Friday, January 28, 2011

My Home Track is Changing - New Year, New Town, New Job

My home track is changing.

NASCAR bloggers often dream about working for NASCAR, a race team, or a NASCAR partner. They write countless articles, seek out myriad networking opportunities, and they keep plugging away, hoping that one day they can quit their day jobs and work for the sport they love.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

Last Saturday, I packed up the car and headed north on I-95 to a new career and a new town where I’m now the Social Media Marketing Manager for Lionel NASCAR Collectables (LNC).

A joint venture between NASCAR and Lionel Electric Trains, LNC is “The Official Die-Cast of NASCAR”.

All those fabulous die-cast cars available at your driver’s hauler? We make those.

Our offices are right across the road from Charlotte Motor Speedway, a couple miles from Hendrick Motorsports, and in the heart of the racing action.

I’m still pinching myself. And I’m pretty much gawking everywhere I go.

Ironically, the first NASCAR race I attended was the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2000. At the time, I didn’t know a scoring tower from a pit box. But when the engines started and the race roared to life, I was hooked.

Now, more than 10 years and one blog later, I’m working just steps away from the very track where I first became a NASCAR fan.

Talk about life coming full circle.

As part of my agreement with LNC, we will soon be rolling this site’s content into the company’s new web site. I’ll still be blogging from there.

I’ll also be keeping my @NASCARista Twitter handle as a personal account. But for the good stuff – like links to new blogs, sneak peeks, contests and insider content, you should follow me @LionelNASCAR on Twitter and also on Facebook.

So thanks to everyone who read this blog, left comments, sent e-mails and encouraged me along the way.

NASCAR fans are the best fans on the planet – and I’m proud to be one of them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tony Stewart - Not Your Average Poster Boy

It may be the off season, but don't tell that to Tony Stewart.

During his vacation from NASCAR, Smoke has been driving down under.  And if recent reports are any indication, his intensity knows no bounds - no matter when, where or what he races.

Stewart's unyielding - and often fiery - passion for the sport is what draws fans to him like Evander Holyfield to a title fight.

And if you're one of Smoke's fearless faithful, you'll want to check out a new offering by his sponsor, Office Depot.  Each month, Office Depot will feature a new Stewart poster. Fans can download a coupon at to purchase the posters for just $9.99.

Wonder if he'll have a black eye in the next one?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Five Things to Look Forward to in 2011

Kasey Kahne dons the Red Bull Racing firesuit
at the Fall Talladega race.
Good news: NASCAR fans are on the tail end of the off-season slump.

Pre-season thunder is a mere week away.  And the Daytona 500? Just one month to go.

We're on the verge of a NASCAR  tabula rasa. There are second chances for drivers who need redemption. And endless possibilities for the new kids on track who have something to prove.

There's no telling just what will play out this season, but there are five things I can't wait to see:

Team Earntarte: By all accounts, December testing at Daytona went well for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and new crew chief Steve Letarte.  Letarte has already brought some much-needed positive vibes to his new team - and Junior Nation is feeling it. Letarte could well be the golden ticket that gets Junior back to Victory Lane.

The Boys at Red Bull:  Brian Vickers will be back behind the wheel at Daytona and fans couldn't be happier.  Though it's a hackneyed cliche, Vickers has a new lease on life after his medical leave of absence.  And, to make things even more interesting, he'll be working with new Red Bull teammate Kasey Kahne.  Look for them both to exceed expectations this year.

Edwards vs. Keselowski Part Deux: Edwards ended 2010 with a whole lotta momentum.  And, if he keeps it up, he could be a serious threat to Jimmie Johnson's title dynasty.  And now that neither Carl Edwards nor Brad Keselowski can battle it out for the Nationwide Series crown, look for these rivals to settle their unfinished business on the Cup side.

Chaser McMurray: Although it doesn't affect my life  in any way whatsoever, I'm still dismayed that Jamie McMurray didn't make the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup after sweeping the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and Charlotte's Bank of America 500.  In the words of my cousin (also named Jamie), "That ain't right."  Given Jamie Mac's stellar year, I have no doubt he'll be in the top 12 post Homestead.

Waltrip Getting the Nod: In 2010, Darrell Waltrip was left out of the NASCAR Hall of Fame class for the second year in a row.  But I seriously doubt he'll get the cold shoulder again.  Waltrip rejoice - you'll get your moment in 2011.