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Victory Lane at Darlington May 10, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season, claire blang, Trackside, Transcripts.
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What a wild Saturday night – Sunday morning at Darlington. Victory Lane is the size of a living room at Darlington Raceway, fitting for the kind of down home atmosphere that makes that track special. Everyone is packed in for a really fun, tight-knit celebration. After interviewing Denny Hamlin’s Mother, his crew chief, his team president and team owner – I took a golf cart ride to the media center (hitched a kind ride with the folks rushing crew chief Mike Ford to the media center) and appreciate the lift greatly. We’re all squeezed on the golf cart and there was a Victory Lane Champagne bottle on board which became the topic of discussion during the ride. It was totally empty but going on the shelf at Mike Ford’s house and Ford talked about perhaps having to build a new shelf for more hardware and souvenirs of wins.

Finally, Denny Hamlin, stepped out of the media center and well into the early morning hours of Sunday I interviewed him live. I noticed something that I had not noticed before about him. For some reason Denny reminded me of Jeff Gordon. After all that had transpired, Hamlin was calm and focused during the interview as if he was devoting that several minutes entirely and with complete attention to what I was asking, even after a long day and on a night into early morning where all kinds of things were now being thrown at him. It struck me that this characteristic is something I have always noticed in Gordon. When you have those few minutes with Jeff either behind his hauler or after qualifying or racing – he pays complete attention to the moment and is not distracted. He is remarkably able to isolate each of the moments he dedicates entirely to what he is doing at that moment and he doesn’t give standard answers but truly answers what you are asking giving completely of himself to the moment. I have always notice this in Jeff Gordon and it struck me that this is why I like interviewing Hamlin, because from the interviews of him after his first pole to his firt win to now, he is the same way and it is a characteristic I see in the champion drivers.

Honestly, I am not sure if it is coincidence or the mark of great talent, but I have to believe that inner calm and stress free focus into the moment, allows a driver to enjoy what he’s doing more and excel in focus on the track. Interesting.

In interviewing the team after the race for the “teardown” to be broadcast on “Dialed In” this week – it was easy to pick up on the teams support of Hamlin, even in the tough times, certainly after a win. In the media center Hamlin said he has to believe his faith in his team demonstrated by staying in the car when he injured his knee has paid off with the team. “We have those good pit stops at the end. Is it coincidence?,” He asked. Talking with the team, their confidence and admiration of him was through the roof. This is a team that will not gloat but they feel they are championship level – without a doubt in their being.

Struggles – Dancing with the Lady in Black:

Interaction between driver and crew chief who appear on the same page – even after a frustrating run. it was a long night.


JUNIOR: “We ran really good at the beginning. Lance will go home and work on what he can.”
MCGREW: “I think the best thing is that now we have a notebook. We didn’t have that. And now we can go back and we can look and we see.”
JUNIOR: “We ran better this time than we did last time here. I think this has been one of the worst races I had last year.”
MCGREW: “Yeah, it was horrible.”
JUNIOR: “We see that we can do it. We’ve just got to be able to finish.”
MCGREW: “We overcame a cut right rear tire and that was good. You have nights like this.”
JUNIOR: “I enjoy working with Lance every week.”

Tony Stewart finished 23rd – on a frustrating evening for the #14.

From the start of the 367-lap race, Stewart had a racecar that was loose back to the gas each time he came off the track’s corners. Track bar, wedge and air pressure adjustments were used throughout the race to alleviate the car’s ill-handling ways, but adding to the team’s headaches was a slew of problems that only compounded their original difficulty in navigating the track’s tight confines. There was a chain-reaction crash that saw Stewart get into the back of Paul Menard’s Ford on lap 63, when traffic stacked up in between turns one and two. While Menard spun to the apron, Stewart received some cosmetic damage to the nose of his Old Spice/Office Depot machine. Then, on what was supposed to be the team’s third pit stop on lap 85, Stewart missed his stall when traffic clogged pit road and prevented him from angling into his box. The non-stop did have one benefit as it put Stewart into the lead when the race restarted on lap 89 – Stewart and team kept fighting. On lap 336, Stewart lost a lap to eventual race-winner Denny Hamlin, and it was a deficit he could not overcome. When the checkered flag mercifully dropped, Stewart was 23rd.

Note: I got a kick out of the writing of Stewart’s PR guy Mike Arning who gets full credit for noting that the checkered flag “mercifully dropped,” for Stewart. Touche Mike.

Bad night for AJ (and Jimmie Johnson)

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet – At the infield care center after being caught up in AJ’s Brake rotor mess (see below) Johnson wasn’t sure what happened. He was wacked out of nowhere and calm as could be. I was surprised how a guy could be so laid back after being what he called “drilled” with no notice. When I asked him about it he said that they were running good times, and called it an “adventurous” night. He told me he felt like they were “doing their best,” and was positive that they were fast before being taken out. Not a good night for the 48 – but situation out of their control. He’s a master of not wasting time worrying about what is out of control and moving on.

So what did happen?

AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion (Finished 37th) – “The brake rotor exploded. The last 40 or 50 laps we were struggling with brake problems and just no brakes. We took all the brake cooling off and thought maybe we were gonna fix it, and when that yellow came out I went to hit the brakes to slow down and the brake rotors exploded. I’m not sure which one, but I was just trying to aim for the bottom and try to miss everybody. I’m sorry to Jimmie. It wasn’t his fault, but I had no brakes and couldn’t do anything about it.”

Looking ahead to Dover:

Hang on to your clothes –

Grammy-nominated country music artist Joe Nichols will sing the national anthem prior to the start of the “Autism Speaks 400 presented by HERSHEY’S Milk & Milkshakes” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on May 16, 2010 at Dover International Speedway. Nichols’ hit song “Gimmie That Girl” currently sits at No. 1 on the Billboard country music chart. The singer of country hits “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” ooh boy did you catch that race fans –it should be a wild weekend. LOL.

Jeff Gordon – #24 Dupont Chevrolet -“It’s high speed, really high banked — Dover is just one of those white knuckle experiences that you really feel the sensation of the speeds that our cars are capable of probably more there than any other track that we go to. It’s one of my favorite tracks. I love Dover because it’s got those big, fast high banked corners, but it’s great racing as well. The groove has really widened out. You can run high, you can run the middle and you can run low. We’ve seen a lot of different lanes there to race on. It’s challenging. Every lap, you’re on the edge.”

DOVER 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – (SIRIUS NASCAR Radio) 5:00 p.m. EST Friday

Interesting Note: Elliott Sadler returns to Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) to pilot the No. 2 Best Buy/Insignia Silverado for the second time this season. Despite the fact that Sadler has been competing in NASCAR’s top-3 series for over 15 years, he has NEVER made a Truck Series start at Dover International Speedway. Sadler has, however, made a total of 27 combined starts in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series at the one-mile concrete track. Sadler has led a combined total of 189 laps at the track, and has earned a best finish of sixth in both series (Fall of 2005 in Cup, Fall of 1997 in Nationwide). Is there any added pressure in returning to the truck that currently sits first in the owner’s points? “No pressure at all. I know it’s a great truck and I’m really looking forward to being behind the wheel of the Best Buy/Insignia truck at Dover. It’ll be a lot of fun.”

Did you know?

According to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, over the past four Truck Series races at Dover International Speedway – Ron Hornaday has gained more points than any other Truck Series driver. Hornaday has picked up a total of 771 points at the Monster Mile over the last four race events. Hornaday also holds the title of driver fastest early in a run at Dover.

Catch the Heluva Good! 200 NASCAR NASCAR Nationwide Series -(SIRIUS NASCAR Radio) 2:00 p.m. Saturday

Thanks for your Crown Royal #17 Pit Crew Name Suggestions!!– The #17 team is looking for a name for their pit crew, a creative challenge that is fun – especially with the new sponsor. I opened up the phone lines and email and got a ton of suggestions including, Royal Knights, Kings of the Road, Gold Diggers, Crown Over-The-Wall Bangers, The Barneys, The Royal Wrenches, The Purple Reign, Purple Predators, Purple People Eaters and more. Some of them were a bit royal and snobby in nature for a down and dirty pit crew, one that is not included to step out on pit road acting like they are more regal than everyone else. There lies the challenge of naming the crew with a name that matches a “Crown Royal” type hook. Hmmm. Send an email at insidercbl@aol.com if you have a suggestion. I interviewed Robbie Reiser, the GM of Roush Racing who reminded the listeners that the “Killer Bees” earned their nickname – and that the #17 pit crew earned that initial name they didn’t create it. Reiser is tough. I like that.

Newly Posted Photo: The Stewart Haas team guys with the ARMY Team at Fort Benning, with driver Ryan Newman. The trip to Fort Benning last week was beyond worthwhile – and we all had great pride over the pit stop that the team busted off before being thrown into the training course with the US ARMY Rangers. The Stewart Haas guys held up their end of the deal, they may have been pushed to the limit by the Rangers but they didn’t buckle. To the Army guys – thanks for all you do! Meeting some of America’s finest and chatting with them at Fort Benning – filled all of us with pride in what America represents.
Claire B.

US Army Racing Team at Fort Benning


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...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

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:

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:


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.”

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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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
Image via Wikipedia

Broadcast Schedule:

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

Happy 4th of July – God Bless Our Troops:

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 4th of July!

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

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

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

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

To Kyle Busch:

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

To Jeff Gordon:

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

To Juan Pablo Montoya:

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

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

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

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

To Tony Stewart:

“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:

“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 Darlington Race Day May 9, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
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Darlington Raceway during the 2006 Dodge Charg...
Image via Wikipedia

The Southern 500 Returns in a Blaze of Glory

It’s an absolutely beautiful and sizzling hot day here. I think about the traditions of this race track and the history that made it what it is today. I think about all the true racers who never gave up on this place including the man who had the idea to build a race track here. When it comes to tenacity – the name Harold Brasington comes to mind.

A local Darlington business man, Brasington returned from the Indy 500 in 1933 and told some of his friends that he wanted to build a paved superspeedway in Darlington, South Carolina. His buddies likely laughed at him. Imagine your friend is sitting at the local restaurant or bar here in Darlington that many years ago and he tells you of this giantic race track plan.

There were not many paved speedways anywhere in the world let alone the tiny town of Darlington. They were still racing on the beach in Daytona when Darlington was finished

But Brasington proved to be a stubborn man. In 1949 he set out to build his dream on land that once grew peanuts and cotton and here we are today.

Today we celebrate the tradition of the Southern 500 and the fans here are wild over this event! Tony Stewart said of driving here, “It’s like driving down a bad alley.” After practice Friday the buff machine Carl Edwards said his “forearms hurt, because I was squeezing the wheel so tight,”

Matt Kennseth won the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 – and has the pole for today’s race. I told him after the race about Carl’s forearms hurting after practice from gripping the wheel. Kennseth had just battled the lady in black for one hour 47 minutes and 33 seconds. He was soaking wet and fresh from the win. He joked with me that he was in better shape than Carl –so no problem.

All of the drivers have been talking about the surface here and how much it changed since a year ago and the repaving.

Greg Biffle’s crew chief Greg Irwin is cranked up — he thinks that Biffle is so good here that we’re sure to see something spectacular from him today.

Tony Stewart has never won here. It’s one of few tracks that Stewart cannot claim yet. “I’d win on my roof and on fire here,” he said. “I’ll take it any way I can get it here.”

Dale Jr used to not like this track at all. It was so abrasive…..and not one of his favorites. “It’s my job weather I like it or not,” he said yesterday of racing here. He called the track “this is the hardest place to pass on on the circuit,” he said.

This will be a long, physical race.

I can’t wait.

Enjoy the day

Claire B

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Hello from Talladega April 24, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Gordon on Aggressiveness at Talladega:

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

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

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

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

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

Phoenix International Raceway- Rear View Mirror

Stewart’s Eyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did alright, got 5-points $56”

“Blew up, second lap, no points,”

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

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

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

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

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

“I got run over by the #7 on purpose”

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

“28 put me in the mud hole”

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

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

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

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

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

The challenges were there and Mark Martin persisted.

Now, he’s just getting started.

Look out!

Enjoy the day.

Claire B.

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What a Wild Ride February 14, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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Jeff Gordon in August 2007 a...
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What a Wild Ride
Claire B LOG – Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Welcome to Daytona – the eve of the Daytona 500. It’s been one really busy week and I thought I’d send you a postcard from the media center. I’m on the air tonight (Saturday) from 7-10 p.m. EST – for a final recap before race day.

Story of The Day – Stewart Haas Crash in Saturday practice

Today was wild. Watching Ryan Newman spin and Tony Stewart plow into him in the final practice – the crash drew a gasp from even the hard core media. The media here in the media center, most of them, got up off their chairs and stood at the monitors , almost in disbelief that lightning could strike Newman again and that the Stewart-Haas team which has been so organized leading into this race here at Daytona. This, in the last practice before the big race.

Out to the garage we went. Newman was Newman – pleasant but as honest as the day is long, unflappable and seriously frustrated with Goodyear and he wasn’t going to back down. Tony was pleasant and business like but it was one of those interview sessions where all of us knew that if you asked a stupid or ill thought out question, get ready, cause Tony would let you know in no uncertain terms what he thought of it. Tony told everyone that he was in an understandable bad mood and he wasn’t in a good mood. I think he was letting us know that he was still boiling inside so understand that.

One reporter asked Tony “Does this tire make you concerned for your safety?” and Stewart was on the edge, saying “Get out of here!” to the reporter. He later told the reporter that he’d likely not be talking to him any time soon. Those on the PR side of the fence thought it was an incendiary question and understood why it angered Tony. To his credit -Stewart spoke at length with the media and didn’t cut it short or run off – he but his anger at Goodyear was evident in his eyes.

Stu Grant the GM of Worldwide Racing for Goodyear came into the media center……and said that Newman’s tire showed no indication of high wear —and that they looked for fender rub – there was not enough of the upper side wall to give an indication of that. In their exam Grant said that Goodyear officials found a clear puncture or hole that was the “likely” cause of the air loss in Newman’s Tire. This is not what Goodyear wanted.

Newman tells me it was not a punctured tire

Later, back in the garage, I asked Newman about the puncture comment from Grant and he said “I’m sure he would have said that yes,” I asked him if he looked at the tire and Newman said, “It came apart. I felt it coming apart before it blew up. I was running 195 miles an hour and there’s nothing you can do. I mean it’s just – it exploded. A puncture in a tire doesn’t lead it doing what it did…the rest is more than obvious.”

In his media center session I asked Grant, “Tony out in the garage pretty much said not to let him anywhere near you guys when I asked him if he was going to go chat with you. Are you going to call a little pow wow with him this afternoon?”

Grant answered, “It’s not unusual to be very upset when you go through something like that as a race driver as a race owner and certainly that’s understandable. I do want to talk with Tony and I do plan to talk to Tony. Yes, I’ll do that Claire.”

Sometimes with Goodyear and Tony it takes more than a day for them to get back together. No idea if that meeting will happen before the Daytona 500.

Gordon Works on Back Issue -Stronger in 09

Here at Daytona Jeff Gordon had said that he was working on the issue with his back that had affected him last year. I asked him about it……”You were talking about your back -did you hurt your back or are you just trying to build up the strength in it,” I asked him. I had heard some back comments last year but this one seemed more serious. Could it be that a bad back – more than just a small back problem was bothering the four time champ and affecting his driving last year?

“It’s something that’s been lingering for a while. I think it’s just years of bouncing all over race tracks going around in circles,” Gordon told me ” You know, I’m getting older and so, you know, I gotta pay attention to those things and work on them. You know especially when I get to short tracks and the road courses pushing on the break pedal is really affecting it. So, it’s something that I really noticed the last couple years but I really started working on it last year and during the off season I was really able to go to work on it and I hope it will pay off.”

Jeff Gordon’s Rabbit Foot:

John Bickford, Jeff Gordon’s step-father in victory lane after the Gatorade Duels told me with a big grin— “I asked (Jeff) if he emptied his rabbits foot box out to make it through that maize of cars and he said, “I think I got one left, I’m saving it for the 500.”

Meanwhile, Johnny Sauter, who raced on Friday the 13th in truck #13 -told me he was not superstitious. “I don’t believe in luck I don’t believe in any of that,” he told me before the Camping World Series race with a cheery disposition. “If somebody told me I had to wear a green uniform and there was peanuts all over inside my truck I’d say, Alright, let’s go race.” Sauter was out of the race caught up in an early incident not of his doing.

Luck in the 500. Oh yea..you have to have it.

Boris Said – Says We’ll Get Out of The Mess We are In:

Boris said did not make the Daytona 500. A comment he made here earlier in the weekend was worth posting in the blog, though, I think. “If you don’t think this is the best entertainment out there. If you didn’t like that Budweiser Shootout the other night. To me that was one of the most exciting races I’ve ever seen,” Said noted.

“Granted this economy is in a hole right now,” he said. ” But it’s the greatest country in America no matter who you voted for we have a new president and sooner or later we are going to get out of this mess and our country will be thriving. I’m a big believer in that. Unlike NFL which is the most popular sport in America. In NASCAR you can come here and you see the fans faces when they see Dale Earnhardt Junior and they can actually get his autograph. I have been to a football game and I have never got anywhere close to a Brett Farve or somebody to get their autograph. So I think it’s a unique sport in the fact that it is a fan friendly sport and hopefully NASCAR will still do their best to still keep it that way.
I think that’s kind of what’s grass roots about it. I see NFL and NBA players. I mean they are so sheltered and they are such babies about who they are. They don’t give back to the fans like racers do. So I think it is a good investment cause it’s good entertainment.

Shout out to Boris!

Daytona 500 Pick – Not Going to Happen:

Driver after driver this week has told us that it’s almost impossible to make a good pick for the Daytona 500. Impossible. Jeff Gordon said that anyone can win. He talked about how although Ryan Newman won the 500 last year he would never have selected Newman as a front runner before the race from racing around the team or seeing the practice sheets.

In this race you have to have help at just the right time. You ,preferably, would like a push from a teammate – and even that seems to be like two ships passing in the wind that at the right moment in time, when each driver has been patient enough to get ready to pounce and they meet at just the right moment in the race for the push to be executed.

Shut your eyes, point to the starting line up and have at it. LOL

I’ll be anchoring the pre race show tomorrow (Sunday) for the Daytona 500 and will be hosting “Dialed In” live from the media center 7-10 tonight. I’ll catch you then and will try to blog you before the start of the race Sunday.

So keep posted.

Take care, enjoy!

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Greetings from the Big Apple! December 2, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, My Show, NASCAR, Teams.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hey all! Greetings from the Big Apple!

I’m blogging you from the Sports Business Journal Motorsports Marketing Forum at the Westin Hotel at Times Square.

Tonight I will be broadcasting (Sirius NASCAR Radio and BEST OF Sirius on XM) Channel 128 LIVE from the Sirius studios in Manhattan – from 8-11 EST. I’ll have a recap of the day here in New York City and I hope you can hang out.

Last night on “Dialed In” (Sirius NASCAR Radio) I told you all that the media have been asked to rank the competition stories from 2008. Several of you called in and asked if I could put the list on the blog so that you could help rank them in order of importance in your mind. Here’s the list (below).

Listed in no particular order are the nominees for the top stories of the 2008 NASCAR season. The media members have been asked to rank all 17 moments in order. What do you think?

• Jimmie Johnson wins his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, becoming only the second driver in history to accomplish the feat. Johnson’s championship performance is highlighted by his strong showing in the Chase, as he posts three wins, eight top 10s, six top fives and an Average Finish of 5.7.

• The new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car concludes it transition year and is raced the entire season.

• Kyle Busch excels in all three national series, winning a combined 21 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

• Tony Stewart announces he’s leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to become owner/driver of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. Stewart won two NASCAR Sprint Cup championships during his 10-year tenure with JGR.

• Carl Edwards wins a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series-high nine races and finishes runner-up in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series.

• Johnny Benson edges Ron Hornaday Jr. to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship in the second closest points battle in that series’ history. Benson joins Greg Biffle as the only other driver to win both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series titles during their careers.

• In his first season driving for Hendrick Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Jr. breaks a 76- race winless streak by winning at Michigan International Speedway on Father’s Day. Earnhardt Jr. finishes 12th in points with one victory, 10 top fives and 16 top 10 finishes on the season.

• Jeff Gordon’s streak of 14 consecutive seasons of winning a race is snapped as he goes winless in 2008.

• Clint Bowyer wins the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship and continues to establish himself as one of the rising stars in the sport.

• Ryan Newman wins his – and owner Roger Penske’s – first Daytona 500, with teammate Kurt Busch finishing second. It is the 50th running of the Great American Race.

• After being voted into the field by the fans, Kasey Kahne wins the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and rides that wave of momentum with a victory the following week in the Coca-Cola 600.

• Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota wins the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owners’ Championship, claiming nine victories with four different drivers during the season.

• Eighteen-year-old Joey Logano bursts upon the national series scene, competing in 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, winning at Kentucky Speedway and posting 14 top 10 and five top five finishes.

• Greg Biffle wins the first two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and re-establishes himself as a championship contender after a two-year absence from the Chase.

• Canadian Ron Fellows not only wins in his home country but does so in the rain at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in August. The event is NASCAR’s first-ever national series points race contested on rain tires.

• The announcement is made that Camping World will become the official sponsor of NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series beginning in 2009. Craftsman had been the official sponsor since the series’ inception in 1995.

• NFL standout Randy Moss enters the NASCAR Truck Series as owner of the No. 84 Randy Moss Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado.

I’d better get back to the seminar.

Enjoy the day!

Catch you at 8:00 EST tonight on “Dialed In”

Claire B.

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ON LOCATION: “Jail and Bail” October 8, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Fun Stuff, My Show, NASCAR.
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Claire B Lang

LIVE on Location Blog – Wednesday October 8th 2008

Today I am broadcasting live (3-6 EST XM Channel 148) from the Brickhouse Tavern – in Davidson, NC (209 Delburg St.) LIVE in the Chevy Mobile Broadcast Unit today – broadcasting live from the first official “Jail and Bail” raising money for the Brienne Davis NASCAR Technical Institute Scholarship Fund.

Brienne was a Universal Technical Institute graduate and a NASCAR official who was killed in a car accident six months ago today (April 8th). The NASCAR community – drivers, crew chiefs and crew members and officials have rallied to raise money today for a scholarship fund in her name.

If you can come enjoy the music – meet the participants and help bail out the likes of Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya and others. If you can’t come listen on the air on Channel 148 and we’ll tell you how can participate.

I have had so many emails and instant messages regarding the finish of the race at Talladega – and I am going to post more of them later tonight. I’ve been busy on location – last night at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and tonight at the Jail and Bail.

I have read your emails and they are good….. here’s a sampling:

You just made a comment that a rule is a rule. That is 100% correct. If you
force someone below the line, you get the black flag. I can’t stand how
Nascar keeps changing the rule.
Brad Karlovec

Dear Claire,

How many races is NASCAR going to let Goodyear ruin before they either bring in some competition or a different manufacturer to make tires that do not determine the outcome of the race. After the debacle at the Brickyard earlier this summer, I, personally, would have thought that Goodyear would have been going above and beyond, even making a tire that was too hard, to make sure that tire failures did not affect the outcome of another race this season. Tire failure not only affected the outcome of the race this past weekend, it may, ultimately, have affected the outcome of The Chase and who the champion will be. The luck of the draw and whether the driver received a set to tires that wouldn’t inexplicably EXPLODE was very much present on Sunday. Denny Hamlin spent the night in a Birmingham hospital on Sunday after his tire exploded. This shows not only the frustration that the exploding tires was causing, but also the danger.

Four drivers were either starting backup cars or had crews that spent extra long hours fixing their cars Friday & Saturday after Dale Jr. had a tire blow up during practice on Friday. As a fan who wants to see the drivers determine the outcome of the race and not their tires, I believe that Goodyear should be on extremely thin ice with NASCAR.

Just my thoughts!

I have been a little disconnected from the whole world the past two weeks. So Monday when I actually was able to get to my XM and couldn’t find your show I freaked. I am happy to have found you on your new station. Knowing that it was going to be a good one after the race on Sunday. I hate that I missed it but am sure that there were a lot of unhappy/happy people. I am one of those fans that was very excited to see Tony get a win (first of the year) as well as his first at Talladega.. GO Tony.. Tell Regan that he wouldn’t of wanted to get a win this way people would of questioned him getting his first win with an illegal pass. When people talk about his first win he wants it to be because without a doubt he earned it. Keep your chin up Regan it will come and then you will give people something to talk about.




I think Nascar should make the rule for all tracks and noit just the super speedways. This way it is the same rule for all the tracks.

I believe Nascar has more important problems to fix. Luckly they have not had anyone hurt in the big one yet, they need to look at how to break up the big packs before someone is. I don’t want to see that happen but if you play with fire or are bound to get burnt.


Hi Claire B,

Kudos to you for being there with Regan where the real story is, and kudos to Regan. Regan, You have made a name for yourself! Now I can place a face with the firesuit. I and the Biff agree that you were robbed. Did you notice how subdued the interviews were on NASCAR Victory Lane? I will be rooting for you!

Associate of Robinhood

Regan is a class act the way he is handling this travesty. Can you imagine
the whining going on if this had need to Kyle Bush? The more I think about
this, the madder I get. That call was a joke, once again!

Hi Clare:)
I have been listening to all the banter regarding the finish at Dega
this past weekend and in a nut shell what Nascar has done by
rewarding Tony the win was let the drivers know that it is ok to
cause the big one on the final lap at Dega and Daytona. They have
basically just told anyone who is leading on the last lap to block
and force your opponent below the yellow line and you win.

They have really just told all drivers that they need to pass the
leader on the outside and only the outside on the last lap because if
you try the low side you will be forced below the yellow line by the
leader because we are ok with blocking. So now every leader will
always know that the guy in 2nd will be passing on the outside or
wrecking a lot of good cars trying the inside and holding his line.

Nascar has become a joke. every week I become more and more
frustrated with this sport I love.

Keep The Rubber Side Down


wouldn’t go so far as to say there was a conspiracy theory that NASCAR wanted Tony Stewart or a big name to win the race, however, do you (or others) think that if the move pulled off by Regan Smith would have been pulled off by a bigger name that there would have been a different ruling?

In the NBA there were the Jordan Rules where we got the better calls by officials and I’m just wondering if a guy like Regan doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt like others would.

Mark C. Winkler

Please tell your listeners that the Talladega horse is dead, move on, get over it, it’s a done deal. TONY WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wayne in NJ

He is a racer and wanted the win but he was justified in staying low and
just backing off. He did not have to try and get back inline and would
have gotten second.

I hope this silences all the crazies that call in and say Stewart would
never win a race in a Toyota!

I’ll post more of the hundreds of emails that I have when I get off air tonight.

Take care…raining in Charlotte…pouring in fact.

How much money will it take to bail out Tony here tonight?

Claire B

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BLOG: Kansas Speedway- Victory Junction on “Dialed In”; Paul Newman comments September 27, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Kyle Petty, driver ...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeBLOG: Kansas Speedway

Claire B. – Saturday, September 27, 2008

Patty Petty Joined “Dialed In” yesterday to talk about the new “Victory Junction Gang Camp” in Kansas (www.victoryjunction.org). Thanks to all the “Dialed In” listeners who called in an pledged to send the camp $148.00 on behalf of those who hang out to listen to the show on Channel 148. That is way cool!

During the conversation, Patty made some interesting comments about Kyle’s future at Petty Enterprises. I asked her about how she helps to cheer Kyle up when things are challenging on the track. That led to a lot of emails and questions from Kyle Petty fans as to exactly what she said – so here’s the transcript.

Patty Petty on “Dialed In” with Claire B Lang
Friday September 26th, – LIVE at Kansas Speedway

CBL: How do you pump Kyle up after a bad day qualifying – You know his family owns the company….he qualifies as best he can, in and out of the car just a little bit. Is a racer at heart – he has other things……but still -.the man still wants to do good in the car.

Patty Petty: “He does he wants to be in a good race car he still does and then that’s the hardest thing is to see him thinking ok well you know the Petty Enterprises situation – this is probably his last race in that car. They want a younger driver and that’s their prerogative and that means you’re going out trying to look for another ride.

CBL: Will he do that you think?

Patty Petty: “He’s trying to get another ride. There’s not really a lot of other rides out there and you know the rides that are open they are wanting these younger drivers and experience – when Kyle came along Junior Johnson wouldn’t talk to you or nobody would until you had ten or fifteen years experience and the tables have turned and it’s not experience it’s youth. It is what it is in our sport. It’s not that I like it because I think he still is a very talented driver a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge that he could offer a team. I wish he could get another ride but you know we’ll see what the Lord has in store for us and ah he closed this door with Petty enterprises and we’ll what the next door is that he has for us to open but in the meantime the most important thing for us to remember is that life is not about us and God did not put us here on earth to make life about ourselves. My husband will tell you that you never looked so tall as when you bend down to help a child and that’s what it is all about.

Robbie Loomis on Kyle Petty’s Future with Petty Enterprises
This (Saturday) morning I went into the garage to find Robbie Loomis Vice President of Racing Operations Robbie Loomis and I asked him about plans for Kyle Petty. He said Kyle has not been released.

Here’s what he told me: “When Kyle started doing TV a couple of years ago – we knew at that time that it was time to look at the future and a younger driver. We had our eye on Chad McCumbee for quite a while. Unfortunately, Petty Enterprises does not have a Nationwide team. Therefore, the only way we can evaluate Chad at the level we feel we need to is by putting him in the situation to have to qualify for these races. There will probably not be any tougher challenge for him or for this team than to be in a situation to have to make the race. We’re going to put (Chad) in and he’ll run five more races this year. Kyle will run at Phoenix and Terry Labonte will run at Talladega and that’s going to give us a fair evaluation as to where we are at for our driver line up for next year.” Loomis told me that Petty is not out by any means. “We are definitely planning to run Kyle in some races next year, Loomis told me. “A lot of that will be depends on and will be decided after we watch Chad in these next(upcoming) races.”

“Dialed In” Listeners pledge money to “Victory Junction Gang Camp”
How amazing is this? I am on the air when Dennis from Missouri calls in to talk to Patty Petty and pledges $148 and challenges listeners who like the show to do the same. It’s amazing how many emails and calls I have received on this. Here are some of them:

Doug in Tennessee:
Claire , Just picked up my load in Atlanta, and it has 5 drops. I receive $50 for each extra drop after the 1st drop on top of what the load normally pays. So, in the spirit of today’s show, and out of respect for the Pettys , I am donating the extra $200 to Victory Junction in the name of XM 148 . thanks for keeping us informed.

The Buchanan’s
Just great show today. MJ and I are off to parents day weekend for our daughter. Our 148 is on its way to VJGC. Gary and Mary Jo Buchanan

Owen on the Road:
I’m gonna match the $148….
Keep rockin Claire B.


Dennis in Missouri and his wife kicked it off

Claire B:
Well, Patty was almost right, I’m a whole lot sweet on you. Ha Ha

My wife is going on the Victory Junction Gang website, and making our donation. I’ll give you the rest of my donation next week at the track.

Your friend in speed
Dennis from Missouri

Victory Junction Gang Donation Mailing Address:

Victory Junction Gang Camp
4500 Adam’s Way
Randleman, NC 27317

What’s amazing to me is the spirit of the race fans and the listeners to “Dialed In”. Patty cracked me up on the show she’s so much fun to have on the air. I hope you were able to listen to it. Remember Dialed in is on a new channel (148) and a new time (3-6 EST daily)


  • On another note it was terribly sad to hear about the passing of Paul Newman. His was one of the great stories of a life well lived. He gave to many, he enjoyed life, he had a great marriage, he was truly decent. I met him several times and interviewed him and he was a guy who turned the spotlight away from himself and didn’t do many appearances because he preferred not to have attention on himself. Not painfully shy – but absolutely ducked from anything that put the spotlight on him.

    On the passing of Paul Newman – this statement was released today by Tony Stewart –
    Statement from Tony Stewart Regarding the Passing of Paul Newman

    “Paul Newman was a phenomenal individual who made a profound impact throughout his life. His acting skills are well-known, but equally impressive was his desire to give back and help those who just didn’t get the same shake out of life that we did.

    “I got to know him through our time helping build Victory Junction Gang Camp and during my handful of races in the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona. We connected as racers, but Paul’s ideas of what we should do for charity is what really resonated with me the most.

    “He set the bar, not only with his giving, but in how he gave. Whether it was through his own line of food products – Newman’s Own – or his work in helping create the Hole in the Wall Camps, Paul did it right, and he did it with class. He’ll be terribly missed.”

    “Paul Newman – a real American hero, an inspiration to me in much that I have attempted in my adult life. Not so much for the parts he played but for the man that he was. He was one of Hollywood’s greatest. He could not only talk the talk on film but more importantly could walk the walk as a private citizen. As a young man he was an American hero who served his country in one of the U.S. Army Air Corps’ most dangerous assignments in western Europe. Additionally, his charitable enterprizes have generated 10’s of millions for the benefit of hundreds of thousands of underpriviledged Americans. He will be never forgotten, may he rest in peace.”

    – Jack Roush on the passing of Paul Newman
    Our thoughts and prayers go out to Paul Newman and his family. Make the most of every minute.

    More later.
    Claire B

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    BLOG BREAKING NEWS- Ryan Newmamn July 12, 2008

    Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Breaking News, Drivers.
    Tags: , , , , , , ,
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    Saturday – July 12, 2008
    Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Illinois
    4:37 p.m. EST

    Hey: I’ve got so much to tell you and it’s been crazy busy here with a short weekend show. JD and Joe Gibbs are in the deadline room right now – I’ll get back to you later on that. The driver’s meeting is coming up so stay tuned. What about Ryan Newman – is he going to Stewart-Haas Racing? Here’s what he had to say a few min ago.

    Penske Racing — Alltel Driver Ryan Newman:

    Newman: “In generally I have a career here – I’ve had a career here at Penske Racing and if it works out to move on then I will move on with them but I don’t know the answer yet. I talked to Roger (Penske) a little bit this week – talked to him a little bit last week. Still working on performance – still working on a lot of things – it’s just a matter of when we decide we’re going to move on -when we’re going to said we part ways if that does happen.”

    Tony said the ink was dry for a month before he announced it – are you that far along? Have you agreed with somebody already?

    Newman: “Are you a month ahead of me? – is that what you are asking? No I haven’t agreed – I told you point blank. I have never lied to you guys I won’t lie to you. I haven’t agreed I don’t know my answer.”

    Is driving for Tony’s team an option?

    Newman: “Driving for Tony’s team is an option. He has a seat. Obviously you know even you guys have marked me as one of the guys – the lead candidates to get in there so yea it is an option.”

    Have you had discussions?

    Newman: “Have we had discussions? I’ve had discussions with a lot of people.”

    Any of the discussions involving you owning a team?

    Newman: “Actually yea. I haven’t decided yet.”

    What beats in your heart?

    Newman: “The most important thing to me is performance – winning the championship achieving the goals outside of what I’ve done which was a lot of poles and wins and the Dayona 500. There are still a lot of things out there for me to achieve.”

    Have you been frustrated – because you should be a winner – you should have been a champion already.

    Newman: “Coulda woulda shouda. All things happen for a reason – we’ve been close we just haven’t succeeded in ways and times that we could have or should have but that’s all in the past. Like I said I’m working on working forward I just don’t know my final answer. I have a – b – c – and D – and I don’t have a 50 -50 right now and I don’t really even have phone a friend – I’m just working on a final answer.”

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