jump to navigation

Talladega race issues November 3, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
Tags: , , , , , ,
3 comments

Hey! Today I’m busy answering emails and believe me my mail box at ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com is full of emails on all sides of the Talladega race issues. I thought you might like to see some of my emails and so I’ve posted a bunch of them along with my answers.

Let me tell you something the wrecks at Talladega sure get attention. I was at the grocery store today and at Starbucks and folks who never even watch racing knew of the wrecks. It’s kind of sad that cars flipping end over end get so much attention from folks who don’t know about our sport. But it does get the headline, the photo, the Sportscenter video replay and the conversation jazzed up.

Here’s a list of emails from my box today.

Claire B

___________________MAIL BOX__________________________________________

CBL: The the morons in the media (d cross for one) try to tell us to love Johnson…. we’ll hate him –all there is to it…We hate the points system and Johnson is a part of it…He’s only a 2 time champ in my mind.. so they don’t need push this whole making history of 4 time champ …In my world he’s going for number 3 right now and is about 80 points out of the lead..France and Johnson can kiss my…I hate what they’ve done to this sport…

Hey – I have an issue with the Minn. Vikings too cause I’m a Packer Fan – but even if you hate Johnson isn’t he just doing his job? If your favorite driver was doing same would you feel better/happy? Just asking.

CBL

______________________________

Claire,

NASCAR has put cowl flaps on the cars to keep the front end on the ground. They have put flaps on the roof so when they get sideways they will stay on the ground. So when are they going to engineer flaps on the trunk so when they get backwards they stay on the ground??

Can you ask NASCAR this question for me and let me know what they say?

I’m tired of being worried when a driver flips like Newman did thinking that a trunk flap may help a driver when they get turned backwards.

Rush Cregger
Virginia

Hey Rush: I’ll have Series Director John Darby on with me on “Dialed In” on Competition Wed on Wed. on my Sirius NASCAR Radio Show in the 7:00 EST time hour. I will ask him.Thanks Rush.
_________________________________________________

Dear Claire;
Well I thought the race was really good, ok until 5 laps to go, there was a fair amount of side by side racing and yes strategy in the middle of the race. All and all pretty good racing until the 2 terrible accidents at the very end of the day. Thank goodness no one was hurt, Ryan Newman’s wreck was just frightening, and he had several valid points about this car going airborne too often at the superspeedways. After the race I heard a few comments that maybe the wing may be part of the problem with these flipping accidents and I have to wonder if it isn’t the reason too. In Ryan’s accident it almost seemed like an invisible hand pulled the car up by the wing, also the fact that the car has higher center of gravity forces more air under the car and that higher green house makes the car less stable at the wheels. And I don’t know what can be done to change this short of a complete change to either the car or the track, and neither will happen.
For all the complaints of drivers that they didn’t like NASCAR telling them how to drive, my question is what was NASCAR supposed to do. They were facing the fall out from the final lap accident in the spring they needed to react, certainly the car kept the drivers safe but what about the fans and track workers the bottom line is that they have to keep those cars earthbound. I think we confuse drafting and bump drafting with what goes on at the superspeedways and that is slam drafting. Too many drivers are slamming into the cars ahead of them and because of the center of gravity of these cars being so much higher the cars aren’t as stable and they can be turned into traffic in a split second. NASCAR is between a rock and a hard place here; they can’t and frankly won’t make infrastructure changes to try to prevent these accidents so they have to control how the drivers run the race to attempt to circumvent the big one.
As for the drivers what a fine day for Jamie McMurray, he was good all day and won the day on fumes, and nice finish for Dale Jr.. And if anyone needed that finish it was Dale, hopefully some much needed stability on the 88 team will translate to good finished. And we now know that Jimmie Johnson will be the champion, because frankly unless he is kidnapped by Bedouin’s the 48 team will not make the mistakes necessary for another team to win the title this year. And if a team had luck it was the 48 team yesterday, the car seemed off and at times he looked like he might loose the draft but Chad made maybe the best call maybe in the chase ever. Come in for gas before they red flagged the race, it kept Jimmie out of harms way for the final restart and gave him a great finish. Conversely for my driver Jeff Gordon the decision to stay out will be the one that cost them a chance at the title. To be fair Stevie was right every time on fuel mileage races and it did make sense not to give up the track position especially since they had a serious chance to win the race. With all that I have to think Stevie may second guess himself on that decision, certainly it was clear that they would need to red flag the race to aid Ryan and you take a chance with fuel pressure after the car is shut off. Still there is a lot to race for the 24 team, get as many wins as possible and finish in 2nd place, both are very reachable goals. And for Hendrick as an organization it would be to try to get Ryan Newman up to the top 5 and have all HMS cars and Stewart-Haas Cars in the top 5.
And a couple of final notes; what an excellent finish for Chrissie Wallace 13th in her first race at Talladega, after the race her dad just beamed. After watching Chrissie’s great day I still have to wonder why we don’t see more companies using racing to attract female fans. Why aren’t Revlon or L’Oreal or Victoria’s Secret sponsoring drivers aren’t like Chrissie Wallace or Sarah Fisher in IRL or Ashley Force-Hood, heck Ashley is racing for the Funny Car Championship. What these and many other companies forget is that half of racing fans are women the person in most homes who makes the purchases for the most part. They have the chance to attract customers and do a good thing by helping more young talented women race. Because without the dollars these young drivers will never get the chance to race, just look at Chrissie’s career. I have seen her in a few races and she is very good but it will be difficult to improve when she can’t race more than a couple times of year. And I know that you don’t cover F1 much but I did watch the end of the race and the new Abu Dhabi track is spectacular especially under the lights and there was some close racing at the end. I was shocked by the new driving champion Jensen Button doing everything but spinning out cars to try to finish in second.

Thank You, Sue from Shorewood, IL
Sue: Not much was said in the media about NASCAR doing this to try to ensure the safety of some of the very fans that it upset. I don’t think anyone wanted to see anyone hurt, drivers and especially fans. If it’s not the right solution or was made to last minute, well then something else will be thought of. Elliott Saddler suggested they lock the drivers in the room and have another meeting. Seems Talladega will always be insane. It seems there is no perfect solution to cars going that fast – Thanks for the email. I’ll continue to ask NASCAR their thoughts on aftermath. CBL

_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Claire, firstly I want thank you for being the hardest working person in NASCAR radio. I truly feel you put the listeners first and appreciate your hard work. About the race…Jimmie Johnson commented this morning that Talladega is designed for speed and alluded to the potential risk as being more related to track design. I want to throw out the idea that what if the danger IS the track and, if so, all that NASCAR is doing such as the bump drafting enforcement and restrictor plates are just band-aids. Perhaps they need to drop the angles of the turns to force drivers to reduce their speeds. I know it is expensive, but what is a life worth?
On a second note, I have a big issue with NASCAR’s failed attempt at being big brother on the corner bump drafting, as evidenced by their not black flagging any driver. In football for example, a penalty is called as many times as the infraction occurs. In the race that might have been a few times per lap. If they had black flagged anyone bump drafting in a corner the whole race would have been blown. In my opinion it is an all or nothing thing. They call every single infraction or have no ethical leg to stand on if they attempt to penalize a driver.

Won’t take up too much of your time. Thank you for being so special.
John Robinson
East Hampton, CT

John you make a point – everyone has said that this is a very difficult rule to enforce and other series have not been very successful at trying to enforce it. It’s not an easy solution.CBL
_____________________________________________________________________

Hi Claire, I sat on the couch for what felt like an hour waiting for them to get Ryan out, holding my breath I want to know why the roll bar collapsed .Rantin-Ray

Me too Ray, Me too. CBL

_______________________________________________________________________

Hi Claire,

If Newmans car had been on fire we would all be having different
discussions today. To me there was not enough urgency in getting to
him and getting him out.

Rob C
St.Petersburg, Fl

Rob: It always seems like that….I mean minutes seem like hours during these situations when they are trying to get a driver out safely, but when you are on the couch it’s easy to be an arm-chair safety worker. I’m just glad that he’s ok.

Claire B

_______________________________________________________________________

Hi Claire,
Just wanted to say that I thought the race today was a total bore. I really think that the time for tracks like Talladega and Daytona have passed. NASCAR doesn’t seem to want the drivers to race at these tracks anymore so they might as well just scrap them. Also I think that Brad Keselowski is a menace on the track. He has raced in 2 plate races this year and caused big wrecks in both of them. In the spring he sends Edwards into the fence to win and today causes Kurt Busch to wreck taking out many others. Someone needs to take that boy out to the woodshed. It really sickens me and shows what a sad state NASCAR is in when someone like Brad had a solid cup ride for next year and someone like Mears might not and Stremme doesn’t.

David Romanowski
Endicott, NY

Hey David: Well Brad is a young Buck with a lot of “want to” and up on the wheel. When he mixes up with Cup drivers the end of this year and next…I am sure that he’ll learn a lot. As I’ve always said the Cup guys are a little “self policing” on aggressive young guys who come in.. He’ll learn his perfect balance and place. It will be fun to watch. Having him in the Cup Series early now this year will be fun to watch through Homestead. See – there is something to watch besides the Chase. 🙂 LOL

Claire B

_________________________________________________________________

Hi Claire B.
That was Freekin Awesome Go McMURRY AWESOME!!!!AWESOME!!!!AWESOME

Yea! I was really happy for Jamie too! And his whole team. CBL
_________________________________________________________________

GO VIKINGS LoL You need a purple Farve jersey.

Shut up!!!!! (LOL). Darn I picked that one wrong. I went with my heart on Sirius Pigskin Pickems….I went with Green Bay. All my family at home – in mourning. 🙂 Go Green Bay. CBL

_____________________________________________________________________________________

I usually like any wrangling. In this case Jimmy Johnson I do believe feels trouble in his central nervous system as well as sees the air with his central nervous system like MR. Dale Earnhardt. Folks get ready for MR. Jimmy Johnson and you soon love him like Big E. Hes not a errogant man at all. Hes smooth in public. Most of us racing degenerates are not. LoL.
Respectfully
Jeff from MN

Thanks Jeff….you can go to the K-Mart parking lot like they used to and scrap it out with the fans of other drivers in the field. Kidding. Actually – Jimmie up close is a really nice guy..but everyone has their own take based on who their driver is. I can tell you one thing..there isn’t anyone in the field who isn’t already working on beating him each race in 09 and fixing it so they can charge at him in 10. CBL
____________________________________________________________________

You’re mad that the Vikings come and brought Brett Farve by to Green Bay and they ran over your Packers. Ole’ well, remember that basically the Packers didn’t want Farve anymore. He’s still got the talent and ability and the drive to play, so get mad at your Packers for getting rid of him.
Chris in TX

Chris: Yea good point. But you didn’t convince me to drain the Green and Gold from my veins. I still was hoping GB would put him back in the box when he came into our house. I like the guy – but I still have a hard time trying to beat the Pack (and doing it LOL). 🙂 Oh that was so hard. I’m mad at everyone about that game. Claire B
____________________________________________________________________

What is all the complaining about(bitchn) !!!!!!!!! If it is no wrecks at Bristol because of the new configuration, its the cot. Can’t race with it, It’s boring !! Can you give us all a break PLEASE. I cannot believe we cannot go though 1 race without complaining. Three wide, four wide racin and you got the big one with Ryan on his head!! Excuse me !! Its Nascar IT’S racing 200 mph if you don’t like it, watch the Boston Marathon !!! Mike from St. Louis

Louis:

Louis: You make a good point. I was looking back over history to what other drivers said at the care center over the past races after crashing out at Dega to see what they said. I can recall divers slamming things after their cars got tore up in the All Star Race..but now with the economy bad and everyone so sensitive about things it really does stick out like a sore thumb. It’s tough times for everyone…making the fans happy is a priority but is there any way to make everyone happy – and keep them safe? Not sure. I am glad I am not in charge. CBL
________________________________________________________________________________________

Claire B – Ok, that was officially scary. I was really concerned that we’d lost another driver for a while there.
And sure it was a great race – if you think WWE is a great sporting event. What a fiasco.
The late David Poole argued very strongly that they ought to bulldoze those banks down and I think I may agree with him.
My .02
Brad T
MA

Hey Brad, I too was worried about Ryan. Well there have been folks on several sides of the “bulldozing” concept. It’s been talked about on SNR for hour some disagree – some agree. It was scary…you are right. CBL
________________________________________________________________________

If it weren’t for Newman’s wreck, and the one on the last lap, this would’ve been a super boring race. This race was almost as boring as most of the California races. Not that wrecks make racing exciting. However, side by side racing is exciting and Talladega and Daytona are about the only tracks you can see side by side racing at anymore. I thought that, in addition to safety, that’s what the COT was supposed to bring to the sport. The car is safe but the racing, I don’t think, is as good. If there is a lot of side by side racing they’re not showing it on TV. In which case, means the coverage is lacking.
Michael

Michael – Thanks for the email. Does that mean that you watch for the crashes? Not that that is bad just wondering. Claire B
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Another week ESPN failed to interview the top finishers. Instead they rush to give the Hendrick boy’s interviews. Maybe next week they won’t even interview the winner, if they’re not a Hendrick team.

Well – I hate that….I think there are so many stories to tell the next few races — including stories that lead into next season….and preparation and watching drivers like Joey Logano, and Brad Kezelowski, and what Dale Junior’s team does, and a whole list of other drivers. I think there are many stories beyond the chase.
Claire B
___________________________________________________________________

Just saw Newman’s wreck at Talladega. It looks like the wing on the cup cars creates lift when the car points backwards. Safety issue Nascar needs to look at????
Michael

Rockingham
Hey Michael – Jack Roush made some great roof flap comments — after the race. I will definitely ask John Darby about roof flaps on Wed during “Dialed In” and “Competition Wed” tomorrow. Roof flaps can’t possibly stop everything especially when another car is involved and helps launch the flip. Check into “Dialed In” if you can with Series Director John Darby on Wed on Sirius NASCAR Radio.CBL

______________________________________________________________________________________
All: Thanks for all the emails and while I’ve answered them quickly – I’ll talk about them in more detail on air on Wed. on “Dialed In” and further discuss. I have found the fans of this sport to be so smart and to be very critical and hold the sport up to a lot – because they have found the sport to be so special and many grew up with it. That’s ok. The more loyal that you are to a sport the more you expect from it and so it makes sense that fans would be critical and hold the sport to a lot of what they expect.

I appreciate your emails and have a whole bunch more…so back to answering them and I’ll catch you on “Dialed In”. I’m headed to Texas on Thursday morning.

Can’t wait. Love Texas, Dallas Fort Worth and Texas Motor Speedway. It’s great fun and there will be a bunch to talk about.

As always, thanks for listening and for emailing.

Claire B

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Advertisements

Welcome to Phoenix! April 17, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments
PF Chang's Signboard
Image by Alaivani via Flickr

It’s absolutely beautiful here today. Here’s my broadcast schedule for this weekend. It’s a crazy short weekend with everything scheduled so tightly and we’re all rushing from one thing to another here in the media center and garage. .

I’m on the air tonight (Friday April 17) for “Dialed In” LIVE from the media center at Phoenix from the end of Sprint Cup Qualifying (Qualifying begins at 7:00 p.m. EST) to the start of the Basha’s Supermarkets Nationwide race (coverage on MRN Radio heard on Sirius NASCAR Radio).

Tomorrow – “Dialed In” will air from 2:00 EST to the start of the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show at 4:46 p.m. EST at which time I will be in the booth and Steve Post in the garage for the pre race show. Following the Sprint Cup Series Race (Subway Fresh Fit 500) and following the race I’ll be in Victory Lane for the post race show.

Kasey Kahne – like clockwork!

I never miss a PF Changs visit near my hotel in Peoria Thursday evening near the sports complex and neither does Kasey Kahne. When I got off the air last night I stopped by PF Changs for a late dinner and, once again, there was Kasey and a group of his buddies seated at the adjacent table. It seems every year at Phoenix when I arrive at PFC – there is Kasey. The wait staff gets pretty excited because they know he will be there. A woman at the next table with a cute little toddler kept passing Kasey things to sign – the baby’s block , the babies bottle – I was waiting for them to pass the baby over for a signature. The waiter had a sharpie ready to hand to the family while Kasey ate. The young family thanked Kasey and then exited with a baby bag full of signed merchandise. Kasey, who is always great with signing for fans, was extremely accommodating, as always.

Kahne is currently 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points standings, 112 points behind fifth place Tony Stewart. He’s got an average start of 12th and an average finish of 21st here at PIR. Tonight (Friday night) Kahne will be on hand for the “Grand Opening” of PIR’s New Budweiser ROLL-BAR. Tickets to the Budweiser ROLL-BAR can be purchased on line at http://www.phoenixraceway.com or on the phone at 1-866.408.RACE).

Matt Kennseth – Doesn’t think anyone knows for sure the status of McMurray team – assumes the out team will move across the street to Yates.

Matt Kennseth is on the podium right now….talking to media here in the media center. . “I don’t know and I don’t know that anyone knows what’s going to happen or how they are going to move that team or whatever,” Kennseth is saying. “But with the Yates Racing Team being right across the street and sharing an engineering department – car builds are the same, engine departments the same you know really those guys are really two more team mates so I imagine and I don’t know I imagine that whatever team has to move out of Roush under the new four team cap that goes into affect next year…I would assume it would just go to the Yates team and it really wont change that much.”

I have to get out in the garage I’ll have more for you later.

Enjoy the day!

Claire B

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Race Day – November 9, 2008 November 9, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, In The Garage, NASCAR, Teams, Transcripts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Blog – Phoenix International Raceway
Race Day – November 9, 2008
Claire B Lang

Brian France – NASCAR Chairman and CEO Q and A with the media heart at Phoenix pre-race today:

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France came into the media center for Q and A’s this morning. We were given about a ten minute notice and told we could ask anything. The topic of conversation revolved around the economy and the stress on NASCAR with the tough economic times with the auto manufacturer’s being in dire straights.

France said NASCAR is not immune to a tough economy but the sanctioning body is working at trying to understand what the partners are going through and how it relates back to the team owners and teams.

I asked him about what Rusty Wallace said here Friday in an interview about the Nationwide car of tomorrow (COT):

Here’s what Rusty said:

Rusty Wallace: “Unfortunately I think that NASCAR is going to put a rule out that we are going to go to the (Nationwide) car of tomorrow and a lot of people will say we’re NOT going to do it. Under this economy and as hard as it is to find sponsors you simply can’t take 21 cars and throw them all away with nobody finding any sponsors. Right now is the wrong time to do that.”

CBL to Brian France: “Rusty Wallace …yesterday said he though that some Nationwide teams might refuse to run the Nationwide Car of Tomorrow or that the cost was just too much. Can you maybe talk about whether that is a reality or not and whether you intend to continue the Nationwide Car of Tomorrow program?”

Brian France answer: “Well we’re not there with deciding that the COT is going to appear in the Nationwide series. What we said is that the Nationwide series will evolve and it needs more of its own identity quite frankly. It has a new sponsor in Nationwide and we’re going to do a number of things that we need to do to keep reestablishing – it’s the number two motorsports series in the US. And I certainly heard those discussions… We do an unprecedented amount of background and working with the team owners before we make any significant moves. We’ve done that on my watch the last five years – more so than we’ve ever done. So the car of tomorrow was as an example two or three years of discussions. Mike and I both led those respectively. We met with every team owner, every crew chief, multiple engineers. We heard all the issues. We didn’t just make a decision in six months. We took a long time to do that. We got an unprecedented amount of feedback. That’s what we will do on any major initiative. The difference is we’re not going to stand up here each week and announce the progress report on that. But that is the progress report for significant rules that affect them.

France had a lot to say- mainly that NASCAR is meeting with not only the manufacturers but also the TV partners related to ad revenue and looking and continuing to look at cutting costs that might help the teams, manufacturers and partners. He said that if a manufacturer pulled out of NASCAR, which he doesn’t think will happen, the sport could survive.

Ray Evernham- What’s Next?

It is not a shocker that word is out that Ray Evernham would look at selling his share in Gillette Evernham Motorsports as he investigates where his passion for racing will take him.

I spoke with Ray this (Sunday) morning and I am including the full transcript for you. Because, unless you hear all of what he says – it might be easy to miss the point.

CBL: Ray it’s not a surprise that you are looking at these options and at pulling back:

“Quite honestly we’d been working in this direction. As I said I’m enjoying TV, I’m enjoying helping the Gillette family and it’s something that you know I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I want to slow down a lot. I’ve been having a good time with Ray Jay and doing a lot of different things. With that said I still have commitments to Gillette Everham. I am on the board – I’m still a minority owner but I’m just not as actively involved as I was. So – you know Mr. Gillette is a guy that knows how to win championships. I mean right now he owns the winningest hockey franchise in history so the best way I can assist him the way I can and kind of stay out of the way.

CBL: So what would you like fans to understand as they read about you and chat about this on the internet:

“I’ve had a great career and I really appreciate the fans and I appreciate – I have been really blessed to have been able to do everything that I’ve done in the sport. But there also comes a time – you know like as did Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace and I thought Mark Martin or Bill Elliott you know people want to walk away a little bit not totally. It’s just time for me to do that. I have had a good run but nothing lasts forever. So I would hope that people would look at me and say, ‘wow this guy has been good for the sport.’ I feel like I’ve brought a lot of innovations. I think that we did a great job bringing Dodge back when you look at overall what was going on and helped with a lot of charities, done a lot of different things and have always tried to give back to the sport. I’m going to continue to do that through the grass roots programs. I’m working with short tracks, I’m working with kids, I’m doing all those things to try and help short track racing across America. So, there’s not always some big conspiracy when somebody just wants to slow down a little bit. This has been part of a long term plan. I have said over and over again that at some point the business side of this sport was going to grow much bigger than a) either I was capable of doing or wanted to do. And I think it’s reached that right now. I think it’s going to take people that are as powerful as George Gillette, Rick Hendrick and guys like that to continue to grow it. At this point in my life right now I want to enjoy racing again. I don’t want the stress. I don’t want to have to listen to family worried about all the stuff that is being written on the internet. I’m a racer, I’ve always been a racer. I started my career as a racer and hopefully I can end it that way.

Again, I made a 10 year commitment to Dodge you know and then certainly now – next year will be the ninth year of it. But we’ve had a great run a great partnership. RIght now, the economy is making people change and do things and what not and it’s just best for me to be in a position where I can help. Because if I thought I could engineer the redesign of something of a company I would have done that but right now I’m not at that point in my life.

When will you pull out totally?
We don’t know. Right now my plan is not for me to be totally out of it for a while. It’s just a matter of how much George (Gillette) needs me to do and what exactly we are going to do.

I’ve visited a lot of short tracks. I’m looking at helping some of the diversity programs I am working with some people to do that. I’m looking at purchasing a short track in North Carolina. We’re doing a lot of different things to get back to the grass roots to see now again – you’ve gotta be able to give something back. When you look at Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and guys like that you know they are at the point in their career where they are looking at giving back. I’ve always said – I ‘ve been on the diversity council with NASCAR before and I’ve always said that I would love to be able to help where I work with people like Ingersol Rand and Stanley Tools and all those people. We’re going to be looking at doing programs around various vocational schools to get kids involved in racing. I want to have a little bit of fun and hopefully transfer some of the knowledge and give somebody the opportunity that people gave me

Everybody reaches a point where it’s time to retire you know. Whether you are at any sport – and I don’t know that I’m 100 percent at that point in my life but you know I’m 51, not 21 you know there’s a big difference.”

JACK ROUSH:
Pick your friends as carefully as you do your enemies
Which does Jack Roush like least – Toyota or Ron Hornaday? Answer Toyota

When Ron Hornaday crashed in Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race here at Phoenix Jack Roush sent some of his guys over to help repair the truck. Hornaday was really touched. “I had more tears in my eyes to see them guys working on that truck,” he said. But – why did Jack send his guys to help? Below is Roush’s answer

Jack Roush:
“Well the thing about Hornaday is that he’s Drew Blickensderfer’s father in law. And so every time Hornaday has run into one of our guys – in the truck series which has happened repeatedly Drew has paid the price. I’ve thrashed him pretty hard for it and so I felt that I owed Drew that (Friday) night since we had capacity – we had fabricators and we didn’t have anything involved in the wreck. Kevin Harvick flagged me down when he was in the Nationwide car ready to qualify and I had walked up to watch one of our guys qualify on the line before they went on pit road. He flagged me over and he wanted to thank me and he did thank me and I appreciate that. I said, ‘Don’t misunderstand, I do NOT like Ron Hornaday. I don’t want anybody to get that impression but he was definitely the lesser of the evils that I was confronted with. You need to pick your friends as carefully as you pick your enemies and I had a chance to define some space there and I think I made the right call.'”

The Politics In Racing – JGR Gibbs Racing’s #11 team:
Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin made a comment here at Phoenix as he talked with reporters about the chemistry on his race team. Interesting – read closely what he said –

Do you feel like a little shake up with the team management on the No. 11 car would give you a fresh start for 2009?
“I don’t know. I think we know what our problems are. It’s just real political in the shops. It really is. Just because we know what we want to fix within our race team, there’s other departments, there’s other heads of departments that have been there a long time that think maybe there’s a better way to do it than the way we’re doing it. It’s tough to say. A lot falls on Mike Ford’s (crew chief) shoulders to go out there and help this car perform. I think he’s done a great job of that. I’m behind him, I really think that Mike’s one of the best crew chiefs in the garage with the things he has to work with, I guess you can say. We’re trying to do everything we can and we’re not performing the way we were at the beginning of the year. The No. 18 team isn’t performing the way they were at the beginning of the year. As a team we have to get better. I think to do that we’re going to have to have everyone within that race shop be a little bit more open-minded.”

Roush Driver -Jamie McMurray Pops the Question:
“She Said Yes!”

Jamie McMurray is engaged. After qualifying second for Sunday’s race he said the week was special for another reason. In the media center he gave all the details…..

McMurray: It’s been a really exciting week for me, getting engaged – what about that? That’s pretty exciting stuff, huh? So, it’s been a fun week.” DID SHE SAY YES? “Yeah. Actually, what her words were, ‘Are you kidding? Are you serious?’ ‘Yeah, I’m serious. What are you thinking?’ So, to come here, it’s cool. Qualified second here before and on like the fifth lap I had something on the grille and had to pit, and hopefully Sunday will go better.” WHERE AND HOW DID YOU PROPOSE? “Actually, I did it at the Phoenician, at the hotel here in town. Christy and I stayed there, three and a half years I’ve known her, so every year we’ve stayed there. Did it after the race on Sunday, we got back and went and hung out and went and had dinner and went back to the room. I had it planned out, and I really didn’t get nervous, but I wanted to wait another day, and I’m, like, ‘I can’t wait another day. I’ve got to do this right now.’ It was cool. We’ve had so much fun this week. It’s exciting for me because it’s certainly a big deal to find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, but to see, Christy’s been glowing, that’s been so cool to me to see how excited that she’s been. I think she likes me.” WHAT DAY? “Monday, November 3rd.” WHAT’S CLICKED ON FOR YOU? JUST CIRCUMSTANCE? “I don’t know. I was just talking to the engineer about that in the trailer, and our cars have been very good over the last, like, three months. We’ve been a lot faster the second half of the year; things just haven’t worked out – whether you just got caught up in accidents, things have just clicked. There’s been a little more fortune on the race track. They just have made really good adjustments to my car, and I think I’ve probably been a little better driver explaining what I’m feeling. When we unloaded at Texas, you kind of know the tone of your weekend when you run your first few laps, like if it drives good we can work on this or you have weekends where you think, “We’ll never get this right,’ and at Texas we unloaded and I thought, “This is going to be tough.’ And we came into the garage and made we made a few adjustments and I pulled back out and I’m like, ‘There you go. It feels great again.’ So, they just have done a really good job of being pretty methodical on the adjustments, and they seem to work.” DID YOU GET ON A KNEE WHEN YOU PROPOSED? “Yeah, I was pretty nervous. I did. Yeah, I got on my knee. Christy and I have been together for so long that it’s weird when you’re talking to your friend. You picture that as a child, I think, doing that, and you don’t know what the person looks like, but we’re sitting there, and I’m, like, ‘Gosh, this is my best friend.’ I kind of felt corny. Do I have to get on my knee? Because I’m certainly not Romeo, by any means, you know? Not even close.”

    Drivers Meeting:

Pit Road Speed: 45 MPH
Caution Car Speed: 50 MPH
Pit Road Speed Begins: 250 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: 105 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 31.87 Seconds

Time to go out to the grid. More later – stay tuned.
.
Enjoy the day.

Claire B

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

A little more..too got not to share July 26, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Allstate 400 at The BrickyardImage via WikipediaMcMurray Claims He’s Solid
Claire B Lang – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jamie McMurray was 7th fastest in the NSCS Practice 3 here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will start 8th in Sundays Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. After Qualifying on Saturday I asked him about Jack Roush leaving his name off when listing his drivers that nobody could take from him on Friday – and other reporters joined in.

CBL: YESTERDAY JACK (ROUSH) LEFT YOUR NAME OFF A LIST OF DRIVERS THAT NOBODY COULD TAKE AWAY FROM HIM. ARE YOU THE ODD MAN OUT WHEN THEY GO TO FOUR CARS? McMurray: “I don’t know. They haven’t discussed that with me and I don’t think that’s really even been discussed. I can’t control what Jack says and sometimes Jack will go off a little bit and it maybe gets out of control, but it’s not that big of a deal. It’s been a tough season for sure and this is a performance-based business and the 26 team, if you look at the results, hasn’t been as good as the other four teams, so Jack is just kind of stating the obvious. We’ve got to get our performance better. It’s not where I want to be, the team or Roush Fenway or Crown or Irwin, whoever – we’ve got to get better. The good thing about our team is that our cars have been really fast, and I think the hardest part in this sport is to have fast cars week-in and week-out, and when happy hour has been over every week we’ve had good cars. At Sonoma, running second with a few laps to go and we got run into, and cut a tire down at Chicago. I can give you a long list of things that if it would have been just a little different, we would have had some really good finishes. So I’m optimistic with all that, so we’ll just have to move on.”

DO YOU THINK JACK WAS TRYING TO SEND A MESSAGE? McMurray: “You’re asking me to speculate and I’m not into speculating.”

ARE YOU CONFIDENT YOU’LL BE BACK AT ROUSH? McMurray: “I tell you what, if you guys want to print the truth, the truth is I’ll be there with Crown Royal. There’s not a question. It’s 100 percent. I know there’s been some reporters that have speculated again on where I’ll be and who the sponsors will be, and certainly everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I wish that for all of the media that they would just base it on facts. If they’re gonna say they have a source, then they should reveal that source, but, 100 percent, I will be here with Crown and with Irwin and at Roush Fenway.”

CBL: WHAT ABOUT THE RUMORS OF YOU AND THE FOURTH CAR AT CHILDRESS? McMurray: “There’s no truth to that. Richard is looking for a driver and I’m somewhat flattered to have my name on a list that another owner would want you, but I will be in this car and not at Richard Childress Racing.”

McMurray continues to insist that he’s secure – even saying he’s 100% sure he is coming back next year. Jack was clear that the performance of McMurray has not delivered – but stopped short of saying that the team would be dropped or that :McMurray would be gone.

Jack Roush: “Jamie is important to me but today you know Jamie is not the driver that has been productive to the extent the other four are. I certainly expected and expect great things from Jamie but the productivity has not been there at this point.

Reporter: If you have to go down to four teams is that the team that could be going somewhere else?

Jack Roush: “It really has more to do with the sponsorship relationship than the driver but one of the reasons that I fostered the relationship I’ve got with Max and with Doug (Yates) is to be able to have a place to put a sponsor. We do help them sell their sponsorships – we do help them with their marketing programs – we do all the engineering- we do build all their cars so it’s a closely affiliated relationship that maintains the covenant , the barriers that NASCAR wants to put up for competitive considerations but it has not been determined that the 26 program or the Crown Royal will go. I’ve got two more years, I’ve got the rest of 2008 and 2009 to sort that out.

This story is one that continues to be discussed by media here in the deadline room. Watch McMurray’s team bust off a solid performance this weekend in the Allstate 400.

I’ll keep you posted on what is happening here.

Claire B

Zemanta Pixie

SATURDAY INDY BLOG July 26, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Two drivers have ...Image via WikipediaClaire B.log – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
July 26, 2008

It’s been too long since I’ve written and I’m sorry I’ve been on the run. I’ve been on the road trip of a lifetime back to the midwest broadcasting from Chicago to Wisconsin, seeing family, and then off to Indy.

Friday at Indy was insane – there were so many interesting stories developing. Tony Stewart’s news conference across the street from the track kicked off the day and the action didn’t stop for a second until air time. Between Rusty saying that Ryan Newman was fired by Roger Penske to Ryan denying it strongly to Jack Roush omitting Jamie McMurray’s name when mentioning the drivers who were secure with him – well it was a wild day.

I’m here in the media center now overlooking the track and I’m about to head down to pit road for qualifying – I will have more for you when that gets done but I wanted to write a few things before I headed down to the grid.

Everyone’s talking about what Mark Martin said about racing here. Was it a guarantee of a win here at Indy this weekend or just confidence. Here’s the Mark Martin quote:

“I’m planning on winning the Brickyard in the 8 car. We’ve got the stuff, we’ve got the team, the cars are awesome on the flat tracks – Phoenix and Richmond and I have never planned on anything any more than my plan is for the Brickyard. That’s the crown jewel and if you look at how that car ran at Phoenix – I believe that we can adapt that set up to work there and make that — ah the team is strong enough on pit road and Tony Gibson and those guys who work on that car are due a win. You know they got several disappointments last year when they had great race cars and had failures and what have you. Nothing would make me happier than to see their face in victory lane.”

Anyone who knows Mark Martin knows that is quite the statement. But later – yesterday when asked about his statement (above) – Mark Martin said this:

MARK MARTIN: I’m not sure I said exactly what you guys take and run with. I’m not sure I did a Mohammed Ali. You know, I do feel very confident that we’ll have a car here that will be strong enough to be a contender to win this race. I might say that every week – maybe. But, you know, believing it deep down inside I usually know that’s a bigger challenge than it might be here this week.

I believe that you can run the same stuff here that you can run at Phoenix. And I believe that we had the fastest car on the racetrack at Phoenix. It’s that simple.

My translation is that while Mark is confident – his first statement earlier was not a guarantee of a win – which some of the headlines read his statement as saying. It was just confidence in his team and his car and a strong desire to turn that into a win.

Kevin Harvick had a few interesting comments yesterday. I laughed loud when he answered a reporter asking him about the excitement of racing here at Indy. LOL:

Reporter: DO YOU AGREE WITH ALL THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN AND SAID ABOUT THE RACING NOT BEING AS EXCITING AS IN THE PAST WITH THIS NEW CAR AND WON’T ALLOW FOR ANY SIDE-BY-SIDE RACING HERE AT IMS? Kevin Harvick: “That is why I don’t read anything you guys write or talk about. (LAUGHS) I try not to pay attention to people who don’t necessarily understand how our sport works. I think the races have been as good as races as we have had in a long time at Daytona, Chicago. I think in the garage, everybody is getting a better handle on the car. I don’t there has ever been any side-by-side racing here. The opinions come from a lot of people who really don’t understand the sport. Unfortunately, some of our amateur fans that haven’t attended a lot of races, have to the read that stuff and get kind of a false opinion of what they should expect when they come to this particular race track. This track promotes single-file racing, not necessarily this car. You can take an Indy car, you can take a stock car and you are not going to run side-by-side. If you want to blame something for single file racing, I would blame it on the track and not the car

And KH’s answer on a question about the engine modifications in the Nationwide series:

Reporter: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE ENGINE RULE CHANGE MADE IN NATIONWIDE SERIES? Kevin Harvick: “When is the Truck Series rule coming? (LAUGHS) If you look at most of the engine stuff that they have from all the other types of race tracks, I think, it is pretty evident that the No. 18 was on the chip and doing a lot of things after the race that probably affected those chassis dyno numbers and the No. 20 car went high right off the bat so I think they did the right

Clint Boyer had an interesting note as well – his about how they have been running about him being in the rumor mill and his being discovered by Richard Childress:

Reporter: EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT HOW YOU GOT YOUR BIG BREAK IN THIS SPORT, RC (RICHARD CHILDRESS) WATCHING THE ARCA RACE AND EVERYTHING. GIVING THERE’S NO SCOUTING, NOTHING LIKE WE SEE IN THE NFL, HOW MUCH OF MAKING IT IS TIMING AND LUCK AND JUST BEING IN THE RIGHT PLACE? Clint Bowyer: “It is a lot timing and luck. You only get one shot at it unfortunately. I’ve seen a lot of guys get an opportunity that I thought they’re going to set the world on fire and for whatever reason didn’t rise to the occasion and racing late models or dirt cars whatever their background was they were the heat. Then it got to that opportunity to where maybe it wasn’t the right opportunity. Things went wrong. It’s seems like if you’re not running good in those first couple of races you’re pushed by the wayside pretty quick. It’s unfortunate. Sometimes guys come in so far behind in experience they don’t even get a chance to showcase their talent. Unfortunate but it is a very competitive, very close form of racing in any sport. It’s hard to get inside and then we get so much experience, so much seat time inside the car with testing, practice, racing Nationwide, racing cup you’re just in the car so much a new kid that grew up racing late models, it’s hard for him to catch up to that.”

YOU ARE 13TH RIGHT NOW, BAD LUCK IT SEEMS, ARE YOU HURTING REALLY?
Clint Boyer: “We’re not running well. We took a step backwards. We really did. We started out this season with seven straight top-10’s, more than anybody at the time. We won at Richmond and then the bottom fell out. The short tracks have been well for us. We’re running good. It’s the 1.5-mile tracks that have really, really been the dagger right now and we’re trying to figure it out. We’re working harder than we ever have testing. We don’t have the answer right now. It doesn’t fall in your lap. It’s due to hard work, what got us here and the hard work is going to get us out of this slump. It’s definitely crunch time, we’ve got to get going. Top-10’s are what will put you there, but we need to start running in the top five and contending for wins. At the beginning of the season I was happy with the way that my team was running. We’ve answered the call and been doing the things that we need to do to get things turned around.”

THE 07 HAS BEEN IN THE MEDIA RUMOR MILL FOR MONTHS, DOES THAT CAUSE A DISTRACTION FOR YOUR TEAM? Clint Boyer“Richard and I were talking about that. It doesn’t help anything. When everybody’s wondering is the driver going to be there and whatever else and we got that taken care of. I think it can hurt you a little bit but that doesn’t make the car handle better. Still things have got to work, the car has to handle and you got to do your job inside the race car. It’s not like I’m a distraction, I forgot how to drive. It’s an unfortunate deal that we all have to go through. It’s uncomfortable. Nobody likes going through that especially the people that have given you everything, given you the life and everything else. They are uncomfortable times and things I don’t like to go through. Thank God you only have to do it every three years or so. I really enjoy this sport. I enjoy the challenge. It doesn’t matter what kind of racing it is at what level there’s always challenges. The challenge has presented itself, now we’ve got to answer the call.”

I I didn’t have time to tell you much about the Aflac news conference regarding sponsorship of Carl Edwards. Aflac will be the primary sponsor for his car and Aflac will sell the primary spot out for a number of the races but will still have presence on the car.

In the question and answer session – Carl enjoyed cutting up about driving with a Duck on his car – and Edwards answered a question about making the Aflac commercial:

“I can’t tell all the secrets to it but it’s amazing how they make the duck do all that stuff. It’s hard to get a duck to talk and to scream and to look at Jamie when we go by him in the car. You know the driving part is tough for him cause he doesn’t have thumbs and that’s kind of the thing that helps…… It really was pretty neat. We had a really good time.”

In the move “Stroker Ace” the driver was sponsored by a chicken company and had to wear a chicken suit. A reporter asked if Edwards would ever be seen in a commercial wearing a duck suit. Here’s what Carl said:

“That was Clyde Torkle’s Chicken Pit and Aflac’s been much better than he has been. We actually talked about that last night. There’s a lot of potential for that Carl in a duck suit commercial but I don’t know don’t give him any ideas. That was a pretty fun part of that movie yea!”

Carl helped design the look of his new Aflac race car….something that was new for him and he was asked about what that experience was like:

“We just talked about it. The way it usually works is they say -hey here’s our paint scheme here’s what we’re thinking about doing. Everybody looked at it – everybody from Bob (Osborne) to the crew guys to Randy (Pr person) to my assistant Angela. Everybody just looked at it and said hey here’s what we think and then we got with Paul and all the guys and everybody just said hey we want it to have this color this aspect and then they came up with a bunch of designs and it kind of became a pretty cool process but it wasn’t a plan where we set out like hey said hey here’s how we’re going to figure it out. Everybody just kind of tried different things.”

That is it for now. I’ll be back with you but am headed to Gasoline Ally and see what I can find out down there. Then, to the grid for qualifying.

Hope all is well were you are at.

Enjoy the morning!

Claire B
XM Satellite Radio

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Zemanta Pixie