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California and Auto Club Speedway Weekend February 18, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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Main grandstand at Auto Club Speedway
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Hey!

Before I leave for California and Auto Club Speedway (fly out at 7:30 a.m. EST Thursday) I wanted to drop you a quick note. How are all of you? I’m working through emails – I got so many after the race at Daytona. Whew…the opinionated nation is up and at it.

Here’s my personal broadcast schedule from Auto Club Speedway:
(of course I am on Wed Night (tonight) (SIRIUS NASCAR Radio – Best of SIRIUS Package on XM – Channel 128 – 7-10 EST)

Thursday: “Dialed In” 7-10 EST live from Auto Club Speedway
Friday: “Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang- End of Qualifying until 11PM EST
Saturday: “Dialed In” with Claire B Lang -2p-2:30p EST (Camping World Truck Series pre-race)
Saturday: “Dialed in” with Claire B Lang End of Camping World Truck Series race until 7PM ET, handing it off to MRN Nationwide Series coverage
Sunday: 12p-2:15p ET “Dialed In” with Claire B Lang
Sunday: 2:15p-4:15p ET (SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre-Race Show with myself and Steve Post), straight into MRN Cup Series coverage/race.
Sunday: End of Cup Series Race until 12AM ET (SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Post-Race Show)

Rain Shortened Daytona 500:
I have had so much email with folks asking me if I didn’t wish the Daytona 500 had gone to the full length before the checkered. Of course, who didn’t? Here’s my story:

I anchor the rained delay coverage for Sirius NASCAR Radio. That means that if the network (MRN) throws it back to affiliates and says they will return later – I pick up the coverage. I also am LIVE from Victory Lane once the race ends. With about 20 laps to go I walk to the MRN trailer to pick up my live gear and then head to Victory Lane.

I was between a rock and a hard place. If MRN threw it back I had to be in the studio in the media center..if the race was to be ended early I had to be in Victory Lane. I decided when the race was red flagged to go to the MRN trailer and see if I could pick up the equipment early. I was able to do that and as I was headed on the long walk from the MRN trailer (near the care center) I heard the word via a phone call from the program director that the race had been declared over.

With all the gear on in the rain I began running the long distance to Victory Lane from the MRN trailer. I wanted not to be out of breath when I got there and opened the post race show. I got there and was set to go when – my equipment did not seem to be right. Soon, a voice in my ear told me that they had forgotten to put a battery pack in my equipment so although I could hear them they would not be able to hear me.

I began running from Victory Lane back to the MRN trailer….and an engineer met me about half way and walked with me to Victory Lane to test the pack.

Good to go – I felt like I had been hit by a truck lol. I was soon caught up in the energy of the moment and as I interviewed Matt Kennseth his eyes began filling with tears and then turning red. Then, his chin began to quiver and I was like woah I’m going to remember this as one of the moments I have covered that will stick with me for a long time.

Earlier I had been at the care center when Kyle Busch came out – and as the national media waited for him to appear he flew by in a golf cart. “Look,” I told the group, “There goes Kyle.” In the blink of an eye the media group turned and jogged towards the garage where Kyle was dropped off and began walking into the garage.

He stopped for an interview and I was walking right behind him. The press of the media group against me I thought, “Good Lord, Don’t let me knock him over!” LOL.

It struck me how he talked about Brian Vickers and Dale Junior without using their names…he called them “lapped cars,” and when talking about Dale Junior did not use his name – not once even though he was angry. That sort of struck me.

I’m busy packing for the Auto Club Speedway and will have plenty of time to blog on the airplane…..so stay tuned for some inside stories.

What’s my take on the deal between Vickers and Junior? Not smart –both of them lost and someone should have backed off. It took a lot of cars out – and restrictor plate racing is a bit insane to me anyway. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy watching it cause I do. We see some pretty crazy stuff at these races. How can you judge one incident sanely and not all that have transpired over the years with the “big ones” caused by bonehead moves. It’s plain insane to me so how do you judge any of it with any sanity? Answer is I’m not sure you can. You can comment, wrangle, argue and put your two cents in but really – how crazy is talking about two guys going that fast racing that hard that close and who should have done what? Insane.

Agree or not?

For now…I’m getting the show ready – and packing.

More once I arrive in California. I’ll be blogging on the airplane so get ready.

Thanks for listening.

Claire B

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What a Wild Ride February 14, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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Jeff Gordon in August 2007 a...
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What a Wild Ride
Claire B LOG – Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Welcome to Daytona – the eve of the Daytona 500. It’s been one really busy week and I thought I’d send you a postcard from the media center. I’m on the air tonight (Saturday) from 7-10 p.m. EST – for a final recap before race day.

Story of The Day – Stewart Haas Crash in Saturday practice

Today was wild. Watching Ryan Newman spin and Tony Stewart plow into him in the final practice – the crash drew a gasp from even the hard core media. The media here in the media center, most of them, got up off their chairs and stood at the monitors , almost in disbelief that lightning could strike Newman again and that the Stewart-Haas team which has been so organized leading into this race here at Daytona. This, in the last practice before the big race.

Out to the garage we went. Newman was Newman – pleasant but as honest as the day is long, unflappable and seriously frustrated with Goodyear and he wasn’t going to back down. Tony was pleasant and business like but it was one of those interview sessions where all of us knew that if you asked a stupid or ill thought out question, get ready, cause Tony would let you know in no uncertain terms what he thought of it. Tony told everyone that he was in an understandable bad mood and he wasn’t in a good mood. I think he was letting us know that he was still boiling inside so understand that.

One reporter asked Tony “Does this tire make you concerned for your safety?” and Stewart was on the edge, saying “Get out of here!” to the reporter. He later told the reporter that he’d likely not be talking to him any time soon. Those on the PR side of the fence thought it was an incendiary question and understood why it angered Tony. To his credit -Stewart spoke at length with the media and didn’t cut it short or run off – he but his anger at Goodyear was evident in his eyes.

Stu Grant the GM of Worldwide Racing for Goodyear came into the media center……and said that Newman’s tire showed no indication of high wear —and that they looked for fender rub – there was not enough of the upper side wall to give an indication of that. In their exam Grant said that Goodyear officials found a clear puncture or hole that was the “likely” cause of the air loss in Newman’s Tire. This is not what Goodyear wanted.

Newman tells me it was not a punctured tire

Later, back in the garage, I asked Newman about the puncture comment from Grant and he said “I’m sure he would have said that yes,” I asked him if he looked at the tire and Newman said, “It came apart. I felt it coming apart before it blew up. I was running 195 miles an hour and there’s nothing you can do. I mean it’s just – it exploded. A puncture in a tire doesn’t lead it doing what it did…the rest is more than obvious.”

In his media center session I asked Grant, “Tony out in the garage pretty much said not to let him anywhere near you guys when I asked him if he was going to go chat with you. Are you going to call a little pow wow with him this afternoon?”

Grant answered, “It’s not unusual to be very upset when you go through something like that as a race driver as a race owner and certainly that’s understandable. I do want to talk with Tony and I do plan to talk to Tony. Yes, I’ll do that Claire.”

Sometimes with Goodyear and Tony it takes more than a day for them to get back together. No idea if that meeting will happen before the Daytona 500.

Gordon Works on Back Issue -Stronger in 09

Here at Daytona Jeff Gordon had said that he was working on the issue with his back that had affected him last year. I asked him about it……”You were talking about your back -did you hurt your back or are you just trying to build up the strength in it,” I asked him. I had heard some back comments last year but this one seemed more serious. Could it be that a bad back – more than just a small back problem was bothering the four time champ and affecting his driving last year?

“It’s something that’s been lingering for a while. I think it’s just years of bouncing all over race tracks going around in circles,” Gordon told me ” You know, I’m getting older and so, you know, I gotta pay attention to those things and work on them. You know especially when I get to short tracks and the road courses pushing on the break pedal is really affecting it. So, it’s something that I really noticed the last couple years but I really started working on it last year and during the off season I was really able to go to work on it and I hope it will pay off.”

Jeff Gordon’s Rabbit Foot:

John Bickford, Jeff Gordon’s step-father in victory lane after the Gatorade Duels told me with a big grin— “I asked (Jeff) if he emptied his rabbits foot box out to make it through that maize of cars and he said, “I think I got one left, I’m saving it for the 500.”

Meanwhile, Johnny Sauter, who raced on Friday the 13th in truck #13 -told me he was not superstitious. “I don’t believe in luck I don’t believe in any of that,” he told me before the Camping World Series race with a cheery disposition. “If somebody told me I had to wear a green uniform and there was peanuts all over inside my truck I’d say, Alright, let’s go race.” Sauter was out of the race caught up in an early incident not of his doing.

Luck in the 500. Oh yea..you have to have it.

Boris Said – Says We’ll Get Out of The Mess We are In:

Boris said did not make the Daytona 500. A comment he made here earlier in the weekend was worth posting in the blog, though, I think. “If you don’t think this is the best entertainment out there. If you didn’t like that Budweiser Shootout the other night. To me that was one of the most exciting races I’ve ever seen,” Said noted.

“Granted this economy is in a hole right now,” he said. ” But it’s the greatest country in America no matter who you voted for we have a new president and sooner or later we are going to get out of this mess and our country will be thriving. I’m a big believer in that. Unlike NFL which is the most popular sport in America. In NASCAR you can come here and you see the fans faces when they see Dale Earnhardt Junior and they can actually get his autograph. I have been to a football game and I have never got anywhere close to a Brett Farve or somebody to get their autograph. So I think it’s a unique sport in the fact that it is a fan friendly sport and hopefully NASCAR will still do their best to still keep it that way.
I think that’s kind of what’s grass roots about it. I see NFL and NBA players. I mean they are so sheltered and they are such babies about who they are. They don’t give back to the fans like racers do. So I think it is a good investment cause it’s good entertainment.

Shout out to Boris!

Daytona 500 Pick – Not Going to Happen:

Driver after driver this week has told us that it’s almost impossible to make a good pick for the Daytona 500. Impossible. Jeff Gordon said that anyone can win. He talked about how although Ryan Newman won the 500 last year he would never have selected Newman as a front runner before the race from racing around the team or seeing the practice sheets.

In this race you have to have help at just the right time. You ,preferably, would like a push from a teammate – and even that seems to be like two ships passing in the wind that at the right moment in time, when each driver has been patient enough to get ready to pounce and they meet at just the right moment in the race for the push to be executed.

Shut your eyes, point to the starting line up and have at it. LOL

I’ll be anchoring the pre race show tomorrow (Sunday) for the Daytona 500 and will be hosting “Dialed In” live from the media center 7-10 tonight. I’ll catch you then and will try to blog you before the start of the race Sunday.

So keep posted.

Take care, enjoy!

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Claire B Lang- Schedule for Daytona 500 Weekend-2009 February 12, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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Daytona 500
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Welcome to Daytona!

Here are the broadcast times for “Dialed In” and when I’ll be on the air with the team for pre and post race — through this Daytona 500 weekend.

“Dialed In” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio (Sirius Channel 128 – and “Best of Sirius” Upgrade on XM on Channel 128) will air the following times for the Daytona 500 weekend:

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009
“Dialed In” With Claire B Lang
7-10 p.m. EST Tonight (Thursday)

Friday, February 13, 2009
“Dialed In” -Pre Race: 7-7:30 p.m. EST Pre Camping World Truck Series Race

CBL Anchors Post Race – (completion of race until 12:00 midnight)

Saturday, February 14, 2009
“Dialed In” – 7-10 p.m. EST

Sunday – February 15th, 2009
Daytona 500 Pre Race – 11:30-1:30 p.m. EST
Post Race – Two full hours of post race programming after the race is over

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’ll be blogging more as we get started into the season. So stay tuned. I’m headed to the garage and will be back in a few minutes with more.

Stay tuned for the Gatorade Duels…..It’s going to be crazy with a lot to talk about tonight!

Claire B

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