Saturday, April 29, 2017

Days of Dale!

By Chanda Healton

The year 2001 was tragic not only for The U.S.A with 9/11 but also for NASCAR fans with the loss of Dale Earnhardt Sr on February 18, 2011. Many old-school fans believe NASCAR died with the Intimidator. Today Earnhardt would have been 66 years young, so as a birthday present to fans old and new, to those who loved him and those who once booed, let's go back to the fateful Daytona 500 that took the ledgend before his time. Let's pretend Dale is still here and celebrating number 66 today. (I bet he would be on a deep sea  fishing trip somewhere. Maybe with Michael Waltrip!)
Now I know what ifs or buts are never good, but so many fans never got to see The Intimidator on track. They can only imagine how great he was through the stories fans tell. For others, myself included, Dale's death led to a life changing decision that they may or may not regret. Do you remember where you were when they announced Dale Sr had passed away? I was in Charlotte, NC trying to decide whether to come home and give up my dream of being a NASCAR Writer or stick it out a little longer. We had been there about a month at the time with no luck finding jobs. That night, as Dale's death was announced, we decided to take what money we had left and return home to Indiana. We passed Dale's shop on our Greyhound home and I remember thinking how dreams and legends die on the same day. I wrote a poem called Drafting With An Angel on the way back to Indiana, a 22 year old heartbroken kid.

A poem I wrote on my way back to Indiana after Dale Earnhart's death.





Just for a moment let's pretend. I asked NASCAR Fans the following questions on Facebook and have taken their best responses.

If Dale were still alive what would Nascar look like today? Would he still be out there but running in the back like Cope? Would DEI and Jr have won championships together or would Jr have still left for Hendrick? Also would Jeffery Earnhardt be in the crap he is in today or would we be making comments about grandpa saving his career and giving him a ride? (Much like many do with the Dillon!) Would Jimmie be a 7 time  champion?

Here are what the fans said:

Clayton Andrew Harris says, " Its really hard to tell what happen, but here is my thoughts. Dale Earnhardt would of retired i say 2001 or 2002. Dale would focused on his team DEI, making it a better team and a championship team. Dale Jr would be a 2 or 3 time Champion, Jeffery would eventually race for his grandpa team, probably started in cup around 2015. (Just a guess) Since DEI was basically started for Dale's kids, i say his grandkids would be evolve as well. Jimmie Johnson would not be a 7 time champion"

Chris Wills says, "I usually don't do what ifs.  But since this was my hero I'll throw in my opinion. Dale would have drove 3 to 5 more years. Staying very competitive. I don't think he ever got number 8 though. Dei would have been solid, junior would have won at least one cup if got two and could have had around 45 wins. Senior would have kept the stability of the sport in tack even through changing times. We still wouldn't see the times of the mid to late 90s....but the quality and the issues we are facing today wouldn't be near as bleak. It's unfortunate. Happy birthday Dale Earnhardt. I love you. I miss you."



Scott Allen says, if dale was still alive he would have 8 championships. Jr would have stay at DEI. Michael Waltrip would had a better cars than his own."
Brian Murray says, "I think the safety improvements would have come either way. Sr wouldn't have gotten #8 and I think the NASCAR post season was inevitable.
Jr would have stayed at DEI, nabbed a few Championships, and would still be in the #8. Truex would have taken over for Park."

Connor Allen  feels that "He would have retired well by now. DEI would still be a functional team. Jeffery would no doubt have that ride. And Jimmie would still be a 7 time champion!"
It's nice to remember and to look back. It's fun to ask what if that Daytona 500 had been rained out and ran on the next day or what if Dale's engine had quit and forced him to retire from the race early, but the truth is our sport was changing anyways. The Chase would have happened with or without Dale there and for those not supportive of segment racing, I believe Dale would have loved it. 
Dave Mast says, "Jr would have never left to go to the evil company.  Sr would t have let him."
Tyson Frank says," If Dale  was alive NASCAR  wouldn't be so filled with chickens... Jr would have stayed at DEI..."

Bill Munroe feels, "Dale would have bitch slapped some common sense into "Brian "Brainfart"  France, we wouldn't have the chase or this crap segment racing."

Tyler Rogge feals the same and says, "If Dale Earnhardt was still alive Dale would punch Brian France right in the face telling him he's a dumbass that's what I think and yes Dale Junior would have won a championship and still be in Dei car."

I have to disagree with Munroe and Rogge, however. The Chase would have happened with or without Dale there and for those not supportive of segment racing, I believe Dale would have loved it.

Coty Fox feels, "He wouldn't be in the back with Cope. He'd probably be running some road 24 sports cars."

Fox may be telling the truth on that one. Paul Nolte says "Dale was planning to leave NASCAR to go sports car racing.  So the question is what would road racing be like if he were alive?"

Good question Paul. Good question. Leave your thoughts on that in the comments!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Conor Daly Fans: Always something to smile about

By Chanda Healton

When it comes to guys you hope to see win races, Conor Daly is always near the top of my list. His smile and laughter are contagious to those around him, and his humor is sure to give you a giggle. Though Daly has yet to win his first race, he has a growing fan base and is well liked both on and off the track. I talked with 2 of his fans recently and they will compete for his Biggest Fan award in a trivia challenge!

 First up is Keith Waye."I'm from New Richmond, Indiana. I have been to the Indy 500, Indy GP, Chicagoland speedway, Mid Ohio. I became a IndyCar fan in 1975 when I went to my 1st 500. This year will be my 25th Indy 500."

Fuzzy's Vodka Bottle signed by Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly
no word on if Keith Waye enjoyed the contents of it before they signed it!
 I really started to cheer Conor on when he was doing Indy lights. I did meet Conor in Indy this past February at IMS. I asked him to sign a Fuzzy vodka bottle and told him that I knew it wasn't his sponsor but could be sign it anyhow and he said that they are a big supporter of IndyCar and he signed it along with Ed Carpenter, and Josef Newgarden. So that bottle is so far the best memorabilia of his. I like Conor cause he is a young gun American driver. I think if he can get top line rides he can be a winner."

Our next fan is Danny Vaughn. "I'm just a 21 year old kid from New York where indycar is almost unheard of to many people. I've been following IndyCar since the mid 2000s as I'm a NASCAR crossover fan who happened to find IndyCar really cool. As time went on and NASCAR kept getting more run down with political correctness, I found IndyCar that much more exciting. It's great because you never know who's gonna win and it takes incredible talent to master all the tracks. The series is also filled with many good and bad personalities. I became a Daly fan the past year and a half watching him as this young American boy pursuing his dream taking as many chances as he could with pick up rides for small teams, hoping to impress people to know he is for real. He started out with small teams, trying to make the most of his situation each time. He wasn't afraid to think outside the box, use off sequence pit strategy to lead some laps and hope he'd find something good. He didn't necessarily have the equipment to contend with the big dogs constantly, but he sure ruffled their feathers and tried his best. I very briefly met Conor at Pocono last year as I was strolling through the pit area. It was only minutes before the race, I saw Conor on the other side of the pit wall, and yelled out to him. He waved back and I said "good luck in the race", He gave a thumbs up. I thought the dude was pretty cool considering he took time to acknowledge me right before he had to get ready to get behind the wheel and race 500 miles. Conor Daly has a great personality with the reporters, fans, other drivers, and any other personnel that he interacts with on his job. He's never afraid to crack a joke, he's proud of his Christian faith, and seems like the perfect guy to raise hell and drink a beer with"

Why should new fans of the sort choose Daly? Well, I asked Vaughn and he says, "If you're new to the sport, Conor relates to the common man very well in that he's just an American badass who works his tail off trying to make a name for himself. He also drives for the biggest American badass in racing history AJ Foyt. You won't find a better combo of owner/driver than Foyt and Daly, trying to be the All American Heroes not afraid to stand up to the big money boys like Penske and Ganassi. If you wanna have fun pulling for a driver, Conor is your guy."


Autographed cards of Conor Daly  are a part of Keith Waye's collection
Waye want's to give Daly this message: "I would tell Conor to keep trying hard and not get to down on had races. He is young and still a few things to learn, but if he keeps his head up he will get good results."

Vaughn wishes to let Daly know,"If I was standing next to Conor right now, I'd tell him to stay true to himself, keep the great personality, never give up, and never cave in to corruption of political correctness! He's a fresh breath of life in this pussified PC era in sports."

And now on to the Trivia!  10 questions and only one winner! Let's see who knows Conor Daly best!

Conor Daly quiz



1. Conor is a second generation driver, Who is his father and what 2 series did he race in?
KW: Derek Daly. He raced in CART and F-1
DV:  His dad is Derek Daly. Raced in F1 and Cart

2. His mother also competed in racing what world title did she win in 1990?
KW: Don't know
DV: His mom Beth Boles won the 1990 jet ski national championship

3. What year did Conor Daly start competing in the Skip Barber National Championship? Where did he place in the championship that year?
KW:Don't know
DV: His first year in the skip barber national championship was 2008. He won it

4. How old was Conor when he began racing Go Karts?
KW:  8 years old.
DV: He first raced go karts at 10

5. What is Conor Daly's highest finish in an IndyCar to date? What track was it at?
KW:  2nd at Detroit
DV: Highest IndyCar finish was 2nd at Detroit last year for Dale Coyne

Though he is holding out for the Graham Rahal story,
 Evan D'Amico says Conor is very fan friendly
6. Of the 3 race teams Conor Daly has competed in the Indy 500 with, what team did he finish highest with? A. J. Foyt Enterprises, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports or Dale Coyne Racing? Bonus, where did he finish and what year was it?
KW: Schmidt Perterson 22nd
DV: best finish in the Indy 500 was 2013 with AJ Foyt. He finished 22nd

7. .How many different races did Conor Daly lead in 2016?
KW: I think about 3
DV: He led laps in 7 races in 2016

8. In 2015 Conor subbed for what injured drinver at Long Beach for Dale Coyne Racing?
KW:Rocky Moran, JR
DV: He subbed for Ricky Moran Jr at Long Beach in 2015
9. Where did Conor finish in the 2014 24 hours of Daytona?
KW:  Don't know
DV: He finished 7th in the 2014 24 hours of Daytona

10. What illness was Conor diagnosed with at the age of 14?
KW: Type 1 diabetes
DV: he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 14

Bonus. Name two other race car drivers who also suffer from the same illness?
KW: Newgarden, Kimball
DV: Charlie Kimball and Ryan Reed also have type 1 diabetes

Bonus 2 Who is Conor Daly's step father and what is his part in the racing world?
KW:  Doug Boles IMS CEO
DV: His step father is Doug Boles and he co owned Panther Racing
Final scores
KW: -4 ½ + 1½ Bonus
DV: -1 + both bouns

And our winner is: Danny Vaughan!
Congratulations! Hey Conor, get this guy a beer!
Winner and Conor Daly's biggest fan, Danny Vaughan



 Newt week we will feature James Hinchcliffe. If you would like to take part in this or any of our fan stories, please email me  Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! Fast Lane Race News wouldn't exist if it weren't for our wonderful fans who read and participate in our stories!




Answers

1. Conor is a second generation driver, Who is his father and what 2 series did he race in?
Derek Daly, F1 and IndyCar

2. His mother also competed in racing what world title did she win in 1990?
Novice Jet Ski World title

3. What year did Conor Daly start competing in the Skip Barber National Championship? Where did he place in the championship that year?
2008, first

4. How old was Conor when he began racing Go Karts?
10

5. What is Conor Daly's highest finish in an IndyCar to date? What track was it at?
2nd, 2016 1st Detroit Race

6. Of the 3 race teams Conor Daly has competed in the Indy 500 with, what team did he finish highest with? A. J. Foyt Enterprises, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports or Dale Coyne Racing? Bonus, where did he finish and what year was it?
A.J Foyt, 2013 he finished 22nd

7.How many different races did Conor Daly lead in 2016?
5

8.  In 2015 subbed for what injured drinver at Long Beach for Dale Coyne Racing?
Rocky Moran Jr

9. Where did Conor finish in the 2014 24 hours of Daytona?
3rd

10.  What illness was Conor diagnosed with at the age of 14?
Type 1 diabetes 

Bonus. Name two other race car drivers who also have the the same illness?
Ryan Reed (Xfinity) Charlie Kimball (IndyCar)

Bonus 2 Who is Conor Daly's step father and what is his part in the racing world?
Doug Boles president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or co owner or Panther Racing

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Austin Dillon fans: A Rare but Loyal Breed!

When I first started writing my Biggest fan stories, I stated that all drivers, both big names and the underdogs alike, had fans and my mission was to talk to those fans and find each driver's number one fan. Austin Dillon fans are hard to find! but as promised, I have found 2 of his fans to face off in trivia challenge! Afterall, only one can be crowned number one! Let the race begin!
in Our fans today are Kristi McConnell and Becky Edwards Answers will be color coded for you.

Tell me a little about yourself. Age State you live in, NASCAR races you attend. How long you have been a NASCAR fan and also how long you have cheered for Austin Dillon?

I'm Kristi, I'm 35 and live in Pennsylvania. I grew up around racing as my dad raced dirt cars at a local track every Saturday from April-October until I was 14. We pretty much scheduled our schedule around every NASCAR race, except Saturday night of course in which we tape them (ah the days of VHS tapes lol.) Only track I've ever been to is Richmond unfortunately


I'm  Becky
I'm 27 years old I live in Herndon, VA. My dad and I are season ticket holders for Bristol. I've been a NASCAR fan since age of 6 I have liked Austin since his truck days. Why I like Austin is since a young girl I was always a big Dale Earnhrdt fan and have always liked Childress so the number 3 has a special place in my hear. It the number that got me in to NASCAR.

Have you ever met Austin? What did you talk to him about and what was your impression of him?


Yes, I did! Got to meet him on September 6, 2013 in Richmond thanks to a former classmate who
happens to be married to a former RCR lead engineer! Austin was busy most of the day with practices and having his hands full with a bad handling car so he had meetings with his dad (Mike) and Richard Childress. Jeff (lead engineer) managed to get him to sneak him out to me so we could get pictures and sign stuff before the race. He also came up on top of the hauler during qualifying which was super cool since most drivers don't do that before that go out! We didn't talk about much just small talk, but he was so laid back and smiling the whole time!

I have met Austin numerous times he is always so friendly and I'm a personal fan of one of his teammates on the Xfinity side Brendan Guaghn. New comers to the sport should like Austin because he is one of the nicest and cleanest drivers out there and th history of what Childress has meant to the sport and the history of number 3.


Do you have any memorabilia or Austin related tattoos that help you stand out from other fans? You may also share a story if you wish to.

Oh my gosh, YES!! Lol. In 2012, Jenny (my former classmate) was hanging out with AD in his hauler before the race in Richmond ironically,and mentioned me. He had already known who I was (we follow each other on Twitter) and he decided to get an AdvoCare hat and postcard to sign so she could bring them to me!! Then of course I have the Pit Pass and that he signed for me when I went in 2013! I also collect 1:64th cars and have many other autographs from the time he was in trucks thru this year!!

In addition, he chose me to win his 1:24th scale signed replica dir
car during his, "12 Days of Christmas" giveaway on Twitter in 2014!

Since I have met Austin before I always ask or plan too is what is like driving the number 3 car since that has been part of your family forever.


What is special about Austin that made you into a fan?
He's not trying to be like Dale Earnhardt despite what everyone says people seem to forget he grew watching Dale and wants to honor him but he's his own person. He had his own radio show as a requirement for a communications course while attending High Point University. While listening to those few shows, I learned a lot about his personality. He truly loves his family and hanging out while fishing, hunting, watching football. He's just laid back, truly! 

What is special about Austin that makes me a fan of his is that from my personal experience with him he is one of those drivers that really care for the fans and he appreciates the fans and just his demeanor and the way he speaks to the media is a big plus and that at Bristol he is always doing different autographs appearances and he has from my point of view has never turned down an autograph request at least with me

Why should newcomers to the sport become Austin fans?


Photos by Becky Edwards
He's one of the "faces" of NASCAR and he will be for along time to come! He's funny, easygoing, and a great driver who will get unlucky break soon!

 HE realizes what an important part we as fans are to the sport and he appreciates it. Another thing that sticks out to me is that even though he drives for grandfather a lot of people think he got in the sport because of grandfather but to me he has proven that he has earned his spot in the cup series I have been fan of his since his truck days.

And finally if you could tell Austin one thing what would it be?

Just keep doing your thing, ignore the noise and the rest works itself out!! I'm so incredibly proud to call you my favorite driver since 2010 and you will be for life!!! #ADfanforlife3

I want to tell Austin that I'm happy to be a fan of yours and it is great seeing number 3 running up front

Austin Dillon Trivia
1. What year did Austin start his racing career in INEX Bandaleros?
Kristi: ?
Becky:?

2. Where did Austin finish in the 2016 NASCAR standings?
Kristi: 14th
Becky: ?

3. Where did Austin make his XFINITY Series debut?
Kristi: Richmond, 2008
Becky: ?

4. Austin drove in five different stock car series as an RCR development driver in 2009. Name them. Each will count as a point.?
Kristi: Camping World Trucks, Xfinity (Nationwide), K&N East, ARCA, ?
Becky: ?

5. In his rookie season of Camping World Truck Series competition in 2010, Dillon earned Rookie of the Year honors. Where did he finish in the standings?
Kristi: 5th
Becky: I believe he finished 6 in the standing

6. Dillon made his Cup series debut at Kansas Speedway in October 2011 driving an entry prepared by RCR, Who owned the car?
Kristi: Ronald Reagan Foundation
Becky: i believe it was who ever owns the 95 car today I don't think I can name owner

7. When Austin won his Truck Championship, how many top 10s did he have that season and what other award did he win?
Kristi: 10 And Most Popular Driver Award
Becky: Most popular driver

8. In 2013 , on his way t the Xfinifty championship, how many poles did Austin win and how many of those poles were consecutive?
Kristi: 7 and 4 were consecutive
Becky: ?

9. In 2013 Where did Austin start in his first Daytona 500?
Kristi: 8th
Becky: Started 1st (That was his second start in 2014)

10. in 2013, Austin won what inaugural Camping World Truck Series race?
Kristi: Eldora
Becky: It was Eldoria

Bonus 1
Name all 4 of Austin's wins in Xfinity in 2015.
Kristi: Las Vegas, Charlotte 2x, and hmm Daytona?
Becky: ?

Bonus 2
What non racing related sporting event did Austin take part in in 2002?
Kristi: Little League World Series
Becky: ?


Kristi With the bonus questions being correct missesd 2 total
Becky missed 8 no bonus

And Austin Dillon's biggest fan is Kristi McConnell! Congratulations!

Up next: Kevin Harvick! Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook or email us about your favorite NASCAR driver! 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Long Beach fan experiance

By Chanda Healton
Photos by Evan D'Amico and Alaina Afflerbaugh

Today we will try something new. I'm calling it the IndyCar Fan Experience. Though the race was last week I am running behind due to a horribly busy week of my birthday and Easter. The good news is, if you are reading this, there won't be any spoilers!

Alaina Afflerbaugh, who you may remember as Josef Newgarden's biggest West Coast fan, and her brother Evan D'Amico, who you will be meeting when we talk to Graham Rahal fans,
were at the race and were asked their thoughts on major occurrences during the race. All photos are property of Alaina and Evan and were taken by them. This is a fan experience to show how great being there can be! I hope you enjoy reading it.

First lets learn a little about AfflerBaugh and D'Amico:

Evan DAmico, 26
Favorite drivers  Graham Rahal and Will Power.
Lives 1hr 45mins from Long Beach 
11 years going to Long Beach GP

Alaina Afflerbaugh, 30
Favorite driver Josef Newgarden 
Curently located about 4 hours from Long Beach
"I have been coming with My dad to the Long Beach Grand Prix since about 1998 but for the first couple years I didn't attend EVERY year. I started making it a priority at around 2010 when I was older."

Prerace experiences. Did you meet any drivers? Did you buy any souvenirs? If so what and from what driver? Where were your seats during the race?

Afflerbaugh said,"I met ALL the drivers who participated this year!!!
I got a New Josef Newgarden shirt, and a checkered flag which all the drivers (as well as Roger Penske and Max Papis) signed.We just had General Admission tickets so we stood at the fence just out of turn 11 at the entrance to the pits. "

D'Amico said, "Yes I did meet drivers: Jr Hilldebrand, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter Reay, Graham Rahal, Michael Andretti, Mario Andretti, Sarah Fisher, Sage Karam, Jack Hawksworth, Gabby Chaves. Bought my wife a Graham Rahal shirt which he signed.
Our seats were in turn 11 the hairpin."
Now on to the race.  I have written a list of what I feel were major events during the race and will share both D'Amico's and Afflerbaugh's thoughts on them. 

Lap one finds Will Power can Charlie Kimball colliding
Afflerbaugh: "I couldn't really tell live, what exactly happened and my brother was certain it was Charlie's fault so he wasn't dependable in telling me what happened, but we watched the race on TV, I CLEARLY blame Power. There was NO room to pass right there and he should know that, its the same spot RHR caused that huge wreck a few years ago doing the exact same thing."

D'Amico: Power had the line for 2 corners and in my view I think Kimbal cut down on Power causing both the wreck.

Thoughts on Dixon switching from a 2 stop strategy to a 3 race strategy
Afflerbaugh: "I don't have a real thought on this situation, I have never been one to follow what the guys do as far as strategy. After watching it on TV though, it sounds like Scott didn't know about the change though and that seems kind of unfortunate for him."


D'Amico: "Dixon switching strategies was typical, he has used that one before to win in Long Beach. Was surprised few other drivers didn't go on that. "

Thoughts on Alexander Rossi, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter Reay all going out of the race with issues not involving a wreck?
Afflerbaugh: When stuff like that happens its just the way it goes. Honestly I didn't even notice Marco was out of the race. Sometimes the cars just don't want to do their jobs and the guys can't do anything about that. A LITTLE part of me was feeling some justification after RHR took Josef out of the race a couple years ago. But Ryan has always been a nice guy so I would never wish anything ill towards him. I felt bad for the entire team going out by the end of the race. I'm indifferent to Rossi to begin with, but I think he should be penalized for getting out of his car after he stopped. It's always a bummer when a guy gets bumped out of a race because his car goes out on him though. It was just their bad luck was just sad to see. How could anyone predict that would happen out of nowhere. 3 cars, 3 sudden mechanical issues? But I still think a penalty should have been imposed for getting out of that car! It was unsafe.

D'Amico: "Rossi, Reay, and Marco all were in Andretti cars and really needs to be looked at. Sudden power off? They need to really go back and check with the exception of Rossi who blew his motor up."

Thoughts on final restart with 3 laps to go?
Afflerbaugh: I WAS A MESS during those last 3 laps! with Josef in that top 3 and knowing all the guys are bunched up, I was scared they would be coming for him, and that there could be a wreck, or that someone would overtake him.

D'Amico: Restart with 3 to go I was really hoping Bourdais would run James down. But James had a rocket ship and was fast all day.


Last lap thoughts?
Afflerbaugh: I adore James Hinchcliffe and the thought that we were going to get to watch him win a race that he calls his dream was also getting me emotional, plus Bourdais is my Dad's favorite driver and so this podium finish was pretty much amazing.

D'Amico: Was good everyone in Long Beach were on there feet standing. Didn't see one person sitting and the crowd was loud for the last lap. Was amazing to hear.
Thoughts on final restart with 3 laps to go?

Thoughts on JR Hildebrand running into Mikhail Aleshin?

Afflerbaugh: I feel bad for what happened between Mikhail and JR. They are both guys I like A Lot and I hope it was just an accident. I actually didnt know this happened until I saw Mikhail's car being towed into the pits, and later while in the Garage after the race, JR had his arm in a sling, and now I read that his hand may be broken.
D'Amico: I think JR was carting to much speed and missed the breaking point and that's when he ran in to the back of Aleshin. Typical hard racing contact.

Post race


Did you hang around for the victory lane interview?
Afflerbaugh: We did stay to hear the Victory lane interview. But by the time Hinch got his turn, the next event on the track was setting up so we couldn't hear what he was saying
I was really mad. It seemed rude. Especially since that "race" was only set to be 20 minutes long so they had plenty of time to let the drivers of the Grand Prix finish with their ceremony.

D'Amico: Wasn't paying attention cause I moved seats to see the trucks.

How long did it take you to get away from the track? 
Afflerbaugh: It took us a while to get away from the track. It was almost 7pm by the time we were leaving because we went back to the garages to watch them pack up the cars and to see if any drivers were still around. I'd hoped to congratulate Josef personally, but I never saw him. I got to congratulate Hinch though!!

D'Amico: It took us about 45 mins to get from the track to dinner after the race.

What was your favorite part of the race?
Afflerbaugh: The finish was the absolute favorite part of the race ♡ Our family favorite winning, and then Mine and my dad's driver with him on the podium.


D'Amico: Favorite part of the race was James winning at Long Beach. Again was really awesome to see that happen to him

What was your least favorite part of the race? 
Afflerbaugh: The worst part of the race were all those awkward and random cautions, and Will Power taking out Charlie Kimball

D'Amico: My least favorite was seeing Will Power being taken out early. Yeah they got the car fixed but wasn't fast. That sucked.

What an IndyCar do to improve the race?
Afflerbaugh: Nothing that I can think of.

D'Amico: Indycar doesn't need to do anything, I thing every year the race is great and perfect. Although in turn 11 they need to add a Big screen for us to see just before the foot crossing bridge.

Will you return next year? 
Afflerbaugh:  I always plan to. But we find out next month where we are moving to next. So if we end up in Virginia or Florida (or somewhere else far) I have to hope that doesn't mess up those plans.

D'Amico: Oh yes will be returning next year for the race nothing will keep me away from it.


Any final thoughts?
Afflerbaugh: This was one of my favorite years at the Long Beach Grand Prix!
D'Amico: Andretti needs to look at there equipment better. Make sure it's all good. Glad to see Gabby Chaves in a Indy 500 ride. Wish Jack Hawksworth had a ride as well.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Helio Castroneves Fans: The Heart of IndyCar

By Chanda Healton

Helio Castroneves climbed fences before Tony Stewart did, he has won 29 IndyCar races with 3 of them being The Indy 500. He has danced his way to number one on Dancing With the Stars and is in many ways, the heart of IndyCar racing. As you can imagine, many of his fans have been cheering for him for many,  many years and they are the most loyal of all fans! Today we will meet a few and one will be crowned his number one fan! Ladies and Gentlemen, start your computers, we will have a trivia challenge! 

Castroneves fans are everywhere in the USA, but there are many Brazilian fans as well who are proud of what he has done for IndyCar. Our first fan is Danilo Nardini Mancini.

Q.Tell me a little about yourself. Age. Where you live. IndyCar races you attend. How long you have been an IndyCar fan and also how long you have cheered for Castroneves . 
A: Hi! I'm Danilo Nardini Mancini from São Paulo, Brazil. I'm 27 and currently graduating on P.E. and Health at University of São Paulo (USP). I've never attended for a race, even here in São Paulo. At that time, I wasn't living near the race course, so it was hard to get there. I've been rooting for Helio since 2001, when I watched the Indy 500 on live broadcast. I've been following him since then. For the IndyCar series, I've been into it since the early 90's.

Q: Have you ever met Castroneves? What did you talk to him about and what was your impression of him? 
A: No, I've never meet him. 

Q: Do you have any memorabilia or Castroneves related tattoos that help you stand out from other fans? Please share pictures. 
A: I don't have anything. This kinda of thing is way too expensive here in Brazil, and it's very hard to find. 

Q: What is special about Castroneves that made you into a fan? 
A: His sense of humor and competitivity. 

Q: Why should newcomers to IndyCar become a fan of Castroneves? 
A: He's the guy who's going to make you sit on the edge of the couch 

Q: And finally if you could tell Helio one thing, what would you want him to know? 
A: Hope to see your 4th Indy 500 win, I'm with ya, rooting for it. You're the man! 

Q:Could you talk about how Brazilians feel about Castroneves a bit? A: Brazilian IndyCar fan's root for him a lot, specially because he's always a championship contender and a three time Indy 500 winner. But some people argue that he's not that great because he never became a champion, which in my opinion is a bullshit. Winning the 500 it's like becoming a champion itself. Unfortunately, the majority of racing fans only follows the F1 because of the Ayrton Senna's legacy, and for long, the IndyCar series wasn't on open broadcast, so many fans just stopped following the series and the drivers. The youngsters may not even know about him, because there's small media coverage too.


Q:Who do you think has more fans in Brazil? Tony Kanaan or Helio Castroneves?
A:I think helio has more fans because he got the Indy 500 wins earlier


Mary Frances, Nilda Stuff's daughter,who is
 studying Education with Helio Castroneves

I used the same questions throughout the interviews with the American fans Here is what they had to say:

Anna Arndt says "I live in Iowa, but lived in Wisconsin for 15 years with my first husband. I am 60 years old. While I lived in Wisconsin I went to the Milwaukee Mile 4 9 or 5 times. Of course back then Rick Mears and Emerson Fittipaldi were the Penske drivers I cheered for. I've watched Helio race at Iowa Newton Speedway, but unfortunately I have never met him. I would tell him to never change. He is an awesome driver, and an awesome person. And lastly, here is a picture of my Basenji puppy, Helio. His registered name is Flutesong Fast as You."

Jeni Rebecca Harris says "I'm 45 years old and I've been watching IndyCar since I was 5, I even remember watching Janet Guthrie qualify for her first Indy 500 in 1977. I'm from Stroudsburg PA and live 45 minutes away from Pocono Raceway and attended my first IndyCar race there in 2013 when the series returned to the track. I've never met Helio but that's definitely on my bucket list of drivers to meet as I've been a fan of his since 1999 when he was with Hogan Racing and that team did a lot with a little, plus he's a terrific ambassador for IndyCar.

I have a copy of his book Victory Road, which I highly recommend taking, and diecast of his Hitachi Dallara.

New fans should cheer for him because as I've said, he's a great ambassador for IndyCar and his personality. The one thing I'd like to tell him is that all of his fans believe in him and we want him to get that 4th 500 in May and also to finally get that long overdue championship. Good luck Helio and WE BELIEVE!"

Nilda Stuff says, "I live in Indianapolis, Ind. I have been to every 500 Mike since 1965... I have not missed a race!I was a Jimmy Clark, team Lotus , fan. I have been a Roger Penske fan forever!! I met him at the Speedway one day when I was allowed to meet Jimmy Clark. I had taken him a cake !! ( high school years) Jimmy Clark was such a gentleman all the time, and Helio reminds me of him. I have been an Helio fan since his rookie season. He is a very sincere and kind man... he always finds the good in his team, his car, his fans, and his fellow drivers. He is very humble... and a great ambassador for his sport. You can't help but like him... his eyes light up, his smile is contagious, and he sure can dance! I have met him twice... once at the track and once at a 500 race activity that the drivers were at with inner city kids to participate in field day activities with them. He was very gracious both times. I have his autograph on a sweatshirt! I didn't have a camera with me either time! I have always been a big fan of his and I always will be."

Julie Ludlow Stahly says "I have met Helio four times. Each time was for a photo opp. My impression is that he is quite possibly the nicest driver out there! My age is 58 years young. I live in Indy. I am a 40 year ticket holder at IMS. I also go to one other race each year. This year being St. Louis. I have been an Indy Car fan since I was a little girl. My mom used to take us out there every year and we would have picnics in the infield. I have cheered for Helio since 2002. I have four pictures taken with Helio. What made me fall in love with Helio was in 2002 (the year after 9/11) I was sitting in the stands behind the pits wearing a red, white, and blue sequined heart tank top. We were hollering at him, when he looked up into the stands, looked right at me and made a heart shape on his chest! I was a goner after that! I can't imagine anyone not being a fan of Helio's. Everytime I see him, he makes me smile. If I could tell Helio one thing it would be to thank him for all the joy he has brought me and many other race fans. He is just special. I am constantly teased by my friends for being a Helio Stalker lol! I'm so ready for May so I can get my 5th picture!"

Wendy Anderson says, "I am a 38 year old wife, mother, school teacher who lives in Lake Alfred, Florida. I am originally from Missouri. I have attended Iowa, Texas, St. Pete, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as well as Homestead-Miami, and Michagan when they still raced there. I was a CART fan back in 1988 when I was 10. I grew up going to local dirt track races when I was a small child. I remember watching Rick Mears when his third Indy 500 that year. I remained a CART fan and later an Indycar fan when Helio switched from CART to IndyCar. I remember Helio racing for Hogan in 1999 and thought he was handsome. Became a big fan of him when he won his first race at Bell Isle in 2000. I was in college at the time and was watching the race with my boyfriend,  who was from Indiana. Just loved Helio's spirit and watching him climb the fence after his win for the first time made me become a big fan. My boyfriend later that year took me to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time. We got married in 2002. We are both big IndyCar fans and go to the races together.

I have been cheering for Helio for 17 years.
I have been an Indycar fan for 29 years at least.
I have met Helio several times in the years of being his fan.
The first year was 2006 at St. Petersburg, Florida.
I was a bit tongue tied and starstruck when I met him the first time.
He was gracious to take a picture with me at his paddock area.
I got to meet his sister Kati that year who was expecting her first child that year.
The second year I saw Helio again and I was expecting my first child again so was able to talk to him and his sister about his new nephew.
Helio is such a strong spirited, family oriented man.
I have seen Helio win the St. Pete race all three times and him climb the fence in person 2006, 2007, and 2012. I have seen him every year in person at that race since 2006.


In 2012 I was expecting my second child. I was due to be inducted the following day. I told Helio I wad to see him before I had my son the next day. Helio was floored when I told him.
He later won that race that day. I have a lot of pictures over the years with him.

When I went to the last Homestead race I was there for his book signing and saw him in the media center for a special Helio package deal. He has taken pictures with my kids too.
Especially my daughter She is now 9 I think I've made her a fan too My son who is 5, likes James Hinchcliffe. Helio's passion for life and love of racing is what makes him someone you want to follow. He still acts like a young kid when he does well even after racing for 20 years in the series.

If you are trying decide whether to by an IndyCar fan, just look at the racing and competition. You won't find better racing or more personable drivers in any other series.

I want to tell Helio that with perseverance, and his passion we will see him win his 4th Indy 500! I cannot wait when that happens. I would love to see him, Adrianna and his daughter climb that fence together."

Our last fan is an inspiration to us all! Now a retired Math Teacher, she also wishes to teach kids and adults alike about Helio and IndyCar in general. Meet Terri Rogers Zumbrook,

Zunbrook says, "I am a retired middle school math teacher from northern Illinois and 58 years old. I have followed open wheel racing since before the split when Rick Mears wasn't yet a legend. When they split I left for a bit except for the 500 and I started following Helio after his back to back 500 victories, the first as a rookie. I started really cheering for him when Roger Penske brought the team to the IRL and my favorite race was in Chicagoland. Last race of the season. Helio qualified well but they put him at the back of the field because he dipped below the white line during one of his laps. He went on to win that race and I was hoarse. In my math class Helio's portrait had a place of honor. I have 37 autographed items but my most cherished is a white card Helio signed the morning of race day for his third 500 win. I also have the tape that was in his green room chair at the 99 th 500 when I was waiting to get in the Victory lane photo with JPM.he entire month of May math used Indy 500 statistics. I would give students three extra points if they could work Helio into their assignment somehow. have photos of a few of their assignments I can show you. At the Iowa race three years ago I got to be on the track during the driver introductions And there was Helio, of courseThe races I go
to are Phoenix, Iowa, The GP of Indianapolis, the 500, Mid Ohio and Road America. My dogs went to Road America and Benny got in the Victory Lane photo with Will Power and with The Fire hawk. Last Year I spoke to him when I gave him some bracelets I made for Adrianna, Mikaella, and his sister Katrina. They hav his motto "Driven by passion in them. I made a necklace and bracelet for his fans in the Yellow Submarine livery and Hitachi livery. He loved the bracelets and showed Will who next to him and said "isn't this cool?". I have a few pictures. As far as what's newcomers should know I look at it on two levels. When I was teaching, I hoped I was making Indy Car and Helio fans. One student said to me, You should give Helio your autograph, Mrs. zumbrook" Then I talk to adults about Helio and the statistics about him and Indy Car, the impressive strength needed to withstand the g-forces, the speed, and with all that he has time for fans, he looks us in the eye, he is always positive and cheerful even when he loses. He doesn't give up If I could tell him one thing, I would tell him that what I admire most about him is how he always looks to the next race. If he doesn't win, he is rarely bitter about it, he's always saying, I will do better. I feel the pressure he must constantly be under to get that 4th win at Indy, and I hope he enjoys it. I remember Rick Mears saying it was such a relief to finally get it because of the pressure."

HELIO CASTRONEVES TRIVIA
1. Where and during what year did Helio get his first win for Penske?
Wendy Anderson: Belle Isle, Detroit in 2000 Helio got his first win for Penske.
Nilda Stuff: 2001 Indy 500
Terri Rogers Zumbrook: his first Indy 500.
Jeni Harris: Belle Isle in Detroit
Danilo Nardini Mancini: 2000 at california

2. Helio has raced for 3 teams since he started racing in IndyCar (the first 2 under CART. Name them.)
Wendy Anderson: Bettenhausen and Hogan were the two other teams he raced for in CART before going to Penske
Nilda Stuff: Bentenhausen racing, Hogan racing, Penske
Terri Rogers Zumbrook: Tasman, Penske and, ?
Jeni Harris: Bettenhausen Hogan and Penske
Danilo Nardini Mancini: hogan and galles I guess

3. Who was Helio's teammate when he drove for Tasmin Racing in Indy Lights?
Wendy Anderson: Helio's teammate in Indylight was Tony Kanaan.
Nilda Stuff: Tony Kanaan
Terri Rogers Zumbrook: Tony Kanaan
Jeni Harris:Tony Kanaan
Danilo Nardini Mancini:  no idea.

4. Who was Helio's partner on Dancing With The Stars when he won?
Wendy Anderson: Helios partner on Dancing with the Stars that he won with was Julianne Hough.
Nilda Stuff: Julianne Hough
Terri Rogers Zumbrook: Julianne Houg
Jeni Harris: Julianne Hough
Danilo Nardini Mancini: can't remember, ugh

5. On his second appearance on Dancing With The Stars, who was his partner and how many weeks did he make it through?
Wendy Anderson: His partner when he went on again was Jenna. He did not last longer then a week. I thought he was actually a judge for an episode actually.
Nilda Stuff: Chelsie Hightower .... Week 3
Terri Rogers Zumbrook: can't remember and three.
Jeni Harris: Chelsie Hightowe 3
Danilo Nardini Mancini :didn't even knew he had a second appearance!

6 How many poles and wins did Helio earn during the CART era of IndyCar?
Wendy Anderson: 6 poles and 7 wins I believe while in CART
Nilda Stuff: 6 wins and 7 poles
Terri Rogers Zumbrook: 6 wins. 5 poles
Jeni Harris: Three poles and three wins in 2000
Danilo Nardini Mancini  5 poles and 4 wins

7. In 2000 Helio signed with Penske racing in CART. What driver did he replace and why?
Wendy Anderson: Helio replaced Greg Moore in after his tragic death in the final race of the season the year before.
Nilda Stuff: Greg Moore
Terri Rogers Zumbrook:  Moore who died, I think.
Jeni Harris:Helio signed with Penske after the tragic death of my original driver, Greg Moore at ACS. Side note, Matt hit the wall in the same spot on the track where Greg died
Danilo Nardini Mancini: was the guy from Uruguay Who died at Laguna Seca.

8. At Barber Motorsports Park in 2010, Helio broke a tie with this driver for the most wins by a Brazilian driver.
Wendy Anderson: He broke a tie with Emerson Fittapaldi
Nilda Stuff: Emerson Fittipaldi
Terri Rogers Zumbrook:  Gil de Ferran
Jeni Harris:v Emerson Fittipaldi
Danilo Nardini Mancini: Emmo

9. 1n 2016 he also broke another record by the same driver for what accomplishment?
Wendy Anderson: Number of poles by a Brazilian driver.
Nilda Stuff: Consecutive starts
Terri Rogers Zumbrook:  Number of consecutive starts.
Jeni Harris: I'm guessing pole position earned
Danilo Nardini Mancini: most poles

10. Spelling will count on this.
What is Helio's full name at birth? Bonus of you can explain why he changed it.Wendy Anderson:
Nilda Stuff: Helio Castro NevesHe changed the spelling because the media kept calling him a Helio Neves. There is a accent mark above the e in his first name but I can't get my computer to put it there!!! Lol
Terri Rogers Zumbrook: He actually added the hyphen first and later dropped it. From what I read and talking to a fan in Brazil he was born Helio Castro Neves Castro being the maternal name and Neves being the paternal name as is tradition you got the reasoning right.
Jeni Harris: Helio Alves de Castro-Neves Jr and it was changed with the hyphen taken out so it would be easier for people to pronounce Helio Castro-Neves. He changed it to give credit to both his mom and dad because Reporters and announcers during races often call him Helio Neves. Therefore, he dropped the - and combined the two to have Helio Castroneves.
Danilo Nardini Mancini Helio Castro Neves it was easier to say

Bonus Question: one point per part
Helio Castroneves is currently 4th in the number of poles he has won. Who is first and how many poles do they have?
Wendy Anderson: Scott Dixon 51 poles
Nilda Stuff: AJ Foyt has 67 poles
Terri Rogers Zumbrook: Mario Andretti and 37
Jeni Harris:Mario Andretti and 65
Danilo Nardini Mancini: Aj Foyt, no idea about the number

Final scores:
Wendy Anderson: missed 2 plus 1 bonus
Nilda Stuff: missed 0 plus 1 bonus
Terri Rogers Zumbrook: missed 4 plus 2 bonus
Jeni Harris: missed 2 plus 2 bonus
Danilo Nardini Mancini: missed 8 plus 1 bonus

No matter where Helio finishes on the track or in the championship standings, he will always be number one in his fan's hearts! Congratulations to Nilda Stuff on winning the crown of Helio's biggest fan!  

I also want to give a special thanks to Terri Rogers Zunbrook for all she does to show the world, especially young kids, how great IndyCar can be! Fans like her make up the heart of racing!

ANSWERS
1. Detroit GP  in 2000
2. Bettenhausen Racing, Hogan Racing, Penske Racing. 
3. Tony Kanaan 
4. Julianne Hough
5.  Chelsie Hightower they made it 3 weeks
6. 7 poles, 6 wins
7. Greg Moore because he was killed in the final race of 1999
8. Emerson Fittipaldi
9. Most consecutive starts
10. Helio Castro Neves American Media kept cal1ing him Helio Neves when he started racing so he changed it to Castroneves to make it easier. 


Friday, April 7, 2017

Brad Keselowski winning his way into the Fans hearts.

When it comes to winning, Brad Keselowski knows vitory Lane well. When it comes to fans, they either love him or hate him! He as a very large fan base though and I ventured out to talk to a few so that we could crown one fan his number one! I had a lot of replies to my request to talk to Keselowski fans, so we will do this Q&A style to shorten the article a bit. I hope you enjoy reading the fan stories as much as I enjoy writing them for you! 

Tell me a little about yourself. Age State you live in, Nascar races you attend. How long you have been a Nascar fan and also how long and why you have cheered for Brad Keselowski.
Michael Clapps:  I’m a 20 year old college student majoring in Physics from Pennsylvania. I live about half an hour from Pocono so I go there for both NASCAR weekends (and IndyCar) every year.


Thomas Harris: My name is Thomas. I am 18 years old from Baltimore, Maryland and I have attended races at Charlotte, Dover, Richmond and Pocono. I have been a NASCAR fan since 2007 and a Brad Keselowski fan since 2008. I'm a Brad fan because He has respect for others. Whenever he is interviewed on television, he always takes his sunglasses off and calls the reporter by name. Even when he loses a race, he congratulates his competitors and even shakes their hands, such as when he lost to Marcos Ambrose at Watkins Glen a few years ago. Brad is very courteous to other people. I mailed Brad a Christmas card and he took a picture of it and tweeted his appreciation! That absolutely made my day. To be acknowledged as a fan always means a lot.


Tim Cantwell 27 Indianapolis, Indiana Nascar fan 22 years and counting. I attend the Brickyard every year. Brad fan since 08. Brad made me a fan when he showed he was something special when he was driving for Jr motorsports.


Steven Loren Taylor Harris:I am 24 years old. I live in the state of Kentucky. I have never been to a race. Although I want to so bad. I've been fan since 2002. I've cheered for Brad since 2008. How that came around. I was watching the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide series at Memphis. I didn't know any drivers. I saw a white 88 Chevy. Didn't knew who he was or what team. I said that is my guy. He finished 17th that day. At the time I was a Jimmie Johnson fan. I said when Brad whatever his last name is moves up to Sprint cup I will drop Jimmie and go to him.

Jamie Jones: My name is Jamie Jones. I am 54 years young. I live in Fenwick, Michigan. I live about an hour and a half from MIS. Unfortunately I have not been able to attend a NASCAR race but I am hoping someday. I have 8 children, 17 grandchildren with one more due later this year and a great grandson due in May. I became a NASCAR fan on March 30,2014. That is also the day that Brad became my driver.


Have you ever met Brad? What did you talk to him about and what was your impression of him?
Michael Clapps: I’ve met Brad about 15 times now - honestly lost count. My first time in June 2012 I was completely starstruck. I remember telling him how I was supposed to meet him in June 2011 at his weekly appearance, but we were having car issues and couldn’t make it. Then in August 2011 Brad had to cancel from his Road Atlanta testing crash just a couple days before, so I had to wait until the following June. I’ve been to all of his weekly appearances since, but also got to hang out with him in the Eldora infield during the 2014 Truck race. I didn’t want to bother him during the race, so I just stood a couple feet from him and watched it, then asked for a picture after. He was back at Pocono the next week, so I went to his appearance and he knew my name! Completely blew me away when he picked up a hero card and just wrote ‘To Michael:..” on it. Of all, my favorite moment had to be in February 2015 when I won a Daytona contest from his team - that gave garage credentials and a private meet & greet with Brad. The meet was scheduled for right before the XFINITY drivers meeting, but Brad decided to bring me into the meeting! He asked me to pick a seat, so I took one about 3-4 chairs over from him, just to give him some space - but then he slid over and sat right next to me until the meeting was over.

Thomas Harris: Yes. In 2014 at Charlotte. He was super kind and took a photo with me. He thanked me for coming and was extremely friendly.

Tim Cantwell: I have never met him but wish to.

Steven Loren Taylor Harris:  No, I never met Brad. I tweeted him on twitter. He even answered a question a few years ago that @RaceSonoma was doing. you can see it HERE.

Jamie Jones:    I have met him twice, I met him both times at a meet and greet so there wasn't time to talk to much but I told him about my fan page I run for him and he asked me what it was called. I told him Keselowski's Korner and he said that is really cool and he would have to check it out.I told him about him racing against my nephew when he raced at Auto City Speedway in Flint, Michigan. He asked me what his name was and I told him Bob Egan. He remembered. He thanked me for being a fan and for supporting him. My sister bought me a diecast car of his Talladega win in 2015. Brad commented on my shirt I was wearing. "Cool shirt" he said. He even signed the back of it

The second time I met him was also a meet and greet and they weren't allowing us anytime to talk to Brad but he could sign two items for us. I got a hat and a cooler bag signed. He did shake my hand and thank me for being a loyal fan. He is such a nice guy and so easy to talk to. I was so nervous. Brad is a super nice guy. He really cares about his fans. He takes time to give autographs and even just a small conversation. I think it is great that he drives around the camping area at the tracks and seeks his fans out. He has a great personality. Brad has alot of drive and ambition and I am honored to be his fan.
Do you have any memorabilia or Brad related tattoos that help you stand out from other fans? 
Michael Clapps: No tattoos here, but lots of memorabilia. I collect Brad’s trading cards, hero cards, and diecast - all of it can be seen on my personal site here: mdclappsracing.com
What is special about Brad that made you into a fan?
Michael Clapps: I’ll answer how I became a NASCAR fan and a Brad fan here, since it’s the same thing. I never disliked racing, but I definitely wasn’t interested in it by any stretch. I was flipping through the channels on a evening in late 2007 when I came across the XFINITY race at Fontana…the one where Brad had the terrible crash and had to be airlifted out of the track. I was 10 years old then, and really didn’t know what was happening, or why it was happening. But I felt bad for the guy. I had no clue who he was, but I just felt bad for him. At that point I had no idea if this guy was any good or not, but I called him as my driver way back then.

Thomas Harris:  Yes. I have a diecast collection with every 1/64 scale Brad Keselowski diecast car from his whole career. The collection is getting quite big!
Tim Cantwell. I have his Championship 2012 hat from the then known as Sprint Cup. Also have a Brad flag.

Steven Loren TaylorHarris: Yes, I have a few memorabilia. No tattoos   

Jamie Jones: I have hats, shirts, cars and ect... Some things are signed by Brad.
Why should newcomers to the sport become Brad fans?
Michael Clapps:  It’s hard to convince new fans on a driver, the best thing to do it have someone watch a race or two on TV and just take a liking to someone on their own. A couple reasons why anyone should pick Brad:
1) He makes time for all fans by signing every week, and actually tries to talk to everyone he can. I’ve never seen him push through the line to get it over with.
2) Brad is active through social media and frequently Tweets with fans.
3) He’s a hard racer that loves good competition (see Watkins Glen 2012). He’ll never settle for second, and always tries to go out and do his best.

Thomas Harris: Because Brad can win at any style track. Between the Cup and Xfinity series, he has wins at Bristol, California, Charlotte, Daytona and Watkins Glen. Brad knows how to win on all styles of tracks! He always appreciates each and every one of his fans. Brad never charges money for his autograph like some drivers do.


Tim Cantwell: Newcomers should become Brad fans cause he tells it like it is and is a very nice and humble person from his interviews.

Steven Loren Taylor Harris: I Brad is a down to earth great racer. And he can drive the wheels off a wrecked race car! (Like in the 2017 Auto Club 400)

Jamie Jones: Newcomers should pick Brad as their driver because he is a cool guy. He has so much respect for our Country. He is the only driver who does a burnout with the American Flag when he wins. Brad also cares about his fans. He has stayed later than his time allotment to make sure every fan got a picture and an autograph.
At most if the races he does live facebook videos and drives around with his lovely wife Paige looking for campers with #2 flags and he suprises them with t shirts, hats, cars and of course a case of Miller Lite. Brad really shows that he cares about his fans.
He cares about our Veterans.
Brad proves he cares about his fans. He has lots of fun doing the videos and giving things out to fans. He is an all around really cool guy and if you are looking for a NASCAR driver to root for... Brad is your guy. He drives that #2 car and gets the job done.

And finally if you could tell Brad one thing what would it be?
Michael Clapps:I’ve always wanted to tell Brad that he’s my hero, and I truly looked up to him growing up. Not that he’s a race car driver - and successful at it, but he started out with next to nothing, capitalized on an opportunity, and made the best of it. It’s an incredible path he took, and one that we should all recognize and think about. Every time I go to meet him, I want to say that somehow, but I just haven’t been able to spit it out.

Additional info: since about this time last year I started working on Brad’s official site by posting relevant race previews and reports. More on that can be seen in here: http://www.mdclappsracing.com/special-pages/my-holy-grail-card

Thomas Harris with Brad Keselowski and his racing collection
Thomas Harris: I would tell Brad that even though it would be great to win another championship, you're already a Champion and nobody can take that away from you. Winning 1 Cup championship is an accomplishment that most drivers will never achieve in their careers.

Tim Cantwell: I would tell Brad to never change himself. He has the perfect balance in life and I'm happy to be a fan of his.

Steven Loren Taylor Harris: Brad, you are a great driver! I've been a fan of your's since 2008 when you drove the 88 Navy Chevy for Dale Jr in the Xfinity series. The first race I seen was the Memphis, where you finished in 13th place. Its funny, how I became a fan. It all started because of your name. Keselowski; I never seen a name like that before. The second I seen it I was like there is my guy! My favorite memory was in 2009 when you won the Aarons 499 at Talladega! Then it would have to be the 2012 Sprint Cup (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) Then the 2010 Nationwide Championship.

Jamie Jones: My message for Brad would be... Keep being you and never change. You have earned alot of respect by fans in just the three years I have been a fan. You have so much compassion. Never lose that. Your compassion for your family and fans is the reason I am proud to be your fan.


Brad Keselowski Trivia Challenge:

Correct answers will have either an X for wrong answers or a * for correct answers 


1. What is Brad's full name and birth date?


Michael Clapps :Bradley Aaron Keselowski (February 12, 1984)*
Middle name Aaron came from his parent’s liking of F1 driver Ayrton Senna
*
Thomas Harris:Bradley Aaron Keselowski was born on February 12th 1984 to Bob and Kay Keselowski.*
Tim Cantwell:Bradley Aaron Keselowski February 12th, 1984*
Steven Loren Taylor Harris: Bradly Aaron Keselowski. Born Feb. 12th 1984.*
Jamie Jones: Bradley Aaron Keselowski February 12,1984 *

2.Brad Keselowski began racing stock cars in the Factory Stock division in what year

Michael Clapps:1999X
Thomas Harris:I do not know the answer because I'm not very familiar with dirt racing. I would guess 1998? Brad decided to be a race car driver when he was 14 so that would be my best guess. X
Tim Cantwell:2000*
Steven Loren Taylor Harris:1999 X
Jamie Jones: In 2000*

3.In 2004, a 20-year-old Keselowski began his NASCAR career as the driver of the No. 29 Ford F-150 for the family-owned K-Automotive Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series. What race track did he debut at.
Bonus points for where he started and finished
Michael Clapps:Martinsville! Without looking, I seem to remember he either started or finished 33rd.*
Thomas Harris:Brad's first career Camping World Truck Series start came at Martinsville*
Tim Cantwell:MartinsvilleBonus: Started 26th and finished 33rd*
Steven Loren Taylor Harris: Martinsville.* I think he started 23rd and finished 32nd.X
Jamie Jones: Martinsville*Start 26.. Finish 33rd *

4.In 2007, Keselowski filled in at Germain Racing for what truck driver that had been suspended for an in-race scuffle with another driver at the Milwaukee Mile?
Michael Clapps:Ted Musgrave*
Thomas Harris:I believe it was Ted Musgrave. Brad wrote about that incident on his blog a few years ago and it was really interesting!*
Tim Cantwell: Ted Musgrave*
Steven Loren Taylor Harris:Ted Musgarve*
Jamie Jones:Tyler WalkerX


5. In 2008, Keselowski was the highest finishing full time Xfnity series driver inthe championship, what team was he driving for and where did he finish
Michael Clapps:Finished third driving the JR Motorsports No.88.*
Thomas Harris:Brad was driving for Jr Motorsports and finished 3rd in points.*
Tim Cantwell: 3rd in points and for Jr Motorsports*
Steven Loren Taylor Harris: JRM (Jr. Motorsports)* 5th X
Jamie Jones:Jr. Motorsports. He finished in 3rd.*

6. Keselowski finished 19th in his Cup debut, At what track did he debut?
Michael Clapps:Texas! Finished 21st at Homestead in his second start (I always remembered this because he had an even 20th place average finish for a few months). Interestingly enough Brad was at the Charlotte Playoff race looking to make his first race, but qualifying was cancelled.*
Thomas Harris:His first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start was at Texas Motor Speedway driving the GoDaddy.com car for Rick Hendrick.*
Tim Cantwell:Texas*
Steven Loren Taylor Harris: The fall race at Texas in 2008*
Jamie Jones:Texas motor speedway*

7.  How many laps had Keseloski led in The Cup series prior to his first win in 2009? Who was his car owner at the time?
Michael Clappslaps before it, first lap led was for a win. Brad drove for James Finch that day, but made a a couple starts for Rick Hendrick before it.*
Thomas Harris: Prior to winning his first race, Brad had led zero laps. His first lap led was the final lap at Talladega in 2009. Brad was driving the #09 Miccosukee Chevy for James Finch. *
Tim Cantwell:1 lap and James Finch*
Steven Loren Taylor Harris:He led no laps prior to his win at Talladega. When he won 'Dega he lead only one lap. And James Finch owned the 09 Chevy powered by Hendrick Motorsports .*
Jamie Jones: James Finch *9 I believeX

8. In 2010, Keselowski replaced what diver in the No. 12 Dodge Charger in the Cup Series for Team Penske?
Michael Clapps:David Stremme. Actually replaced him with three races to go in 2009.*
Thomas Harris:Brad replaced David Stremme 2010.*
Tim Cantwell: David Stremme*
Steven Loren Taylor Harris: David Stremme. (And a bonus fact. Brad took over the 12 car the last 3 races of the 2009 season)*
Jamie Jones:He replaced Ryan Newman.X

9.How many races did Brad Keselowski win on the way to his 2012 championship?
Michael Clapps: 5(Bristol, Talladega, Kentucky, Chicagoland, Dover), in that order.*
Thomas Harris:Brad won 5 races in 2012.*
Tim Cantwell: 5 races*
Steven Loren Taylor Harris: 5 races*
Jamie Jones:5 for 2012*

10.What driver did Brad Keselowski call "an Ass" during introductions at Bristol in 2010?
Michael Clapps: Kyle Busch*
Thomas Harris:Even a casual fan would know the answer to this question! Kyle Busch! *
(Note from the writer What can I say? It's my favorite Brad moment too!)
Tim Cantwell:Kyle Busch*
Steven Loren Taylor Harris: KYLE THOMAS BUSCH!*
Jamie Jones:Kyle Busch*

Michael Clapps: Missed 1
Thomas Harris: Missed 1
Tim Cantwell: PERFECT SCORE!!!!!
Steven Loren Taylor Harris: Missed 1 1/2
Jamie Jones: Missed 2 1/2
Our winner is TIM CANTWELL! Congratulations! You are Brad Keselowski's biggest fan!!


In each fan's heart their driver will always be number one no matter where they finish on the track. Tune in next week as we hunt down some of Austin Dillon's biggest fans and quiz them on their favorite driver!



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Answers
1. Bradly Aaron Keselowski 2/12/1984
2. 2000
3. Martinsville Started 26th finished 33rd
4. Ted Musgrave 
5. JR Motorsports, 3rd
6. Texas Motor Speedway
7. 1 lap James Finch
8. David Stremme
9. 5
10. Kyle Busch