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On to Vegas! If You Don’t Want To Watch – Don’t February 25, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
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Hey all! Here’s my broadcast schedule this weekend:

Wed. (Feb 25) 7-10 p.m. EST (“Dialed In” – LIVE from Satellite Studios at Claire’s House)
Thurs. (Feb 26) 7-10 p.m. EST (“Dialed In” from Las Vegas Motor Speedway LIVE)
Friday (Feb 27) “Dialed In” – On after Sprint Cup Series Qualifying until 11 p.m. EST

Saturday (Feb 28) 2-4 EST – “Dialed In” pre Nationwide Race
AND “Dialed In from the end of the Nationwide Race until 10 p.m. EST

Sunday (Mar 1)
CBL Anchors pre race with Steve Post 12:30 -2:30 p.m. EST pre race

Post Race: CBL live in victory lane — with SIRUS TEAM until 11 p.m. EST

NOTE TO ALL: Thanks for all the emails at insidercbl [at] aol [dot] com. I have gotten a bit behind from my normal mode of answering all emails just because of the trip from Daytona to California and back to Vegas. Be patient if you have not had an answer yet – and keep sending the emails I love them. Thanks – great conversation and I appreciate it.

Here’s something to chew over:
If You Don’t Want To Watch – Don’t
Covering Auto Club Speedway – On to Vegas!

Ok – I’m going to say it – and it’s unlike me to be so up on the wheel. I am not afraid to say what the heck it is that is on my mind. No one has ever told me not to. But in the world of cynical journalism – I have looked around and I guess that I have figured that I am simply the eternal optimist.

I usually see the best in people and while I relish good hard questioning of the values and rules and officiating of our sport each week, which is good healthy discussion, and callers who might ask the hard questions, which is also good, I am not one to want to spend hour after hour of my life on national radio being unduly negative.

I want to hammer home the truth, ask the question others may not and dig deep for the real story –even when its tough tickets or may cause uneasiness – it’s the job of a journalist. I just am interested in doing it in a way that does not include bashing for the sake of bashing. Salt in the soup is good. A vat of salt is too much to take. Enough said.

I have a new philosophy. That is this – if anyone listening doesn’t like the racing, or a particular track or our sport– then don’t watch, don’t listen and don’t come. Let folks who have saved their money to go, finally got a day off work, or carved out precious time in the week to enjoy the sport they love have some fun.

I repeat, I am not looking for a ban on great discussion- even rants and arguing or mentions of dislikes and fan to driver rants— not at all. In fact, bring it on. I don’t even expect you to understand how I feel – because it’s hard to explain. If I’m wrong tell me – black flag me – and tell me to my face on the radio.

Here it is. I get calls occasionally from race fans who are going to their first race, taking their wife to their first race, or going to the race they have gone to for twenty years. I hear the excitement in their voices as they call in on the air and they sound like people I could be friends with. I’d love to sit next to them or camp next to them cause I can hear right through the radio what genuine people they are and I only know them from what they say from the heart and it touches me.

Occasionally they will tell me that they are having hard financial times but they found a way to go to the race and they are so excited they almost can’t stand it — that their race weekend has started. I actually get to feeling happy for them that they are going to have some fun in these tough times. They are packed up, they are on their way, they are at the campground, they are hunkering down at home in front of the TV to watch and they love racing.

Mind you- I am not trying to sell tickets with the above comments or to fill up race tracks. I cover what happens. I don’t try to make the news. I am telling you, though, that I hear such excitement and happiness in the voices of these callers and I am so happy for them and so appreciate that they would call my show and I want to be able to talk racing with them, have fun doing it, enjoy the discussion – and leave them less than beaten down and depressed for planning the trip and calling or tuning into my show.

Ok – yes, I know I’ll get letters from people who had a problem and didn’t have fun because of a logistic issue – and when you gather that many people in one spot that happens. I also know that I was working in the media center and had media access so I enjoyed it from a different level. I always seek to find the story of the race, that no one thought of –and I really enjoy trying to find that ever elusive nugget that will make following the race more interesting. It seems I am never bored with trying to find that story – and dig deep into it.

You know – I’m just the kind of person that covers what is there – I work to bring what is happening to life. Maybe that is it – I’m not trying to change it – I am simply covering it and I find our sport fascinating every single minute of every single race. Some races are more exciting than others – but I really never ever am uninspired by what there is to cover.

I can always find a story waiting around the next turn.

Talk to you on the radio!
Claire B

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California Speedway Notes June 6, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Tracks.
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Hey All! You have got to read this. I got an email from a listener recently – Larry – who sent me a note about California Speedway. He sent it to me and said he did not get a reply from anyone at California Speedway – so I sent his email on for him to the President of the track. You have got to hear what she replied. First, read Larry’s email :

May 24, 2008

Good afternoon,

It is with deep regret that I read of the impending schedule change which shall “reward” the California Speedway for its lack of ticket sales by awarding it a “chase” race date.

It is important to note that when Darlington and Rockingham (deservedly) lost Cup dates for lack of ticket sales, without being provided consideration for their weather woes, California is now being “GIVEN” not only a better race date but a CHASE date.

I / we / most people can totally understand that when a specific track does not live up to ticket sales expectations then they would (deservedly) have dates cut back and/or removed. But it is becoming more and more obvious that the “favored status” of your speedway means that regardless of whether one, one hundred or one hundred thousand (highly unlikely) show up, NASCAR will see fit to continue to support this most unproductive of race venues.

It would seem (more than) obvious to everyone (except maybe the Hollywood set) that California can do no wrong and will continue to occupy not one but two dishonored dates on the illustrious Cup schedule.

How disappointing. You must indeed be proud.

Larry Taylor

New Bern, NC 28560

Larry said he did not get a reply – and he said he bet someone he never would. I told Larry I’d send his email on to the President of the track . Sure enough I got a reply today to him that I was copied on by the track president. Read on:


Claire B. Lang forwarded me your note. As I’m sure she would be willing to confirm, I jump at the chance to respond to any issues raised by race fans, especially ones based on factually inaccurate information because it allows us a chance to present our side.

Let me begin by saying should the date change at Auto Club Speedway, it most certainly won’t be as a result of any kind of “reward”. We have been petitioning for a date change for several years – unsuccessfully. The possibility of a calendar swap to a date with more appropriate weather conditions would only occur because of a request by Atlanta for Labor Day Weekend. Their management feels that a holiday weekend will have a positive impact in a market that continues to struggle and has seen attendance continue to decline.

That is not the case in California where our track is seeing slowly increasing attendance, even in light of the most horrific weather conditions imaginable. For that reason, we disagree with your suggestion that our track has a “lack” of ticket sales. In point of fact, we draw considerable more than so many events on the schedule. Small tracks that fill to capacity like Darlington, Miami, even Phoenix are considered successful while you view us as unsuccessful even though we sell more tickets than any of those facilities.

As for doing no wrong. We feel quite the opposite, that we can do no right in the minds of those from the heart of the NASCAR Nation. It’s a shame because it our aggressive, strategic and creative marketing that has driven our facility to what would have been the most highly attended Auto Club 500 since I have been at the facility. Mother Nature stepped in to rain on our parade but that monumental growth of ticket sales in an economy when other tracks are experiencing a decline, we feel shows that Californians are continuing to step up when it comes to NASCAR.

Fans here further demonstrated their passion is growing through their recent support of our Southern California NASCAR Day celebration. How ironic is it that out of every race track in the nation, it was Auto Club Speedway that sold the most pins for NASCAR Day, more than 16,000, and raised more money for the NASCAR Foundation than any other speedway.

I indeed am proud. Proud of a team that has made monumental strides in making NASCAR relevant in one of the most difficult but also most important markets in the nation. This all is good for the sport and with the passion for NASCAR that I know we share, I hope you will look at Auto Club Speedway with a little less venom in the future. We’re just pushing relentlessly for what is in the best interests of the sport and our SoCal race fans.

Best regards,
Gillian Zucker
Auto Club Speedway

How about that? I wonder which one is right – Larry or Gillian. Email me and let me know what you think. Interesting email in my mail bag.
Claire B
XM Satellite Radio