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

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Items of Interest.
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Greetings from Michigan International Speedway
NASCAR CEO Pre-Race – Manufacturer Cuts, Economy, Four Team Limit, Best Racing in the World, Most Loyal Fans In Sports

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

Take care…Enjoy the race:

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

What about the cutbacks in NASCAR from GM :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(end of session with France)

……..

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

Enjoy the race – it should be a good one!

Claire B

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

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Pictures – Worth a Thousand Words: Behind the Scenes – Behind the Microphone! April 1, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Items of Interest, Listeners, Mail.
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I always enjoy getting notes at insidercbl [at] aol [dot] com about where folks are listening to “Dialed In” on Sirius NASCAR Radio. You all probably don’t know how much I enjoy knowing who I am talking to coast to coast. That’s why I reply to emails and enjoy hearing what driver you follow and how you got into this sport. Every day, just before I flip on the microphone in my studio at home or in the media center at the race track and tell the story of the day, I envision who is out there in my mind. It’s strange, but I have never been nervous in front of a microphone because while I am scrunched up in my chair in the studio room in the front of my house in front of the big picture window, or looking down over a race track late at night on the air live – I never feel alone. I feel as though my neighbors and friends are the people out there listening coast to coast. I like having a close up conversation with all of you – even if you are too shy to call in.

I have never called into a radio station — unless I was calling in an official report. I would have been to darn shy to do that before I was in radio. So I am well aware that there’s a vast group of people who listen but remain unidentified. So, late at night, I sort of envision in my mind who is out there so that I see a huge group of people in my mind before I flip the switch and go live.

I decided, along with my broadcast schedule, I will be posting some more photos for the blog. The photos I will post today include: My trip to Jelloville, Susie the Queen of Jelloville, surprising Gloria (a listener who I just met at Bristol) with a scale model of the race track for her birthday, getting “arrested” by NASCAR officials at the Jail and Bail Fundraiser, posing for Pit Road Pets with “Rosie”, para sailing over Lake Lloyd over Daytona near the Blimp, interviewing David Pearson and Leonard Wood at Atlanta Motor Speedway a couple of weeks ago and more. Click on the photos and check them out.

Here’s my broadcast schedule for the weekend (SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Channel 128 and “Best of SIRIUS on XM Channel 128:

“Dialed In” – Wednesday, April 1, 2009 – 7-10 p.m. EST
“Dialed In” – Thursday, April 2, 2009 – 7-10 p.m. EST (LIVE from Texas Motor Speedway)
“Dialed In” – Friday April 3, 2009 – 7-10 p.m. EST (LIVE from Texas Motor Speedway)
“Dialed In” – Saturday April 4,2009 2-2:30 pm. EST (LIVE from Texas Motor Speedway) Pre Race for the Nationwide Race
“Dialed In” – Saturday, April 4, 2009 – After the Nationwide race until 7:00 p.m. EST
PRE RACE – Sunday April 5, 2009 – 10 a.m. EST – Noon
POST RACE – CBL in Victory Lane
“Dialed In” Post Race – after the Post Race until 10 p.m. EST.

Jason (Dialed In listeners prayed for his recovery) Update

Remember Gabe the “Dialed In” listener who wrote about Jason the racing buddy he met at the track and became friends with? Jason fell at work off a railroad bridge and was not expected to come out of the coma he was in. Gabe contacted me and asked for my listeners to pray for his friend. With all your prayers we had a miracle and Jason recovered – which was not even expected by doctors. Well the good news is that I got photos and a nice note from Gabe that Jason was able to visit the races at Bristol and Martinsville for a short time. Since he was still recovering they didn’t tell anyone they were coming yet but Gabe got to see his friend again for the first time. You can check out the photos on this site which I just posted. Everyone should have a friend like Gabe who, when the chips were down, wrote a broadcaster who he didn’t even know asking for her to solicit prayers for his friend. The story still amazes me. Below is Gabe’s recent note:

Hey Claire,

Its been a while and I have been meaning to write to you to update you on the latest with Jason, but with trying to get ready for a new baby its starting to get hectic.

Well on to the good news, Jason and Tara was able to attend the Atlanta race, Tara said Jason’s head was hurting however he didn’t want to leave because Gordon was doing so well.

This past week I was fortunate enough to get to go and spend some time with both Jason and Tara at the Nationwide race. We got to watch Happy Hour and he made sure to let me know that the 24 was higher on the scoring tower than the 88. However, Jason got to feeling bad and wasn’t able to make it to the start of the Nationwide race and also was still ill on Sunday and missed the Cup race. But it was definitely a true blessing from God to be at the track sitting and enjoying being there with my dear friends.

Its only been 6 months and in one way it seems like a long 6 months,but on the other hand its been a short 6 months seeing the major steps that Jason has taken. None of this would have been possible without the dear Lord. All of the millions of prayers that went out for Jason back in November and still today are being heard and answered one by one.

I just wanted to email you and let you know that another of my prayers was answered to be at the track with Jason, enjoying one of the things that we both love doing most in life.

And one other good bit of news was that Jason has been accepted to rehab closer to home in Johnson City TN. Now he will be able to be in the company of his many friends and see that they support and stand by him all the way. The dear lord is still answering everyone’s prayers. He still has a long road ahead of him but with the prayers that are still going up for him I know that the lord will guide him the rest of the way.
I am attaching a few pictures of Jason and Tara at the Atlanta Race, and A picture of us three at the Nationwide race in Bristol.
I just wanted to say Thank you again for getting word out about this situation and for all of you support during this time. You have truly been a blessing sent from heaven.

Gabe

Isn’t life amazing! How about a racing friend who has traded barbs on your driver and met you at a race track -becoming the friend who stands by you and is so happy that you are back talking racin’ again. You gotta love the fans of this sport.

Gabe – thanks for the note. Jason – we’re still pulling for you buddy.

As always, see you on the radio!

Enjoy the day!

Claire B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Larry!

Claire B


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

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ARCA Sim Racing for MRO; Scott Kalitta memorial June 25, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Items of Interest.
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Hey all!

It was so fun having DW’s brother telling stories last night on the air – prior to the ARCA Sim benefit race. I figured I’d send you a blog today on a number of things from here at my studio in Charlotte, NC.

ARCA Sim Racing Last Night -CBLBLOG UPDATE
Fundraiser for Motor Racing Outreach Last Night Racing On Line!

On “Dialed In’ yesterday, Darrell Waltrip’s brother, Bobby Waltrip (he so sounds exactly like DW doesn’t he?) and DW’s nephew Lee Bob Waltrip talked about their participation in last night’s LIVE on line charity sim racing event to benefit Motor Racing Outreach. Here’s a listener email:

What racing software are they using?
Irvin

Answer:
The software they raced was Arca Sim Racing 08′ from the Sim Factory. It
can be purchased at http://www.theSimFactory.com

This software is also featured and run at http://www.DMP-Racing.com which is Dale
Jr’s league. They race every other Monday, Live at http://www.OnlineRacin.com
(Dale Jr, AJ Allmendinger, TJ Majors, Martin Truex Jr all race there). Next
race is June 30th at 9:30 pm est at the famed Milwaukee Mile! (Joey Logano
helped them set that track up last year in development by the way)

Also, it is featured in Daytona’s 500 Experience center, which opened
yesterday (tuesday).

Here’s an update on last night’s sim racing:

Sim Racing Update: June 24, 2008
The SIM race itself last night went well, a few more cautions than expected, but since
these guys had not races together before, it kind of was not a total surprise. 43 cars
started and I think 33 were in the running at the end. A few self spins
early, the majority of the field was in contention with 20 laps left. This
caused for some extra laps at the end (Arca has unlimited
Green-White-Checkers), and ultimately a last lap move to the front by Josh
Parker and eventual race winner! Money raised for MRO was about $450 in
purse, and several drivers are donating 1/2 or all their race winnings as
well. A rebroadcast is available for offline post race viewing at:
http://www.PSRTV.com (MRO)

A few highlights of sim racing in ARCA sim:

You can have up to 43 cars participate at once (and 43 Live spotters)
Tracks raced are SuperSpeedway, Speedway, Short Track, Dirt oval and
soon even a Road Course!
Simulation has all 5 major manufacturers represented (Toyota, Ford,
Dodge, Chevy and Pontiac)
Scoring can be done in Arca format or Sprint Cup
Drivers seen in online races: Allmendinger, Truex, Dale Jr, McDowell,
Brad Coleman, Colin Braun, Logano, and many more
Software is currently used in preparation and as a traing tool for many
drivers not only in ARCA, but all the major motorsports

** really cool video of AJ racing at Pocono at the Myspace page ( first
one: www.myspace.com/arcasimracing )

Thanks to Bobby Waltrip and Lee Bob for hanging out on “Dialed In” with me last night. They are a hoot aren’t they?

MADISON INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY ALL STAR CHALLENGE
Tuesday Night, June 24 -RESULTS

Here’s an update on racing last night at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsin as the All Star Challenge featured NASCAR superstars Kyle Busch, Matt Kennseth and Tony Stewart. Here’s the finishing order:

SWISS COLONY ALLSTAR CHALLENGE
Madison International Speedway

(Starting position in parentheses)

(2) Steve Carlson
(3) Matt Kenseth
(7) Andrew Morrissey
(11) Nathan Heseleu
(22) Travis Sauter
(5) Rich Bickle
(13) Chris Wimmer
(14) Steve Rubeck
(1) Tim Schendel
(15) Dave Feiler
(17) Steve Holzhausen.
(10) Kyle Busch
(20) Chad Wood
(18) Frank Kreyer
(24) Andy Monday
(9) Tony Stewart
(4) Dan Lensing
(16) Jonathon Eilen
(21) Dan Jung
(6) Nick Hammer
(12) Jeremy Lepak
(8) Bobby Wilberg
(19) Zach Riddle
(23) Eugene Gregorich Jr.

Here’s a link to my buddy Dave Kallmann (Milwaukee Journal Sentinal) who covered the event last night:
http://blogs.jsonline.com/racing/archive/2008/06/24/carlson-first-kenseth-second.aspx

_____________________________

I know that a lot of folks in and around racing have been talking about the Scott Kalitta NHRA tragedy- and you know when we first saw the tape over the weekend we were all shocked – everyone in racing that I know -in NASCAR in the garage– mentioned that it was clear that Kalitta did not have room to stop before his vehicle hit the retaining wall.

The shutdown area seemed insufficient even to those who are not experts – even to casual race fans of another series. I have received a great deal of email on this. This has touched people even if they don’t follow NHRA racing or know Kalitta- because any death in racing in any series is a travesty and also really bad for racing in general.

This death, even as I head to New Hampshire to cover NASAR which has become increasingly safer over the past few years, thank God, saddens all of us. Here is the information regarding Scott’s memorial and where donations can be made. Some of you have asked for this information.

Memorials for NHRA Racer Scott Kalitta
A public memorial service to celebrate the life of Scott Kalitta will be held this Thursday, June 26 at 7 p.m. at Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center, 350 Shady Lane Drive, Norwalk, OH 44857. The Kalitta family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to these charities close to Scott’s heart:

Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School
Attn: Development Office
315 41st Street West
Bradenton, FL 34209
(His sons attend this school)

B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe)
c/o Doug Herbert Performance Parts
1443 E. Gaston St.
Lincolnton, NC 28092 http://www.putonthebrakes.com

Cards for Scott’s family can be sent to:
Kalitta Air
818 Willow Run Airport
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Email condolences can be sent to:
champion@kalittaracing.com

Prayers from here for his family.

Take care…more later. I sure appreciate all your IM’s and email and calls into the show. It means a lot to get to know you all!

Claire B.

DOVER DATA June 4, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Items of Interest.
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Hey All! I’m here in my studio in Charlotte at my house thinking about a way to qualify the Dover race. I’m not much for data but thinking about how typical the Dover race was to other Dover races as far as cautions and lead lap cars at the end of the race……
Interesting information; for discussion – regarding the race at Dover and how it compares to previous years.

Here’s a table (see below) that includes the number of lead lap cars at the end of the race, the number of cautions, and the number of caution laps for each Dover race back to 1997. The spring race is listed as “1-year” and the fall race is “2-year”. The averages for each column are listed on the bottom. It is interesting that the average number of cars on the lead lap at Dover is 9.5. Also, the races that are highlighted with a gray background are races where the lucky dog rule was in use.

Dover Stats

I’ll point to this chart today on my “Dialed In” show and ask you what this says. Interesting information. Thanks to Nick who put it together for me – Thanks Nick!
Claire B.

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Friday of Race Week 2008- Charlotte- Lowe’s Motor Speedway May 23, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, Items of Interest, Tracks.
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It’s been “As the World Turns” type of drama in the deadline room of Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s media center this week. First, H.A. Humpy Wheeler (SMI President) retires and holds an impromptu news conference that has reporters racing to the track – with little advance warning. The word “rift” has been used in more than one story headline – yet Bruton says that Wheeler has been talking about retirement for a year. Wheeler says he didn’t quite leave on his own terms. Calling his own news conference – was a signature Wheeler move and we haven’t seen the last of H.A. Humpy Wheeler who will continue to be a force in the industry. Could he work for NASCAR? He says it’s not out of the question and he has had a conversation with them.
Humpy pic

Then, Bruton Smith (Chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc) holds a news conference and announces that SMI has purchased Kentucky Speedway. The former owner of Kentucky Speedway says he feels certain that the Speedway will get a Sprint Cup Series date – and as litigation is still in the air with the Kentucky Speedway lawsuit NASCAR says don’t jump to conclusions any realignment of dates has to have their approval and they don’t appear to want to add a date or to move a date to that part of the country at this time.

With all the SMI goings on there was little space in the daily rag to fit some of the other “good stuff” in. I thought I’d pass on some tidbits this morning on the blog before I head out to Penske Racing, Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing and then Speed Street where I will do today’s broadcast from the Chevy XM “Dialed In” Mobile Broadcast Unit.

__________________________________________________________________________
Catch some of these nuggets:

Dale Earnhardt Jr
The Role of NASCAR Villains:

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A VILLAIN IN NASCAR? JR: “You got to wreck people. You got to be mean. You got to work the crowd and get them mad. Do what villains do, kind of like wrestling. The bad guy comes in wearing black, flipping the crowd off and cheating doing things like that.”
WHO DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE BEST VILLAIN IN NASCAR? JR: “It changed. Everybody had their moments. There were times when dad was a pretty good villain. Jeff Bodine turned into a villain there for a while in my opinion when I was a little kid. ’88 was a good year for that, him and daddy wrecking each other. Darrell (Waltrip) never was a villain, Darrell just whipped everybody. You know Kyle (Busch) whether he wants it or not has sort of become that. He could end up using that to his favor. There are people who will cheer for the villain. There are people who like that mentality and pull for the bad guy.”
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MARK MARTIN
On Joey Logano/DEI Mgmt.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT JOEY LOGANO THAT MAKES EVERYONE EXCITED ABOUT HIS POTENTIAL? Martin: “I don’t know what it is. Joey is magic, take my word for it. You will see soon.”

DO YOU HAVE MUCH INPUT IN TO THINGS AT DEI OUTSIDE OF THE NO. 8 CAR? Martin: “Max, Teresa and John have been more interested in my opinion than anywhere else I have ever been. It still isn’t very much, but they are very interest in my opinion. I have a great relationship with Max and respect. The same with John Story and of course with Teresa as well. It is pretty cool, it makes me feel good that they are interested in my opinion on things from time to time. But, I don’t have a big role in it. I feel really good about where the organization is today versus where it was in October. I think it is very sound and made a lot of progress from where it was in October.”
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Elliott Sadler
On Sucking Oxygen and AJ

WHAT DO YOU DO DIFFERENTLY NOW TO PREPARE FOR 600 MILES? Sadler “I eat (laughs). I make sure that I eat a lot on Saturday night. I make sure that I eat a lot on Sunday afternoon, a big lunch to make sure that my body has a lot of energy and stuff to pull from. It’s a long race. Five-hours in a race car is very long. I take car of my body this whole week to make sure that I’m good mentality and physically for this weekend. I just make sure that I’m really hydrated. I’ve got a lot of fresh oxygen in my system and everything before the race starts on Sunday.”

WHY THE OXYGEN? Sadler: “There are a lot of guys out here that do (oxygen). Different guys either do it with the mask or in the (oxygen) chamber. It’s something that I learned from Dale Jarrett six or seven years ago. I take in a lot of fresh oxygen. I’m in a car for an hour-and-a-half today and another two or three hours Saturday. By the time Sunday rolls around on the weekend, you’ve got three or four hours of carbon monoxide in your system. So I try to take in some fresh oxygen Saturday night and definitely Sunday morning before the race just to make sure that my blood cells are as pure as they can be. When you’re in a car for five hours, you’re definitely going to get some carbon monoxide in your system. I’m just trying to take care of myself for longevity in the sport.”

DO YOU TAKE IN THE OXYGEN WITH A MASK? Sadler: “I do it with a mask because it’s just easier for me. I don’t really want to lie in a chamber; I’m kind of claustrophobic so I do the mask thing.”

HAVE YOU TALKED TO A.J. ALLMENDINGER THIS WEEK? Sadler: “I’ve got better things to do and more things to worry about than talking to him (Allmendinger). The Coca-Cola 600 is a big race here in NASCAR and I want to be focused and ready to go. Let’s just try and qualify and worry about that, I’ll worry about him another time.”
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Coca-Cola Pole Sitter Kyle Busch:
On Stuff:

What have you done this week racing so close to home? Busch: “Fortunately I have had a little bit of time off. I went out on the lake yesterday and finally got to enjoy my Centurion boat for the first time this year. The water is still a little cold, but it felt nice. I was able to do some wake boarding and was able to have some fun. I’m sore as all can be right now and I’m hoping that will be better for Saturday night. Other than that, it’s been a pretty calm week. Fortunately they haven’t had me doing too much stuff. It picks up now with today ………and Saturday and Sunday again. I get a day off on Monday and then we go test Tuesday and Wednesday in Pocono so back to it.”

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Jeff Gordon:
OK Fantasy Racers – His Chances for A Win on Sunday

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF ON THE SHORT LIST OF FAVORITES FOR THIS RACE ON SUNDAY? Gordon: “I wouldn’t even put myself on the list. I think that we’ve got some work to do, performance-wise, but we’re such a good team that anything is possible. So I guess maybe you could put us way at the bottom of the list. When I think of favorites I think of people that show dominance or a lot of speed. To me it’s a very short list of people that are on the list that can win.”

THIS WEEK WILL BE THE LAST RACE HUMPY WHEELER IS IN CHARGE AT LOWE’S MOTOR SPEEDWAY. WHAT’S THAT GOING TO BE LIKE FROM A DRIVER’S PERSPECTIVE? Gordon: “That’s huge. To not really hear anything about it and for that to come out like that, I’ve never thought of this sport or Lowe’s Motor Speedway without Humpy Wheeler. He’s just constantly pushing the envelope. All the creativity and excitement and entertainment he’s brought for the competitors as well as for the fans, is definitely going to be his legacy. He’s set a high bar, for sure.”

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE HUMPY PROMOTION?
Gordon: “Oh, man. I can remember back when I was a rookie in the Cup Series, he used to use us rookies quite a bit. I can remember we did human bowling up there near the Speedway Club one time (laughs). Probably the one that stands out the most was when we did a stagecoach thing where we came out in a stagecoach in a Western theme and there were like bank robbers and we were shooting little cap guns. I would have never done that today (laughs). Back then it was pretty comical.”

DO YOU EXPECT DALE JR. TO WORK MORE CLOSELY WITH YOU NEXT TIME (Restrictor Plate Racing)?
Gordon: “Not at all. I don’t expect him to. I’m not asking him to. It’s just that we have a better understanding. My goal as a driver is, I don’t car if it’s my teammate or not, to not allow them to make the pass. My job is to make sure my line is going forward and I’m using my mirrors. I’ve always said that. I did expect for that type of move to maybe happen later in the race; not at that point in the race. So now I know and it just allows us to work together and know that when those things happen, don’t take it personal. It’s just part of the way the race is unfolding at that point. And we’re competitors who want some position and sometimes that means working with your teammates and sometimes that means not working with your teammates. I’ve been in this thing long enough to know that I haven’t always made my teammates happy by everything I’ve done. But I think I’ve gained a little more patience over the years and know how much I want to have those guys on my side towards the end of the race. That’s way I try to make as many friends as I possible can If it’s possible.”
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That’s a wrap for this blog. I had better get up and at it. It’s going to be a busy day – and while there’s no action on the track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway I’ll be checking on the trucks at Mansfield Motorsports Park and spending the day kicking around the race shops in Charlotte.

Enjoy the day!
Claire B

THE OLD SCHOOL RACING CHAMPIONS TOUR November 7, 2007

Posted by claireblang in Items of Interest, Show Items.
5 comments

THE OLD SCHOOL RACING CHAMPIONS TOUR
Old School Racers Race Again – In a 2008 Race Tour!

Yesterday, on “Dialed In” on XM, I had Gene Weaver from the Old School Racing Champion’s Tour on – with breaking news about a race tour for 2008 that will feature past racers who will now have the opportunity to race again in venues near tracks on dates that are adjacent to NEXTEL Cup dates. I had a tidbit emailed to me from a listener who caught wind of this and when I dug into it was an interesting breaking story.

I have had so much email from listeners asking for the web site for the project and so here it is: http://www.osrct.com.

When I called Weaver yesterday he had told me that manufacturer support was coming and he was about to break the story on air when he said he had not had final confirmation. Later in the show, after he got off air with me, he emailed me that he had gotten the confirmation to release to me that Toyota Motor Sales had approved the contract and has come aboard as a Title Sponsor of Two OSRCT races in 2008. The news release will probably go out Monday on that breaking news.

Drivers who have said they will participate include: Johnny Rumley, Harry Gant, Andy Hillenburg, Jack Ingram, David Pearson, Dave Marcis, Larry Pearson, Geoffrey Bodine, Phil Parsons, Joe Ruttman, Tracy Leslie and more (see the osrct site for full list).

Race dates include tracks near the following 2008 Cup race locations on adjacent dates: Cup All-Star Race, Cup Lowe’s, Prelude to the Dream, Cup Michigan, Cup Daytona, Cup Weekend Off, Cup Michigan, Cup Richmond, Cup Lowes, Cup Martinsville and Cup Daytona in February of 09.

In the OSRCT, each driver will be competing for a charity of their choice as well as for themselves. Each driver will have the logo of the charity they are competing for on the side of their race car. This will bring attention to the charity as well as a donation on behalf of the driver. There will also be a limited access autograph session before each race and all proceeds will go toward charity. OSRCT has preliminary drawn up a system very similar to other popular racing series.

Drivers are only eligible to compete in 6 of the 10 races. OSRCT will take the best five of a drivers six races and that would be their points total for the year. After the 10 regular season races, OSRCT would take the top 10 in driver points and they would advance to the Championship Race.

Points positions 11-30 will compete in the Last Chance Race the night before the Championship Race. The top ten in the Last Chance Race will be placed with the 10 drivers already in the Championship Race, for a one race Championship “shoot-out”. And we’re thinking “Winner-take-All”. What a heck of a race that will be!

The vehicle will be a fully adjustable complete race vehicle, meeting the current safety standards approved by an outside third party. The vehicles will be equally prepared, maintained, transported and provided to the drivers by OSRCT. I hear it will be a Busch North Type Car.

For more information you can check the web site for the OSRCT. I have had a lot of email from fans who are excited to see the likes of Harry Gant and David Pearson racing again.

I’ll keep you posted.
CBL