The best things in NASCAR thrive under pressure. Whether it’s the engine, pit crew or driver, it’s a game of constant pressure, a game of endurance that lasts from February to November. And the team that handles it the best wins the Sprint Cup. With two races left, the intensity is nearing it’s crescendo, but the gameplan remains the same.
“The biggest thing as the driver is that you’re kind of the quarterback of this team. All these guys feed off of me. So however my mentality is, whatever my level of encouragement or excitement, feeds the team,” said 24-year old Speed Stick driver Cole Whitt about his routine entering the final races of the season. “They already know the odds are stacked against them, they all know what’s going on. But each day is a new day and you build on it and just try to be the best that you can at the end.”
The demands placed on a NASCAR driver throughout the season are intense. The idea that drivers get to the track, turn left for three hours and then resume their day-to-day life is false.
“After a race, you recover the rest of Sunday. You only get three days at home a week. Then you rest on Monday and try to tax your body with workouts Tuesday and Wednesday, travel again on Thursday – we’re constantly travelling or moving.”
“The first event I ever announced was a women’s gymnastics meet at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln,” said Rick Allen, lead announcer for NASCAR on NBC. “The guy who was supposed to do it didn’t show up. And I just happened to be hanging around, so I did it.”
As the then-reigning back-to-back Big Eight (now Big 12) Conference decathlon champion for the Cornhuskers, as Allen was in 1991 and 1992, why wouldn’t you be hanging around the women’s gymnastics team? If charisma was a sport, he’d still be leading the league.
Allen’s affable, smooth, confident tone on the air transitions just as easily outside of the booth to the confines of the NBC Sports tent where we talked about his job as the voice of NBC Sports’ rejuvenated NASCAR franchise.
“Nothing about this position is easy, but I am privileged and very excited to be here.”
He joined Fox Sports in 2003 and served as play-by-play man for Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity races until last year. Former NASCAR driver Jeff Burton and former crew chief Steve Letarte join Allen in the booth.
“NASCAR is seen as a guilty pleasure by a lot of people. We’ve all heard the jokes about endlessly turning left. But there is so much more to it. We want to explain and explore the strategy. Think about it in terms of football. If you run the ball on first and second down, you’re setting up a downfield pass on third down to the tight end. There is every bit as much strategy in NASCAR.”
The Ball Up “Search for the Next” is completely different from its predecessors. It’s a 10-city tour looking for the best undiscovered player in the country that culminates in $100,000 and a roster spot for the tour’s winner.
In 2003, the most popular streetball player in the world right now, The Professor, was one of them.
While attending an And1 Mixtape Tour stop in Portland, Oregon in 2003, the 5’10,” 155-pound 19-year-old Professor competed in an open run competition prior to that evening’s game and did well enough to get invited back that evening to square off against Team And1.
“Yeah, true story. We would’ve been fully content just watching the game,” said Professor about the experience. “I got there early and saw that there was an open run going on and that there was a chance. I hopped in as soon as I could and showed them what I could do.
“And next thing I know, I’m selected to play against the And1 Mixtape Tour team. I got the crowd excited again a few times in that game, and then that night, they asked me to go on tour with them, and I was just shocked.”
Ball Up started in 2009 and took the concept of touring streetball to a new level.
“The whole experience has been a blessing. I’ve been able to travel the world, got to call basketball my job thanks to the company giving me my first contract in 2003. So I just feel really blessed to be in this position and that Ball Up wanted to start this movement up again.”
The Professor is humble, but let’s not forget how sick he is.
If NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith admit to doing it, then there’s no shame in admitting you have, too. So go ahead and unburden yourself – 80% of men have used their girlfriend, wife or spouse’s haircare products.
“We’re all guilty of getting lazy and grabbing whatever the girlfriend or wife is using,” admitted Earnhardt Jr., as he forced a room of roughly 40 men to confront a grim reality about themselves.
“And, you know, that stuff’s not made for men: It’s not made for your hair. Guys out there, stop being lazy. Get the haircare products for our hair and for our needs.”
The numbers are appalling. 70% of men are interested in their own personal style, yet only 20% actually use products made for men.
But Suave Men wants to change that. And they know that education leads to prevention, and ultimately, choices a man can be proud of.
The “Suave Men Heritage and Hair: A Discussion with the Icons of Speed and Style,” took place on the eve of the NASCAR XFINITY race in Brooklyn Park, Michigan.
To some people, Alexis DeJoria is the wife of Moster Garage star Jesse James. To others, she is the daughter of Jean-Paul DeJoria, billionaire businessman and co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair products and the Patron Spirits Company. But on the NHRA Mello Yello circuit, Alexis DeJoria is one of the most successful Funny Car drivers on the tour.
We spent two days with Alexis and her team from Kalitta Motorsports at the Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas, and inadvertently found ourselves in the middle of the most exciting weekend in the history of the sport.
In this video, Alexis talks about how her car accelerates faster than anything on earth (yes, even a fighter jet), how she got into racing, and her career-defining victory in the 2014 NHRA U.S. Nationals, it’s 60th anniversary, a feat akin to winning the Super Bowl.
The day before we arrived in Topeka, during the second day of qualifying, DeJoria ran the best run of her career, an Elapsed Time (ET) of 3.994. ET is the time it takes from the car to get from the starting line to finish line.