Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Anticipation, Terror, and Joy: My time with The Richard Petty Driving Experience

Each week 43 drivers put on their firesuits, shoes, and helmets and prepare to get down to business. But, as I was trying to cram my larger than average melon into a helmet, the only thing I could think was, "are these guys nuts?"

For days I had been anticipating having the opportunity to sit inside a stock car and go for the ride of a lifetime. I'd said my prayers, counted my blessings, and nearly talked myself out of it a dozen times. I might write about guys traveling at 200 miles an hour, but could I do it? Would I be able to climb through the window and into the seat? Would the fear be evident in my voice? Would I scream like a little girl or cry like a baby? Who the heck cared? I was getting the opportunity to do something I've wanted to do for nearly two decades and I wasn't about to let those butterflies in my stomach win.

Climbing into the car was a lot easier than I imagined it would be. Sure it was a tight fit, but you don't want to feel like you're going to go rattling around inside the cockpit, do you? Jason, the driver introduced himself while I was being strapped in, and before I knew it the engine was roaring to life underneath my body.

There's something about the sound of a racing engine. Its primal quality is hard to describe. The way it makes your body vibrate and the way the sound reverberates off the surroundings is unlike anything else I've ever experienced. For my ears it's pure joy and no matter how many times I've heard it, the reaction is still the same. People ask why I follow this sport, the sound of an engine is just one of the many reasons why.

After getting the all clear, Jason steered the car down pit lane and onto the banks of Turn 1. Even though we weren't fully up to speed at that point, I was struck by how fast the wall was going by and how it was almost impossible to move my head to see the tachometer. Call me crazy, but I wanted to know how fast we were going! The surroundings flew by and when we hit the turns it felt like my stomach was trying to escape through my back and in that moment it all became clear. I understood why Carl Edwards has abs of steel, because if he didn't g-forces would be a nightmare. I understood just how important it is to have a spotter and crew chief, because everything happens so fast and your field of vision is so small. I understood the mental focus it takes to drive a racecar for a living and how often there's not time to think, you just react.

As I felt the adrenaline running through my veins and the joy overtook the fear I once had, I realized that being a NASCAR driver has to be one of the most incredible jobs on the planet. The men and women who do this for a living are beyond blessed. Yes, there are risks involved, but if a day at the office meant I got to strap into a 3,400 pound lightning bolt each weekend, nothing would stop me.

Below you will find the video of my trip around the track with Jason, a man whose face I never saw, but who gave me an experience I will never forget.

I'd like to thank The Richard Petty Driving Experience and Marcus Smith, President and General Manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway for giving the Media Tour Rookies this opportunity.

A NASCAR fan for nearly 20 years, Katy Lindamood is the founder of Skirts and Scuffs. While most teenagers were drooling over the latest teen heart throb, Katy was perched on the couch crunching numbers and taking notes on what was going on in the world of racing. Today Katy leads a team of more than two dozen female writers and photographers with the goal of giving female fans a voice and debunking the stereotypes she's dealt with since the age of 12. Katy can be contacted via Twitter or email.

Fast Facts: Motorsports Hall of Fame of America

Richard Petty was a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America's inaugural class in 1989.
Photo: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, located at the Detroit Science Center since 2009, annually enshrines the “heroes of horsepower” in a variety of motorsports categories. Its accompanying museum features more than 100 pieces of motorsports history including record-setting vehicles and other memorabilia. The Hall’s first class was inducted in 1989.

The Hall of Fame primarily honors United States citizens, although non-Americans have been inducted based on accomplishments on US soil, including Jim Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi, Nigel Mansell and Bruce McLaren.

The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America most often inducts just one member from a certain class of motorsports. Classes are Stock Cars, Open-Wheel, Power Boats, Sports Cars, Aviation, Drag Racing, Motorcycles, Historic and At Large (honoring non-drivers who have impacted the sport).

NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees who are also members of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America include Richard Petty (1989), Bill France Sr. (1990), Junior Johnson (1991), Bobby Allison (1992), David Pearson (1993), Cale Yarborough (1994), Lee Petty (1996), Ned Jarrett (1997), the Wood Brothers (2000), Dale Earnhardt (2002), Darrell Waltrip (2003) and Bill France Jr. (2004).

Others included in the Stock Car class include Bill Elliott (2007), Alan Kulwicki (2010) and Donnie Allison (2011). A.J. Foyt was inducted in the Open-Wheel class in 1989, followed by Mario Andretti in 1990; NHRA legend and former NASCAR and IndyCar team owner Kenny Bernstein was inducted in 2009.

Find out more about the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, including the upcoming announcement of 2012 inductees, at http://www.mshf.com/.

Stewart-Haas Racing Forms Collaborative Partnership with Tommy Baldwin Racing

Alliance Provides Danica Patrick and No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet Guaranteed Starting Spot in 54th Annual Daytona 500

KANNAPOLIS, N.C., (Jan. 31, 2012) – Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has entered into a collaborative partnership with Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) where TBR will field the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet Impala for all 10 of Danica Patrick’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2012.

The alliance guarantees a starting spot for Patrick in her Sprint Cup debut – the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 26 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

TBR’s No. 36 car, which finished the 2011 season 33rd in points, becomes the No. 10 for 2012. For the 26 races where Patrick is not scheduled to drive, David Reutimann will pilot the No. 10 car. TBR has sponsorship inventory available for these 26 races.

“Tommy Baldwin Racing has proven to be a very strong organization and it’s a good fit with Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Matt Borland, vice president of competition, SHR. “It’s a Chevrolet team led by a racer who knows every inch of a racecar. That kind of technical expertise, along with a company mindset that is similar to ours, provides the ideal environment for Danica to learn and succeed.”

TBR was formed in 2009 and has matured from a single-car team to one that in 2012 will field two Sprint Cup entries and a NASCAR Nationwide Series entry. TBR is owned by Tommy Baldwin, who as a crew chief secured five victories, including the 2002 Daytona 500 with driver Ward Burton.

“We’re very proud of what we’ve established at Tommy Baldwin Racing, and the opportunity to partner with Stewart-Haas Racing and aid in the development of Danica Patrick is a testament to all the hard work we’ve put in over the years,” Baldwin said. “Danica will have a great teammate in Dave Blaney, who has been instrumental in getting our race team to where it is today. And with David Reutimann driving the No. 10 car in the races where Danica is not, the team will remain in a strong and competitive position throughout the year.”

The agreement means TBR will also work with GoDaddy.com, the world’s largest Web hosting provider and Patrick’s longtime sponsor.

“Go Daddy is a first-rate sponsor,” Baldwin added. “Look how they’ve supported Danica over the last six years. Go Daddy is a sponsor that knows how to get things done right.”

Baldwin will maintain a hands-on presence with the No. 10 car and will work closely with Greg Zipadelli, who serves as SHR’s director of competition. Baldwin and Zipadelli have similar backgrounds, as both grew up in the Northeast – Baldwin in Bellport, N.Y., and Zipadelli in Berlin, Conn. – and made a name for themselves as successful crew chiefs within the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour before rising up the ranks as crew chiefs in the elite Sprint Cup Series.

“Working with Tommy will be like old times,” Zipadelli said. “We both grew up together and competed against each other in Modifieds and we did the same thing when we got to Sprint Cup. To finally be able to work with each other and help Danica Patrick make a successful transition from Indy cars to stock cars is a challenge we’re both looking forward to.

“Partnering with Tommy and his team provides Danica with the foundation she needs to succeed. With a guaranteed starting spot, we can go into each weekend and simply learn. It’s all about getting her comfortable in the car, and with the variety of tracks she’s running, seat time will be incredibly valuable. A guaranteed spot in the race ensures that she’ll have the opportunity to make as many laps as possible.”

Patrick’s 10-race Sprint Cup schedule is as follows:

·         Feb. 26:     Daytona 500
·         May 12:     Darlington (S.C.) Raceway
·         May 27:     Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway
·         Aug. 25:     Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway
·         Sept. 2:      Atlanta Motor Speedway
·         Sept. 16:    Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
·         Sept. 30:    Dover (Del.) International Speedway
·         Nov. 4:      Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
·         Nov. 11:    Phoenix International Raceway

One more race is still to be determined, with the plan being to assess Patrick’s development as the season progresses and then choose the remaining venue based on need and competitive reasoning.

“Our goal with Danica’s schedule is to try and maximize her 10 races so that she’s as prepared as she can possibly be for a full-time Sprint Cup schedule in 2013,” said Stewart, co-owner of SHR with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest machine tool builder in the western world. “There are short tracks, intermediate 1.5-mile ovals, and some unique tracks like Darlington and Phoenix. The point is to expose her to as many challenges as possible so that she’ll know what to expect in 2013.”

-Courtesy of True Speed Communications for Stewart-Haas Racing

Motorsports elite pay last respects to Mattioli

Where there was racing, there was Dr. Joseph Mattioli.

“Anywhere you went, you saw Doc Mattioli, and immediately, it just expressed, ‘Racing is here,’” said auto racing legend and good friend Mario Andretti.

“I consider him an absolute icon in the sport,” Andretti said.

Mario Andretti speaks on his friend "Doc."
Credit: Karel Zubris for Skirts and Scuffs
Andretti was one of the motorsports elite who paid their respects to the Pocono Raceway founder at his wake and funeral Monday in the Poconos of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Mattioli died Thursday at the age of 86 after a lengthy illness.

Mattioli was a racing pioneer, family man, community leader and philanthropist. During two days of calling hours on Sunday and Monday, close to 2,000 people came to offer their condolences to the family, said Bob Pleban, vice president of administration at Pocono Raceway.

Racing continued to play a role even as “Doc,” as he was affectionately known, was laid to rest Monday. A pace car led the motorcade from the viewing at Pocono Community Church in Mount Pocono to the funeral at St. Peter the Fisherman Church at Lake Harmony. After the funeral ended, the hearse took Mattioli’s casket for one last lap around the 2.5-mile triangular racetrack he built more than 40 years ago.

Mattioli saw the potential in a former spinach farm at Long Pond, near Mount Pocono, in the 1960s and transformed it into one of the most unique racetracks in auto racing. The track held its first IndyCar race in 1971, then hosted its first NASCAR race in 1974.

Mattioli had the vision to bring NASCAR to the northeastern part of the country – an idea that was previously unheard of for the Southern-based sport. Pocono paved the way for tracks like Watkins Glen and New Hampshire to grow the sport above the Mason-Dixon line.

Though no Sprint Cup drivers attended the services, several of the sport’s high-ranking officials came to the Poconos on Monday to honor Mattioli.

Members of NASCAR’s founding family - Brian France, CEO and chairman; Jim France, vice chairman and executive vice president; and Lesa France Kennedy, vice chairwoman and executive vice president – attended the funeral.

Pocono Raceway pace car set to lead motorcade from viewing to funeral.
Credit: Rebecca Kivak for Skirts and Scuffs
Mattioli was one of the few left in the sport who had worked with all three generations of the France family, beginning with Bill France Sr., NASCAR’s founder. It was France who convinced Mattioli not to sell the racetrack after he was caught in the middle of the IndyCar split and encountered financial difficulties. Soon after, Pocono received a second NASCAR date, saving the track.

Also in attendance were NASCAR president Mike Helton and NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley.

Helton said that Mattioli’s passing marked “the last of the few strings it took to fuel and incubate our sport.”

“Today we should remind ourselves of the uniqueness of the opportunity that Doc presented NASCAR,” Helton said. “As Bill Sr. was trying to grow NASCAR, Doc was a blessing to Bill Sr. to try to put a facility together in this neck of the woods, which was new territory for us. We were very fortunate. Bill Sr. often said that Doc was one of those individuals that he could always count on after he got to know him.

“Without pioneers like Doc, some of the footprints that we enjoy today wouldn’t exist, and Pocono is certainly one of those,” Helton said.

Kelley said Mattioli, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s nomination committee and voting panel, is “why we get to do what we do.”

“The legacy that he built, the way that he built it, the respect people have for him – that’s why we built the NASCAR Hall of Fame: to honor people like that,” Kelley said.

Kelley revealed that the Mattioli family donated photographs of Doc for inclusion in an exhibit at the NASCAR Hall of Fame - the “Honoring Our Legacy” theater on the Charlotte, N.C. building’s fourth floor. While the exhibit allows visitors to learn about and honor Mattioli now, Kelley thinks it’s “definitely a possibility” the Pocono Raceway owner could be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame one day.

“We actually have a room that we call ‘Honoring Our Legacy’ that honors those who help built the sport that you can help showcase them. Some will never get into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Others like Doc - I think there will be a time that track operators and promoters will,” Kelley said.

Andretti said he met Mattioli when the plan to construct Pocono Raceway was coming together in the 1960s.

“A friend is a friend,” Andretti said. “Friends are precious. When you’re friends for almost a lifetime, that speaks for itself.

“I appreciate, more than anything, the fact that he’s been such a great family man – he’s kept the family together,” Andretti said. “This day in age, you’re so tempted to walk away from something, such as selling, and he choose not to – he wanted to have his family continue this legacy,” Andretti said.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. owner Bruton Smith has repeatedly tried to purchase Pocono Raceway. Every single time, Mattioli turned him down. The “Tricky Triangle” is the only family-owned track on the Sprint Cup circuit. In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer last year, Mattioli said he put it in a trust to make sure the track stays in the family.

After overseeing operations on a day-to-day basis, Mattioli and his wife Dr. Rose retired last August, leaving the reins of Pocono Raceway in the hands of their three grandchildren – Brandon Igdalsky, president and CEO; Nick Igdalsky, chief operating officer and executive vice president; and Ashley Igdalsky, secretary and treasurer.

“It’s wonderful to see how the family is still so involved, and the family I’m sure will carry on his wishes,” Andretti said.

Local racer Steve Fox is the general manager and lead instructor at Pocono Raceway’s on-site Stock Car Racing Experience driving school. Like Andretti, Fox believes the track is in good hands as Rose and the family will continue Mattioli’s legacy.

“Pocono Raceway has been great for the area and will continue to be great for the area,” Fox said.

2-time champion Todd Bodine in search of sponsors

Sponsorship is needed for Todd Bodine to race for
the 2012 season. Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Money is tight for all teams no matter who you are. Todd Bodine, the 2-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion is just one of many drivers plagued by this problem. It’s a bit stunning that a driver like Bodine, who has 21 wins and 117 top-10s, is in this situation.

For the past seven years, Todd Bodine has driven for Germain Racing in their No. 30 truck. Just days before heading to Iowa Speedway in July, Germain was planning on sitting him out of the race due to lack of sponsorship. A deal came together for Germain Racing and Randy Moss Motorsports to collaborate, saving Bodine in the process. Germain Racing has since closed their doors and now Todd Bodine is left hanging.

With the 2012 season soon upon us, Todd Bodine is stuck with just weeks remaining to try to secure a sponsorship deal for the upcoming season.

On the bright side – he does have a ride with the full support of an excellent team. Tom DeLoach, owner of Red Horse Racing, has offered Bodine the No. 11 truck for this season. The ride is contingent on one small thing – sponsorship.

“Tom DeLoach, the owner of the team cannot fund this out of his own pocket,” said Bodine. “If we get the required sponsorship, then we race. Right now, we’ve got a sponsor for Daytona but that’s it.”

Fans are taking notice of Bodine’s tweets seeking sponsorship. Tweets are being sent and shared through the social media platform with messages of support such as this one: “Do you have a business that is looking into sponsoring a nascar team? Sponsor @team_onion. Proven winner” and that is just one example of fans rallying behind “The Onion.”

“That is nice to see, knowing that people have support and sympathy,” Bodine said of the out pouring of fans support. “It’s the state of the economy and it’s the way things are, we just have to deal with it”

Bodine continued, “I was with Germain Racing for seven years and halfway through last season everything was good for this season. We were racing, everything was fine and it gets to the end of the season and they tell me that we are not going to race. That did not leave me a lot of time and options to pursue, being told that late in the game. That was probably one of the hardest things; if they would have told me halfway through the year then I could have worked on it and had time to have some sponsorship in place. I was pretty well caught off guard at the end of the season.”

Heading into the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona, Bodine has a one-race deal (unannounced at this time) and is not feeling the added pressure.

“You cannot put any more pressure on me then I put on myself,” Bodine replied when asked if there is additional pressure to perform because of sponsors watching him. “Just because we need a sponsor does not mean I am going to perform any better. You do 100% every time you go out on the track. It is just another race that you go out there and do the best you can.”

Todd’s wife Janet, who works as his PR rep, is actively pitching him to sponsors and there is interest being shown. It’s a long process with many steps involved including initial contact, pitches, meetings, and proposals; these deals do not occur overnight.

NASCAR can be a hard sell to marketing executives, the suits and ties of a business, but as Bodine said “from ages 6-60 everyone loves NASCAR. It is just hard to make a lot of marketing directors understand that.”

“There are some who get it, they do understand it. Maybe they have been involved in some other way or maybe they are just fans of NASCAR and those are the guys and girls that you got to find for sponsors.”

The puzzle in coming together for Bodine but that one piece is missing, that all important center piece. Todd Bodine just needs that one big sponsor to hop on board.

To contact Todd Bodine follow him on Twitter or head over to his website

Update: Bodine announced on February 3rd that Good Sam is his sponsor for Daytona. 

Jeff Gordon celebrates 20 years with DuPont and Hendrick Motorsports

Jeff Gordon shows off the No. 24 paint scheme designed by Sam Bass to commemorate his 20 years with DuPont.
Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

During the 2012 NASCAR Media Tour, Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports unveiled a special paint scheme commemorating the 20th season of the partnership between DuPont and the No. 24 car and driver. This ties the record held by the famous partnership between Richard Petty and STP for the No. 43 car.

Gordon started his career in the Winston Cup Series, now known as the Sprint Cup Series, in November of 1992.  Coincidentally, his first race was Richard Petty’s last race. At that time Petty was the only one to have held on to a sponsor, STP, for  20 years. STP signed with Petty in 1972 and continued to sponsor Petty cars even after the King hung up his helmet.

Gordon came to the South with no experience in stock car racing. He started in sprint cars and won the 1991 USAC Silver Crown championship.  

At the 2012 NASCAR Acceleration Weekend, Gordon admitted to Petty, whom he respectfully calls ‘King’, “Looking back on it now, to know that I had the opportunity – I think I’m like one of three guys who raced against you (Petty) and that makes me feel a little old. But I’m honored, you know. That day in 1992 is very special to me and one that I’ll never forget.”  

Gordon’s first win was the 600 mile race at Charlotte, 1994; that same season he then won the inaugural Brickyard 400 and has won it three more times since. His career lifted off; he won four championships and 85 Cup races.

At the press conference held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame last week celebrating the 20 years Gordon has had with DuPont and Hendrick Motorsports, fellow competitor and former teammate Ricky Craven asked Gordon what he thinks of his 20 years. Gordon explained, “Knowing what Rick Hendrick and (his/this) facility was capable of was mind-blowing.”

At the time he was asked to drive for Hendrick, Gordon was 18. He had experience in open wheel, and expected to spend his life in the open wheel series. Since his family moved from California to Indiana to pursue his career, Gordon’s boyhood dreams were of winning the Indy 500, not the Brickyard 400.  He never expected to cross that yard of bricks in a stock car with a rainbow on the hood.  

A reporter asked if he believed being committed to one team and one sponsor for so long could be the formula for success for other drivers, Gordon said, “Yes and no, you gotta freshen it up, and you gotta create a spark from time to time. I think that’s where somebody like Rick Hendrick is so good, ya know. There is a reason why driver/crew chief combinations usually don’t last forever...it’s incredibly hard to keep that motivation, and excitement and drive, and I always give Jimmie and Chad so much credit  for being together for as long as they have been and  successful because I know how tough it is to do.”

Gordon went on to say, “I think for me, there’s been a lot of good coming from consistency knowing our sponsors are there. I’ve had a lifetime contract from my standpoint with Rick for a while; knowing I don’t have to go and negotiate that, it’s so nice," but he cautioned that he has to be sure he and the whole team perform as well as if they didn’t have a guaranteed ride and sponsor. To meet those expectations, he said, "I think sometimes there you have make some changes.”

As for whether he thinks his new teammate, Kasey Kahne, may need more consistency to be more successful he said, “I’m really excited for Kasey and Kenny, as well as for Hendrick Motorsports. I think that they’re a great combination, and I told Kasey this awhile back, having a Kenny as a crew chief at Hendrick with those resources is really going to pay off. I think it’s going to pay off for the rest of us, too, you know the information that we’re going to get from the combination that’s already successful." Gordon said he thinks that his new teammates’ enthusiasm and confidence in each other is, “really going to pay off in the years to come."

In addition to celebrating 20 years with DuPont, Gordon won the 2011 National Motorsports Press Association Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award for his work with children’s health issues. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. An example of Gordon’s commitment to children’s health: he visited Rwanda this off-season,  the country in which the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation has focused recently. Wife Ingrid and daughter Ella accompanied him on the visit. Mr. and Mrs. Gordon used social media to share their experience on the trip with fans.  

Jeff Gordon has time and time again proven that he is a champion on and off the race track.

NASCAR In Heels: "Let's Hear it For the Boys"

The Great American Sport through the eyes of a single girl

"Hey DW, does this ring match my outfit? Ahh, who cares...I won the Daytona 500, I won the Daytona 500!"
Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Phoenix International Raceway
Typically men’s fashion takes a backseat to that of women. For the most part, this is rightfully so; women spend hours shopping, reading magazines, and watching fashion television shows. Whether you’re a “fashionista” or not I’m sure you have experienced one or all of these. However, this week in NASCAR in Heels I am going to be putting men’s fashion in the drivers seat, pun intended!

After my post regarding Samantha Busch’s fashion I had a couple requests to do something similar to accommodate the men, the “fashionistos” of the NASCAR world, if you will. This of course had me thinking, what would I like to see a guy wear to the racetrack? I have kept style and comfort in the forefront here, as well as keeping in mind the casual atmosphere.

I have created two of my own outfits, and replicated one worn by a very popular name in NASCAR!

Outfit No. 1: Casual “Fan-wear”

The Clothes: This outfit is super casual and perfect for a day at the races! The layers leave many options regarding weather, all while looking stylish! I have started off with a graphic tee  from the NASCAR online store. This is a great way to show your support for your favorite driver, without it overpowering your entire outfit! You would obviously substitute your favorite driver’s shirt, and if you want you could just wear a plain tee, or graphic tee. The jeans are from oldnavy.com. They are just your average jeans, nothing too edgy. Lastly, I have found a light cardigan sweater from Forever 21, yes they have men’s clothes! Honestly guys, there’s nothing wrong with wearing a sweater like this! Come on, doesn’t that outfit look good?

The Shoes: I chose a simple pair of slip-on skateboard shoes that I found on Amazon. They look comfortable, and still go along well with the “style” of the outfit!

The Accessories: I just went with a simple watch  and sunglasses for this outfit. I always like a guy who wears a watch! They look good, and then they can always tell you the time! And, they won’t be late! Now for the sunglasses, I chose a simple pair of aviators; yes, they are obviously my favorite style for men! Very handsome…borderline studly!

Total Cost: $119 – This includes everything – 6 items!

Outfit No. 2: Casual, Yet Sophisticated 

The Clothes: This is another outfit that has plenty of layers and is perfect for a day at the track! This one steps it up a notch in terms of fashion. I chose a nice pair of khaki pants from American Eagle Outfitters. You don’t always have to wear jeans at the track! I paired them with a simple white tee and button-up shirt from Forever 21. Both of these for less than $15…what a steal! These can be worn as is, and make a nice, sophisticated, classy outfit for the day. I have also included a lightweight v-neck sweater that would look great over top of the button up, just in case it was a little chilly out!

The Shoes: For this one I found a nice, simple pair of loafers from Amazon.com. These look like they would be very comfortable for a day of walking, and yet again, they are still stylish!

The Accessories: For this outfit I decided to use accessories that are just a touch more on the “edgy” side. I have again chosen a watch from Target and sunglasses from Forever 21. This watch has a bit of a “distressed” look to it and the sunglasses are a bit “funkier” with the plastic brown frames.

This may not be the outfit all NASCAR fans would chose for a day at the track, but I think it is very sharp. Still a comfortable option, and you will definitely stand out in something like this!

Total Cost: $119 – This is for 7 items!

Outfit No. 3: Jimmie’s Summer/Beach Wear 

The Clothes: Here Jimmie Johnson is wearing a simple pair of shorts and a t-shirt. I chose to use this outfit because of its versatility; Jimmie is wearing it on the beach, but you could easily wear something like this during those hot summer months at the track. The shorts are from Oldnavy and the t-shirt is from Forever 21. These are both very simple pieces you could find almost anywhere! Although I didn’t include it, you could also pair some sort of sweater or jacket here just in case you need it! (Can you tell I’ve had some cold and rainy days at the track?) My only advice is to avoid a hoodie; it will take you from being a handsome, casual man, to a seventh grader going back to school!

The Shoes: I have included two options here. I found a pair quite similar to Jimmie’s on Amazon.com These casual sneakers would suffice at the track and may be better than the flip-flops that I also have here. However, on a very hot day, and if you are one who can wear sandals all day, these flip-flops may be for you!

The Accessories: The only accessory I have included here is sunglasses  that I found on Sunglass Warehouse that are very similar to Jimmie’s! Come on, Jimmie doesn’t need accessories when he’s got that little cutie on his arm!

Total Cost: $84 (That’s with both pairs of shoes!!!)

With the season fast-approaching hopefully these outfits will help when deciding your racetrack wardrobe! These are some great deals! In the first two outfits, there are nice shoes and a watch! Those items alone usually cost more than the entire outfit! Let me know what your faves are, and the style-route you choose to take at the track! I will end this post by quoting Mark Twain, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Happy shopping!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

WIN Series Presents: Lindy Hornaday

Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Entrepreneur

“It’s Been Quite a Ride”

Being from a racing family, Lindy Hornaday has experienced NASCAR at its best and at its worst. But no matter the situation she and husband, four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, Ron Hornaday Jr., have endured it all as a team.
grandkids 001
Ron and Lindy’s Grandbabies
Lacey, Viktoria, Slater, Lily, and Maddie 
Younger Years
As a young girl, Lindy aspired to be an artist. She loved to paint and dreamt of writing children’s books among many other things. When she was 15-1/2 yrs old she decided to apply for a job, her first job was at a local floral shop. It was a job she felt would allow her to show her creative side.

Lindy is a very creative woman who lets nothing stop her. She tells us about her family, youth, career and the beautiful connection that they all share as a family.

Our chat provided me with a great picture of the woman that we all know as Lindy Hornaday. She is a mother of two and a grandmother of five, but there is much more to this complicated yet easy going woman.

A conversation with Lindy 

LB: So where were you born and raised?
Hornaday: I was born and raised in Newhall, California which is now it goes by Valencia or Santa Valley. But it was Newhall when I was born, when I lived there.

Lindy and Ron with their children and grandchildren.
LB: Ahh, so your a California girl!
Hornaday: Yes, lived there most of my life.

LB: Where do you currently live?
Hornaday: We live in Mooresville, NC.

LB: That's right. OK, so when did you move back there?
Hornaday: We moved back here, well Ron moved back here at the end of 1994 and I came out in 1995. I moved out here at the end of '95.

LB: OK, lets just start from the beginning here...when you were growing up, what were your childhood aspirations and dreams? What did you wanna be when you grew up?
Hornaday: I wanted to be was an artist because I paint a lot and I'm very, very crafty. I wanted to write children's books, and I was just very crafty. I've been doing paintings since I was 2. And I'm painting as we speak.

LB: Wow!
Hornaday:  I've always had my hand in crafts and stuff, I wanted to be in the flower business, so my very first job, I was 15 1/2 and I wanted to go work at the flower shop in town and my mom picked me up from school and we went over there and I asked if I could have a job. She said, "honey were not hiring right now." I'm like, OK and I went home bawling to my dad, "she didn't hire me, dad, she wouldn't even hire me!" He goes, "Then you go back there tomorrow." I said, "She doesn't have a job, she doesn't have any openings." He said, "You go back tomorrow and ask for a job again." I went back the next day and asked for a job and she said, "Honey, I told you yesterday we don't have a job." I walked out, bawled all night and my dad says "Go back tomorrow." Well I did that 4 days in a row and I got a job! And I worked there for almost 15 years.

LB: Wow. Perseverance!
Hornaday: Yeah. I did that, then I met Ron which is a whole other story, but I worked in the flower business for a long time. So I was in the artsy crafty thing, I entered a lot of contests, flower designing contests that I  won. Just been very competitive in any kind of thing you can do like in the flower business we would do headdresses out of flowers. I helped on the Rose Bowl one year, floats, then we had our own parade float that we did in Newhall and we won 1st place. It was called, Rose Garden, and it was all roses and it was beautiful. I wish I still had a picture of it. I don't know where those pictures are. I wish I still had a picture of it though.

Well now I don't do paintings, like I don't oil paint or anything like that. I paint on furniture, I don't really do paintings. I have done some paintings for customers on windows and stuff, old windows. I paint kind of on the Thomas Kinkade kinda look, that cascade flower kind of look. I don't do it often because it's kind of too repetitive for me. I'm not real good with repetitive kind of things. But I'm more into doing flowers on furniture, on walls. I don't know how to stencil, so I start out with a stencil one time then I hand paint everything, I just can't use a stencil but I can hand paint all day long.

LB: OK, lets see....which came first then, NASCAR or Ron?
Hornaday: Well, our dads raced against each other. We are the for real Hatfields and McCoys! Like for real. We had a shotgun wedding and I mean for real. Our dads hated each other. They hated each other!!

LB:  I hate to say this but that's so cool though, to actually hear about the history of your families!
Hornaday: Well what happened was, I met Ron, I knew the name. Ron and I grew up at the same race track. Because my dad raced and his dad raced but I never knew who he was and he didn't know who I was and I met him one night after the race.

Everybody used to go to different peoples houses, different people we hung out with at the speedway and that's where I met Ron. I went home and I told my mom, "Guess who I'm going out with next Saturday?" She asked who. I said, "Ron Hornaday Jr." She said, "Oh no you're not." I asked why. She said, "You cant get involved with that family. That family is awful." And I'm like why? But of course that makes so I want to go out with him.

And so we went out and I got pregnant. And that wasn't a happy day when we had to tell our parents because they were furious. and of course in those days you got married. There was no choice, you got married. We had 450 people at our wedding and there was a line right down the middle.

LB: Oh my gosh, so how old were you then?
Hornaday: I was 19. We were both 19 because we are the same age. He was born in June and I was born in September.

So my dad, well there's a whole other story about the shotgun and everything. There was a shotgun involved.

LB: There was a shotgun involved? Can’t wait to hear this!

Hornaday: Yes there was. My dad told Ron to meet him in his shop. My dad owned a muffler business in Newhall and he asked Ron to meet him at the shop and Ron was all excited. He goes up there and my dad was sitting at the front counter (my dads shop was real little in the office) and he says, "I'll be right with you Hornaday".

He goes and closes up the shop, locks the front door, comes up behind the counter and he puts a shotgun on the counter and Ron just looked at him. Dad says, "Do you love my daughter?" Ron says, "Yes I do sir." Dad then says "Are you going to marry her?"  Ron explained that he was going to be trying to chase his racing dream. Dad says "You got two choices, you either get out of dodge and you never come back or you marry my daughter. Those are the only two choices you got and you're gonna make that decision right now." Ron just looked at him and said "Well I guess I'm gonna marry your daughter."

So, our parents didn't speak one word to each other during 16 years of our marriage. We were down in Phoenix at the end of the year race which was about 1992. Our motorhomes were parked in kind of a compound in Phoenix, everybody comes running down to the pits and say, “You need to get to your pits immediately." We got down there and there was photographers, everybody was there, because our dads were sitting in two lawn chairs talking to each other. And everybody knew the story so it was like, oh my gosh! So they were able to talk after that except about racing because each one thought they were better than the other but they could at least be civil to each other. But it was just a huge, huge deal! Now here we are almost 33 years later, still married.

LB: Well it worked didn't it?
Hornaday: We had a lot of people that took bets at the wedding. if we took all those bets, we'd have a lot of money!
Lindy's favorite picture of her and Ron - after
winning the 2009 NCWTS championship.
LB: You know one of the questions I had was when and where did you marry and what song did you choose for your first dance? But how did the reception go?
Hornaday: It was really good, it was just that Ron and I were the only ones who could cross the line. All of my family stayed on this side and all Ron's family stayed on that side and it's just the way it was. Everybody knew it and everything went alright. It's just that there were rules at the wedding so we didn't have a big brawl.

LB: What was your first dance, your first song then?
Hornaday: Oh my goodness....I have to think about that because I cant remember. I can remember my kids' though. I'll think about it...I'll remember!

LB: How old are your kids now?
Hornaday: I have a son, Ron Hornaday III, he's my oldest. He's 32. And then Candace, my daughter, is 29.

LB: When they were younger, did they travel with you?
Hornaday: Well when we were out in California, we raced on the weekends and then we got into the Southwest Tour which was a traveling circuit. They didn't go with us all the time because my mom and dad had a ranch in California that was completely designed for the kids and they loved going up to grandma and pops, so they spent a lot of time there. But every year we would take them to Eureka. I mean they went to a lot of races with us too but spent a lot of time at grandma and pops too. When we go to Eureka, we'd make a whole weeks vacation out of that. Our vacations had to do with racing.

Then when we moved out here, Candace traveled with us, they were both in high school. Then Ron and I were out at Sears Point, he just qualified the truck and was getting ready to qualify the Winston West car when I got a phone call that my kids had been in a wreck. A head-on collision with a semi and they were in N.C. That was the worst 20 minutes of my entire life, not knowing. Because all I knew was Ronnie had gone to the hospital and was bleeding from his ears and nose.

That's all I knew. Oh my gosh, I'll never forget that day as long as I live. So I flew straight home and Earnhardt had a plane waiting for me at Charlotte and flew me down to Myrtle Beach. I picked up the kids, I pulled them out of school (The Hornaday school because I home schooled them) and they went everywhere with me. I never even let them out of my sight. My poor kids were like, MOTHER! But I took them everywhere with me because it was just awful. That was when Ron had started with the saying, "Live everyday like it's Saturday."

One of the first people we saw when we walked out of the hauler when we found out our kids were alright was Barry Dodson. He came over because he found out about our kids being hurt. He looked at both of us and put his arms on us and said, "I just want you and Lindy to know, you need to live everyday like it's Saturday." And that has been our saying in our life since that day.

LB: Wow, well it works right? It fits. So what do you and Ron do to relax?
Hornaday: We work! (laughs) Well I'll tell you what's most relaxing for Ron is mowing the grass. He mows our grass, all the neighbors grass and anyone else in town that wants their grass mowed. That's how he relaxes. For us to be just sitting around the house, we don't do that. We work all the time.

LB: But you work all the time doing things you enjoy?
Hornaday: Yeah.

Miss Estelle's Place in Morresville, NC - Lindy's store.
LB: So what is your current line of work?
Hornaday: I own a store. I own an antique store, a baby store and a cottage shabby chic store. I also own a linen company and a framing company that's all out of the same building. I have a huge building that started as an antique store and when the economy started turning around, I had to start diversifying.

LB: Do you personally handle any area of Ron's career?
Hornaday: I handle all his fan club stuff. Actually I handle some of it and Candace handles a lot of it. I used to do all of it but when we moved back here it wasn't the same. It was just different back here.

LB: Ron's been involved in some pretty scary wrecks over the years, has there been one that really stands out to you?
Lindy on Raceday
Hornaday: One of the scariest wrecks was recently. The Watkins Glen wreck has been the scariest for me. I think one of the reasons was because I wasn't there. I always go to the race track with Ron. If he goes at 6, I go at 6. We go to Watkins Glen and I said "Ya know what, I'm gonna just come a little later because I'm tired. They had to come get me because Ron had flipped his truck and that was awful for me only because I wasn't there. But probably the scariest I was, was when he flipped at Talladega. For one, I didn't know it was him. I saw the No. 3 truck and it scared me. I saw a black truck and all I saw was a No. 3 and then when I turned to look at the guys standing on the wall, they had the strangest look on their face. I said, "Who was that?" They said it was Ron. I thought I was gonna die of a heart attack! He wasn't talking and of course the announcers were making it worse over the intercom and I was mortified over that. That's probably the scariest I've ever been.

LB: Have you ever said that's enough as a result of an accident?
Hornaday: No! The thing is Ron's doing what he loves. In the back of my mind I know there's always a chance. But Ron is doing what he loves. He's living the dream. If that's when God wants him to come home, then that's when it is. I will deal with that if it ever comes about. I don't go to the race track and think, 'Oh please don't do this anymore.' It's just, we have to live every day like it's Saturday. This is quite a ride we've been on and I wouldn't change the bad parts because all of it makes us into the people we are today.

Ron Hornaday Jr. spent several years behind the wheel for Kevin and DeLana Harvick. The following question was asked before the news was released that KHI would be closing their doors and that Hornaday would be moving to the No. 9 for Joe Denette Motorsports.

LB: How would you describe Ron's relationship with Kevin & DeLana Harvick? The whole having his boss win and racing against his boss? 
Hornaday: We've known Kevin for a long time. He lived at our house for awhile when he first came out here. I think probably the best part of Ron racing for Kevin and all of the owners he's raced with (Ron's been fortunate enough to race for some of the greatest owners and drivers in the sport) The thing I think is the coolest for Ron is that there's no excuses when you get to the shop. They know what’s going on. They feel it, they see it, they know whats going on. They have the same wants. If there having a bad day, lets fix it. If we're winning, we're all winning. Ron doesn't have to go into an owner who's never raced a car before and try to explain. Because Kevin knows, Dale knew, AJ knew, Richard Childress knew. That makes the relationship a lot easier. It's been great racing with Kevin and DeLana. I think one of the proudest moments probably for Ron since he's been racing for Kevin and DeLana is that he was able to bring them their 1st championship and then their 2nd one. But the 1st one when they parked on the back straightway and got out of their cars and hugged. That is one of the coolest moments working with Kevin and DeLana. Ron was able to say thank you Kevin and Kevin was able to say thank you Ron!

LB: What was it like having your husband work for Dale Earnhardt? How was KHI different from DEI?
Hornaday: Well working for Dale Earnhardt, the greatest driver ever in NASCAR. I don't know what was different, I mean Dale Earnhardt is Dale Earnhardt but it is kinda the same. Dale was starting a new truck team and Ron was able to bring him a championship and put DEI on the map for the truck series. That put a lot of notoriety to DEI and then he did the exact same thing with Kevin so in that sense it's kinda the same. Dale was a racer like Ron. Kevin is a hard racer like Ron. They drive by the seat of their pants. People think their too aggressive. I hate when people say that because Ron drives every lap like its the last lap because that's the kind of driver he is. It's all about getting to the checkered flag first. Dale was the same way and Kevin is the same way. It's about the hunger for the win. Tony Stewart is another driver that's the same way. It's all about being the first one to that checkered flag.

LB: At the tender young age of 53 Ron's career has been in the trucks for the most part where he continues to be a contender, so does he have a goal or is he just racing?
Hornaday: No, he wants to win another championship. He wants to win more races. He wants to keep adding on to what he's done. He's happy in the trucks. Ron likes the trucks because its still about racing the trucks. They race every lap because the races are shorter. You don't have 400 laps to keep tuning on your car. You have 200 laps or 100 laps so you have to get the job done at the beginning. I like the trucks. Ron likes the trucks. Do I think it's easier in the trucks? Absolutely not. It's very competitive. I mean look we have different winners every single week.

toddlindyjanetLB: Whats a normal day for you?
Hornaday: I get up, go out on the back porch, look at the lake and kinda gather my thoughts. I get dressed and go to work. I work all day till about 5 or 5:30. I come home and if its hot I jump in the pool and he jumps in the pool. Sometimes we go out to dinner on the lake. When I'm home I'm usually working at my store. And Ron will go out to eat lunch with his friends around here. He'll mow the grass or he'll be out helping my dad. My dad lives down the street and he has a shop and Ron helps my dad out. My dad and Ron are very, very close.

LB: That's kind of amazing with the whole Hatfield and McCoy thing!
Hornaday: I know. With my dad, Ron is his boy! He loves Ron. So Ron will hang out with my dad or if someone in town needs something done. We have the greatest group of friends around here. He's actually working with Ted Musgrave right now. He is like an identical match to Ron. They are like two peas in a pod. They're both really hard workers. Ron's on the bobcat and Ted's in the scoop trimming trees. Ron yells, "Hey Ted, do I owe you anything from the racetrack?' (As he's got Ted all the way up in the air) (Laughs) He's jerking the bucket on him and stuff. (laughs) I mean these 2, they don't even have to talk. They can read each others minds. They know what each others thinking and they just do it. It's incredible. So we've really had a lot of fun over here with Debbie and Ted.

LB: OK, were coming to the end here where I ask for your favorites. What's your favorite music?
Hornaday: My favorite music is rock n roll and country.
Your favorite food?
Hornaday: Hot dogs
Your favorite movie?
Hornaday: My favorite movie is...well I have a couple of favorites. Gone with the Wind is my ultimate favorite and the Wizard of Oz.
Your favorite track for shopping?
Hornaday: I got 2 favorites. Michigan because I love the antique stores and Texas. They got a mall in Texas and I just love that mall. And of course any track that has a casino!
Your favorite track for food?
Hornaday: Martinsville...hot dogs!

I want to thank Lindy for her time and patience in waiting for this interview to be published.

NASCAR And Turner Sports Restructure And Extend Digital Partnership Through 2016

Sanctioning Body To Operate Its Digital Platforms Starting In 2013; Turner To Continue Exclusive Advertising Sales

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 30, 2012) — NASCAR and Turner Sports announced today a restructuring and extension of their long-standing digital partnership. The new agreement takes the relationship through 2016, with NASCAR managing business and editorial operations for its digital platforms beginning in 2013 and Turner Sports continuing to oversee advertising sales and sponsorships across NASCAR-branded digital platforms.

“Turner Sports has been, and will continue to be, a great partner for NASCAR,” said Brian France, chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR. “Taking a leadership role as it relates to our digital rights is something we as the sanctioning body know is important for the future of our sport, the development of our drivers and most importantly, the experience for both our current fans and future followers.”

“Turner Broadcasting and NASCAR have helped make each other successful for more than 28 years through a working relationship that, over time, has evolved with the media and technology landscape,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “The latest extension of our partnership is a strategically and fiscally enhanced business model for our company and ensures that NASCAR.COM remains a core asset of Turner's leading digital ad sales portfolio. Our unrivaled sports assets and scale offer advertisers the means to deliver the most targeted and relevant marketing messages across multiple digital and mobile platforms and properties.”

Under the new partnership, NASCAR will assume operational control in 2013 of all of its interactive, digital and social media rights including technical operations and infrastructure of all NASCAR digital platforms. Turner will continue to represent sponsorships and advertising for all NASCAR digital platforms, with the unique users from the NASCAR digital properties continuing to roll up to the Turner digital portfolio. 

NASCAR’s comprehensive digital and social media portfolio includes NASCAR.COM, the official online destination of NASCAR which provides racing enthusiasts with an all-inclusive offering of engaging content including fantasy games, video highlights, social elements and in-depth editorial content. NASCAR.COM, and the sport’s other digital and social media platforms, have been managed by Turner Sports since 2001.

“This move is about the media, our sponsors and most importantly, our fans,” said Marc Jenkins, vice president of digital media for NASCAR. “We will build an innovative portfolio of platforms that strives to be as diverse as it is comprehensive. For our fans our digital platform will become the online destination for all things NASCAR. For everyone else, it will be the vehicle we’ll use to turn them into fans.”

- Courtesy of NASCAR

Why I Love NASCAR: Clean Slate by Chief 187™

NASCAR provides a clean slate with each race.

As January passes silently away, February looms in the horizon brilliantly. It is a month filled with the promise of newness, the optimism of beginnings, and the understanding that there is once again a clean slate. Yesteryear is over and Tony Stewart, though he is the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, has his points lowered to zero like all the rest of his competitors.

Daytona, the so-called Super Bowl of NASCAR, is the first points race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Over the off-season much happened behind the scenes that teams are hoping and praying make them viable contenders for the Cup. Personnel changes, sponsorship deals, and personal news all contribute to the clean slate.

At the beginning of the 2011 season it was nearly inconceivable that Jimmie Johnson wouldn’t pull off his sixth consecutive championship. At the beginning of the 2011 Chase it was nearly inconceivable that Tony Stewart would be able to win the Cup.

Now, with a clean slate, there is no telling if Carl Edwards will be able to finally bring home the championship, if Kyle Busch will have the stamina and wherewithal to behave and perform in the Chase to vie for the Cup, or if Stewart-Haas Racing will take its place among the top-tier teams and claim a second consecutive championship.

With the announcement that Kevin and DeLana Harvick are expecting their first child, the slate is clean and perhaps will provide a definitive incentive for Kevin Harvick to achieve his first championship.

As Trevor Bayne showed the world, a clean slate provides ample opportunity to change destiny and the course of history. This could very well happen for Danica Patrick, Juan Pablo Montoya or Marcos Ambrose.

Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Kurt Busch all have a shot at greatness this season. In fact, the entire field does. A clean slate does that, it levels the playing field even if just for a moment.

The clean slate may produce a fifth championship for Jeff Gordon.

As the cars line up on Sunday, February 26th in Daytona, nobody knows who will win.

And that’s what I love about the entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Season as well as all of NASCAR’s premiere series – Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. The clean slate occurs with each race.

Of course NASCAR culminates with a champion whose performance throughout the entire season determines his (or her) winning. But, I really do enjoy watching each race as a one-off. The clean slate effect lasts the entire season that way.

My hopes are that Dale Earnhardt Junior can see this season as a clean slate. He has finally gotten through the first decade without his father. Junior now has a fantastic crew chief in Steve Letarte, a fresh focus, and a fan base that is unparalleled in the sport; it is time for him to shed the hardships of the past and get on with his future.

As I am a fan of every driver out on the track, it is always enormously exciting for me to see a new season play out. Having a clean slate each February is yet another reason why I love NASCAR.