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Back Stage at “Sound and Speed” January 14, 2010

Posted by claireblang in Off Season Fun.
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American country musician Taylor Swift perform...
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Nashville, TN – 1/9/09 – Claire B. Lang

Once a year I dedicate one of my few off weekends to giving back via “Sound and Speed” in Nashville, an event that I have contributed my time to since it began. I’m proud to help in any way that the event needs. I always come away from Sound and Speed with more than I give. My heart is full when I leave Nashville after this event and it takes me to a place of a great spirit and in the right frame of mind to hit the long and winding road again to cover yet another NASCAR race season. It’s like a spa for the brain in an incredibly competitive business in an insanely competitive sport. At this event, everyone arrives and says, “How can I help?”

There’s something about Nashville, something about the NASCAR drivers all unselfishly contributing their time, about pitching in on the event not just covering it and the association with the huge hearted folks who make country music that, all together, gives me the big click. I leave Nashville full of warmth and good feelings about our sport, about the drivers and about life in general.

I thought I’d take you behind the scenes at the event and let you see some of what I saw at Nashville – in the drivers and in the sport.

Friday
Friday, I got on a 7:55 a.m. EST flight to Nashville and arrived as folks were just getting up on a cold winter day in music city. I decided to head over to the hotel to check in and get breakfast. Kyle and Patty Petty arrived a few minutes later and sat down for breakfast themselves and the staff at the hotel could not have been more excited. Kyle and Patty and their business manager had breakfast and began the task of making sure that everything would go smoothly for those celebrities who were on their way, for the stage shows that were being prepared and for the fans who were beginning to arrive in Nashville.

I headed over to the SIRIUS XM Studios in the Sommet center a beautiful facility with a picture window that looks down over the honky tonks of Nashville. If I were to compare doing a show in this studio to driving a sport’s car it would be like being given a Lamborghini to drive for the evening – it was so incredible. I got word that the fans had already arrived at the Municipal Auditorium and were planning to camp out to be in line for autographs the next morning. The officials of the event allowed the fans inside for the night because of the cold weather. I took a car over to the auditorium and headed for the basement to talk to the fans. They would have camped outside in near freezing temperatures all night long for a chance to see their favorite driver up close. Welcome to Nashville! God bless the NASCAR race fans.

Saturday
As I have done for many years, I emceed on the stage in the afternoon at Sound and Speed. I met many race fans and got to meet a good number of the artists and enjoy some non- race track time with the drivers who arrived to pitch in.

Country music sensation Taylor Swift surprised everyone in the green room by showing up in the late afternoon to just say hi. She was as beautiful as ever and twice as friendly. Everyone wanted a photo. I heard she was interested in coming to get a photo with Dale Earnhardt Junior. She performed on stage at previous Sound and Speed events and wanted to drop by in support of the event. She wore a white beret and was laid back and totally cool.

The group that I introduced on stage included Chuck Wicks who into the mainstream country music world with the hit “Stealing Cinderella,” but he burst onto the national scene as the handsome guy who was paired with Julianne Hough on “Dancing With the Stars – and who was linked off stage with her too. I had forgotten that they had a personal relationship when I asked if he’d do dancing with the stars again – he replied (on stage) that he’d maybe consider it with a different partner. I said, “Come on, Julianne Hough…wow!” Later I told him I hoped talk of DWS was cool…and he was as nice as can be, saying, “Naw, no problem it’s all good.” Nice guy.

Danielle Peck was in the country group that I introduced on stage– amazing that a lot of these artist began writing music at 5-10 years of age – similar to the age the race car drivers on stage with them were beginning their driving career. I got a kick out of her – her personality was just as big as her talent. It’s refreshing to meet people like Danielle.

Just before I went on stage, on the steps heading up to emcee, I ran into the guys from Fast Ryde (“That Thang”) singer-songwriters James Harrison and Jody Stevens. They told me that I was “wearing” it –loved what I picked out for the event. Ha!. I hear they may be coming to a track near you soon for anthem singing. I kind of saw them as the Kyle Busch of Music City. They got some push back from “That Thang” (a butt song) for another junk in the trunk song. They didn’t seem to care about the push back, in fact I got the idea that they maybe even liked it. Up on stage we went – you gotta love being in a totally new environment and meeting folks from a completely different perspective. I laid back on the stairs so that the guys wouldn’t see my back side on the way up the stage, lest I have anyThang extra on the backside. LOL.

Inside reflections/stories/catching up:

Former NASCAR great Ernie Irvan was at Sound and Speed and I spent some time catching up with him in the green room. He’s never been better. He and wife Kim moved to Charleston – but Ernie says they Miss North Carolina and are going to move back as soon as they can. He moved there to support his wife’s desire but seemed thrilled that now they both want to move back.

Kerry and Renee Earnhardt were at Sound and Speed and we had fun catching up behind the scenes. I wish more folks could meet Kerry and Renee –in person as they are an incredible couple. Kerry is the kind of guy who is extremely sensitive to others feelings and he’s about the most down to earth person I know and I’m not just counting racers. I hadn’t seen the two of them for a while so it was fun to sit around in the green room and laugh, which we did. When he arrived, Kerry left the green room to go say hi to the show car drivers out in the main arena area. He did this on his own – said they had driven long distances to get there and that he wanted to go meet them. That’s just like Kerry. The show car drivers were beyond thrilled that Kerry Earnhardt would come talk to them – almost speechless. People still come up to Kerry and, because he’s an Earnhardt, just want to hug or touch him. When I spilled a cup of coffee, it was Kerry who went to get the napkins, helped me not worry about the stain on the leg of my jeans and helped me figure out how to get it out. I asked him where he got that sensitivity – he smiled and said honestly, my dad.

Kyle Petty took to the stage at the Ryman Auditorium and sang several songs he had written himself. Earlier in the day he told me that he had not practiced much with the band and that he wasn’t sure how good it would be. He was definitely being humble because the man is a born entertainer who rocked the house. Watching him perform I wondered how the Opry band could play with him as if they were regulars when the songs were songs written by Kyle and they had very little practice time. He described the process for me in which the band sat with him and in a matter of minutes while he played, they assigned number categories to each cord and in minutes sounded as if they were a band who had traveled with them for years. Amazing, that’s why at the Opry no matter who was performing the band and the artist had the big musical click. “The King” Richard Petty who has been a part of this event in years past was not in attendance this year.

Michael Waltrip said on stage that he wasn’t trying to make a fashion statement with his calf length coat – he was just trying to keep warm. Fans told them they loved his new hair cut (short) and he told them how excited he was to be heading to Dubai to race. Waltrip told me he was thrilled to meet Hank Williams Junior in person back stage at the Opry.

Dale Earnhardt Junior seemed to enjoy the visit to Sound and Speed this year – and, as always, got a lot of attention from fans. One thing struck me as I stood in the green room and a local media person, accompanied by his son approached Junior for a photo back stage. The boy was about 12-13 years old and had long hair that swept around and covered his eyes. Junior was kind in posing with the boy and his dad for the photo, even when the first take didn’t happen. Junior had his arm behind the kid for the photo. I was standing behind them and noticed as he patted the kid on the back after the shot, as if he understood what it was like to be a 13 year old kid back stage with his dad and in that awkward stage of life. For a guy who gets so much attention you could just sense how nice he was to the kid, making him feel comfortable. I know it’s a small thing but to a kid that age it means a lot. These sorts of things never show up in print or on camera but when you’re there back stage you notice them. Even the country music stars wanted photos with Dale Junior.

NASCAR (racing) News Notes from Sound and Speed:
Here are some comments from some of the talk from drivers at Sound and Speed that I thought you’d like to read:

MORGAN SHEPHERD/on 2010 and a new car coming into Nationwide and how that affects him: “…..We operate with a very small amount of money. The race fans help us. Of course, Tony Stewart helped us last year. He won’t be able to do that this year. He bought us tires and all. We’re going to go out with the same goal of going and making every race. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. So we’ve got the will, and we’ll find the way.”

ELLIOTT SADLER/ on the possibility of going back to blade spoilers, doing away with the double yellow line at Daytona and Talladega, and any other changes that might be coming down the pike?
“Going back to the spoiler, if that happens, I’ve heard the same thing as you have, I would be happy to see that as a driver. It will give us more vision, especially on restrictor plate tracks and things like that. So I think it will help as far as the racing is concerned.
As far as the look of the car, I think it will bring some identity back to the manufacturers, identity back to NASCAR racing. It looks more like a NASCAR if it has a spoiler on it. So when I heard the news that might be happening, I was

Dale Earnhardt Junior ( Hendrick Motorsports)/ Do you think Danica Patrick is going to struggle? Do you think she’s going to adapt? Will it take her long? Are you the perfect person to be a car owner for her because you understand the attention she’s going to be getting?
“Yeah, I’m kind of going into it with an open mind. I mean, it’s going to be an uphill battle for her to do well. But I think she can. She’s a racecar driver. She should be able to adapt and do whatever she needs to do.
We’re going to give her the best tools we can. I don’t know if there’s a perfect owner or whatever. But, you know, we’ll just do the best we can for her. She has been in a car. Pretty happy with how that’s gone. Pretty happy with what we’ve seen. I love her attitude. She gets along great with Tony, Jr. All that stuff is going better than planned. We just need to get to the racetrack. I mean, she’s been around Daytona. Went to Orlando tested. Need to run some laps.
I hate testing myself. But, you know, the policy as it is now, it’s difficult for someone like Danica to come in and really try to understand the cars, get to know them. We’re going through that challenge, trying to help her as much as we can.
But feel pretty good about it. I don’t know what she’ll do. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to sort of guess on how her performance will be or what her stats will look like. We’ll just have to see.”

MIKE SKINNER (Camping World Truck Series)/ With your record of poles in the Truck Series, Mike, what is the secret to being a good qualifier? What gets you up on the wheel? What do you do different that’s better than other guys? What does it take to make one perfect lap?
“I think the desire and the willingness to scare the hell out of yourself for two laps comes into play. You know, when they came out with I call ’em restrictor plates, but we run a spacer plate under the carburetor now that takes about a hundred horsepower or so out of the engine. We got to making so much horsepower, these trucks got to running over 200 miles an hour at some of these places. They’re just not aerodynamically sound for that. NASCAR slowed us down to keep us from flying up and hurting somebody in the stands or hurting ourselves.
Nowadays, these big tracks like Texas, Atlanta, places like that, a few years ago, there might have been only three or four of us in the field that was crazy enough, brave enough, stupid enough, I’m not really sure which, to try to hold it wide open all the way around of the racetrack. I’ve been blessed to have the ability to be one of those people that has been able to do that.
Nowadays, everybody holds it wide open qualifying. So there’s no real advantage to being a great qualifier any more in this day and time, except when you get to places like Martinsville, Virginia, Bristol. Anywhere you have to lift off the throttle, then it’s really still important. But a lot of the racetracks we go to now, everybody runs wide open.”

MIKE SKINNER Have you pleaded with NASCAR to take the taper spacer out of the Nationwide and Camping World trucks and cars?
“Yes, we have. I have to say that I would hate to be in NASCAR’s position because it’s a double edged sword. They take those plates out of there, we put a truck up in the grandstand somewhere and harm our fans, now we’ve got a really big black eye in our sport. You know, we go out, a couple drivers lose their lives, we’ve got a huge black eye.
It’s a double edged sword. I totally understand NASCAR’s position, but I do think we need to put recovery and acceleration back in these things. I still think that the Camping World Truck Series is the best show in NASCAR as far as the time of the race. It’s about half the distance. We race every lap from green to checkered. But we’re still the third tier series, and that’s okay. I enjoy it. I enjoy it just the way it is.
I would vote for putting the horsepower back in the motors, though.”

Aric Almirola (racing in the 09 Phoenix Racing car in Sprint cup in 2010/Aric, is that a full season in ’10?
“Well, I talked with James (Finch) about it. I mean, his plan is to go full time. Still working on a lot of things. At this point, when I got off the phone with him just the other day, it was, We’re going racing, and the rest will take care of itself. Hopefully we can get everything situated in the next couple weeks. But, yeah, I mean, we’re going to go to Daytona. I’ve asked them, Are we going to race, start and park? What’s our plan? He told me, Just get in and drive it. So I’m excited. I’m looking forward to 2010. I’m ready.”

Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip/on the possibility of NASCAR eliminating the yellow line rule?
Bowyer: “It’s a mistake. The yellow line, like he said, at the end of the straightaway, there’s 10 foot of runoff over there between the yellow line and the grass, say. You get down there and you don’t get back up before the bank starts again, you’re just gonna launch up there. You’ll turn right, wipe everybody out.
At least the yellow line keeps everybody on the bank as you get into the transition of the corner. I think it’s important. It’s a good rule. It’s tough. Like David Ragan or whoever it was that lost that race, you know, got blocked down there. Probably if that yellow line rule wouldn’t have been there, he would have won the race.
It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s a good cause. It’s done its job, what it was intended to do. I hope they keep it.
MICHAEL WALTRIP: By the way, that was my idea, too, the yellow line.

————————————————–

That’s just some of the conversation with the drivers and behind the scenes at ‘Sound and Speed”. I’ll catch up with you later. I can’t wait to go back racing in 2010.

Enjoy the day!

Claire B.

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Live at The Glen August 7, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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Map of New York highlighting Schuyler County
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Hey!

Sorry I’ve been behind on the blog a bit. Between traveling to the Midwest for Chicagoland and Indy and my sister’s wedding and being away for almost a month and then the rain delay at Pocono and shortened week I have fallen behind. I’m looking ahead to getting back to normal now.

Speaking of which here’s my broadcast schedule for this weekend at Watkins Glenn.

(Friday, August 8) – LIVE AT THE GLEN
“Dialed In” 7-10 EST

(Saturday, August 9) LIVE AT THE GLEN
“Dialed In” 2-3 p.m. EST (Leading into the start of the Nationwide Race the Zippo 200 here at Watkins Glenn)

“Dialed In” after the Zippo 200 until 8 p.m. EST

(Sunday, August 10) LIVE AT THE GLEN

I’ll be in the booth for the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show from 10-12:15 EST and then in Victory Lane LIVE on the post race show when the Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good Sour Cream Dips at the Glen) is over for two hours after the race is over.

“Dialed In Post the Post Race Show until 10 p..m. EST
———

Kyle Busch – Rare Form!
At the Dover Test Kyle Busch Opens Up

Kyle Busch hung out with the media this week (August 4-5) at Dover during the Goodyear tire test there. He said some pretty interesting things and I wanted you to be able to read it in it’s entirety so that you could really get the full story. Here it is. Let me know what you think about what he said. I’ll catch up with you later in the day and through the weekend.

Q. You struggled with the results of last weekend. Does a week of testing like this give you a chance to regroup with your crew and get focused for the upcoming race?

Kyle Busch: “Yeah were looking forward to this weekend in trying to get back. We won here last year, so it’s something familiar here with the setup. It’s been a struggle because we haven’t hit it this year. We’ve really missed on something. Our teammate Denny has really been running strong. Joey’s been doing better too. We’re not sure what’s going on but were trying to learn here this week. It’s a good chance to get back to the race track at a track we race at and try and learn some things here. Hopefully we can have a good test here tomorrow. We did do pretty well today.”

Q. Have you enjoyed anything about this season because it seems like no matter what you do, with the fantastic finishes in the Nationwide Series, it was no consolation?

Kyle Busch: “No it’s not. I mean when you finish second a couple times in the year it’s fine and when you win a couple times it’s good too, but when you have eight second place finishes and there’s only one more guy you got to beat that day and you didn’t get it done you know you didn’t beat that guy and ultimately you finish second. Your team wants to win, you want to win. We tied a record for the most first or second place finishes for nine weeks in a row but if we could have won those races then we would have broke another record which is the most wins in a season, so its been a fun year, we’ve had a lot of success on the Nationwide side, that sides been fun. The Cup side we won in Vegas, we had a great shot to win both Daytona races this year. My birthday in Richmond, you know those are some real special memories this year on the Cup side and just lately we just can’t seem to hit it. You know we just seem to fall apart.”

Q. What if you don’t make the Chase?

Kyle Busch: “I mean I’ve thought about it. You know if you don’t make the Chase then ultimately you run the rest of the year for nothing. I guess it’s a building block for next year but that’s about it because you go to Loudon and you’re not as good as you can be there. And then I come here and I feel like this a great place to. We tested at Loudon last year and we ran seventh or eighth this time and that was better than what we were last year. Last year we had a sway bar break where we ran in the back and in Dover we had an engine failure. But testing at both of these places has been good for us to try and get ahead of the game and be ready for when the Chase starts so ultimately man we got to be in it.”

Q. A couple of weeks ago it was talked about how you needed to be a better leader and teammate.

Kyle Busch: “Well I mean Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we’re working on making progress and making some changes, but the biggest thing is and I think a lot of it is I fight myself throughout a race instead of more so fighting the car. When you explain things to the crew chief instead of just saying, ‘Man this thing is junk,’ well they don’t know how to fix junk. You know they can fix loose and tighten it in the center, you know they can fix whatever you explain, so it’s progress of not getting frustrated on the radio or whatever because it’s so easy for me to do. Because we always like to be the guy going forward and lately me’m the guy going backwards, man it’s not much fun. So it’s a struggle for me and ultimately me becoming a better leader to help take the team to the next level. So there’s a struggle in the rest of the day to try and work towards something and gather a better day out of a bad day.”

Q. How do you feel about the double file restarts at Dover being up front? Would you choose the outside or inside from the start?

Kyle Busch: “I’d probably choose the outside at Dover because you can get such a run around the top side of one and two on the outside that you can clear the guy down the back even if that guy got a good restart. Typically you know who ever takes off first can almost beat the guy to the next corner so which ever row the leader picks you hope you’re in that row because it seems to move along at least one car better than the opposite row. Double file restarts; it’s a challenge. Once you get about five to eight laps into a run then they start switching back off and its really a challenge and a pain in the neck when you’re the guys going backwards cause you know how hard those guys are going to be to pass when you go back by them. And so you got to really have a car that handles well on the short run and the long run so you don’t have to get mixed up in that mess.”

Q. Follow up on getting down to the nitty gritty. Everything requires so much stress and focus any other sport there is no reason to be in that position. They focus on that and nothing else. Talk about how maybe it would be good to just focus on one series and instead just the Chase?

Kyle Busch: “You could, but then you sort of lose out on getting at least one NASCAR championship. I don’t think it would be worth giving up a Nationwide championship to just walk yourself into the Chase. I mean for M&M’s and the sponsors on the Cup car, yeah they would certainly say it would be beneficial to be in the Chase rather than gain a Nationwide championship. But when you look at the sponsors that are funding the Nationwide side, you’ve already committed too, you can’t just fall out of the deal so it’s a tough balancing act and you know I don’t feel like our Cup effort has diminished any because of my Nationwide Series stuff. You can battle that all day long. Denny’s running decent. Joey runs better when he’s not doing it, but to me I’ve learned so much more when I’m out there on the race track then just sitting in the motor home not doing anything. I’d rather be out there and working hard and trying to win races and learning about different things. The only thing that lacks is my time to communicate with Steve (Addington) after practice. You know to just sit there and digest and cut apart practice you know just look at what we did what changes we made you know we text all the time when I’m on the planes and traveling back and forth and anyway. I call him race morning sometimes to see what he’s up to and to see what our changes are going to be. Other than that I don’t really see how we can make our Cup cars better at the race track. I mean a lot of the work has just got to come out of the shop.”

Q. How about flying at two in the morning with your schedule like that. Are you tired? Is that a problem or is that an issue?

Kyle Busch: “No, not really. The worst time we got back was at around 1 or 1:30 in the morning. It was Pocono, first race from Nashville, that’s the latest I’ve gotten back. Typically the sponsors have been gracious enough to allow me a little sleep in time so I don’t have to get up so early. I can sleep in until like 10:30. So I’m getting plenty of rest, so it might be at the right schedule but I get plenty.”

Q. Do you expect too much of yourself?

Kyle Busch: “Sometimes I joke around with other team guys that I’ve worked with in the past and they’re like, ‘Man why are you so down on yourself?’ or ‘Why are you always so upset after the race?’ And I’m like you know, I’m Kyle Busch, I’m supposed to win races, that’s what I’m here to do. I’m supposed to be the guy that’s that hardest to beat out there. But you know essentially you got to have a good handle on race cars too. You know the cars are a big part of the game. You have to have good leadership skills within yourself, good leadership skills within your crew chief and good race cars and everything. For me, I put a lot of pressure on myself to go out there and be the best. I want to be the guy that everyone says, ‘We got to beat Kyle Busch,’ and that’s the guy we got to beat week in, and week out, whatever series it is. I had that this year but I haven’t quite lived up to that name you know in the Cup Series as much as I have on the Nationwide Series and were trying to turn that around.”

Q. How is the relationship between you and your brother Kurt? Are you closer this year than in years prior?

Kyle Busch: “It might just seem that way. I get a lot of questions about him because he’s running well this year. You know last year he ran like me this year and I know he had a win here and there but he really struggled and struggled painfully. Their cars setup well and handling well, but this year they’ve done a great job at turning their program around. They’re running in the top-four in points. You know with him becoming more recognizable on the radar people ask about him more and he’s able to talk more cause he’s got the media availability every week and everything so that’s about it really.”

Q. He seems to talk very highly about you and is very supportive.

Kyle Busch: “Yeah, we both want to see each other run well and ultimately we race and contend for championships. It’s cool to have him on your side. You know it doesn’t make life easier but it makes situations easier when you can go to a guy like that for help.”

Q. Will you be in the championship race this season?

Kyle Busch: “I’m hoping so. I’m not going to say we are but we are really working hard to be in the Chase. If we turn things around and start running better then yeah were going to be in the Chase. If we keep running the way we have been this year then no we will not be there. It all comes down to performance and how you finish on Sunday and the points you get. So when you look at who’s in the Chase and who’s going to fall out, man it’s hard too look at someone’s whose going to fall out. (Greg) Biffle and Kenseth, I mean (Matt) Kenseth has been in it every year so you can’t count on him even though he’s 12th or 11th now. You know Biffle, he runs strong in these next tracks that we go to. One of his best ones is Michigan and I think he runs well in Atlanta, but Bristol and Richmond you know those other two those are our tracks. You know we run really well at those tracks. Bristol you never know what can come out of that place so it’s a hard one too.”

Q. After the race is over how soon do you say, ‘Ok. Where we are in points?’

Kyle Busch: “I mean we sort of figure it out, on my phone I can’t seem to find the website that updates it quickly enough. Typically we find out Sunday night or Monday. We just wait and see where it’s at. You know this week we gained a spot in points but we lost some ground, so that’s the most frustrating thing because when you look at the guys we’re racing, Mark (Martin), Kenseth, Biffle, (Brian) Vickers, David Reuitimann. You know those are the guys we’re racing. So when you look at who finished in front of you there was six of those seven that finished in front of us on Sunday.”

Q. What means more to you, winning races or solid points finishes?

Kyle Busch: “If you can trade a winning season for a championship season anybody would always say you want a championship season. The thing for me would just to be a champion. If you can get a winless season and become a champion then you’ve got it. Then go win all the races you’ve lost. You’ve solidified yourself, you’ve made it in the sport, and you are a champion. You might be ridiculed for having a winless season. If you go one year winning ten races a year everybody’s going to be like man you’re the greatest thing since … Joey Logano (laughter). It’ll work itself out eventually.”

Q. Are you going to have to cool your jets down in order to make it into the Chase?

Kyle Busch: “Well we haven’t been going for a win since Charlotte. We’ve been trying to just get our program back in the right direction so the biggest thing for us is to run solidly and on Sunday man I got through the mess of one of those last restarts and I got up to I think eighth or ninth something like that and I’m like ‘Whoa, ok I’ve cleared the mess, I’m settled in, let’s go.’ I got down to Turn 3 and winded it up and I don’t even know what I did. I just got in the corner and I had no grip and I just lost it. You know that took us probably from a seventh to an eleventh place finish back to a sixteenth place finish and I had to fight for that. It could have been a lot worse but it could have certainly been a lot better. We got what we got and now we got to look into going to Watkins Glen this weekend where hopefully you know if it comes down to me running second on the last lap and making a ballsy move into Turn 1 and taking a chance at wrecking myself, I can’t do it. If I was at the point situation I was last year sure I’d wreck the leader, who cares. But I can’t do it this year, I just have to ride it out and finish second.”

Q. How is that when your instinct tells you to go for it and then you’ve got to pull back?

Kyle Busch: “That’s what happens when you try to become a smart points racer. You just got to do it and to mentality do that isn’t necessarily the old Kyle Busch, but it has to be in the new. We’ve got to make a good finish.”

Q. Did the new pit road configuration make a difference this year in Dover?

Kyle Busch: “Yeah, Dover was cool last time I came here. I don’t know why I finished 23rd. I qualified better than that. The race was a decent race. I remember we got off on strategy one time but you know coming to pit road on the green flag stops on the yellow flag stops, pit road was definitely pretty nice. The new asphalt is all there and the concrete and everything. It’s a tad bit wider which is always nice and the pit stalls are longer so we can get out a little easier. Denis (McGlynn) asked me if it’d be better to make it wider yet and I’m like it doesn’t really need to be any wider. You know we go to Indy which is narrower than Dover so because now it’s a little wider and a little longer it’s good.”

Q. Where’s your monster trophy from your Dover win?

Kyle Busch: “Sitting in my trophy room. It’s there with the rest of them. I’ve got all three trophies, one from each race. I won the truck one before it became the Monster trophy. And I do have a small monster and a big monster. Whether you want to call it big brother, little brother or father and son. They’re sitting next too each other. That trophy is a pretty cool trophy. It’s really neat to win that thing. The hand can hold a real die cast and you know that’s pretty cool. I got the die cast with the car that I won here with in it.”

Q. How big is that trophy room?

Kyle Busch: “Probably about as big as this room. You know the bad thing is that when I built it I had a ton of empty shelves and I’m like ‘Man, how am I ever going to fill this up?’ I filled it up and realistically there is no more room for any trophies in there. Now they’re just starting to line up on the floor and at home I tell myself I need to build a bigger one, but when you do that you have expectations to fill it, so I guess since its been full I haven’t won that much since I filled it so maybe then I need to build a 10,000 square foot warehouse to see if I can’t fill that baby up.”

Q. What are your thoughts about how some have said that you need to focus on the Cup side?

Kyle Busch: “The plan was last year when we were winning all the Nationwide races and running
really well. The plan was initially to go full season and then I felt like our Cup stuff sort of stalled. We cut it back. I didn’t go to Milwaukee. I didn’t go to Nashville, and I didn’t go to a couple others. I missed five races and if I could have just stayed at the same average finish that I had the first 19 to 20 races I would have won the championship, by 16 points over Clint Bowyer. So when you see that and I wrecked a lot those first 19 races and I still had a pretty good window there. We thought about it and how our cars are really good and Joe and J.D. (Gibbs) said man wouldn’t it be cool to have a Nationwide championship solely JGR owner and driver points, and so I said I want to do it. I want to win a Nationwide championship. Anybody would so our cars have been strong enough and that’s why we have done it. We won six races this year. It’s been good and maybe it’s taken a little bit away from the Cup effort. I don’t think it has but were already talking about next year and cutting it back and getting our Cup efforts back up to where they need to be. Hopefully we can get it down to about 22 or 24 Nationwide Series races, just companion stuff not flying all over the place.”

Q. With the season you and Kurt had last year, did he come to you for advice?

Kyle Busch: “Well yeah a little bit. He asked about our cars. Like what does yours feel like or what is different here or there depending on whatever track we were at. I’d tell him a little bit. They hired some people to get them turned around in the offseason. You know this year we have sort of flip-flopped. I have not gone to him for advice because I know what I need in a car. I haven’t had it this year. Last year the cars were doing things that were pretty good. We had good driving cars. You know we just haven’t been fast enough this year in order to take those cars to the front. It’s funny in some of the truck races I’ve been in they are the best handling trucks I have ever had and I’m running fifth. I don’t know if it’s me that’s taking it out of our cars or what. But were definitely trying to figure it all out.”

Q. How you rate the COT now from before?

Kyle Busch: “It’s not bad, it’s not what I would have designed, it’s not what I would want to race but it’s what we got. We make the most of the effort and try and fix it and try to make it better. I think there are some things that NASCAR can do to help with. Whether that is fixing some aerodynamics, take some weight out of the right of the car to make it a little bit lighter. You know all the safety advances with the car are great but ultimately it comes down to competition. I feel like that’s how fans feel and have seen it in what the grandstands look like. If they get bored and they don’t come back to the race track you have a problem. It’s not like all of us are riding around not doing anything. So it gets pretty crazy on restarts and when you see Mark Martin blocking on restarts to try and hold position you know that you got a hard time with something. With everybody now fully concentrating on this car to make it better, not like two years ago when we were back and forth between the two cars, man that was the worst thing ever. We would drive the old car and be like man this is so great it drives like a Cadillac and we would get in that new thing and it would drive like an 18 wheeler going down the highway. It was hard to correlate between the two and now that we are in one which most of the Cup drivers are driving that one. I still drive the Nationwide so I get a taste of the old car. It’s good that everybody’s had a chance to work on that car and its gotten better. We’ve really crushed the car to make it do the things we want it to do with setup and stuff. You know now we’re just in this little box. Before you could work on things and make it better and now you’re just stuck in this little box and you’ve filled so many crutches. We have the tow, the rear-end housing, split track arms, rear ends pulled back. We’re doing everything possible with the back of the car to get the car to turn in the corner. So much that the front of the car really isn’t doing anything. That’s why sometimes some of the guys have a real problem with handling because the cars are so finicky. You know one corner you might roll this much and the next corner you might not roll as much. It changes the handling of the car so there’s a lot going on with these cars now that they wouldn’t let the old cars work.”

Q. If you could be (NASCAR President) Mike Helton for one day what would you change about NASCAR?

Kyle Busch: “I would work on the car a little bit. Like I said I think there are some aerodynamic things we can work on and change with the front end of the cars. The wing ok, I mean it doesn’t bother me. They had good intentions with it. What they wanted instead of a spoiler was that the air would hit the spoiler and go up which doesn’t allow any of the air on the car to go behind it. Which now with the wing the air has to go under it in order for a wing to work. I mean its air plane technology. They had good intentions with air going under the car to get on the nose of the car behind. But the noses of the cars are so dead because actually when you travel more you affectively lose down force. So it’s a catch 22. How much do you want to get the nose down and sealed and when you don’t get it sealed it feels worse. So you don’t know where to go that’s why a lot of people have been confused with these things so wind tunnel tells you one thing but the drivers on the race track tell you another and when you’re in traffic that tells you another thing. So I think less right side weight, you can just get some weight out of the cars, so that Goodyear has an easier times building tires. That’s not a blow to Goodyear; it’s just these cars are tough to work on for anybody. And fix the noses a little bit to add some character. A little more manufactured differences and a little more aerodynamics.”

————————–

Enjoy the day! I always want you to have the full comments when possible so that you are not depending on someone else’s take on things and can judge for yourself.

Back to the garage here at the Glen.

Claire B. Lang

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Welcome to Indianapolis Motor Speedway! July 22, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
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INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 23:  An Indianapolis Motor ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I’m one of the first to arrive for broadcast coverage of this weekends Brickyard race at IMS as I’ve been in the Midwest since Chicagoland. I’ll be on the air tonight on Sirius NASCAR Radio in the Safety Clean Suite in Gasoline Alley from 7-10 EST tonight (Wednesday, July 22). There’s something special about being on the air late at night before or after the races at tracks all across the country. It’s when the memories of past races circle around the track like the warm breeze and with every clang of a flag pole, or grounds keepers moving through the night working on the infield, even the stillness creates an aura of spectacular battles in year’s gone by. At some tracks, with a long-rich history the feeling of being at a track when the track is empty of fans and competitors and is often times dark except for the track lights is overwhelming. I can almost feel the races of years gone by come alive in the sounds of the wind at an empty track that awaits fans. It’s really something special each week.

Broadcast Schedule for “Dialed In” with Claire B Lang:

Wednesday, July 22
“Dialed In”- 7-10 EST from IMS

Thursday, July 23
“Dialed In” 7-10 EST from IMS

Friday, July 24
“Dialed In” 7-7:30 p.m. EST from IMS
Leading into the start of the AAA Insurance 200 Camping World Truck Series Race at O’Reilly Raceway Park

Saturday, July 25
“Dialed In” 3-6 p.m. EST from IMS

Sunday July 26
10-12 p.m. EST CBL in the booth for the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show
CBL in Victory Lane post race for the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Post Race Show
“Dialed In” after the Sirius NASCAR Radio Post Race Show until 10 p.m. EST

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
How Crucial Is This Weekend’s Race in NASCAR’s Big Picture?

As we head into this race weekend at Indianapolis motor speedway there’s a good question to ask the race fans. How important to you think this particular race in NASCAR’s big picture? NASCAR has always said that this sport is bigger than any one driver. Certainly history has proved that to be true over the years. That given, then the sport is much bigger than any one particular track. Some say that NASCAR can say that but they don’t believe it to be true. As always with NASCAR fans there are two sides to the issue depending on where you live, and what glasses you are seeing things through.

It would be safe to say that some bloggers and columnists are acting like the NASCAR world will fall apart if there are any issues at Indy this weekend because, well Indianapolis is sacred ground. I interview drivers all the time and in their minds, this track is special. But the question is not how special the track is — it’s – it’s how crucial is this race?

NASCAR did not have a huge Midwest presence before Indy. Before there was a Kansas or Chicago race … there was Indy. The Brickyard is unique and it’s not just like every race.

Stock cars racing at the home of open wheel racing gave NASCAR some form of legitimacy within open wheel ranks and the legions of casual race fans that understood the history of racing at Indy.

Jeff Gordon should know – he’s both a student of the sport, a team owner and has a rich history himself at Indianapolis.

Ask Gordon what the damage was, when last year’s race was ruined by tire issues….. whether the damage can be overcome and does NASCAR still need to be at that racetrack? Here’s how Gordon responds

Gordon on Indy repairing the issues from last year:

JEFF GORDON: Well, I mean, I’m certainly biased because, you know, as a kid growing up, I always dreamed about racing at Indy and thought those dreams had gone away when I was moving down south and starting my NASCAR career.

I love the fact that the Brickyard 400 happens every August or July. And it’s just a spectacular event.

I think it’s. I don’t know the financials and everything that go along with Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But, you know, to have two successful races there a year, I think, seems to make more sense than just one. But, you know, the history of the Indianapolis 500 has kept that place alive and doing so well for so many years that maybe it can sustain just one race. And I think that certainly had a lot to do with prestige and history of not only that event but as to the meaning of the Brickyard 400 when it came along.

Since then, you’ve had to Formula 1 race and now MotoGP. So there’s certainly decisions that go beyond my capabilities and depth, but I think it’s an important race. I think that you’re going to see us come out of what happened last year with the tires, you’re going to see a whole different type of race. And the issues with tires are not going to be from wearing them down to cords in eight or ten laps like last year. I’m very confident in the tires. I did the last test there and was very pleased.

So I think certainly a lot of damage was done. It might not take one race. It might take more than one race. I hope it happens and we get a chance for that to happen because the fans are supporting the event and, you know, knowing it could take more than one race to repair that. But I believe it can happen.

Q. Following up on that, Jeff, the reports are that ticket sales are pretty sluggish for Sunday. I’m sure some of that is due to the economic downturn, but I’m sure some of it is due to fans staying away because of last year’s race. I don’t think anybody would question that you guys and Goodyear have done a lot of work to try to fix the problem. Do you think the problem was remedied a little bit too late and it was only a month ago you guys declared it had been solved? Do you think there might be a little bit of lag time for fans to sort of react to realizing that, hey, this race may not be that bad and we should get tickets?

JEFF GORDON: I think some of that will build as we get closer to the race. We have seen a lot of that this year in general with the economy. I think, you know, a lot of fans are waiting it out for it could be a number of reasons. It could be their own finance issues that they’re dealing with, like so many others, basically everybody that’s dealing with something with the economy and holding off on that. It could be, you know, waiting for less expensive ticket prices and seeing if that happens later leading up to the race.

And I think, also, with Indianapolis, it’s a lot of it is what happened last year. So it might that’s why I say it might take a couple of races, at least one I’m hoping, to really kind of win back those fans that were very disappointed. And they should have been. I think we were all pretty disappointed in what happened there.

But we all had to come together to work it out, and I think Goodyear took the brunt of it. And it is not just all their responsibility. I mean, those tires were wearing out for a number of reasons and, yet, they took it and ran with it. And it took a long time, I think a lot longer to figure out what tire and what compound was going to work there.

But it took longer than I think they expected, all of us did, but they did get it. That’s what I’m happy about, is that they have found it.

Q. when Formula 1 had its tire debacle a few years ago, everybody sort of returned from that series very contrite. When they were at Indy next year, the drivers went out of their way to do autograph sessions. I know Michelin did a lot, too. Does NASCAR have a responsibility, drivers, series and sponsors as a whole, to maybe welcome Indy back into the fold this year and try to do more to reach out?

JEFF GORDON: Absolutely. Absolutely. I feel like, you know, we already have a series that’s built around that. We do so much for the fans, whether it be autograph sessions and different types of meets and greets at the track or away from the track during the week for our sponsors.

I mean, I don’t think any sport is more accessible than ours is. I think just this year in general the economy the way it is and really trying to show our appreciation for how much we do appreciate our fans and how loyal they are and avid they are and we are still getting great crowds.

Kyle Busch represents the younger drivers –and his thoughts on Indy include having watched Gordon master the rack:

Q: Do you remember when you first heard the words Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy 500, Brickyard 400? Kyle Busch: “Probably the first time I knew of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or the Indy 500, was back in the ’80s – probably ’89, maybe even 1990. Of course, the first time I knew of the Brickyard 400 was ’94, being a big Jeff Gordon fan and following him growing up in Las Vegas. When he came into the sport a few years earlier and won the Coca-Cola 600, and then carried that into the Brickyard 400, and then won that race right off the bat, that was quite an accomplishment, for sure.”
Is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a difficult track to master? Do you personally like driving there? Kyle Busch: “It’s a very difficult track to master. I’m not even sure that I’ve done it. Just racing the races that I’ve run there, I’ve finished well a couple of times. I think I’ve had a seventh and a 10th, and a fourth. To me, it has been one of those racetracks that is very unforgiving. It’s narrow, tight, not a lot of passing goes on there. It’s tough to get your car set up perfectly there, so you have to do what you can to make it the best you can. All four corners being so different, remembering exactly how to drive all four of them, and just trying to be able to be able to qualify up front and to race up front is so important there.”
What is it about Indianapolis Motor Speedway that makes it unique compared to other tracks that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits? Kyle Busch: “It’s very tight down the straightaways. You roll through (turn) one and (turn) two, and there are people on the inside, there are people on the outside, there are people in the grass, just sitting along the back straightaway on the inside. You’ve got the golf course there, and fans sitting on the hills underneath the trees. You start back up into turn three, with the grandstands going around (turn) three and (turn) four, and then down the frontstretch and, again, there are two tunnels. There’s a tunnel at the (turns) one and two side, and on the (turns) three and four side. There’s a center road that runs all the way through, and then coming down the frontstretch again, looking on both sides of you, you’ve got the pit road, which is really narrow and really tight, and the grandstands on the inside and the outside, so you’re going down a V of just people – a sea of people. Coming to the Pagoda and the media center, the way it is, and of course the scoring pylon being as tall as it is, you come down there and, if you’re leading the race, sometimes you can’t see that high, so you’re kind of wondering who is second and third, or who is behind you. It stinks when you’re running in the back because you can see yourself right there.”

——————

So how important is Indianapolis and the Brickyard race to NASCAR? The Midwest is suffering the downturn in the economy as much as any part of the country. Attendance will be affected.

Do you really think that with all the testing at Indy that fans will stay away because of last year or do you think that they will go if they want to see stock cars at Indy the one time of year that stock car racing visits the prestigious IMS.

Isn’t it possible also that fans will go to the race, even after last year’s mess to see what unfolds…to find out whether there will be more drama? We’ll see walkups – and like every track attendance will depend on the weather.

I think that Indianapolis is a key race, that stock cars racing at Indy gave NASCAR a bump in prestige and that this is an important race. Drivers feel that this one is special – because they love racing where Indy Car racing laid down so much rich history.

But how important in the scheme of a 36 race schedule – when compared to tracks in other venues? Especially now that open wheel racing has had its challenges and is smaller than it used to be.

I say that in this economy every single race is important, extremely important competition is on the line here and must be presented at the level of a national sport – at every track, every race, every venue.

That’s a question for the fans to answer. The ones who buy the tickets.

And remember – I love Indianapolis Motor Speedway as much as anyone.

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Happy 4th of July – God Bless Our Troops: July 4, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
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2 comments
Looking across the Daytona International Speedway
Image via Wikipedia

Broadcast Schedule:

“Dialed in”— 2-4:15 p.m. EST today
Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show 4:15 p.m. EST
POST Race: LIVE in Victory Lane immediately following the race

Happy 4th of July – God Bless Our Troops:

Since I travel a great deal I seem to spend nearly every other day either getting on or getting off of a shuttle at an airport.

So I’m getting on the shuttle at the airport at Charlotte and we were all wedged in the bus like sardines. As the bus pulled to a stop a young man began to literally unload the bags off the buss for several of us who were without help. We sure did not expect, nor ask for the assistance. “You are so kind,” I said to him, as I had a huge broadcast box a rolling bag and suitcase which would have required three trips off the shuttle and some massive lugging. “You must have been brought up by great parents,” I said to the man. “Thank you so much.”

“Ma’am,” he said, “I’m a US soldier,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been in.” I stopped, looked the young man in the eyes and said “Well God Bless you.” I was stopped in my tracks by his kindness and pride.

Today we stop and we thank the patriots, and young men and women who are the cream of the crop and who today, are representing us and keeping us secure around the world, or in past conflicts.

I won’t forget that young man. It sticks in my mind. I hope God keeps him safe.

Happy 4th of July!

Race Day- Daytona
Blog Thoughts – Daytona Site of Major Story Lines Over the Years

Daytona International Speedway has been the site of so many story lines over the years. Set up your computer, microphone, broadcast unit or photographers at DIS for NASCAR events and you’re sure to have cars that don’t pass inspection, penalties issued, “big one” crashes, comments from the sports owners that send reporters running to feed, a few celebrities and plenty to talk about. Think about all the major story lines that have broken while we’ve been here covering stories at Daytona. The list is long.

This weekend we’ve been on the Jeremy Mayfield watch. We’ve all heard that he’s coming to the race track – that he’ll make an appearance but we’ve not seen him. Perhaps today – and if he shows – it’s sure to be the story of the day pre race.

Here are some comments from drivers here in the garage and media center at Daytona to tune you up for the running of today’s Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup Series race:

To Kyle Busch:

Was the bottom lane the place to be tonight (after Nationwide race)? “It was and I expected it to be that way tonight. The inside lane I figured was going to be the way to go because these cars are wide open the whole time almost. I think tomorrow it will be the top. The outside lane carrying the momentum is definitely going to be the better lane.”

To Jeff Gordon:

How is the rubber that the Grand AM cars are going to put down on the track before your race tomorrow night going to affect the race?
“I haven’t really thought about it a lot to be honest with you. It’s a good question but we won’t know until tomorrow. You know this track is always pretty hot and slick and those guys run pretty much around the bottom and I don’t know, I don’t think they are going to lay a ton of rubber down. So, I don’t think it’s going to be a big issue but we’ll find out once we get out there. You know this place is kind of strange for putting rubber down on the track anyway it’s not like most tracks because the radius of the corners is so big and its fairly abrasive and what wears tires, I can’t really say that it lays a lot of rubber down and if it does, it won’t take us long to get the Goodyear rubber laid in there.”

To Juan Pablo Montoya:

DO YOU BRING THE MENTALITY OF LOOKING AT POINTS FROM FORMULA ONE?: “Point are important in every series. A lot of guys that you get in here are guys that are winning races. When you’re winning races then you can have a bad weekend. If you finish first in one and 30th in another one then it averages out to like 12th or something with the points. It’s not bad, but when you’re finishing 10th and you have a 30th then it goes to 18th or something like that. It really hurts it. If our good weekends were to be a little bit better then it would be a lot easier. Then you can say, ‘I’m going for wins,’ but we’re not.”

To Greg Biffle ( who will have to start tonight’s race from the back because he will be in a back-up car that didn’t complete a lap during Thursday’s practice sessions. Biffle’s primary car was wrecked very late in the second practice session)

Since the car hasn’t made a lap yet, when the race starts what’s on your mental check list of things to check on the car right off the bat:
“Really, in the old days, it used to be tire rubs. Do you smell smoke? Nowadays, with the bodies being templated all the same and the suspension and all that, that kind of stuff is out of the question. So, really, as long as everything feels right – and these cars, we’ve been doing this so long, we unload cars all the time, they’re brand-new, and test all day, like at Indy. We unloaded the car, tested all day and then put it back on the truck, and we had no issues. So, I feel confident. And, really, the cars are brand new and have never turned a lap at every race we bring them to – because all of the parts come off of them, and they’re all put back on, and engines and everything else. So, technically, they’re all brand new every time we unload them for the day. But, yeah, we have little issues we have to fix. Here, we won’t have that issue. But, we have a big race track, two and a half miles, so you can do a lot of stuff under caution, as long as it’s not major. If you have little issues you need to fix or address or work on, here you have plenty of time. Track position, here, is not that important until the fifth hour.”

So the only benefit lost by starting in the back is not knowing right away how the car reacts in traffic? “Yes. Yes, that would’ve been nice for this not to rain out, we qualify in the top 20, we start there and then we could’ve gotten a feel for it right out of the gate. But, there’s a part of me that doesn’t mid starting in the back so I can figure it out on my own and then start working through traffic – because, inevitably, sometime during the night, you’ve lost some track position, you got out of line and get shuffled out and end up 30th, you get back in there and race your way back to 10th. So, you’re back and forth anyway. So, really, it’s a non-issue.”

To Tony Stewart:

HOW WILL THE NEW DOUBLE-FILE RE-START RULE AFFECT THE RACING THIS WEEKEND AT DAYTONA?
“I don’t think it will, honestly. As quick as people get shuffled forward and backward here anyway, I don’t think it matters. I think last weekend was more critical on which line you were in. But I don’t think for Daytona, I don’t know that anybody is going to sit there and say well, I’m going to ride third here because I want to restart on the inside. I mean you know don’t know if you’re going to get a caution. You don’t know when it’s going to come out. Nobody’s going to plan their strategy around a caution and where they’re going to re-start with it.

“You’re not going to decide. You’re just going to try to get to the front and stay at the front. If you can do that, you’re a much better racer than I am because I can’t think that far ahead. Nobody is going to be able to plan and put themselves in those kinds of situations. You’re just going to have to take it as it comes. It’s no different than if four guys pass you on one lap, that’s where you’re at when you restart. So, nobody’s going to try to plan that and say well, I’m just going to ride third so if we have a caution and have a restart then we can do something.

To Jeff Burton:

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE HEAT AT DAYTONA AT NIGHT VERSUS WHEN THE JULY RACE WAS DURING THE DAY?:
“The cars are hotter then they were then, but we have more things to help the drivers than we did then as well so they kind of counteract each other. I like the morning because I can remember leaving here race day and being home, back in Charlotte, in time to be on the lake. It was kind of fun and coming down here was always kind of like a vacation. The teams, we would practice in the morning, the garage would be closed down by one o’clock or 12 o’clock, the way I remember it. Back then the teams weren’t so big that they’re families would come down and they would rent hotels on the beach and it was just a completely different environment, it was much more relaxed than it is now. This was almost like a race and an off-weekend at the same time. We don’t really have that atmosphere anymore. The intensity has picked up so much and it’s so competitive that there’s never a relaxed moment. It was fun to race at 10 o’clock, at the same time I think the fans like the night race a lot better. Obviously, it gets cooler as the race goes on versus it used to get hotter as the race would go on. But you would be done really so it wasn’t that bad. It is hot here, but it’s just what we do.”

I’m in my hotel room getting ready for today’s race. I’d better pick it up – much to do before my show starts over in the media center. I look forward to the heat, fireworks blowout, story lines, arguments, last-minute breaking news from the garage, fireworks filled summer 4th of July event that is the Coke Zero 400…..Let’s go racing!

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Kyle Busch’s Polarizing Persona June 9, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Controversy, Drivers.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
11 comments
Talladega, AL 4-08 arriving for nascar race
Image via Wikipedia

Note: CBL’s Broadcast Schedule this week is below this most recent blog posting

Phone Lines Light Up – At Mention of KB’s Name

The phone lines are on melt down ever since Kyle Busch did the “rock star”, share-the- trophy-with-the team smashing of the Gibson Guitar trophy at Nashville. He won the Nationwide Series Race – but he crashed the trophy- in victory lane. It was impulsive but real emotion – yet he got criticism for being over the top.

Kyle’s fans want him to push the limits, race hard and have an outside- the-box, less than vanilla persona. Non fans are livid. One thing is for sure – simply mention this racers name and the phone lines light up. Folks want to talk about and weigh in on Kyle every week.

Because I simply could not get to all the KB calls on my show the other day and needed during the pre race coverage to get on with covering racing – I asked my listeners to write what was on their minds and that I’d post a great sample of them on my site in an unbiased manner. Here goes:

From Tennessee:
I live in Tennessee and I thought what Kyle did was AWESOME! Be a ROCK STAR if you like. It’s his trophy to do with it as he wants. The people that are getting upset need to first accept that the guy is great and second, get a grip on the history of music and rock and roll. I guess they are mad because Nashville is not Rock and Roll headquarters. Cleveland, OH is. If Sam Bass is OK with it, than the rest of the world needs to take a chill pill. Way to go SMOKE!

From Jesse in Orlando:
This kid is slowly pushing the limits of what fans will tolerate in a supposedly professional racer. This kid tries every, way shape or form to irritate and unsettle some traditions of NASCAR. Plus this person is a role model for future generations, you do not teach destruction to young people. Kyle is not a rock star, he is a sports figure. We do not want children imitating this imbecile. Kyle mostly acts before the mind goes in gear, he has no conception of fallout. This causes him to be extremely dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether or not he had Sam’s or NASCAR’s Blessing. He is a shock jock of the first order and therefore will likely drive many parents to prevent their kids from watching NASCAR. Controversy only causes momentary spikes in ratings. I also take offence to the many times this is being replayed on TV. This is to give Media fuel for the fire. This will not ultimately help the TV nor Radio ratings as this gets old quickly. Too bad he doesn’t know how to lose, he would go much further if he did. Life is the judge of how successful a person is, and this kid is not winning this war. Plus there are a slew Rock n Roll figures that committed suicide because they could not deal with reality. Trophies are not expendable guitars. Ask any racer who has lost ones in fires or had them stolen. Many non-fans who viewed “Talladega Nights” thinking this is what NASCAR is all about. Not a true picture of what NASCAR racing is at all. Kyle is portraying the same image as Ricky Bobby, and I take offense. For every action there is reaction, mine is disgust.

From Mike:
KB is an idiot. If he wanted his to have a piece of the trophy order one and cut it up for them . But don’t show disrespect as many of us saw it . Yes he can drive a race car, and if I were J.D. Gibbs he would be standing tall in my office Monday morning. Idiot!!

From Kenny in Delaware:
Kyle Bush. What can be said? I’m not a fan per say but here is another case where I give kudos. The trophy smashing was a classic. I don’t think he meant any disrespect to Nashville Super Speedway or Sam Bass. He wanted his crew to have a piece of the trophy. There are many rock band guitarists who smash their guitars at concerts. I believe he was mimicking that act and also getting his team the pieces he needed to give to them. It is freedom of speech. A way to express himself. Many will agree with this act and many won’t. But it was his trophy and his choice. It was his freedom that let him do this. And it is his right.

All sports need more celebrities who are spontaneous and natural and not some puppet on a string who always do what is politically correct. This is what makes Kyle, Kyle. I applaud him for it and encourage him and others to continue on with being themselves.

From Brian in Morristown, Tennessee
Can you say “Actions detrimental to NASCAR Racing”!!!!!!!!!
Kyle Bush’s actions in winners circle should brought into question. Is it appropriate for anyone to destroy there trophy. Yes you can say it was a “rock star moment” but after that I don’t care to even see him on the track again. I’m not Kyle bashing, I would be upset without regard to whoever did something like, that it’s just un-sportsman like conduct. If he wants to do something to share with his team, why not tear up the winnings check and hand out the pieces. Yes it is his trophy, but he is a representative of the NASCAR family.

From Cheri in Kentucky:
I was appalled when I saw Kyle Busch smash the trophy at Nashville. Not only was it a trophy, it was a work of art. His “rock star” analogy does not work. When a rock star smashes his or her guitar, it is the instrument they use to touch the fans, the “tool” of their trade. And it can easily be replaced. They don’t smash their platinum records, or music awards. These are displayed proudly. Kyle smashed a trophy, a work of art, and what should have been a revered memento of his win at that track. If he wanted to emulate a rock star, he should have taken a saws-all to the car, the tool of his trade. Sam Bass’s comments after he talked to “kyle” show that he is a class act. No artist could appreciate seeing a piece of their work destroyed by a brat. I do not blame the fans at Nashville one bit for uninviting him to their local track. That young man is in need of some serious “home training.” He is a perpetual sore loser, and cannot even figure out how to be a gracious winner. His actions make NASCAR less enjoyable for me.

From Heidi in Lewisberry PA
I defend Kyle’s right under the Constitution to do what he did to the Sam Bass guitar and even found it honorable that he would keep the promise he made to his crew to smash it, so all may have a piece of the trophy. I even found it to be an entertaining Victory Lane celebration. However, at the same time the guitar was smashed, my heart cried. It wasn’t just a guitar that was smashed, it was a piece of artwork that was destroyed. I found it comparable to burning a fine piece of literature or even the flag of our fine country.

From Bryan:
Plain and simple. Sounds like Sam Bass accepted Kyle’s explanation, so that should be the end of it. What some people don’t understand ,is Kyle was just doing his imitation of Pete Townsend, and Paul Stanley. Two rock icons that were known for breaking guitars on stage. I’m sure there are others besides them, that has done it. For those who got offended, or feels disrespected.get over it! Sam is and so should you. What’s next, you gonna sue him for pain and suffering?

From Texas:
Claire no matter what Kyle does he is wrong.Tony in TX

From Bob in Bedford, Texas
I was delighted to meet you a couple of years ago at TMS. I wanted to share my disgust about Kyle Busch’s destruction of the beautiful Gibson. I am a guitar player and own some beautiful Martin acoustic instruments. I am sure there are thousands players like me that are NASCAR fans and will NEVER have anything but disgust at his wanton destruction of a beautiful instrument made more special by the artistry of Sam Bass.

I sort of admired Kyle for his skill but now realize he is so far removed from the fans that he has no regard for this valuable instrument. I guess it just shows what happens to these kids when they become millionaires before they reach 21. I don’t buy the stupid excuse that he wanted to share it with his team.

A pox on his house.

From Kevin In Fort Myers, Florida:
I think that KB is a good driver but he is immature! very immature!!
I thought that the guitar smashing was disrespectful for the sport/sam bass/and the tn speedway
He would have finished better at pocono if he wasn’t such a punk at Nashville. Karma!
Kevin House

From Alberto in Nazar, Texas
I sent an email last year about Gordon blaming Jr when he got beat by Kyle Busch- just so you know…..let’s talk about what’s happening now. Brace yourself. I hear a lot of phone calls about Kyle that scares the hell out of me- the state of mind of the callers is what scares me. Yesterday I blew my top when I heard a lady with a husband and 2 daughters who loves Jr and Harvick complain about Kyle’s statement-so hear me out. I can’t tell you what Kyle was thinking when he said that but I’ll tell you what I think he was thinking-he was putting himself on the line to defend a friend who is going to become the next victim they are going to have with the mess with Jr. He was concerned about the crew chief that helped him out when he was driving the #5. He knew the facts -the risk-and that’s why he said what he said. So I’d like to tell that lady to spend more time teaching her daughters not to hate anybody. Being hateful to others is wrong and is not the right way to live. I am not a Kyle fan-my driver died a long time ago. And a lot of your listeners don’t know he won lots of races driving Oldsmobile #2 , Pontiac #2 and Ford #15 before he drove a bowtie product-#3. When someone put a mike in his face he spoke his peace and a lot of times they had to turn the mike off.- when he was running to his hauler trying to escape people chasing him he said “I don’t have a TV in my car”- “its just racing Man”. Kyle reminds me a lot of him. I don’t think he has to look back at anything or apologize to the Jr fans because Jr is not
winning races. If he goes and says what he feels they bitch about it-and when he runs to his hauler without talking to anybody they bitch about it. Get over it Man. This is not a beauty parlor contest-it’s just racing.

Love you and God Bless You-I listen to you all the time

From Ron in Chicago:
The very instant I saw Dumb#%& Kyle Busch try to smash his guitar into pieces I thought “I can’t believe how big of As57ole he really is! Buy doing what he did, I and many others, thought he disrespected Nashville speedway, Gibson Guitars, Sam Bass and everyone who has ever won one of these rare and beautiful guitars. I noticed that after he did that the representatives from Federated Auto Parts (the race sponsor) walked out of victory lane. I think someone should but this idiot in his place. Sure he is a great driver, but he has ZERO respect for almost everyone and everything. Why does he think his crap doesn’t stink, and that everyone else at any given race is below him. I for one, even though he is a great driver, will NEVER be a fan because it is time for him to grow up, act his age and show just a little responsibility for his actions. I say, I hope he never sells another die-cast, hat, shirt or anything else. I would really like to see M&M’s pull their sponsorship and move it to a driver that would do them proud. Kyle is just a immature BRAT.

————————-
You are either on one side or the other regarding Kyle Busch and, on this issue, there is a line in the sand and the NASCAR fans are divided. Some folks are really upset. I can understand some of that – it’s everyone’s right to have an opinion and for some – Kyle should have thought through the perception of it all even though it was his trophy.

Fans always bring in him talking to the media or not when he doesn’t win. I am used to taking the approach the drivers take – race someone as they race you no matter what he does to anyone else and Kyle has always been fair to me and never rude, not once. I don’t run after race car drivers as the run from the track if they don’t want to be interviewed – you know that. I usually figure I’ll give the time to someone who wants or needs the exposure at that moment. If a guy is too mad to talk – it means that he is so mad he doesn’t want to talk. I think I get the picture. Sure everyone wants to hear what he might say.

Kyle has admitted himself that he is a sore looser and indeed he is – even he admits that. Way too much sometimes it seems but how do I know what motivates him to be up on the edge? Does racing so many races in so many series keep a guy up on it emotionally to the point that keeping the edge prevents him from handling not winning in an appropriate manner? I wonder.

Point is – it doesn’t matter what Kyle does –appropriate or not – people want to talk about him. He gives us fodder plenty of times to discuss his actions but even on a quiet week for him – I mention his name related to qualifying or practice and the phone lines light up. It’s wild to see. Do folks want him to misbehave so they can talk about him? Do fans desire that in a sport?
I’ll post more of these later – I am just getting unpacked from Pocono. I’ve not posted for a while -but have now caught up on things and will be back on the blog regularly.

Broadcast Schedule This Coming Weekend:
Dialed In with Claire B. Lang at the following times:
Wed. June 10 –“Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Charlotte, NC Studio
Thursday, June 11 – “Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan
Friday, June 12 – “Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan
Saturday, June 13, “Dialed In” 1-1:30 EST LIVE from Michigan leading into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 200 in Michigan
AND Saturday “Dialed In” 4-8 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan leading into the Meijer 300 Nationwide Race in Kentucky

CBL Pre and Post Race:
Sunday, June 14th -Claire B is in the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio booth for the Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race show which starts at: 10:15 a.m. EST
Claire B will be in Victory Lane LIVE after the race and “Dialed In” will follow the post race show two hours after the race is over until 10 p.m.EST.

Time to unpack!
Enjoy the day.
Claire B

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Kyle Busch- Formula 1? February 27, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Drivers.
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Talladega, AL 4-08 arriving for nascar race
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INSIDE THE MEDIA CENTER (Friday Feb 27th)

Kyle Busch came into the media center today and everyone wanted to know what he thought of the though to going to F1.since the new F1 team to be based out of Charlotte mentioned his name. I thought you’d like to read exactly what he said:

Do you have any thoughts of running in Formula 1 anytime in the near future?

“I have not been talked to, no. I don’t know if (Jeff) Dickerson (business manager and spotter) has or not. I toss the idea around — it’s definitely something I wouldn’t shoot down but I don’t think it’s the right time yet in my career and where I’m at. I’m happy with where I’m at. And, obviously the focus here is to go for Nationwide and Cup wins and championships and compete for championships – try to dismantle Jimmie (Johnson) off the top of the thrown so we have to work on that. It’s something that I’d love to give a shot at one day. Toyota gave me the opportunity to go over there last fall and do a test in Fiji (Japan), but we weren’t able to get there. Hopefully one of these days maybe I’ll get a chance to drive one and see if I’m any good at it.”

Did you ever think F1 was something you could do and was it ever on your radar?

“It was never on my radar, no. Open-wheel stuff wasn’t but it’s something that I wouldn’t mind trying. I wouldn’t mind trying IndyCars and running the Indianapolis 500 or Formula 1. It’s not quite the time for me to do that yet. I’d like to – if I could win a championship here in the next two or three years then I wouldn’t mind going over there and doing that, trying it for a few years and coming back. I think I’d still be young enough that if I could win a championship by 25, go run Formula 1 for a few years, be back by 28. I still have plenty of time left to run in NASCAR. It’s just what I see but a lot of things would have to work out for that to happen and you’d have to be guaranteed a spot with a team to come back with. That’s not always possible.”

Do you think your love of racing (always likes to race a variety of vehicles) is why you might look at driving a Formula 1 car?

“It’s just trying other things — doing something different. You kind of probably get dull sometimes and that might be why you see guys make moves from their teams. Granted Jeff (Gordon) has been at Hendrick forever and Kenseth and Biffle have been at Roush forever. It’s just a different form of racing, it’s a different auto sport. (Juan) Montoya looked to be like he was doing that. He went from CART to — I don’t know if he went to IRL or not — but then he was in Formula 1 for a while and then he came back and ran NASCAR. I think it’s just racers want to race different things all of the time and see what it’s like.”

Claire B

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California and Auto Club Speedway Weekend February 18, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agree or not?

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

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

Thanks for listening.

Claire B

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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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BREAKING NEWS- Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards Probations! August 27, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, NASCAR.
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Hey! Well penalties are out on the Kyle Busch – Carl Edwards post race bumping. I thought that I’d post them right away. We’ll definitely talk about this today (4:00 EST) on “Dialed In”

KYLE BUSCH, CARL EDWARDS PLACED ON PROBATION FOR NEXT SIX RACES

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 27, 2008) – NASCAR announced today that it has placed Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards on probation for the next six races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of their on-track incident last Saturday at the conclusion of the race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

——–

Ok talk about it amongst yourselves and either email me at insidercbl@aol.com or join me on “Dialed In” today and we’ll discuss it on air. By the way – what the heck does probation mean? Anything?

Claire B

June 15, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, Trackside.
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Race Morning POSTcard – Michigan International Raceway

Driver’s Meeting:
Pit Road Speed: 55 miles Per Hour
Race: 200 Laps: 400 Miles

Race Director David Hoots gave the drivers and crew chiefs the basic rules and procedure announcements. At the end of the meeting – there was one question – from Mark Martin on the yellow line and exiting pit road. “All four tires (must be) below the yellow line past the exit of turn two,” David Hoots said, adding “Happy Father’s Day Everybody, Tim will you lead us in prayer please.” The call for prayer always ends the driver’s meeting.

The basic name visitors at the drivers meeting were execs from the big American auto manufacturers who are based here in Michigan.

Today, in addition to praying for all fathers and for a safe race, silent prayer was also extended to the weather that rain holds out and that we get this race in today. Keep your eye on the storms coming our way.

Kyle Busch and Ron Hornaday – Doubt a Penalty is Coming
It does not look to me like NASCAR will issue penalties related to the “conversation” that occurred between Ron Hornaday and Kyle Busch after the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series race here in Michigan on Saturday. NACSAR says the occurrence must be pretty blatant before they step in. Even if he’s aggressive in their eyes, sometimes NASAR lets the garage settle itself down and the drivers work it out on the track. They may pull a driver aside and tell him that he’s over the edge and needs to settle down. That can even happen without the other drivers or media finding out. Hornaday went to look for Busch here yesterday- and the two had a heated discussion. It does not appear that NASCAR sees anything that would warrant a penalty. If NASCAR does not tell Busch to settle down – I’m hearing that a driver or two may use the opportunity of the next short track race to (without being blatant) settle him down just a little themselves. It’s standard procedure in the garage. This could come back to bite him when he really needs it. Time will tell. It seemed to me as if Kyle didn’t crash Hornaday on purpose as much as thinking that he could pull off a spectacular move that he could not. Maybe overconfidence in that situation rather than blatantly trying to take Hornaday out. I do know some fans think it was on purpose.

Ron Fellows in the 01 at Sonoma:
Dale Earnhardt, Inc’s John Story confirmed that DEI is putting Ron Fellows in the 01 car at Infineon Raceway this coming week.”We have 100% commitment in Regan (Smith) and the job that he has been doing. But we felt like when you have the rare opportunity to work with a guy like Ron Fellows whose definitely a top five guy in this field at Infineon you know we gotta take advantage of that opportunity and see if we can go out and score maximum points. It will help us all -it will help the 01 car and it will help Regan personally to make sure we get a little cushion between us and 36th place.

Happy Father’s Day:

Happy Father’s Day to my own father, John Bennett who I would be so enjoying spending the day with in Madison, Wisconsin – if I was not living the dream covering NASCAR and traveling the country on the circuit. My father taught me that you really can achieve anything if you are willing to work hard for it and he worked hard his entire life to support the family – sometimes too hard. Now – is his time to kick back and I’d love being at home today ’cause he makes a mean turkey on the grill and he’s a very smart man. Sweet! My father was a silver medal winner in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne – but with or without that we are always proud of him. Happy Fathers Day dad!

Enjoy your fathers – Enjoy the day!
It should be a great race!

Claire B

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