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Krissie Newman Co-Hosting “Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang from Michigan June 10, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season, Fun Stuff, Live Show.
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1 comment so far

Pit Road Pets – Show Thursday Night 7-10 EST SIRIUS NASCAR Radio

Krissie Newman has agreed to co-host “Dialed In with Claire B. on Thursday night from Michigan International Speedway. Stay tuned for some wide-open, kick back and have fun for a good cause radio time! From the minute Krissie came on the circuit and married Ryan Newman she’s been one of the most well-liked wives out on pit road. The team guys love her cause she’s fun, she’s honest, she’s smart and she’s using all of those talents to help make a difference for animals. She’s also helping Tony Stewart build his new house, so even the boss man likes her! The racing community has rallied around the cause that she and Ryan selected to lend their time to and the second edition of the book “Pit Road Pets” featuring the stars and fans of NASCAR will be featured in a special autograph session at the track this weekend.

The Photo Shoot!

Photographer Karen Will Rogers took her camera equipment on the NASCAR road and behind the scenes to capture the love of the NASCAR community for their pets. In some cases she went to the homes of NASCAR personalities, and in other cases she captured them behind the scenes with their animals at the track. Fans were included in the camera shoot and featured in the book as well. What resulted is a close up look at NASCAR, through the eyes of the pets that they love.

The Radio Show! “Dialed In” Thursday, June 10th.

Krissie will be in studio at the track to co-host the show Thursday night (June 10th) which will feature a guest list of NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs and media people who appear in the book, telling stories about their pets and the shoot. The show will be packed with guests and good times in support of the book and the autograph signing on Friday evening.

The Autograph Session:

An A-list group of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, crew chiefs and their family members will participate in an autograph session at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, June 11 from 6-8 p.m. in the speedway’s Budweiser Acceleration Club.

The autograph session is open to fans that purchase the “Pit Road Pets:The Second Lap NASCAR Stars and Their Pets” . Fans can buy the book at the Ryan Newman Foundation’s display tent located near the Kids Zone in the New Holland Fan Plaza. Fans that have already purchased the first or second editions of the book may also bring their copy and participate in the autograph session.
The session is limited to 400 fans and passes will be handed out Friday beginning at 10 a.m. at the Ryan Newman Foundation display tent following their purchase of the book. The Newman’s and others will sign copies of the Pit Road Pets book and one other additional item per person.
Scheduled autograph participants are as follows and subject to change:
Ryan and Krissie Newman
• Kasey Kahne
• Clint Bowyer
• Marcos Ambrose
• Martin Truex Jr.
• Max Papis
• Kyle Petty
• Regan Smith
• Casey Mears
• DeLana Harvick
• A.J. and Lynne Allmendinger with dog Misty
• Aric Almirola with fiance Janice Goss
• Chad Knaus (Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief)
• Steve Letarte (Jeff Gordon’s crew chief)
• Tony Gibson (Ryan Newman’s crew chief)
• Darian Grubb (Tony Stewart’s crew chief)

The Book:
The newest edition of the book will be on sale from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, June 11 for $24.95 each. Books can also be purchased at Newman’s trackside merchandise trailer, the MIS gift shop located in the track’s administration building or online at http://www.ryannewman.org. Proceeds from book sales during the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 race weekend will benefit the Michigan Humane Society.

Check out some of the behind the scenes shots with SIRIUS NASCAR Radio host Claire B. Lang and dog Dakota Rose that did not make it into the book…..

IMG_3429
Photo Credit: Karen Will Rogers
Pit Road Pets The Second Lap – NASCAR Stars and their Pets

ClaireBLang
Photo Credit: Karen Will Rogers
Pit Road Pets The Second Lap – NASCAR Stars and their Pets

IMG_3171_2
PHOTO CREDIT: PHOTOS BY Karen Will Rogers
RYAN NEWMAN

And it’s on to Michigan! Quick Turnaround for Fans and Teams! August 12, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
Tags: , , , , ,
3 comments

Finally arrived after massive delayed flights and a closed runway at Charlotte’s airport back at home at 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday night. That was ok because it was after a great race with tons to talk about with you all. I received much email and am going to post some of the notes I got from you below as well as some conversation about the race at the Glen.

Tomorrow, it’s off to Michigan and I am hearing that there is no chance of rain in the forecast there. If that changes or if anyone hears differently – please don’t tell me. We’re due some sun at MIS and for the race fans. God bless the race fans who braved lightening and weather and banded together under the grandstands and then resurfaced on Monday for the Sprint Cup Series race at the Glen.

I also wondered this – what about the fans at home who watch on TV. For fans who traveled to the race, and the teams and drivers and the traveling group that is NASCAR the week was thrown off a bit by a second rain delayed race. How does it affect those of you who are at home watching on TV and scheduling your TV time and weekend around watching racing? Did any of you take off another day to watch the race? Email me: insidercbl@aol.com

Here’s my schedule for the week/weekend on air: Check claireblang.com for updates and also check out my column in Challenge Magazine at most all Pilot truck stops across the country. America’s truck drivers are the kindest and most compassionate folks ever – I’ve gotten to know them over the years on satellite radio and this column is a chance to give them something special.

Claire B.’s SIRIUS NASCAR Radio “Dialed In” SIRIUS NASCAR Radio – Channel 128 (Best of SIrius on XM Channel 128) schedule this week:

Wednesday, (tonight) August 12
“Dialed In” wth CBL- 7-10 p.m. EST

Thursday, August 13
“Dialed In” with CBL 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan International Speedway

Friday, August 14
“Dialed In” with CBL 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from Michigan International Speedway

Saturday, August 15
“Dialed In” with CBL -2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST LIVE from MIS leading up to the start of the Nationwide race – the Carfax 250 at MIS

Post Race: “Dialed In” with CBL after race until 8:00 p.m. EST

Sunday, August 16

CBL in the booth for the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show LIVE from MIS 10:15 a.m. -12:15 p.m. EST

CBL in Victory Lane LIVE and on the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Post Race show for two full hours after the race

Followed by:

“Dialed In” wit CBL until 10 p.m. EST Sunday night breaking down the race post the post race.

That’s my schedule for the week. Here (BELOW) are some of the emails that you have been sending me this week. You all are very good…raising some great points and bringing up good issues. Keep sending them on at ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com

Thanks.

“Dialed In” MAIL BOX….. The glenn
Posts to ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com (Claire B)

Hey Claire,

Can u check on something for me? I am trying to figure out why
Stremme was not penalized for running over his front air hose on the
last pit stop. There was even an official standing right there, and I
do not think the rule has changed, has it?

Thanks.
Hey: Thanks for the note. I checked with Kerry Tharp with NASCAR who contacted David Hoots – race director. Here’s your answer:
Referenced 9-15 P in the 2009 rule book: (…when a car completely runs over or under its air hose or over any other equipment within its assigned pit box, the driver may be instructed to return to the car’s assigned pit box for inspection at the direction of NASCAR officials …)The two key words of the rule are “completely” and “may” be penalized. Not in Rule book, the official has the discretion to not make the call if only a part of the hose is clipped or left remaining

The above interpretation of the rule was applied in this particular case involving the No. 12 car

Claire

the people that keep saying Kyle bush need to change are crazy….i have raced from my 5th birthday and i am 58…2nd place is first looser….this crap about being happy with 2nd or 3rd is dumb….1st is the only winner …i think he is great he cant say what you want to say so dont say anything…..m&m mars candy is the only one that counts and Joe Gibbs
say he see a different Kyle….these dumb people they complain should just shut up…..Kevin harvick is saying what it takes to get his team to let him out of his contract….he just a cry baby i can remember when he was the one running all over everyone……again everyone leave Kyle alone …..he is the best driver all around in nascar now

David Watkins

Response: Hey David. Thanks for the email. David I agree —he won’t live with second. But I think winning championships requires that you cannot let that throw you or your team off when you finish less than first. It takes being solid no matter what the issues or the day —-I don’t criticize him for his spirit I LOVE that. But I do think to win a championship he has to find the right balance between the total and complete all consuming desire to win and being up on it and not letting it get to him. It think he knows that and is working on getting there. It’s a tough edge of the razor to find. Thanks again.

Claire B

Hi I missed your show all this week————-sorry———–. What was your opinion of the #11 not getting the same penalties as the #7 and #12? Also about the # of free passes a driver can get. I don’t think that any driver more than 1 lap down should get a free pass. Everyone is bragging on the #48 for making up 3 laps. They didn’t make up anything it was given to them. Once again the no reason for cautions that you know I hate played a major role in the race. I don’t mean it changed who won, but it did allow several teams to get far better finishes than they should have had. A good example was the #12 hitting the wall ,but kept going and they immediately threw the yellow flag. I looked hard ,but could not see anything on the track,nor did TV say anything about anything on the track.Have you ever thought about the advantage a team like the #48 last week has getting 3 lucky dog passes in a row. They get a lap back which everyone knows ,but think of all the extra time they have to make changes to the car that other teams that are good enough to stay on the lead lap don’t have. Just another way that NASCAR in it’s infinite wisdon effects the outcome of a race. thanks jim in fl.

Thanks Jim. I grilled series director John Darby on this topic on air on “Competition Wed.” on “Dialed In” after Pocono. I’m sorry you missed it. I am going to try to get the tape and transcribe it so that you can catch up on what he said. I’ll try to do that as soon as we have a race weekend that is the normal length. I am slammed to get to Michigan tomorrow. Maybe should have gone directly to Michigan from Ithica huh?Hey, maybe can transcribe it on the flight. Will work on that and will post it here as well. NASCAR basically said that the #11 wasn’t malicious although hard racing and they felt that the 7 and 12 were in their eyes after seeing tape. Debris cautions we can and do debate every single time they come out. Like you I want to see what they are. Three lucky dog passes – sometimes those work in your favor sometimes they don’t. I will try to get that tape done so you can read discussion with Darby on all this. Thanks for the email. My opinion – we have a complicated sport with strike and ball calls….we’ll be debating them until the cows come home. Some I agree with some maybe not so much. I do think that NASCAR tries to be fair with the calls – and depending on which driver folks like opinions are varied. It’s part of the sport – that will never change.

Hey thanks for the email.

Claire B

Hi Claire,

I thought you might get a kick out this. It was in the Press and Sun Bulletin (Binghamton, NY paper). It’s not the headline of the story for the nationwide race, but it was the first sentence of the story. “Marcos Ambrose out Kyle-Busched Kyle Busch.” I thought it was clever.

David Romanowski

David: Thanks Loved it. To the rest of you keep sending headlines from your area. Good stuff.
Appreciate it David.

Claire

Claire,

I don’t dislike Kevin Harvick. He is a great guy and a hard racer and I like him. I’m not extremely upset about him saying he didn’t want to bother going back out (at Glenn)….but I am extremely disappointed.

You asked what we would think if the roles were reversed and it were Jr. Well, I think Jr has shown time and time again that he is not like that. He is known for staying in it to get everything he can get…every position…every point…even if he does not actually gain anything in the end…he always tries. Jr is having just as bad of a year as Harvick is…if not worse. I know he is under much more intense pressure….yet he still handles everything with class and never gives up. He gives his team everything he can give them. He has awful luck and I know he’s frustrated but he does not use that as an excuse to give up.

Just like today. His brakes went out and he wrecks…just bad luck every week. Yet, he still tried to go back out there. From what I gathered through e-mail updates(I was working) today, he did not gain any positions but at least Jr still tried. Everybody gets frustrated and has a bad day and you want to throw in the towel. But you can’t give up…and i’m damn proud to say my driver Dale Jr never gave up!!!!….that means a lot to me as a fan!!!!!

Jennifer in SC

Jennifer – I guess I try really hard when someone says something about a driver to change names with another driver (any driver from Gordon to Earnhardt to Bowyer to anyone else on the line up) and see if fans would say same thing. I guess sort of like a fairness meter. I do it all the time….I am sure not implying that another driver would have said that. The drivers who came out of the care center all banged around were kind to stop and talk after that. I appreciate whatever a driver says at that point and if he’s frustrated I guess that would be the ultimate of frustration. Some fans said they thought Kevin was saying he didn’t want to go out there to be crashed by someone not as experienced at road courses again…..perhaps so. It seems like he was just so frustrated. Not sure that works in anyone’s favor. Read rest of emails below. I got a lot of them. Fans are passionate about Harvick.

Claire B

I am not worried about Kevin Harvick at all Claire. I believe he was just fed up with this car, this race, this entire season.. It has been devastating for him, his team and the whole organization. That interview culminates the feelings of all the guys and girls on that 29 team, and probably the 31 and 33 teams also. But they don’t give up and they didn’t either. The team worked on the car, and Harvick got in the car and drove it as hard as he could until he couldn’t anymore. So there are no worries for this huge 29 fan and there shouldn’t be any worries with the rest of us.. Don’t worry guys, he’ll be alright, maybe he’ll end up at Stewart-Haas Racing! Either way, I will support him and the RCR organization.

Thanks Claire

Lee
MS

I guess he was never a rookie.TONY TX

I was going to ask you to send the 14 around but i dont think he needs your help. he did it fine on his own. GO TONY!!

jay in nh

I think Kevin did not want to go out there and be with racers
who were over their skill level – who could wreck him again.

Joanna

Harvick is a big crybaby jerry in

When something happens like Kasey Kahne and Sam Hornish getting together and a big nasty wreck ensuing, how does the driver (in this case Kasey) block that out of his mind to continue the race and not dwell on what happened? It also seems like some drivers may be able to block it out better than others. Is this also the case?

Heidi
Lewisberry, PA

Heidi: Yea they have to. If they don’t they would make more mistakes and have “road rage” incidents that would really be counter productive. It is hard to think of how these racers don’t have more “road rage” since they are so ultra up on it to do what they do -so much more competitive than most of us to get themselves to the edge of speed like that. It’s pretty amazing. But most of them that attain championship status have the ability in the car to keep that in check and find a focus spot that keeps them that way. Good point…yes. you are right. Thanks for the email good point.

Claire B

Hi Claire B.
Have they made any changes to the run off area in turn 9 i don’t remember the crashs being that violant there…Now they hit hard and get spun right out into the race traffic…I see its still grass if they haven’t changed anything they need to…
Randy Henry
Old School with an Attitude
Go Martin Truex Jr….KICK ASS AND TAKE CAR NUMBERS
glad everyone is ok in the kandy kahne I can destroy half the field wreck.. Hornish and Gordon in particular took huge shots—-nascar busted jr for speeding….im in shock

Claire:

Jeff was just on ESPN and they asked him why JJ was so much faster
than the other three. Jeff said he just wasn’t aggressive enough in
qualifying. But he also said that Jimmie and Chad had been working
hard on their road course program. He said they’ve found some things
on the car and after tinkering with the car, they seem to have found
something that works in the COT. Yeah, and tinkering is probably the
right word. Jeff said they had hit on something like he and Ray had
back in the ’90s. Hmmmmm.Technique? Are you kidding me? Nah- it just goes back to that same old twosome for JJ: he’s the luckiest person on the planet and he has
Knaus for a crew chief. How good would his “technique” be without
Chad’s black magic? I’m sorry; Duchart is copping out.

Ann from Indiana

Ann- you are really such a Jeff Gordon fan and I’m sure that he’s thrilled to have folks like you who would go to war for him. I told you that that 48 team had been consumed with energy about doing well at this road course. I think there is some merit in What Doug said….and remember he’s unbiased across all the teams. While the drivers were looking for speed the organization said it’s also about technique. I can tell you that that is exactly what Marcus Ambrose told me when he was on the air with me. He said the technique on these road courses can make such a time difference on every turn –it’s hard to put it into words how important that is and how different it is between drivers at these road courses. Remember the COT is a factor here too along with the driver. I agree with all – it’s a mix.

Better luck for your team this weekend Ann.

Appreciate the emails always.

Claire B

hey CBL it sounds like you guys are having a blast in the stuido 1 question for ms sprint cup what is the weridest victory lane you have been in and one tip if your gonna enjoy beer enjoy it responsbly thank you guys

Collin
From Michigan

Collin THANKS. We did. I ran down during the break before they threw it to us for rain delayed coverage and got as many folks as I could. I ran into the band going up the starts to the green room and snagged them, as I did my buddy Jim Utter in the deadline room and Miss Sprint Cup etc etc. I want the rain delayed coverage to be as full of what is going on at the track along with calls as I can because I want you to feel as if you are there. Your note made me want to work harder and gave me energy to do that thanks.

The wildest one so far –well NH with the lobster is right up there. Rain moved victory lanes tend to be insane. I’ll have to think back. Will do so on flight to Detroit.

Thanks you are so kind. It’s great to cover NASCAR for folks who appreciate it. like you. Appreciate your taking the time to write.

Claire B

Hi Claire,

Great Race for Marcos Ambrose nice to see him get another win. These races have been great with the double file restart, I hope Nascar keeps it going. Going to be a great race for the chase and chase.

Of Course Kyle Bush still cries, thought he was going to step on his bottom lip (post race interview) and have to go to the care center. IF Kyle had made the move Marcos did, he would say “that is racing, he just can’t handle it” if it is a great move on him….it is time to pout and cry.

Don’t you want to be at the Bush Thanksgiving table if Kurt makes the chase and Kyle don’t? Wouldn’t you really want to be there if Kurt won the Championship and Kyle don’t make the chase. Wait would Kyle even be there or would he still be off pouting. HE would probably have to go to Jeff Dickersons house so he can tell him how great he is and rock him to sleep….lol…

Have a great day, hope they get the race off today, hope Kyle has something to pout about tonight. I think guys are finally standing up to him, and doing to him what he does to them. He doesn’t like payback or people to race like he was.

Gene Burkhart
North Port, fl

Hey Gene: Thanks for the email….Yea thanksgiving at the Busch house would be fun any time! I do think the boys support each other more than it shows in the media or on live TV. I think they wanted to establish their own identities at one point so they are not always hanging on each other in public view but I think they wish the best for each other and are closer than it looks. If I get to their house for Thanksgiving ever you’ll get the first report LOL

Thanks for the email. Great to hear from you.

Claire B

idiots! this has nothing to do with the West coast!! l had to miss race at Calif spdwy because of rain,should l blame it on the East coast?

Boy if that isn’t a good point. Can’t we all just get along? Or like the clip I have from Ryan Newman, “World Peace!” On to Michigan……I do wish the races were earlier. I was driving from WG to my hotel Monday and it was still light out….better for the fans better for everyone.

Better get my suitcase out of the truck and turn it around for leaving tomorrow so gotta run.

Thanks for the email. Loved it. Sign your name next time ok? Or do you think the East Coast will get you?

Can’t we find some middle ground people?

Claire B

That’s it for now folks – I really do have to go. Thanks for the emails to insidercbl@aol.com. Can’t wait to see what unfolds at Michigan. I’ll be live there tomorrow.

Enjoy the day

Claire B. Lang

Michigan: Brian France Media Chat about GM and issues of the day June 14, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Items of Interest.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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Greetings from Michigan International Speedway
NASCAR CEO Pre-Race – Manufacturer Cuts, Economy, Four Team Limit, Best Racing in the World, Most Loyal Fans In Sports

It’s a beautiful day pre-race in Michigan. There’s so much to talk about leading into today’s race. I wanted to get a quick post up from the chat NASCAR CEO Brian France had with reporters in the deadline room shortly before the race started. Here’s the transcript – of what he said in response to questions. I’ll have more to tell you when the race is over..for now enjoy the race. I’ll post tidbits when the race is over.

Take care…Enjoy the race:

(MEDIA asking NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France about issues of the day on Sunday pre- Lifelock 400)

What about the cutbacks in NASCAR from GM :

Well obviously they’re having a you know everything that they are doing – every program’s being affected and we’re no different. We were hoping to have the most minimal of the impact with their decisions to restructure their business and the details aren’t all out yet as to exactly what that will mean to us but obviously we are affected. I think our job now is to figure out how to be good partners with them. They’re trying to restructure their entire company and be a different company on the other side and for us to be a part of that and I think we will. I’m very confident that they will be in the sport for many, many years because it works well but obviously under different terms and our teams are affected that’s more than any one – the tracks have already felt the restructuring last year and now individual teams at all levels are going to feel it and that’s not the best case scenario for us but it’s the reality of where we are and we’ll deal with it.

Obviously they want to come out of bankruptcy do you think NASCAR is still a good viable model for them or other manufacturers to help make that happen?

Well sure I think we’re the best opportunity to help build a new company, sell different cars – the same cars or a combination thereof. So I’ve always felt good about that and they do too it’s just the reality of having to do a restructuring across the board and what they said is when they got done reviewing that, that there would be some hard choices and obviously these are the result of those hard choices.

Are you going to go to Detroit and talk with the big cheese about your deal and their deal?

Well we have. We’ve been talking to them all along. I went in last year -ah last fall to all the manufacturers, myself and Mike Helton and Jim France and others. We’ve been in constant contact with them – they are a big integral part of what we do and that is unchanged.

With all this uncertainty are you actively talking to companies that might end up healthier, such as Honda – the German companies?

Well we have been talking to people off and on for a long time. These are decisions in terms of a new manufacturer joining the sport that would take a long time to evaluate and actually enter. So those aren’t something that if we turned the light switch on tomorrow morning that it would happen – but of course we are the preeminent place in North America for car manufacturers to build their business with an auto racing group. So we remain that and clearly there are some companies that are going to look at opportunities that may not have even been there in the past that could be presented in the future. Now listen we’ll have our philosophical approach to that in terms of welcoming new companies in as we did with Toyota – it is under a very clear set of circumstances that manufacturers come to NASCAR to compete and that will not change.

Are there two or three that seem particularly interested or you have hopes for down the road?

Well, I am not going to name names. But we have companies that are interested in particular in developing the North American market as robust as they can. And you’re well aware as we all are that there are lots of foreign manufacturers now producing cars here in America, as Toyota did. That was part of the rationale that Toyota used that that helps them associate more with this market and we are the preeminent place to consider should a company want to do that.

Is the development of generic race cars – have anything to do with mfg support?

No I don’t think that’s the case. Although it was certainly very helpful because the costs have come down so when some of the teams are affected whether direct support or technical support in theory and it’s certainly our expectation that the new car will serve that particular problem well and those teams will still be able to put competitive race cars forward albeit not as easy and not under the best of circumstances but it certainly gives them an opportunity to stay in the game and that’s what we’re going to be working with.

Are there certain things that NASCAR can do to help the teams. Do you have to reassess some things to help these organizations and would you consider the four car team limit?

Let me say , look the four car limit is designed to increase new ownership and that remains the case. If you had seven, eight or nine teams under one place that is too daunting of a task for a new team owner to come into NASCAR. We still believe that now more than ever. The question is with falling revenues in every sports league – what are you going to do to help figure out the way forward. For us, we have the, as you well know, a huge interest in the sponsorship level we are more dependant on it than anyone else so we are affected. So for us it’s going to be helping our teams, tracks and other constituency members figure out new companies that are building their brands, new technologies. You’ve heard me talk about the green industry that will be created over the next five or ten years we want to be a part of that – the green economy – in some intelligent way – we will be. So we will be looking at figuring out like anyone in our position – how to create new opportunities for new companies building brands or services here at NASCAR because existing companies that our teams in particular have relied on are changing and that’s just the reality.

Can you ask a team that has five cars all fully sponsored like Roush to drop a car in today’s economic environment because of that rule?

We’ll listen, listen we made the rule several years ago and that’s the timing of it and it may not be the perfect timing given the circumstances but the conclusion that we want to get to is the right one and we’ve worked, listen we gave Jack (Roush) an enormous amount of runway and we’ll continue to work with him if there’s anything we can do to make that adjustment easier then we will and Jack’s aware of that.

Do you think today’s race car (car of today) has done what you wanted it to do?

We think it has and it doesn’t mean that in our town hall meeting that we had a couple of weeks ago that there aren’t some adjustments that we can make to do even better and that’s what we talked to our teams about in particular, talked to the drivers directly had them all under one place as you are all aware and that was very good for us, very effective. But listen, the new car is putting on great racing and it’s always debatable when you try something new that something is going to be better than it was before and invariably you get fair debate about that. But as things settle down and settle in and more important as the teams and the drivers get more comfortable with this car – which has been no small thing. It’s very new very different form the old car…that takes some time. That’s settling in and to the extent we can make an adjustment and we think we have some things we’ll look at and they’ll be adjustments they won’t be wholesale changes – to make this even better for the drivers. We want them to feel as great as they can about the cars they are driving that is why we had a great meeting a couple of weeks ago.

There are ominous reports of Brickyard attendance as low as 100,00 or 150,000?

No – I think that’s overstated by far. I don’t know what the attendance will be we won’t know – but we also know that people are buying tickets later -much later in the cycle. Our fans are waiting as they are all nervous – I understand that. They are also waiting a little bit to figure out if we can get the track correct which we will in terms of the tire issues we had. So listen depending on where we are we are going to have some – I would call it in the grand scheme of things – some modest attendance dips we are going to have some – and that’s to be expected and the whole country’s down.

If fans stayed away from there in part out of anger in a certain sense at least in the short term that would be understandable don’t you think?

Listen I’m not going to put my shoes in every race fan’s..that’s their choice they attend what the events they want to attend. The Brickyard is a spectacular venue for us has been since 1994 and there’s been some great racing , great tradition and that’s going to continue. Sometimes things happen where everything lines up in the reverse of what you’d like to see. That’s happened here in Michigan where it’s probably the hardest state hit with unemployment job loss and you know the idea that NASCAR can cruise around and do business in every state and not have some effect on this economy and have the sponsorship business model and be tied to the manufacturers in the way they are and to not feel that – That would be unrealistic to think that would be the case. But what I have said and I’ll say it today – When you look at it – and I look at this every day -we are doing better than most. We are not perfect, we’ve got our issues but we are doing better than most industries, most sports. We have some spots we want to improve on a lot of spots we want to improve on. But we will get through a tough time – and our fans are the most loyal in sports and we will do what we have always done which is put the best racing in the world forward and that is what is going to be what is the deciding factor long after the economy turns the corner and gets better again. Have a great race today.

(end of session with France)

……..

There is a lot of talk about a GM meeting supposedly to be held with teams this week to outline what is coming next for Chevy Sprint Cup teams as far as cutbacks. Everyone in the garage is buzzing about what might happen and which teams might be affected – how much and who would be affected the most.

Enjoy the race – it should be a good one!

Claire B

I’ll be covering details of this story and will keep you posted.

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Saturday Garage Blog:”Don’t Count Jeff Gordon Out – Ever!” August 16, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, NASCAR, Trackside, Transcripts.
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Jeff Gordon in August 2007 a...Image via Wikipedia Claire B. Lang
Saturday Garage Blog:
Michigan International Speedway – August 16, 2008

“Don’t Count Jeff Gordon Out – Ever!”

I’m here in the media center at MIS. I promised I’d post a transcript of what Jeff Gordon had to say when I asked him the questions you have been asking me on air and in email (insidercbl@aol.com) about his team’s performance which has not been catastrophic yet -but not up to tradition especially at specific tracks where his fans expect a ray of light.

As always, which is a great thing about Gordon, is that when I went searching of an answer – he was open to answering a lot of questions – and for a man who is 6th in points headed into this race I don’t think that he’s in a crisis position. “Never rule Jeff Gordon out,” is what everyone in the garage, from his teammates to his fellow competitors will say when asked and I agree. But with so many callers asking me and wondering what I think I felt it was time to go ask him. You know it’s not like me to answer for the driver -I’d rather go ask him so that I’m fair and not making up as I go along with what I think he’d say.

Jeff answered everything and it was helpful (see post below). When I told Jeff that some of the fans feel that a champion like him should be able to drive through an ill handling race car – compensating for the lack of handling despite the challenges he didn’t want to comment. That ,he said, was best reserved for the way that the team handles issues which is internally. Later in the transcript he explained why. Gordon is not the type to slam his team – nor does he want to be lectured on how to drive a race car – not by the fans and not by anyone. I don’t blame him. No one except the guy behind the wheel, least of all the well intentioned who are fans of his, or not, but have never driven a race car or his race car.

Here’s the transcript of is answers. Most of the questions were mine – other reporters standing by added some good questions……

CBL: LATELY I’VE BEEN GETTING A LOT OF CALLS ABOUT EITHER STEVE (LETARTE) OR YOUR PERFORMANCE, IT’S REALLY YOUR FANS THEY LOVE YOU BUT THEY ARE GETTING UP ON THE EDGE OF THE WHEEL, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? “You got to love them for that but at the same time it’s a competitive sport. We focus on everything from how internal communication is, how people are doing their jobs. If making a change was going to fix it then there might have been changes, but that’s not the issue. I think Steve Letarte is doing an awesome job. I feel like last week was not a great performance for us. We’ve had that happen this year. It’s just been one of those years. I believe in what we have. There’s areas where we’re looking to getting stronger and better. The fans have to just be patient and I remind everybody of what we did last year.

“We were an awesome race team last year. Had one of the best years that I’ve ever had and Steve was the guy that was guiding that ship so I believe one hundred percent in him. Your confidence gets down and a lot of things happen. Performances aren’t always there and it’s the toughest thing to rebound from that and that’s kind of the situation we’re in right now. We’re working really hard. We tested this week in Kentucky and we just continue to work hard at it.”

CBL: HOW FAR OFF YOU? THEY SAID THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE FAR OFF TO BE WAY OFF. “Not with this car. You can actually have a good car and just lose track position and be done. That was a combination of what happened to us last week. We weren’t very good there at the beginning on the long run and then we had the radio problem. We lost a lot of track position and it’s just so hard to make it up. We didn’t have enough cautions to work on the car.

“All those things contributed to the type of day we had not to mention Robby Gordon spinning me out on the last lap. My favorite part about it was Mark Martin sending me a text, he said hey man we had a tough day but its tough days that make you appreciate the good ones a lot more. You know he’s so right and I appreciated that very much. That’s the way we think and focus.”

Reporter: IS THERE ANY ONE THING THAT CAN HAPPEN FOR YOU GUYS TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER? “Again, even though we’ve been hit or miss this year, I feel like those last ten races are all good tracks for us other than Texas. Texas is a track that has been our Achilles heel and we’re going to work hard to try to fix that. When you’re looking at a deficit of eighty or ninety points going into it from the way Kyle Busch has been running this year, that’s a lot to overcome. We know we need some bonus points before we start that Chase and all our focus is on is racing hard and trying to get those wins and get the best finishes that we can.”

CAN YOU TAKE A GAMBLE OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS IF THAT WIN IS THERE FOR YOU? “No, we’re not in a position to take a gamble right now. We’re in a tricky position right now because we have one or two bad finishes where we could find ourselves very easily slipping back and not be secure going into Richmond. We want to be secure going into Richmond and so these next couple of weeks if we put good finishes together then we might be in a position to take some more risks. I say risks, it’s experimenting with things that you’re testing, its taking gambles on pit strategy calls, those types of things.”
HOW MUCH ARE YOU WATCHING POINTS NOW? “I pay attention to it. I try not to get too caught up in it because it doesn’t change how we approach things every weekend unless you have a big points lead or if you’re on the outside of the top twelve. If you’re on the outside of the top twelve you’re going for broke right now. You’re taking gambles. When you’re up front, you got nothing to lose. We were in that position last year. Right now we’re pretty much just kind of doing what we normally do which is go out there race hard, clean and put the best average finish we can together.”

REGARDLESS OF YOU ARE FINISHING POSITION, WHEN YOU GET OUT OF THE CAR SUNDAY WHAT DO YOU NEED THAT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE MAKING PROGRESS AND HAVE SUCCESS ON SOME OF THESE BIGGER TRACKS? “I think that it’s being able to get to the front. I feel like if you’re talking about us being in championship position we got to go out there and lead a lot of laps and being in contention. It doesn’t necessarily mean we have to win the race which we do need the bonus points. We need to be out front, competitive, contending for the lead and then plan the pit strategy right. All those other things have been good for us, pit stops, communication and the pit strategy. We just lacked a couple of things, track position.

“If you have a car that’s working good you could take a few more gambles to maintain the track position. If your car is not good enough then you’ve got to work on it and put four tires on it. That’s what we need this week is a good enough car to be able to stay out or take two tires and do some of those things that are paying off for those other guys.”

IS THAT MORE HANDLING OPPOSED TO HORSEPOWER? “When have we ever complained about horsepower? Horsepower is not an issue with us, not at all. Power is good.”

CBL: YOU ARE GOOD AT WEATHERING TOUGH TIMES BECAUSE YOU’VE SEEN IT BEFORE
“Yeah, as I get older, it gets a little bit more difficult. Every race, every year, is crucial and important and you want to do well and you feel like you’ve got the team capable of doing well and it’s always frustrating. It’s just how you show it. I feel like if I go stomping my feet and throwing things around here, it doesn’t make me run good. It doesn’t make it any better. So going back to the fans talking and calling in and stuff, the reason why I don’t really respond to that is because we respond to it internally. We deal with it internally, like any good business should. When you start getting into trying to explain to outsiders, it doesn’t make it any better. I only hope that our fans support me and Steve and the whole team, and I know that they are. They just want us to do good. The funniest thing happened to me in 2000. I had a fan come up to me and said you need to tell Robbie Loomis he needs to get that thing going! And I said, ‘Hey, trust me. We’ve got as much on the line as anybody.’ And he goes, ‘I’m losing a lot of money on all my bets every weekend, because I pick you every weekend.’ And that’s when it hit me how far the fans take it and why they take it so avidly for many different reasons. It could be that type of situation or it could be just that they’ve been a longtime fan and their pride is on the line. But I still promise you, we all have a lot more on the line than anybody else.”

YOU SAID YOU DON’T STOMP AROUND. IS THERE EVER A TIME WHEN THAT MIGHT BE NEEDED FOR A TEAM?
“No, I meant I don’t stomp around and throw things out here (laughter). I do plenty of that. Don’t worry. We handle things the way that I feel like is productive. And you don’t just turn the other cheek. You don’t deny what’s going on. You face it head on. Everybody handles it professionally and you can only have the type of relationship like Steve and I have, where we don’t take things personally. He can criticize me and I can criticize him and we only want to get better and know that he’s the leader of this team and I’m the best tool that he can possibly have to help make the car better. And I have a responsibility; he has a responsibility, and that’s where our focus is.”

CBL: WHAT’S COOL IS THAT YOUR TEAM ISN’T EATING ITSELF UP ON THE INSIDE
”No, we’re very fortunate in that sense. We’re not having a terrible year, you know? It’s frustrating because I know we’re capable of running better and we should be. But we still are sixth in the points. We’ve been outside of the Chase before, so we’ve had worse years. So it’s nothing that we need to start quitting our jobs and moving to other teams and all of that type of things. It’s nothing like that. And we’re fortunate that when we do have tough seasons that our guys don’t leave. We’re still able to continue to get quality people at our organization and that’s what gets us through the tough times.”

So, that’s what he’s saying. He’s cool as can be – no sense of stress or lack of confidence that the team will figure it out. I have talked with the team and they are confident that they will find the answers and rebound because that is what this team does. My guess is that they will be ok – they have too good a driver and too many resources not to get over this speed bump.

Back with more later…I wanted to get this up and to you since I promised.

Hope all of you are enjoying the weekend. The weather is exceptional here. This is such a beautiful part of the country.

Enjoy!

Claire B
MIS Saturday 3:32 p.m. EST

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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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TRANSCRIPT OF Brian France News Conference June 14, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Controversy.
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NASCARImage via WikipediaFrance Addresses Media;

“Knowing what I know now and not to compromise the investigation at all and I’m not going to do that I can tell you not to jump to conclusions about what a lawsuit attempts to say in an attempt to create some monitory reward for themselves. We’ve been down this road before and usually the facts are something different than the lawsuit and we’ll just have to let the facts come out as they will” Brian France to the media at MIS 6/14/08

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France entered the Michigan International Speedway media conference room at 1:30 p.m. EST Saturday wearing dress slacks and a shirt with sleeves rolled up. In other words – no formal suit.

He was there to address the media and take questions about the $225 million discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed last week by a former official of NASCAR in the Nationwide Series. When asked whether he came to Michigan specifically for the news conference or if he was coming to the race anyway he joked, “I always like to fly up to see you guys (media) personally, so, no I was going to be here anyway.”

Then France made a statement and opened the floor for questions.

__________________

TRANSCRIPT OF Brian France News Conference
May 14, 2008:
BRIAN FRANCE: I wanted to make a couple of comment regarding a couple of items that are in the news for us. One of the comments is in respect to a lawsuit that was filed on Tuesday and a subsequent investigation we have under way to review those claims that were made. I think I mentioned earlier in the week that the most disappointing thing to me is that we found out about the alleged claims after you did in the media via a national lawsuit that seeks a lot of money.

That’s very disappointing, because if any of those claims turn out to be accurate and have substance, we would have liked to have known about that two years ago so that we could have reacted and done something about it. It is inconsistent with anything from a policy standpoint of how a work environment for our officials should be. It is not consistent with anything – our values or what have you.
I would tell you the most disappointing thing that all of times that this plaintiff, Miss Grant, had in her time at NASCAR through diversity and sexual harassment seminars and training – where our human resources people were explaining as we always do multiple times during the year what our policy is and how the environment needs to be. Everybody signs that and understands that and abides by that.
To have never, ever raised it other than in a lawsuit is disappointing to us. Nevertheless, we have started an investigation -we’re under way. We are treating in very seriously as we would when we have these types of investigations. With thousands of employees and the nature of our business we’re going to have claims that are made from time to time. It’s not uncommon for us. We investigate every one of these kind of claims very thoroughly and we will continue to do that.

That is it on that topic and happy to take any questions
Q: There’s a story on the wire today that two of the people involved or named in the lawsuit have been suspended as part of the investigation obviously. Can you comment on that?
France: In our investigation we have put two officials on a leave of absence until we can complete more details and complete the investigation fully. That is correct. The two people have left for the weekend. (The Nationwide Series was scheduled to race Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.)

Q: Was there a meeting (Friday) with officials in the (Cup and Truck series) garages here in Michigan as well as the investigation going on in Kentucky?
France: There was. We wanted to remind everyone about our policy. Everyone should be familiar, should be aware of how to conduct themselves and their behavior. But, obviously, we wanted to make sure once again of exactly what NASCAR’s policy is in terms of behavior in either harassment or certainly in racial discrimination of any kind. That was the nature of those two reviews with our officials.

Q: What did you discover in your investigation in Kentucky that led to the two officials on leave?
France: The investigation is still ongoing. Obviously we found some violations in our policy. I would not jump to conclusions to assume that all the allegations that were made over the many months that the plaintiff made are accurate. I would be very, very cautious to making that leap of faith even if we were to take action on any official in this investigation. We might discover something entirely different that may have been going on that had nothing to do with the claim in the lawsuit but still is a violation of our policy.

That would get you in trouble with us. That’s the nature of investigations. They go on and we’re very detailed. We’re bringing in everybody that we can find to give us the information of what is going on so we can be very clear in our findings.

Q: What does this do to the relatively clean reputation the sport has had? Is that reputation sliding?
France: I wouldn’t characterize it as a sliding at all. We are a big sport with lots of participants at lots of different levels. The idea that everybody is going to act and behave perfectly is just not a reality that any of us lives in. Our job is to make sure that we have really good work policies in place and to react very swiftly if our policies are violated.

We’re going to do that. We found out about this,as you know, on Tuesday with the filing of the suit. By Thursday we were in full investigative mode. We didn’t wait. Some of these claims go back two years or longer.

Here again, it’s very disappointing that would not have been brought to our attention if these claims actually happened that the would have been brought to our attention right when they happened so we could have investigated it right then and taken any action we needed to. And it didn’t happen. It just didn’t happen. She chose to make this about money and about a lawsuit and we’ll deal with that.

Q: In the course of the investigation you’ve done over the past few days you’ve talked to supervisors that Miss Grant says she reported this information to. In your subsequent investigation after you found out about it have you found any instances where her complaints might have not gotten up the chain as far as they needed to. Do you know what I’m asking?
France: I know what you are asking. So far – she just didn’t report anything to anybody. Quite the opposite, she was very pleased with her colleagues, most of the comments that we have heard is she liked her job, enjoyed being there and liked the camaraderie with the other officials. We just have not found anyone that she reported the claim (to). Even if we have not found it yet… There’s a very clear process you go through if there is any discrimination or harassment. Everybody in the company knows what it is and they have been trained to observe it and make sure that the proper officials within the company are notified. You could pull me (aside)-any employee who has an issue can e-mail me directly or certainly go to human resources. There are dozens of ways to report such an incident and it just didn’t get reported.

Q: Will you hesitate to settle the lawsuit out of fear that it could spark other lawsuits of a similar kind?

France: We can’t comment on the developments of litigation. Lawsuits are lawsuits and we’ll deal with that within the court system.

Q: Could you tell us why (the official who filed the lawsuit) was terminated eventually?
France: We don’t divulge that information on any employee so I can’t tell you that.

Q: What does this do to the diversity efforts you and NASCAR have made? Does it affirm a perception that may be held outside the sport that NASCAR is a white guy’s sport?

France: Would we like to not have had a suit filed that makes these kinds of claims? Of course. Would we really have liked to been able to investigate it when these incidents occurred? You bet.
But we have to deal with what we have to deal with. The only thing I will say is that as all of the facts ultimately get on the table is not to jump to conclusions about what actually happened. That’s why we do investigations that’s why we do reviews. We will get to the bottom of it and hopefully nobody will jump to an improper conclusion.

Q: Brian her representation is pulling no punches in this thing at all. There was a statement issued recently where here representation said yes they (NASCAR) have a zero tolerance policy something of the line zero tolerance for women zero tolerance for blacks etc. What is your response to her representation coming out and saying those types of things?
Well, anybody can say anything that you want and hire a PR firm and do all the things that anybody wants to do and say whatever they want. That’s just completely inconsistant with anything that goes on in NASCAR. It’s not the NASCAR that we are building and I would obviously disagree with her.

Q: Brian, perception is reality, can you paint the picture that (you see) is NASCAR right now out on pit road and in the garage?
Well it’s a sport that is evolving and a sport that is reaching out in lots of different ways to be more diverse and not because it’s a socially good idea. It’s a good idea for a whole host of different reasons. It’s an American sport we need to look and feel more like America. You know the many different initiatives that we have from driver diversity where drivers are getting a chance who otherwise wouldn’t have. Crew members, internship programs, the tracks are doing an enormous amount they are trying to attract a new audience and I have helped lead it for a number of years. We’re never happy because we haven’t reached all our goals. But we’re happy with our approach, the road we’re on and what we stand for. You’ve heard me many times and you as the media you know things that were in that claim were absolutely and completely inconsistent with where this sport is going.
That was most of what Brian France had to say. I like to give it to you in full so that you can review it for yourself.
____________________________

Talk amongst yourselves on this one:
How about that NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race. Was Ron Hornaday mad at Kyle Busch or What? He ran through the fence into the garage and found Busch. The conversation wasn’t pretty. What did you see? Email me at ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com

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