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Bristol Focus on Fans Should be Duplicated March 22, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Tracks, Trackside.
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Jellovillians Unite for Bristol Fan Karma!

Saturday night I went to the campground area here at Bristol Motor Speedway known as “Jelloville”. I had gotten an email from a woman named Gloria who was a listener. She was headed to Bristol and had a birthday at Bristol Saturday night. The email read (in part):

“I want to extend an invitation to meet a wonderful group of fans while at Bristol this weekend. Some other tracks have famous areas of the campground, such as Hell Hill at T-dega, but none compare with Jelloville. Jelloville is located directly behind turn 1 just over the creek in the first row of campers. Just watch for the orange and black Harley Davidson colored camper, we will not be far away. You can also call Suzie, the “Queen of Jelloville”, she started the whole ball rolling about a year ago. Her camper is right in the thick of things. She is from West Virginia and Jamie McMurray is her favorite driver.”

The Jelloville group members met each other on the Bristol Motor Speedway chat room site. They began to gather, celebrate family and life occasions, trade paint about their drivers and bond. They camp together at races, some serve on the Bristol fan advisory board, and most of them talk to each other on line daily if not weekly and the group has become a support group in good times and in bad. The track has adopted this group – so much so that when I visited the area on Saturday night to bring my new friend Gloria a birthday gift….the president of Bristol Motor Speedway, Jeff Byrd showed up.

When Byrd arrived the Jellovillian group flocked around him and many new members of the camping area could not believe that the track president was there to hang out with them. Byrd wore a special event logoed vest which he removed and gave to one of the Jelloville campers. He cracked jokes and became one of them. The crowd went nuts. What was the president of a race track doing hanging out with mere fan mortals on race weekend? Well first of all members of Byrds staff were also there. They had formed friendships with this group and treated them as special track ambassadors. It was real and it counted. The staff at Bristol motor speedway didn’t just talk about the fans – they embraced them. A group from Jelloville even visited the track at Christmas and the track made special provisions for them to hang out in Bruton Smith’s suite and enter the complex. These folks have the cell phone numbers of the staff members at Bristol including the track president in their cell phones and they keep in constant touch – not just when it’s ticket renewal time.

Why the name Jelloville? Well it seems Suzie “the queen of Jelloville” makes batches and coolers full of jello shots. Now I know what you are thinking….but Jelloville was full of real cool people having a nice, but not a raucous, time. .These folks had become very close friends and warmly invited others into their group. I enjoyed a few jello shots and met a Jelloville camper who was at Bristol because he wanted to see a race before he headed to Iraq next week to serve his country. I was so moved by his story that I invited this young man to be a part of the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio pre race show and found out that he was actually carrying the Nevada flag in the Food City 500 pre race show along with fans from each state and a number of foreign countries.

In tough times, Bristol Motor Speedway did not cut the prices of their tickets. Instead, they used some of the money they made to give the fans more for their buck. They put on a Saturday Night Special legends race and shot fireworks off at the end of the night as if there was no tomorrow. The entire weekend was full of examples of being with the fans not just talking about them. Kudos to Bristol Motor Speedway.

To the folks at Jelloville – thanks for making me feel welcome. I came over after my Saturday night “Dialed In” show and I was ready to kick back a little. Their campground was an aura of positive, good natured fun. The jello shots were spectacular buy the way. Slipped right down so smoothly.

Shots to Jelloville and to Bristol Motor Speedway. The Saturday Night Special legends race was a spectacular idea and the way Bristol embraces the fans as members of the track is down right incredible, rare, and the right thing to do. Shots to Jeff Byrd and his staff.

Jello shots from Jelloville that is!

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Welcome to Bristol Motor Speedway! March 19, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, My Show, Trackside.
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NASCAR track (circuit) :en:Bristol Motor Speed...
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Welcome to Bristol Motor Speedway!
March 19, 2009

I’m finally back at the racetrack after a weekend off (it’s about time) – and I’m holed up in the Media Center in the rain here at Bristol Motor Speedway. The track crews are painting (or were before it started raining), the NASCAR team is setting up the inspection bay, and there’s an army of guys in rain slickers getting this track ready for an exciting weekend of racing. There’s so much going on here this weekend the story lines will be abundant

Here’s my broadcast schedule:

Dialed In – (Thursday, March 19) Tonight 7-10 EST LIVE from Bristol Motor Speedway
(Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 128 – “Best of Sirius on XM Channel 128)

Dialed in – (Friday, March 20) (Pre Qualifying) LIVE from Bristol Motor Speedway – A 3:00-3:30 pre qualifying show leading into Sprint Cup Series Qualifying.

Dialed In – (Friday, March 20) (Post Qualifying) LIVE from Bristol Motor Speedway 7-10 p.m. EST Regular Friday night Dialed In.

Dialed In – (Saturday March 21) LIVE from Bristol Motor Speedway -From the end of the Nationwide broadcast (PRN) until 6 p.m. (legends race starts then on PRN)
Then – Dialed In (Saturday Post Legends Race) until 8:00 p.m. EST

Pre Race Show (Sunday March 22) (CBL in booth, Steve Post in Garage) 10:00 a.m.- NOON. EST

Post Race Show (Sunday March 22) (CBL in Victory Lane) following Race.

Dialed In (Sunday March 22) Claire B Lang Post Race….8-11 p.m. EST

I don’t know how many of you got to hear the “Suitcase Jake Elder” audio that I found at my house over the weekend. I interviewed the infamous crew chief in 2001 and did a special on him. But because of music rights I was not able to re run the special and had to find the raw tape in my audio vault. I have almost an entire room of mini disks from various years and have decided to go through it. This is no small task. I was thrilled this weekend when I found the audio of the interview I did with Jake.

I had gone to his house to interview him – and since he was out of the sport by then had never met him. He popped me a beer and started talking. It was an interview that will now be preserved forever and I am so thrilled that I found it.

He’s in a nursing home now – but his stories live on forever. And man, can he tell a story. He’s amazing.

Suitcase thanks for the stories.

The stories of this sport and how the drivers and the crew chiefs and team members told them, leaning on tires, or on long drives to the race track before they had private jets are part of the storied history and fun of this sport. You sense when you talk with someone like Tony Eury, Senior and a list of others from the golden era that they know how to tell a story – how to truly enjoy laughing at someone elses and how to repeat the good ones just right in the garage.

I value that about our sport, the story telling. I also treasure that in 2001 I got to talk to a man named Jake Elder in a one on one interview that was about as compelling as any interview I’ve ever done. I value more that by finding the tape his story will live forever in history.

Here’s to you “Suitcase” Jake.

It was fun.

Claire B

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

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, Sponsors, Teams, Trackside, Transcripts.
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Saturday, August 23, 08
Bristol Motor Speedway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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