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NASCAR’s Four Car Team Limit Rule: Kasey Kahne in 2011 While at Red Bull September 2, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season.
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Kasey Kahne
Image via Wikipedia

I asked Kasey Kahne on the NASCAR teleconference this week if he is able to have unlimited contact next season with the Hendrick Motorsports group while racing for Red Bull in 2011. I wondered if there are any regulations or rules related to the four car team ownership rule that would restrict him from testing or limits as to what he can do with Hendrick Motorsports next season while he’s at Red Bull, since it is already arranged that he will move to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.

Kahne answered, “Actually I was kind of wondering some of that same stuff. To this point I haven’t really asked a whole lot about it because I have been more worried about what I was going to do next year and what I was going to be doing the following year.”

Understandable. In the past – limitations have been managed by the teams themselves. If a driver is moving to a new team the next season – the team he is on and the one he is moving to (and the contract the driver signs) usually settle what, if any, limitations there are regarding team meetings, testing, information sharing and the like.

But this arrangement is a bit different. Since Kahne is only going to be at Red Bull only until the way can be cleared for a seat at Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 are there limitations related to the four car team limit? Well – technically Kahne is not Rick Hendrick’s driver until 2012. It’s drawn up simply as if he’s racing for another team in 2011.

I took a look into the four car team limit rule in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book to see if anything applied. The outcome – I don’t think any rule covers this situation and it does not appear that there is any limitation outlined by NASCAR.

Here’s the rule:

3-7 Minimum Car Owner License Requirements

A. To secure and maintain a NASCAR Competitor License as a car owner, a NASCAR Member at a minimum must :

1) Be at least 18 years of age, unless the applicant is a business entity

2) Own a racing car

B. NASCAR will issue the license in the name of the car owner as named on the license application. If the car is owned by a partnership, corporation or other business entity, the license will be issued in the name of the partnership , corporation or business entity, and the license will further indicate the name of the individual principally responsible for the ownership and operation of the business entity. That person will be the party responsible for all communications and contact with NASCAR regarding all business (as opposed to racing competition) matters in connection with the car.

C. NASCAR will indicate on the license the car number assigned to the licensee by NASCAR, subject to sub-section 3-7D. The licensee may use the assigned car number on the car or cars owned by the licensee as follows. During an Event, the licensee may use an assigned number to identify a particular car. A number may not be transferred by the licensee to another car during the Event except as provided by sub-section 9-6F. At a subsequent Event, the licensee may use the number to identify a different car owned by the licensee,so long as the number is not transferred again during the Event except as provided in sub section 9-6F. Points and other prizes for car owners will be awarded to the licensee, depending upon the performance of the car identified by the number assigned to the licensee. If NASCAR changes a car owner’s number during the season, NASCAR, at its option, may transfer to the new number championship points accumulated using the previous number.

D. NASCAR reserves the right to revoke, reassign, or transfer car numbers to another licensee at any time. Car numbers are non- assignable and non transferrable, except by NASCAR.

E. A car owner Competitor License is non assignable and non-transferable. The licensee shall inform NASCAR Headquarters in writing promptly if the partnership is altered in any material manner or the corporation’s stock or assets are sold (other than routine daily stock sales) or become the subject of a merger or the business entity’s ownership interest materially changes. When NASCAR is informed of such a change by the licensee or otherwise, NASCAR, in its sole discretion, may revoke the license as of the date of the change or otherwise. If NASCAR revokes the License, the new partnership, corporation or business entity must submit a new license application. NASCAR may assign the old number or numbers to the new licensee, or it may assign a new car number or numbers. NASCAR in its sole discretion may assign to the new licensee championship points earned by the former licensee if doing so is in the interest of competition and stock car racing. NASCAR may make such other determinations regarding scoring, point funds and the distribution of the purse or prize monies, as it determines to be in the interest of competition and stock car racing.

F. (1) During a single racing season, unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR, NASCAR will not assign more than four (4) car numbers to Teams participating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that are owned and controlled by the same Car Owner or by a “Affiliate Group.” Two (2) or more Car Owners will be deemed an “Affiliate Group” if:

a. one (1) or more of the Car Owners is entitled to receive (or actually receives), directly or indirectly, from the other Car Owner(s) any financial consideration or other form of value based upon the participation, performance or degree of success of the car(s) entered by the other Car Owner(s); or

b. the Car Owners are subject to any direct or indirect form or amount of common, joint, or shared control, ownership, financing, management or revenue-sharing.

By way of example only, an Affiliate Group may include two (2) or more Car Owners that have formed a cooperative relationship for any race-related purpose , or that are controlled or indirectly by an automobile manufacturer and/or its intermediaries, or that supply or share at or below cost engines, chassis, parts, competitive engineering data, personnel, services, and/or any combination of the foregoing which creates a potential threat to racing competition.

2) The determination(s) whether Teams are owned or controlled by the same Car Owner or by an Affiliate Group or whether two(2) or more Car Owners constitute an Affiliate Group will be made soley by NASCAR and shall be final, non- appealable and non-litigable. In making such determination, NASCAR may consider all facts and circumstances with respect to the relationship between or among the Car Owners, including without limitation the following:

a. any ownership interest in the Car Owner, whether tat ownership interest is held directly or indirectly by or through another person or business entity and whether it is held as a limited or general partner, shareholder, trustee or other form of ownership: and/or

b. any financial interest in or of the Car Owner, including but not limited to the financial investment, underwriting, below market capital funding, below market private or public loans or other similar interest and/or

c. the scope and extent of management or other control exercized by, over or through the Car Owner, whether through the ownership of voting securities by contract, de facto, or otherwise: and/or:

d. any receipt or consideration of services, property and/or other form of value, or of the proceeds from the sale or barter of any services, materials, and/or competitive data on other than a free market basis basis.

3. If, after NASCAR has assigned car numbers to the Teams of one (1) or more Car Owners, those Car Owners enter into or otherwise become an “Affiliate Group,” NASCAR in its sole discretion may take any action deemed appropriate by NASCAR with respect to such Car Owners including but not limited to revoking its assignment of the car numbers, ceasing to award championship points, refusing to accept an entry, and/or prohibiting a Car Owner from competing in any Event. If NASCAR elects to revoke its assignment of car numbers to one (1) or more Car Owners in the Affiliate Group in order to limit the assignment of car numbers to the Affiliate Group to a maximum of four (4), NASCAR will consult with the Members as to which car number assignment(s) will be revoked but NASCAR’s decision in that regard will be final, non-appealable and non-litigable.

4. NASCAR may make reasonable requests for information from a Member, including without limitation a Car Owner or Car Owner Competitor License applicant as it deems necessary for purposes of making a determination regarding the existence and make up of an Affiliate Group. Each Member or Member applicant shall cooperate fully with NASCAR’s reasonable requests, under an appropriate confidentiality agreement. NASCAR may refuse to approve an application for a Car Owner Competitor License if the applicant fails to cooperate with such requests fully and on a timely basis. NASCAR may suspend or terminate a Car Owner Competitor License if the Member fails to cooperate with such requests fully and on a timely basis.

5) Not withstanding any other provision of this sub-section 3-7, a Car Owner may submit a fifth car number for competition in a maximum of seven (7) starts during the 2010 racing season for the purpose of enabling a rookie driver, as determined and approved by NASCAR under sub-section 9-4-D, to become familiar with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Competition.

The regulation as outlined above does leave itemsup to NASCAR’s discretion. It doesn’t appear that Red Bull is an “affilate group” of the Hendrick Motorsports Operation in any way. It would appear that there will be no limitations. But I am not an attorney – and, again, there is just enough open area in the above rule outline to make it subject to NASCAR interpretation and oversight.

Again, outside of what Red Bull feels is fair during the year Kahne races for themand that Red Bull has drawn up in the contract Kasey will race within, I’m not sure that there need to be limitations on testing or contact. One would think Red Bull would manage that and mandate in the agreement what is comfortable for them without the need for NASCAR to limit any contact or relationship that Kahne shares with is future employer, Hendrick Motorsports.

Your thoughts?

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Hard-Earned Post Win Vacation For Kevin and DeLana! Body Shop for Most of the Field! July 6, 2010

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season.
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Greenhouse Down!

“Greenhouse Down” is a race shop term that means you leave the the roof and the A, B and C pillars on the race car but replace the rest. That’s what will happen to the cars that made it through the carnage at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. Kenny Francis, the crew chief for Kasey Kahne (finished second) says their car will get the greenhouse down treatment.

For many of the teams more will be required, as much of the field ended up being towed off the track after multi car accidents.

Meanwhile, the perfunctory, “What happened?” that reporters normally ask drivers at the care center after a big wreck- resulted in a number of unclear answers simply because of the close racing and the melee on the track.

Jeff Burton: “No, I can’t (tell you what happened) I know the two car had a really big run coming and I was just coming down and I don’t know we just hit one of those bad wrecks that happens at Talladega and Daytona but I don’t really know what happened to be quite honest.”

Kyle Busch “I don’t know ……..the 42 was on my quarter panel and the air on both of our cars just started steering me right, right across the nose of his car. I mean I didn’t turn right to wreck myself why would I do that?”

You’ll have that….when racing at Daytona at high speeds.

The list of “I don’t know” answers just kept on coming because, frankly, the cars were nose to tail and the average speed was 130.814 miles per hour. There were 9 cautions for 37 laps, 47 lead changes among 18 drivers, ad the margin of victory was .092 seconds.

Happy Birthday DeLana

Meanwhile, Kevin and DeLana Harvick, who celebrated in Victory Lane, are enjoying a long-awaited vacation this week. “We are actually going on our vacation, a vacation we have not been on together in several years. So, (a win) is the best way to kick off a vacation. We are going straight to Chicago, not even going home,” DeLana told me in Victory Lane. “My birthday is Wednesday so if (Kevin’s) trying to get out of getting me a birthday present, it’s not going to work,” She added smiling.

The Club House in Victory Lane!

Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway is, as Dale Earnhardt Junior said Saturday night, a special place to be. “Victory Lane is like when you are a little kid and you got a tree house or you and your buddy has got a club house in the woods or whatever,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “That is what Victory Lane is to me and I like going there.”

I’m lucky enough to be LIVE in Victory Lane each week on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio after the race is over. There’s always a lot going on, and it is, as Dale Junior explained, not only something extremely special but for a brief few minutes one of the happiest places on earth.

Even the son of Crew Chief Gil Martin got in on the victory lane action – as Kevin Harvick dumped a bottle of champagne on the head of Martin’s son Ford. “That’s the first time I’ve been to victory lane in my life…14 years, and the first time I’ve ever been to victory lane,” young Martin told me.

Ford and his family went off to Universal Studios to celebrate after Saturday’s win. The young Ford said he was “praying like crazy” as the race was drawing to a conclusion.

You just won the Coke Zero 400 presented by Coca-Cola, what are you going to do now?

Going to Universal Studios!

Mail Bag:

Below are some of the emails that I got over the past few days. Write me at insidercbl@aol.com:

The Golden Horseshoe

Claire, I guess we still know that Harvick has that Golden horseshoe I sent him at the beginning of the year.

Jeff in California

(Note: Jeff, sent Kevin Harvick a gold horseshoe after hearing the comment about the strategically placed horseshoe of Jimmie Johnsons.)

Letter to Brian France from a Fan:

Dear Mr. France,

If you are looking to update or tweak the Chase format… I have the BEST way to do it.

You want to reward drivers for winning races, but if a driver doesn’t make the chase then those 10 bonus points don’t mean a thing. So first adjust the weekly race scoring. Make it so the winner of the race score a least 25-30 more points than second. That is incentive to go for the win. Make it so first place receives 210 points and second gets 180, then as usual from there. And still add on the bonus points for most laps and laps led. Then the driver receives an immediate reward for winning. And that winning helps him get into the playoffs.

Then for the chase, take the points they’ve earned and cut them to 10%. So if the driver in first leads second by 210 points, he starts the chase leading by 21. and if third place is 279 points behind, he starts 28 points back. In this fashion, a driver who is 570 points behind doesn’t start ahead of other drivers just because he won a couple more races. The drivers are rewarded for their performance for the ENTIRE regular season, not just a few races. It makes no sense for drivers to get a better position in the playoffs when they performed at a lower level during the season.

I’ve been a fan for years, and I appreciate you consistently trying to improve the sport. Some fans say “leave it as it is”, but they probably don’t like the forward pass in football either. If you don’t always look to improve, look to make things better, you will never get new fans and casual fans will lose interest, and eventually you will die.

Thank You
Stephen W Barnes

From a Jeff Gordon Fan:

CBL:

Talk about some hard racin’! Jeff survived by driving like he was on
a dirt track. It was awesome. He was sooooo close once again. He
just didn’t have all his teammates up there supporting him, like the
RCR guys. Several times tonight Jeff tried to get the 48 to help him
and JJ would either jump to the other lane or cut him off. The last
time JJ cut Jeff off, Jeff got shuffled and then the big one
happened. Where Jeff had been, there was JJ. And, therefore, the 48
got in the big one and not Jeff. Bravo to the 48 crew for pulling
Mark Martin out of his burning car! Hey! Jeff is second in points!!
Woohoo!!! I know it’ll get him a glass of yesterday’s ice water once
the Chase starts, but it’s still great. He seemed genuinely surprised
when someone told him at the press conference.

Ann from Indiana

List of thoughts

One listener sent me this – a list of things that he was thinking

This is bigger than Jr:

1. What a shot in jr’s arm he can win if he or his fans thought different.

2. Should he re think running both races the drivers that do win more often ? U might have the % done for the radio.

4. Will a lot say it was the # and not the driver.

5. If I was jr I would drive out were dad died and got out and walk away from the car. What u think.?

6. If he wins tomorrow what are they going to say then? (sent after Junior’s win but before he finished 4th in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Race)

7. Was the noise louder than most wins ? It could have been the mike but it sounded like other fans were jr’s fans at end of race.

Thank you Ron

NOTE: Ron, the noise for Dale Junior is always loud at Daytona so it seemed very loud. But probably no more than it always is. I don’t see Junior getting out of the car and paying special note to his dad – I think he prefers to hold that close to the chest and mark it in his own private way. I think that is how he usually carries himself. Thanks for the note.

Email from Jennifer

Claire,

You do not know how happy I am to wake up….turn on my Sirius Radio…and hear you this morning! I am so happy to hear you on here! Too often, I have to work in the evening and I miss your evening edition on Dialed In Wednesday – Friday so I am really enjoying this opportunity this morning! Thank you so much for agreeing to do your show this morning!

In regards to Dale Jr and the 88 team….Dale Jr is doing the very best that he can out there and he is driving his ass off every week…but I am so fed up with Lance McGrew and his attitude during, and in some cases, after the race. The comment that Dale Jr made after the Cup race about the setup that was under his and Mark’s car…that really caught my attention. He knew what setup was under his car and he knew it was different than what the 24 and the 48 had and even he wondered why that was.

After all, he said they ran the same setup in February and they did not run well then either, several timely cautions just allowed Jr to move up through the field and finish 2nd in the 500. Why put that same setup in the car again?…especially under such different conditions because the weather was very different. Use the setup that the 24 and 48 were using…it couldn’t have hurt. It really makes you wonder if the 2 shops are truly sharing because if they were then they would all be working off the same setup.

Instead, Lance just seems to throw something up into the air, hoping that it works for them. It seems to me that his attitude is…if it works that’s great…if it does not work…oh well! Lance does not seem to care at all because he acts as if the way Jr ran at Daytona Saturday night is no big deal. Well, I want to let him know that Dale Jr running well at Daytona and Talladega…leading laps…contending for the win most of the time…is a very big deal. It is a very big deal to Jr and it is a very big to us as his fans! It’s time Lance figure that out and if he has not figured that out then somebody needs to tell him!

I know Jr cannot win them all at Daytona and Talladega. I realize things are going to happen to keep him from always winning or always running well so I am not asking for perfection….I just think the effort is not always there on the crew chief’s part to make him the best he can be at those tracks. I do not believe that Lance believes in Dale Jr like he should…that is a shame!

I know that Friday night’s Nationwide Race was perfect…Dale Jr won and it was perfect!…and I know that will not happen every time. However, I was…and still am…so impressed with the overall effort from Tony Jr and that entire team on the Nationwide side. I am not only just impressed with their performance Friday night…I am extremely impressed with the effort that Tony Jr and the team put forth leading up to the race as well. They were well-prepared….they were truly a very cohesive team and they all seemed to gel so well. I am just so proud of the effort and all of the hard work that Tony Jr put into the race. They worked hard and it shows in the finish. Tony Jr was truly so happy after that race was over with and it showed in his emotions!

I just wish Dale Jr had that advantage on the Cup side…unfortunately I do not see it out of Lance McGrew. Every week on that 88 Cup car something else goes wrong…there is another excuse for a bad practice…a poor qualifying effort…or a poor race or finish. Something broke….somebody made the wrong adjustment….something was put on the car wrong….somebody messed up a pit stop. It seems to me a lot of crap goes on over on the 88 Cup car and it seems to me that Lance puts up with it and shrugs it off. Something tells me that if it was happening to the 24 or 48…it would not be “put up with”….heads would roll over there! I just wonder what HMS has to say about the fact that the 88 team is lagging behind every other HMS team, and the crew chief does not seem to care??? It is just a shame to have a driver so upset about how he ran but yet nobody else sees a problem with it. A crew chief who truly cared, would see a problem with it.

You know, Friday and Saturday night there were a lot of similarities with the 2 races Jr was in. The driver, of course, was the same…Dale Jr drove in both races. The pit crew was the same. According to the drivers, the new Nationwide COT drove a lot like the Cup COT does. There was one difference between the two races….the crew chief! Tony Jr Friday night and Lance McGrew Saturday. Friday night Jr seemed to do very well with Tony Jr…an crew chief it was obvious was giving his all to winning that race….obviously so because he won!

Saturday night it all falls apart under the so called “leadership” of Lance McGrew. To me, that speaks volumes and it tells me that Tony Jr should still be leading Jr’s Cup team. It may not ever do any good put I will always be a Tony Jr supporter and a big supporter of him being Jr’s crew chief. From where I stand, Jr was in a much better position when Tony Jr was leading his team because Lance McGrew seems to be grasping at straws out there! I just wonder when Rick Hendrick is going to come around to seeing this and actually do something about Lance McGrew because it is not working!

Thanks Claire….I have so enjoyed listening to you this morning!

Jennifer in SC

July 5th “floating holiday”

(much discussion on air over whether July 5th is a real holiday and who was working on this day versus whom is taking the day off).

Claire,
Your schedule is insane. After that crazy Saturday/Sunday, now you are driving to Chicago tomorrow?
I know that is why we get all the news but you are only human. Really you need some rest this afternoon.
By the way, I am off today. I am a software engineer for an aerospace company and it was a legal holiday for us.
Paula

Points Discussion – One Word – “Golf”

Claire,

With all the hubbub about the points, I’ll throw my 2 cents in–1 word–GOLF scoring format..Take away all the bonus points and give the driver and owner the points of their finish..1 point for 1st —
2 for second and so on…..At the end of the year..THE LOWEST SCORE WINS!!!! The chance of a tie is almost impossible but if it happens use a no points race to break the tie…Its just an idea but I guess its as good as any…

I drive a truck coast to coast hauling meat and listen to your show all the time–Keep up the good work and Love your show.

I root for the Busch brothers—-go 2 and 18.

Steve Neece

CBL On the Road Again:

I’m on the road again, and heading to the Midwest tomorrow. I’m traveling on the road to Chicago today (Tuesday) and then staying in the Midwest between Chicago and Indianapolis for the running of the brickyard.

I can’t wait to be in my home stomping grounds again for a while, see some family and cover the racing at the same time.

You can catch me on “Dialed In’ on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio or email me at insidercbl@aol.com.

Enjoy the day! Thanks for listening and for emailing.

Claire B

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

Posted by claireblang in 2010 Season, Fun Stuff, Live Show.
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Pit Road Pets – Show Thursday Night 7-10 EST SIRIUS NASCAR Radio

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

The Photo Shoot!

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

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

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

The Autograph Session:

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_3171_2
PHOTO CREDIT: PHOTOS BY Karen Will Rogers
RYAN NEWMAN

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.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., AND CREW CHIEF LANCE MCGREW, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY /NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – Finished 18th:
SO YOU’RE NOT FRUSTRATED?

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

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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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:

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.
Tags: , , , , ,
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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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Raining at Chicagoland: Weather Dampens NASCAR Again! July 10, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Trackside.
Tags: , , , , , ,
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It’s raining at Chicagoland Speedway (2:25 p.m. EST) – Jet dryers are on the track but it’s iffy but possible we’ll sneak the Nationwide race in here. Everyone’s hoping that mother nature cooperates.

Here’s my broadcast schedule –

“Dialed In” – is scheduled to be on the air from 7:00-7:30 p.m. EST tonight (Friday July 10) leading up to the start of the Dollar General 300 powered by Coca Cola. If the rain halts the race or the start of the race and MRN Radio throws it back to affiliates – then “Dialed In” will be on from 7-10 p.m. EST. I’m broadcasting from the Safety Clean Trailer in the garage here at Chicagoland Speedway.

Saturday- Dialed In is on from 2:00-4:15 p.m. EST -leading up to the start of the SIRIUS NASCAR Radio pre race show at 4:15 p.m EST. The MRN start of the Lifelock.com 400 is at 7:15 p.m. EST.

After the race I’ll be LIVE in Victory Lane and on the SIRIUS NASCAR Post Race Show until 1:00 a.m. EST.

More coming from the media center as it happens.

Next Week’s Schedule:

My sister is getting married in Green Bay Wisconsin on the off weekend between Chicagoland and Indy races. “Dialed In” will be off next Wed, Thurs, and Friday so that I can attend the Wedding. I will be LIVE from Indy on Wednesday, July 23rd

I’ll be back with more during the rain delay and practice.

Still raining here at Chicagoland.

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:

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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Team Members Thinking of Dad on Special Day at Infineon June 21, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Fun Stuff.
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Fathers Day – June 21, 2009

It’s Sunday, race morning, Father’s day and I’m walking down pit road prior to the start of the Toyota Save Mart 350. Ryan Tschudi, the quiet and sincere underneath mechanic for the 77 Mobile One Dodge walks up to me and asks if I have already done my SIRIUS NASCAR Radio show for the day. I tell him that I just finished the broadcast…..why? He said that he wanted to do a shout out to his dad for Father’s day.

The stunt pilot for the Red Bull Helicopter is doing flips in the air, the Infineon Raceway girls are posing with teams up and down pit road, the colors and sounds and energy of the moment are beyond intense. The pre race is unfolding and Ryan is thinking about his dad.

I raised my microphone, turned on the m audio player and asked him to do a shout out to his dad if he’d like. I’d find a way to work it into the post race show even if they do not win and visit Victory Lane. I’m thinking I will have to be creative on getting this one on a post race show but, darn it, I’ll find a way to do it. He said he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. He had heard me have the guys do a shout out to their dads on the Friday broadcast and wanted to have his dad included. That’s cool.

“I want to wish my dad LeRoy a happy Father’s Day,” Tschudi said into my microphone.
“My dad is actually headed to Texas right now, he’s taking a load down to Dallas. Happy Father’s Day!,” He added.

I called my dad (John Bennett) today. He’s up North in Wisconsin with Mom at the lake fishing and enjoying the day. I appreciate all he did for me in my life and I am lucky that I can go on the radio and shout out to him and tell him so.

So many of the guys who are never home for special days and anniversaries and Father’s Days cannot. They would trade what they do for anything,but guys like the underneath mechanic on a team are unsung heroes of race teams. No one gives them attention and when the cameras are rolling and the live broadcasts are happening and the features are being shot – they are where they live, underneath the race car. They get no attention and they ask for nothing for themselves.

I think it’s really great that Ryan came up to me – and while he’d never ask for something for himself – he wanted to do a shout out to his dad.

I’m sure he didn’t expect me to mention it in my blog.

But you know it’s the small things about this sport that make some of the best stories and most compelling stories in NASCAR. On pit road and in the garage and back at home at race shops there are guys who would do just about anything to get to Victory Lane so they can call their dads from there and give them some attention.

Happy Father’s day to all the guys in the sport and all the fans back at home.

Ryan thanks for the shout out to your dad. I know that you never figured it would be in this blog – but you know your dad must be pretty special and that is way cool.

More Later – Enjoy the day!

Claire B.

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