Month: February 2012

48 Team Penalized for Infractions at Daytona

The 48 team of Jimmie Johnson heads to Phoenix for race number two of the season with a total of -23 points after NASCAR penalized the team by docking them 25 points. After starting the season with a 42nd place finish in Daytona and securing two whole points, that’s not a good start to championship number six.

Crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec have been suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and placed on probation until May 9th. Knaus was also fined $100,000.

NASCAR says that the 48 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-2.1E (if in the judgment of NASCAR officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance will not be permitted – unapproved car body modifications).

Top Gear US – Hitting the Redline

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After a break, the second half of the Top Gear season kicked off tonight on the History Channel.   If you havn’t yet checked out this show – you need to watch.  If you watched in the first season and didn’t get hooked, give it another chance – you need to watch.   Hell, even if you only love the BBC version of this show – you need to watch.

The BBC version of TG has a cult like following – so many of the TG faithful were not willing to give the American hosts a chance.

I do think the show had a slow start out of the gates in the first season.  Most of the BBC “snobs” were bashing Top Gear US before the show show even aired.    There were also folks who had no idea what Top Gear BBC was – but they also didn’t know to they needed to check out the History Channel for a car show.  It also took some time for the American producers and hosts to make it their own.

I think it took a season for Rutledge Wood, Tanner Foust and Adam Ferrara to find their groove.  The chemisty is now in-tune and the three play off each other – ribbing, prodding and humiliating each other at every turn.  You can tell they genuinly like each other and cut-up just like they would if the cameras and pop-tops were off.

(I think I just aged myself with that pop-top reference.  Kids, a pop-top is the removable tab on alumnim cans that we had when I grew up.  You would pull the sharpe tab completely off the can – they were like little razor blades and everytime I went to the pool or beach I feared slicing my foot open by stepping on one.  You may have heard this term, pop-top, in the Jimmy Buffet song “Magaritiville.”)

(OK, I may have just aged myself with that Jimmy Buffet reference.  Kids, Jimmy Buffet is a singer/songwriter that your Mom and Dad listen to when they would get drunk and screw.)

As a car guy, Top Gear is the most fun you can have on TV.  The formula is simple:  take three grown-up men acting like giggling teenagers, throw in some really fast cars, crazy stunts and funny writing…..

If you are not watching Top Gear US – you need to watch.

The show comes on the History Channel every Tuesday night at 9pm.

Click here to see clips and learn more about the show.

Not That You Asked, Adam’s 2012 Wishes

Queers4Gears contributor Adam Lovelace lays out his best wishes for the 2012 racing season:

  • A safe season for all racing series first and foremost!
  • Huge, major sponsors for Queers4gears.com so we can go to every single race!
  • I wish you all would listen every week to the Q4G Out of the Tunnel podcast. In fact, listen now right here: CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr wins races and the championship even. Hey, I can wish big.
  • I hope Danica Patrick out performs and shuts up the haters. I hope she wins races.
  • I wish for less haters everywhere, not just racing.
  • I hope the Busch brothers get another big helping of humble. They need it. I’m not hating, just wishing.
  • I hope Queers4gears founder, Michael, starts being stalked by Kasey Kahne.
  • I wish Indycar would race on more ovals, or that the road courses were more competitive. Either one.
  • Every ARCA race televised! The ones they do televise are generally NOT the best ARCA races to watch. You are missing some good racing not seeing the short tracks. SPEED is a channel; they should show more racing of all types.
  • I want to listen to Sirius NASCAR online. It is 2012. I listen in the car for about 20 mins on the way to work and 20 mins on the way home. You know what lots of folks have access to during the day? Computers and mobile devices! I could listen all day. In fact, I pay extra to listen online, but one of the few channels I can’t get online? You guessed it.
  • Speaking of Sirius NASCAR, how about live qualifying and practice? Why not?
  • While I’m at it, how about some kind of app available to ALL smartphones? Again, it’s 2012. Keep up.
  • I wish the following would be banned from all tracks: the word boogity, all politicians of any persuasion, confederate flags (let’s move on), and Lee Greenwood songs.
  • I wish the Daytona 500 was still the day before a holiday. It was much better that way.
  • No rainouts, for any series.
  • More Friday/Saturday night races.
  • Autoclub Speedway should be reconfigured. While that’s being done Bruton Smith should remember what he did in Vegas and bring that to Kentucky Speedway. I think it greatly improved the racing.
  • I wish for all races to end two or three wide at the finish line.
  • I wish for all championships to be decided on the last lap of the last race of the season.
  • I wish for more first time winners. I love seeing drivers and teams get their first win.
  • I wish for more sell out races for all series.
  • I hope this two-car tandem racing in NASCAR is coming to an end. I’ll take the pack racing anyday.
  • Side by side commercials all the time. I love that feature and I see more commercials that way. Seems like wise marketing to me!
  • And, a shameless plug for myself, I wish someone from the racing world would call me. Offer me a job. I have many skills you need.
  • I hope you all have a wonderful new year and enjoy the 2012 racing season!!

As the Firestone Turns: Meet Monica Hilton

Meet Monica Hilton:  Formerly of HVM Racing, and the mastermind behind the loveable Pork Chop, Monica is now in charge of PR for Bryan Herta Autosport as they embark on their first full season of IndyCar competition with Alex Tagliani in the Barracuda Networks #98.  She is also the founder and owner of 242MPH (Marketing & PR by Hilton).

Q:  First off, how is life a Bryan Herta Autosport?

MH:  Ohhhh man, life is GOOD. And busy, which I love. Honestly, I can’t believe how lucky I am to be working with this team, now officially called “Team Barracuda – BHA.” There’s a consistent air of excitement and you can genuinely see how proud everyone is to be part of a cohesive, fun and dedicated group. On top of that, you have Bryan Herta and Steve Newey, who are such great guys. I’m so impressed by the integrity and hearing a team owner take the time to say, “Thank you. You’re doing a great job” on a regular basis to the whole team. It’s… magical.

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Q:  What led you to become involved in the IndyCar series?

I attended my first Indy 500 in 2005 and I honestly only went to check it off my proverbial bucket list. I got the invite from my dad, who grew up in Indiana and has attended every Indy 500 since he was 18 years old. At the time, I was living in Wisconsin and had held various marketing/PR/advertising positions, but then I heard those magical words: “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!” From that moment, I knew that this was the direction I wanted for my life. I can’t really explain it. I’ve really enjoyed a variety of sports in my life, but there’s a certain passion for IndyCar that can’t be matched. So I packed up and moved to Indy. The journey, once I got here, is a whole different story. Better told over a cocktail, I’d say.

Q:  You were previously at HVM Racing and the woman behind the viral celebrity Dallara, Porkchop (and Janet prior to her untimely demise at Indy).  How did the idea develop to give the cars a personality and lives of their own?

MH:  That is a darn good question. And one which I am no longer legally able to discuss. Seriously. But let’s just say that I truly appreciate all the support last year and hope everyone had some fun. Honestly, I kind of miss that car.

Q:  You are actively involved in Racing for Cancer and the IndyCar Calendar.  Tell us a little about that and how everyone can get involved and stay up-to-date on both?

MH:  I’m so proud to be involved with both of these great causes. I’ve been working with David (producer of the IndyCar calendar) for several years now  – he’s a great business man with a passion for IndyCar who decided to do something good for racing-related charities. So he created this AMAZING calendar (designed by IZOD) and all of the proceeds benefit Racing For Cancer, Racing For Kids and Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. Fans can purchase them online at www.UMPonline.com/calendar. There’s also a twitter account, @INDYCARcalendar, and facebook page: www.facebook.com/INDYCARcalendar.

Racing For Cancer is a fairly new organization (founded in 2010), but they’re here with a mighty plan: to fight cancer. CEO Tom Vossman is extremely dedicated and has a focus this year on fighting pediatric cancer. We’re working on a great event that will take place in Indy during the month of May. Stay tuned for details and check out www.RacingForCancer.org in the meantime. You can also follow @RacingForCancerand “like” www.facebook.com/RacingForCancer.

Q:  You also are quite the entrepreneur as founder and owner of 242MPH (Marketing & PR by Hilton).  Tell us about that endeavor.

Monica-Hilton-FB-683x1024MH:  I love it when a plan comes together. (*soap opera laugh*) I’m actually amazed with how well everything worked out with the business. I knew I loved doing race-team PR, but also wanted the chance to make a difference with a charitable organization. What started with a “think outside the box” moment lead to something incredible and I’m so thankful for all three of the clients who have given me an opportunity to show them what I can do.

Q:  Obviously, most of your time is spent at or around the racetrack or shop.  What are some activities that you enjoy in your free time?

MH:  I’d say my free time, although scarce, is a good mix of relaxing and socializing. An ideal night would be a great dinner out with friends (and wine!) followed by a hockey game (go Canucks!) I’m also into fitness and just completed week three of P90X. Insanity is next. As Tony Horton would say, “I hate it. But I love it.” I’m also a HUGE animal lover – dogs especially – so I’m hoping to volunteer this year with the Humane Society.

Q:  What would you say to a race fan, or someone with just a slight curiosity in motorsports, that has never been to an IndyCar event?

MH:  Two pieces of advice:

  • Go. To. The. Race. The best way to experience an IndyCar race is in person. There’s absolutely nothing like hearing (and feeling) the roar of the engines and seeing how fast those cars really go. Once you go, you’ll be hooked. And once you’re hooked, please also watch on TV because we need the ratings.
  • Go with a die-hard fan. I’ve always said that racing isn’t fun if you’re just watching cars go around in circles. Same with any sport – you have to have someone to root for. If you go with someone who knows the storylines and can answer your questions, it’s a much more exciting experience. Or come find me in the paddock. I’ll help you out.

Ok, now for the lightening round:

Hamburger or Hotdog? I want to say hamburger, but it feels like the wrong demographic for that.

Thoughts on glitter? LOVE.

High heels or flats? Heels. Because heels make me smile. And a smile is the best thing you can wear.

Ugliest car ever made… It’s a toss-up between my first car (brown Delta 88) and a Smart car. Or what’s that Scion thing that looks like a box?

Pajama pants should only be worn in public when… Your house burned down & you happened to be wearing them when it happened.

Britney Spears or Madonna? Gotta go with Britney. You’re welcome, Ross.

Biggest pet peeve? Negativity. It is REALLY hard to hang around “glass half empty” kind of people.

What’s one song you sing the loudest to when you are in your car alone? ONE?! I rock a great mix of everything from Lady Gaga to Air Supply. And I can’t even sing.

Q:  Finally, is there anything you’d like to tell our readers or discuss that you never get a chance to mention or are asked about?