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STOP Stereotyping NASCAR Fans: NASCAR Fans and Starbucks November 13, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
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Claire B. Lang, Phoenix International Raceway, November 13, 1:00 p.m. EST

I’m sick and tired, honestly of NASCAR fans being typecast. I live my life at NASCAR tracks and I look into the stands and walk with the crowds at the races and talk to fans on the air during my “Dialed In” show and they come from all walks of life, all incomes and yes, they do drink Starbucks.

Starbucks dips their corporate toe into NASCAR this weekend – with Starbucks and Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew logos on the TV Panel of the No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Martin Truex Jr., an associate sponsorship. In addition, a fleet of Starbucks branded golf carts will be combing the PIR property passing samples of Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew.

This associate sponsorship led Caleb Hannan who writes for Seattle Weekly to blog a story with the headline, “Attention Starbucks: NASCAR Fans Might Not Be In Your Target Market.” The story featured the back of a fat, hairy race fan with the #3 carved in the hair in his back and a caption that reads, “Dale Earnhardt’s biggest fan can’t start his day without a carmel Macchiato.” Of course the caption was tongue in cheek. Caleb who admits he has never been to a race, says that the few NASCAR fans he has befriended all looked alike, “White dudes with ball caps and empty Mountain Dew bottles half-filled with their Skoal backwash,” he writes. He says Starbucks might not be able to interest most NASCAR fans in the product they sell, and refers to the fact that $4 does not describe what NASCAR’s average fan might spend on a cup of coffee, but says since they love themselves some chew maybe they can use the Starbucks cups as spit receptacles.

I read Hannan’s blog and frankly – it really set me off. So I discussed it on air and asked for fan reaction. Whew, still getting emails today, and all from well-educated, smart , non-dipping NASCAR fans who want a piece of Hannan so they can tell him how uninformed he is on the NASCAR fan base.

Three hours of calls later, one of the final calls on my “Dialed In” show was from a trucker whose daughter runs a Starbucks. He said on Sundays they drag a big screen TV over to the local Starbucks and all gather there to watch the race.

I’m sick of references to NASCAR fans as if they are stupid -because they are not. They follow one of the most complicated sports in America with mechanical issues and rules that have been created to beat out the most brilliant of engineers. I have discussed this with engineers who came over from F1 who say that the engineers in NASCAR would rival the engineers in any auto sport in the world.

According to Marketing Research the average NASCAR fans has completed a higher level of education than the average American. Now I’m not saying some fans don’t fit the perception that some of America has of this sport’s fan base…but the NASCAR fan base is a cross section.

And that cross section called in to my radio show for three hours straight last night.

Below are some of the emails that I have received. I think they speak to folks like Caleb Hannan whose father is a race fan, but who has not backed up his story with any stats, interviews, background or information. He’s simply trying to pass is one sided bias from Seattle.

EMAILS :

I think its great that starbucks is going to be on a nascar car! Like a whole lot of your listeners I am a truck driver. I drink a lot of starbucks coffee but I’m not overweight or scruffy faced although I do have long hair. Anyway I think we should take this guy 1 of those 10 cent instant coffee machines like they have at a lot of shippers! Hell the way you described that pic he probably thinks earnhardt sr is still racing!

————-

Mmm. Starbucks. Good stuff.
V-ger

————-

It would be cool if you got the president of Starbucks on
I bet they know exactly what they are doing
I think it a smart move
Two big brands makes sense to me
Eugene needs to write for mad magazine

————

If NASCAR fans stopped drinking starbucks they would have to close more stores.

Rush
Va
———–
Claire B:

I am looking forward to getting the email address for the Seattle goober. I am really going to give him a piece of my mind. After spending 5 days in the campgrounds at Talladega, a small piece is all I can afford to. In a way he’s right. I don’t drink Starbucks, but I have been known to by a double espresso or a good friend of mine, who came rushing in off the road and had to go right on the air.

Heck Claire, I don’t drink coffee at all anymore. I gave up tobacco products going on 10 years ago. Some people just feel the need to bash the NASCAR nation. I think it’s a good idea to get this clown on your show and let him find out first hand how wrong he really is.

Your friend in speed
Dennis from Missouri
—————

………………….My wife and I live in North Central Nevada though my wife is originally from the Seattle area. Being as she still has family in the area we spend plenty of time in Seattle drinking ……. yes “Starbucks Coffee“. Oh by the way our entire family are all NASCAR fans.

I find it all rather ironic. The way I see it some 80 to 90 % of the NASCAR fan base makes more annually than this guy, as well they have been exposed to more culture than this guy will ever know. I do understand where he might get this impression though as many of us toothless, barefoot, moonshine run-n heathens travel thousands of miles to camp in a parking-lot in our quarter million dollar Coaches and RV’s just to watch a bunch of cars go around in a circle.

These days ignorance is no excuse for this kind blasphemy. The NASCAR Culture is like no other and is as broad as the world is wide. For this small minded simpleton to express himself and his Starbucks Coffee as somehow better than those of us who are the fans of NASCAR is a travesty. Ultimately I feel sorry for him and his small view of the world we live in.

Thank you,
Scott
……………………….

Claire my family are huge Nascar fans from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.For the past 8 years we’ve made the 2400 mile round trip to the August Michigan race.( Driving)
I was even chosen one of their “Fan of The month” contest winners for October 2006.
Over that time we have met some incredible people. One such couple we like to call the “4 rows over & 3 cars up” people. It seems every year we park in lot 11 our friends usually show up at our car within 1/2 hour. It”s like magic. There’s a huge parking lot but somehow we always manage to find each other.
In 2007 our Nascar friends invited my wife, son & myself to come visit them in Iowa the week before the race of which we accepted. No one knew what the other did for a living & the only common thread was theirs & our love for Nascar. I was shocked to find out my friend was an Attorney at Law. The way he was dressed there was no telling what he did. Turns out he is what I like to call a “weekend Redneck”. Beer & a tee shirt on the weekend & a business suit for the rest of the week. My wife is the same way. Business suit all week & race nut on the weekend. See even Canadians can be “Weekend Rednecks” & know what Clair we love it & wouldn’t have it any other way.

……………

Hey Claire,

Now that my blood pressure has returned to normal, I would like to elaborate on a couple of items regarding this “article?” in the Seattle paper.

Firstly, I certainly sure that a corporate giant like Starbucks would not invest time or money in a venture that would not be beneficial to their bottom line. To that end, many of your callers (self included) are big coffee drinkers, regardless of profession. Therefore, Starbucks’ step into NASCAR appears to be a nature fit. Here in Canada, many of my coffee buddies are dyed in wool “Tim Horton’s” drinkers, but their passion for the sport is none the less there. These fans included fellow provincial government employees, military personnel, truck drivers (both local & long haul), CPA’s and the list could go on forever. My point is that NASCAR appeals a very WIDE portion of the population.

Secondly, if this gentleman (and I’m trying to be polite!) was to actually step-up and face the fans, he would find his face covered with egg. Tom from Texas (or was it Mike from Cali) said he would be run out of town on a rail. Frankly, I really doubt that Mark (your producer) will convince him to get on air with you and the fans.

Thirdly, for him to say that NASCAR fans would not pay Starbucks’ prices is foolhardy. You know very well how far some of us travel to attend races. Las Vegas for my granddaughter and I is approximately a 3 DAY DRIVE (that’s one way because I’m the only driver, Alyssa is only 7)! Just getting off the island (Vancouver Island) the ferry costs are about $50 + each way. Add in accommodations, meals and GAS, and this calculates to about $1000 just to get there and then home again. Then there’s hotels, meals and tickets (not forgetting souvenirs) once we get there. $4.00 for a coffee seems pretty reasonable, don’t you think!!!!!!!!!!! (Needless to say, this is a once a year trip.)

Anyways, I will get off my “soap box” and will close for now. I would, however, like to say how much I enjoy the 128 Sirius NASCAR station. On my way to work and the drive home is made far more enjoyable because of Sirius. My best wishes to all and keep up the good work.

………………

Hi Claire,

I am going to search for that journalist’s contact info to let him know how ridiculous and ignorant is his narrow minded, uninformed and insulting view of NASCAR followers. I only caught a part of your show tonight but was totally outraged. I am one more example of everything that contradicts the NASCAR stereotype: I am an Assistant Principal with four college degrees (one at the graduate level and one post-graduate), working in a community that pays $33,000+ in school levy taxes alone. My salary is obviously not very chintzy, in the 6-figure range; and I am a NASCAR nut. My car has Tony Stewart personalized plates (2 DEGA), there is a big #14 on my rear window as well as a bumper sticker proclaiming myself a “Long Island Redneck.” I own and drive a high end RV and love nothing more than living on the road and tailgating on the infield. I can mingle at any black tie affair with a martini on one night and then hang around a campfire sucking down a longneck on the next. How dare this guy suggest that NASCAR fans are uneducated and Starbucks is above us. His article does nothing more but perpetuate the stereotype of how ignorant is the non-NASCAR fan as they have not clue to how intellectually stimulating is our sport.

Thank you for this opportunity to vent. Thank you, too, for another great show!

Sincerely,
Michele
…………….

I drink starbucks am a 35 year NASCAR fan

Daland

…………………

On behalf of all humans who love Nascar I would like to invite the seattle weekly human to the woodshed for a cup of Starbucks with a lot of Happy Jack in it. Ie. Jack Daniels. Lol
Respectfully
Jeff
Grand Rapids MN
…………..

Hey claire i’am clean a trucker and a NASCAR fan i refuse to pay for coffee at truck stop but I will spend money on a STARBUCKS.Tony TX
……………

Kaleb. Put down the Seattle Best coffee. Borrow some money and buy a cup of Starbucks. Take a drink and wake up and smell the coffee. If you had been drinking Starbucks you’d be awake during the races to be able to actually write something of truth about our sport. Any new sponsor in Nascar is awsome. It even helps expand our fan base. It is the perfect TARGET MARKET for Starbucks. What we save on ticket prices compared to NFL or MLB or NBA we can buy STARBUCKS. And lots of it. Many fans already do. Don't write about things you don't understand. We have all colors and nationalities of fans. Not just white rednecks. Wake up Idiot. Why don't you go write about something more up your alley like SLUG RACING ON SALT FLATS. I really hope your computer gets a virus and melts. Sincerly a very pissed off TRUE FAN of Nascar. Chris in Montana. Thanks for letting me vent Claire B.

……………

And the emails keep coming in. I’ll post more.

What’s your take?

Claire B

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The “Slammer” will be full of NASCAR celebrities – arrested tonight! (Oct. 14) October 14, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Help Out.
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Rodney Atkins performing on December 1, 2007 a...
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Claire B.’s Broadcast Schedule – From the Heart of Racing

Tonight – a special broadcast on “Dialed In” on Sirius NASCAR Radio that is near and dear to the hearts of the members of the racing community. The second annual Jail and Bail” at the Brickhouse Tavern in Davidson, NC. will be the site of tonight’s broadcast of “Dialed In”. (7-10 EST). I’ll be broadcasting LIVE from the event to take you inside some of the fun and sincere caring that makes up the folks who work in the NASCAR garages and on the road.

The event, supported by Best Buy and the NASCAR officials right up to the highest level began when the officials who worked with 28- year-old NASCAR official Brienne Davis wanted to do something to honor her after she was killed in an auto accident in the spring of 2008. Tonight’s event will feature NASCAR celebrities being “locked up” in an effort to raise money for the Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund at the NASCAR Foundation. Country music star Rodney Atkins will be there tonight and a list of drivers celebrities and officials.

Brienne was a Universal Technical Institute graduate and proceeds from the event tonight will benefit the Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund which was created to encourage women to seek a career in the automotive industry and is intended to provide an opportunity for a qualified female student who wishes to attend one of the 12 UTI campuses across the US.

It’s also intended to honor Davis – who was smart, and spunky, respected as an official and was well liked within the garage when she was taken away too early in a tragic auto accident.

Brienne was special and she always smiled. Tonight, we’ll share some of the laughs and fun and raise money in her name. I hope you can join us in person at the Brickhouse Tavern ($10 per person) – or check out how you can pitch in on nascar.com/foundation. I hope that you can listen to ‘Dialed In” LIVE from the event 7-10 EST tonight.

NOTE: At the time of Brienne’s death this web site did a tribute to Brienne and had quotes from NASCAR officials about her and postings from you. Click here to remember Brienne and reading what was posted at the time.

Rest of the weekend CBL schedule:

Saturday night racing and a short weekend has shortened the broadcast schedule this weekend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009
“Dialed In” LIVE From the Brickhouse Tavern in Davidson NC 7-10 EST

Thursday, October 15th, 2009
“Dialed In” LIVE from LMS AFTER Qualifying is over (Qualifying begins at 7:00 P.M. EST on PRN) until 10:00 p.m. EST

Friday, October 16, 2009
An extremely short “Dialed In” LIVE from LMS from 7:00 p.m. until the start of the Dollar General 300 Nationwide series race on PRN at 7:15 p.m. EST

Saturday, October 17, 2009
CBL will be on the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Post Race show LIVE from Victory Lane after the Sprint Cup Series NASCAR Banking 500 on PRN

Sunday, October 18th, 2009
Special LIVE “Dialed In” from 11-2 p.m. featuring the drivers who will be competing in the NASCAR Diversity Combine next week. LIVE appearances but tons of young drivers competing in the combine.

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

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

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

Here’s the latest weather forecast for Dover:

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

Claire B.’s SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Broadcast Schedule:

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

Friday, Sept. 25th

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

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

Sunday, September 27th

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Martin’s Age Continues to be a Topic:

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

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

PIT ROAD INCIDENTS INCREASING -SOWHAT IS THE FIX?

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

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

Stewart has not talked with Danica:

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

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

Enjoy the day.
Claire B

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So Ready for Atlanta Motor Speedway September 3, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Drivers, Live Show, Trackside.
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Atlanta Motor Speedway

Excruciating Wait Until Saturday for Sprint Cup Drivers

It seems so unusual for there to be no track action on Friday. I get a kick out of how “on go” the drivers usually are. They can’t wait to get back to the race track and climb into their race cars. For those who have to hold their own or make up valuable and hard earned points to make it into the chase at Atlanta Motor Speedway it’s got be excruciating to wait until Saturday to get back in the race car.

Sure there are appearances and golf tournaments and sponsor events (see some of the driver appearances below) but the time will tick by on Friday – and this weekend for a stack of drivers there’s so much on the line.

Broadcast Schedule:

Sept. 3 (Thursday) “Dialed In” 7-10 PM EST
I’ll be on the air 7-10 p.m. tonight with “Dialed In”

Sept. 4 (Friday) “Dialed In” 7-10 p.m. EST LIVE from AMS
“Dialed In” will be LIVE from Atlanta Motor Speedway 7-10 p.m. EST. There will be no track activity but I’ll have a party for the listeners on air –and will be in the media center broadcasting

Sept. 5 (Saturday) “Dialed In” 2-4 p.m. EST LIVE from AMS
“Dialed In” will be on air from 2:00 – 4:30 p.m. EST leading into the start of Pep Boys Auto Club Qualifying (MRN coverage) Be sure to set your watch for qualifying as it’s on Saturday of this week.

Sept 6 (Sunday) “Dialed In” 2-3:30 p.m. EST LIVE from AMS
“Dialed In” will be on the air leading up to the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show LIVE from AMS

“Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show” – 3:30 – 5:30 (I’ll be in the booth)

(MRN’s Inside track follows –the MRN coverage of the Pep Boys Auto Club 500 starts at 6:30 p.m. EST on Sirius NASCAR Radio

Driver Appearances
A number of NASCAR drivers will be making local appearances around the Atlanta area prior to the Pep Boys Auto 500 race weekend. Below are a few driver appearances preceding Atlanta Motor Speedway’s first Sprint Cup night race:

Clint Bowyer: On behalf of Prilosec OTC, Clint Bowyer will sign autographs at the Walmart located at 11465 Tara Boulevard in Lovejoy on Thursday, Sept. 3 from 7:00 through 8:00 p.m. Two hundred tickets will be distributed at 5 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis.

David Reutimann: David Reutimann will be making an appearance at Dick’s Sporting Goods at 1855 Jonesboro Road in McDonough on Friday, Sept. 4 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.

Casey Mears: Casey Mears will kick off a month-long celebration of Jack Daniel’s birthday by signing autographs Friday night at Southside Steve’s from 7 to 9 p.m. at 715 Industrial Blvd. in McDonough, Ga. On race day, Mears will sign autographs and meet fans at the Jack Daniel’s merchandise trailer from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the Display Lot. A limited number of tickets are available prior to his appearance and issued on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Chase to the Chase – Get ready – Atlanta is going to be a doozy!
“All of them are important. No matter where you are in the points and in terms of the Chase, a good run always helps. We feel like we’re in a pretty good spot but we definitely will not take anything for granted. We want to go to Atlanta and win, just like the other guys.” Denny Hamlin

Story Line: The story of the weekend is the points position of the drivers on the bubble for the chase, or around the bubble. You can write it any which way you want..but it all comes down to this:
(Pos) (Driver) (Points +13)
8 Greg Biffle +75
9 Juan Montoya +64
10 Mark Martin +60
11 Kasey Kahne +52
12 Matt Kennseth +34
(Pos) (Driver) (Points -12)
13 Kyle Busch -34
14 Brian Vickers -39
15 Clint Bowyer -112

More when I get to the track. Beautiful day here in Charlotte NC. Enjoy the day!
Claire B

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

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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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

Live at The Glen August 7, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
Tags: , , , , , ,
1 comment so far
Map of New York highlighting Schuyler County
Image via Wikipedia

Hey!

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

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

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

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

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

(Sunday, August 10) LIVE AT THE GLEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. What if you don’t make the Chase?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. Do you expect too much of yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. How big is that trophy room?

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

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

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

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

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

Q. How you rate the COT now from before?

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

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

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

————————–

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

Back to the garage here at the Glen.

Claire B. Lang

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Welcome to Indianapolis Motor Speedway! July 22, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gordon on Indy repairing the issues from last year:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On Wisconsin! July 15, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Drivers, Sponsors.
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Shot by The Daredevil at Daytona during Speedw...
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The Chicagoland, Madison, Green Bay, Indy Tour!

I’m taking a few days off in Wisconsin – as my sister is getting married in Green Bay this coming weekend. There’s a flurry of activity here – but it won’t involve the radio. For the first time since I can remember I am not doing “Dialed In” and will be off Wed., Thurs, and Friday of this week.

I am headed to Indy early and staying in the Midwest since Chicago so I will return to “Dialed In” next Wednesday, LIVE from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I always love covering the Brickyard – it’s something special so I’m looking forward to that. Right now though being spoiled by my mom and having meals made for me instead of coming home from a trip to an empty refrigerator. Can we ever get enough of our mom’s home cooking?

The weather is so beautiful here – and it’s great for the soul to be home after so much traveling. I’ll tell you all about the wedding when I return…it’s turned into a huge affair with family and friends I haven’t seen for years and I’m so lucky that out of the blue, not knowing the race schedule, my sister picked an off weekend for her wedding, which makes it easier for my schedule. (IE: No leaving the reception to check out the race on TV lol) My sister has invited some of my friends from high school and so I’ll get to see friends that I have not seen in forever. I’m looking forward to it.

Enjoy the weekend and I’ll catch you Wednesday 7-10 EST from Indy on the Midwestern tour!

Claire B

RACING NOTES:

Danica Patrick

I still think that Danica Patrick is not coming to NASCAR. We’ll see her show up here and there. It will rouse suspicion and plant seeds but in the end, I think she knows what it would take to move into NASCAR and it’s a gamble for her. Almost everyone who knows the sport says that it would require starting out in the Nationwide or Truck series for a while….and I just don’t see her doing this at this stage of her career after what she’s accomplished in open wheel. However, stranger things have happened and it’s weird economic times in both NASCAR and Indycar. She’s a smart cookie. She knows what it would take. I know she visited Stewart Haas racing for a tour, something that was NOT kept hush hush. If she was thinking about it seriously don’t you think that it would have been a closed door visit – kept secret? I think she’s in the mix and wants to be just that- it’s smart for her at this stage-but as far as actually moving into NASCAR. I do not see it. Unless she gets an offer that she can’t refuse.

I like Danica. I went to Chicago to interview her when she announced her “Go Daddy.com” Indycar sponsorship. She was really a lot of fun and I asked her all the tough questions, like was she really the ice princess that some said she was. She laughed and the interview was easy, as she answered everything I threw her way openly and fairly. She was actually very easy to hang out with. I met her mom and dad and husband and interviewed her folks as well. She’s really a pretty amazing woman. She knows what she wants and she is not afraid to go for it – for that she gets the reputation for being cold. I didn’t see her that way. I still don’t think she’s coming to NASCAR but whatever she chooses she’s talented and extremely marketable and whatever she decides to do she’ll be front and center.

Brad Keselowski Full Time Nationwide:

Brad K. would rather race and not spend his time worrying about where he’ll go next but he’s in a good position. I talked to him about his next move at Chicagoland.

CBL: Are you still working on next year? Everyone’s watching you

Keselowski: “Yea, You know I am working on it. Don’t have any answers on it – making progress. Things look good, they look very good for me to be back driving this #88 Nationwide car full time which is just as important to me as running the Cup series. So that’s all coming together nicely, not there but it’s coming together and I’m looking forward to it.

NAPA- A Sponsor’s View of Michael Waltrip, Martin Truex Junior and NASCAR Sponsorships:

I spoke with Bob Susor, who is the president of NAPA about their continued sponsorship at MWR

CBL: What pushed you over the top as far as sticking around?

Bob Susor: “Oh I think it’s just the overall good job that Michael has done for us. The fact that he had good, what appeared to be good technical support and have been able to recruit some high quality people.”

CBL: What about selecting Martin Truex Junior…how heavily did you recruit him? Did you interview him? What was the role NAPA played in selecting him?

Bob Susor: “Well we did interview him and wanted to make certain that he had a personality that fit our customer demographic and our internal organization as well. We think he’s kind of our kind of guy. We think we’ve got the opportunity to help him develop a personal brand maybe beyond where he’s gone to this point as well.”

CBL: What makes him your kind of guy?

Bob Susor: “Very low key. Just kind of a guy next door, son of a hard working entrepreneur and that’s pretty much our customer base.”

CBL: But Michael’s not that low key.
Bob Susor: “Well Michael’s Michael. You know there’s only one Michael and we like Michael because of how shameless he can be. (laughter). They are different personalities but we think having the combination of both….of course and obviously we think there’s the opportunity for improved performance as well.”

CBL: Did you look at video tape, study driving performance records etc?

Bob Susor: “We really didn’t look at video tape. We had seen him do interviews before because when we were with DEI previously we had been exposed to him so we had a little prior exposure to him. You know the fact that he’s stayed out of trouble off the track. That’s a big plus for us as well..”

CBL:And how to you see the landscape for sponsors?

Bob Susor: “Ahhh I understand it’s pretty tough out there. For our business, it’s an ideal demographic. It kind of matches up very nicely with what we do. So I’m not certain how others are viewing it but for us we think it’s still a good investment.”

—————

I hope everyone is enjoying the post July 4th summer fun! It won’t be long before we’ll be at Indy racing the Brickyard.

I’m excited to return for the weekend to Green Bay where I have not been for so long I think I will need a road map to find my way around.

Enjoy the day!

Claire B

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

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
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Looking across the Daytona International Speedway
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Broadcast Schedule:

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

Happy 4th of July – God Bless Our Troops:

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 4th of July!

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

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

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

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

To Kyle Busch:

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

To Jeff Gordon:

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

To Juan Pablo Montoya:

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

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

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

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

To Tony Stewart:

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

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

To Jeff Burton:

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

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

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Welcome to Infineon Raceway…Pressure June 18, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Listeners, My Show, NASCAR.
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I just arrived at Infineon Raceway and am setting up my home away from home in the studio here at Infineon Raceway. I got a bunch of email about whether I’m going to Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Mile again this weekend instead of Infineon which has been the mode the last couple of years.

This year, while my heart will be home with family and friends I’ve met in Milwaukee, I’ll be situated in the Sonoma Valley covering both races. Since I am in the booth for the pre race show it would be hard to anchor the show from a bar in Milwaukee across from the Milwaukee Mile. But it sure was fun wasn’t it? I’ll figure out a way to do that again one day – but this weekend I’m in the beautiful Sonoma Valley.

My “Dialed In” With Claire B. Lang broadcast schedule is as follows:
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Dialed In 7-10 EST LIVE from Infineon Raceway

Friday, June 19, 2009
Dialed In- 3-6:30 EST LIVE from Infineon Raceway (pre Sprint Cup Qualifying)

Saturday, June 20, 2009
Dialed In -5-8:30 p.m.EST leading up to the start of the NorthernTool.com 250

Sunday, June 21, 2009
Dialed In – 11-1 p.m. EST leading up to the start of the Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show.

SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show- Sunday, June 21 – 1:00-3:00 p.m. EST
Claire B. will be in the booth for the Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show

SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Post Race Show – Sunday, June 21 POST RACE
Claire B will open up LIVE from Victory Lane on the Sirius NASCAR Radio Post Race Show

Enjoy the day!!

  • Oil Rig Helicopter Pilot’s Bet on Dale Jr’s Michigan Finish:

    NOTE: See the photo of John in Louisiana’s landing spot (he’s the guy who made the bet with me last week that Dale Junior would finish in the top ten at Michigan. He lost the bet so he is going to send me a photo of him with a sign indicating he lost and with at least one of the oil rig guys near the helicopter and the sign. Check out where John has to land his helicopter when he shuttles the guys to the rig each day woah!

    Helecopter Pilot 174

    Read these Billy Joel Lyrics and then my notes below it.

    Pressure (Billy Joel)

    You have to learn to pace yourself

    Pressure

    You’re just like everybody else

    Pressure

    You’ve only had to run so far

    So good

    But you will come to a place

    Where the only thing you feel

    Are loaded guns in your face

    And you’ll have to deal with

    Pressure

    You used to call me paranoid

    Pressure

    But even you can not avoid

    Pressure

    You turned the tap dance into your crusade

    Now here you are with your faith

    And your Peter Pan advice

    You have no scars on your face

    And you cannot handle pressure

    All grown up and no place to go

    Psych 1, Psych 2

    What do you know?

    All your life is Channel 13

    Sesame Street

    What does it mean?

    Pressure

    Pressure

    Don’t ask for help

    You’re all alone

    Pressure

    You’ll have to answer

    To your own

    Pressure

    I’m sure you’ll have some cosmic rationale

    But here you are in the ninth

    Two men out and three men on

    Nowhere to look but inside

    Where we all respond to

    Pressure

    Pressure

    All your life is Time Magazine

    I read it too

    What does it mean?

    Pressure

    I’m sure you’ll have some cosmic rationale

    But here you are with your faith

    And your Peter Pan advice

    You have no scars on your face

    And you cannot handle pressure

    Pressure, pressure

    One, two, three, four

    Pressure

    Pressure

    Exposure, Television Mentions, Superior Performance More Crucial Than Ever

    The song “Pressure” by Billy Joel summarizes the state of drivers and team members in the sport headed into this weekend’s race here at Infineon. It struck me of late that when I am live with the winners in victory lane how many drivers and crew chiefs are now talking about the great vehicles that the manufacturer that they race for puts on the show room floors. Arm chair quarterbacking after the fact is always easy but maybe some more of that should have been going on before the economic crisis hit Detroit’s big three.

    Tough times teach us a lot – and I always say when times are tough the Good Lord is preparing us so that we’ll be humble when we win the lottery. Good times are coming. What lesson are we supposed to learn at this juncture? Am I the only one who thinks that some of what we have experienced, yes even in our sport, has made us appreciate it more?

    While GM teams ponder where to cut back to assist GM in their restructuring while professing long-standing support to Chevrolet – sponsors looking ahead to renewing or signing contracts with the sport look to the performance of teams and drivers like never before.

    Team members are uneasy, not sure where budget cutbacks will come from and hoping this is not the weekend that they mess up. Team owners and drivers say that they are resourceful and I agree. No one has seen yet what teams and drivers and crew guys will do to make teams thrive in tough times. I think it’s not like anything you’ll see in other sports — I think the resourcefulness of folks on NASCAR teams (creativity is what made winners in the sport) will lead to decisions that no one has yet thought of. Other sports – No I don’t see that resourcefulness not to the level of what will come from decisions made in tough times by smart team owners. Add to that the loyalty of the true fans and even in tough times, maybe more so in tough times, the sport will find a way.

    The pressure to perform which has been a part of this circuit forever is ramped up to a level these days that will absolutely affect the racing -perhaps for the positive. This is not the time to be mediocre and survive. This is a time when funding is on the line like never before and no one can race unmentioned at the back of the field and stay in the game for long with sponsors looking for the payback on every penny to justify the spending to boards of directors. Does NASCAR give the payback to sponsors? With everyone on their game yes – and the game will be stepped up.

    Drivers and team members know that, and since these guys (team members) do not dwell on the negative but rather the perpetual series of opportunities for hope that each race presents – they are not talking about it much. Where will the cutbacks come from? What programs, what team members and are layoffs in the future for these teams? These questions are inside, unsaid within the sport this race weekend.

    Those answers are yet to come. Team owners are positive and loyal and they will find a way.

    But as we head into this weekend -even more so than ever…for many in the sport – there is more pressure.

    Welcome to Sonoma. It’s going to be a heck of a race.

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