In Person at the Monster Mile 
Last weekend I got to see my first NASCAR race in person, and it was amazing!

With my wife and friends, we travelled down to the Baltimore area for the weekend, heading over to the Monster Mile in Dover Delaware for the 2nd race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

We had an absolute blast, from beginning to end. We got there early to tour through the souvenir trailers and happened to be at the right place at the right time to see Denny Hamlin giving an interview in the Toyota promotional area.

I later picked up a signed Denny Hamlin diecast from his trailer.

The race was great, with a few hard-fought battles for the lead involving my wife's favourite driver (Kyle Busch) and the driver I had picked for my fantasy game (Jimmie Johnson). In the end, Jimmie won out after Kyle faded when the sun went away.

My favourite driver, Tony Stewart, had an altogether terrible day, but it was interesting watching him try to make the best of it.

I think the biggest surprise for all of us was just how LOUD it was! I'd been warned and it had been described to me, but I don't think you can really comprehend just how loud 43 V8 engines with no mufflers at full throttle really is until you hear it in person. Then you put your headset back on because it's painful.

I can honestly say it was the loudest place I've been in my entire life. Louder even than standing on an indoor platform as a pair of trains go by you.

So that was that... I can't wait until I get to go to another one!!

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Watkins Glen: Best Race So Far of 2010! 
I should have posted this a week ago. Watkins Glen had by far the best racing of the year.

I look forward to both the Sprint Cup road cours races every year because there's always great racing going on, but this one was exceptional.

It was too bad that Marcos Ambrose's last set of tires didn't work out so well, as the battle between him and Montoya through the middle of the race was epic! I sure hope he manages to win a race before his time in Sprint Cup is up. That guy sure deserves it!

Congrats to Montoya for the well fought victory just the same!

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The Keselowski and Hot Carl Show! 
With the Sprint Cup series taking the weekend off, the Nationwide race came off as a phenomenal substitute for weekend entertainment!

Y'all know I'm no fan of Hot Carl, but I fully commend him for putting Brad in his place and taking the win he deserved. Their antics made for the best finish in a Nationwide race so far this year.

Make no mistake... I like Brad Keselowski, and I like his take-no-prisoners racing style. NASCAR racing rewards a lot of different driving styles and he's certainly been rewarded for his. He's almost certainly going to win the Nationwide championship. If he chooses to be the aggressor all the time though, he has to expect people aren't just going to move aside and let him have his way.

If there's one person involved that's lost my respect in the whole ordeal, it's his dad. I understand he must have been hot as hell with emotion when giving his interview, but there's just no way he can justify Brad hitting Hot Carl out of his way as just good hard racing and then have a beef with Hot Carl for the retaliation.

It would be one thing if it was all about their ongoing feud, but Brad hit Carl on THE SAME LAP.

I couldn't help but think of the interview with Jimmie Johnson after he did the same thing to Kurt Busch just a couple weeks back. The only difference between the two incidents was that Kurt didn't go into the wall, but Jimmie was very open afterwards that he wasn't just trying to move him out of the way. He was trying to wreck him. It just so happened that he managed to win the race in the process.

One hugely positive sentiment came out of this as well. The fact that Brad walked away without a scratch gives further confidence in NASCAR's efforts at vastly improving the safety for all involved. I love that we can watch a race end the way this one did and only be mildly fearful for the driver's safety. Considering that this wasn't even the newer, even safer car, the future seems very bright for hard-nosed wheel-to-wheel racing without the drivers having to put their careers and even their lives on the line for it. It's about the skill rather than the insanity, and this is a great thing for the sport!

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TNT's Amateur NASCAR Coverage 
I've read some comments over the past few weeks about how bad TNT's NASCAR coverage is through the middle of the season. I didn't think too much of it as it hadn't been particularly memorable in the past, but it made me pay closer attention during yesterday's race.

I hate to say it, but the comments have been pretty spot-on. It's as if they took the FOX commentators as a template, and then hired their mentally-challenged cousins to fill in for them at a fraction of the cost.

I mean, some people don't like Darrel Waltrip, but I think he does a great job of showing enthusiasm and adding both amusing and interesting commentary. When he talks about things like what drivers are thinking and how they're going about trying to win the race, you get the impression he knows what he's talking about. The man knows a thing or two about winning.

Kyle Petty gives the complete opposite impression. When he talks about what he thinks is going through the driver's minds, I can't help but think "Really... what do you know about what it's like to run up front? What do you know about winning Sprint cup races?" For the most part, he's just sort of annoying. Beyond his family name, I have no idea why anyone lets the man on television at all.

Beyond Kyle seeming generally out of place, I was downright amused at how many times the other commentators just couldn't manage to spit out a sentence. I mean... their job is to talk. If they can't talk fluently, they shouldn't be there, no matter what their history with the sport is!

On the bright side, at least Digger's gone.

Here's hoping the coverage gets better as their stint progresses.

As for the race itself... well... it really wasn't worth watching until the final 20 laps or so. For some reason I remembered Pocono being more entertaining than that in the past. I'm sure next week will be more of the same, with Michigan being one of my least favourite races.

Then it's on to Sonoma, Loudon, and Daytona though! Lots of great fun coming right up!!!

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Chris Pizzi is My Hero!!! 
This weekend's "Slice of Pizzi" was an absolute classic! See it here.

I've been calling Carl Edwards "Hot Carl" for years now, but Pizzi had the guts to say it to his face on TV.

That, my friends, was just awesome!

Chris Pizzi: "He's also known as... Hot Carl to the ladies... "
*extends fist for fist bump* "Hot Carl!"
Carl Edwards: *looking a bit put out, fist bumps Chris*
Chris Pizzi: Thanks
Carl Edwards: *mumbling* Hot Carl *looking generally dejected*

I love it!!

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