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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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Unwritten NASCAR Rules…… September 14, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Controversy, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside.
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Claire B. Lang – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008
There are a set of unwritten rules in NASCAR – amongst the drivers and the crew members and one of them, I think, played out on Saturday after the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race as team members from two teams fought. David Starr was confronted inside his car on the grid after the race by a crew member from another team. Anyone who knows me knows how much I respect the NASCAR crew members and how much I work to tell their story as well as that of the drivers. However, I can see why Starr drew his fist and used it.

My understanding has always been that the cockpit of a guy’s race machine, car or truck, is his sanctuary and it’s his area. For another driver to come up and pull him out would be setting up for a fight – and I think all drivers would agree to that. For a crew member from another team to go to a driver’s vehicle and grab or confront him- is beyond an unwritten rule – it’s fighting time. In an argument about racing – the crew member and driver are not on the same level. It’s driver to driver and even then there are set areas of acceptable confrontation. David Starr immediately drew his fist – and used it after he was pulled from his truck angered that a crew member would pull him out of his vehicle. In the NASCAR Sprint cup garage today I talked with crew members and drivers about the unwritten rule and the above is how they saw it exactly.

Members of several teams said that they are not even to confront another driver – or ask him why he did something verbally and that the level of pulling another driver out of his vehicle would definitely result in them being fired. The team haulers of the 48 and the 18 teams are parked next to each other in the garage here. The team guys said to me that they get along really well and that if their drivers got in a fight they would not think it was their place to get involved in it…unless a driver came to their pit area- and then that is their turf. What happened violated an unwritten rule. You fight for your team – you’d do anything for your team – but a crew member does not confront a driver. It’s just not how it’s done because the argument was between two drivers. That, despite the fact that the team guys build the cars and trucks and have a lot invested themselves. So, there will be much said about this. I likened it to someone coming up to a guy in a bar and flicking his cowboy hat or baseball cap off. There’s something about that that every guy knows is so over the line that it is violating a “guy” unwritten rule.In this case the crew member violated a driver unwritten rule. He went over the line – and Starr reacted. So, does star get punished for the punch? Does the crew member get fired? “When a crew member comes to a driver and wants to fight…man that driver needs to kick the tar out of him,” Joe Nemechek told me after the drivers’ meeting. “That’s wrong, that’s the worst thing that can ever happen.”Nemechek said that additionally, “In my opinion that crew member should be fired from his team and banned from NASCAR.”

Drivers Meeting:
The drivers’ meeting was over and the prayer was said. No questions were asked but the doors were locked and no one was allowed out. We were waiting for a “special guest” who was, of course, US Senator and presidential candidate John McCain. He came into the drivers’ meeting with the media corps that follows him on the campaign trail. The media who were ushered in looked confused being in a steamy and humid drivers’ meeting garage with the drivers and crew chiefs prior to this race with McCain. McCain thanked the group in the drivers’ meeting for supporting the US Military – and the men and women who are serving…”I thank you, they thank you and God Bless America,” was the basic message McCain delivered. He received a standing ovation from those in attendance at the drivers’ meeting.

Crew Chief Handout Info from Drivers’ Meeting:

Pit Road Speed today: 45 mphCaution Car Speed: 50 mph
Pit Road Speed begins: 185 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed ends: 75 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 33.93 seconds

The race may be influenced by the weather. Let’s hope not. We’ve been soaked all morning and it’s supposed to clear up so – let’s go racing and stay racing through the completion of the entire race.

I’ll keep you posted Claire B



***REMINDER “Dialed In with Claire B Lang” will air 3-6 ET beginning Monday, Sept 15th XM Channel 148 (not 144)

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