jump to navigation

Chex Most Popular Driver- Hot Topic! November 21, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, Fun Stuff.
Tags: , , , , ,

Hey all: The National Motorsports Press Association and Chex are looking for ideas to further promote and grow the Most Popular Driver contest. This year’s voting is already over and will be announced in New York City next week. I brought this topic up on air and found that it was really a hot one! I got tons of emails and feed back ranging from pick a most popular driver each month and then have a vote off at the end to charging for charity $1.00 per vote. There was talk that ranged from allowing people to vote only once to allowing them to vote as often as they’d like.

We had a man who called who set two computers up to vote up to 150 times a day. The listeners were amazed that was happening. Others said it’s nothing new and leave it alone.

Let me know your feedback if you can. Here are some of the emails I got yesterday.

Thanks for listening and checking out ClaireBLang.com

Claire B

Hi Claire

It’s my understanding you were asking on behalf of Chex about the voting for MPD. As a long time Jr fan and voter, I shouldn’t give you my insight (ans spill our secrets), but here goes anyway. I feel the problem is: it’s very difficult for a casual fan to even locate the voting. Once it moved from Nascar.com to Scene Daily it was even more confusing for the casual fan. If you don’ t keep a link in your favorites, locating the voting can be a challenge. Now us Jr fans, it’s easy. We’re a very organized group. This is just my opinion. Thanks for asking.

***Sandy Beddie***
Proud member of Jr Nation
Claire B – I am diehard Dale Jr fan and I voted daily. I’d gladly pay $1 a
day to vote… Maybe money to driver’s specified charity? Then it would
really reflect driver’s popularity!
Kat in VA

Paying a dollar a day for each vote would cost me $30.00 a month. In this economy that’s just not practical. I could not afford it, and many others couldn’t either.

Hey Claire!
I’m not out of the office yet, but I understand you brought up the topic of MPD and wondered if it should be changed. My vote is NO!

If indeed Dale Jr is the winner again this year, and from the apparent description that you gave on the show it sounds like he is, it is because his legion of fans has faithfully voted each and every day. In fact, some of us were fairly concerned that we were doing enough to show our support and wanted to do more. If fans of other drivers are not voting, that’s too bad. Maybe they feel that there isn’t a chance, but the only way that they can show their loyalty is to vote, vote, vote! My guess is that if fans could only vote once a season (boooo), or once a month, Dale Jr would still win. He just has more fans! The only way he is not going to win is if he follows Bill Elliot’s path and removes himself from the voting list.

Some of the things that also convince me that he is the most popular are (1) the hands down majority of fans wearing his gear at the tracks, (2) the reception he gets in driver intros, and (3) the advertising minutes/stats that get generated every year. My guess is that somehow Budweiser isn’t gonna be at the top of the list this year! And that is not to take anything away from Kasey, it is just that he is not as popular as Dale Jr!

Goodness knows, the fans get no respect and are not listened to by the powers that be in Daytona Beach. Don’t take this away from us too!

Chicago, IL

I am in my car and cannot call you. Had to walk in the school library to send this e-mail. My driver is Dale Jr and yes I do vote in the Most Popular Driver Award ONCE every day. I don’t feel the need to vote more than that. The MPD Award is very prestigous and means a great deal to us as Jr fans, that we have been able to win it for him the last 5 years running. We take a lot of pride in him winning it and we know it means a lot to him. I totally disagree with anyone who says it dosen’t mean anything. It shows where the drivers stand with the people who make it possible for them to do what they love every week. Don’t tell me “it dosen’t mean anything!”

I resent that Chex is even THINKING of changing the format in which this award is voted on. Please do not insult us as fans by cheapening what is now a very prestigous award. We don’t need some new “allstar” format to drum up excitement. Leave it alone…the people who want to vote already do. People need to suck it up…Jr has the most fans and that is that. Let them change it to whatever format they want because it does not matter…Jr Nation will come out on top. Please let the Chex people know though Claire, that I purchase Chex Cereal as my cereal of choice. I eat it every morning for breakfast. If they change this format, I will pull my support. I will not buy their product if they do this. I only buy it because they sponsor this award, I can easily find me another cereal to eat, that I like just as much.

Some of his fans, me included, have been concerned over the last few days because voting was supposed to be over at 11:59CT on Monday afternoon, and the website is still taking votes. Are the organizers of the award TRYING to sabatoge us fans who are voting for Jr??? Okay, I am joking so nobody get upset but it does make us wonder. Why will they not take the voting page down. Voting is over, yet, we can still vote. After hearing all of this, it just makes me wonder.

Thanks for your time


Hey Claire!

1) Tell Gary the Mojo Crew says “Hey!” We got to talk to him a couple years in a row when he used to come to the Lowes Zone at LMS in Charlotte. He’s got some funny stories. I think Jimmie must get some of the humor from Gary. I thought Jimmie jumping into the crew reminded me for some reason of the Jimmie Gary talked about who invited everyone at a race he won to come to their house for a party and that when he (Gary) got home there were like a hundred people in his front yard. The spontaneous; I want to share my happiness with everyone; let’s have a good time Jimmie. They did a wonderful job raising Jimmie, Jarit, and Jessie. And I bet he’s enjoying Jarit’s little ones too. Congrats on that also.

2) Most Popular Driver voting: they need to continue to refine the program that runs that. Make it one where the voter has to enter a randomly generated code in order for the vote to go through so they can’t use the macro voting programs that generate votes without a person needing to hit the buttons by hand. Another would be if they can have it set up so it recognizes ISP addresses so people can’t vote with multiple emails from the same computer address. Just a couple of suggestions. Not a huge deal though. I’m a Jimmie fan and I know how wonderful he is whether other people figure it out or not. I’d rather be a fan of the 3 time Champion (IN A ROW! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT! I’M STILL A BIT EXCITED! Ha ha!) than the guy who is most popular but can’t get the job done on the track – and note my driver is physically fit enough that he can still breath and talk after 500 miles.

Thanks Claire! Love the show as always!

Pam J
Hey CBL,

I haven’t voted in the most popular drive promotion in years, since Ward Burton got “booted” from the sport I haven’t had a car in the race. When you get some one as popular as Jr. it would be hard to cast that many votes, seems to me “awesome Bill” from Dawsonville was one like Jr. Don’t know what they could do to pull me into the voting again. I like Jr. but I like a lot of the other drivers too, maybe they should have a most “unpopular driver” segment too…I think I would be more apt to vote in that now than the most popular.

Dear Claire B

I am a faithful MPD voter, and I vote every day. This contest has been in existence for many years. I’m just wondering why you would want to change the format now. Is this Chex’s idea? PS Love your show.


Hi Claire,
I voted for my driver, Casey Mears, everyday in the most popular driver voting. Everytime I voted I felt like it was a waste of time because the Jr. fans would win out every time Jr. is a choice for anything. I think that a driver should not be eligible after winning the Most popular award more than 2 years in a row. At least Bill Elliot had the grace to take himself out of the running after dominating that award for years.

Endicott, NY

Hi Claire,

I’m and Dale Jr. fan and will vote no matter how they change it, but in my opinion if you ask people to pay to vote you will get fewer people to your website. These are going to be hard economic times and people will watch what they spend their dollars on.

In my opinion, I think if you offer participants a prize at the end of the year. A trip to the banquet for two all expenses paid. A trip to a race for two all expenses paid. Maybe some other smaller prize from their favorite driver. If you offer people something that they can’t get on their own in these hard economic time maybe they would be more likely to vote more often and then they would get more hit to their website.

Just my opinion.
Bonnie from Connecticut

Should the NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Voting be changed?

Yes it should be. I think it is a disgrace to the award to be able to make up email addresses and vote more than once. Try one person voting 6 times to 10 times. There should be a way that the IP address of the email address be registered and only to be used ONCE a day. No one will vote knowing the Jr Nation vote much more than once a day. This is fact. But, this is the ONLY trophy Jr will get. The one his so called Nation votes for him. Thank God the Championship is not decided by votes.

Have Happy Holidays
Hi Claire,

Thanks for reading my email on the air! It was hard to drive and listen to something that I wrote at the same time!!!

Have thoroughly enjoyed the discussion. Now that I have a better feel, I have a couple more thoughts to share with Chex…

1. Whatever voting system is used, it has to be fair and open to all people equally or the results are questionable. To have someone pay to vote, or go to the track to vote, severely limits a segment of the population. While I would encourage them to put a donation link on their site, I would hate to see folks have to pay to vote in this economy, when racing/voting might be one of few perks in a pretty bleak existence.

2. I certainly support Chex wanting to have more hits to its website. Perhaps if after someone voted a set number of times in a month, they would automatically get a coupon for a discount on one of the Chex products. If, perhaps, one had to vote 20 times in a month, the coupon could not be possibly kicked out until the 21st of the month and if someone voted multiple times daily, then their votes would be discounted… the software is out there to match emails to votes. That would encourage folks to vote even if they perceived their driver not to be a potential winner!

3. I must say I like the idea of a driver of the month and then perhaps in the last month a run off of all (or the top 3- 5) drivers over the year.

Thanks to you for listening and thanks to Chex for asking!

Chicago, IL
Claire B:

How about 1 per month then a “chase” vote during the last week or so of the season between the drivers that won each month for the yearly big winner.

Or a 1 per month; then between those 3 for the quarter with the final vote between the quarterly for the end of year winner with all the quarterly winners being acknowledged some way.

And yes by clearing cookies anyone can vote more than once and after about the first month this year fans didn’t even have to do that to vote more than once. Didn’t even have to use more than one email. I voted but will admit most weeks I only remembered 4 out of 7 days.

As much as I love giving to my driver’s charity I have a bit of a problem with $1 a vote or whatever because that leaves out a lot of people who could not afford to do that. You are talking even at only one vote per day up to $365 a year and for folks who are struggling to make all their bills or saying they can’t afford $100 for a race ticket, does Nascar or the sponsors want to add one more thing people would have to pay for? Just a thought. Now maybe if they did a vote off at the end out of the top so many for the year to get the winner for the year or something and during that week or whatever the time frame is they want to do that, that could be interesting.

Just a couple thoughts.

Claire B,
If they insist on a popularity contast, why not vote for a favorite team.
Some folks cheer the car and what it represents and not the driver.
Besides, these drivers aleady have a hard time fitting their heads in their
tight little seats.

Glad I’m finally getting listen today. Been too long.

Menifee. CA
Claire B: This is an easy problem to fix. Only allow each computer’s IP address to count for 1 vote no matter how mant times they vote. Travis from KS

No matter how you change it Jr will win as he should he does have the most fans. That said I keep voting to hopefully keep Jeff G in 2nd (they have told us some years where the others were after Jr). I do know people who
say the Jr fans outnumber any others fans so why bother. The sweepstakes they have is a good thing as people might vote just to have the chance to win that. What I would do would not be what they want as they would get less hits on the site and probably not possible. I would like one Fan one
Vote and although I know Jr would still win that would be more accurate instead of being able to vote every day with all your email addresses. I don’t think you can do it for MPD but have heard of people being able to program their computers to auto vote when voting in an on-line poll.

Claire: I voted several times for Sadler and know many who did the same. They used to show who was in the top 10 from time to time in years past, but I never saw that this year. Maybe if they kept it up to date on the standings more people would take place.

I don’t think any changes need to be made to the voting for this award. It’s the FANS vote so please leave it alone! No one complain in all of the years that Bill Elliott won it why now?

Virginia Spann
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:


Tough Times For NASCAR Crew Members November 19, 2008

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

Charlotte, NC Studio
Claire B Lang – Blog
Wednesday, November 18, 2008

“It All Ends Here”

Tough Times For NASCAR Crew Members

As we close the books on the 2008 season and celebrate the crowning of a new champion and the end of the 2008 season I have something on my mind that needs to be said. It is with sadness that I walked through the garage Sunday on the last race day of the season – hearing of more and more team members laid off, some (from the 01 car) who learned on Friday afternoon inside the team hauler away from home and family support that they were loosing their jobs.

Many crew members who have been around a long time are predicting that the good crew members will find jobs and get work –eventually. As things pick up they will be returning to this sport but at a lower pay rate. This, say some in the sport, will serve to lower the pay scale that has risen excessively in the shops of NASCAR teams.

Others say – since the drivers are getting paid so much what is wrong with the crew members getting paid a decent wage. The price of running teams in this sport has sky rocketed – something has to give. Another huge discussion topic in the garage amongst the management folks on the layoff topic is how much the competitive teams had to beef up staffing for the car of tomorrow implementation and how those extra staffers are not needed now.

I was told in another discussion in the garage that a service line mechanic at a dealership who works extremely efficiently and quickly can make $70,000 a year. On a good Sprint Cup race team the same person can make $140,000. Sources in the garage told me that pit crew members can make $150,000 – $175,000 if they do other jobs at the shop. One shop structures their pit crew pay this way $35,000 for a first tear guy, $40,000 for second tear, $55,000 for third and $70,000 for top rung. Plus, of course, what they get for the job they do in the shop.

Today, I heard awful stories of team guys who work at one particular race shop near an area where the employment applications are taken. One crew member said that all day while he is working on the race car at the shop he watches the line of people come in the door looking for work in staggering numbers, one by one, all day long, he sees a continuous line of employment seeking friends passing by looking for a job.

I am hearing that the US Army team guys will, for the most part, be moving as an entire team over to the Stewart Haas Race Team. The Army team guys are happy they will have work but are upset that they are displacing others and sad for their fellow crew members on that team who they will be replacing.

I have been told stories of crew members who got calls from crew members crying on the phone – asking for help finding jobs. Here’s another side – some in the garage say that crew members who made good money, way more than they could make anywhere else with the same experience, bought big houses and lived above their means and now have issues with big homes that they can’t afford.

Crew members told me this weekend that they think if folks do not get jobs soon – many of those released will likely go back home to other parts of the country as many of them relocated to the Charlotte area for the opportunity in racing. One crew member told me that he was told he would not have a job as he got off the airplane in Homestead. He got off the airplane and the crew chief called him over as soon as he landed. Others were told on Monday when they got to their race shop.. It’s not just about them – these are guys are tight with the guys they have roomed with and lived with and worked on a team with for years.

When I got into this sport – I remember a crew member who I met up in Mooresville, NC when I used to hang out at a local racing hangout the “Stock Car Café”. Team guys used to gather after work and talk racing there. These days, the team guys are busy testing and working with less time for hanging out mid week. This crew member was on a lower team and just getting the cars to the track was brutal every week with a lot of burning the midnight oil. He was not able to keep his struggling race team together and his family and his job and was in tears because he had no idea how to write a resume. In our world, these guys getting laid off are extremely talented people. Many are experienced only in getting cars to go fast.

I also remember all of the things that these crew members over the years have personally done for me. On my first national television deal – years ago – It was the crew members who gave me thumbs up – whispered information in my ear and cheered me on. When Dale Earnhardt died and we went to Rockingham and I finally let my emotion out, crying behind my sunglasses on pit road, it was a crew member who noticed and gave me a silent hug. When the road seems weary and the going gets hard away from home it’s a crew member who hollers a joke or busts someone’s chops and gets us laughing or who yells out your name. It’s funny how someone using your name is comforting to most people especially when you are on the road alone.

There are many opinions in the garage as well – who say that the NASCAR garage had many people in it making too much money – guys on race teams who did not need to be there. The days of having one specialty are over. Teams are tightening their belts and hanging on to the crew member who can handle multiple functions.

Right now as we celebrate the end of the season and prepare to go to New York with the newly crowned champ – let’s help each other through the hard times. Drivers need to think about the crew guys not only for their own teams but other teams that have helped the sport who are challenged right now.

I’d like to thank all of the crew guys, those who got laid off and those who are still working hard to make cars go fast, for their help during my career. They take my phone calls day or night – they carve out time to explain things to me and the race fans when there are issues that don’t make sense, when there are stories I want to get exactly right. Yes, they have been really lucky to work doing something that they love and the race fans would love to have been them, if only for one day, working on any race team up or down pit road. Today – every single person who has a job should thank the Good Lord and then look around and see who we can help or give comfort to who doesn’t.

Guys – thank you.

Claire B

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Race Day – November 9, 2008 November 9, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, In The Garage, NASCAR, Teams, Transcripts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Blog – Phoenix International Raceway
Race Day – November 9, 2008
Claire B Lang

Brian France – NASCAR Chairman and CEO Q and A with the media heart at Phoenix pre-race today:

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France came into the media center for Q and A’s this morning. We were given about a ten minute notice and told we could ask anything. The topic of conversation revolved around the economy and the stress on NASCAR with the tough economic times with the auto manufacturer’s being in dire straights.

France said NASCAR is not immune to a tough economy but the sanctioning body is working at trying to understand what the partners are going through and how it relates back to the team owners and teams.

I asked him about what Rusty Wallace said here Friday in an interview about the Nationwide car of tomorrow (COT):

Here’s what Rusty said:

Rusty Wallace: “Unfortunately I think that NASCAR is going to put a rule out that we are going to go to the (Nationwide) car of tomorrow and a lot of people will say we’re NOT going to do it. Under this economy and as hard as it is to find sponsors you simply can’t take 21 cars and throw them all away with nobody finding any sponsors. Right now is the wrong time to do that.”

CBL to Brian France: “Rusty Wallace …yesterday said he though that some Nationwide teams might refuse to run the Nationwide Car of Tomorrow or that the cost was just too much. Can you maybe talk about whether that is a reality or not and whether you intend to continue the Nationwide Car of Tomorrow program?”

Brian France answer: “Well we’re not there with deciding that the COT is going to appear in the Nationwide series. What we said is that the Nationwide series will evolve and it needs more of its own identity quite frankly. It has a new sponsor in Nationwide and we’re going to do a number of things that we need to do to keep reestablishing – it’s the number two motorsports series in the US. And I certainly heard those discussions… We do an unprecedented amount of background and working with the team owners before we make any significant moves. We’ve done that on my watch the last five years – more so than we’ve ever done. So the car of tomorrow was as an example two or three years of discussions. Mike and I both led those respectively. We met with every team owner, every crew chief, multiple engineers. We heard all the issues. We didn’t just make a decision in six months. We took a long time to do that. We got an unprecedented amount of feedback. That’s what we will do on any major initiative. The difference is we’re not going to stand up here each week and announce the progress report on that. But that is the progress report for significant rules that affect them.

France had a lot to say- mainly that NASCAR is meeting with not only the manufacturers but also the TV partners related to ad revenue and looking and continuing to look at cutting costs that might help the teams, manufacturers and partners. He said that if a manufacturer pulled out of NASCAR, which he doesn’t think will happen, the sport could survive.

Ray Evernham- What’s Next?

It is not a shocker that word is out that Ray Evernham would look at selling his share in Gillette Evernham Motorsports as he investigates where his passion for racing will take him.

I spoke with Ray this (Sunday) morning and I am including the full transcript for you. Because, unless you hear all of what he says – it might be easy to miss the point.

CBL: Ray it’s not a surprise that you are looking at these options and at pulling back:

“Quite honestly we’d been working in this direction. As I said I’m enjoying TV, I’m enjoying helping the Gillette family and it’s something that you know I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I want to slow down a lot. I’ve been having a good time with Ray Jay and doing a lot of different things. With that said I still have commitments to Gillette Everham. I am on the board – I’m still a minority owner but I’m just not as actively involved as I was. So – you know Mr. Gillette is a guy that knows how to win championships. I mean right now he owns the winningest hockey franchise in history so the best way I can assist him the way I can and kind of stay out of the way.

CBL: So what would you like fans to understand as they read about you and chat about this on the internet:

“I’ve had a great career and I really appreciate the fans and I appreciate – I have been really blessed to have been able to do everything that I’ve done in the sport. But there also comes a time – you know like as did Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace and I thought Mark Martin or Bill Elliott you know people want to walk away a little bit not totally. It’s just time for me to do that. I have had a good run but nothing lasts forever. So I would hope that people would look at me and say, ‘wow this guy has been good for the sport.’ I feel like I’ve brought a lot of innovations. I think that we did a great job bringing Dodge back when you look at overall what was going on and helped with a lot of charities, done a lot of different things and have always tried to give back to the sport. I’m going to continue to do that through the grass roots programs. I’m working with short tracks, I’m working with kids, I’m doing all those things to try and help short track racing across America. So, there’s not always some big conspiracy when somebody just wants to slow down a little bit. This has been part of a long term plan. I have said over and over again that at some point the business side of this sport was going to grow much bigger than a) either I was capable of doing or wanted to do. And I think it’s reached that right now. I think it’s going to take people that are as powerful as George Gillette, Rick Hendrick and guys like that to continue to grow it. At this point in my life right now I want to enjoy racing again. I don’t want the stress. I don’t want to have to listen to family worried about all the stuff that is being written on the internet. I’m a racer, I’ve always been a racer. I started my career as a racer and hopefully I can end it that way.

Again, I made a 10 year commitment to Dodge you know and then certainly now – next year will be the ninth year of it. But we’ve had a great run a great partnership. RIght now, the economy is making people change and do things and what not and it’s just best for me to be in a position where I can help. Because if I thought I could engineer the redesign of something of a company I would have done that but right now I’m not at that point in my life.

When will you pull out totally?
We don’t know. Right now my plan is not for me to be totally out of it for a while. It’s just a matter of how much George (Gillette) needs me to do and what exactly we are going to do.

I’ve visited a lot of short tracks. I’m looking at helping some of the diversity programs I am working with some people to do that. I’m looking at purchasing a short track in North Carolina. We’re doing a lot of different things to get back to the grass roots to see now again – you’ve gotta be able to give something back. When you look at Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and guys like that you know they are at the point in their career where they are looking at giving back. I’ve always said – I ‘ve been on the diversity council with NASCAR before and I’ve always said that I would love to be able to help where I work with people like Ingersol Rand and Stanley Tools and all those people. We’re going to be looking at doing programs around various vocational schools to get kids involved in racing. I want to have a little bit of fun and hopefully transfer some of the knowledge and give somebody the opportunity that people gave me

Everybody reaches a point where it’s time to retire you know. Whether you are at any sport – and I don’t know that I’m 100 percent at that point in my life but you know I’m 51, not 21 you know there’s a big difference.”

Pick your friends as carefully as you do your enemies
Which does Jack Roush like least – Toyota or Ron Hornaday? Answer Toyota

When Ron Hornaday crashed in Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race here at Phoenix Jack Roush sent some of his guys over to help repair the truck. Hornaday was really touched. “I had more tears in my eyes to see them guys working on that truck,” he said. But – why did Jack send his guys to help? Below is Roush’s answer

Jack Roush:
“Well the thing about Hornaday is that he’s Drew Blickensderfer’s father in law. And so every time Hornaday has run into one of our guys – in the truck series which has happened repeatedly Drew has paid the price. I’ve thrashed him pretty hard for it and so I felt that I owed Drew that (Friday) night since we had capacity – we had fabricators and we didn’t have anything involved in the wreck. Kevin Harvick flagged me down when he was in the Nationwide car ready to qualify and I had walked up to watch one of our guys qualify on the line before they went on pit road. He flagged me over and he wanted to thank me and he did thank me and I appreciate that. I said, ‘Don’t misunderstand, I do NOT like Ron Hornaday. I don’t want anybody to get that impression but he was definitely the lesser of the evils that I was confronted with. You need to pick your friends as carefully as you pick your enemies and I had a chance to define some space there and I think I made the right call.'”

The Politics In Racing – JGR Gibbs Racing’s #11 team:
Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin made a comment here at Phoenix as he talked with reporters about the chemistry on his race team. Interesting – read closely what he said –

Do you feel like a little shake up with the team management on the No. 11 car would give you a fresh start for 2009?
“I don’t know. I think we know what our problems are. It’s just real political in the shops. It really is. Just because we know what we want to fix within our race team, there’s other departments, there’s other heads of departments that have been there a long time that think maybe there’s a better way to do it than the way we’re doing it. It’s tough to say. A lot falls on Mike Ford’s (crew chief) shoulders to go out there and help this car perform. I think he’s done a great job of that. I’m behind him, I really think that Mike’s one of the best crew chiefs in the garage with the things he has to work with, I guess you can say. We’re trying to do everything we can and we’re not performing the way we were at the beginning of the year. The No. 18 team isn’t performing the way they were at the beginning of the year. As a team we have to get better. I think to do that we’re going to have to have everyone within that race shop be a little bit more open-minded.”

Roush Driver -Jamie McMurray Pops the Question:
“She Said Yes!”

Jamie McMurray is engaged. After qualifying second for Sunday’s race he said the week was special for another reason. In the media center he gave all the details…..

McMurray: It’s been a really exciting week for me, getting engaged – what about that? That’s pretty exciting stuff, huh? So, it’s been a fun week.” DID SHE SAY YES? “Yeah. Actually, what her words were, ‘Are you kidding? Are you serious?’ ‘Yeah, I’m serious. What are you thinking?’ So, to come here, it’s cool. Qualified second here before and on like the fifth lap I had something on the grille and had to pit, and hopefully Sunday will go better.” WHERE AND HOW DID YOU PROPOSE? “Actually, I did it at the Phoenician, at the hotel here in town. Christy and I stayed there, three and a half years I’ve known her, so every year we’ve stayed there. Did it after the race on Sunday, we got back and went and hung out and went and had dinner and went back to the room. I had it planned out, and I really didn’t get nervous, but I wanted to wait another day, and I’m, like, ‘I can’t wait another day. I’ve got to do this right now.’ It was cool. We’ve had so much fun this week. It’s exciting for me because it’s certainly a big deal to find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, but to see, Christy’s been glowing, that’s been so cool to me to see how excited that she’s been. I think she likes me.” WHAT DAY? “Monday, November 3rd.” WHAT’S CLICKED ON FOR YOU? JUST CIRCUMSTANCE? “I don’t know. I was just talking to the engineer about that in the trailer, and our cars have been very good over the last, like, three months. We’ve been a lot faster the second half of the year; things just haven’t worked out – whether you just got caught up in accidents, things have just clicked. There’s been a little more fortune on the race track. They just have made really good adjustments to my car, and I think I’ve probably been a little better driver explaining what I’m feeling. When we unloaded at Texas, you kind of know the tone of your weekend when you run your first few laps, like if it drives good we can work on this or you have weekends where you think, “We’ll never get this right,’ and at Texas we unloaded and I thought, “This is going to be tough.’ And we came into the garage and made we made a few adjustments and I pulled back out and I’m like, ‘There you go. It feels great again.’ So, they just have done a really good job of being pretty methodical on the adjustments, and they seem to work.” DID YOU GET ON A KNEE WHEN YOU PROPOSED? “Yeah, I was pretty nervous. I did. Yeah, I got on my knee. Christy and I have been together for so long that it’s weird when you’re talking to your friend. You picture that as a child, I think, doing that, and you don’t know what the person looks like, but we’re sitting there, and I’m, like, ‘Gosh, this is my best friend.’ I kind of felt corny. Do I have to get on my knee? Because I’m certainly not Romeo, by any means, you know? Not even close.”

    Drivers Meeting:

Pit Road Speed: 45 MPH
Caution Car Speed: 50 MPH
Pit Road Speed Begins: 250 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: 105 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 31.87 Seconds

Time to go out to the grid. More later – stay tuned.
Enjoy the day.

Claire B

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Email from Jason’s girlfriend November 6, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Help Out, My Show.
Tags: , , , ,

I received a follow-up email from Jason’s girlfriend.

email November 5th


My friend Gabe Calton gave me your email address. I am Jason Deel’s girlfriend of 3 years. This has been the hardest thing I have ever been thru. Jason and I are more that we are best friends. We’ve been to so many races together we live close to Bristol and have season tickets we go to charlotte and other places. Jason loves nascar so much and he would appreciate all the prayers. If anyone wants to send E-Cards they can go to http://www.ohiohealth.com/homegrant.cfm?id=321 and click send E-Card he is in Grant Medical Center.

Thank you so much for everything

I attached a photo of Jason and I today at the last Bristol race. He has a Kahne shirt on but dont get me wrong he is a GORDON ONLY fan 🙂 he lost a bet and had to wear the Kahne shirt.


Tara and Jason

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Jason Needs Prayers November 5, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Help Out, Listeners, Mail, NASCAR.
Tags: , , ,

Claire B. Blog
November 5, 2008
Charlotte, NC Studio

Sometimes something so powerful hits you from a race fan that it literally stops you in your tracks. That happened to me this week when I got an email from a listener about a friend of his that he met at a race track. I get a lot of emails but this one truly made a mark on me. Here’s the first email:

email 11/4/08


I’m having a hard time trying to write this email but I am needing to ask the NASCAR nation a favor. One of my dear friends, Jason Deel, who is a die hard Jeff Gordon fan is in very critical condition after hitting his head and falling 20 ft from a railroad bridge while at work. He has no injuries from the fall, it all stems from him hitting his head before the fall. He is currently in the hospital in Ohio and hasn’t been awake since the accident on Thursday. I met him at the race track through one of my good friends, whom he is now dating. We have became really good friends and share a love of NASCAR. He is a Gordon fan and I am a Jr fan so we are always giving each other a hard time about the race. This weekend was the first time in my life that I was pulling for Gordon to win the race to maybe help pull Jason through this. I didn’t think it was going to happen then at the end of the race there was Gordon finishing second. I immediately texted his girl friend to have her tell him he finished 2nd as I know he would have been very excited. And it was hard not getting that text ragging me about how Jr ran out of gas.

If there is some way you can pass this along to the NASCAR nation and have them pray that he will recover from this and one day be able to attend another race and cheer his favorite driver on I would greatly appreciate it. I got a call this morning and it wasn’t the best of news but I will not give up on him and know he will put thought this situation. I know that everyone in Nascar nation is a huge family no matter who you root for and I would greatly appreciate all the prayers for Jason and his family.

Thank you all!

Gabe Calton

After receiving the email (above) I tracked Gabe down and read his email on the air. He came on the air with me and told the story of meeting his friend Jason at the race track and the many hours of good fun they had ribbing each other about their drivers over the past years. Quickly, the instant messages and emails started coming in – people were listening and they were praying.

Today, I received another email from Gabe with a picture of his friend Jason Deel – who is fighting for his life.

Jason Needs Prayers

email 11/5/08

Claire B,

I just wanted to take the time to thank you so much for allowing me to ask the Nascar Nation for their prayers for Jason Deel. That was a hard thing to do and I could talk days about him. I was just trying to keep my composure. It meant the world to me and I have passed on to his Girlfriend Tara that all of Nascar nation is praying for him to pull through this. Its been rough no doubt, I found out later that they are saying he may never awaken but I still stand firm on my statement that he will pull through this with the help of God and I thank you for allowing me to get the word out.

I am attaching a picture of Jason and I at Bristol this spring standing at the pit gate watching the drivers coming in. I’m sure you can tell which on is Jason by his Jeff Gordon gear. The smile you see on his face is a smile that was always on his face. When around him you where always smiling.

I will keep everyone that is interested updated and I appreciate everything you have done for him, and his family and friends.


Like I said – some days I’ll get an email that just stops me in my tracks. To have a friend like Gabe – someone who you met via racing – and someone who refuses to give up on you and to have listeners who would stop and pray for someone they don’t even know. It’s powerful.

Thanks to the listeners who passed a prayer on for Jason. Jason is pictured below (in the Gordon gear) next to his friend Gabe

It means a lot.

Enjoy the day – take nothing for granted. Never give up.

Claire B

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Claire B. Blog Monday, October 20, 2008 October 20, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, Items of Interest, Listeners, NASCAR, Transcripts.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Ryan Newman in August 2007 a...Image via WikipediaClaire B. Blog
Monday, October 20, 2008
Charlotte, NC

Good morning from Charlotte! All the way home last night we debated sports in which the same team/person wins all the time and how fans of various sports react. That will be the topic today. I have had emails on how frustrated Kurt Busch was —ready to pull his car off the track – and asking for permission to do so……Penske management saying no. I have had emails from Johnson fans and fans of other drivers regarding the chase and statistically the chances that anyone can catch him.

I got this from a listener: Larry maintains that most race fans who are “up on the wheel” today about their driver’s chances in the chase do not understand that “IF” their driver were to win all the remaining races, why wouldn’t they be in first place and win the championship.

Larry writes, “Given that most of us thought it would take something like an average finish of 5 to win the championship, you will notice that ONLY three drivers can conceivably finish with a 5 or better average and that is ONLY if they win the remaining races. But what is really hard to fathom (for most) is that winning does not “dig oneself out of a deficit” because if a specific driver were to win and the top three drivers were to finish 2nd, 3rd and 4th, the largest point gain over the leaders would be a mere 10 points. At +10 points per weekend, it would take 10 weekends to make up for a 100 point deficit and then only if you won every weekend…the top drivers are “there” every weekend…..and to catch the 48 car, he will have to finish outside of the top 10 “more than once” for deficits to be made up.”

Potential best avg if….IF any of the drivers were to win all of the remaining races…however unlikely….
Chart- for Chase 10-20-08

Obviously, at the rate we are going, says Larry, a “sub-avg-5” will not guarantee a championship….but something well below a sub-5 avg….maybe.

Thanks Larry!

Claire B


Ryan Newman is driving a truck this weekend at Atlanta. I wrote the story from a source in a blog a couple of days ago and now it’s official.
Ryan Newman, known as “The Rocket Man,” slides in behind the wheel of the No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) American Commercial Lines (ACL) Chevrolet for the first time at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Newman has never driven in the Truck Series, but has an honorable pole record in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with seven poles in thirteen Sprint Cup starts at AMS. Newman is currently tied for the all-time pole record in the Sprint Cup Series. Newman has two starts in the Nationwide Series and has one pole and a second place start in that division.


Newman: “It’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to run in the Truck Series. Everyone has always told me how much fun they have running the trucks, and now I’ve got the shot to see what it’s like. I expect to go there and have fun. But in saying that, we should have a shot at the win in the end. KHI has two really strong trucks. My teammate is Ron Hornaday, who is currently second in points, and I think he was second at Atlanta earlier this year so I expect we’ll have a really good truck – a top-five or top-10 truck. And by halfway, I’d like to be in a position where we have a shot at the win.”


Newman: “First off, I have never driven a truck before and it was really something that I wanted to have the chance to do. Secondly, Kevin and DeLana (Harvick) are good friends of mine and (wife) Krissie’s, and when the seat came open in their 2 truck, we talked about it and he asked me if I would be interested. The timing was just right. It’s kind of a difficult time for them with having the need for a driver to fill the seat for the last few races, and I am glad to help them out at Atlanta this weekend.”


Newman: “I don’t know since I haven’t driven one yet. I’m sure I will be talking to Kevin and Ron a lot over the weekend so that we can get the No. 2 truck up front.”


Newman: “From what I understand, running the truck there, you are wide open. It’s a really fast track, trucks stick really well. The biggest thing I will have to learn is how the trucks race. It seems like they get pretty loose inside each other.”

CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 2 ACL team will bring chassis number 014 to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The chassis took to the track earlier this season at AMS where the No. 2 team earned their first top-10 finish of 2008 with a sixth-place finish. Chassis 014 also competed at Bristol (Va.) Motor Speedway and was rebuilt after the event due to a crash. The team refers to this chassis as “Old Faithful” due to the fact that this is the oldest downforce truck the No. 2 team has in their stable of chassis. “Old Faithful” also has a consistent record of being solid throughout a race and coming on strong at the finish.

Thanks all….back to work in the studio getting today’s show ready. Thanks for checking out the blog!

Claire B

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Claire B Blog- Martinsville Speedway October 19, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, In The Garage, NASCAR, Trackside.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

An older Wells Fargo branch, located in Berkel...Image via WikipediaBLOG – MartinsvIlle Speedway
Claire B. Lang – Sunday October 19th, 2008

Good Morning and welcome to Martinsville Speedway!

I asked Richard Petty today about the rumored merger talks between Petty Enterprises (Boston Ventures) and Dale Earnhardt Inc. While talks have been going on – it’s just conversation between many teams as they posture their companies and adjust their business plans to include looking at satellite teams or mergers. Here’s Richard’s answer about the possibility of a merger – I’m sure parts of it will be used by others who were taping – but I wanted to give you the full answer to my question to Richard about the possibility of a DEI Petty Enterprises merger:.

CBL: What about the reports of a merger between Petty Enterprises and DEI:

Petty: “You read in the paper that Wachovia and Wells Fargo was trying to get together and everybody else is trying to get together. The Japanese sent a bunch of money to buy a bank in New York. Everybody in the world is talking about this crap. OK and that’s just the trend of the time right now. Yea, we’ll talk to anybody. I’d like to talk to Wells Fargo somebody that’s got a lot of money. I don’t, some of these teams that’s trying to join up they ain’t no better off than we are so we need to get some better help than that.

CBL: That would be wild if two rivals (Earnhardt /Petty) Merged:

Petty “What happens is the way the system is now as far as the economy and also the way the system is with some of the other race teams that’s got satellite teams – here we’re sitting with two teams and some of these guys from the major satellite part is sitting there with eight teams. (It’s) kind of hard to compete with so I think that everybody’s looking at different angels of you know how do you compete with what’s out there right now.”

Petty also said that he would not comment when asked a follow-up by a reporter who asked if DEI needed Petty more than Petty needed DEI.

“Can’t never tell man – liable to be three or four names in there,” Petty added when a reporter followed up by asking if it would be Earnhardt Petty or Petty Earnardt if the merger ever did happen.

The word is that while everyone’s talking to everyone the meetings are more like fact-finding meetings and with a number of players in the garage – not just the two meeting to hammer out a deal.

Drivers Meeting:

Couple of quick notes – the main warning at the driver’s meeting from race director David Hoots was about Martinsville’s pit road: “LET’S LEAVE THE RACING ON THE RACE TRACK AND NOT ON THE PIT ROAD,’ Hoots emphasized. “We all know how small it is,” he added, “It’s been redone it’s nice and smooth – Let’s leave the racing out on the race track.”

There was one question in the driver’s meeting. It was from #48 Crew Chief Chad Knaus:
“Last race here it seemed that you guys opened up the pits kind of late. We were almost all the way through one and two – can you guys push that back?”

David Hoots answered: “Chad’s question is the last race we opened the pit road a little bit late and around one and two – we’ll try to advance it as much as we can but we also look at how the field is spread out and see if it makes sense but we’ll try to take care of that for you.

Pit Road Speed: 30 mph
Caution Car Speed: 35 mph
Pit Road Speed Begins: 110 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends: 75 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 23.00 seconds

No more questions and we prayed.

I’ll have more coming up – headed into the garage for a few more. I just wanted to get this posted.

Claire B

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Martinsville Blog October 16, 2008

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

AMP Energy (lemon-lime), O...Image via WikipediaHey all!

This weekend at Martinsville I will be in the Chevy Mobil Broadcast Unit on Friday from 3-6 p.m. EST – I’ll be at the Chevy Display in the fan area at Martinsville Speedway broadcasting “Dialed In’ live.

I heard from a source today that Ryan Newman will be racing a truck at Atlanta. I’m loving that thought…..Newman in a truck! I’m hearing it will be announced soon.

I have never entered a contest in my life….but you know I started thinking about all the contest winners I have interviewed at tracks. I got to thinking the only reason other folks win things is because they enter. I’m not eligible as a reporter but I’m thinking that for all of you. Are they serious? See this below. Win a bus?

WIN A BUS: Fans can go to http://www.AMPEnergy.com to sign up for the “Ultimate Talladega RV” sweepstakes. One lucky fan will win the one-of-a-kind No. 88 AMP Energy-branded bus (the bus that drove around at Talladega). Special features include an entertainment system, cooler for AMP Energy drink, custom wheels and autographed Earnhardt memorabilia.

LOL Email of the day:

I got a kick out of this email from Texas. I am still LOL:

Hey Claire B,

………..I came to a conclusion I know why Dale Jr blew a tire this weekend. It’s Jessica Simpson’s fault (LOL) she was wearing a Dale Jr shirt and an AMP Jacket. You know she brought bad luck to Tony Romo and he broke his finger last week during the game. Anyway just a Wednesday conspiracy theory. (LOL) Have a good day and thanks for all your hard work.

Debbie Long……..Addison, TX

It is “Conspiracy Theory Thursday” so while I’m at it here’s another “conspiracy” email. I got a kick out of it.

Claire B:

What do you think the chances of Carl Edwards’ ignition problem that was
“Magically” rectified, being a stealth penalty imposed by NASCAR to
remind the #99 Driver who is running the show?

Unless Rousch admits that Cousin Carl hit the kill switch, my money is
on NASCAR being behind the electronics failure….it wouldn’t be hard to

Happened on pit road….

Magically went away….

Carl is on probation….

Mike B.

Well Roush Fenway mechanics replaced the box – so that’s when it “magically” went away it was because the box was replaced. RFR is currently looking into what made the box fail.

I’ll keep you posted.

Claire B
“Dialed In”

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Race Day Blog – Lowe’s Motor Speedway October 11, 2008

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

Claire B Lang – Pre Race
Race Day Blog – Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Saturday October 11, 2008

The Edwards Harvick Argument Photograph……Has Been Outed

Welcome to Lowe’s Motor Speedway. I just saw a photo of the Carl Edwards/ Kevin Harvick scuffle in the Nationwide garage on Thursday here at LMS. The photo series has started to make it around to the various web sites. There are various accounts as to how the photos got out.

We knew that, eventually, the photo would get out somehow – it was just a matter of time. It always does somehow. I’ve heard various stories of why the photo of the argument was not released and was kept under wraps by a handful of photographers.

Several media members covering the race here at Lowe’s Motor Speedway noted that, in their minds, the photo would have been rushed to Associated Press immediately if H.A. Humpy Wheeler was still on staff here at LMS because, of course, he’d know how good it was for business and would have seen to it that the photo got out. Maybe some think that the photo is bad for the drivers involved or their sponsors but traditionally photos like this are good for ticket sales.

Last night here at LMS several of us in the media corps talked about why the several photographers who got the shot, who are photo and commercial journalists, would have agreed to not publish the photo. This usually happens due to pressure from sponsors that the photographers double dip for on side jobs or from the track or the Roush team. The discussion was that it was no different than someone getting a story off the record and deciding not to use it.

Also, many of the photographers who shoot in the sport do other jobs -and make extra money shooting for corporate and sponsor entities that might conflict with a shot like that getting out. Then are they not photo journalists? Some in the photo room say that the photo was in the garage, a place that is not the same as on pit road and therefore should not be released. Others in the photo room disagreed – saying that there are a lot of fans in the garages now and that while you would hold a photo of two drivers fighting in the motor coach lot, which is their neighborhood, the garage is more public. Now, the photo series is out.

I am asking you this. How much of an impact does a series of photos like this have on your support of a driver or sponsor. Here’s what I think – I think if you are a Kevin Harvick fan you do not change your thoughts about him related to this photo series and you support and back Kevin. If you are a Carl Edwards fan you support him and see the photo series a different way. It all depends on who you support how you see this series of photos right?

Bottom line – these photos will not change fans opinions of either the sponsor nor the driver.

Not one bit.

Am I wrong?

You can find the photos on any of the racing web sites. Let me know what you think

Claire B

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Great Listener Emails… September 21, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Listeners, Mail, NASCAR.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

Hey all! Check out are some of my recent emails. They are good.
Claire B.