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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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JD Gibb- transcript- Part 2 August 17, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Controversy, NASCAR, Teams.
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Tony Stewart, driver...Image by Getty Images via Daylife Q: Did Toyota have any knowledge of what happened prior to the dyno test?

Gibbs: “No. We kind of do our own motor program for our Nationwide stuff and our Cup stuff. It’s separate from their stuff.”

Q: Are you furious that you didn’t know about this decision?

Gibbs: “Trust me, I’m sure there’s a whole lot of things that I don’t know and I’m glad, but for the most part with our guys and this team they all understand from the day we started this team in 1991 — racing the 1992 season — we’re going to do things a certain way. If you can’t abide by that, go find somewhere else that you can do it. It’s not worth it for us. Hopefully that’s the history that we have. I think if you look back that’s the way it is. So we’ll deal with this and move on. It’s obviously frustrating for all of us.”

Q: Is this a slap in the face to NASCAR for adding the plate a few weeks ago?

Gibbs: “I think more for the guys — they were just frustrated and wanted to make a point like, ‘Hey, we did it and we’re even farther off than you thought.’ I’m not sure exactly what would go through their minds because again, our guys kind of take pride in winning those engine dynos. That’s the only time you can take all of those manufacturers, lay them out there and say what do you got. For us, to win that it’s kind of like a notch in their belt.”

Q: Who called you last night regarding what happened at the track?

Gibbs: “It was a couple guys from our team.”

Q: Is there a time frame in which you will take some action within the team?

Gibbs: “Yeah. Once we get back tomorrow and kind of sit down and hash through it I think you’ll see something pretty quick from our side.”

Q: Is there any indication that NASCAR will respond with a severe penalties?

Gibbs: “I talked to them (NASCAR). I think in years past they kind of looked at the engine dyno-thing as hit or miss — put it on there. But, now they’re starting to make rules based off that. So, I think that becomes a more important piece in their arsenal as to how they keep the playing field level in their mind, and a tool. I think for them it will be bigger, and I don’t know exactly what. I met with them this morning. I’m sure it will be a pretty big slap.”

Q: Do you believe what people have said that the Toyota ‘advantage’ has become a ‘disadvantage’?

Gibbs: “I think when you go back — kind of what we talked about a few weeks ago — is here’s the box to play in. I think our guys have done a really good job utilizing that. I don’t care if it was GM, Dodge, Ford or Toyota — we invest a lot in that and spend a lot of time on it. And, so we want to make sure we are on an equal playing field. I think there was again some frustration there — that’s a separate issue. A rule is made, decisions are made — okay move on and lets work on what we have now. So, to be able to come out of that dyno and have — and again come up with the best horsepower — that would have been a huge notch for our guys. That was the discouraging part.”

Q: How much power have you gained back since the new tapered spacer?

Gibbs: “I probably won’t get into that. That’s all been hashed out a lot in the past weeks. I’m just kind of more focused on what happened here yesterday. I would say it definitely cuts you back some and we’re always working to get it back — what we lost. We are definitely not where we were — we think we were before. But, I think for us — whether they took anything away or not — we’re always working hard to find more stuff.”

Q: Do you believe NASCAR has put the Toyota teams in this position because they gave Toyota too much initially?

Gibbs: “I think when you look at the big picture you usually go — before we were even involved with Toyota — they had a motor and NASCAR made them redo it to be eligible to run in the Nationwide Series. That all took place. They changed a bunch of stuff. Now here’s a new package. It fit within the ‘box.’ Now, as time goes on — you’re always going to have new (things). GM is going to phase in the RO7 and let the SB2 go away. The problem you have in Nationwide I think — the biggest problem in Nationwide — is financially there are such constraints on what you can do. So, I think for us, here’s a package. So, now you change us and we have to go back and spend more money figuring out how we can get back to where we were. I can see Jack’s (Roush) point. NASCAR says here’s some parts for you to use to build new motors. He’s like, ‘I don’t want to build new motors that costs too much money.’ Which is a valid point. So, you are kind of stuck in between. What you don’t want to do is lose sight of our guys that have invested time, effort and financially. Apart from Toyota have invested a lot in these motors to get them to where they need to be. So, that’s frustrating I think for us and for every owner out there. I’m not going to say, Who’s to blame? That’s just part of life. We’ve been through this for 17 years and sometimes you have bodies getting changed years ago. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen any more. That’s to NASCAR’s credit. We’re not changing bodies every couple years. The motor thing is a big piece and I think NASCAR has a pretty good ‘box’ on it. Our thing is we just want to have a level playing field and go to work and do a better job than the next guy.”

Q: Will you still field two NNS cars the rest of the year? Who could be the crew chiefs for those two cars?

Gibbs: “We are not going to speculate on that. We will definitely field two cars the rest of the year. I’m not sure — there might be a race or two where we don’t have two cars lined-up on our schedule. I’m not sure. Things will go on unchanged for us on the racing side.”

Q: Do the individuals you believe were responsible also work on your Sprint Cup teams?

Gibbs: “No. For what we’re talking about here, it’s pretty much that would be there own decision. It is unrelated to the Cup program. Obviously, we have one engine shop that builds motors for everyone, but it would be unrelated to any

Q: Does this fall on the crew chief no matter who in the organization did this?

Gibbs: “Ultimately it starts with, to me, ownership. It falls on our shoulders and then you’ve got management in place and you’ve got crew chiefs in place. I think everyone has a level of responsibility there and it starts with us. That’s the frustrating part. People know how we operate and this isn’t it. I think the crew chief, yeah, they are responsible for what happens at that car and at that track. If something happens that they don’t know about they should’ve known about it. So, I agree with that.”

Q: Did the drivers have anything to do in this whole issue?

Gibbs: “No, our drivers did not have anything to do with this process here.”

Q:
Did the drivers have anything to do in this whole
issue?

Gibbs: “No, our drivers
did not have anything to do with this process
here.”

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Friday Fun- NSCS Dover Kyle Busch Notes and Quotes May 30, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, Transcripts.
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Kyle Busch - One of my least favorite driver personalities, but he knows how to drive.Image via WikipediaHey: It’s been a little crazy today at the track. I will post tonight – have a bunch to tell you. In the mean time – here’s what Kyle Busch said today. I thought you’d like to read it for yourself. I’ve gotten tons of emails from all of you and I appreciate it. Tonight I’ll post some of what is in my mailbox. You all have been writing a lot and I love hearing your take. This (below) includes what he said about his little conversation with Jeff Gordon last week. More coming later – but for now I thought you’d like to read this……in its entire form. Read on:
Enjoy!
Claire B

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Combos Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How has the Joe Gibbs team enabled you to reach your potential?
“Well, I think they just gave me the leeway to go out and sort of be myself, I guess — be who I am. That’s kind of been the biggest thing. And just talking with Joe (Gibbs) and having conversations with him off the race track. He’s a pretty cool, laid back guy. He just keeps telling me to do what I’m doing and we’ll take care of the bad stuff when it happens later. So, the thing that’s just made this year a little bit easier is that, and transitioning to Joe Gibbs Racing and being able to get along with all the people and everybody. Especially, my teammates with Denny (Hamlin) and Tony (Stewart) — being able to work well with those guys, too.”

What do you think of Joey Logano?
“There’s been a lot of hype around him, so hopefully we’re not all too disappointed. I don’t think we will be. I think Joey’s got a great future in this sport and he’s young and he’s upcoming and he’s ready for it right now. He wants nothing but to bite at a chance at it. I feel like he’s going to do a fine job. Hopefully, this weekend is just a telling story of how good he’ll really be.”

What advice would you have for Joey Logano?
“To me, I didn’t have all this hype around my debut as Joey (Logano) does and I finished second in mine. I hope Joey can do just as good if not better in his debut here. I feel like he has a good car. The biggest thing about Joey is that if he keeps a good head on his shoulders because he knows he’s in great equipment — (he) doesn’t go out there and try to make up for what it is not, and take a second or third instead of trying to get a win.”

What did it mean for Braun Racing to get a Nationwide Series win at Charlotte?
“It definitely meant a lot to myself to win for Braun Racing — to have those guys. They work just as hard as anybody else out there. To have the ability to go out there and have the care capable of being able to win was pretty fun. I wish Trent (Owens, Braun crew chief) and those guys were with me, but it was with Todd (Lohse, crew chief) and the third bunch of guys. But, still we made the most of the opportunity there. I felt like — we tested pretty well, we weren’t as good as we wanted to be. Then we started the race and we were just really, really tight. I did not expect that. We made some lofty changes during the race and got it better and better and got track position at the end. So, it was pretty cool.”

Can you win again with Braun Racing this weekend?
“I don’t know. We’ll see. We were battling the car all through practice. We were so tight and then a little bit loose. So, kind of battled back and forth a little bit with it. Hopefully, we can have a strong showing tomorrow. We just need to keep racing here. If we can get a win great, if not we’ll have a good points day.”

What do your post-race celebrations mean?
“It’s just fun for me to be able to win races in general. You never know when your last win is going to be and you always want to make them as memorable as you can. Yet, you go out there and celebrate with the fullest extent that that is your last win. To me, it’s not about getting out of the car and going; ‘Yeah, we won.’ It’s about getting out of the car and really celebrating and doing it as a team.”

What happened with you and Jeff Gordon last week after the race?
“I felt like when I was coming back through traffic there after we changed our battery we got to the 24 (Jeff Gordon) and everybody else wasn’t really racing and Jeff (Gordon) just raced me a little bit harder than anybody had all day. I wasn’t sure if he meant something by that or if it was just the way his car was acting or what. I tried to get a reasoning there after the race and it was just the wrong time to do it. All is cool now. We talked in Pocono and he just told me that his car wasn’t balanced the way it needed to be and he was just fighting for position. I recognize that and feel for him there that he didn’t have quite the car he wanted to pass people so he just had to fight a little harder to hold onto it.”

Was Jeff (Gordon) upset because you approached him while he was being interviewed?

“No. He wasn’t getting interviewed or anything like that. There was just media around. I think he was just — the adrenaline was still going after the race and whatnot. My mistake, but I learned from that. He gave me a bit of advice if there was a next time for that.”

What allows you to use less brake than most people?
“I don’t know — maybe that I roll out of the throttle a little bit sooner getting into the corner. I start the slowing down process a little bit sooner. Brakes with these things you tend to heat up the front tires too much so the cars don’t like that. For me to go out there and just run my laps and stuff like that, I can learn a little bit from whose at the top of the board like Jimmie (Johnson) says. It’s really not much. You just have to try to figure it out for yourself.”

Is the braking something you’ve learned from over the years?
“The bullring where I grew up, when I raced there I would always try to use brake and it really wouldn’t work. Anytime that I would get out of the gas early and not use any brake whatsoever I always turned faster lap times. There was times when my dad was my spotter and I was maybe a quarter or half straightaway ahead he told me to slow down a little bit and I’d pick up time not using any brakes. So it’s kind of weird. People talk about saving fuel and fuel mileage and stuff and people will pick up lap time by saving fuel. It’s just a way of racing sometimes.”

How satisfying is it for you to have the kind of season that you are having?

“It’s definitely satisfying and also I’m pretty grateful to be having a season like this. It doesn’t come all the time and it doesn’t come for everybody so certainly you’ve got to hold onto it when you do have it. Hopefully we can keep going the way we are. I looked at it the other day and if it wasn’t for mechanical issues the worst finish we’ve had all year was a fourth-place finish. It’s pretty phenomenal. We just got to keep going the way we’re going and hopefully we can just keep getting our points and keep leading this thing.”

Are you surprised that people call you a villain?

“I guess there have been villains over the years so if that’s their word that they are going to call it, then that is what it is. To me it doesn’t bother me. I don’t feel like that’s who I am but that’s, I guess, the role that I’m portraying.”

Do you prefer to win in the Craftsman Truck Series more than the Nationwide Series?
“What tweaks the veteran guys is that they’ve been there so long and they’ve been doing it for so long and they feel like they are on their way out and they want to get as many wins as they can. To me, you just never know when your last win is going to be. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a Cup car or a Nationwide car or a truck or a late model or a damn mini-stock. That’s the part of this sport, to go out there and win and be known as one of the best. That’s how I partake it and that’s how I go out every week — just trying to win races.”

Loose Lugnuts…from Talladega April 27, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, Teams.
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Since my last post there are a few things (loose lugnuts) I wanted to let you know about –

JD Gibbs and Joe Gibbs (Joe Gibbs Racing) held court – regarding Tony Stewart’s Contract:

How much is Tony Stewart worth and what will you give up for him?
JD: “The reason my dad went back to coaching the first time was to pay for his last contract. If we have to send him back in — I have no problem with that. I think for us, there’s a financial value, but we’ve had some great drivers in our history — Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte really built this team and Tony (Stewart) is a huge asset to JGR, our organization and our history. We would love for him to be a part of our future as well until he feels like it’s time to go do something else.”

Where does Joey Logano fit into your plans?

JD: “He’s a phenomenal talent, we love him and we’re in no hurry — Joey (Logano) can take his time, if he’s rocking and rolling out of the gate — great. If it takes him a little while — great. He’s kind of our future and we don’t have any plans to speed that up and steam roll that to fill a void right now.”

Does this contract have to do with money for Tony (Stewart)?
Joe Gibbs: “Tony (Stewart) doesn’t have to worry about money. Tony’s got enough money to last the rest of his life. JD (Gibbs) put it best, I think for us I think back on it and it’s been 10 great years. I remember the very first time I met Tony standing on the tarmac over there in Columbus. I think it’s been 10 great years and we’re hoping that somewhere in this we wind up staying together. That’s simply the way it is.”

Rick Hendrick in the garage pre race regarding his interest in Tony Stewart:
Rich Hendrick regarding Tony Stewart and speculation that he might end up in the #5 car in his stable. After saying that the inn is full at his place and taking questions about it -with him saying he’s working on performance with the teams he’s already got signed at HMS -Hendrick added –

“Tony and I almost hooked up before he went to Gibbs so – he’s a great guy and a great friend but ah..you won’t see Tony Stewart in the #5 car how about that – you can write that.”