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:


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!


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