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The Daly Planet






Inside Ed's Head

PIR: It's Nuts in the Garage!
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By Eddie Laub | 03/14/2015
Category: Inside Ed's Head
 


Photo: Eddie Laub/Race Journal Online.


It’s Friday the 13th.  As I sit here in the Phoenix International Raceway media center pondering the relevance of a day that really holds no importance to those who aren’t superstitious (but know that I'm not eating peanuts in the garage area!) the day has me remembering back when the one yearly PIR race usually fell right about Halloween.  When my family would come to the races, we would often see folks walking around in costumes, kids dressed as their favorite drivers, or if we were really lucky: we would see scare pranks going on among the teams.  There’s not much funnier sight than to watch a race team use a remote-controlled plastic rat to scare the bodily fluids out of inebriated ladies on pit road.  That’s good stuff right there.

I know this isn’t the right column, but Cheers to PIR for making the Friday morning photographers meeting at 10:30am, instead of 8am like last year.  My wife and son appreciate that too. Leaving home at 7am is just so much easier than leaving at 4:30am.

On the tram ride to the infield and the media center earlier, I sat next to a Jeff Gordon crew member.  Just after he sat down, he whipped out his phone.  Not sure if he was trying to avoid conversation, or if he was tweeting how he gets to sits next to an official RJO Photographer!

I make it to the PIR Media center, and where do they assign me?  Spot #24…  for those who read my article a little while back about Chase Elliott taking over the ride in the #24- well, Chase- I beat you to it!  This weekend, I am in the #24 seat!  So up your nose with a rubber hose! (Do you think there is any way I can talk Jeff Gordon in letting me take the #24 car for a spin this weekend?  We are seat #24 brothers now, right?)

Walking the garage area during first practice (which was won by Joey Logano) and I just about got run over by Kasey Kahne and Casey Mears.  Not in their cars mind you, but both of them on a hurried tandem mission on foot.  My guess is some sort of pre qualifying insurance convention.  Or a Kasey Convention. Or would that be a Casey Konvention?

I saw Kurt Busch earlier, and he got a lot of hand shakes and high fives as he walked thru the garage area.  Seems he has a lot of support among his peers.  He’s also joined the beard brigade- a trend that I am predicting will, by the end of the year, consume every Cup driver. Kurt,  Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Stenhouse, Tony Stewart, Austin Dillon.  The list is growing.   Sorry Danica, you are not exempt from this prediction.

Lunch today in the media center was a nice boxed lunch:  Your choice of chicken salad or tuna salad.  It was pretty good, but I can’t help but make note of how warm it is here in Phoenix today (89°) and wonder how long the sandwiches were just sitting out on the table waiting for lunch time.  If we have a rash of sick media tomorrow, you’ll know why…

I just heard that Bush's Baked Beans is going to sponsor Pole Day at Bristol Motor Speedway.  There's a joke in there somewhere about fast qualifying and lots of gas... I'll leave the punch line up to you.  

Carol just informed me that when she had photo vest #24, Jeff Gordon won.  I really hope this doesn’t translate for me this weekend- having been assigned seat #24. (My photo vest is 299, so I don’t have to worry about car #299 winning.)

I found peanuts in the garage area.  Does superstition mean nothing to these people?

The media frenzy around Kurt Busch’s car as he walked to the qualifying grid was minorly insane.  And yes, I was one of the media hounds trying to get a good shot.

Webster, or Microsoft Word dictionary: If “majorly” is a word, then why isn’t “minorly”?

Before pre-qualifying inspection, the #88 crew was working very hard on the left rear area of the car.  They had a torch out, and pulled the axle out.  Not sure what they were doing, and the crew wasn’t very fond of us taking pictures of under the car.

Oddest thing I learned today?  Phoenix is now a “short track.”  Numerous drivers refered to it that way.

If anyone was ever interested, and this could be just a “me thing,” but the Goodyear eighteen-wheeler tire delivery trucks do indeed have Goodyear tires on them.    However, the Hoosier racing tire eighteen-wheeler has Michelin tires on it.  I guess they don’t make Hoosiers in 275/80r22.5.

Interesting factoid: When the teams come in after a qualifying run, and try to determine if they are going to go back out or not, top teams will use some sort of wheel chock to keep the car from rolling. (Smaller teams were just putting the manual transmission in gear and letting the transmission keep the car from rolling.)   Whether it be a special made wheel chock made out of aluminum with the sponsors name on them, or a trusty ole’ mallet- the teams were making a rather intentional effort to save wear and tear on the transmission while still keeping the car stationary.

Along with that, a couple of teams will then forget about these wheel chocks (real or make shift,) and proceed to run them over while trying to push the car back to the garage after qualifying is over.  They are probably pretty lucky that they didn’t do any real front air dam damage.   In an effort to not embarrass anyone, I won’t mention any names of the teams, but their drivers rhyme with Panica Datrick and Loey Jogano…

I’m slightly disappointed that there is no truck series race here this weekend.  But don’t get me going on how asinine the truck series schedule is at the beginning of the year.  Race at Daytona, race at Atlanta, then take 3 weeks off.  Then race Martinsville, and then take 5 weeks off?  And they wonder why the series is struggling?

Kevin Harvick is on a roll- 6 straight top 2 finishes, 3 straight Phoenix wins, and he wins the pole for the race this weekend.  Pay attention to him this weekend.  He’s going to be tough to beat.

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Comments:
Carol
03/14/2015 1:35 pm (1)
I hope they show driver intros so we can see the fan reaction to Kurt Busch. The drivers all knew what a nutcase Patricia Driscoll is. I think the fans now realize the same thing. I'm guessing he'll get a great reception.

C
eddo
03/14/2015 2:25 pm (2)
If he does, it will be the first one since his run in with Phoenix area Sheriffs... He has not been popular 'round these parts since then.

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