FOR,” Dunlap yells at the top of his lungs. Dunlap is more focused than ever now that there is money in the meter which is running. The guys are tired so I decide on the last round I’ll pull out the secret weapon. I will yell and scream at the top of my lungs at them to go faster as they run. It can’t hurt right. I am the driver, that is my job. If they get mad at me they will push harder.

I position myself back in the car with a quick prayer that I not mess things up. “DO NOT BRAKE, DO NOT BRAKE.” Braking with a concrete wall coming at you is the natural tendency. The wheel is a little askew to the side since the guy who put it in was someone just standing by- not the official that did it the first few times. I was straining to keep up in the seat since the brake pedal was where I could not reach it and sit back in the seat. I had to pull up on the wheel while steering to where I could be in position to hit the brake when it was time. Bless Brian Vickers heart, he screamed “brake,” each time to me when it was time to slam on it…. and I swear until he said it, I was not going to brake..

The last heat, I was literally screaming to the guys pushing the car, “Last round guys, faster, faster, faster, get it get it get it.” I was screaming really loud figuring it would be worth a tenth of a second if I was egging the guys on. It hits me that I am yelling at Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip. Steer, yell, brake. Towards the end of the final round it was hard to keep up in the seat…..but I would have rather have walked through fire, or hit that dang concrete wall, than brake and let the team down.

Can you believe it – we won. I didn’t do much…and can’t take any of the credit. These guys were serious. It was fun…..I laughed so hard busting the chops of the team – and it was a good afternoon out before two weeks of covering events all over town for the Sprint Cup All Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600.

Plus, we won.

That is the first (and likely last ) time I will ever be in Victory Lane with Michael Waltrip and Brian Vickers and I am holding the trophy as the driver. LOL.

I think I’ll keep my day job.

Congratulations team! We did it.

Claire B

P.S. Speaking of my day job, My show, “Dialed In” will be LIVE at the Sprint Cup All Star PIt Crew Challenge from 7-10 EST tonight. The real event will match the best in the business on pit road against each other. It’s one of my favorite events and I’m excited to be able to help bring it to you LIVE on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio channel 128.

Here’s my broadcast schedule for the week:

“Dialed In” LIVE at the Sprint Cup All Star Pit Crew Challenge, tonight (Thursday May 14,) 7-10 EST

(Friday, May 15) – covering all events at LMS and no “Dialed In” as Qualifying and Truck Racing take up the schedule. Friday morning I will be at the DEI fan celebration on the DEI grounds from 9-11 covering the event.

Saturday(May 16) “Dialed In” from 2-3:45 p.m. EST – then the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio pre race show followed by LIVE post race coverage at which time I will be stationed LIVE in Victory Lane.

Sunday (May 17) “Dialed In” 11-2 p.m. EST post coverage of the Sprint Cup All Star Race!

Enjoy the Day!2009 MediaPitCrewChallenge

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Therese (Kiessling) Bennett- Moms Don’t Get the Headlines They Deserve May 10, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Fun Stuff.
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My mother’s name did not make headlines, except when she was married. She has not been on the radio nor does she have a national following of people from all over the country who kindly tell her over the airwaves what a great job she has done in her chosen profession.

Unless you are part of the family or one of her friends or associates you might never even know who she is, what she is about, how brilliant she is or even what her name is. Therefore, today, I have listed my mother’s name in the headline above. I’d like to give Therese (Kiessling) Bennett that distinction today because she deserves it.

My mother was widowed with a three year old, a four year old and a five month old when she was very young. I can’t imagine how she even got through it. I have pictures of us when we were little in which, despite all she had on her plate, we three little girls were dressed in designer coats and hats that she sewed us herself for Easter. Mine was blue with a black velvet scoop collar. I remember every single outfit my mother ever sewed for me. From dresses to wear on trips or special occasions to the start of school outfit she made each of us, to prom dresses – we got to go pick out a pattern and the material and my mother would sew.

When I was in college I got very ill and had to leave school and go home during my second year.. I nearly died and it was my mother who nursed me carefully back to health. She received no award, was showered with no national acclaim. She stopped her life at that time to save mine. Her only payback was the knowledge inside that her daughter was safe and sound and back in college, healthy again.

My first radio job offer came at a time when women were not on the radio. Silly me, I graduated college and got my first job offer at a radio station in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Trouble is – I had my first serious boyfriend and wanted to give it all up for this boy . I did not want to move to Iowa, I was in love. I cried and cried and cried and cried (I was a bit dramatic) and my mother pushed me out of the nest forcefully. I thought I’d crash on the ground, never find love again, and like a bird that never could learn to fly would fail if I left and never live or love another day. What I did was fly, see, experience and grow, soaring into a tough and competitive world that would be my new career. Oh, and by the way, the love relationship with the boy fell through – he dumped me. My mother wanted me to do some of what she never had a chance to do.

My mother was way ahead of her time. She insisted on almost a nutritionist view of healthy eating. We grew up eating steamed vegetables, and low fat and whole wheat and non-processed foods long before it was in vogue and the nation turned to needing desperately to loose weight. We just grew up that way because of her strong views on nutrition and it’s paying priceless dividends years later. She never received a bonus or a raise for this or a compliment from the boss. Who even knew then she was so incredibly smart. Now, years later, the world is turning to what my mother professed was the right way to eat. It’s all I ever knew and I am in great shape and am extremely lucky.

My mother was a nurse in the emergency room in Milwaukee. She went on to become, like her grandmother who brought the first sewing machine from Germany to Wisconsin, a fine tailor. Her sewing and tailoring of everything from men’s suit to bridal gowns to formal dresses is beautiful work. In her later years, when my father closed his men’s clothing store she went out one day and went to Marshall Fields and applied as a tailor in their sewing department. She did this on her own without telling anyone. She was nervous because although she had tailored in my dad’s store for years and had done fine sewing all her life she had never been formally trained. She came back with a part time job and I was so amazed and proud of my mom for having the courage to do that. She is an incredible seamstress and they loved her work.

My mother is truthfully a brilliant woman. She is a gifted artist, she’s a championship level scrabble player, she can upholster furniture, cane chairs and the list goes on and on. She is cross country skis miles and miles in the winter and hikes or walks way beyond what I can handle every day. She’s in great shape and she’s beautiful. She looks 60 (twenty years younger than she age). Part of that is a lifetime of great nutrition. The other is something that I learned from her – that there is no age – it simply does not exist. She can out walk, out hike, out ski you and she doesn’t plan to stop. Age does not factor into her DNA.

My mother told me once that it doesn’t matter how old you get as long as you keep your body up and stay in great shape. She was right.

My mother is just now becoming even more fun than ever now that the weight of family responsibility is not so heavy. She’s great fun to be around. She’s an inspiration, a gifted woman and extremely smart. She cried when I thanked her the first time for naming me Claire (something that I’ve done a lot). Every time that someone in the garage says “Hey Claire,” and uses my name, I think how thankful I am that my mother gave me a special name.

One day my mother said to me that she really did not accomplish anything huge in her life. I told her that she indeed did. It took many generations of women to get to me breaking the door down in sports talk radio via NASCAR. My mother gave birth to me and together we knocked down that door. I will always be indebted to her for the way she raised me.

Today, my mother gets the headline. She’s the one who deserves it. Had she had the opportunities that I had she would have been a doctor perhaps or gone on to pursue something that she always wanted to do. Instead she focused on me and my siblings and I will be forever grateful.

Because of her I am all that I am today.

I wish everyone could know her. Maybe through this they will know a little more.

Thanks Mom.


NASCAR Holidays December 8, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Claire B's Mail, Fun Stuff, NASCAR, Off Season Fun.
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Greetings from my house in Charlotte, NC everyone!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I wanted to touch base with you all today and, as promised, I will definitely keep you posted through the holidays with specific plans for the “Dialed In” show on Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 128 (starting in 2009) and new schedule information very soon.

I’ve gotten a large number of emails about where I am at today on the dial. Thanks to all of you who had a scavenger hunt to find the show over the last months on various channels. I hope you enjoyed the “Dialed In” coverage in New York city on Sirius NASCAR Radio. I hope I made you proud. I am still unpacking from the trip and getting things back in order today and I am taking some time off post season (I am not on the radio this week) as I take some down time (vacation) to just rest up and prepare for some really exciting broadcast plans being put together for 2009.

I’m interested in what you thought of the banquet. Word on the street and amongst the reporters who were there -even the curmudgeons- was that it was better than last season with the drivers being unscripted (they were told by NASCAR to just make bullet points – no formal speeches). I though the surprise visit to the stage by Cale Yarborough to present his championship ring was a great touch. Cale was actually sitting at a table on the other side of the room from Jimmie during the dinner but no one noticed -and Jimmie had no idea. The surprise was so worth it. Also, how about Tom Cruise being at the Hendrick table, a guest of Mr. Hendricks? On the dance floor later I chatted with the guys from Matchbox 20 – totally down to earth. I also hung out with some of the guys from the 48 team who owned the celebration – and it was a fun night/early morning. Got to bed close to 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Let me know what you thought of the banquet and I’ll post it tomorrow. ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com

Melissa sent me this photo (above). She’s been a huge fan of Jeff Gordons and has been following him on a regular basis since 2002. When she first saw stores carrying Nascar Christmas Ornaments she had to have them! She decided to make a tree of Jeff or Nascar ornaments which also has a couple of Jimmie ornaments (and her most recent purchase of her other favorite driver KYLE BUSCH) on it. She says her ornaments have come from Lowes, Target, Walmart, Kmart. She shopped for them the day after Thanksgiving to let all her friends & family know which ones she wanted & where to get them. If you know anyone who has a similar tree for Christmas send the photo along I’d like to post it.

I am headed over to get my mail which has been held for a week- and just really taking some time to get everything back in order after having been gone most of the year.

I will still post news here on ClaireBLang.com so if you check here you can get the latest and this is the best place to keep updated on the show and developments with a firm schedule and about you, the listeners.

Anyone got a tree that rivals Melissas? I’d like to see it.

I’ll have more time to post the next couple of days while I’m off so stay tuned for that and more news on this site.

Thanks for your support, your loyalty and your friendship in 2008. You all mean a great deal to me and I appreciate it.

Claire B

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Chex Most Popular Driver- Hot Topic! November 21, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, Fun Stuff.
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Hey all: The National Motorsports Press Association and Chex are looking for ideas to further promote and grow the Most Popular Driver contest. This year’s voting is already over and will be announced in New York City next week. I brought this topic up on air and found that it was really a hot one! I got tons of emails and feed back ranging from pick a most popular driver each month and then have a vote off at the end to charging for charity $1.00 per vote. There was talk that ranged from allowing people to vote only once to allowing them to vote as often as they’d like.

We had a man who called who set two computers up to vote up to 150 times a day. The listeners were amazed that was happening. Others said it’s nothing new and leave it alone.

Let me know your feedback if you can. Here are some of the emails I got yesterday.

Thanks for listening and checking out ClaireBLang.com

Claire B

Hi Claire

It’s my understanding you were asking on behalf of Chex about the voting for MPD. As a long time Jr fan and voter, I shouldn’t give you my insight (ans spill our secrets), but here goes anyway. I feel the problem is: it’s very difficult for a casual fan to even locate the voting. Once it moved from Nascar.com to Scene Daily it was even more confusing for the casual fan. If you don’ t keep a link in your favorites, locating the voting can be a challenge. Now us Jr fans, it’s easy. We’re a very organized group. This is just my opinion. Thanks for asking.

***Sandy Beddie***
Proud member of Jr Nation
Claire B – I am diehard Dale Jr fan and I voted daily. I’d gladly pay $1 a
day to vote… Maybe money to driver’s specified charity? Then it would
really reflect driver’s popularity!
Kat in VA

Paying a dollar a day for each vote would cost me $30.00 a month. In this economy that’s just not practical. I could not afford it, and many others couldn’t either.

Hey Claire!
I’m not out of the office yet, but I understand you brought up the topic of MPD and wondered if it should be changed. My vote is NO!

If indeed Dale Jr is the winner again this year, and from the apparent description that you gave on the show it sounds like he is, it is because his legion of fans has faithfully voted each and every day. In fact, some of us were fairly concerned that we were doing enough to show our support and wanted to do more. If fans of other drivers are not voting, that’s too bad. Maybe they feel that there isn’t a chance, but the only way that they can show their loyalty is to vote, vote, vote! My guess is that if fans could only vote once a season (boooo), or once a month, Dale Jr would still win. He just has more fans! The only way he is not going to win is if he follows Bill Elliot’s path and removes himself from the voting list.

Some of the things that also convince me that he is the most popular are (1) the hands down majority of fans wearing his gear at the tracks, (2) the reception he gets in driver intros, and (3) the advertising minutes/stats that get generated every year. My guess is that somehow Budweiser isn’t gonna be at the top of the list this year! And that is not to take anything away from Kasey, it is just that he is not as popular as Dale Jr!

Goodness knows, the fans get no respect and are not listened to by the powers that be in Daytona Beach. Don’t take this away from us too!

Chicago, IL

I am in my car and cannot call you. Had to walk in the school library to send this e-mail. My driver is Dale Jr and yes I do vote in the Most Popular Driver Award ONCE every day. I don’t feel the need to vote more than that. The MPD Award is very prestigous and means a great deal to us as Jr fans, that we have been able to win it for him the last 5 years running. We take a lot of pride in him winning it and we know it means a lot to him. I totally disagree with anyone who says it dosen’t mean anything. It shows where the drivers stand with the people who make it possible for them to do what they love every week. Don’t tell me “it dosen’t mean anything!”

I resent that Chex is even THINKING of changing the format in which this award is voted on. Please do not insult us as fans by cheapening what is now a very prestigous award. We don’t need some new “allstar” format to drum up excitement. Leave it alone…the people who want to vote already do. People need to suck it up…Jr has the most fans and that is that. Let them change it to whatever format they want because it does not matter…Jr Nation will come out on top. Please let the Chex people know though Claire, that I purchase Chex Cereal as my cereal of choice. I eat it every morning for breakfast. If they change this format, I will pull my support. I will not buy their product if they do this. I only buy it because they sponsor this award, I can easily find me another cereal to eat, that I like just as much.

Some of his fans, me included, have been concerned over the last few days because voting was supposed to be over at 11:59CT on Monday afternoon, and the website is still taking votes. Are the organizers of the award TRYING to sabatoge us fans who are voting for Jr??? Okay, I am joking so nobody get upset but it does make us wonder. Why will they not take the voting page down. Voting is over, yet, we can still vote. After hearing all of this, it just makes me wonder.

Thanks for your time


Hey Claire!

1) Tell Gary the Mojo Crew says “Hey!” We got to talk to him a couple years in a row when he used to come to the Lowes Zone at LMS in Charlotte. He’s got some funny stories. I think Jimmie must get some of the humor from Gary. I thought Jimmie jumping into the crew reminded me for some reason of the Jimmie Gary talked about who invited everyone at a race he won to come to their house for a party and that when he (Gary) got home there were like a hundred people in his front yard. The spontaneous; I want to share my happiness with everyone; let’s have a good time Jimmie. They did a wonderful job raising Jimmie, Jarit, and Jessie. And I bet he’s enjoying Jarit’s little ones too. Congrats on that also.

2) Most Popular Driver voting: they need to continue to refine the program that runs that. Make it one where the voter has to enter a randomly generated code in order for the vote to go through so they can’t use the macro voting programs that generate votes without a person needing to hit the buttons by hand. Another would be if they can have it set up so it recognizes ISP addresses so people can’t vote with multiple emails from the same computer address. Just a couple of suggestions. Not a huge deal though. I’m a Jimmie fan and I know how wonderful he is whether other people figure it out or not. I’d rather be a fan of the 3 time Champion (IN A ROW! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT! I’M STILL A BIT EXCITED! Ha ha!) than the guy who is most popular but can’t get the job done on the track – and note my driver is physically fit enough that he can still breath and talk after 500 miles.

Thanks Claire! Love the show as always!

Pam J
Hey CBL,

I haven’t voted in the most popular drive promotion in years, since Ward Burton got “booted” from the sport I haven’t had a car in the race. When you get some one as popular as Jr. it would be hard to cast that many votes, seems to me “awesome Bill” from Dawsonville was one like Jr. Don’t know what they could do to pull me into the voting again. I like Jr. but I like a lot of the other drivers too, maybe they should have a most “unpopular driver” segment too…I think I would be more apt to vote in that now than the most popular.

Dear Claire B

I am a faithful MPD voter, and I vote every day. This contest has been in existence for many years. I’m just wondering why you would want to change the format now. Is this Chex’s idea? PS Love your show.


Hi Claire,
I voted for my driver, Casey Mears, everyday in the most popular driver voting. Everytime I voted I felt like it was a waste of time because the Jr. fans would win out every time Jr. is a choice for anything. I think that a driver should not be eligible after winning the Most popular award more than 2 years in a row. At least Bill Elliot had the grace to take himself out of the running after dominating that award for years.

Endicott, NY

Hi Claire,

I’m and Dale Jr. fan and will vote no matter how they change it, but in my opinion if you ask people to pay to vote you will get fewer people to your website. These are going to be hard economic times and people will watch what they spend their dollars on.

In my opinion, I think if you offer participants a prize at the end of the year. A trip to the banquet for two all expenses paid. A trip to a race for two all expenses paid. Maybe some other smaller prize from their favorite driver. If you offer people something that they can’t get on their own in these hard economic time maybe they would be more likely to vote more often and then they would get more hit to their website.

Just my opinion.
Bonnie from Connecticut

Should the NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Voting be changed?

Yes it should be. I think it is a disgrace to the award to be able to make up email addresses and vote more than once. Try one person voting 6 times to 10 times. There should be a way that the IP address of the email address be registered and only to be used ONCE a day. No one will vote knowing the Jr Nation vote much more than once a day. This is fact. But, this is the ONLY trophy Jr will get. The one his so called Nation votes for him. Thank God the Championship is not decided by votes.

Have Happy Holidays
Hi Claire,

Thanks for reading my email on the air! It was hard to drive and listen to something that I wrote at the same time!!!

Have thoroughly enjoyed the discussion. Now that I have a better feel, I have a couple more thoughts to share with Chex…

1. Whatever voting system is used, it has to be fair and open to all people equally or the results are questionable. To have someone pay to vote, or go to the track to vote, severely limits a segment of the population. While I would encourage them to put a donation link on their site, I would hate to see folks have to pay to vote in this economy, when racing/voting might be one of few perks in a pretty bleak existence.

2. I certainly support Chex wanting to have more hits to its website. Perhaps if after someone voted a set number of times in a month, they would automatically get a coupon for a discount on one of the Chex products. If, perhaps, one had to vote 20 times in a month, the coupon could not be possibly kicked out until the 21st of the month and if someone voted multiple times daily, then their votes would be discounted… the software is out there to match emails to votes. That would encourage folks to vote even if they perceived their driver not to be a potential winner!

3. I must say I like the idea of a driver of the month and then perhaps in the last month a run off of all (or the top 3- 5) drivers over the year.

Thanks to you for listening and thanks to Chex for asking!

Chicago, IL
Claire B:

How about 1 per month then a “chase” vote during the last week or so of the season between the drivers that won each month for the yearly big winner.

Or a 1 per month; then between those 3 for the quarter with the final vote between the quarterly for the end of year winner with all the quarterly winners being acknowledged some way.

And yes by clearing cookies anyone can vote more than once and after about the first month this year fans didn’t even have to do that to vote more than once. Didn’t even have to use more than one email. I voted but will admit most weeks I only remembered 4 out of 7 days.

As much as I love giving to my driver’s charity I have a bit of a problem with $1 a vote or whatever because that leaves out a lot of people who could not afford to do that. You are talking even at only one vote per day up to $365 a year and for folks who are struggling to make all their bills or saying they can’t afford $100 for a race ticket, does Nascar or the sponsors want to add one more thing people would have to pay for? Just a thought. Now maybe if they did a vote off at the end out of the top so many for the year to get the winner for the year or something and during that week or whatever the time frame is they want to do that, that could be interesting.

Just a couple thoughts.

Claire B,
If they insist on a popularity contast, why not vote for a favorite team.
Some folks cheer the car and what it represents and not the driver.
Besides, these drivers aleady have a hard time fitting their heads in their
tight little seats.

Glad I’m finally getting listen today. Been too long.

Menifee. CA
Claire B: This is an easy problem to fix. Only allow each computer’s IP address to count for 1 vote no matter how mant times they vote. Travis from KS

No matter how you change it Jr will win as he should he does have the most fans. That said I keep voting to hopefully keep Jeff G in 2nd (they have told us some years where the others were after Jr). I do know people who
say the Jr fans outnumber any others fans so why bother. The sweepstakes they have is a good thing as people might vote just to have the chance to win that. What I would do would not be what they want as they would get less hits on the site and probably not possible. I would like one Fan one
Vote and although I know Jr would still win that would be more accurate instead of being able to vote every day with all your email addresses. I don’t think you can do it for MPD but have heard of people being able to program their computers to auto vote when voting in an on-line poll.

Claire: I voted several times for Sadler and know many who did the same. They used to show who was in the top 10 from time to time in years past, but I never saw that this year. Maybe if they kept it up to date on the standings more people would take place.

I don’t think any changes need to be made to the voting for this award. It’s the FANS vote so please leave it alone! No one complain in all of the years that Bill Elliott won it why now?

Virginia Spann
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:

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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Bill Elliott: Thanks so much August 8, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, Fun Stuff, NASCAR.
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Claire B.log – Saturday, August 9 08
Awesome Bill Discussion:

Hey all!

Bill Elliott was the topic of an email that I received recently – and the email impressed me so much that I read it on the air and it created some discussion that provoked a flurry of emails. Here’s the email that kicked it all off: I’d love your feedback on the emails at the bottom, so read on:

Email from Jay :

Hey Claire B.

I’ve got an interesting show idea for you. What about Ray Evernham’s promise to Bill Elliott that when he ran his last race, it would be in the number 9?

You know, with all of the attention Dale Jarrett got in the early part of the year, it is unfathomable to me that Bill has been literally forgotten by the media this season, especially since he announced that this was his final year. No offense to Jarrett, but Bills career credentials trump Jarrett’s, as do his many, many Most Popular Driver awards. Yet Jarrett was treated like a true legend, which I have no problem with. Jarrett had a great
career and deserves to be recognized. But let’s face facts- Bill Elliott single handedly turned mainstream America on to Nascar during his record setting year of 1985. With the exception of Dale Earnhardt Jr., nobody in the sport has even come close to the kind of fan
following that Bill has had over the years.

Back to the Ray Evernham part- Ray clearly said several years back that when Bill decided to step away, the number 9 was his to run in that last race. And everyone agrees certain numbers are synonymous with certain drivers…Richard Petty in the #43; Dale Earnhardt in the #3, Cale Yarborough in the #11, David Pearson in the 21 car. And while it has been quite the historical moment to see Bill run for the legendary Wood Brothers 21 just like his idol David Pearson did, ANYONE with a historical perspective knows who made the number 9 famous- and it wasn’t Kasey Kahne.

That being said, in an era where more and more longtime fans seemingly get pushed aside to make way for the new generation of fans, where has the loyalty in Nascar gone? It has become a game of “How much money can you spend?” and that is not the foundation that Nascar was built on. Nascar claims that they want to get back to their roots. But the
truth is, with the influx of mega-teams created by Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush, there is no way possible to recreate what made the early days of Nascar so magical. It just frustrates me as a longtime fan to see my lifelong hero and idol, Bill Elliott, turned into another also
ran by the media and by Nascar. Granted, Bill and the Wood Brothers have had a terrible season that has them fighting to even make most races. But at least give the man that has given so much of himself as an ambassador to the sport the respect of letting him finish out his career as it began- in a number 9 race car. And I understand in an age of 20 million dollar sponsor deals, a company like Budweiser may balk at running Kasey Kahne in a different number for one race. But Bill has earned the right to run that number one final time, and if anyone should know the type of person Elliott is, it would be Budweiser, whom
Bill drove for from 1992-94 for Junior Johnson, and was 2 laps away from winning them a championship over Alan Kulwicki.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Jay C.
Newnan, Georgia

After I aired the reading of the email above – I began to get calls – a lot of calls. I also got emails like the ones below:

Email from Wes:

Claire B,

First of all, thank you for reading that email sent in by a listener regarding Bill Elliott and Ray’s promise to him.

On the day Bill Elliott decides it’s going to be his last race, he will drive the No. 9.” – Ray Evernham

How good is someone giving you their “word” nowadays? I remember hearing this and seeing it posted in the following months after Bill Elliott announced he would be driving part-time. I recall thinking to myself, “that’s going to be a fine day when Bill drives the #9 for the final time”. A legend.. one of the good ol’ boys.. the Fastest Man Alive.. Million Dollar Bill.. Awesome Bill from Dawsonville and his final drive in the #9!

Bill stood next what was left of his 2003 Dodge Intrepid. It’s rear quarter panel torn open like a soda can after a dog had gnawed on it all afternoon. His right foot pressed up against the exhaust trying to choke out the fire. A few minutes ago he was coming out of turn 2 on the final lap with the lead. We all saw the rear of the car wobble to the right and got that sickening feeling in the pit of our stomachs. For months on end before this race the media would ask Bill when he was going to retire. Bill would shine his pearly whites and give us his old famous line, “we’ll just have to wait and see”. We waited, and we saw Bill standing next to his “ole piece” he delivered the words to us that he would be back. Elliott fans all around rejoiced!

Bill’s definition of being back and my definition got somewhat tangled up. I thought he would be back in the #9. Bill and Ray layed out a semi-retirement plan that seemed ample at first, but waned as funding wasn’t always there for Bill to run in competitive equipment. It became a guessing game as to when we would see the next time that Bill would race. Over the next 4 years we would see Bill in the 91, 98, 00, 83, 39, 19, 21. Bill fans would hear of a race he was scheduled to be in only to show up at the track to see someone else in his car. It got harder and harder to follow our 16 time MPD.

For me the breaking point was watching Bill fail to make the field for the 2008 Daytona 500. The salt in the wound was failing to qualify at the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Bill’s home track). It became evident to me that Bill’s services provided through his Past Champions Provisional would no longer be needed when Dale Jarrett decided to to do a parade lap during qualifying. With the Petty’s struggling and Sam Hornish teeter-tottering the top 35, Bobby Labonte and Kurt Busch become hotter commodities than Bill. So us Elliott fans sat around hoping qualifying gets rained out so could make the show. We wonder when will be Bill’s last race.
I started reading old Bill headlines when I came across Ray Evernham’s promise. It brought me back to that day when I remembered thinking how cool it would be to see Bill in the #9, one last time. I imagine Bill holding onto one of his PCP’s for the fall Atlanta race. I imagine Ray Everhnam honoring his promise. I imagine Budweiser Beer sponsoring a Dodge with the #9 on the side. I imagine Dan, Ernie and Bill standing next to the car for a photo. I imagine George Elliott and Harry Melling smiling down. At the beginning of 2008 NASCAR president Brian France proclaimed that NASCAR needs to get back to its roots. Is there anything rooted deeper than Bill Elliott driving the #9?

I created this petition to show Ray that we remember his promise to Bill. We ask that Bill’s fans get our one last chance to see our racing hero in the car he made famous.
by, Wes Eisenschenk
irAnd more – this from Travis in Oklahoma:

Email from Travis:

So what about Ray Evernham letting Bill Elliott drive the #9 for the last race? Where is all the attention to Bill’s final race year on the circuit this year? Where is the media with him like they were with Dale Jarrett? There seems to be a total lack of respect for this man who help put nascar on the map and who’s fan base was as large as bill himself winning the most popular driver award what 14 times maybe? I don’t know, but I hope you could clear some things up Claire. Your the biggest sweetheart in Nascar right now and I don’t know how empty my life would be with out listening you and being a part of my day 5 days a week. Love the show Claire and thank you for all the thankless hard work.

Travis Turney

I knew the only possible fair thing that I could do was to go and find Bill Elliott and ask him personally what he thought about all of this. Elliott has been helping the Wood Brothers by driving the 21 car for them when they need him – and has started a driver development business in which he will mentor and assist young drivers. “Paying it forward,” is what Elliott is doing these days.

Claire B.: What is your plan as far as racing? Are you not done after this year. Some fans think that you are just kind of kind of quietly going out into the sunset and I wonder if you think that is what you are doing?

Elliott: “Well some days I think I wonder. You know right now I have a good opportunity to drive the #21 Wood Brothers car and it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been kinda looking pretty hard at saying this is my last year of doing this mess and trying to focus on this other stuff, cause it’s hard to do both. It’s hard to do everything you need to do and concentrate on both deals. I think it’s almost like Mark thought – you either need to be in it or out of it and I guess that’s the decision that I need to make. But you know right now I’ve got so many other things going on that it’s hard to be in it 100% and you know …looking at the thing realistically – looking at the Wood Brothers and where they are at being a single entity we need to try to get help us grow back and get back to where they need to be. You know every time we come into these places – just like coming to Pocono (last weekend) we changed a lot of stuff – a lot of things are different – we got no practice (Saturday) so we didn’t have the last race of running well. They had a different guy here with Andretti and Andretti did a great job…and they brought David Hyder in and now we’ve turned around to a totally different direction. They have good ideas but it’s a whole growing experience and when you don’t have other teams to build off of and grow off of. I know you hear a lot of people say that but it’s just a simple fact of what racing has become today….”

Claire B: – I had an email from Travis and he was up on the wheel about Bill Elliott and he was furious. He said that Ray Evernham had promised that when you were done your last race would be in the #9 did he make that promise to you?

Elliott: “I don’t really recall – I was hoping that my last race would be with Evernham but it just didn’t work out. What my ideal situation would have been – when I said at the end of 03 I wanted to stop running all races – I wanted to focus on a 15-18 race schedule – well we fell short of that. Then, we got to kind of floating around there and I mean it got to be where it was only just a couple of races. Then I got with Michael and did a few races and with some other guys kind of back and forth and that’s hard to do too. You needed some consistency. You take anything you know about this sport – having people around you and keeping that consistency is probably 75% of the game……it always has to do with the nucleus around you. Look at Jeff Gordon and the ups and downs he’s had. It always has to do with the nucleus around them. You know he’ll go through a period where he ran well with Ray (Evernham) then Ray left and it took them a little bit of time to get sorted back out and it’s been a kind of up and down roller coaster. But you take the guys that have been most successful there’s always a key nucleus that has stayed with them and stayed behind them. I think that is probably the most important part of this sport and I think that’s what most people fail to realize.”

Claire B: Do you feel that – as the emailer wrote- that for a man who put NASCAR on the map who was the most popular driver so many times – that the media is not giving you the farewell or giving you the attention right now that you deserve. That unless you don’t make the show they hardly even interview you and that they gave Dale Jarrett so much more attention. How does Bill Elliott feel?

Elliott: “Well I feel fine. The thing that I look at is that Dale Jarrett had UPS and UPS’s push behind him. That makes a lot of difference. When UPS pays a lot of the tabs within the business and they can put the Ads and put the PR out there that is different than where I am here today where I’m just running a limited schedule with what I am doing – you can put out big press releases and do a lot of stuff. You know we are kind of out here on Gilligan’s Island doing out own little thing and you know you’re so easily forgotten. I don’t get upset about it – I don’t worry about it. It’s not good for the fans though because I still have fans that want to know what’s going on – whether you are running 51st out of a 43 car field I mean they still kind of want to know what’s going on. That’s what I have always said that I get up on my soap box about in this sport is that they don’t cover everybody within the sport. Which is like – we’ll pick these guys and that’s all we’ll talk about and I’ve always said that.”

Claire B: If you decide that next year you are not going to race – do you want a big good bye at the end of this year?

Elliott: “Well that I don’t know. That is I will take out here in the next little bit. But I am in such a different perspective as some of these other guys. It’s just like Mark (Martin) and Terry (Labonte) – they did their big farewells and here they are back again and I don’t understand that. You know do what you say and say what you do you know and that’s the thing that I look at. I’ve never said I was quitting up to this point and I’m looking very hard at calling it the end at the end of this year because I don’t really know where I want to be next year other than trying to help these guys.”

Claire B: “So in essence Bill Elliott, the man who helped to build this sport, is helping young drivers and helping a struggling race team – is that where you want to be?”

Elliott: “Well why not. If I can help these guys to get to the next level – then I’ve done something well. Even if they take only one thing out of what I tell them – through this whole deal. If I can help them get through a few hard times or help them get through this or whatever – I’ve either been there or I have seen it in this sport and I don’t know how many people I’ve seen come and go. Granted I look back on my career and maybe I wasn’t the best driver at a lot of places but I worked harder than most of the guys. I had that extra determination to get to the next level. When we got that door cracked open – a toe was in there , then a foot was in there then we finally got in there and go to the next level.”

I want to ask the guys this. When was the last time a team outside the state of North Carolina won a championship. I can’t answer that – I don’t know. You need to research that and find out. We were in Georgia in 88 and I can’t think of anybody since then that has bee out of North Carolina and has won a championship.”

Claire B: What do you want to tell your fans?

Elliott: “Well I just want to say how much we appreciate the sport over the years and all the stuff that has happened. I’ve said this a thousand times – if my career ended three or four years ago I’ve had a great career. I’ve done virtually everything within this sport. Granted, I only won one championship but we’ve won Daytona we won Indy, we won a lot of the races in the middle there – and we’ve had a good career. It’s the point of – and the next generation is coming regardless of what we about it and it’s going to continue on. That’s just evolution – we live to die and then there’s another group that is going to come along. That’s the key thing is if we try to live back in the past – yea I had my hay day but so did a lot of other people. Richard (Childress) went through his hay day and Cale (Yarborough) went through his hay day and so on and so forth.

You are going to have these guys today who are going to have their hay day but what are they go to do when they realize their hay day is gone and what are they going to do after that? I think that’s the key thing is that you look at all the fans and appreciate all the support and just be thankful for all the friends that you have created around the country and I think that is the biggest thing that has helped me within this sport.”

Claire B.: If you never close the door then you could come back for a one off race next year and you never really have to make that decision or do you have to decide?

Elliott: “Well there’s going to eventually be a point that you say hey this is it I am going to quit this and I’m going to go do something else whether you go play with your dirt car. I don’t intend to just totally quit driving. You know like Rusty (Wallace) he just totally cold quit and I don’t know – if that’s the decision that you make We were somewhere one day and I tried to get him to get into something and he wouldn’t even do that. It was just a hobby car somewhere and we were just playing around. I raced a few Legends races just to help understand how those cars are and I’ve raced some dirt stuff. I feel like if I can be the racer that these guys (his young development drivers) are when I started in I would have won a lot more races than I did. As well as total races run when I started running cup it’s so few versus these kids today come up and they’ve already run 100 or so races their first year.”

Claire B. So you are doing ok- you are going to make your decision some day. You have these young development drivers coming up including your son. You are not angry at anybody for not covering you more but in general you think the sport should be covered better.

Elliott: “Totally – I am not talking about necessarily me but everybody within the sport. There are fans from all the way down the list from the guy running in the back to the guy running in the front. I mean maybe it isn’t so obvious to the people on the network and really I don’t know the inner workings of a lot of stuff but I understand it and I understand how it works and I understand that’s probably the way that it’s going to be but still the guys in the back deserve a little bit of attention now and then.”

Poll: Bill Elliott is contemplating what to do about his future. Right now he’s concentrating on “Paying it forward” running for the Wood Brothers and working on his new young driver development program. What should Elliott do?

Elliott should:

NO…not another retirement tour – Don’t do it for any reason

Bill Elliott has earned a farewell – Give the man what he deserves

Stay – don’t even think about retiring race when you can

It’s up to Bill Elliott and the fans will go the direction he decides to go and what makes sense for him – either way is fine.

That’s it for now. More later in the weekend.

Claire B
XM Satellite Radio

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