Sat Jan 29 19:46:24 PST 2011
NASCAR Media Tour: Day 4/Thursday
Sports Overtime's Daryl Hobby spent four days in Charlotte on the 2011 NASCAR Media Tour, interviewing the top drivers and owners in the sport.
2011 NASCAR Media Tour: Day 4, Thursday
It is day 4 of the 2011 NASCAR Media Tour---the final day. And while this is always a fun event to cover, it's never a sad day when Thursday arrives. You're usually worn out and ready to get back to sleep in your own bed. For me, it is both of these things, but primarily ready to return home so I can get back to my life with my wife.
This day started with a press conference with the National Hot Rod Association. I did not attend this press conference, but rather used this time to get an extra hour of my needed sleep, pack, and load the car back up.
At 11 am, we arrived at Roush-Fenway Racing. Along with Hendrick, the biggest campus I've seen. Roush has four Cup drivers: Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, and David Reagan. Biffle and Kenseth have always been steady and consistent. After all, Kenseth is a former Cup champ. But I think their more reserved, quiet, personalities don't allow for them to have a bigger fan base. As for Edwards, he could be, along with Denny Hamlin, the biggest challenger to knocking off Jimmie Johnson. Edwards won the last race of the season in Miami. After that race, he and his wife went for a walk. An hour and a half later, after the race, Johnson was still taking pictures for winning the championship. Edwards told me that vision is still burned in his mind. Plenty of motivation there for Edwards.
Every time we visit Roush-Fenway, there's one thing that stands out that you don't have as much (not nearly as much) with the other shops, and that's the team's relationship with Ford. Roush constantly talks about Ford Motor Company. Ford officials were on hand. They even presented a lifetime achievement award of sorts to a Ford Motor Company official. No doubt Roush's relationship with Ford is far and above anything I've seen from the other shops.
After two hours at Roush, we leave for Joe Gibbs Racing--the final stop on the 2011 media tour. Joe Gibbs Racing features Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Mike Ford is also a part of the team. He's a Morristown native and Hamlin's crew chief. Hamlin finished second last year in the Chase for the Championship.
Joe Gibbs Racing is celebrating its twenty year anniversary this year. Much of our time there was spent talking about Gibbs' 20 years. Past drivers for Gibbs like Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte even came by to celebrate with the coach. And as custom with any stop at JGR, Joey Logano (who is just 20 years old) received much ribbing about his age. Logano also told me that he recently bought his first house and "grilled my first steak." Which he said would have to be a "top five steak."
And when four pm approaches, another successful NASCAR media tour comes to an end. I've gathered tons of information, interviews, and footage. You'll see alot of that leading up to the Daytona 500. As always, thanks to the good people at Charlotte Motor Speedway for being terrific hosts.
As I WATE's Mark Nagi and I make our way to the car, we share the same conversation we always do at the end of the tour: "Well, we'll do it again in 360 days."