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Lucky Dog! Joey Logano Wins at New Hampshire – Smart Crew Chief – In Position to Win! June 29, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Drivers.
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Victory Lane: A Moose, A Lobster, Kid for a Winner , Mom, Dad & Coach!

Congratulations to Joey Logano on his first Sprint Cup Series win! When a driver scores his first Cup win and I’m in Victory Lane I try to soak it all in (no pun intended on the word soak) and etch it in my mind so that years from now I can reflect on more than simply a number in a record book. With this particular victory celebration, I will remember, a bit of chaos, a gigantic lobster, an almost stunned to be there and thrilled young driver (heck even the car chief seemed a bit shocked to have pulled this one off), a smart crew chief, Coach Joe Gibbs and the rain.

At a distance, I’m sure, Logano has seemed almost too good to be true – leaving folks to look for cracks, but there are not any. Looking ahead I think that Logano will show that he’s edgier than he may initially come across (remember how young he is and that he’s a rookie) and not afraid to say what he thinks. Later in his career, we’ll see how hard-charging he is and so not shy about doing what it takes to win. In this case, Logano’s job was to listen to his crew chief, follow directions, and do what many missed, work his way up from his 24th place starting position to be in position to win should it be his day when the rains opened up and victory fell from the sky. The kid did his job.

I received so many emails after the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 – I couldn’t possibly post all of them. The comments were all over the board. From congratulations to young Joey Logano to notes about the TV coverage and the rain shortened race to comments about the attempted three wide move of Kyle Busch during the double file restart on lap 175, which led to the crash involving eight cars, which he later apologized for. Was the apology enough? Martin Truex Junior was really angry – steamed would be the word and you can’t really blame him. “I hate that it happened,” is not a new phrase in NASCAR – and the question I am left with today is a simple one. Do fans want to see bold, aggressive moves (with rain coming) that may or may not end in what we saw?

Would you rather Kyle Busch not have made the move? I am asking honestly. It doesn’t matter who you follow as a driver..is this or is this not the kind of move you want to see? If you can separate who you root for and how this affected your driver – I think the question is a simple one. Do you want the guy to go for it or not? Martin Truex Junior was clear that he felt it was a “stupid” move – and it did take out a number of cars. What direction are you taking on this?

I had some great conversation on my radio show from some who said that Kyle Busch should be repaid by one of the drivers who were angry about his move – and who crashed as a result of it. They said that if that happened Busch would be more careful next time when he wants to get aggressive. This is true – it’s how the garage has worked in the past.

The garage has always regulated itself. That is in the DNA of the sport. When drivers have had enough of someone or don’t like his moves they put the hammer down on the guy. Do you want the hammer down on this move? Or, do you like it when a guy takes a chance and goes for it with rain coming.

You’re the fans – You buy the tickets, you pay the bills. Tell me, what is it that you want? If we want drivers to go for it then we are going to see some of this. If we don’t the racing will be more finesse racing. That’s ok too. The question is what do you want?

Here are some, in some cases a portion of, the emails in my box today:

Part of an email from Michele in Virginia:

……..I am a Dale Jr fan. I am proud of my driver both on and off the track. I am patient and I feel he has the talent. There hasn’t been much to cheer about lately, but I am a believer that things move in cycles. BUT, I am the first to omit, that if it is the middle of the race and the guys are just logging laps (so they can get to the end and be in a position to win), it is Kyle Busch that I am going to be watching to see what he is going to do next. I know I am going to be rewarded with him going three wide into turn 1 on the outside during a restart, passing six cars along the way and stirring up the next controversy for the next week of talk radio call-ins.

With all this as background, it came to me this morning that the reason everyone is talking about Kyle Busch 24/7 – from the listeners to the media to the radio/TV hosts – is because we want a rival to Kyle and there just isn’t one out there now. Kyle is the “black hat” – the bad boy – the young upstart who won’t follow the rules – in life and in racing. The problem is we don’t have a “white hat” racing on his same level, on the edge, to balance him out. What is the first thing a caller says when he calls in to complain about the latest misstep by Kyle – “the boy can race, BUT….” – and then they list their latest complaints. He said the wrong thing to the media… he didn’t stop and talk to the media… he wasn’t gracious enough in victory lane… he wasn’t….. Since we don’t have the white knight who can race the same way Kyle can AND say and do everything the fans want – they attack Kyle the persona and the personality, because they can’t hold up their driver to argue about the racing. Other drivers will have flashes of brilliance across the series, but no one is racing like him every race.

Face it what we really want is a rivalry where both drivers are evenly matched in skill and equipment. We want both drivers to be racing on the edge for a win every lap. We want one to go three wide to the outside while the other is making it four-wide on the inside. We want them to beat and bang and then we will hold our breath as we wait to see who wins this time. Because we know they are so evenly matched, that the outcome may be different next time. Then, we can spend the next week calling into the talk shows talking about the RACING!!! Not how someone was acting with the trophy in victory lane.

And here lays the problem…. I am not sure this is even possible. But it is what every fan wants.

Am I a Kyle supporter…. probably some. I love to watch him race across the three series. He is driving on the edge to win the race. But it is a crash and burn mentality of a 20 something that probably won’t win him a championship. Did I like him smashing the guitar at Nashville? The 45 year old mom part of me shook my head, wrinkled my nose and threw my hands in the air saying “that stupid inconsiderate kid.” But part of me also feels like that 20 something. That part of me still exists and was under the stands at Charlotte during the multiple rain delay doing Jell-O shooter – that part thought “YEAH!!”. That is the blessing of age – we learn to control our inner 20 something and act appropriately. But is it as much fun??

I hope that Kyle remains Kyle – with all his mis-steps. He sure is fun to watch. AND, I hope someone comes along soon to be the rival. I am ready for us to go back and spent time talking about this week’s race winner or the three-time consecutive champion. It has gotten to the point that what Kyle did or didn’t do overshadows the remaining 42 drivers. NASCAR is not about one driver…. But, there is always the next race!!!

As always, thank you for all you do! Dialed In is still the best show on the NASCAR channel!

Michele
Richmond, VA

From Jeff in Minnesota:

Oh ok its ok for Dale Sr to rub and bump every chance he got in every race he won but its not for Kyle?. Kyle should start grinning at interviews.
Respectfully
Jeff
MN

From Jim in Florida:

I think the TV coverage could be better. The announcers seem to have a small # of drivers they are going to talk about no matter what happens during the race. It would have been nice to know what happened to the #9 about half way of the race. He had driven up to 5th place when the caution flag waved. When he came out of the pits he was 19th. I think a short explanation was in order, but not one word was ever said about. This brings me to my question. What did happen on that stop? If you don’t know maybe you could ask and let me know. also last week when I looked at the standings Kahne was only 3 points behind the #42 the #9 finished 10th today and the #42 12th why is the #42 still ahead in points? thanks
Jim, in fl.

From Race Fan:

Claire:

What are some of your listeners drinking Junior Johnson’s sippin’ whiskey?

For the sake of argument lets say the same holds true for mid-race yellows that come just as pit stops start.

Some drivers make it to pit road before the yellow but then…. NASCAR parades around for 10-15 extra laps before opening pit road waiting for other drivers to run out of gas.

Just as nutty as one of your emailers I should think.

On the rain issue and earlier starting times…. Since when does it NOT rain at 1pm vice 2-3pm?

From Dusty:

Brian (Vickers) should know about stupid being forever, he lives it everyday. Can you say takes out the front of the field at Daytona including Kyle or maybe that his only Sprint Cup Win was accomplished by crashing a teammate. Oh & it couldn’t be JRs fault for spinning his tires on the restart cause JR never does anything to cause a wreck. Maybe instead of bashing Kyle about him being a hard charger Truex should try being a little more of a hard charger himself. I believe it’s 1win to 15wins in favor of Kyle. That’s Dusty’s opinion.

From Joyce:

For the most part I thought today’s race was the best I’ve seen so far this year. I love the double file restart, only hope the drivers will learn how to race the new format and not cause a “big one” like on lap 175. I’m sure Jr. didn’t spin his tires on purpose and I am also sure Kyle didn’t run into Martin Truex Jr. intentionally, I hated the wreck, but the side by side racing for the lead was awesome. I also loved the lap 151 caution for debris and how the race cars took care of it. LOL

I think the television broadcast would be more tolerable to watch if the commercials weren’t so mind numbing repetitive, if they would just change them up even if it were for the same product I would like it better. I’ve even decided to boycott some of the wares the ads hawk just because I feel like they are trying to tattoo their product on my brain…

Joyce,
Arkansas

From Bob in New Hampshire:

Claire B–

I trust you enjoyed your trip to the White Mountains and a big fat lobster. Just wanted to give credit to the New England race fans who filled at least 99% of the seats at NHMS today. After watching a sea of empties at Atlanta, Texas and other tracks, the full house in Loudon today is worthy of note when people start talking about future race date allocations, don’t you think?

Sorry about all the rain! Enjoy Daytona and thanks for all you do.

Bob in NH

From Marv:

Hi,

Let’s just say this is one of the lamest NASCAR seasons ever. Another rain win by someone who was not remotely competitive all day just like Kenseth and Ruetimann. They should have run 10 more caution laps to run the lame cars out of gas. Add to this debacle the fuel mileage races and this season really sucks. I usually get to 4 or 5 races a year and I am not renewing season tickets for a couple of tracks next year.

Marv Odell

From Dallas:

i don’t feel Kyle was the big cause of the big wreck.dale jr caused it by spinning his tires on the restart.
7 times out of ten their will be a wreck. and what Kyle said on the restart it is pretty close quarters and watching that double file restart,it was bumper to bumper for at least 2 laps. maybe if Martin Truex jr would of responded and made a hard left turn the wreck might not of happened. he knew what was gonna happen.in other words u check up your gonna get rear ended thanks

dallas

congratulations to joey logano

Randy from Ilinois:

I just know Truex has been running good and can’t catch a break….I could care less that NASCAR gave Logano a win…Lets see now we’ve got at least 3 wins this season that guys didn’t deserve or earn…So I didn’t get all mushy over NASCAR giving the boys the wins….They say a win is a win I quess…
Randy
Old School With An Attitude

From Tony in NY

Sure people would be mad if the race time got moved up for weather. Besides the fact that race fans generally like to gripe, I really think that race fans would be disappointed if they found they missed the call to fire engines.

Congrats to Joey. I’m happy with the win even with my favorite driver finishing second.

Tony in NY

—————————————————————

Well – in NASCAR the show must go on. The haulers and teams have to pick up and move on to Daytona on Wednesday. It’s a quick turnaround and everyone will be scurrying to get it all in place for the Fourth of July Daytona NASCAR show.

In our sport – we race, we run around rain, and when we get it dumped on us the decision is made from the tower and we move on.

We have to – the show doesn’t stop.

Thursday, Joey Logano visited the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) and David’s house which gives health care to young children. While there he dropped off several video game consoles and games from his NASCAR Nationwide Series sponsor, GameStop, and visited with many of the children and families who use David’s House while receiving treatment at CHaD. Logano also made the trip next door to CHaD to visit with children who were not able to make it to the David’s House event.

Maybe the skies opened up and the win was a Karma win!

What I will remember of this win was an almost dazed with victory Logano. He handled victory lane and the media exceptionally and I don’t mean that as if he didn’t know what to do. He was fine in Victory Lane. I have been to victory lane with seasoned drivers with many wins who as a result of a finish could not seem to really soak in the win yet. It was so like that for Logano. He had dreamed all his young life about this moment and there he was….he got it thrust upon him when the skies opened he was moved, hustled, hugged, photographed and interviewed and it still had not sunk in.

He was being hugged by a moose character, handed a gigantic live lobster, embraced by coach Joe Gibbs, visited by Tony Stewart, beamed at by his tearful mom and proud dad who was handling the cell phone calls, yelled at to face a different direction by photographers pushing for space in a crammed garage as the car is being wheeled in and the trophy slid in front of him. He just kept smiling and smiling. He was warm and interesting in the interview, but he was a bit dazed by the win. That is what I will remember. It was almost surreal.

Today, and tomorrow, he’ll relive and relish it.

He’s a great kid and I congratulate him.

Enjoy the day!

Claire B

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Welcome to Daytona International Speedway’s Media Center! February 7, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
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American NASCAR drive Richard Petty meeting Ge...
Image via Wikipedia

I wanted to let you know all that is going on here at Daytona and send you a few thoughts.

Around the Garage:
First: I heard wind that NASCAR might be looking at the restart lines at the race tracks and the pushing of the limit of picking up speed in the “vicinity” of the line by drivers abusing the system. It seems that the competitors have pushed that rule to the point that they may be abusing it. That is why you may have been seeing cars behind the restart line starting to “go go go” when the flag is not out yet and that some of the restart messes you have witnessed may actually not be the guy holding speed on the restart who gets the blame – but the guys behind him who are jumping the gun and abusing the restart line rule. Look for some thoughts on this to be reviewed. What do you think?

48 team replaces tire specialist at 11th hour:
Hearing that the 48 tire specialist Sean Kerlin was replaced the day before the team left for Daytona on Wednesday evening. Sean did driver comfort for Jimmie Johnson and was the teams tire specialist….He was replaced by LIsa Smokestead who is doing tires for the 48 team here at Daytona. She has been the data base manager and has been the tire specialist for the test teams of the 88 and 48 and I am hearing she is a temporary replacement.

Budweiser Shootout Pick Party:
Yep I was standing out in the cold at the Speed Stage as well as inside the media/VIP tent at the Budweiser Pick Party. Drivers huddled inside the tent prior to heading up to the Speed stage “Bar” set up. I got a kick out of AJ Allmendinger wearing his new “AJ” gear cap. Did you see his cap on the TV broadcast? It was a good one. It’s available on line. David Reutemann was teasing him in the tent before the pick party that he wanted one —and AJ said he’d make sure to get it. So if you see Rutemann wearing and AJ cap don’t be surprised. Most of the drivers huddled in the tent talked about being ready to get out on the race track….finally.

Rumors:
Viewers watching the Bud pick party were studying #20 crew chief Greg Zipadelli’s interaction with his young driver Joey Logano. I got this email:

CBL do you get a sense that Zippy and Joey (Logano) are getting along ok because last night on the (Bud Pick )show where they picked their starting position they barely spoke to each other. I didn’t know if it was just Zipp was annoyed he had to be there because his driver is under 21 or there are “issues”

No- there are not issues. I spoke with Zippy before he went out on stage in the TV area and he simply had a terrible cold and was feeling awful. He was sick…and didn’t feel well. If he was quiet that was the simple explanation. The two are doing fine.

THE KING – & NASCAR’s Top 35 System:
Richard Petty Motorsports unveiled today a paint scheme with historical significance at Daytona International Speedway. (The newly-formed Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 44 Valvoline Dodge Charger, driven by AJ Allmendinger during Daytona Speedweeks, will feature a tribute to winning history with a replica paint scheme of the Valvoline Dodge that Kyle Petty drove to an ARCA victory for Petty Enterprises at Daytona 30 years ago.)

Question to The King – What is Kyle Petty doing these days?
Kyle Petty taped his show for Speed, as his father, Richard Petty, was in the garage unveiling the paint scheme of the No. 44 car (to be driven by AJ Allmendinger) that has been made to resemble Kyle Petty’s ARCA car that he drove to a win in his Daytona debut in 1979. Question to the King…what is kyle up to these days?

“Last time I seen him he was doing television. I don’t know, ” Petty answered. “In fact I have not seen him for a pretty good while. Cause we’ve been busy. I was in Connecticut yesterday talking to the Stanley people. So you are out there doing all that stuff. Then he’s out there doing a bunch of stuff. He’s been doing a bunch of stuff for the camp. Then he come to Florida to do a Red Cross deal this past weekend sometime and then he was at the 24 hour run for four or five days, I don’t know,” Petty said.

We have racing on the track. I have missed talking cars on the track with you. Cannot wait! The race season has actually started. Here is my weekend Sirius Schedule:

Friday, February 6th –
Dialed In with Claire B Lang
7-10 p.m. EST

Saturday, February 7th-
Dialed In with Claire B Lang
2:00 -4:15 p.m. EST
I anchor Bud Shootout Pre Race Show 4:15 p.m. EST leading into Budweiser Shootout

Sunday, February 8th –
Following qualifying until 8:00 p.m. EST

Looking forward to covering the 2009 race season and for you all and taking you live to races coast to coast.

Thanks for being such a big part of it! I appreciate your emails and live on the air discussions and your opinions and race rants.

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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Logano Visits Infield Car Center Sunday Morning Checks Out Post Nationwide Race Numbness June 1, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Breaking News, Drivers.
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logo of Nationwide SeriesImage via WikipediaGood Morning! (11:10 a.m.) It’s a beautiful day here at Dover International Speedway. I ran into Nationwide driver Joey Logano today as I emceed a fan hospitality session out front of the race track this morning. He had just left the Infield Care Center.

Logano Visits Infield Car Center Sunday Morning
Checks Out Post Nationwide Race Numbness

Joe Gibbs racing driver Joey Logano – who finished 6th in his Nationwide debut Saturday made a visit to the infield care center this morning (Sunday) – because he says his arm fell asleep during the Nationwide Series race here in Dover and the feeling had not yet come back.

Logano says that he has never before had the feeling of numbness that he was experiencing in his arm and hand this morning but he’s not concerned. What caused it? “Not real sure,” Logano said. “ It just kind of fell asleep during the race yesterday and it hadn’t come back awake yet. It’s something like I think when you’re slung over the side of the seat it’s the rib thing in the seat was too far away and it pinched something right about here and it just made my arm fall asleep.”

Logano made an initial visit to the care center, then went to a scheduled fan appearance, and planned to return for a check up. “ I could not even sign my name in the little infield care center,” he said. “Yea, we’ll get it checked out and we’ll be alright.”

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.”

Friday of Race Week 2008- Charlotte- Lowe’s Motor Speedway May 23, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, Items of Interest, Tracks.
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It’s been “As the World Turns” type of drama in the deadline room of Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s media center this week. First, H.A. Humpy Wheeler (SMI President) retires and holds an impromptu news conference that has reporters racing to the track – with little advance warning. The word “rift” has been used in more than one story headline – yet Bruton says that Wheeler has been talking about retirement for a year. Wheeler says he didn’t quite leave on his own terms. Calling his own news conference – was a signature Wheeler move and we haven’t seen the last of H.A. Humpy Wheeler who will continue to be a force in the industry. Could he work for NASCAR? He says it’s not out of the question and he has had a conversation with them.
Humpy pic

Then, Bruton Smith (Chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc) holds a news conference and announces that SMI has purchased Kentucky Speedway. The former owner of Kentucky Speedway says he feels certain that the Speedway will get a Sprint Cup Series date – and as litigation is still in the air with the Kentucky Speedway lawsuit NASCAR says don’t jump to conclusions any realignment of dates has to have their approval and they don’t appear to want to add a date or to move a date to that part of the country at this time.

With all the SMI goings on there was little space in the daily rag to fit some of the other “good stuff” in. I thought I’d pass on some tidbits this morning on the blog before I head out to Penske Racing, Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing and then Speed Street where I will do today’s broadcast from the Chevy XM “Dialed In” Mobile Broadcast Unit.

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Catch some of these nuggets:

Dale Earnhardt Jr
The Role of NASCAR Villains:

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A VILLAIN IN NASCAR? JR: “You got to wreck people. You got to be mean. You got to work the crowd and get them mad. Do what villains do, kind of like wrestling. The bad guy comes in wearing black, flipping the crowd off and cheating doing things like that.”
WHO DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE BEST VILLAIN IN NASCAR? JR: “It changed. Everybody had their moments. There were times when dad was a pretty good villain. Jeff Bodine turned into a villain there for a while in my opinion when I was a little kid. ’88 was a good year for that, him and daddy wrecking each other. Darrell (Waltrip) never was a villain, Darrell just whipped everybody. You know Kyle (Busch) whether he wants it or not has sort of become that. He could end up using that to his favor. There are people who will cheer for the villain. There are people who like that mentality and pull for the bad guy.”
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MARK MARTIN
On Joey Logano/DEI Mgmt.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT JOEY LOGANO THAT MAKES EVERYONE EXCITED ABOUT HIS POTENTIAL? Martin: “I don’t know what it is. Joey is magic, take my word for it. You will see soon.”

DO YOU HAVE MUCH INPUT IN TO THINGS AT DEI OUTSIDE OF THE NO. 8 CAR? Martin: “Max, Teresa and John have been more interested in my opinion than anywhere else I have ever been. It still isn’t very much, but they are very interest in my opinion. I have a great relationship with Max and respect. The same with John Story and of course with Teresa as well. It is pretty cool, it makes me feel good that they are interested in my opinion on things from time to time. But, I don’t have a big role in it. I feel really good about where the organization is today versus where it was in October. I think it is very sound and made a lot of progress from where it was in October.”
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Elliott Sadler
On Sucking Oxygen and AJ

WHAT DO YOU DO DIFFERENTLY NOW TO PREPARE FOR 600 MILES? Sadler “I eat (laughs). I make sure that I eat a lot on Saturday night. I make sure that I eat a lot on Sunday afternoon, a big lunch to make sure that my body has a lot of energy and stuff to pull from. It’s a long race. Five-hours in a race car is very long. I take car of my body this whole week to make sure that I’m good mentality and physically for this weekend. I just make sure that I’m really hydrated. I’ve got a lot of fresh oxygen in my system and everything before the race starts on Sunday.”

WHY THE OXYGEN? Sadler: “There are a lot of guys out here that do (oxygen). Different guys either do it with the mask or in the (oxygen) chamber. It’s something that I learned from Dale Jarrett six or seven years ago. I take in a lot of fresh oxygen. I’m in a car for an hour-and-a-half today and another two or three hours Saturday. By the time Sunday rolls around on the weekend, you’ve got three or four hours of carbon monoxide in your system. So I try to take in some fresh oxygen Saturday night and definitely Sunday morning before the race just to make sure that my blood cells are as pure as they can be. When you’re in a car for five hours, you’re definitely going to get some carbon monoxide in your system. I’m just trying to take care of myself for longevity in the sport.”

DO YOU TAKE IN THE OXYGEN WITH A MASK? Sadler: “I do it with a mask because it’s just easier for me. I don’t really want to lie in a chamber; I’m kind of claustrophobic so I do the mask thing.”

HAVE YOU TALKED TO A.J. ALLMENDINGER THIS WEEK? Sadler: “I’ve got better things to do and more things to worry about than talking to him (Allmendinger). The Coca-Cola 600 is a big race here in NASCAR and I want to be focused and ready to go. Let’s just try and qualify and worry about that, I’ll worry about him another time.”
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Coca-Cola Pole Sitter Kyle Busch:
On Stuff:

What have you done this week racing so close to home? Busch: “Fortunately I have had a little bit of time off. I went out on the lake yesterday and finally got to enjoy my Centurion boat for the first time this year. The water is still a little cold, but it felt nice. I was able to do some wake boarding and was able to have some fun. I’m sore as all can be right now and I’m hoping that will be better for Saturday night. Other than that, it’s been a pretty calm week. Fortunately they haven’t had me doing too much stuff. It picks up now with today ………and Saturday and Sunday again. I get a day off on Monday and then we go test Tuesday and Wednesday in Pocono so back to it.”

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Jeff Gordon:
OK Fantasy Racers – His Chances for A Win on Sunday

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF ON THE SHORT LIST OF FAVORITES FOR THIS RACE ON SUNDAY? Gordon: “I wouldn’t even put myself on the list. I think that we’ve got some work to do, performance-wise, but we’re such a good team that anything is possible. So I guess maybe you could put us way at the bottom of the list. When I think of favorites I think of people that show dominance or a lot of speed. To me it’s a very short list of people that are on the list that can win.”

THIS WEEK WILL BE THE LAST RACE HUMPY WHEELER IS IN CHARGE AT LOWE’S MOTOR SPEEDWAY. WHAT’S THAT GOING TO BE LIKE FROM A DRIVER’S PERSPECTIVE? Gordon: “That’s huge. To not really hear anything about it and for that to come out like that, I’ve never thought of this sport or Lowe’s Motor Speedway without Humpy Wheeler. He’s just constantly pushing the envelope. All the creativity and excitement and entertainment he’s brought for the competitors as well as for the fans, is definitely going to be his legacy. He’s set a high bar, for sure.”

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE HUMPY PROMOTION?
Gordon: “Oh, man. I can remember back when I was a rookie in the Cup Series, he used to use us rookies quite a bit. I can remember we did human bowling up there near the Speedway Club one time (laughs). Probably the one that stands out the most was when we did a stagecoach thing where we came out in a stagecoach in a Western theme and there were like bank robbers and we were shooting little cap guns. I would have never done that today (laughs). Back then it was pretty comical.”

DO YOU EXPECT DALE JR. TO WORK MORE CLOSELY WITH YOU NEXT TIME (Restrictor Plate Racing)?
Gordon: “Not at all. I don’t expect him to. I’m not asking him to. It’s just that we have a better understanding. My goal as a driver is, I don’t car if it’s my teammate or not, to not allow them to make the pass. My job is to make sure my line is going forward and I’m using my mirrors. I’ve always said that. I did expect for that type of move to maybe happen later in the race; not at that point in the race. So now I know and it just allows us to work together and know that when those things happen, don’t take it personal. It’s just part of the way the race is unfolding at that point. And we’re competitors who want some position and sometimes that means working with your teammates and sometimes that means not working with your teammates. I’ve been in this thing long enough to know that I haven’t always made my teammates happy by everything I’ve done. But I think I’ve gained a little more patience over the years and know how much I want to have those guys on my side towards the end of the race. That’s way I try to make as many friends as I possible can If it’s possible.”
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That’s a wrap for this blog. I had better get up and at it. It’s going to be a busy day – and while there’s no action on the track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway I’ll be checking on the trucks at Mansfield Motorsports Park and spending the day kicking around the race shops in Charlotte.

Enjoy the day!
Claire B