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Dover Racing – Chase Race #2 – NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Weekend! September 25, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Breaking News.
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ATLANTA - MARCH 06:  Mark Martin, driver of th...
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Welcome to Dover. The forecast is part of the conversation this weekend – as is Mark Martin’s age, the chase format, the high banks of Dover, concrete versus asphalt, pit road incidents and what to do to prevent them, and partial schedules for drivers (i.e. Jeff Gordon and would he ever go part time)

Let’s start with the weather: This is one of those weekends that might be affected by rain – but hopefully we’ll be able to make it through without significant delays to the schedule and/or impact on the racing. So let’s start there:

Here’s the latest weather forecast for Dover:

DOVER FORECAST:
Sep 25 Friday
Mainly cloudy. A few peeks of sunshine possible. High near 70F. Winds NE at 10 to 20 mph.
Sep 25 Friday Night
Some passing clouds. Low near 55F. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph.
Sep 26 Saturday
Cloudy early with showers for the afternoon hours. High 66F. Winds E at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
Sep 26 Saturday Night
Cloudy with periods of rain. Low 59F. Winds SE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Significant rainfall amounts possible.
Sep 27 Sunday
Cloudy with rain in the morning. Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the low 60s.

Claire B.’s SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Broadcast Schedule:

Here’s the broadcast schedule for “Dialed In” on Sirius NASCAR Radio and for met this weekend.

Friday, Sept. 25th

“Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang 7-10 EST

Saturday, September 26th
“Dialed In” 2PM-3PM leading into the Dover 200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race
Also “Dialed In” after the race until 9PM ET

Sunday, September 27th

SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre-Race Show
10:15AM-12:15PM ET (Claire B.in Studio)

SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Post Race Show (two full hours after the Sprint Cup Race) – (Claire B. in Victory Lane)

After post race: “Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang until 10:00 p.m. EST

Now what’s going on here in the Media Center at Dover:

BREAKING NEWS: Here in the Media Center today at DIS:

Mark Martin’s Age Continues to be a Topic:

To Brian Vickers: How amazed are you with Mark Martin’s accomplishments this year?“It’s crazy to think about that. It really is. …….. Why is he still doing so good at that age? I think it has less to do with his age and more to do with the fact that he’s still really hungry. If he had won four championships, would he still be able to do it at 50? I think desire has more to do with it than age. He is still real hungry. And what he has, and is a huge advantage over any of us, is he has just as much desire, but he has a lot more experience. I think experience in these cars goes a long way. We don’t have the telemetry. We don’t have the computers telling the crew chief what to do to the car like Formula One does. I think that’s where the experience comes in. Knowing these tracks and understanding these tracks, 500 mile races. It’s easy to say it, even for a young athlete, that you gotta be there at the end of the race to win it, but it’s much harder to do it. Mark is always there at the end of the race. He’s had some problems at the beginning of the season, but most of those, were those his fault? I’m proud of him. I’m impressed. I admire him for what he’s accomplished throughout his entire career, and especially what he’s done this season. I think he’s a huge threat to win the championship. I don’t think his age hurts him whatsoever. I don’t see that as being old, me personally. But I’m not 50 yet. I might change my mind when I get that age. I think most of the time, when a very talented athlete — even a race car driver — gets to be that age, if they’re still in the sport, then they’ve probably had a certain level of success. And with that, they get, ‘Okay, well I’ve already done it. Do I really want to push myself to do it again? I’ve won four championships, or five, or six or seven or whatever.’ They probably lose a little bit of desire. Mark is hungry. You can see it. You can see it even when you talk to him. You can see it on the race track. He’s never won a championship before and he wants it bad. He’s got more experience than anybody and he’s probably in better shape than most of the guys in this garage.

To Mark Martin: ON YOUR DECISION TO SIGN A CONTRACT EXTENSION – COULD YOU JUST TALK A BIT ABOUT WHETHER THERE WAS MUCH SOUL SEARCHING INVOLVED? Mark Martin: “Really things are going really, really well. I’m having the time of my life. It’s a little long-range for my liking but for Hendrick Motorsports planning purposes, sponsorship deals and all those things it made sense to go ahead and make the commitment so they could plan longer term than just a year. I’m definitely having a blast. I’m having the time of my life and I think that’s obvious. So I was comfortable with it.”
Other topics:

PIT ROAD INCIDENTS INCREASING -SOWHAT IS THE FIX?

To Brian Vickers: Would it be safer if NASCAR penalized drivers for hitting crew members or other cars on pit road?
“Well, are they going to make the crew guy run a lap if he jumps out in front of a car? They do it. I think that in the heat of the battle — it’s tough. The last thing I want to do as a driver is hit a crew member — I can assure you. I don’t think there’s a guy out here who wants to hit a crew guy. But, when you pull in your pit box and the crew guys they get up on the wall and they’re anxious and they’re ready to go and their car is a few behind you and they jump out a little bit early and they’re watching this and they’re not paying attention to here — oh, trust me, I’ve had plenty of guys jump out in front of me. And, I’ve had guys that they have a tendency to swing way out of the box. They run around the car about four or five feet out in pit road — they’re not even in their box.”

GORDON SAYS IT DOESN’T MAKE BIZ SENSE FOR HIM TO GO PART TIME
Jeff Gordon says since he has equity in Hendrick Motorsports he doubts he’d do a partial schedule in the future because he doesn’t see where it would make good business sense for HMS. He says if he’d go to Rick Hendrick and tell him he’d like to go to partial schedule that Rick probably would allow it – but it would never be with the intention of coming back one day to a full schedule. It doesn’t look as if this is something he’s considering.

Stewart has not talked with Danica:

Tony Stewart says he has not talked with Danica Patrick since the announcement was made that she was staying in Indy Car and had signed a new contract with Andretti Green Racing – that out of a report in the Indianapolis star.

That’s it for now. More later. I’ve got to get back out in the garage.

Enjoy the day.
Claire B

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“Dialed In” Broadcast Schedule Mother’s Day Weekend May 8, 2009

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“Fast and Furious” Broadcast Schedule for Saturday Night Race Weekend!

The broadcast schedule this weekend is fast moving. Before we know it this race weekend will be over. If you blink you will miss it so get ready! Love racing at Darlington.

I’ll be on the air with “Dialed In” tonight (Friday, May 8th) after the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Nationwide Series Race until 11 p.m. EST LIVE from the media center here at Darlington Raceway.

Tomorrow (Saturday) “Dialed In” from 2-3:30 p.m. EST LIVE will lead into the start of the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race show at 3:30 p.m. EST.

Then, I’ll be in Victory Lane LIVE on the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio post race show after the Cup race. That show will take coverage up until 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

MARK MARTIN – Media Center Visit Friday:

Mark Martin just came into the media center here at Darlington beaming and talked about his decision to race full time at Hendrick Motorsports next year. He was all smiles and had his rock of a crew chief (solid, brilliant, on his focused game on the podium) with him.

“There were some things that certainly had to be clear to me. Just for example, could Alan and I communicate and get the performance together that the team deserves was one of them. And another one of them that was probably the highest on the list..is that what Alan and the race team wanted. That was paramount to me. And lastly and very important to me I wanted to make sure that I could do it.”

Martin also advised the media not to get carried away on the championship issue. “I would still appreciate if you wouldn’t write that I am coming back for one more shot at a championship,” Martin said. ” I did this because I love racing with all my heart and I love this race team and I’m having a blast driving the race car and that’s why I made the decision…”

Mark said he wouldn’t sign up for 2010 even though it’s what Rick Hendrick wanted in the first place until he was satisfied that the pairing would work.

Stay tuned for more….just getting started here today

Fast and furious – two garages and tons of stories to work on.

Enjoy the day.
Claire B

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Hello from Talladega April 24, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Live Show, Trackside.
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Hi all! Hope your day is going well. My broadcast schedule for this weekend – is as follows:

Friday (April 24) “Dialed In”
7-10 p.m. EST – LIVE from the Media Center at Talladega

Saturday (April 25) “Dialed In”
After Qualifying for the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series Race until the start of the Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series race at 2:30 p.m. EST on MRN

Then –enjoy MRN’s coverage of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 Camping World Truck Series race in Kansas after the Aarons 312

“Dialed In” continues after the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 until 10 p.m. EST LIVE from the media center at Talladega Super Speedway

Sunday, (April 26)
I’ll be in the booth for the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show for the Aaron’s 499 beginning at 10:15 a.m. EST.

Here are some thoughts on a busy Friday – after many trips to the garage:

Jeff Gordon on Aggressiveness at Talladega:

Gordon is working out the issues with his back which he told me were more of an issue at a track like Phoenix than they will be here. He was not feeling well (was sick aside from the back) last week and told me that he felt he did not give his team good feedback.

Gordon had some interesting comments on Talladega recently as we gathered to chat with him about this race:

“Things have always been aggressive at Talladega. Go back the last 15 years and show me a race that they haven’t had a big crash (at Talladega). You know their might be one or two…but this car is really almost designed for Tallladega. The way that the bump drafting happens, the aerodynamics of the car the engine package – it’s perfect for Talladega. We put on spectacular races but when you run that tight together in those kinds of packs it’s easy to make a mistake and one little mistake happens and a big crash is going to come out of it.”

“I think the one thing that I would like to see happen is that the bump drafting be a addressed a little bit more. We all hear about the warning and where the no bump zone is and it’s all the way around the track and yet we sit there and just nail one other all day long and nothing really seems to happen until some guy gets way out of shape and gets wrecked and you know it doesn’t seem to me that there’s really a lot being cracked down on that. I’d like to see that but even with that being said if all 43 cars at the end of that race one lap to go it’s still going to be a mele you know cause now it’s time to go and you are going to take the risk of being aggressive whether you get a penalty or not.” Jeff Gordon.

Richard Childress – RCR Changes:
I asked Richard Childress (RCR) what would happen if the recent swap of teams between the teams of Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears doesn’t work. He told me “We don’t have an option – it has to work – No options.” Look in the mans eyes and you know that he means business.”

Phoenix International Raceway- Rear View Mirror

Stewart’s Eyes

Mark Martin was just pulling his car into victory lane when I headed out to the grid to talk to Tony Stewart. I like Tony – and I think that one of the reasons I have never had an issue with him, even in his “tormented” days, was because I’ve always found Stewart’s eyes to be the gate to his soul and a clue to how he’s feeling. The first time I noticed this was after he won his first Championship and came to the XM Studios in New York City for an interview. I had an hour with him, and he was testy at the time. The PR team brought him in the bldg and I could see his eyes darting around the room as if he was a caged animal – he seemed to be looking for an escape and felt anything less than comfortable. I began to worry. On Impulse, I pulled him to the side and told him from the heart that I took great responsibility in interviewing him in a way that would show the fans who he really was and wanted to do a great job of being real and I needed him to feel comfortable and I felt that he was anything but, which made it impossible for me to do a good job at what I do. As I poured out my thoughts from the heart – and trust me I was scared to be so honest- Stewart’s eyes, warmed and the thaw began. He converted from a guy who wanted to escape to a guy who wanted to give me a good interview because he knew I was worried about it and wanted me to be at ease. That’s Tony Stewart in a nut shell and he’s been great to me ever since. It’s hard to imagine that Tony Stewart when you see him today.

Since then, of course, Tony has warmed in general and has done his own radio show and is much more comfortable in his own skin. But the eyes still have it with him and what I saw from Tony talking to him as he got out of the race car at Phoenix was total complete and uncomplicated pure happiness and joy. The eyes connected and he was rattling off how happy he was with his new race teams’ success. It was if he was bubbling over with excitement and for a guy like Tony Stewart who downplays the cliche question and abhors over blown story- seeking media questions from anyone – he was almost giddy. I don’t think I’ve seen Tony happier.

You don’t interview a race car driver right after he jumps out of a race car and not get a glimpse into his soul. There’s something raw about that first few moments with a man after a race once he climbs out of the car that is hard to explain. I wish that every fan could have a chance to see the intensity that these guys put into these races. It’s pretty amazing.

Later, as I finished my live reports from Victory Lane – I walked into the garage to check on the teardown. Most of the transports had left and the garage was almost empty. There was Tony Stewart standing with a group of officials in the middle of the PIR garage, with his race uniform half way undone and the top part tied around his waist, in the dark at around 1:30 a.m. EST. I first thought maybe there was an inspection issue with his car – and then I walked over and got a closer look. Tony was cutting up and beaming, hanging out enjoying the end of the race day as if he was at a local short track race where the garage doesn’t clear out and racers savor the day.

Tony Stewart is a real racer. In Victory Lane Saturday night, Stewart was one of the first of the line up of drivers to come and congratulate Mark Martin. I was standing there as he arrived and he was, again, so happy for Mark that he stayed at the stage and seemed to soak in Mark’s victory as if it was his own.

I’ve always felt that Stewart was a sensitive guy with a big heart and a hard core on the outside. I’m really happy – to see that things are going so well for him because new teams like his are so good for the sport and he’s going to be exciting and downright fun to cover his season.

Oh yea, and the eyes go completely jet black like the dark hole when he’s furious and I haven’t seen any of that directed to anyone since he began his own team.

Mark Martin Victory Lane
I’ve covered many victory lanes – and, yes, they’re all addictive. It’s a euphoria place where, for a brief hour or so, you forget about the economic crisis, the shop hours and toil, what you gave up or lost to be there, and yes, even the times that through luck, or misfortune or someone else’s dumb move you deserved to be there but were not.

Before the race as I interviewed him on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio – Mark Martin told me he was nervous and had butterflies in his stomach. As the race was winding down I recalled those comments – because even for Mark they seemed out of character. After all he’s a seasoned racer – and this was not his first rodeo. I totally got it when I was watching him take the checkered flag. He was nervous before the race because his car was that good and he wanted to not screw it up. Note to fantasy racers – when Mark worries it’s when he has a good car not a bad one.

I reflected on Mark’s win at 50 years of age, by remembering the journal that Mark kept after every race as a 14-15 year old young racer. It’s on display at his Batesville, Arkansas Ford dealership and I couldn’t get enough of reading it when I was there for his fan days. Some of the postings give a real look into the talent, heart and competitiveness of a young Mark Martin. The comments below are just snippets thumbing through the journal, race after race.

“Did alright, got 5-points $56”

“Blew up, second lap, no points,”

“Bumped others, a lot – Second in overall points”

“Everyone was too rough. Didn’t place in money”

Locust Grove: “Not a good night. Too sticky for heavy car. three points, $33.”

“Car wouldn’t run…flag man screws up, and puts #10 ahead of me in third heat race. Seven points, $9 a point, $63”

“Blew it up in the third race – had local boys to strike”

“I got run over by the #7 on purpose”

“I got the sportsmanship award. I beat Wayne by a fender”

“28 put me in the mud hole”

“I tapped him and I went around and he went crazy and ran over everything $125”

“State Championship, won pole position – ran good race with #43 for 30 laps. He had to pull out then the sob started playing ping pong with me. I got third, left mad so we were disqualified.”

In the journal Mart lists yearly totals. Here’s one: “1975 season totals- 96 races – feature races won 20, 51 firsts 32 seconds eight thirds, three fourths and two fifths.

Mark Martin learned a tough, competitive business as a child – and didn’t make much money at it to start. He became a gentleman racer and one of the most respected drivers in the garage.

Standing in Victory lane with the Hendrick #5 car covered in confetti and champagne, with the admiration of the superstar drivers in the sport , lined up to congratulate him, I thought back to what Mark put into this to be where he is today. The mud holes, the disqualifications, the times the engine blew up or a local guy went out of his way to take him out the times he made mistakes or lost despite his talent.

The challenges were there and Mark Martin persisted.

Now, he’s just getting started.

Look out!

Enjoy the day.

Claire B.

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Road Trip!! LIVE from Batesville, Arkansas April 9, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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Road Trip!!
LIVE from Batesville, Arkansas

5th Annual Mark Martin Fan Appreciation Days
Thursday, April 9th & Friday, April 10th, 2009
Mark Martin Ford Mercury Dealership, Batesville, AR

I’ll be broadcasting live tonight (7-10 p.m. EST) and tomorrow (11a.m.-3:00 p.m.) from Batesville, AR. and Mark Martin Fan Appreciation Days. Several members of the SIRIUS team will be there broadcasting live and although my schedule has not allowed me to accept the invite to attend in the past I was honored to be asked to come – and this year I was able to make it happen. Mark has been doing holding this event for a number of years now and his fellow racers will be showing up in support. My 3 p.m. show on Friday will be a repeat of the mid day LIVE show by the way.

YOUR DRIVERS -OFF WEEKEND PLANS:
AJ Almendinger: “Lynne and I aren’t doing a thing this weekend. We’ve been gone every weekend since before Daytona so this weekend we are just going to hang out around the house. Lynne has family and I have some friends coming over and we are just going to have fun. It will be nice to take a break from racing for a while. But I’m sure after a couple of days I’ll be ready to go again.”

Reed Sorenson: “My off weekend plans are pretty simple. There are a ton of things that I have to do around the house with putting in some hardwood floors at the top of the list. After that, there’s a lot of little things that need to get done. We travel so much that I just haven’t had the time to just get to work. So that’s what I plan for this weekend. Probably not the most exciting thing in the world, but it just has to get done.”

Elliott Sadler: I’m heading down to Nags Head, NC to spend some time with my wife and family. My mom makes sure that every year we spend this time together as a family. We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together each day and do most things as a family. This is also my first trip back to Nags Head since I proposed tomy wife so it’s going to be kind of a special trip for us to go back and be there now that we’re married. We also try to get out and do some deep sea fishing or play some golf. This is really just a complete vacation from racing.”

Casey Mears: NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series takes the weekend off with this being their last break until mid- July. Jack Daniel Chevy driver Casey Mears has family and friends in Phoenix so, since next weekend’s race is in the valley of the sun, he’ll head out to the desert early.

Go Karting Tonight: Tonight from 6-7:30 p.m. Burney Lamar and Trent Owens will join Toyota drivers Jason Leffler, Joey Lagano, Michael McDowell and Leffler’s crew chief, Scott Zipadelli in a little on track fun with members of the media at the Cedar Creek Sports Center in Mount Juliet, TN.

Listen- the airplane is about to board and so I gotta go. I’ll keep you posted with a blog from Batesville. Lots of inside stories from there.

Take care..enjoy the day! Oh yea and be sure to check out the new photos posted on the blog.

Claire B

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SATURDAY INDY BLOG July 26, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR.
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Two drivers have ...Image via WikipediaClaire B.log – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
July 26, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope all is well were you are at.

Enjoy the morning!

Claire B
XM Satellite Radio

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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Happy 4th of July- Big Hendrick Announcement July 4, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Drivers, NASCAR.
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Mark MartinImage via WikipediaHey all! Good morning. God Bless the troops – remember what 4th of July is really about – and God speed their safe return to America if they are serving overseas.

I arrived here in the media center at 8:00 a.m. and there was no one here. I’ts July 4th and I guess everyone figured the garage doesn’t open until 9:00 and it’s a holiday. I wanted to get in early and write you all a note and get some things done before everything starts cooking here.

The big Hendrick driver announcement will be today at 12:30 p.m. (I’ll have an update on the sports nation (Channel 144) during the breaking news update right after 12:30 p.m. – It’s funny – almost everyone in the garage has talked about Mark Martin joining Hendrick Motorsports in the #5 car -in a round about way.

Drivers on Mark Martin – as heard in the garage Thursday, July 3rd. (One day before the announcement):

Aric Almirola:

ARE YOU TRYING TO PULL THE LAST FEW PIECES OF ADVICE OUT OF MARK MARTIN BEFORE HE DOES WHATEVER HE IS GOING TO DO?
“Yeah, but I’ve talked to him about it and he is still the same Mark Martin. He’s going to be at the race track and if anything, it would almost be better because now weekends that I’m in the race car, he’s going to be in the race car too so I can walk over and grab him and speak with him for a second and ask him if his car is doing this or that or whatever. He’s been a big help for me this year with stuff on and off the race track, but I think he’ll be just as much of a help to me for the rest of my career. He’s a phenomenal race car driver and he’s taught me a lot and hopefully he doesn’t stop teaching me.

Dale Earnhardt Jr:

Q. (Question regarding Mark Martin.)
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: They haven’t announced anything yet. Mark’s a great racecar driver. He’s done a great job driving the No. 8 car this year. He’s a veteran that all the guys look up to. He’s a great tutor for the sport, for young guys. I think that anybody that gets a chance to work with him can learn a lot.

Q. (Question regarding retirement and keeping going.)
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: A lot of different reasons. You know, it’s really hard to put it down, I suppose. As tough as the schedule is, it’s pretty hard to just stop and not do nothing or do something else, I suppose.

Jeff Gordon:

Q. Is there still something you could learn from him?
JEFF GORDON: You know, I learn from everybody. But I absolutely will learn from Mark. Mark has amazing patience, but he has amazing drive and commitment. You know, you look at the shape that he’s in. You know, there’s not too many guys – I’m not saying he’s old – I’m just saying not too many guys are out there, you know, or have been out there in the past at his age that are as competitive as he is through all the changes that have gone on through cars, teams, everything else. You know, that to me is one of the many things I admire about him.

Tony Stewart:

Do you think Mark Martin is capable of winning a championship at his age?

“Oh, absolutely. There’s no doubt in my mind. I think eight or 10 years from now he will still be able to win championships. He’s just that competitive. You look at how good of shape he’s in and how good of a job he does at taking care of himself. He’s a guy that could go as long as he really has the desire to go. You’re never going to lose that talent and that ability and as long as he stays healthy like he’s been doing, he realistically could do this for another eight or 10 years if he really wanted to.”

What is inside of an athlete that makes you want to keep doing this forever?

“The fact that you have that never quit attitude. It’s hard to walk away from something. I tried walking away from open wheel racing when I started my contract with Joe (Gibbs) and J.D. (Gibbs) in 1998. I quit running midgets and Sprint cars and that lasted about five months and I was back in a car. It’s hard to stay away when it’s something you spent your whole life and dedicated your whole life to it. It’s hard to just up and stop and do something different. I think it was nice for Mark (Martin) to be able to do a partial schedule this year and catch his breath a little bit. This series takes a lot out of you with all of the obligations and testing and everything that goes along with it. For him to not run the full schedule this year I think has kind of given him enough of a chance to catch his breath and get ready to go full-time again.”

And the race fans called “Dialed In” In droves Thursday to talk about Mark Martins choice. On Wednesday – almost all the fans called with critical comments about not retiring after he said he was going to. Thursday the Mark Martin fans called to support his decision saying that they were the kind of fans that settled their thoughts a little before calling. Here are some of the emails that I received:

EMAIL:

Hey Claire,

On the Mark Martin thing, If I remember correctly, he never said retire. Just cutting back some after all the years of 36 and 37 races.
Besides, if all the so called Mark Martin fans who called in yesterday bitching and complaining about him going to Hendrick, first they should be mad at Jack Roush for not working with him on cutting back, second it’s not even confirmed as of yet that he is going to Hendrick……………..ok so we all know that, that is what’s going to be talked about tomorrow.
Shoot, the man has the right to race where ever and for who ever he wants or will hire him. Any team would be foolish not to hire hime, part time or full time.

Just my 8 cents worth.

Happy 4th to you, be safe and careful in your travels.

Were going racing this weekend……………well all right tomorrow night in the Camping World West at Irwindale. Will keep you posted on the results.

Jack
Hauler Driver
Borneman Motorsports
Send the 8 car

Hey clair i agree (fans should) lay off mark. Go jr. Send the 5 + 88 around

mitch in. Nm

Hey Claire,
Maybe the reason that they are so hard on Mark is because if you listen to some of his interviews, he always say that he loves this team or that team that he is currently on. Fans like drivers to stay with one team for alittle while. It is hard to follow a driver if there only in the car half of the races and they don’t get to see there driver all the time. My personal feeling is that it doesn’t matter. Mark Martin is a great driver either way.

With Tony Stewart it might be alittle different because it Tony decides to change teams there is a real good chance that Home Depot would go with him. Fans would not have to change that much. Maybe only the number.

Lisa in New Jersey

HEY CBL I’M HAPPY FOR MARK MARTIN HE NEEDS TO
DO WHAT MAKES HIMSELF AND FAMILY HAPPY!!
HE WILL GO OUT ON HIS TERMS AND HIS TERMS ONLY!!
SO ADD ME TO THE LAY OFF MARK MARTIN LIST!!

A DALE JR FAN IN N.C.
🙂

I would be so happy to have Mark on any time I could not cheer him on because if he won so did Theresa. That just ticked me off
Go mark
Sent from my iPhone

I’m all for what Mark Martin wants to do……..I just hope he know’s and understands what he “signs on for” since Rick Hendrick’s record shows he dumps drivers when something else better comes along……….”driver beware”.

Sandy from Georgia

Miss Claire,

I just went out to listen to your show.Now what is your opinion. Same as Mark Martin. are you glad that Bret is talking about coming back? or should he just stay retired? Mark said he was done and now he is still out there racing. Is it money or just the drive to drive? I used to like Mark But his flip floping makes me want to puke. Or does money Talk and b.s. walk? Yes i want Bret Back. He is Packer Football. But i think he should just be done and go to the Hall of Fame in 5 years.

Bill A.

Gulfport, Ms.

OK, so here’s the deal…Mark RETIRED, but then said he HAD to stick around for Jack Rousch. Then he had to help younger drivers. Then he could pick whatever he wanted. 26 races per year isn’t part-time, it’s messing up who he is “sharing” with. Eric hasn’t got any better and Regan Smith didn’t either because they never got to race. I remember “retiring” like Rusty – did you hear retire or is it just me? I didn’t pay for any merchandise so that’s not it. I am just sick of Mark doing what Mark wants to do. Who is he helping this time other than himself…
OK, I won’t bug anymore on this, but who didn’t hear retirement? Yeah, it’s his decision and it’s a bad one.

I’ll be back later after the Hendrick announcement with details here. Or, if anyone sneezes in the garage (which opens in ten min) I will let you know.

Happy 4th of July- be safe and enjoy!

Claire B

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Driver Tidbits…. June 17, 2008

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

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

Claire B
XM Satellite Radio

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

MARK MARTIN ON DRIVING FOR FREE:

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

____________________

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

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

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

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

____________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

__________________________________________________________________________
Catch some of these nuggets:

Dale Earnhardt Jr
The Role of NASCAR Villains:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the day!
Claire B