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Welcome to Indianapolis Motor Speedway! July 22, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gordon on Indy repairing the issues from last year:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Items of Interest.
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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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Richmond International Raceway May 1, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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Richmond International Speedway
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David Poole’s Space Reserved

I arrived with a heavy heart in the media center here at RIR and here in the deadline room there is a spot reserved for David Poole – noted motorsports journalist who passed away this past week. A sign reserving his spot and his photo sits where he would be covering this event….right in front of the news conference stage. It just seems not right. Yesterday’s funeral was very classy, short and sweet, and left many of us with our own private thoughts and aches at the loss of our comrade. It was not about slide shows and music and speeches and tributes, it was about scripture and listening to the minister and private soul searching. I have many thoughts deep inside about all of this and like the rest of us am dealing with it both on the air but also much of it alone inside. It’s sad because this media group needs to support each other into healthy living which is tough on the road and I wish we could have gotten David to get healthy. It’s really tough because David was such a presence….but this is a tight group and it seems already that in the rough and tumble world of the media corps, press room here at RIR it seems that the media group is just a little bit warmer, with hugs and support to each other this morning. It’s a competitive group but where it really counts we are family.

Here’s my broadcast schedule for this weekend:

“Dialed In” – Today Friday, May 1
from the end of Sprint Cup Series Qualifying to the start of the Lipton Tea 250 Nationwide Series race (Qualifying starts at 5:30 p.m. EST)

“Dialed In” – Saturday, May 2
2:00 p.m. EST until the start of the Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show (Sprint Cup Series) at 3:45 p.m. EST. I’ll be anchoring pre race from the booth (Steve Post in garage) and in victory lane LIVE after the Sprint Cup Series Race on the post race shows.

I have gotten so many emails at ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com and it’s been such an insane week with the passing of David Poole that I have fallen behind answering…but am catching up and if you have not gotten a reply yet – I will definitely do that. I really appreciate your emails at the above address and will have more blogs from the media center this weekend. For now….I want to say thanks for your support and friendship. It’s been a tough week. I do know that David would have wanted us to move on to the racing as a way to get our minds off of the loss we all feel.

Claire B

PS – There are so many people grieving each in their own way. Some are not on the air public- editors, PR people, co-workers, track workers, officials. Some like Jim Utter from thatsracin.com worked with Poole for ten years..sat next to him, ate dinner with him, worked on story budgets and stories with him week after week, traveled with him and knows him better than anyone. He is holding up and putting on a brave front. We all had inside jokes….and our own private talks and things we teased Poole about and laughed with him about in the many hours we waited out rain delays that the next guy – could never know – could never understand or put into his own words. We will all deal with this in our own way….and we’ll get through it together in our own way. We need to support each other as much as we can right now.

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

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
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American NASCAR drive Richard Petty meeting Ge...
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I wanted to let you know all that is going on here at Daytona and send you a few thoughts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Claire B

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Talladega Superspeedway Blog October 5, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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C l a i r e B Lang
Talladega Superspeedway
Sunday, October 5, 2008

After Qualifying on Saturday Dale Junior talked to reporters about how the Hendrick cars will work together in todays race. How many of you think that he and Jeff Gordon will be able to give and take enough to draft together? So many times plans are forged in pre-race conclaves and motor coach chats here at Talladega and they never materialize. Here’s exactly what Dale Junior said about working together here at Talladega today.

“Me and Jeff are thinking about going up front and running hard. I think the 5 and 48 are going to be patient and try to take care of their cars a little bit better in back so me and Jeff are going try to go up there and try to learn to work together.

CBL: So how’s that going to work.

Junior: “I think it will work good. We got to make it work.”

Dale Junior said that he and Gordon working together here at Talladega is simply an issue of figuring out who does what who with perhaps a pinch of who is better in the mix.

“Well we both think we’re the best. So that is really where the conflict comes in,” Junior said (laughing). “Whose supposed to be out front and who is supposed to be helping who. You know what I mean. But when it’s all said and done we both know we’re going to try to win the race. We do a pretty good job and we get better at it every time we do run at the plate tracks of working together a majority of the race the first 75 percent of the race and ah he knows what he’s doing and he can be a great help to you and you just got to – you get what you give and sometimes maybe I’m not as giving as I should be in certain points of the race but that’s how it works. You tend to get help from the people that you helped earlier in the race you know not just somebody out of the blue.”

CBL: Did you guys talk about it prior to this race?

Dale Junior: “We just said we’d try to go up there and run hard and try to learn how to work together and do a better job and enjoy working together instead of being so competitive.”

I’m headed out to the garage…back with more in a few. Wanted to post this first.

I’ll have another post pre race so stay tuned.

Good morning !

Claire B

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