Race Journal Online
est. October 4, 2006

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The Daly Planet

Inside Ed's Head

By Eddie Laub | 03/16/2016

Eddie's Adventures at PIR -- in Pictures!
Drivers, Cars, Pit Stops, Kids... and more!

Click to view all pix. It's a public album, Facebook not required.

Comments: 0
Last Activity: None
By Eddie Laub | 03/13/2016
Sunday -
It's an absolutely gorgeous day to be at the races!  70ish degrees (it is supposed to get up to 78 later,) a slight breeze from the east, and luckily enough- a racetrack full of racecars!  Well…  full if you consider 39 racecars full.  But we won’t get into that right now.

It’s not a real great morning for the #24, #17, and #78 teams- as each had to go through tech inspection at least twice.  I saw the #17 have to through an extra two times, and the #78 will be the last car to pass inspection.  

I just saw one of the oddest things I have ever seen: a couple with stuffed and decorated pigeons attached to their hats. Extra feathers, lots of colors, and on a ball cap.  Of course, they were Junior fans…

Comments: 2
Last Activity: 03/15/16
By Eddie Laub | 03/12/2016
I slept in a bit this morning, and then my amazing in-laws were having a yard sale, so I took some time to help them a bit this morning. All that to say that 8 AM at the racetrack didn't happen today.  

I did make it to the track, though, and all seems good.  In the Cup garage, they are still working on Kasey’s #5 car, after doing an engine swap.  I didn’t notice if he made it on the track for practice or not.

Comments: 0
Last Activity: None
By Eddie Laub | 03/11/2016
Friday - 
I have a theory.  Allow me to share.
At 6:30AM, every weekday morning, an elderly lady, named Gertrude, gets into her car, gets on the freeway, accelerates to appropriate speed, and then just slams on her brakes for no reason.  This causes a several hour long ripple effect, lasting until at least 9AM, and is the main cause for traffic jams.  Every city has a Gertrude.  And this morning she struck as I got to Phoenix.

Comments: 2
Last Activity: 03/12/16
By Eddie Laub | 03/16/2015
There's been a lot of talk recently about NASCAR losing its longtime fan base. Even around here at RJO, many have expressed a similar sentiment - longtime fans being done with the sport. There are multiple reasons why, and most are pretty valid reasons. I have resisted the urge to be done. Today I figured out a bit why. Allow me to tell a little story:

Back in November 1988, my family packed up and headed to Phoenix International Raceway.  As a family, it was our first trip to a big time NASCAR race, and it was also happened to be the Winston Cup Series first foray into Phoenix. I was a sophomore in high school, and I was hooked on NASCAR. My mom, my dad, my little sister, and our barely-a-bun-in-the-oven other little sister all headed to the Valley of the Sun to enjoy a weekend of NASCAR. 

I can still remember the first moment the track came into view over the horizon.  The back of the media tower was the first thing that could be seen. I was giddy with excitement as I tried to figure out: was that the track? Or not? It had to be! It had to be! IT WAS! There it is!! 

Comments: 10
Last Activity: 03/17/15
By Eddie Laub | 03/15/2015

Photo: Eddie Laub/Race Journal Online.

Today is 3/14/15, and if you havent heard- that means it is Pi Day.  I expected pie to be served in the media center, and I was disappointed.   No apple pie, no lemon meringue pie, no pi shaped pie. I did get a pretzel though. 

Interesting tidbit: Do you know what the high dollar XFINITY teams do after qualifying at Phoenix?   They get ready for California.  Immediately after qualifying is over, they load the backup Phoenix cars into unmarked trailers and ship them home. All the Roush cars go in one, the Gibbs cars into another, etc.  Meanwhile, they load California cars into the haulers and get them ready to head west.  Gone are the days of the California car being the backup for Phoenix, and vice versa.  

For the record:  as much as I love being a mechanic, and as much as I love racing, Im not sure I could combine the two- at least not at this level.  I would love to work on a racecar again, but at this level there are so many people walking around all day long getting in your way.  It boggles my mind to see how often, and flagrantly, spectators can get in the way of work going on.  Its like working retail two days before Christmas, but a whole lot dirtier and messier- and everyone has a camera. 

Comments: 1
Last Activity: 03/15/15
By Eddie Laub | 03/14/2015

Photo: Eddie Laub/Race Journal Online.

Its 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 arent 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.  Theres 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.  Thats good stuff right there.

I know this isnt 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!

Comments: 2
Last Activity: 03/14/15
By Eddie Laub | 02/05/2015
I grew up a Bill Elliott fan. The first race I ever saw on tv was the 1985 Southern 500,  where the mystique grew from  Bill Elliott into "Awesome Bill From Dawsonville."  The first race I ever attended in person was the 1988 Phoenix race, where Awesome Bill was crowned series champ a week later.  I have his autograph. I have pictures of me next to his car. I have a picture next to his 1988 Winston Cup.  I have posters. I have met him. I have shaken his hand. I loved Ford, because he drove one on Sundays.  I have Ford stuff everywhere. My dad (both parents being Earnhardt, Sr fans,) and I argued constantly: Earnhardt vs Elliott; Ford vs Chevy; chores vs grounding...

All was good and right in the universe.

Then came the year 2000 and  Ray Evernham. Awesome Bill hadn't been so awesome in recent years, and Ray was starting a new team for the 2001 season- with Dodge.  Dodge.  Not Ford.  Not Mercury. Not even Lincoln. Dodge.  

Comments: 4
Last Activity: 02/06/15
By Eddie Laub | 11/11/2014

Eddie Laub on assignment for
Race Journal Online.

After a morning date with my wife to Wal-Mart and Starbucks, I made it to the track and am ready to go.  I decided to start my day off with a hike, and join the common folks (haha!) in the stands for a bit.  I ran in to my sister-in-law and nephew working the concessions stands and, while that was pretty cool in itself, did they offer me a free Coke Zero??  NO!  How rude!

On a similar  note, I did find Coke Zero in the Media Center today!  Someone listened to me!!!  What's actually more likely is that it was there all the time; I just happened to look in the right fridge today.

There's also quite a bit of  Starbucks in the fridge this morning, but none of us know if it's up for grabs or if it belongs to someone specific, so we're all afraid to touch it.  Is it ESPN Starbucks? NASCAR Starbucks?  Starbucks belonging to some other all-caps-named organization?   Were not sure, but nobody's willing to risk it.

Comments: 3
Last Activity: 11/13/14
By Eddie Laub | 11/07/2014
Observations from the day:

I got up early this morning, and for the first time since I started coming to the track for RJO, I had to get my wife and son up to go with me.  After some bribery, they didnt grumble too much about leaving at 5am.  The promise of giant breakfast burritos and Starbucks on the way out of town can calm a lot of tension.  But now I cant help but wonder how well a mixture of giant burritos and Starbucks will be later in my day. Guess I will find out

After a slight issue with the car not starting first thing this morning, we got to Phoenix in record time: not much traffic; no blinding haboobs; and no Weather Channel professionals headed this way because of impending flood-storms.  And no mother, I was not speeding.

Comments: 3
Last Activity: 11/10/14

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