In the world of motor sports, Memorial Day weekend is known as Racing’s Greatest Weekend. Between Formula 1 in Monaco and Indy cars racing in Indianapolis followed by Nascar racing in Charlotte, it’s a race lover’s dream.
Speeds will top 200mph and tempers will flair, cars will crash, memories will be made, winners will be crowned, and the fallen will be remembered.
The 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner will not be present, but he is not forgotten. Dan Wheldon died last year in crash in Las Vegas. I imagine his friends and family will have him in the front of their minds today. I know he’s in mine. I enjoyed watching him race.
In today’s Indy race, I haven’t yet decided who I am going to pull for. My mom has been a life-long Andretti fan, from Mario down to Marco, so I could carry on that tradition, but… I do like Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Will Power, and Ryan Briscoe. More than likely, I’ll be pulling for a good race.
Following the Indy 500, will be the Nascar Coca-Cola 600. Y’all know where my heart is for Nascar racing. I’m pulling for that #18 of Kyle Busch, but unless he can get up front, I’m just not sure… From the Camping World Truck race, to the All-Star Race, to yesterday’s Nationwide race, being up front, in the lead, is key. A fast car that does well on the long runs. If the handling of the car goes away on long green flag racing, then the driver is going to have trouble.
It’s hot outside today and it’s going to get hotter. I’ll be sweltering!
This is what I’m hoping to see at the end of the night…
Y’all know what a huge race fan I am, what my household is… The other drivers being pulled for are Jimmie Johnson #48, Tony Stewart #14, Dave Blaney #36, Dale Earnhardt, Jr #88 (no comment, y’all. he’s my mom’s driver), Bobby Labonte #47 and I’d really like to see Jeff Gordon #24 have a good day. Those I’d like to see spin and exit the race early… Denny Hamlin #11. 😉
There will be a tribute to the military at the 600 as well. It always gives me chills, even in 100 degree heat. I hold the military in very high regard, ever since I wanted to join way back when. This year, Nascar and Charlotte Motor Speedway had it arranged to where tickets could be purchased for members of our armed services so they could attend today’s race. I purchased one of those tickets.
Now, I have work to finish before the green flags drop…
I wrote this post Sunday night and told y’all I’d be writing one every week about the race. I spent the better part of the day updating the Books page of my website and was late getting started on the race (thank goodness for the DVR). I shuffled some things around. Some covers went to the top, some to the bottom, but most all of them were grouped or regrouped differently. Much like the race in Phoenix over the weekend.
It’s all about strategy for these guys. Short track racing. New surface. Different tire. Different fuel cells this year. It’s not just about the new cars and new paint schemes, though I’ll admit, looking at all the bright, shiny new designs is really cool. My son and I buy several new die-cast cars a year. I can’t even begin to tell you how many he has. Hundreds. Me, I have 7. But I seem to keep adding more… It’s a fun little thing we share.
The #18 finished in 6th. He led quite a few laps. The #47 (Bobby Labonte, my other driver) finished 16th. This was really a good effort for him and I’m proud of the comeback he’s been making the last couple of years. This was the second race of the Nascar season, but after all the hype and drama of Daytona and speedweeks, it’s now time to get down to business. It’s all about the points, leading laps, winning races, figuring out those ever important strategies of fuel mileage, when to pit and when to stay out, when to hang back and when to make a charge toward the front.
These guys and their crew chiefs are always thinking, always trying to find the edge, always trying to figure out how to make the best of what they’ve got, how and when to take the time to change things up, tweak things, add here, or take away there. It’s not all that uncommon for authors to do that too. Or anyone really. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I like sports. There’s thinking involved, there’s trying to one up and man up and do better. There’s always someone with that winning strategy that can pull it out in the end and make us all wonder just how in the Hell they did it. I know most people don’t see the appeal, especially with racing. It’s not just about them going around in a circle turning left all the time. It’s the scuffles on the track. It’s the tempers. It’s the wrecks. It’s the strategy in the pits. It’s the arguments. It’s the paint schemes. It’s the rivalries. It’s the thinking involved. It’s who hit who at the wrong time in the wrong spot (and it’s Danica Patrick having a temper tantrum and telling her teammate to give her plenty of room…). It’s intense at times. It’s fun.
Denny Hamlin and the #11 Fed Ex Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota won the race in Phoenix on Sunday. Congratulations to them. Though, that #29 there behind him, did his damnedest to catch up and win. He just didn’t have enough fuel left. See, again, strategy…
Last night was the 2012 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. It was fast and, well it was a bit furious. The last few years, NASCAR racing at Daytona and Talladega has been less than stellar. Two car tandem drafts were kinda boring. There was no big wreck. There was no excitement. But, NASCAR has changed things around, again, and the boys are back to needing to think and drive in pack mentality.
Last night’s race was a lesson leading up to the Daytona 500 next Sunday. There will be wrecks. A lot of them. We have to hope for the best, that no one gets hurt, that one loses their life. We have to hope all drivers walk away after the race and after a wreck, just as Jeff Gordon did in the Shootout when he flipped over multiple times, when Kevin Harvick’s car was on fire, when several drivers ended up slammed into the wall.
But there will be wrecks. There will be tempers. There will sparks flying. And it’ll be a hell of race to watch.
This is me. This is how I was dressed yesterday. The important part was the hat. It was sent to me by my brother for Christmas, along with a limited edition Toyota t-shit from one of Kyle’s biggest wins. I didn’t wear that one. I’ll put it on next weekend. But, I sent this to picture to my brother and if any of you know anything about the last year for me, my half-brother has come into my life after 32 years apart. We share a lot of similar things and one of them happens to be racing. We can talk racing. We laugh about it. We discuss heatedly about it.
Last night we texted throughout the race. It was incredibly fun. We seemed to have the same opinions about almost everything. Our sense of humor is identical in most cases. So, yesterday, I took this for him and sent. Upon receipt, he took one of him and his new hat…
This was also my first piece of camo gear…grins
Kyle Busch, won the Budweiser Shootout for 2012. I couldn’t be more thrilled. He’s got a lot of haters, and well, that’s fine. Hate him. It just motivates him and his fans. Me included.
There were inches separating Kyle and Tony Stewart when they came across the Start/Finish Line. There were cheers and there were boos when Kyle got out and stood on the window cut-out of his car and took his signature victory bow for the crowd.
Now during races, I scream at the drivers, at NASCAR, at the television. I get as amped about it as I do college football. The adrenaline rush is amazing… The way the yelling relieves stress is too. Grins…
Once the race was over and I was so stoked that I couldn’t sit my ass down, I decided that in honor of this win by Kyle, I needed to have a giveway. Besides, it is my birthday this week and what better way to start off the celebration than this! Damn, I wish I’d been there!
As for what I’m going to give away?
1 copy of any of my backlist or 1 copy of my upcoming release, Forever In Blue Jeans (due out Wednesday 2/22/2012) and $10 in eBook Bucks from All Romance eBooks. (International)
1 Personalized Bag of M/M’s (your choice of color) with the #18 on them because well, that was the winning car number and winning car sponsor from the Budweiser Shootout. (US only)
What do you have to do to win? Leave me a comment here on my blog telling me your favorite color M&M. If you don’t like M&M’s…well, then tell me what your favorite candy is. Please remember to leave your email address along with your comment.
I’m not requiring you to follow my blog or my Facebook Fan Page, or sign up for my newsletter, but if you’d like to do any or all of those, that would be awesome.
So, congratulations to Kyle Busch and the #18 team and Joe Gibbs Racing on their victory last night and best of luck to all 43 drivers who will start the Daytona 500 on February 26, 2012.
I’ll choose a winner from the comments by 6pm EST on Monday, the 20th and post them on the blog.
Have a great Sunday!
(Images, other than myself, obtained from Nascar.com)
It’s that time of year, y’all and I couldn’t be more excited! NASCAR starts this weekend, on Saturday night with the Budweiser Shootout in Daytona. When we lived in Florida, we went almost every year once we realized how much my son loved watching racing on television. We’ve been to several races in Daytona, never the 500. Not yet. I hope one year soon we’ll get to go.
As most of my readers know, I am a big, BIG NASCAR fan. I watch every weekend and when the races are held in Charlotte, we’re there, rain or shine, heat or cold. It’s exhilarating. It’s exhausting. It’s entertaining. It’s research. It’s stress relief. I stand up and scream at the top of my lungs. And that I can give my son those memories, well, I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything.
On Sundays, throughout the season, I’m going to be posting something about NASCAR. I haven’t figured out what yet and I don’t expect most people to care, but there will be a few who do, and those posts will be for you. And perhaps, I’ll even start posting little tidbits here and there about the next couple of race car books I have in the works… Drive Shaft and Gear Grindin’.
Speakin’ of… How about a few lines now from Drive Shaft (unedited, of course, so please forgive any typos, etc…)
Cam leaned his hip against the side of the stock car and crossed his arms over his chest. She couldn’t get over hot how he was and how damn lucky Lily was to have landed him. Not that Cam wasn’t lucky too, but…
Crapola. What was wrong with her? She was eyeing the older guy and the taken guy. Totally not like her. Totally a sign she needed to get laid.
“You two getting back together?”
“Huh? No,” she answered and judging by the smirk on Cam’s face, a little too vehemently. “We’re just friends.”
“You two hang out a lot still, so…”
“Yeah, no. Just friends.” She took a step back and pointed behind her. “I’m gonna go call him,” she said again. “Sorry to bother y’all.”
“Not bothering me. How about you, Jake? Are you bothered?”
“Nope, not a bit.”
“See, we’re not bothered.”
Jake had come to stand beside Cam and suspicion started to set in. She looked back and forth between the two men. “Okay, well, on that strange note….”
Alli turned around and started walking. She continued to look over her shoulder every couple of steps, though. Both men were staring after her, the oddest looks on their faces.
“You’re here for me.”
That was a voice she hadn’t heard before and it stopped her in her tracks. Alli spun on her heel and looked beyond Cam and Jake in the direction of the back office. She’d helped Lily, Cam, Jake, and Grant get the large warehouse size space set up and knew every inch like the back of her hand. “I’m here…” she paused and took in his long, lean body clad in dark jeans and cowboy boots, and his collar-length shaggy blond hair beneath his cowboy hat. “…for you?” Given his yumminess and the heat spiraling through her body that was just fine with her. A faded red T-shirt stretched across his chest, but not too tightly. There was a little scruff on his chin and he was young, she noted again. Damn good looking from across the room, but too young.
She let her gaze travel from his boots to his hat again. Had she told herself enough times that he was too young for her? The way her belly was doing those funny little swirly-do’s she didn’t think she had. Not near enough.
“Yes, ma’am.” He winked. “Me.”
Alli groaned and the sound echoed around the cavernous room. Oh dear God, he called her ma’am. With a wink. Yep. Way too fucking young. “I don’t understand.” But she was afraid she did. She just needed some clarification before she started plotting Grant’s untimely demise.
Hot Yummy took a few steps toward her and those swirly-do’s in her belly picked up speed. If they kept it up, they were going to end up as a full blown twister. She took an unconscious step back. “Grant set us up? You mean like a…”
“A blind date,” he finished for her.
His smile was sweet, then, patient and when he spoke, his voice was calm, gentle. Alli smiled in spite of herself and in spite of the fact she was gonna kill Grant. Her ex-lover and the very first male best friend she’d ever had. She was gonna kill him.
Hot Yummy was looking at her with that same sweet smile but his eyes were daring her to…to what she didn’t know, but, there was challenge staring back at her.
Normally she would rise to the bait because she could give as good as she got, but not this time. She was… She had too much on her plate and she didn’t need the distraction. “Oh, I’m… He shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.”
He shifted and slipped his hands in his back pockets. “Why shouldn’t he?”
“Yeah, why shouldn’t he?”
Alli looked over Hot Yummy’s shoulder. “I don’t need any help from the peanut gallery, thank you.” She coasted a quick glance over the young hunk’s body before meeting his gaze again. “Because I can find my own dates and don’t need his help in doing so.” The retort was a little more biting than she’d intended, but she wouldn’t apologize for it. She’d walked into a situation she wasn’t mentally unprepared for. She didn’t like it.
The man nodded. Man was a bit generous, she thought. He looked like he could still be eighteen, maybe twenty.
“He thought you might like to have a little fun. Said you’ve been pretty busy lately with going back to school and all. Thought we might have some things in common.”
“Yeah well, it’s still none of his concern. I’m sorry to break our blind date, but I just…” She shook her head. “I can’t.”
There, she’d said it. She’d said no even though she’d wanted to say yes in the worst way. She took her keys out of her pocket and started for the door again. Damn Grant for knowing her so well. Damn him for interfering. Damn him for putting a cowboy in front of her. She’d never been with a cowboy.
“Why can’t you?”
“What?” Her mind was already on calling Grant and giving him a piece of her mind. A thank you, as well, but only after a piece of her mind.
“Why can’t you go have a beer with me? Why do you have to break our blind date?”
He was coming closer and man oh man oh man. “Um. Uh…”
“You’re… I just don’t have the time.”
“Really? You were making the time when you thought you were going out with Grant.”
Crap. He had her there. She couldn’t tell him the real reason though. She wasn’t even sure what the real reason was. “I don’t know you. I don’t know anything about you.”
“Have a beer with me and you can learn all you want or need to know.”
“We’ll vouch for him,” Jake offered. “He works for us.”
“Yeah, he sure does.”
She glared over Hot Yummy’s other shoulder and through clenched teeth, said, “Not helping, Cam.”
“What else, Alli? What other objection do you have?”
Hot Yummy pulled her attention back to him and he was suddenly standing so close, so very close. He smelled like… God, he smelled like Stetson. Her boyfriend in high school wore that cologne. It turned her on so much when she’d bury her face in his neck and… She didn’t even know they still made it.
Looking at him from this close, he didn’t appear as young as she first thought but he was still… “You’re too young.”
“Oh shit, Alli. Not you too with that lame ass argument.”
“Shut up, Cam.”
“Lily tried to pull that crap with me. Don’t listen to her Jason.”
Alli was well aware of the merry-go-round Lily and Cam went on about their age difference. “Shut up, Cam.”
“Yeah, man, don’t listen to her about that age thing. She did date Grant after all and he’s what? A year younger than you?”
Another peanut from the gallery. “Not helping either, Jake.”
Hot Yummy nodded his head and she shook hers. “Only by a few months, but you do have a point.”
They were ganging up on her. Not the fun sex kind of ganging that three hot stock car guys could give her, if one wasn’t in love with one of her best friends and if the other didn’t have the hots for another best friend, that is.
“No, there is no point to be had.”
“Because I don’t want to date anyone. I would have gone out tonight with Grant because he’s my friend and friends do that. I’m not looking for a date with –”
“I can be a friend,” Hot Yummy stated matter of factly. “I can be a damn good friend.”
Please enjoy the following song and video by Brad Paisley, called Old Alabama. It features Brad, the band Alabama, Darrell Waltrip, and Jeff Gordon…