Chicagoland Photos

July 15, 2008

Here are some photos of when I got down to the track at Chicagoland. It’s in Joliet, Illinois.  Below is an what the food tent looks like. It’s a pretty bad picture but I couldn’t get it off this post, so I’ll tell you about it anyway:) The craft services folks are awesome. They put out a huge spread for all of the broadcasting teams and its a ton of people they have to feed. Literally, they have a huge selection including a milkshake man in the afternoons sometimes but if you think about it, a lot of the positions, like directors, producers, etc never leave the compound so they have to rely on this stuff to fill ’em up.

 

This below is our TNT featherlite in the TV compound. These golf carts are how we get around. Runners drive us back and forth to the infield when we have to go and inside of that white tent is where our wardrobe containers are. Inside of the featherlite is where Kristin, our coordinator works out of. She keeps everything up and running during the race weekend.

 

This is a look at the press room as we were waiting for Tony Stewart to come in and talk about his decision to leave Gibbs racing at the end of the season and go to Stewart Haas racing. At the end of the press conference, when he was done, he asked us to hold on a minute and then took a moment to thank the media for being patient with him while he went through this process. I thought it was pretty classy.

 

Below – this looked like the end of the world. I was terrified…see that black cloud on the horizon, well Friday right at the end of practice, this huge storm front rolled in. It was so frightening. This is a shot from the infield.. it poured so much and I hopped in my rental car to try to leave and beat the storm. I got caught right in it, ran over a cone like a spaz and then carried the cone about 20 feet in the driving rain. Families were running with their children dragging behind drenched trying to find their way to a safe place.. finally, it passed. When I was driving out of the track through the tunnel, I saw the country singer, Blake Shelton and his girlfriend Miranda Lambert on the back of a golf cart driving in b/c they were performing. I would’ve snapped a photo but I had to drive.

 

Below – this is an outside view of the Chicago racetrack. Pretty nice… in the midst of cornfields with corn stalks about as tall as me (I measured while I was running one morning)

 

Below…. I’m sorry Jeff Gordon fans… this was hilarious! It was a tent full of Dale Jr. fans and they dressed up Gordon with a coconut bikini top and a grass skirt.. I thought it was so funny, I had to show you.

 

Check this out below…how fans get around in Chicago. I love the tractor… my Aunt and Unlce live on a farm in PA and I know my Uncle Terry would love to drive this.

 

I love this picture..its what we do during practice. See the man in the green shirt and khakis..that’s Matt Yocum, my fellow pit reporter who was working this practice. He’s right between Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr’s garage stalls listening to what they’re teams are saying .. you can see the crew working on Jr.’s car on the right.

This pic below is nice – it’s the crew chiefs on top of their haulers during the practice. They run back and forth, up and down off their haulers watching the cars go around and then going into the garage to talk to their crews.

 

This is my vantage point from inside the garage stall that Clint Bowyer’s team was working out of.

 

Here’s an action photo of the crews in the garage area wheeling tires and running to their cars..it really is hectic in here but it is so much fun I can’t even explain it… the noises and the smell of the fuel..it sounds weird but you’d like it too… I promise.

 

Thats it for these photos. I’ll keep you posted on more NASCAR stuff but until then, cheers!

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A Trip To Wrigley Field

July 15, 2008

These are a little late, but I wanted to post them anyway.. this is from Wednesday night when I got into Chicago.. I went straight to Wrigley field to join Juan Pablo Montoya and his crew chief because they were there to sing “Take me out to the ballgame”. I had never been there before and it was awesome.

 

Below, this is Brian Pattie (Juan’s crew chief on the left) and Juan Pablo Montoya on the right. Brian just became Juan’s crew chief about a month ago. Juan has been through 3 different crew chiefs in 6 weeks and things seem to be working for these two.. Brian felt like even things like this outing to Wrigley can help them out with their chemistry. The biggest difference for Juan,as he told me, was that in Indy car and other series, its much more individual whereas in NASCAR, you get out of your cars and share information with your teammates and crew chief… in the other series, your teammates are more your direct competitors and so Juan has adjusted to being more open and is enjoying that, too. He lives in Miami in his offseason and loves it.
Below is my photographer, Skip, in the navy shirt following Juan into the broadcasters booth where he and Brian were going to sing. Brian had the words to the song emailed to him on his blackberry so he woudln’t forget. They did a good job but they were about a half a verse behind..
Below is what it looked like from their vantage point.. everyone from the crowd was staring in at them as they were singing.
Wrigley was so cool – on my way out, a little kid came up and thanked Juan for wrecking Kyle Busch a week earlier… crazy.

Post Chicagoland Race

July 14, 2008

I am the kind of person that stumbles upon a new song and plays the heck out of it, at my house, on my ipod, in my car, until I can’t stand it anymore. Right now, its John Mayer’s “Say”.. I play it when I’m running and right now, its what I have on as I’m on my plane headed back to DC. I even stop it before it gets to the second verse to start it over because I like the beginning so much.

 

I like the meaning of the song because its about not being scared to say what’s on your mind. In a way, and this is gonna seem like such a stretch, but that is part of why I love NASCAR so much – because people just say what they’re flat out thinking. It might be a driver, steaming mad after getting out of their car, or it’s a crew member telling me a little more than I wanted to hear when I ask what he did over the weekend.. but it seems around the garage, people just tell it like it is and that honesty and openness is part of the allure of the series. 

 

We, the TNT bunch, did our last race Saturday night in Chicago. Thank goodness that we ran our story on Kyle Busch here at NBC 4 last Thursday because we would’ve had to edit it again since he keeps winning.  My first impressions of the race is that it was not eventful during the middle hours – I really think NASCAR should do something about these new cars. I know it would take a lot but whereas I am all for the safety advancements, they need to improve the setups – make them able to race better. But back to the race, I was directed to go down to Jimmie Johnson’s pit where I was going to interview the winning crew chief, expected to be Chad Knaus. I was in their pit with 2 laps to go, gearing up for my questions to Chad just like my co-worker Marty was getting ready to interview Jimmie Johnson in victory lane. That’s why I could not believe the move Kyle pulled on Jimmie. He nudged him to go and then took off around him. I am so grateful to have witnessed 3 of this drivers wins this season because it is history. Love him or hate him, he’s every bit as good as people say and the truth is he drives his crew NUTS! Absolutely crazy – he demands so much perfection. He is never satisfied with the car when it unloads over the weekend and in fact, he says it openly… that’s pretty bold for a guy of 23 years but the man can back it up and I love that. I predict he wins more than 12 races by the time this season is through.

 

Back to the finish.. after Kyle won, I climbed on top of the pit box to grab a word with Steve Addington,  his crew chief. Steve is a phenomenal guy – very even keel…. enjoying every second of his success this season and after I asked him the question, he hopped down to walk down pit road towards the car. Myself and my crew followed him because I was heading for the drivers that finished 2nd through 5th anyway. It was special to see, though, because Steve was walking about 12 feet in front of us normal, like a man walking down the street. In the distance, on the front stretch, he was watching his driver do burnouts that clouded up the night sky. Then, as he watched Kyle on top of that car stick his hands to the side in a gesture of “what, you’re booing me?” and then take his signature bow to the fans, Steve took both his fists and pumped them hard in celebration towards the night sky.  That moment took my breath away. I had never been able to watch Kyle do that in person because I am usually running around tracking down drivers but the moment of it all made me want to cry and this is cheesy but that is what happens sometimes when you realize a moment and something that you’re watching is truly history.  Last year, at my last race in Chicago, I remember talking to Steve Addington in his hauler about what he future held inheriting Kyle Busch this season as his driver replacing JJ Yeley. He didn’t know what to expect and hadn’t had success with JJ so it was a big question mark. To see his hard work paying off this year, that’s what its all about.  I’ve learned from this 23 year old that its ok to demand perfection. He’s like George Michael in that way and I will respect the heck out of him for that until the day I die. They might make other people roll their eyes at times and say “you’ve got to be kidding me” but the bottomline is they get it done.  

 

I love this sport so much because of the richness of everything – the colors around the racetrack, the smells of the bacon early on a Saturday morning at the racetrack – and more than anything, because of the conversations you can have with just about anyone that is there. Everyone in that garage has a story that is worth the time to listen and I feel really lucky that I have been able to be a part of it for this small chunk this season… also that I’ve been able to share some of it with you.  I’ll put on pictures later but for now, I’ve gotta go… it’s great to be back in DC!

 

Cheers,

Lindsay

Chicagoland

July 10, 2008

Hey there.. just got to my hotel room in Chicago. This is our last TNT race for the summer. I’m bummed. I’m excited to get back into the groove fulltime in DC but this means a lot to me and its weird how fast time has flown.. but, there is still another race and a huge announcement from Tony Stewart tomorrow. I’m surprised that Tony is announcing his move next season to Haas racing this week, but I’m thankful that we will be able to cover it. I’m interested to hear the press conference tomorrow and will file a report from here for our station in DC so that you guys get the information. I would imagine this is quite a relief to get this done for Stewart.  I have a heck of a lot of respect for him and if he’s getting the resources he needs to do this venture as part owner, driver, then I don’t think its an awful move.

My first practice tomorrow is at 4pm Chicago time but I’m going to get there to hear the news conference and to gather some info at the track. Tonight, was a lot of fun. I landed at 6 and went over to Wrigley field (my first time there and it was awesome). The reason I was there was because Juan Pablo Montoya and his crew chief, Brian Pattie were singing “Take me out to the Ballgame”.  It was hilarious. First of all, Brian had the lyrics emailed from someone on his blackberry so he wouldn’t forget them. Juan said that its his second year doing it which is great, but he said the toughest part is that the song, once you are singing it, is so long that it feels like you are on stage forever. The guys were good, they were a couple seconds behind, but they deserve credit for effort:) 

Listen to this, though.. since Juan had the incident with Kyle Busch at New Hampshire where he spun him out, he has gotten countless praise from fans… he told me that he got more cheers for that than he did when he won back at Sonoma in 2007. It says a lot about how fans feel right now about Kyle. But the funny thing was, we were walking back down to the suite they were watching from and a little boy came up to Juan for his autograph.. he told him he made his dream come true and what the little boy meant was because of what Juan did to Kyle Busch. Gotta love the passion of a NASCAR fan.  Juan Pablo Montoya is a very open, energetic guy that is not worried about saying what he thinks. He’s like the driver that you see on the track. This is a big weekend for him and his team at Chicago because his sponsor, Wrigley, is based here and also because this starts a stretch where he really needs to make a push. Right now, I’m making a push for my bed because I’m very tired so i’ll write more tomorrow.  Tune in tomorrow to NBC 4 at 6 and I’ll have something from Chicago!

cheers.

Lindsay

Photos From Daytona

July 8, 2008

 Here are some quick thoughts on Daytona – as far as Daytona, this was the most exciting race I’ve seen in person there. I wish it didn’t end under green-white checkered, though because there was some really great racing. It was so hot down there that during qualifying, I walked up to Dave Blaney to do an interview and he looked at me and said, “Man, you’re sweating worse than me.”   Just what a girl wants to hear, right? 🙂 I wasn’t even in my firesuit yet.. anyway, Tony Stewart was really sick and it was cool of him to do the interview on our TNT set before the race because he must’ve felt horrible if he actually got out of the car in the middle of the race. So, here are some photos on the Daytona weekend. I hope you like them!

this below is a view from the outside of our Featherlite, our office in the Cup garage. Its a wideshot of “tech”, when the cars are being rolled through technical inspection before practice.

 This pic to the right is what the garage at Daytona looks like before they open for business. This past weekend, garage opened at 7am. the cool thing is they put glass behind the garages so fans can watch the drivers inside.. the wagons outside of the garage stalls are where I usually stand during practice so I don’t get hit, but when you have to talk to someone about what’s going on with their car, you just step right in the garage.

This below, is a shot of the inside of our featherlite hauler. My seat is on the right. Ralph is to my left and Matt is all the way on the left by our wardrobe closet which holds our firesuits. Marty’s spot is on the other side. We all have our own drawers and we have a fridge (stocked with water, Red Bull (gotta have it on raceday) and other stuff)

 This, below, is our TNT rig. Its what our main announcers sit on.. it raises up in the air during the broadcast and Bill, Kyle and Wally get a great view of the track. The truck once got stranded on the way to New Hampshire. It almost turned into a hairy situation but luckily, arrived in time.

 You might think this is boring, but below, this is the view of the speedway (its almost too small to see) standing at our hotel door. I just wanted to show you the proximity of it. They used golf carts to get us back and forth for meetings and to go to the track for work.

 This is a closer shot of “tech inspection”. the car going through is Greg Biffle’s #16 Ford. NASCAR puts templates on top of each car like a puzzle piece. If something doesn’ t fit, you have to go try to fix it and bring it through. Tomorrow, we’re expecting big news in the way of fines and/or suspensions for the 1 team of Martin Truex, Jr. Their car failed inspection Thursday at Daytona and then it was confiscated. He had to use the backup but their was a problem, according to NASCAR, with the roof measurements.. we will have to wait and see.

 This is cheesy, I know.. but this is raceday. It was about 3 hours before the race started and we had rehearsal. We always have rehearsal the morning of the race. I go get my headphones and battery pack on and we walk around and run through the show as we have it on our rundown. The thing I’m holding in my hand is our show rundown for Countdown to Green. I’m pointing to my first interview so you can see it. 

 

This is the closeup of the rundown you can see.. our producer, Barry, puts it all together and we all discuss during our meeting. Here you can see, my first assignment for the show was to interview Jeff Gordon. Then, after I talk to Jeff, I have to send it back to Bill, our announcer, so he can lead us to the commercial.

 

About the rundown, I had a viewer email me an interesting question and I want to share..she wrote:

Lindsay,

Who makes the decision as to which drivers to interview before as they are preparing for their qualifying runs?  Is it the producer, you, or just which ever driver happens to be available?  Hope that you survived the heat.

Thanks, Melissa

It’s a good question. When I’m doing the qualifying show, we would love to interview just about everybody but sometimes circumstances won’t allow it. NASCAR makes us stay clear of the top three cars that are on the grid getting ready to go out because they are too close to the line already so then we look for who else is around. If they are in the news for some reason or a big name, then we usually go for them. But the truth is, qualifying is big for anybody so we are open to talking to anyone. We really don’t decide until we are there. I will call my producer on my “talkback” button and say .. “Sponge, (that’s his nickname).. I see Matt Kenseth” .. and he’ll likely say.. cool, lets talk to Matt.  And so it goes….

On to other topics, This man wearing the Miller Lite shirt is Pat Tryson, Kurt Busch’s crew chief. This is really cool. I was inside their hauler the morning of the race. They were forced to a backup car because Kurt blew a tire in practice and wrecked so I was asking about what strategy and such since he only had 2 laps on the new car b/c it was brand new. While we were talking, Goodyear officials knocked on the door. (it was me and most of the crew inside)  Goodyear presented Pat and the guys with gold coins that they are giving to every team now that wins. It was pretty cool to be in there while they gave them to the guys..

This below is what the teams do the morning (or in this case, afternoon) of raceday. Here is the Alltel team for Ryan Newman. They are cooking. They cook on their grills right outside of their haulers and then the crew eats before the race. The teams usually have pretty big spreads inside, also. Harvick’s team keeps “uncrustables” in their hauler and they’ve been nice enough to hook me up on occasion.

 This is when night falls on Daytona.. I love this place. It really gives you chills b/c there is so much history. I can’t explain it but if you haven’t been to a NASCAR race, please don’t say you don’t like the sport until you go to one in person..really, you’ll know what I mean.

 I snapped this picture post race as I was walking to the golfcart back to the hotel. This is the 84 car pulled into its garage stall with NASCAR officials looking over it. After the races are over, its like an industrial warehouse outside.. people are walking everywhere, guys are pushing cars and the haulers are loading up. It is really awesome.

This below is a shot from off of the back of our golfcart where I was sitting. It was cool to be on the track.

Check out the banking!

 I hope you liked these photos… I will write more tomorrow but hope you enjoy.. Chicago here we come!

Its a sunny morning here in Daytona.. I am going to get a jog in before I hit the track but wanted to check in. It was an interesting practice yesterday at the speedway – Martin Truex, Jr. had his #1 car confiscated by NASCAR b/c the roof didn’t fit the templates through tech. inspection… he will have no laps other than qualifying in his backup car before he hits the track tomorrow night.  More importantly, he’s concerned about the fines that NASCAR could bring down and if that will impact him in the way of a crew chief suspension, etc… Also, Kurt Busch was running the fastest yesterday but crashed after he cut a tire. They are also running the backup car, same situation…no laps besides qualifying before tomorrow’s race.

In happier news, Mark Martin will be announced as the new driver of the 5 car next season today at noon. He was ecstatic yesterday – Mark will run the full season next year for Hendrick and then the following year will run part time. I ran into him yesterday and he talked about the opportunity being once in a lifetime and how getting just “one win” makes it all worth while. You can still see the want and desire when he talks about his sport. 

Lastly, here’s my missed opportunity for the day. I am a huuuuuuge Grey’s Anatomy fan. I was in the middle of practice, near Kyle Busch’s garage, when my producer Barry gets in my ear and says “I hear Patrick Dempsey is in the garage – he’s right behind you. Go see if you can grab him for an interview because he’s running the Grandam race here tonight.”

First of all, Patrick Dempsey is the actor who plays Derrick on the show, the actor known as McDreamy. He is a huge race fan and so its not odd that he was at the track but I have never seen him in person. But understand that even though I am a professional, asking me to go interview Patrick Dempsey would be like asking Dr. Phil if he wants to interview Britney Spears live on his show. (this is a bad analogy but I’m trying to convey how excited I was about the potential interview..and, I’m definitely NOT trying to compare myself to Dr. Phil) 

At any rate, suddenly, I was on a mission. The problem was, i couldn’t find him. In the midst of the crews and all the hustle bustle, there was no McDreamy anywhere (he looks very different out of the scrubs) – until, finally, someone points behind Jeff Burton’s garage stall and in the middle of the garage lane, I see Patrick Dempsey wearing a black and white hat.. and then, in slow motion (kind of like when my phone fell in the toilet at Sonoma) …  I see my co-worker, pit reporter Ralph Sheheen walking steadily towards him, closing the space between them and in uberslow motion, shaking hands with him at that moment. 

 Bottomline: it is ironic and funny, if you can see it that way, that i couldn’t locate McDreamy in the garage and then finally, when I did, it was too late.. Ralph got to intervivew Dempsey, he did a great job – they joked about how Dempsey would love to try a couple laps in a Cup car and that maybe he could give a cameo on Grey’s Anatomy if a driver would let him take a spin. Great interview, but man…what a bummer.

I shook it off and got back to work, tracking down what was going on in the garage.  So, my next interview was Dale Earnhardt, Jr who had gotten out of his car as his crew was changing packages.. I asked him right before if he had seen Grey’s Anatomy because I was going to ask him on air if he’d let Dempsey drive his car for a guest appearance on Grey’s… Jr. said, “no, haven’t seen Grey’s Anatomy.. I know him from Can’t Buy Me Love.”    Classic.. you have to love that b/c that’s one of the greatest 80s movies of all time..   just thought I’d share. 

Anyway, am going to run. I’ll write more later..

cheers!

Lindsay

Pictures From Daytona

July 3, 2008

This is me by the car Ryan won with – you can still see the confetti glued to the side. This car was part of the most exciting finish of the season when Newman’s teammate (and last week’s winner), Kurt Busch, pushed the 12 car to the win. After next season’s Daytona 500, the 12 team will bring a truck down to take this car back to their race shop outside of Charlotte.

 

 

 

 

 

This is Roy McCauley, Ryan Newman’s crew chief. He is the one we interviewed this morning. He is a mastermind of stockcars and a great team leader. He went to Maryland and majored in mechanical engineering!

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAYTONA Thursday

July 3, 2008

Did you know the original Steak N Shake was based here in Daytona? I just found that out b/c I was at my hotel across from the racetrack and I was grabbing a bite to eat and Glenn Jarrett, Dale’s older brother, was having breakfast as well and he was telling us stories about the old days of Daytona and how everytime he comes here, Steak N Shake is one of his “must have” stops.  I really love being down here because of the beach and track but also because of the racing history that is all over the place. I got in late last night (very late last night) but it was a nice drive and didn’t really matter. The first thing I do when I get in my rental car is scan for a country station (sort of puts me in the NASCAR mood) so I was rocking out to keep myself alert. (good thing it was pitch black outside)

Anyway, its 10:45 in the morning and I’m getting ready to head on over to the track which is a stones throw from my hotel. Our practice today is at 4p and then the final practice is at 7. This morning, I shot another story for this weekend’s race coverage. It was so cool – I know I say this about every one we get to do but this really meant a lot to me. My story this Sunday is about Roy McCauley, crew chief for the defending Daytona 500 champion 12 team of driver Ryan Newman. I am telling the story of Roy’s Daytona win as crew chief and how it capped off one of the most trying years of life, learning his wife Amy, had leukemia..its very ironic because she was diagnosed the day after the 500 in 2007 and after a year of stepping aside as Kurt Busch’s crew chief, supporting her through the challenges and then coming back to team up with Ryan Newman, the two of them won their first Cup race together. (the Daytona 500)

Anyway, this morning, we went to the Daytona Experience museum at the racetrack and did the interview by the car Ryan Newman won with at the 500. It was the first time Roy had been back to look at it since they put it in the museum the Monday morning after the race. Its really cool because they aren’t allowed to touch the car so its literally rolled right into the main display room and still stands with all of the dried gatorade and confetti and grass in the tires that was there from the night they won in February. Roy was checking out different areas of the car and that was neat to watch – I’m looking forward to seeing who is feeling good about what they have today in practice.  I will write more later and post the pics I took soon!

cheers.

Lindsay

Photos from New Hamsphire – Thursday we shot a feature for the show. These guys, Brian Haaland (on left) and Shaun Peet (on right) are the tire changer and jackman for the 83 team of Brian Vickers. I did a feature about how Shaun played hockey at Dartmouth. Both of them played hockey semi-pro before getting into racing and their race team won the pit crew challenge this year… it says a lot about how much being an athlete makes an impact in this sport.

 

This is a photo of Sprint Cup rookie Patrick Carpentier as he was waiting to see if his time would hold up during qualifying. He earned his first Cup pole and it was really cool to see his excitement. There is a funny story about Patrick – in 2002, he was running a champ car race at Mid Ohio. He bet a group of friends that if he won the race, he would run naked around the track. Guess what, he won and he took a lap wearing nothing but a checkered flag around his west..hilarious! Seriously, though, getting the pole was a huge boost for him. He fell back after the first caution and ended up finishing 31st but good to see him start off strong.

 

 

This is me suiting up with Markbefore Cup practice that we do… I have to go get my headset and pack on. My pack is connected around my waste like a ghostbusters set up and my scanner is on there so I can here the program that we are broadcasting in my left ear and I can hear the drivers that I’m scanning in my right ear. Mark is awesome… he makes sure everything fits and is working properly.

 

 

This, to the right, is a good story. Last week in Sonoma, I did a feature on Darren Russell, the engine tuner for the #2 car (Kurt Busch).  Darren’s great grandfather was a guard on Alcatraz back in the 1946. Darren is from New England and each time the series comes here, his family comes down in a motorhome and they do a lobster cookout Saturday before the race. We stopped by to check it out this year and it was the best lobster I’ve ever had. The man in the Celtics shirt is Darren’s Dad. These guys caught these lobsters and I’m not kidding. They were amazing. The whole crew was there and now, they are going to have to eat lobsters every Saturday night during the season because they won Sunday.

 

This is Jen, my pit spotter. She scans the drivers during the race that I am unable to concentrate on. She hustles up and down pit road and keeps stat information accessible – Its a lot of work and she does a great job… especially in the pouring rain!

I was thinking that in my 30 years of existance, I’ve never jumped in a swimming pool with all of my clothes on. I’ve seen it a million times in the movies but Sunday, after the race, I knew exactly what it felt like. I was soaked from head to toe. My shoes still haven’t dried out. The rain started pouring with less than 30 laps to go and that’s when they pulled all the cars onto pit road. We were dispatched to get certain drivers. I had Denny Hamlin’s pit so he was my first target. By the time I got to him, I was thanking my lucky stars I was wearing my firesuit because it helped keep me dry.  I was sure Tony Stewart was going to win the race. It all came down to pit strategy when the rain came out and Kurt Busch admitted how lucky he was. I was psyched to get to do Victory Lane, even if it was inside a garage stall. It was pretty cool – something I’ll never forget doing.  I’ll tell you one thing, the silly season rumor mill is buzzing at full speed … I’ll talk more about this tomorrow. For now, I’m going to get some sleep…

cheers!

Lindsay

New Hampshire..Saturday

June 28, 2008

     

Its been an interesting day so far. I got here to the track at 7am because I was reporting for the first Sprint Cup practice this morning. I love morning in the garage when things are just getting going. Crew members for the different teams are running around getting stuff ready for practice, some of the coach drivers are making breakfast outside of the doors that lead to their trucks. Its always an interesting combination of sights and smells.  Practice itself, is usually fun and action packed. My job is to roam the garage area and pay attention to where the cars are running and then when drivers bring their cars into the garage to change something or go to a different setup, that’s when I report what they’re doing and what the teams are saying. I do this by scanning on my radio and listening to the teams. All of us pit reporters also have “pit spotters”. Mine is Jen – she’s great and a ton of help and what she does is run me notes as she scans the various drivers that I can’t take care of while I’m focusing on the leader. I use her doing the race and also during qualifying and practices. Today, I was on the side of the garage with Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr. and Ryan Newman, etc. Kevin’s car was so good that he got out of it with 20 minutes left in the first practice.

 

After practice, I had a ten minute break before I got my headset back on to report for Nationwide qualifying. It was cool because a lot of the Cup drivers were also running in that race so I was able to talk to them about their cars and do a little prep work for tomorrow. I’ll find out at our meeting today whose pits I will cover tomorrow. Its always fun finding out who you have – kind of luck of the draw. The funniest interview I did on pit road for qualifying was Patrick Carpentier – he qualified for the pole in the sprint cup series – his first career pole and when I asked him if he could get a sweep by earning the pole in the nationwide series today, he laughed and told me a short story about how awhile back,  he had bet someone that if he won a particular race, he would run naked down pit road and that’s exactly what he ended up doing. It was hilarious.

 

The quote of the day, however, came from Kyle Busch who was qualifying for his Nationwide car. After I interviewed him on camera, I asked him “off camera” how his cup car was.. he said it was awful. That they had made it a little better but he still needed a lot more. I joked that he was hard on his crew.  He said “why do you think I’ve won 5 races, my crew last year couldn’t take it.”      Wow. At least he’s direct.

 

I’m getting ready to go up to our meeting as our final practice winds down here. Right now, Juan Pablo Montoya’s the fastest… Dodge has been very dominant here this weekend. I’ll write more later.

Cheers,

Lindsay