Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Tire for Daytona

Jayski broke this story yesterday so I will assume it is okay for me to finally discuss it and post pics.

Goodyear is rolling out a new tire for Daytona in all NASCAR series- no it is not a new compound or size - it is just made with a lot of pride and heart.    As you can see, they are "Supporting Our Troops" and will be rolling out all kinds of cool promotions along with the tire - including tires signed by drivers that you can bid on and proceeds will go to the troops and their families as well as ways to interact with the troops overseas NASCAR style.   Go to starting July 2nd for more details.

Also look for your favorite Penske and RCR drivers promoting the cause during the  Daytona races this weekend.   They did a great job nailing their lines while filming the commercials at Sonoma although none of them seemed to keen on the make up!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sonoma Race Day

Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!  Race day at Infineon Raceway brought an early and busy start to the day with the race starting a good two hours earlier than before.   I asked the Brew Crew if the earlier start time affected their schedule and they said no, not really, that if they had the extra two hours they would have just wasted it!  =)    

The over the wall guys had the pit box set up bright and early and I found these two bloggers ready to switch over to root for Kurt rather than Harvick and Ambrose today...(ha!)
I had a good long chat with the pit crew while they were prepping the five sets of tires we had this weekend and unfortunately found them more than a little somber about losing the Miller Lite sponsorship and changing over to Penzoil.   Some of our over the wall guys have been with the Miller Lite car since Rusty's early days and have worked their entire career on the Miller Lite Dodge.   Despite being pretty bummed about the change they all quickly added they would rather lose the sponsor than their driver and reassured me they will still be the elite team at Penske.  My "Brew Crew" will need a new catchy name next year...suggestions welcome!

After hanging out with the pit crew I headed back to the garage to see if the guys were ready to push the car through inspection.   They were pretty late leaving and still had to "run the car" one more time because of something to do with a possible leak in the oil transfer case?   Here is a great example of "don't try this at home" - our rear end mechanic, Steve, is under the car with a flashlight while Darin, our engine guy, is "driving" it with the rear end held up by three jacks.  The rear wheels are spinning God knows how fast right above Steve's head.   These crews do not get enough credit for how hard they work and how dangerous it really is.
We headed out through inspection shortly after and I actually had to help push the car around - which is comical since I can barely move the thing - while the guys switched out to grab some food.   Valli, the NASCAR citizen blogger of hung out with us in the inspection line and had a good laugh as the crew was attacked by a (possibly drunk?) Cougar.

We were so late starting inspection and then unfortunately had problems again at the last station so we wer one of the last cars out.   It was good for me though....Billy, our interior mechanic had to get suited up and go get the gas so he left me in charge of the tool cart again.   By the time we made it through the final inspection spot there were only four guys and me left pushing the car all they way out to our third starting spot on the grid.   And do any of my fellow bloggers there get a picture of this!?  No...they were all too busy watching driver intros!

By the time I got to the pits, the National Anthem was just about to be played.  Gave the guys high fives all around and hunkered down for the race.    I won't bother recapping the action since you all know what happened.  Addington had Kurt on the perfect pit strategy right there with Ambrose and JJ and we were looking to get at least a top 5 finish.   We had great pit stops all is a shot of the crew in action.

And for you Smoke fans...
And for you Yeley fans...
But seriously, kudos to Yeley and his team - they pitted that car with three over the wall guys - the gas/catch can man, a tire carrier and tire changer.  Took them a LONG time to pit the car each stop but they finished the race.  It was a little painful to watch - I almost wanted to go help them!

Of course this race day blog would not be complete without a picture of Travis eating something!  Nutter Butters is his snack of choice today...

Mid-race things were humming along for our team and Larry, our rear tire carrier was chillin' before things got crazy...
And crazy they did just a few minutes was just about now that the big wreck that red flagged the race occurred and Hamlin peeled into the garage smoking his tire so much that he actually set off the sprinklers in the media center!   Our pit was right in front of the media center and the alarms were going off and water was leaking out of the sprinkler pipes on to our extra equipment.  Never a dull moment!

I headed into the garage to see the carnage first hand.  The #56 was destroyed as was the team.  Mikey was there lamenting the wreck as it pulled into the garage on the back of the truck.

Not to be outdone - Poor Sam wrecked his back-up car in this mess and the #77 crew was back to work fixing the primary car that now didn't look so bad to get Sam back out on the track.   Sam must be hating road courses by now after this wreck and the huge hit he took at Watkins Glen a few races back.  Ouch.

We all know how this one ends - Ambrose got some very bad advice from his crew chief and Big Daddy pretty much took out everyone in his path including Kurt with only two to go.   Kurt had some choice words for Gordon over the radio especially since we are now two for two with HMS taking us out at Somoma.    With Ambrose out of the picture - JJ pretty much cruised to a win.  As annoying as it is, have to give him props for stepping up his game on the road course. 
I didn't bother to watch the Victory Lane celebration instead hoofed it out to our hauler and said my goodbyes to the guys.   Kurt was understandably still quite pissed and left fast - so fast that there was not security ready at the gates where the drivers catch golf cart rides to the helipad.   One truly obnoxious fan got in Kurt's face yelling at him about how much he sucked and Kurt nearly (and probably should have) clocked him.

So a request to my fellow fans - no matter how much you dislike a driver please respect them because that was truly an ugly display of unsporting conduct by that fan.   Boo the drivers from the stands all you want but when you have contact with a driver the best rule is if you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all.  Encounters like that make the drivers a lot less inclined to visit with fans and to sign autographs.
Thanks for a great weekend Tez, RA6AN, and Jon464!  We all know who the real race winner was...Aussie Aussie Aussie...oi! oi! doh!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sonoma Qual & Practice Garage Report

[Ok, this blog might not be as brilliant "as usual" since I have three famous bloggers watching me write this over my about pressure! TEZ says maybe this blog will more brilliant than before and is wrapped up in his boxing Kangaroo flag...JON464 thought he found gas mileage notes on the table next to us at dinner and is polishing his Harvick Crocs and RA6AN is too busy drooling over an old ESPN magazine cover to pay any attention to us....]

Ah, Sonoma, "I feel the need, the need for speed"..."Pop quiz, hotshot. There's a bomb on a bus"...whoops too many movie quotes but seriously pop quiz...what is wrong with this picture?
Notice anything missing??  Like a big blue hauler in between the #11 and #17 haulers?   Unfortunately, the race weekend got off to a rough start for the Blue Deuce.  Our hauler apparently broke the "turbo bearing" in the engine in the Nevada desert and had to be towed (can you imagine the size of the tow truck!?!?) to Vegas. For a short time there was a real scare that the #2 car(s) would not make it to the track.   Luckily Stump and Cindy are crack mechanics and fixed it up but the delay put them pulling into the garage at 2 AM Friday.   Of course, all the other haulers were already lined up so we got to pull in at the very, VERY end of the line-past all the start and parkers and right next to JJ Yeley.   
The worst part of it all is that they had to unload the hauler at 2 AM pretty much by themselves so when the crew got to the garage at 7AM the car was actually in the garage ready to start the inspection process.   Oh and a thing about the garage...NASCAR didn't change our garage stall so our car and all of our equipment are in garage stall 5, and to repeat, hauler spot 43.  Not only has the Brew Crew lost significant weight running back and forth already this weekend but Kurt fans are getting unprecedented access to autographs from him as he makes the long, long trek.  

I was privy to a rare sight in the is not often you see drivers getting make up!  What a cool job eh?

I cannot say quite yet what exactly this Goodyear commercial featuring Sam, Kurt, as well as Harvick, Bowyer and Burton is about but it sure was fun watching them play TV star for a little bit.   They both did a great job with their lines but had to do them over and over for the perfect cut and splice.

The "product" will be announced by Goodyear at the Daytona race in July but you can say you heard a rumor about a new product here first...and once it is announced I'll post the rest of the pictures I do have.   I will say it is a very cool idea.    While we will have to wait a bit longer - one thing that all of the drivers could not wait to do was to get rid of that makeup!

Right after filming the commercial Kurt was back in front of the camera (maybe he should have left his make up on?) for Speed Vision.   They were filming messages from the drivers to their fathers and/or all the fathers to be played on the JumboTron on Sunday.

 Keeping up with the theme of rare garage experiences - not often you get to see a Swede...
Nor is it very common to have your sponsor incorporate their logo into your that is brand loyalty!
Notice the belt...Ummmm, I'm lovin' it!

Fun moment on pit road right before Kurt went out to qualify - some good ole fashioned trash-talking between old teammates...

Kurt laid down a lightening fast lap in qualifying picking up nearly a second over practice and kept himself in front of the media.  Here he is being interviewed by Dodge PR and in the background you can see Kurt's PR guy keeping his eyes on the rest of the qualifiers on his Sprint Fan View.  Oh and our hauler, yeah so far down its still not in the picture!
Saturday was a quick but eventful day.  It started with Luke - our favorite shock specialist now on the #56 car - getting Marcos Ambrose to sign Tez's boxing Kangaroo flag for him.  Apparently, Marcos wrapped himself up in it and said how much he wanted to go visit home...wish I was there with a camera but greatly appreciate Luke for making Tez practically pee his pants!

The only wreck in practice today was unfortunately my beloved Sammy.   He smashed the car up real good and all three Penske teams pulled together to get the back up out and the wrecked car safe enough to haul back home. 
Being a good teammate was definitely the theme of the day - as you all know Brad Keslowski was in Wisconsin racing the NW right about the time practice was starting at Sonoma.    Hmmm, yet the 12 car was mysteriously out on the track...
BK can give a hearty thanks to KB for shaking down his car in both practice and Happy Hour and better hope the Blue Deuce is strong since we missed out on half of our practice time as KB ran between the cars....literally!
As it is already 10:45pm and I have a 6 am wake up call, I will leave you with one parting shot of the day...the mastermind at work on top of yes, yes a porta potty....

More to come....