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PENALTY TALK September 24, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season, Teams, Trackside.
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Clint Bowyer
Image by TheGeekiestMark via Flickr

The aftermath of the RCR New Hampshire Sprint Cup Series #33 Penalty – Reaction here at Dover!

As you can imagine the discussion here at Dover with many of the drivers and crew chiefs is about the severe penalty  for the #33 after New Hampshire. Below is what Clint Bowyer had to say about the matter this morning here at Dover in the deadline media room in the media center. Also listed below are comments from Jeff Gordon

Clint Bowyer (Media Center Appearance at Dover International Speedway)

TALK ABOUT YOUR WEEK

“You always want to win races. You’re very proud to win races and I’m still proud of that win. I don’t believe that we did anything wrong. I guess I’ll go on record and say that, first and foremost, in my opinion. I want my fans to know that. There is a lot of integrity that goes into this sport. I’m damn proud of being a part of this sport. I love this sport and I wouldn’t cheat to win a race in this sport. We have a lot more integrity for myself and our race team at RCR. Hopefully I only have to do this once. I woke up about 6 o’clock this morning, which is uncharacteristic for me. I just grabbed a notebook and wanted to make some notes. You know, for myself and for you guys. I know a lot of you guys have a lot of questions; trust me; there are a hell of a lot of questions that I have too. And I’m going to go through them. I like to have facts when something like this comes down. I’ve got a timeline of facts.

“I’m going to start with number one: We were warned after Richmond that the car was too close to tolerances. Number two: We were told by NASCAR they were taking the car after New Hampshire, no matter what; first or 43rd. Number three: The car passed pre and post-race inspections at the race track. Number four: Monday, the rumors started about all this and in my opinion, forced NASCAR’s hand to do something about it. Number five: Wednesday came and it was a 150-point fine. And the sixth thing, and at least an answer, you know, I’m looking for answers too. There are several things but one of them is a two-ton wrecker pushed me to victory lane.

“I’m going to elaborate on them. I think the first one (is) we were warned that both sides of the car were high after Richmond. Both sides. After the race in New Hampshire, after it got back to the Tech Center or whatever they call that place, just the left side was high. I think this shows that we definitely had it fixed; something within that race happened.

“Number two: after being told that they were taking the car, we made double-sure before it went to New Hampshire that that car was right. Who in their right mind, knowing that they’re going to take that car, wouldn’t have made triple sure that thing was right before it went to the race track? I could have hit the wall doing a burnout, I could have done a lot of things that other drivers have done and that other teams have done in a post-race celebration this year. I didn’t. We didn’t want to push that in NASCAR’s face. We appreciated them warning us on the fact and we tried to fix the situation. They told us about that situation Wednesday. Wednesday the car leaves. We had about two hours to jump on that car and make sure that thing was right.

“And number three:  The car passed pre and post-race inspection, and three days later get such a huge fine? They take the car apart, completely apart to measure this thing and in my opinion that’s not the way the car was raced on the race track. I think that’s something to be said.

“Number four: Once the rumors started it wasn’t long before the penalty. I think NASCAR has a lot of problems with a lot of cars on the race track being out of the box and I think they needed to set an example with something.

“Number five: I don’t think the penalty fits the crime. Sixty-thousandths of an inch, folks. Grab a quarter out of your pocket (holds up a quarter). That’s sixty-five thousandths of an inch thick. Less than the thickness of that quarter right there resulted in a 150-point fine. Before or after this, grab that and ask yourself if that was a performance-enhancing thing right there.

“And the last thing, my question is, is it possible that a two-ton wrecker could bend the quarter panel of this thing sixty thousandths of an inch? You have to ask yourself that. I got hit during the race, turned a couple of times; racing is tough. Now if this thing was knocked out a half of an inch, I could see something being made. But if it passed the height sticks afterwards, the very height sticks the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) did not pass, then miraculously enough when that same pit crew pushed it back around after 20 minutes it passed, that was pretty amazing. You know it passed those same sticks.

“And, you know, my dad owns a towing business and has since I was born in 1979. I know a little something about wreckers. About 15 years ago they took them push bumpers off the front of them for this very reason. I remember back when people used to come (during) a snow storm and (say) please, push me out of the snow bank. You push them out of the snow bank and two days later they’d show up with a body shop bill in their hand, wanting you to pay the body shop bill for the damage you did to the back of their car. This could happen. That’s the only question I had for you guys (media) is to ask yourselves if it is possible for that to happen. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

YOU SAID YOU FELT LIKE NASCAR’S HAND WAS FORCED BY THE RUMORS THAT STARTED TO FLOW MONDAY MORNING. DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN THE PENALTY HAD THOSE RUMORS NOT COME OUT? THOSE RUMORS COMING FROM AN INSPECTION AT THE R&D CENTER, WHERE DO YOU THINK THOSE RUMORS BEGAN AND HOW DID THEY GET OUT AND ARE YOU ANGRY ABOUT THAT?

“I’m angry about the whole thing. This tarnished my win. It’s something you’re very proud of. I’m very angry about it. I’m angry for my fans for our sponsors. I’m angry about it. I think that there are a lot of things a lot of people don’t know about, media included, and I don’t understand it about as much as you do. So I found myself all week, instead of celebrating a win, trying to figure out what the hell they were talking about. The rumors, in my opinion, I truly believe that these rumors forced their hand in making a decision.

YOU SAID YOU THINK NASCAR HAS A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH A LOT OF CARS BEING OUT OF THE BOX. WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE CARS ARE ILLEGAL EACH WEEKEND? HOW DO YOU RESOLVE THAT ISSUE?

“I think NASCAR does a great job of policing and maintaining common ground. Look at the racing.

”Now last year and the last two years, when an organization was as dominant as they were, do you think they had something up on the competition? This year it’s as close as it’s ever been. I think it’s pretty damn good racing on the race track. I think it’s the best as we’ve had since this car was put into inception. So, I think they do do a good job. I respect the fact that what they have to look at each and every week. My personal opinion, I don’t like the R&D Center. I think what you bring to the race track is what they inspect. And, you know? Three days later the car the car (is) completely taken apart from something that you haven’t even raced. I mean it’s a completely different vehicle, you know? You take the suspension off the thing; these are all components that bolt on. It ain’t a decal you took off. These things are bolted on and could interrupt the way the car is measured. How can that possibly be kept in the same box?

“So I think there is a lot of cars that are close to being on the out of the box side. I think that’s what crew members and crew chiefs are paid to do and you know, yeah; I do think there are a lot of cars that are very close. I think they do a good job. I appreciated the fact that they warned us, you know? That’s why we tried to fix the thing. That’s why we did fix the thing before it went to New Hampshire so this wouldn’t happen. Not to rub it in their face and say well you know what you’re talking about, we’re going to continue to do this and don’t think you’re going to do anything about it. I mean you’ve got to appreciate this sport and respect the sport and we darn sure did and it bit us in the rear for it.”

THAT WIN HAD BEEN A LONG-TIME COMING FOR YOUR SPONSOR, CAN YOU JUST TALK ABOUT THEIR REACTION AND HOW MUCH OF A CONCERN THAT IS? “I hope they are happy. Like I said, if of any of you guys, or anybody else, think I won that race because not the quarter panels are high; not because the splitter is this much higher; because of some measurement that nobody even understands in this room or watching on TV, if that won me that race, I would gladly give it back to them. We won that race on fuel mileage is what it ended up being. If you want to start looking at something, look at our fuel cell. How could the quarter panels have won that race? I’m proud of that win. I am proud of giving General Mills their first win in this sport. They’ve sponsored this sport for a long time and that was a good win for all of us.”

WAS ANYONE WITH RCR ALLOWED TO GO TO THE TECH CENTER AND WITNESS THE INSPECTION EARLIER THIS WEEK? ALSO, HAS THERE BEEN ANY DIALOGUE AND WHAT HAS THAT BEEN LIKE WITH NASCAR OVER THE CONTENTION THAT THE TOW TRUCK PUSH ACTUALLY CAUSED THIS INFRACTION? “They do call you down there. At what point in the inspection do they call you down, who knows. Had they looked at the car before? Probably. That is the thing about the R & D center that I don’t like. It’s, it’s…who knows. You don’t know. To answer that question, I don’t have a clue. They were down there at one part of the inspection. I don’t know if it was the part that mattered or not. I do know, one other fact, the left rear quarter panel was split. The bumper cover from the quarter panel, the rivets were pulled out of it and the rear quarter panel was kinked. You know. We have a picture of that. I know that if it was hit hard enough to have split that…like I’m saying, it wasn’t a half of an inch. You are talking less than the thickness of that quarter right there. Could it have moved it that much? I would say that was my only explanation of the whole mess.”

ON THE DIALOGUE WITH RCR AND NASCAR OF THE TOW TRUCK DOING THE DAMAGE: “IN OTHER SITUATIONS LIKE THESE, WE HAVE SEEN DRIVERS GO THE PC ROUTE, NOT REALLY GO ON THE DEFENSIVE. WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO MAKE A STAND? “Because I feel like we were warned. We were told they were going to take the car. We had no reason to take that thing there out of the box. We knew they were taking that car and we knew that was our good shot at winning the race and it didn’t matter whether we finished 43rd or won. They were going to take that car and they were going to look at it. And after being warned, if it was out of the box again, they were going to penalize us. They already told us that. Why in the hell would you take a car to the race track knowing that they are going to take the car and they are going to penalize you if it is out of the box?

“We fixed the problem and that is the only reason I am defensive about this. Richard grabbed everybody, I’m telling you it was an ugly meeting after that warning. This isn’t something that was taken lightly. He took everybody involved with that thing from the fabrication shop to me to Mike Dillon…everybody. Scott Miller, crew chief and it was a butt-chewing and it was a make sure, make damn sure that car passes tech when we go. I’m telling you, everybody did that. That is why I am defensive.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THE DOVER CAR THIS WEEKEND DID YOU TAKE IT TO R & D TO MAKE SURE IT WAS OK? “Good gawd, I’m talking about last week. It is hard to even focus on this week. That is what sucks. We are riding a momentum wave, huge boost of confidence over the last month and we get to Dover and all this mess. This is a good race track for me. Won two Nationwide races here and love this race track. I think we can win again. I sure hope so. I can’t wait to be back in this very room talking about ‘wonder if this thing is illegal?’. I bet not.”

DO YOU KNOW IF THE CAR’S ALREADY BEEN?

“I just answered that. I don’t know.”

DOES APPEALING THE PENALTY TAKE ENERGY FROM RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING RIGHT NOW? DOES THAT PULL CHAMPIONSHIP EFFORT THAT NEEDS TO BE MOUNTED WITH ALL FORCES?

“You know, it could. And that’s where all the frustration is. I apologize for coming in here and being stern. This isn’t me. This is completely out of character for me. I don’t like being in this situation. But if it paints you into the corner you’ve got to be able to react to it. Does it take away? I’m sure it does. I apologize to Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton and everybody at RCR for that very reason. This is something that shouldn’t have happened; something that’s completely complicated. I think there is about probably 80 percent of the people in the media and everywhere else that don’t understand what the infraction even was.”

JEFF GORDON:

GIVEN WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NO. 33, CLINT BOWYER AND THAT TEAM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, DOES THAT PUT YOUR TEAM IN ANY HEIGHTENED AWARENESS OR HEIGHTENED SECURITY TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS BUTTONED UP? “You have to remember, we have experienced what they have gone through in the past. So, we kind of feel like we were the first ones that were made aware of how tight the tolerances are and I’m not exactly sure of what are all the details of what went on there. I know there is an appeal. Because of we’ve been through this, we already are aware that this can happened to any of us at any time and that you really have to build the best race cars you possibly can but they have to be able to go to that (NASCAR) Tech Center and come back to your shop without the phone call from NASCAR.”

IF A CAR PASSES HERE ON SUNDAY, DO YOU THINK THERE ARE OTHER CARS HERE IN THE GARAGE THAT ARE PROBABLY ILLEGAL AND DO YOU THINK THAT DURING THE CHASE, ALL 12 CHASE CARS SHOULD GO TO THE NASCAR TECH CENTER? “I really wish that I had Steve Letarte (crew chief) up here to answer that question because he knows so many more details about the processes, how close those tolerances are. And that is the difference. Here at the track, the tolerances they can only get so close. When they go to the NASCAR Tech Center, they are checking it with lasers. I think that is when they can really get into the details of everything that is going on with those cars. All I can tell you is that since they started that process, it’s made it a whole different ballgame and a whole different process of inspection and how you build your cars. These days for us, we can run a car and we basically have to rebuild the sheet metal on that car just from a race without ever touching a wall. Without ever being hit by the two truck, anything. The body flexes and moves just from the banking or just from the torque, all those things. So, it’s tough for certain areas of the car to meet those tolerances just after a race. I think what I see with this situation, I guess there was something that they noticed after Richmond and so they focused on that area. If you notice, these cars now-days, they are going down the straightaways sideways. We have obviously learned that putting a lot of side force and twisting, we used to twist the bodies, now we are trying to run the car sideways through the toe of the rear-end housing; how we setup the straight line from front to back to basically run the body sideways on the car and that is all legal. We have all figured out how to do that within the rules. Because you realize that is helping the car, then you want to push everything maxed out to figure out how to get more side-force, more down-force. So, there is no doubt that is going to push everybody in the garage area to try to find out where that limit is. I’m not sure if that is what happened with the No. 33. I really don’t want to speculate. There is no doubt that this is racing and teams are always trying to find an edge. I wouldn’t be surprised I if…they don’t take ever car every weekend. It is hard to say how many would pass and how many would fail.”

THE PRECEDENT WAS SET YEARS AGO THAT THEY DON’T TAKE WINS AWAY. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY THAT IS AND DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS A GOOD REASON FOR THAT IN CASES SUCH AS THIS? “I’m sure there is a good reason. I don’t know what it is though. I’m not really sure. In my opinion, taking points away, might as well take the win away. I don’t know if I have ever asked that question before to be honest with you. I try to stay pretty clear of any discussion that have to do with points, fines, wins taken away. Those are usually not conversations I have with them.”

DO YOU AGREE THAT A WIN SHOULD STAND IN A CASE LIKE THIS? “There is still an appeal process going on. I think at this point, who knows what is going to happen. But, I don’t know. I have just felt like this is the process that we go through. This is what we know goes on in our sport and that is just the way they do it. Do I agree with it or disagree with it? Gosh, I mean I don’t know. I really don’t know. I would have to think about it a little bit more. Like I said, in my opinion, they’ve already taken the win away. I’m sure if you ask Clint, he would probably say ‘Might as well’ because the penalty is certainly very extreme. I don’t know. It seems like to me like there at least should be an asterisk next to the win.”

OTHER TOPICS:
THE DIFFERENCE -CONCRETE TRACK

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 DELPHI/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET: The good thing about a concrete track like Dover is that we’re not out chasing the track due to temperature changes. That just doesn’t affect concrete like it does on asphalt. The big challenges are where the rubber builds up on the racetrack and the joints where the concrete was poured. Dover is really bumpy. We tend to fight making the car run well over those bumps more than we fight the simple fact that it’s concrete

THE GAME PLAN (KYLE BUSCH)

Kyle Busch has two Sprint Cup wins at Dover. What is his game plan this weekend? Kyle Busch (Driver of the #18) “Our game plan is to try to repeat what we did in the spring. Obviously, we had a good race going. We qualified well. We raced well all through the event. Toward the end of the race, it came down to the final pit stop between Jimmie (Johnson) and myself and we were able to get out of there smoothly and cleanly. Jimmie didn’t. He got caught speeding on pit road. We’ll just go back there with our Interstate Batteries Camry and try to make the most of the event and the weekend and get a good, strong finish and keep our momentum rolling here and try to get through the final 10 races strong in order to get a shot at the championship come Homestead.

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48 Team Post Texas Motor Speedway Crash “Let’s Build Something Together” November 8, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside.
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6 comments

Dallas/Fort Worth 11/08/09 – Claire B Lang 5:48 p.m. EST Sunday

As the Lowe’s team lifted the cover on the #48 team’s crash cart to begin work on Johnson’s destroyed race car – I noticed the Lowe’s logo and the slogan printed adjacent to it in large white letters, “Let’s Build Something Together.” That is exactly what the Chad Knaus (crew chief) and Ron Malec (car chief) led race team did – they rebuilt the 48 car after a second lap crash not of their driver’s making.

As I watched the Lowe’s team work on their race car, I was expecting Johnson to jump out and grab a wrench and Chad for to ask him ( as he does in the Kobalt tools commercial), “What are you doing Jimmie?” And Johnson would reply, “I’m helping fix the car Chad.” But Johnson stayed right were Knaus wanted him -inside the car ready to pilot it back out when the time was right, because Knaus had supreme confidence that this car was returning to the race track.

The team replaced the rear end housing, drive shaft, rear deck lid, mounts, front end, welded the chassis and the list goes on and on. It’s easier to list what this team did not do to their race car. Watching this team work exemplifies what makes the 48 guys so good.

It’s as if they had rehearsed this scenereo to perfection. There were some 15 Lowes guys working in sync, without speaking, on the points-leading race car while three NASCAR officials looked on. Knaus, as always, carried himself like the team owner, keeping calm and overseeing a major reconstruction project.

Twenty five media folks, local, national, print, broadcast, all standing around watching the one hour plus repairs on Johnson’s ride in the garage here at Texas Motor Speedway. Their comments initially ranged from, “He needs to man up and get out of the car and talk,” to “This is so smooth it’s like watching doctors work in the ER,” to “They’ll never get this car back out there,” to “that’s incredible.” Most of the comments were about how this team went to work, didn’t show even so much as a frown or a facial expression of any kind, any of them, and, like machines, went to work to get the car back on the race track.

There was Chad Knaus pounding sheet metal to bend it using the side of the garage stall’s concrete wall to bend the piece. They were welding, pounding, fitting, inspecting, and screwing metal, hoses, tape and wiring. They carefully used a broom under the car several times to clear the way for the tires as they prepared to pull out of the garage and at one point welded near the gas tank and a fire extinguisher and safety tarp were brought over.

Three times, they’d get close to being ready to take the car out and Chad or one of the officials would see something that needed attention. So, once again without expression, the appropriate member of the team, or Chad or Ron would move in and finesse the area one more time.

Chad would feel around the spoiler, or a rim or area he was concerned about and the team would watch him like a hawk, instinct telling them what they needed to do next. Watching this team work on their car –one just knows that most of these guys know this race car better than they know their girlfriends, wives and family members.

As the car pulled out to return to the track, I watched the members of the 48 machine run out like a football team chasing on to the field to return to the pits. Leading those running out of the garage towards the gate that leads onto pit road was car chief Ron Malec and, as he ran, he turned around quickly once and look back over his shoulder at the team guys running behind him. His face lined with grease and sweat, he gave them a thankful and confident warm smile, in a trademark 48 calm and focused way – he did so faintly but I’m sure they picked up on it because I did.

And on the 48 went to take, once again, the field of battle in a car many thought would never make it back on this race track today.

Over the years I’ve covered this sport I’ve seen many teams make incredible repairs to race cars that we thought would never make it back out onto the race track- so this is not a first.

It was something to watch though.

They made it seem easy.

Talladega race issues November 3, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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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

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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

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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
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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

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

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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

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NASCAR Holidays December 8, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Claire B's Mail, Fun Stuff, NASCAR, Off Season Fun.
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NASCARXMASTREE2008-3

Greetings from my house in Charlotte, NC everyone!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I wanted to touch base with you all today and, as promised, I will definitely keep you posted through the holidays with specific plans for the “Dialed In” show on Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 128 (starting in 2009) and new schedule information very soon.

I’ve gotten a large number of emails about where I am at today on the dial. Thanks to all of you who had a scavenger hunt to find the show over the last months on various channels. I hope you enjoyed the “Dialed In” coverage in New York city on Sirius NASCAR Radio. I hope I made you proud. I am still unpacking from the trip and getting things back in order today and I am taking some time off post season (I am not on the radio this week) as I take some down time (vacation) to just rest up and prepare for some really exciting broadcast plans being put together for 2009.

I’m interested in what you thought of the banquet. Word on the street and amongst the reporters who were there -even the curmudgeons- was that it was better than last season with the drivers being unscripted (they were told by NASCAR to just make bullet points – no formal speeches). I though the surprise visit to the stage by Cale Yarborough to present his championship ring was a great touch. Cale was actually sitting at a table on the other side of the room from Jimmie during the dinner but no one noticed -and Jimmie had no idea. The surprise was so worth it. Also, how about Tom Cruise being at the Hendrick table, a guest of Mr. Hendricks? On the dance floor later I chatted with the guys from Matchbox 20 – totally down to earth. I also hung out with some of the guys from the 48 team who owned the celebration – and it was a fun night/early morning. Got to bed close to 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Let me know what you thought of the banquet and I’ll post it tomorrow. ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com

Melissa sent me this photo (above). She’s been a huge fan of Jeff Gordons and has been following him on a regular basis since 2002. When she first saw stores carrying Nascar Christmas Ornaments she had to have them! She decided to make a tree of Jeff or Nascar ornaments which also has a couple of Jimmie ornaments (and her most recent purchase of her other favorite driver KYLE BUSCH) on it. She says her ornaments have come from Lowes, Target, Walmart, Kmart. She shopped for them the day after Thanksgiving to let all her friends & family know which ones she wanted & where to get them. If you know anyone who has a similar tree for Christmas send the photo along I’d like to post it.

I am headed over to get my mail which has been held for a week- and just really taking some time to get everything back in order after having been gone most of the year.

I will still post news here on ClaireBLang.com so if you check here you can get the latest and this is the best place to keep updated on the show and developments with a firm schedule and about you, the listeners.

Anyone got a tree that rivals Melissas? I’d like to see it.

I’ll have more time to post the next couple of days while I’m off so stay tuned for that and more news on this site.

Thanks for your support, your loyalty and your friendship in 2008. You all mean a great deal to me and I appreciate it.

Claire B

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Greetings from the Big Apple! December 2, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, My Show, NASCAR, Teams.
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Hey all! Greetings from the Big Apple!

I’m blogging you from the Sports Business Journal Motorsports Marketing Forum at the Westin Hotel at Times Square.

Tonight I will be broadcasting (Sirius NASCAR Radio and BEST OF Sirius on XM) Channel 128 LIVE from the Sirius studios in Manhattan – from 8-11 EST. I’ll have a recap of the day here in New York City and I hope you can hang out.

Last night on “Dialed In” (Sirius NASCAR Radio) I told you all that the media have been asked to rank the competition stories from 2008. Several of you called in and asked if I could put the list on the blog so that you could help rank them in order of importance in your mind. Here’s the list (below).

Listed in no particular order are the nominees for the top stories of the 2008 NASCAR season. The media members have been asked to rank all 17 moments in order. What do you think?

• Jimmie Johnson wins his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, becoming only the second driver in history to accomplish the feat. Johnson’s championship performance is highlighted by his strong showing in the Chase, as he posts three wins, eight top 10s, six top fives and an Average Finish of 5.7.

• The new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car concludes it transition year and is raced the entire season.

• Kyle Busch excels in all three national series, winning a combined 21 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

• Tony Stewart announces he’s leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to become owner/driver of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. Stewart won two NASCAR Sprint Cup championships during his 10-year tenure with JGR.

• Carl Edwards wins a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series-high nine races and finishes runner-up in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series.

• Johnny Benson edges Ron Hornaday Jr. to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship in the second closest points battle in that series’ history. Benson joins Greg Biffle as the only other driver to win both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series titles during their careers.

• In his first season driving for Hendrick Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Jr. breaks a 76- race winless streak by winning at Michigan International Speedway on Father’s Day. Earnhardt Jr. finishes 12th in points with one victory, 10 top fives and 16 top 10 finishes on the season.

• Jeff Gordon’s streak of 14 consecutive seasons of winning a race is snapped as he goes winless in 2008.

• Clint Bowyer wins the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship and continues to establish himself as one of the rising stars in the sport.

• Ryan Newman wins his – and owner Roger Penske’s – first Daytona 500, with teammate Kurt Busch finishing second. It is the 50th running of the Great American Race.

• After being voted into the field by the fans, Kasey Kahne wins the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and rides that wave of momentum with a victory the following week in the Coca-Cola 600.

• Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota wins the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owners’ Championship, claiming nine victories with four different drivers during the season.

• Eighteen-year-old Joey Logano bursts upon the national series scene, competing in 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, winning at Kentucky Speedway and posting 14 top 10 and five top five finishes.

• Greg Biffle wins the first two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and re-establishes himself as a championship contender after a two-year absence from the Chase.

• Canadian Ron Fellows not only wins in his home country but does so in the rain at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in August. The event is NASCAR’s first-ever national series points race contested on rain tires.

• The announcement is made that Camping World will become the official sponsor of NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series beginning in 2009. Craftsman had been the official sponsor since the series’ inception in 1995.

• NFL standout Randy Moss enters the NASCAR Truck Series as owner of the No. 84 Randy Moss Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado.

I’d better get back to the seminar.

Enjoy the day!

Catch you at 8:00 EST tonight on “Dialed In”

Claire B.

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New York City- NASCAR Champions Week Schedule December 1, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, My Show, NASCAR.
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Jimmie Johnson in August 200...Image via WikipediaHey All! Greetings from New York City. Thanks for all the emails and for keeping in touch. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

I wanted to write you a note and let you know when I will be broadcasting on Sirius NASCAR Radio (Sirius Channel 128 and XM Best Of Package 128) here in New York City for Champions Week and post the schedule. I arrived today (Monday) in the city and will be on site and in and around the city covering and hosting live broadcasts at the events all week long – and I’ll be hosting a special wrap up show at the end of each day.

Did I tell you that the Sirius Studios are on the 36th floor of this building? Don’t look down 😉

My Schedule in New York City:

Monday, December 1

“Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang
Monday / 7p-10p ET
SIRIUS NASCAR Radio studios, Manhattan

Tuesday, December 2
“Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang
Tuesday / 8p-11p ET
SIRIUS NASCAR Radio studios, Manhattan

Wednesday, December 3
“Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang
Wednesday / 7p-10p ET
LIVE from the Sprint Champions Party, Sports Museum of America

Thursday, December 4
“The 2008 Stewie Awards”
Thursday / 6p-8p ET
SIRIUS NASCAR Radio studios, Manhattan

Then,

“Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang (Claire B Hosts Stewie’s After Party Show)
Thursday / 8p-11p ET
“Stewie’s After Party” — SIRIUS NASCAR Radio studios, Manhattan

“The 2008 Championship Year In Review”
Claire B Lang Back Stage LIVE at the Waldorf
Claire B – Friday / 3p-5p ET
Waldorf=Astoria Hotel
Featuring: Exclusive interviews with the entire #48 team including Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, Rick Hendrick and the rest of the Championship team, plus the listeners will have a chance to call the show LIVE to talk with the team!

Remember: LIVE coverage of “NASCAR Awards Night / Banquet”
Friday / 7pm-TFN ET
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (Anchored by MRN Radio)

I am slamming getting the show ready and getting used to the different layout in this studio. I’m looking forward to hearing from you on air tonight and sure hope you can catch the shows from New York City.

Take care,

Claire B

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Race Day Texas Motor Speedway November 2, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside.
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Texas Motor Speedway on NASA World Wind 1.3.Image via WikipediaBlog – November 2, 2008
Claire B Lang

The Dickies 500 will take the green flag today at 3:30 p.m. EST and ABC-TV will begin live coverage at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Driver’s Meeting – Get out the Vote:

NASCAR Race Director David Hoots opened the pre race drivers’ meeting here at Texas Motor Speedway today by asking the drivers and crew chiefs gathered in the auditorium in the media center here to vote on Tuesday.

“I’d like to remind everybody to take the opportunity – use the privilege that we have – be an American to vote this week – so everybody do that if you would please,” Hoots noted as he took the microphone prior to the review of the race rules and regulations.

Race Director David Hoots Asks Drivers Not To Get Lax:

David Hoots today also made a special note to remind the teams and drivers about safety vehicles. “We’ll take three pace laps. Crew chiefs, each week we ask you to have your spotters take notice to where the fire trucks and emergency equipment is coming out. They are located around the race track. Do that on the pace laps if you would,” Hoots said.

Hoots added, “Once the caution lights are illuminated you are under caution. Slow down to a cautious pace. Let’s not get lax on this because I think we have a tendency but let’s not get lax. Be aware and very respectful of those emergency services vehicles and personnel out on that race track. They are responding to somebody that needs them. Slow down around the equipment and give them the maximum amount of room possible. If you can’t have clear vision on your car if you’ve been in an accident stop and let us come help you and get the car in the garage. Give them a lot of room and give them a lot of respect.”

TMS – Pit Road and Speeds:

Pit Road Speed is 45 mph.

Caution Speed is 55 mph.

Minimum Speed is 34.11

There were no questions asked….and we prayed.

Gordon on the Pole:

Jeff Gordon will start from the pole today. His award – a Beretta shotgun.

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NICORETTE IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 1ST:

“Texas has not been one of our best tracks but today has been a great day for the DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. We started off, the car felt good, but didn’t just quite have the speed. We worked on it and the last lap we made in practice, we really hit on something and it followed all the way through qualifying.

“We have made huge gains on these mile and a half race tracks. Things that I feel good about and we can be consistent with. It is just how you get good information back to your team to fine-tune things. That is how we go faster. We are finding it, we are just unfortunately finding it a little bit late. Not quite enough too late, but this is great for us. A good start to the weekend.

ON WINNING THE BERETTA SHOTGUN FOR GETTING THE POLE: “It is a beautiful shotgun. It takes about a year to get it after all the engraving that goes in to it. It is really a prize worth going after. Late in the season, we haven’t gotten a win. We haven’t been able to qualifying for about a month. This is just exciting to get out there and put a lap down. What a great day for the DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. The team was unbelievable today, we unloaded with a fast race car but just kept improving on it all through practice.

“Certainly a lot more comfortable on these mile and a half tracks than we were earlier in the season. This is just half the battle, just qualifying and one lap. We feel like we still have some work to do for the race. We will find out about that tomorrow, but I know our race car are so much better at this point in the season will all of our testing and our hard work. The mile and half have been pretty decent to us the last few times we have been to them, so we know we have made improvements. Texas has been hit or miss for us. We have been here capable of winning before and been here when we were the worst car or I was the worst driver, whatever it was, we weren’t fast. We really want to turn it around this weekend.

“I am so proud of this race team. I think it has been pretty well documented how tough of a weekend we had here in Texas back in April. This team has been working so hard and today was a real sign of that effort. Track position is so important at this place. We put a lot of effort and focus on qualifying and it paid off. That green machine is starting on the pole and we have to go to work tomorrow to get ready for the race and try to get it there.

“I just think that it is so ironic that the last three tracks, Martinsville, Charlotte and Atlanta, all tracks that we felt like we could win the pole at, we didn’t get the opportunity because of rain. I thought the last place we could win a pole was here at Texas. Here we are on the pole. Anything is possible.

“We have started from the pole here but not legitimately, it was because of rain. Top of the board practicing and now qualifying.

TALK ABOUT YOUR WEEKEND HERE IN APRIL: “In my opinion, the car does the talking for me. I drive it in the corner and it does whatever it is going to do. I don’t really do anything different. I try to improve all the time and get the most out of it. But, when the car does what I am asking it to do and it sticks, we go fast. I am not saying that meaning that the guys have to get the car right, it is all of us working together through testing, through communication, everything that it takes to get to get the right setup, the right feel, everything that matches up with how I am driving the car. When we were here in April, we just weren’t even close off the truck. I knew we were in trouble. It just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t fast, the times in qualifying showed up. Today is the exact opposite. I said our car feels pretty good. It is a little tight, but it is comfortable going through the transitions in the corner, I wasn’t having some issues I was having in the past. We kept freeing the car up. A lot of times when you free the car up here, you just get loose in, loose off, it doesn’t really fix the middle part of the corner. All the adjustments we were doing were helping in the right spot and the car just kept going faster. We put up a big lap there at the end of practice and were able to back it up. It is a great feeling and definitely a boost to the confidence of our team.

“I like the night races and I think if you are close, you should be able to adjust on it from the daylight in to the night time. To me track position is just so important at this track. To me it plays out way more than what the car is going to do from day to night. Obviously we have to keep up that. All we can do is go off of our notes from last year and our teammates and go in to practice and see what kind of balance the car has. You have to be careful trying to pay too much attention, you have to think about track temperature changing, but you have to be careful about putting too much emphasis on it. We will just go in to practice tomorrow and make the best of it. In the early practice will be the closest it will be when the race goes in to night time.”

WOULD IT BE FITTING FOR YOU TO WIN HERE TO BREAK THE WINLESS STREAK? “Well, I wasn’t expecting to get the pole, I can tell you that. I definitely not expecting to get the win either, but it doesn’t stop us as a team and me as a driver from trying to make that happen and putting out every bit of effort that we can. I mean, it really doesn’t matter what our stats are, good or bad at any race track. We go in to that weekend believing we can win the pole, that we can win the race and constantly pushing the car and ourselves to improve whether we won the last race there or finished dead last. That is just the kind of team that we are and I think today pretty much proves that and shows that, we know everybody is talking about us not winning and certainly know that our stats here are not great. Yet, we come out with a great car today, win the pole and that all we have to go on right now. We have to wait until Sunday to see how the race unfolds. I can tell you that the track position is huge here and can play a big role.”

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO.1 BASS PRO SHOP/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 2ND: “It was a good run. The car was good off the trailer and we were able to go out there and just hold it wide open. I was hoping we had a shot at keeping the pole, but nevertheless it was a good run for our Bass Pro Shops Chevy.

HOW GREAT IS THE SENSATION OF SPEED HERE? “Not really. I don’t think it seems faster than any of the other tracks we go to. Doesn’t seem any faster than Atlanta. I think after 100, they all feel about the same. It isn’t too bad.”

IS THIS A CAR YOU HAVE RUN A LOT? “We’ve been kind of all over the board here lately. We actually ended up fairly similar to where we were here in the spring, we came with a different setup with some stuff we learned last week in Atlanta and at Charlotte. It didn’t work. That is the thing with these cars, you can’t really seem to be able to take it anywhere else. I don’t know it is. It is like every track you go to has its own things that it likes. Until you figure that out, you are kinda going to chase yourself around in circles. We went back to close to where we were in the spring, kinda like the stuff we ran last year with this car earlier in the year and it seemed to work pretty good for us. It is hard to tell exactly what it is you need to do to get better when everywhere you go is a little bit different.”

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 3RD: “It was good. We unloaded good. I was proud of the guys. Qualifying hasn’t been our strong point all season long. We’ve been getting lucky the last three races starting fifth. We earned a top five this time and all is well.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 7TH: “You see a big number like the No. 1 car put out, you know what you did in practice and the adjustments that have been made, you try and compute all that and say OK, my mark was here and I am going to try to go to here and hope it sticks. Getting out there and remembering those things is really the tough part. But, when you have a great race car like I did today, you can go out and do a good job with it, get a good lap. Very happy with the Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet and looking forward to a good weekend.

“It was a great lap. I have wanted to be on track the last few weeks like everyone else. It was some really good tracks that got rained out of qualifying.”

I am headed out to the garage. I’ll keep you posted. I’m in the radio room behind the auditorium where the Motor Racing Outreach service is going on and they are playing guitars and singing. It’s extremely inspirational to hear that and see the drivers gathered for church service before a race like this.

Enjoy the day. More later!

Claire B

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Driver Tidbits…. June 17, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, Fun Stuff.
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Good Morning! There were some interesting comments from the drivers recently that I’m not sure that you caught and wanted to share them with you:

Tidbits from drivers driving for free – to what they eat – to cooling in the car:

Claire B
XM Satellite Radio

PS I’m leaving for Milwaukee tomorrow morning to cover the Milwaukee Mile and the race at Infineon. Stay tuned.
____________________

MARK MARTIN ON DRIVING FOR FREE:

Q: THERE ARE A LOT OF GUYS WHO SAY THEY WOULD DRIVE FOR FREE, WOULD YOU DO IT? “I Mark Martin: did last year for the Wood Brothers. Don’t think he (Kyle Busch) is the only guy that ever did it for free. I just never bragged about it. You might be the first person I told about it. I bragged on Kyle, I am not going to get up here and make everybody sick from bragging on Kyle. I paid him a compliment, a very very good compliment and I give plenty. But that is a significant thing that he drives, from what I understand, for the trophy. That is what I did with JTG/Wood brothers last year. So he isn’t the only guy that has ever done that, there are many more. But it is still is significant. But he is also 23 years old. If you are in between, it may be more important that you are making a living than it is when you are like me or when you are first starting.”

____________________

JIMMIE JOHNSON ON WHAT HE EATS BEFORE AND DURING (YES DURING) THE RACE:

Q: WHAT DO YOU DO, DIET-WISE OR MENTALLY TO DEAL WITH THE HEAT?
Johnson: “You’ve got to stay hydrated. You’ve got to prepare a couple days in advance. A big part of it is drinking enough fluid during the race. It sounds crazy but you’re not hungry or thirsty when you’re out there. You’re focused on other things. So Gatorade has a really cool in-car system that has been very helpful for us….. I drank five liters of Gatorade during the race at Pocono and I was out of Gatorade on the last pit stop. I was just sitting there the whole time forcing yourself to drink. Also eating during the event it helpful so you keep your energy up.”

CAN YOU EAT DURING THE RACE?
Johnson: “We try to. They make me eat stuff during pit stops. As they’re changing the right side tires they’ll set some food in there and I have a little pouch on the side of the door I can put it if I can’t get to it, or if I can get it into my mouth before they’re around jacking the left side of the car, I’ll try to eat it. It’s power bars and stuff like that.”

DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL DIET LIKE PASTA A COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE THE RACE?
Johnson: “I don’t see a lot of people focused so much on the diet side. Diet is a big part of it and carbs are in everything. Hydration and making sure you get the right fluids in you during the course of the race is important.”

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Denny Hamlin On The Fans In His Car and Changes To Make It Cooler

Q: Did you change anything about your car for this weekend to make it cooler?
Hamlin: “That’s one thing that I did address just now with my team. We need to do better with our fans inside the race car. Even on the Nationwide Series we have three or four driver fans that we have operating at all times blowing on the driver. Those races are half the distance and we don’t have any over on the Cup side. That’s something as a team that we need to work on. I don’t know whether they’re not in there for performance reasons or what have you. We used to have it and we don’t have it now. I think we kind of got a little bit complacent there and in the future I’m sure we’re going to have plenty of ventilation.”

What do you think it will take to change the cooling systems?
Hamlin: “I think it’s going to take a compromise of both. I think it’s going to take 75 percent on the teams to get better at it and I think it’s going to take 25 percent of NASCAR helping us with — hey, can we get away with running a hose here and there. Maybe it’s not totally within the rules but it’s really going to help driver comfort and driver cooling. I think as long as NASCAR is open to being lenient to things like that it’s going to be better for everyone.”

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