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Hello from Talladega April 24, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Live Show, Trackside.
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Hi all! Hope your day is going well. My broadcast schedule for this weekend – is as follows:

Friday (April 24) “Dialed In”
7-10 p.m. EST – LIVE from the Media Center at Talladega

Saturday (April 25) “Dialed In”
After Qualifying for the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series Race until the start of the Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series race at 2:30 p.m. EST on MRN

Then –enjoy MRN’s coverage of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 Camping World Truck Series race in Kansas after the Aarons 312

“Dialed In” continues after the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 until 10 p.m. EST LIVE from the media center at Talladega Super Speedway

Sunday, (April 26)
I’ll be in the booth for the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show for the Aaron’s 499 beginning at 10:15 a.m. EST.

Here are some thoughts on a busy Friday – after many trips to the garage:

Jeff Gordon on Aggressiveness at Talladega:

Gordon is working out the issues with his back which he told me were more of an issue at a track like Phoenix than they will be here. He was not feeling well (was sick aside from the back) last week and told me that he felt he did not give his team good feedback.

Gordon had some interesting comments on Talladega recently as we gathered to chat with him about this race:

“Things have always been aggressive at Talladega. Go back the last 15 years and show me a race that they haven’t had a big crash (at Talladega). You know their might be one or two…but this car is really almost designed for Tallladega. The way that the bump drafting happens, the aerodynamics of the car the engine package – it’s perfect for Talladega. We put on spectacular races but when you run that tight together in those kinds of packs it’s easy to make a mistake and one little mistake happens and a big crash is going to come out of it.”

“I think the one thing that I would like to see happen is that the bump drafting be a addressed a little bit more. We all hear about the warning and where the no bump zone is and it’s all the way around the track and yet we sit there and just nail one other all day long and nothing really seems to happen until some guy gets way out of shape and gets wrecked and you know it doesn’t seem to me that there’s really a lot being cracked down on that. I’d like to see that but even with that being said if all 43 cars at the end of that race one lap to go it’s still going to be a mele you know cause now it’s time to go and you are going to take the risk of being aggressive whether you get a penalty or not.” Jeff Gordon.

Richard Childress – RCR Changes:
I asked Richard Childress (RCR) what would happen if the recent swap of teams between the teams of Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears doesn’t work. He told me “We don’t have an option – it has to work – No options.” Look in the mans eyes and you know that he means business.”

Phoenix International Raceway- Rear View Mirror

Stewart’s Eyes

Mark Martin was just pulling his car into victory lane when I headed out to the grid to talk to Tony Stewart. I like Tony – and I think that one of the reasons I have never had an issue with him, even in his “tormented” days, was because I’ve always found Stewart’s eyes to be the gate to his soul and a clue to how he’s feeling. The first time I noticed this was after he won his first Championship and came to the XM Studios in New York City for an interview. I had an hour with him, and he was testy at the time. The PR team brought him in the bldg and I could see his eyes darting around the room as if he was a caged animal – he seemed to be looking for an escape and felt anything less than comfortable. I began to worry. On Impulse, I pulled him to the side and told him from the heart that I took great responsibility in interviewing him in a way that would show the fans who he really was and wanted to do a great job of being real and I needed him to feel comfortable and I felt that he was anything but, which made it impossible for me to do a good job at what I do. As I poured out my thoughts from the heart – and trust me I was scared to be so honest- Stewart’s eyes, warmed and the thaw began. He converted from a guy who wanted to escape to a guy who wanted to give me a good interview because he knew I was worried about it and wanted me to be at ease. That’s Tony Stewart in a nut shell and he’s been great to me ever since. It’s hard to imagine that Tony Stewart when you see him today.

Since then, of course, Tony has warmed in general and has done his own radio show and is much more comfortable in his own skin. But the eyes still have it with him and what I saw from Tony talking to him as he got out of the race car at Phoenix was total complete and uncomplicated pure happiness and joy. The eyes connected and he was rattling off how happy he was with his new race teams’ success. It was if he was bubbling over with excitement and for a guy like Tony Stewart who downplays the cliche question and abhors over blown story- seeking media questions from anyone – he was almost giddy. I don’t think I’ve seen Tony happier.

You don’t interview a race car driver right after he jumps out of a race car and not get a glimpse into his soul. There’s something raw about that first few moments with a man after a race once he climbs out of the car that is hard to explain. I wish that every fan could have a chance to see the intensity that these guys put into these races. It’s pretty amazing.

Later, as I finished my live reports from Victory Lane – I walked into the garage to check on the teardown. Most of the transports had left and the garage was almost empty. There was Tony Stewart standing with a group of officials in the middle of the PIR garage, with his race uniform half way undone and the top part tied around his waist, in the dark at around 1:30 a.m. EST. I first thought maybe there was an inspection issue with his car – and then I walked over and got a closer look. Tony was cutting up and beaming, hanging out enjoying the end of the race day as if he was at a local short track race where the garage doesn’t clear out and racers savor the day.

Tony Stewart is a real racer. In Victory Lane Saturday night, Stewart was one of the first of the line up of drivers to come and congratulate Mark Martin. I was standing there as he arrived and he was, again, so happy for Mark that he stayed at the stage and seemed to soak in Mark’s victory as if it was his own.

I’ve always felt that Stewart was a sensitive guy with a big heart and a hard core on the outside. I’m really happy – to see that things are going so well for him because new teams like his are so good for the sport and he’s going to be exciting and downright fun to cover his season.

Oh yea, and the eyes go completely jet black like the dark hole when he’s furious and I haven’t seen any of that directed to anyone since he began his own team.

Mark Martin Victory Lane
I’ve covered many victory lanes – and, yes, they’re all addictive. It’s a euphoria place where, for a brief hour or so, you forget about the economic crisis, the shop hours and toil, what you gave up or lost to be there, and yes, even the times that through luck, or misfortune or someone else’s dumb move you deserved to be there but were not.

Before the race as I interviewed him on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio – Mark Martin told me he was nervous and had butterflies in his stomach. As the race was winding down I recalled those comments – because even for Mark they seemed out of character. After all he’s a seasoned racer – and this was not his first rodeo. I totally got it when I was watching him take the checkered flag. He was nervous before the race because his car was that good and he wanted to not screw it up. Note to fantasy racers – when Mark worries it’s when he has a good car not a bad one.

I reflected on Mark’s win at 50 years of age, by remembering the journal that Mark kept after every race as a 14-15 year old young racer. It’s on display at his Batesville, Arkansas Ford dealership and I couldn’t get enough of reading it when I was there for his fan days. Some of the postings give a real look into the talent, heart and competitiveness of a young Mark Martin. The comments below are just snippets thumbing through the journal, race after race.

“Did alright, got 5-points $56”

“Blew up, second lap, no points,”

“Bumped others, a lot – Second in overall points”

“Everyone was too rough. Didn’t place in money”

Locust Grove: “Not a good night. Too sticky for heavy car. three points, $33.”

“Car wouldn’t run…flag man screws up, and puts #10 ahead of me in third heat race. Seven points, $9 a point, $63”

“Blew it up in the third race – had local boys to strike”

“I got run over by the #7 on purpose”

“I got the sportsmanship award. I beat Wayne by a fender”

“28 put me in the mud hole”

“I tapped him and I went around and he went crazy and ran over everything $125”

“State Championship, won pole position – ran good race with #43 for 30 laps. He had to pull out then the sob started playing ping pong with me. I got third, left mad so we were disqualified.”

In the journal Mart lists yearly totals. Here’s one: “1975 season totals- 96 races – feature races won 20, 51 firsts 32 seconds eight thirds, three fourths and two fifths.

Mark Martin learned a tough, competitive business as a child – and didn’t make much money at it to start. He became a gentleman racer and one of the most respected drivers in the garage.

Standing in Victory lane with the Hendrick #5 car covered in confetti and champagne, with the admiration of the superstar drivers in the sport , lined up to congratulate him, I thought back to what Mark put into this to be where he is today. The mud holes, the disqualifications, the times the engine blew up or a local guy went out of his way to take him out the times he made mistakes or lost despite his talent.

The challenges were there and Mark Martin persisted.

Now, he’s just getting started.

Look out!

Enjoy the day.

Claire B.

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Road Trip!! LIVE from Batesville, Arkansas April 9, 2009

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Road Trip!!
LIVE from Batesville, Arkansas

5th Annual Mark Martin Fan Appreciation Days
Thursday, April 9th & Friday, April 10th, 2009
Mark Martin Ford Mercury Dealership, Batesville, AR

I’ll be broadcasting live tonight (7-10 p.m. EST) and tomorrow (11a.m.-3:00 p.m.) from Batesville, AR. and Mark Martin Fan Appreciation Days. Several members of the SIRIUS team will be there broadcasting live and although my schedule has not allowed me to accept the invite to attend in the past I was honored to be asked to come – and this year I was able to make it happen. Mark has been doing holding this event for a number of years now and his fellow racers will be showing up in support. My 3 p.m. show on Friday will be a repeat of the mid day LIVE show by the way.

YOUR DRIVERS -OFF WEEKEND PLANS:
AJ Almendinger: “Lynne and I aren’t doing a thing this weekend. We’ve been gone every weekend since before Daytona so this weekend we are just going to hang out around the house. Lynne has family and I have some friends coming over and we are just going to have fun. It will be nice to take a break from racing for a while. But I’m sure after a couple of days I’ll be ready to go again.”

Reed Sorenson: “My off weekend plans are pretty simple. There are a ton of things that I have to do around the house with putting in some hardwood floors at the top of the list. After that, there’s a lot of little things that need to get done. We travel so much that I just haven’t had the time to just get to work. So that’s what I plan for this weekend. Probably not the most exciting thing in the world, but it just has to get done.”

Elliott Sadler: I’m heading down to Nags Head, NC to spend some time with my wife and family. My mom makes sure that every year we spend this time together as a family. We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together each day and do most things as a family. This is also my first trip back to Nags Head since I proposed tomy wife so it’s going to be kind of a special trip for us to go back and be there now that we’re married. We also try to get out and do some deep sea fishing or play some golf. This is really just a complete vacation from racing.”

Casey Mears: NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series takes the weekend off with this being their last break until mid- July. Jack Daniel Chevy driver Casey Mears has family and friends in Phoenix so, since next weekend’s race is in the valley of the sun, he’ll head out to the desert early.

Go Karting Tonight: Tonight from 6-7:30 p.m. Burney Lamar and Trent Owens will join Toyota drivers Jason Leffler, Joey Lagano, Michael McDowell and Leffler’s crew chief, Scott Zipadelli in a little on track fun with members of the media at the Cedar Creek Sports Center in Mount Juliet, TN.

Listen- the airplane is about to board and so I gotta go. I’ll keep you posted with a blog from Batesville. Lots of inside stories from there.

Take care..enjoy the day! Oh yea and be sure to check out the new photos posted on the blog.

Claire B

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Talladega Drivers Meeting October 5, 2008

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Casey Mears Girlfriend – Is not in labor:

Note: Despite conflicting reports that you may read or hear – I am told she is not in labor. She is in the time frame where technically she could go into labor but is not in labor at this time (Sunday 12.24 EST) . So – unless something happens he’ll be fine to race. They are just being prepared. The Hendrick folks told me today that she was not in labor – and asked if I’d clarify. So-that’s the accurate story as of this hour.

Talladega Drivers Meeting:

Pit Road Speed: 55 mph
Caution Car Speed 70 mph
Pit Road Speed Begins 175 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: 75 feet past the last pit box.
Minimum Speed: 54.66 seconds

THIS IS YOUR WARNING DRIVERS: Race Director -David Hoots told the drivers and crew chief’s today “This is your warning. If you race below the yellow line and in the judgement of NASCAR you advance your position, you will be black flagged. If, in NASAR’s judgement you force someone below the yellow line in an effort to stop him from passing you , you may be black flagged”

Hoots added: “Aggressive driving zones..first off don’t place yourself in position of opening up in our judgement of what’s aggressive. It’s considered all the way around the race track with much emphasis and observation placed on the turns and in the tri-oval. If you think that you are getting ready to go over being aggressive back off and let’s get to the end of the race.

Hoots also warned the group about speeding. “I would remind you all we had numerous speeding penalties yesterday at the entrance and exits and yellow line to yellow line,” he said.

NO Questions:
When asked by Hoots if there were any questions – the room of drivers and crew chiefs was silent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

————————————–

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

More later…enjoy the day

Claire B

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

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Drivers, NASCAR.
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Claire B.Log
Covering Watkins Glenn International

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

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

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

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

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

Q: DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE GOOD CHOICES?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Update BREAKING blog- Casey Mears; Greg Biffle June 27, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Drivers, NASCAR, Teams.
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Outside Roush headquarters.Image via WikipediaMore from New Hampshire 11:41 a.m.- I stopped by the radio room here in the Media Center at NHMS for a quick second to send you this update:

Casey Mears was just in the deadline room here and to his fans – I can report he was doing just fine. He’s not one to hang his head and he said that he has known for weeks. Naturally, he said, he would have liked to have stayed but that it’s almost a relief to know what is happening so he can concentrate on the rest of the season. He seemed extremely upbeat at the potential for the future.

He said that he had not thought about next year and at first he was afraid nothing was going to be open but that he’s been talking to a few folks and has been “pleasantly surprised.”

One question to Mears is whether or not he was up for the fourth Richard Childress Racing ride because his name is now being linked to it – he answered, “You know if something like that were to develop that would be a great opportunity.” He added that he’d like to get his future ride tied up as soon as possible so that he can focus on the remaining part of this year at Hendrick Motorsports.

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I’m already getting email from you all:

Sad Sad Sad,I can not believe Mr Hendrick has thrown away Casey,My God these drivers are Human beings with feelings,Why Why would Rick do this,why did he not move CC’s or Car Chiefs Etc.Rick did this last year to Kyle and now to Casey,I hope and pray Casey can get another cup ride Jeez with impending fatherhood How can Rick be so COLD!
Leslie Eaton Addison Mi

Some of you are not as upset – but more interested in who might go in that ride. Send me an email and let me know what you think: ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com
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News on the Biffle contract signing watch. The ink has dried, thank goodness.

Here’s the news release issued this morning from Roush Fenway Racing:

Loudon, N.H. (June 27, 2008) – Greg Biffle announced today that he has
signed a three-year extension of his contract with Roush Fenway Racing.
Biffle has been with Roush Fenway Racing since 1998. During his 10
years at Roush Fenway Racing, Biffle has accumulated 46 wins, 166
top-five finishes and 250 top-10 finishes in 496 starts. In 2002,
Biffle took the NASCAR Nationwide Series title making him the only
driver in NASCAR history with both a Nationwide and a Craftsman Truck
Series championship title. He is currently seventh in the Sprint Cup
point standings driving the No. 16 3M/Dish Network/Jackson
Hewitt-sponsored Ford Fusion.

Biffle is looking forward to the continued relationship with Roush
Fenway Racing as well as a long-term partnership with 3M.

“I’m extremely happy and relieved to have this contract complete,” said
Biffle. “I have a team that can contend for the championship this
season and for future seasons as well. 3M has been an incredible
partner for several years now and having them on board made the decision
even easier. All the elements are in place: the resources of Ford and
Roush Fenway, the excellent team, the outstanding cars and having a
great primary sponsor like 3M for the next few years.”

In addition to Biffle’s Cup Series program, he is also running a partial
schedule in the No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion in the NASCAR
Nationwide Series this season.

“I would like to run another partial schedule in the CitiFinancial Ford
next season,” Biffle said. “We’re still working out the schedule but I
have always had fun racing in the Nationwide Series so I’d say it’s
likely you’ll see me there in 2009.”

I was broadcasting yesterday from Bayside Inn at Alton Bay here in NH and so many folks stopped by to join the broadcast and talk racing. This part of the country has some serious race fans and I love the fact that the Camping world and Modified guys race here too this weekend.

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Oh I got a cool email from a listener named Jason who says there’s a camper here at NH next to him that has a mobile memorial to past stock car racers. Here’s the link to the camper that is taking this memorial across the country – I thought you’d like to see it. Jason, thanks for listening and for the email. Check out the memorial this race fan is taking around the country:
http://www.thecaretaker.ca

More later – gotta run. Duty calls.
Claire B

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BREAKING NEWS- Casey Mears June 27, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Breaking News, Drivers.
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Casey Mears, driver of the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet, talks with owner Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motorsports during qualifying for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2007 in Avondale, Arizona.Image by Getty Images via DaylifeHey! Quick update. Casey Mears is coming into the media center at 10:30 a.m. here at NH. Here’s the official word on Casey (below) Much Buzz about Mark Martin being the name that slips into that ride but that is unofficial and just what I have been hearing in the garage as the guy who goes into it – I’ll keep you posted. Reality is that it’s a done deal on Casey though and Casey is out. Back to the media center deadline room just wanted to get this to you ASAP. More later from NH.

Claire B


CASEY MEARS & HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS TO PART WAYS
FOLLOWING 2008 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES SEASON

CONCORD, N.C. (June 27, 2008 ) – Hendrick Motorsports and driver Casey Mears will part ways following the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

“We’ve put a ton of emphasis on the No. 5 program,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s been a total team effort, and Casey has worked as hard as anyone to help us improve. We’ve tested more than we ever have, but the results just haven’t come.

“None of us, Casey included, have been satisfied with the situation this season. But he’s confident there are other options out there for him in 2009, and we feel like Hendrick Motorsports will have some opportunities, too.”

Mears will finish the 2008 Sprint Cup campaign in Hendrick’s No. 5 Chevrolets.

“I know the effort has been there, but we haven’t had the finishes to show for it,” Mears said. “I’ve never tested this much or put more energy into racing. But for whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to make it click. It’s certainly not for lack of dedication on anyone’s part.

“I’ll talk to people about opportunities and get my 2009 plans wrapped up soon, but I’m also focused on the next 20 races and finishing 2008 on a positive note. We ran well the second half last year, and I know we can do it again. I want to close this season the right way.”

Hendrick Motorsports will announce its 2009 plans at a later date.

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