Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day(NASCAR Style)

NASCAR has a running tradition of patriotism and connection with the United States military. The National Guard, Air Force and Army are all sponsors of drivers, and you see numerous servicemen and women at the races each weekend. So it came as no surprise that NASCAR chose to honor Memorial Day with a variety of tributes. However, this was special.

President Obama requested that everyone take a moment to reflect and remember the men and women who have died serving our country this afternoon at 3pm. Well, NASCAR did something beyond that. NASCAR Officials decided stop the entire race; something you don’t see in football or baseball.

The drivers were asked to shut down all the cars, every crew member stepped shoulder-to-shoulder out on pit road, and the flags around Lowe’s Motor Speedway were lowed to half mast. The result? One of the most moving moments in sports history.

NASCAR gets a lot of criticism, but this one moment is something that was done right. Bravo NASCAR!

Thank you to all those who sacrifice their lives so the rest of us could be here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Adventures of a working girl......

Welcome to Northeast Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine

As many of you know, Monday was my first day of work. Sorry I didn’t blog about it yesterday. I ended up crashing on the couch around 9:30pm. I know so many people wanted to know about my first day.

When I arrived at the clinic, at 8am, I learned that I am Dr. Chance’s right hand woman. Whatever he needs, it is MY job to get it for him. Talk about a shocker! In the interview, I was told there were other people with me. The person who interviewed me was wrong.

But listen to this crap. The person who is training me was 2 hours late. Apparently, she is selling her house and had people come over at 8am for an appraisal. She didn’t tell anyone. But that’s not all. She ended up leaning at 2:30pm because her dog drank Bleach over the weekend and needed to see a vet. Poor girl! She has a lot on her plate right now.

But I did learn how to recertify and schedule MRI’s and surgeries. By the end of the day, I had scheduled 3 MRI’s and 1 surgery. By the end of the week, I think I’ll be able to do in my sleep.

Well, yesterday was so much fun that I decided to do it again today. Today started off boring, but ended with me meeting the doctor that I’ll be working with. Dr. Chance is so funny. He is blunt and tells it like it is. If you screw up, he will let you know. If you are doing a great job, he’ll praise and reward you. He seems like someone that I’ll love working with.

I am so excited to be starting this newest adventure. The hardest thing has been leaving the girls(Emily and Elaine) but they know that I love them very much. Hopefully I can get them out here soon because I’m already needed my Laney fix.

Tomorrow should be another great day.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

San Antonio Spurs Fan? Or No!

Here we go Spurs, Here we go! So you’re probably asking yourself why in the world is she cheering for the San Antonio Spurs? My friends the reason is because I don’t know if I should become a Spurs fan now. What should I do? I ask this question because Bill Simmons, columnist for and author of “Now I Can Die in Peace”, has said in Number 18 of his Rules of Being a Sports Fan:

18. If you live in a city that has fielded a professional team since your formative years, you have to root for that team. None of this, "The Bengals weren't very good when I was growing up in Cincy, so I became a Cowboys fan" crap.

You can find the rest of the rules here:

I can do this and still follow the rule because my hometown DOES NOT have a sports team, plus I am a transplant to the city and never followed another NBA team. Now that I live in San Antonio do I have to start cheering LOUD and proud for the Spurs? This is a tough question to ask. Good thing I have until September to decide.If I do become a San Antonio Spurs fan, I want a Tony Parker jersey(shown). After all, he is Eva Longoria’s husband. Hehe!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Texas Bound

WOW! It's been a while since I updated. Guess I need to tell everyone what I've been up too. I'm moving to Texas on Thursday morning. I got a job! I'll be working for Northeast Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in San Antonio. I am so excited. This is my first job since getting my college degree. I never thought this day would come. I got the phone call a week ago, and since then I've been packing and trying to say goodbye to all my friends and family that live in the area. Everyone is so proud of me. I will be staying with my Aunt Leni and Uncle Kent until I get on my feet and learn my way around town. Gonna taking some getting use too, but I am ready for it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

50-game suspension for Mann Ramirez

The Los Angeles Times has broken a story that has sent shock waves across the baseball world. Manny Ramirez will serve a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug.

Ramirez will be forbidden from putting on a Dodgers uniform until the eve of our country's Independence and will begin his suspension immediately. The Dodgers have taken a mighty hit, as they have gone from the top to rock bottom. Just last night, Joe Torre and the gang were celebrating their thirteenth consecutive victory at home to open the 2009 season. The 10-3 victory over the Nationals set a modern Major League record for most consecutive wins to open a season at home.

Less then 24 hours later, Dodger fans, players, coaches and management were stricken with news that likely seemed surreal, as I know it did to me. Red Sox Nation likely reacted in many different ways. What some baseball fans tend to misinterpret is that "testing positive for performance enhancing drugs" does not always mean that a player injected themselves with steroids. Does it make the player in question any less of a culprit? Absolutely not. Taking a performance enhancing drug of any kind is inexcusable. Ramirez claimed, "Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay to give me."

In a statement issued by Ramirez, he continued to say, "Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I've taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons."

The former Red Sox slugger finished with apologies, "I want to apologize to Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. Torre, my teammates, the Dodger organization, and to the Dodger fans. LA is a special place to me and I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I'm sorry about this whole situation." Was that statement actually written by Manny Ramirez? Probably not. Does it enlighten the situation for baseball fans? Well, that all depends on if what "Manny" is saying is true, but when you're in this position (cough, A-Rod, cough) players tend to stretch the truth, or just flat out lie to protect their legacy.

The 50-game suspension slapped on Manny Ramirez will forgo 31% of the $25 million that the right-handed slugger signed for this past offseason. Players that are suspended under Major League Baseball's drug policy are suspended without being paid a dime. Therefore, Ramirez will have $7.7 million yanked from his pockets throughout the duration of his suspension.

Since this drug policy was introduced in 2003, Manny Ramirez becomes the biggest name in baseball to have the hammer come down upon a star player. Baseball fans are getting sick of players testing positive for performance enhancing drugs and none of them "knew what they were taking." It's getting old and it's shocking us less and less with each big name that leaks.

Ramirez was hitting at a red-hot .348, with 6 HR, 20 RBI and an eye-popping 1.133 OPS. His numbers helped the Dodgers start the season with a Major League-best 21-8 record, launching them 6.5 games up in the National League West.

As a professional athlete that is making more money in one year than any of us will see in our entire lifetime, why is what you put into your body being done so carelessly? Is it the invincible mindset? Almost like not wearing your seat belt before you drive? You don't think a bad accident can happen to you? Well, it did, Manny. I'm sorry that it had to happen to you, and I'm sure there's a lot we still don't know, maybe a lot we don't even want to know, but one thing I do know is that we as baseball fans have become numb to "news" like this. Manny Ramirez isn't the first superstar to be linked to performance enhancing drugs, and sadly, you're a fool if you think he'll be the last.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway

Just thought I'd share a few pictures of the 300 that I took at the track on Sunday during the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Brad Keselowski won with Dale Jr finishing 2nd. This made me one happy camper! I'm a huge fan of both. I hope you enjoy my pictures. Thanks for stopping by!

Welcome to the Talladega Infield
Jamie's car in the garage.

Dale Jr's car in the garage.
Meeting Reed Sorenson, driver of the#43David Stremme and I

Meeting Brad Keselowski
Dale Jr's car on the starting grid.

TJ Majors, Dale Jr's spotter, and I before the race.

Dale Jr is leading at Talladega with Denny Hamlin behind him!

Pit Stop for Brad Keslowski and the 09 team.

Carl Edward's car.

Brian Vickers!

DALE JR!!!!!

Michael Waltrip

Pit Stop for the 43

James and I. Silly boy!

After Carl flips....


Time to Burn Out, Kessie!

Brad and the 09 team in VL

I hope you all enjoyed my pictures. Again, thanks for checking them out!
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

RIP David Poole

David Poole, writer for the Charlotte Observer and host of "The Morning Drive"on Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 128, passed away this morning at the age of 50. Poole was one of the best NASCAR writers.

I had the opportunity to meet David Poole on Sunday in the garage at Talladega Superspeedway. We talked for a second, and I told him I loved his writing and his show. It is a tough day for NASCAR fans and media everywhere. Sure, I didn’t agree with everything he said but I respected him.

Poole was a writer for the Charlotte Observer for 13 years. He was a four-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association’s George Cunningham Award has the organization’s writer of the year.

“He was the best in his field, there’s no doubt about that,” Observer editor Rick Thames said this afternoon in announcing Poole’s death to a hushed newsroom.

His last column ran yesterday. You can find it here( In the column, he called Talladega an “anachronism” a day after Carl Edwards’ crash on the front stretch that sent 8 people to the hospital.

Rest in Peace, David! Prayers to the Poole family and all who knew David Poole.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Red Sox do it again

When you look at this Red Sox lineup, the one thing they lack is a hitter that makes opposing pitchers shake in their cleats. Manny Ramirez is long gone, Big Papi's days of hitting 50+ home runs are behind him, but what this Red Sox offense is still equipped with is consistency, relentlessness and discipline.

There isn't a hitter on the Red Sox roster that pitchers would rather walk with the bases loaded, rather than risk the chance of giving up four, like a Jim Rice in his prime, but when the Red Sox have needed the long ball, Boston has not had to rely on just one bat to come up big when scoring runs have been a necessity.

On Friday night down by two, Jason Bay took Mariano Rivera deep to set up a walk-off blast by Kevin Youkilis. On Saturday, Jason Varitek cranked his third career grand slam followed by Jacoby Ellsbury's first home run of 2009 to close a once six-run gap. When the Sox trailed later in that same game, it was Mike Lowell shooting a three-run rocket into the first row of the Monster seats to give the Sox the lead back. Different names, different situations, same results: clutch.

After closing out a 9-0 home stand to close out their tenth consecutive victory, the Boston Red Sox once again needed somebody to come up big with the game on the line. The Red Sox' success has been a full team effort; from the starting pitching, to the bullpen, to the defense, and of course the offense, with a new hero stepping up each and every night.

On Monday night, Tim Wakefield was up for the task of squaring off with the reigning Cy Young Award-winner, Cliff Lee. The left-hander struggled to open the season, but recently has found himself in a groove, reminiscent to the groove that he pitched in throughout the duration of the entire 2008 season. In game one of this three-game series, Lee was lights out. Unfortunately for Lee and the Indians, so was Tim Wakefield.

Wakefield entered the game coming off back-to-back complete game victories, becoming the oldest pitcher at the age of 42 to do so. On Monday, Wakefield looked to build on his April success with a win over the Tribe. Wakefield and Lee battled inning for inning, putting up zero after zero in a true pitcher's duel.

While the two Red Sox starters squared off with each other, so did the two team's center fielders. While Wakefield and Lee traded shutout frames, Jacoby Ellsbury and Grady Sizemore traded highlight reel catches in center field. With a few nifty plays in center on Monday night, Ellsbury extended his career errorless streak to start a career to 191 games.

Wakefield fluttered his knuckleball for seven shutout innings, giving up just one hit, walking four and striking out five. The Red Sox veteran threw 112 pitches (63 for strikes), facing 27 batters, while lowering his ERA to 1.86 on the season. Cliff Lee pitched just as well over eight innings, shutting the Red Sox out after throwing 106 pitches (70 for strikes), striking out five and walking none.

After both of the game's starters had departed, knowing that a no decision was in their future, Manny Delcarmen posted yet another scoreless inning to keep his ERA at 0.00. Delcarmen turned in a perfect bottom of the eighth with one strike out to send the game into the top of the ninth, still in a scoreless tie.

Former Chicago Cub, Kerry Wood, emerged from the Cleveland bullpen to keep the Tribe in a position to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. Wood walked Pedroia to begin the inning before giving up a single to David Ortiz, who was 2-for-4 on the night. With one out, Jason Bay came to the plate with two men on. With Kerry Wood gassing his fastball towards home plate in the high 90's Bay knew that all it would take was solid contact to break this scoreless tie.

With an 0-1 count, Wood fired a 99 MPH fastball that caught too much of the plate and Bay smashed his fifth home run 408 feet deep into the bleacher seats in left-center field. The bomb for Bay plated the left fielder's 17th, 18th and 19th RBI's of the 2009 season, with each RBI being more significant than the next for Bay.

Jonathan Papelbon was a little shaky out of the pen in the ninth, giving up an earned run on three singles, but the Boston closer did not let the Indians' rally get beyond one run. Papelbon racked up two strikeouts before putting the finishing touches on his fifth save of the season, while converting his tenth straight save dating back to 2008.

Tim Wakefield's third consecutive masterful outing and Jason Bay's second clutch home run in the past four nights handed the Red Sox their eleventh straight victory. The eleven consecutive wins for Boston account for the team's longest winning streak since banging out twelve straight victories from June 16-29 in 2006, all of which came against National League teams.

On Tuesday, Brad Penny (2-0, 7.80 ERA) returns to the mound against Anthony Reyes (1-0, 4.76 ERA). Penny pitched well in his last start against Minnesota, a game in which the right-hander hurled six innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits, while striking out two to earn his second victory in a Red Sox uniform. Anthony Reyes has never faced the Red Sox, but pitched a decent ballgame in his last start (6 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 4 BB, 5 K, ND)

Lugo returns to the lineup tomorrow Tuesday night, who's excited? Not me! I'm going to miss Nick Green.

Mike Lowell named AL Player of the Week

I'd like to take this time to compare two American League infielders.

Player A is hitting .218 (12-for-55) this season with 3 HR and 10 RBI. Player A is slugging .418 through his first 15 games and has just two doubles. Player B on the other hand is hitting .324 with 4 HR and has an American League-best 22 RBI. Player B is slugging .603 and has seven doubles (tied for third best in the Majors) to go along with 41 total bases (compared to Player A's 23 total bases).

Player A is the $180 million man that was just one of three free agents that have done absolutely nothing to prevent a sweep at the hands of the Red Sox this past weekend, Mark Teixeira. Player B, of course, is the American League Player of the Week, Mike Lowell. This past week, Lowell hit .435, knocking four of his seven doubles around the yard, launched two homers, scored four runs and tallied 20 total bases, while knocking in an American League best 11 RBI's.

If you want to dig even further, Lowell is hitting a red hot .340 against right-handed pitching, with all seven of his doubles coming against right-handers. 30 of his 41 total bases have been collected against right-handed pitching, but Lowell has remained consistent hitting two home runs against right-handed pitching and two off of left-handed pitching.

In the eleven games that Lowell has played so far at Fenway Park this year, the Red Sox third baseman has punished opposing pitching by hitting .404 with 2 HR and 16 RBI. Lowell has hit safely in his last ten games, all of which were victories for the Boston Red Sox. It's clear now that the best seventh hitter in baseball calls Boston his home and Red Sox fans wouldn't have it any other way.

Congratulations Mikey!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kese-who? Keselowski wins first career Cup race 7

Brad Keselowski hopped out of his car and needed to know his win was for real.

"Pinch me! Am I awake?" he yelled. "How about this team!"

Believe it, Brad.

The 25-year-old rookie is a first-time winner in the Sprint Cup series, and he did it at Talladega Superspeedway.

Keselowski got all the perks that go along with Sunday's win. He was drenched in Victory Lane, hugged every well-wisher and his jaw dropped when he learned he received an automatic entry into NASCAR's annual All-Star race next month.

That might be the next time Keselowski takes the seat of a Cup car again.

With only five career Cup starts, he's nearly as much an unknown to racing fans as the makeshift team he won for.

It was the first-ever Cup victory for owner James Finch in a part-time career that dates back in this series to 1990. Journeyman crew chief Marc Reno started his career in 1969 and held various jobs for some of the sport's biggest drivers.

The giddy pair were so new to the Sprint Cup news conference that they repeatedly referenced the series by its old name, Winston Cup.

Finch flinched when told of the All-Star deal.

"Does that come with sponsorship?" he said.

He might be fielding some calls this week.

"This is the best thing that ever happened to me," Finch said.

Keselowski deftly avoided all the wrecks that wiped out so many big-name drivers over the 500-mile race, putting him in position to challenge another boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and his biggest challenger, Carl Edwards, on the final lap.

Keselowski, driving for Finch's Phoenix Racing, bumped Edwards and sent him sailing up the track and into the safety fence. Edwards got out of the car and ran to the finish line, putting a light touch on what could have been a scary ending. Eight fans were injured by debris when Edwards' car went airborne, though none of the injuries are considered life-threatening.

Keselowski apologized for the wreck and was thankful no fans were seriously injured.

"That's what the fans want. They want contact," Keselowski said.

Even Earnhardt, his boss in NASCAR's second-tier series, was impressed with Keselowski's charge down the stretch.

"I couldn't believe Brad was pushing that No. 99," Earnhardt said. "I would have guessed anybody else. He did an awesome job."

Keselowski won twice in 77 Nationwide Series races and was winless in 43 trucks races. His previous best Cup finish was 19th at Texas last year in his debut race.

He drives the No. 88 for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, a team partnered with Hendrick Motorsports. Keselowski is being groomed to replace Mark Martin, but no one knows when the flip-flopping Martin will finally retire.

Earnhardt finished second behind his protege.

"It occurred to me I was passing him for second," Keselowski said. "It didn't occur to me that I was keeping him from winning the race."

Finch only employs a little more than two dozen people in his small shop and makes his living in the construction business. He had Keselowski slotted for about 10 Cup races this season and not again until July at Daytona.

One win could alter all those plans.

"I feel like I'm ready to run at this level full-time," Keselowski said.

Anyone interested in a driver with one more win this year than Earnhardt, Tony Stewart or Denny Hamlin?

"I don't have anything locked in," Keselowski said. "I don't have a ride secured for next year; I don't have a job secured for next year. Everything to this point has been wait and see."

At least the waiting is over for that first Cup win.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Terrible Twos

This one was rained out after seven innings, but thankfully, the Twins won't be complaining about this game being cut short.

On Wednesday, Player A and Player B took the mound in their respective games. Player A tossed seven innings of one-run baseball, giving up five hits, walking one and striking out four to pick up his second consecutive victory, lowering his ERA to 2.45. Player A is set to make $4 million in 2009.

Player B took the mound in his start on Wednesday and gave up seven runs, six earned, through 6.2 innings. He gave up six hits, one of which was a home run, walked four and struck out two. His offense provided him with seven runs, but Player B walked off the mound to a sea of boo's after surrendering the game-tying run, raising his ERA to 4.81. Player B will make $19 million in 2009 and $23 million annually from 2010-2015.

Player A is Tim Wakefield, and Player B, as we all know, is CC Sabathia. The Red Sox have been getting a bang for their buck in the days Wakefield has worn a Boston uniform, and even at 42-year-old, Wakefield continues to eat innings and pitch effectively in those innings. Wakefield turned in his second consecutive complete game (due to the rain cutting game one to seven innings), needing 101 pitches (62 for strikes) to carve through 30 Minnesota batters. At 42-years-young, Wakefield became the oldest pitcher in Major League history to turn in back-to-back complete games.

The Red Sox offense wasted no time getting to work against Twins' starter, Scott Baker. In Baker's last outing, the right-hander served up four home runs to the Toronto Blue Jays. On Wendesday at Fenway Park, Baker showed signs of improvement by only give up three home runs this time to the Boston Red Sox. In the bottom of the first, with David Ortiz (2-for-4) standing at first with a single, Kevin Youkilis flicked a 92 MPH fastball on the outside corner down the right field line past Pesky's pole for a two-run home run.

In the bottom of the second, with George Kottaras standing at first after a 5-pitch walk, Nick Green smoked a 90 MPH fastball deep over the Monster seats to up the Red Sox' lead to 4-0. Following a JD Drew double in the bottom of the third, Mike Lowell aired out the first pitch he saw from Baker, another fastball in the low 90's, into the Monster seats for the third two-run home run in three innings hit by the Red Sox. With a 6-0 lead, Tim Wakefield went on to pitch with ease, blanking the Twins until giving up the lone run of the day in the fifth inning.

The Red Sox broke things wide open in the bottom of the seventh. Leading off the inning with his third double of the season, David Ortiz drove a 96 MPH fastball off the Green Monster, missing his first home run of the season by inches. After a 4-pitch walk to Kevin Youkilis, Juan Morillo continued to struggle, walking JD Drew on seven pitches. After a visit to the mound by the Twins' pitching coach, Morillo went on to walk in Jason Bay on four pitches to plate a run for Boston.

R.A. Dickey came on to face Mike Lowell after Morillo got the hook, but it made no difference. The Red Sox third baseman ripped a line drive base hit into left field, scoring Youkilis from third to extend Boston's lead to 8-1. Lowell was 3-for-4 with 3 RBI on the day. The three runs driven in by Lowell give him 16 on the season to lead the Red Sox in that category. You have to go all the way back to September 5, 2008 for Lowell's last 3-hit game, which came against the Rangers in Texas. Lowell has now driven in a run in the past seven straight games. In those seven games, Lowell has drastically raised his average from .154 to .315.

George Kottaras followed up Lowell's RBI with an RBI of his own, skying a fly ball to left field for a sacrifice fly. In the game's final at bat, Nick Green hit a ground-rule double down the right field line to drive in Jason Bay. It was then that the crew chief signaled for the tarp to be pulled out onto the field and the game was never resumed. Not like it would have made a difference; this game was no nail-biter.

Some bits and pieces of news for you: Jed Lowrie underwent surgery on Tuesday and the doctors are calling it a success. Lowrie will resume baseball activities in six weeks, aiming for a return some time around the All Star break. Another Red Sox shortstop that aims to return sooner than later is Julio Lugo. Lugo begins his rehab assignment with Pawtucket on Wednesday. The shortstop expects to play four games with Pawtucket before returning to the Red Sox. Manager Terry Francona expects Lugo to rejoin the team as early as next week for their series in Cleveland.

Working on rebuilding his shoulder strength, Daisuke Matsuzaka made 30 throws (not on a mound) from 60 feet on Wednesday. Matsuzaka won't be throwing at all on Thursday, but will resume his throwing program on Friday. The Red Sox still have not announced when Daisuke will in fact return to the Red Sox' rotation.

Before Tuesday's game was postponed to today, the Red Sox placed Rocco Baldelli on the 15-day DL and called up Jeff Bailey to fill in for Baldelli until he's ready to return.

On a final note, Jacoby Ellsbury was 2-for-4 in Wednesday's game one victory against the Twins. His two hits extended his hitting streak to seven games, as the Red Sox have now extended their winning streak to six games.

Happy 50th birthday Terry Francona!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Beckett ends appeal, gets 5 games

Josh Beckett ended his appeal and accepted a five-game suspension at the behest of the Red Sox, a decision he disagreed with because he feels he would be proven innocent. Beckett, who had been appealing a six-league suspension levied by Major League Baseball, wanted to go ahead with a hearing, but the Red Sox told him to accept the five games because it will end the matter and not significantly affect Boston's starting rotation.

"Everybody has to answer to somebody, and my boss told me this was the best thing for the ball club," Beckett said. "If it was up to me, obviously, we would have gone through with this whole thing, because I don't think I deserve even one game. When your boss tells you that something is best for the whole group, that's what we do.

"I don't support this at all. If it was up to me, we would have gone through this whole process. It could have eventually been a lot worse if we had gone through with the whole thing. Everybody has got to answer to somebody. When your boss tells you to do something, you do what's best for the team."

Beckett will pitch Saturday against the Yankees. He would have pitched Friday, but because the Red Sox get a day off Thursday after a two-game series against the Twins, Jon Lester, today's starter, will pitch Friday on normal rest.

"I understand that," Beckett said. "I don't support this thing, because I truly believe I don't deserve one game. It's unfortunate. Other people don't always see it the same way you see it."

By his "boss," Beckett referred to both manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein, Beckett said. The Red Sox agree with Beckett's sentiment -- that the pitch he threw at Bobby Abreu's head last Sunday was unintentional and he deserves no suspension -- but they believed taking the five games would be the best approach.

"I don't think that the organization felt like it was ever going to get lessened more than five," Francona said. "Regardless of how we feel about what happened, once the decison was made to overturn the umpires, looking at past history and how the league feels about, regardless of what kind of case Josh stated, I don't think they go below five, because they want you to miss a start.

"Once it came to a point where got to five over the phone, it probably seemed like the best thing to do for the ball club. It's still probably for the betterment of the ball club to not take a chance and having a hearing come up in the middle of start."

Mark Martin wins at PIR

Don’t tell Mark Martin he is old. On Saturday night, he won the Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Martin’s comeback didn’t come easy. Engine problems have plagued him early. Before Phoenix, he had won two poles and led laps in five of seven races.

Last night he started the race by leading the 102 of the first 103 laps. Despite a late caution, which deleted his four-second lead and brought the likes of Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, and Jimmie Johnson--all former Cup champions--on his tail. When the green flag flew with six laps to go, Martin roared away from Stewart, looking every bit as strong as a 23 year old.

It’s been 20 years since Martin’s 1st Cup Victory, at Rockingham in 1989, and his 36th victory came last night. Between then and now, he’s finished in the top 10 in the standings 16 times, including four runner-up finishes.

Tony Stewart told the media last night, “The guy has been at the top of his game for 30 years. If I’m halfway as competitive as he is when I’m in my 50s, that would be an accomplishment”

Martin climbed to 13th in the standings, just nine points out of the top 12. This was his 4th straight top 10 finish.

Top 10:
1 Martin Martin
2. Tony Stewart
3. Kurt Busch
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Greg Biffle
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Martin Truex, Jr
8. David Reutimann
9. Sam Hornish, Jr
10. Carl Edwards

Other Notables:
11. Jamie McMurray
12. Reed Sorenson
17. Kyle Busch
19. Brian Vickers
25. Jeff Gordon
26. Clint Bowyer
31. Dale Earnhardt, Jr
33. Elliott Sadler
34. Scott Speed
35. AJ Allmendinger

The next race for the Sprint Cup Series is Sunday, April 26th at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. I’ll be at the race, so you’ll be getting a different perspective of the race. Coverage starts at 1pm/eastern time on Fox.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Still Sick

Ever had one of those days where you felt your insides were going to explode? Well, I've been feeling like that for almost 2 months. I'm miserable! Doctors think I have endometriosis but I am so scared to have the surgery to find out. He's giving me 3 more weeks to shake the nerves before scheduling surgery. So to stop my stomach bothering me ALL the time, he gave me a new 'script. It makes me dizzy for 15 minutes, but after that my stomach doesn't hurt. Guess you're too busy worrying about the dizziness to even care that you're in pain.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My New Hair

So, I got bored today and decided to dye my hair.

Here is the before:

This is the after. It's called Auburn Shimmer

Hope you guys like it!!!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!!!!

What did the Easter Bunny bring you?
I got these cool things PLUS Peeps and Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans(my fave)
Also, my family got great news today. My Aunt Tiffany and Uncle Charlie are expecting their first child. She found out yesterday, on her birthday. What a great Easter this has been. Christmas needs to get here NOW. That's when my newest cousin will be arriving.

The T-shirt is a Guy Harvey shirt. My Grandfather, may he Rest In Peace, knew Guy Harvey and would support his work constantly. I've been buying a lot of these shirts lately to keep the tradition alive.

Hopefully the Easter Bunny was good to you all. Happy Easter to you and ours!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bay blasts 2 in Red Sox win.

Mark it down: the Red Sox now have two wins on the season.

After a couple of bombs by Jason Bay and six solid innings from starter Brad Penny, the Red Sox took home the 5-4 victory over the Angels on Saturday.

Bay hit his bombs in the 7th and 9th innings while Mike Lowell, slotted right behind him in the lineup, hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning. While the Angels made it close (bases loaded in the 9th), Jonathan Papelbon closed out the game with a very long at-bat against Howie Kendrick.

The bottom of the order was really where the Sox won today's game. Rocco Baldelli went 2 for 4 and Jason Varitek went 2 for 3 on his 37th Birthday.. The one through four hitters went a combined 1 for 15 with a walk (Kevin Youkilis). Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a hit.

But hey, let's not forget that Penny wasn't bad. He helped the bullpen a bit by going six innings and allowing five hits, three runs, two walks and struck out two. He did give up two home runs to Mike Napoli, though.

Ramon Ramierez was the gap between Penny and Papelbon. Ramirez has been spectacular so far this season as he added 1.2 innings of work to his season total. He gave up just one hit and one walk.

While the Sox won this game, they also got very lucky. The top of the order has to start producing if they want to consistently win games. Penny was better than I think some would have thought, but if he was any worse this game would have been the Angels'. Papelbon got touched up quite a bit, too, which is not a good sign.

It's a win though so let's be happy with it. The rubber game is Sunday, with Josh Beckett taking on Dustin Mosley at 3:35 p.m. EST.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

RIP Nick Adenhart

Nick Adenhart
August 24th, 1986-April 9, 2009
Just hours after completing his fourth career Major League start against the Oakland A's in which Nick Adenhart dominated for six shutout innings, striking out five, the 22-year-old right-hander was tragically killed in a hit and run car accident.

The following is from

"Cops say someone driving a minivan blew through a red light, causing the Mitsubishi that Adenhart was riding in to hit a light pole. Three people were killed in the crash: Nick, another man and a woman.

Cops say the person driving the van fled the scene -- but was later caught and charged with felony hit-and-run. The suspect is currently being treated for injuries in a local hospital.

We're told one of the other men killed in the crash was also affiliated with the Angels organization."

Adenhart was highly touted as being the top prospect in the Angels organization. Baseball has lost a great young talent and a great young man.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

No race this weekend? Who cares, we still get news!

And the latest casualty of the economy has hit NASCAR. Thought it hasn’t been officially announced, the #8 driven by Aric Almirola will be parked until sponsorship is found. Officials at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is expected to make the official announcement in the next 24 hours.

EGR officials haven’t commented on the situation, but sources said a handful of employees have been left go and that number could grow to 50 before it’s all said and done. Currently Almirola is 37th in Owner’s Points heading into the off weekend for Easter. He is 59 points behind rookie Joey Logano, who occupies the last spot for the top 35 guarantee.

The parking of the #8 leaves Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with two full time drivers, Martin Truex Jr and Juan Pablo Montoya. Rumors have been speculating that Truex Jr has a clause in his contract that could free him and his sponsor Bass Pro Shops if he doesn’t have at least two fulltime teammates. However, sources have come out and said this is NOT true,.

The #8 was made famous at DEI when Dale Earnhardt, Jr was behind the wheel. He won 17 races in the care before leaving DEI for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008.

In other NASCAR news, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #44 for Richard Petty Motorsports, now has sponsorship that will keep him on the track until September 12th’s race at Richmond International Speedway. The announcement was made today that Hunt Brothers Pizza will sponsor the #44 for 6 races including the All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Their first race is Talladega on April 26th. Officials at RPM will continue to find more sponsorship to keep AJ on the track for the rest of the 2009 season.

Currently, AJ is 20th in Owner’s Points. He got his first time 5 of the season in the Daytona 500 and recently finished 9th at Martinsville Speedway.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is takes a weekend off for the Easter Holiday, but the Nationwide Series boys are racing at Nashville Speedway on Saturday night. The next race for the Cup guys is next Saturday night, April 18th, 2009 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Red Sox win on Opening Day

Boy did Josh Beckett come out firing! He even left the field with a 94-mph heater on the inside corner that Gabe Gross didn’t even try to take a swing at. During an Opening Day that Red Sox players and coaches dreamed off, no one was stood out more than Beckett. He brought back visions of 2007 with a dominant demonstration of power pitching in a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon.

This Opening Day win doesn’t take the sting out of losing Game 7 of the ALCS to the Rays. However, Beckett could be a difference maker of the Red Sox wanting to take back the AL East throne from the Rays.

Beckett gave up two hits and a run in today’s outing, walked three, and struck out 10 over seven innings. He threw 93 pitches--61 strikes. Everything seemed to be working well for the Ace.

Even though it was a day late, following yesterday’s rainout, it was a very satisfying way to open the 2009 Red Sox season at Fenway, the first since 2002.

Offensively, the Red Sox got an early lead when 2008 American League MVP Dustin Pedroia hit a solo home run into the Monster Seats against James Shields. With the Rays coming back to tie the game, nothing was raining on the Sox parade.

Jason Varitek gave the Fenway Faithful something to cheer about. In the sixth inning his hit a solo home run around Pesky’s Pole. The Rays tried to rally against Okajima and Materson but it just wasn’t enough.

Next game for the Red Sox is tomorrow night, with 1st pitch taking place at 7:10pm/eastern time. It will be on NESN and ESPN2. Jon Lester gets the start for the Red Sox, while the Rays will start Scott Kazmir.

GO BOSTON!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Day for Red Sox Washed Out

The Red Sox Opening Day vs. the Tampa Bay Rays [Boston’s opponent in last year’s ALCS] will have to wait another day. Shortly after 10am eastern time, Red Sox officials announced the postponement of today’s season opener. The game will now start at 4:05pm eastern time on NESN. Red Sox president and CEO, Larry Lucchino decided to make the announcement because the thunderstorms were suppose come in around noon, and the game was suppose to start at 2:00pm. Instead of having fans sit through the excessive delays and inclement weather, they just decided to make the important decision.

Boston ace Josh Beckett will still get the start. The same goes for James Shields of the Tamp Bay Rays. Fans who had tickets for today’s matchup can still use them tomorrow. Red Sox officials left Tuesday open just in case of bad weather.

"When they bag the game this early, it's because they know what's going on," said Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. "They know something really bad [weather-wise] is coming and it's going to be a waste. [There's] nothing you can do about Mother Nature. The day off in between was a smart way to go when things like this happen. You never know about New England weather."

"Our fans look forward to this unofficial Red Sox Nation holiday each year, and we want to make sure that they are able to enjoy the full experience including both the special pregame ceremonies and a full nine innings of play," Lucchino said. "We reserved an alternate rain date for tomorrow for just such adverse circumstances as present themselves today."

Before the rain came, the Red Sox took in some infield drills and batting practice. This is the first time since 2003 that the Red Sox home opener has been canceled.

Some are asking why the late start for tomorrow’s game? Lucchino also addressed that issue. He wanted to give people an opportunity to reschedule, so kids could get home from school and be able to watch the game. He hopes everyone with tickets will still be at tomorrow’s Opening Day celebration. The pregame festivities will go unchanged, except for the Boston Symphony Orchestra will sing the National Anthem instead of Seal. Red Sox officials are hopeful that Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy will throw out the first pitch.

Tuesday’s opener will kick off a three-game series against the defending AL champion Rays. The second game will be on Wednesday at 7:10pm, with the finale on Thursday at 1:35pm.

The only drawback is a change in the rotation. Josh Beckett will now make his second turn in the rotation on Sunday instead of Saturday. Brad Penny will make his debut f or the team on Sunday.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

After 48 races, Jeff Gordon wins at TMS!

And Jeff Gordon wins at Texas Motor Speedway. It’s been 48 races since he and the #24 team won. This is one of two tracks, that the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion has never won at. Well, he can finally cross TMS off the list. The last track on the list is Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.

Gordon ended the drought by beating his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson at the 1 ½ mile, high banked track. Today was the 17th Cup race at Texas, a track where Gordon has only two last-place finishes in his 522 career starts. His last 43rd place at Texas came in this race last year.

“How ironic is this that when we go into this streak and we end it here in Texas, a place that’s just eluded us for so long,” Gordon said. “Incredible team effort. This whole year has been amazing. What a great car. I’ve never had a car like this at Texas. We finally had one and put it in position.”

Jeff Gordon is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader with four top-five finishes in the first six races. He did a few burnouts on the front stretch before grabbing the checkered flag and going around the track for a long awaited victory lap, his first since October 2007 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina.

During the Victory Lane interview on Fox, Gordon had to sneak a peek at the logos on his car to remind himself of everyone he needed to thank. It’s been a long time since he’s done a Victory Lane interview.

Gordon won by 0.542 seconds over Jimmie Johnson for his 82nd victory, one behind Cale Yarborough for fifth on the all-time win list.

Carl Edwards was going for his third consecutive Cup victory at Texas, and was leading when the final caution came out because David Stremme(in the 12) got loose and spun coming out of the third turn.

However, Edwards’ crew had problems changing tires and he dropped to 11th coming off pit road. The 24 made flawless stops in the pits all day and moved from third to first and stayed ahead for the entire race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr took only two ride-side tires and went from 12th to first on a restart with 76 laps to go. But quickly lost the lead between turns one and two when Kyle Busch trying to get a lap back, got loose and bumped him. Earnhardt, Jr was then pushed to the top of the track allowing Gordon to reclaim th elead.

Gordon was holding the lead with 39 laps to go when he got caught in traffic and Edwards slid under him for first. Tony Stewart, in the 14, got past Gordon a few laps later and that was still the running order when Stremme led.
Top 10:
1. Jeff Gordon
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Greg Biffle
4. Tony Stewart
5. Matt Kenseth
6. Mark Martin
7. Juan Pablo Montoya
8. Kurt Busch
9. Jeff Burton
10. Carl Edwards

Other Notables:
11. David Reutimann(Pole Sitter)
12. Denny Hamlin
16. Brian Vickers
18. Kyle Busch
20. Dale Earnhardt, Jr
22. Clint Bowyer
23. Brad Keselowski
30. Joey Logano
34. AJ Allmendinger
38. Jamie McMurray

BV Supports Our Troops

Brian Vickers, driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, is a big support of the United States Armed Services. Well, on Saturday afternoon, he got the chance to meet a few dozen soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas. These brave men and women visited the Red Bull Energy Station and were able to take in the Nationwide Series Race thanks to Brian Vickers and Red Bull.

Fort Hood, Texas is a three hour drive from Texas Motor Speedway. Currently 52,000 soldiers are assigned to the base. Plus, they are the most diverse military post in the world. Fort Hood is the country’s only two division post, as the 1st Calvary Division and the 4th Infantry Division are based there. Also, the 13th Sustainment Command is also located there. One out of every 10 Army soldiers on active duty are assigned to Fort Hood.

Brian Vickers said on Saturday, “ I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to meet the men and women that serve this country, defending the rights and protecting the freedoms that allow us to come and race every Sunday.”

Brian Vickers and the #83 team will start 18th for the Samsung 500 from Texas Motor Speedway today. You can see the race on Fox starting at 1:30pm/eastern time. David Reutimann starts on the pole.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

NASCAR says Radio Chatter Ok!

Kurt Busch didn’t get what he wanted from NASCAR earlier today. Radio transmissions between drivers, owners, spotters, and crew chiefs will continue to be available to NASCAR, media, and fans. Last week at Martinsville Speedway, conversation between Kurt Busch and his car owner, Roger Penske were aired. During the conversation, Kurt Busch called his owner “dude”.

Since the airing of the conversation, Busch has been begging for NASCAR to make radio chatter private for years. Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s VP of Corporate Communication , said today “The more access we can give the fans, that’s a p art of what made NASCAR what it is, the accessibility of the drivers.” He also went on to say, “In my opinion drivers--even in a heated battle--need to be able to control their emotions. They’re driving a race car around at 200 miles an hour with a bunch of other people.”

Personally, I don’t buy that. Part of NASCAR is the emotion and passion that these 43 drivers have. If something is happening on the track, I don’t want it to be censored.

One driver who doesn’t have a problem with the radio chatter being aired is Jeff Gordon. He has never said a harsh word about his car owner, Rick Hendrick. Gordon said about the Kurt Busch chatter, “I have never called him dude--just boss. I’ll always say Yes sir, boss. Whatever you say boss. 10-4 boss.”

So, what do you think? Do you agree with Kurt Busch or Jeff Gordon? Me, I am agreeing with Jeff Gordon. I like being able to listen to the driver, crew chief, and spotter of my favorite driver during the race. It gives me an extra perspective and makes me feel like I am at the track, whichever they are at that given weekend. Plus, the broadcast isn’t always talking about the driver I like, so I am able to hear what exactly is going on in the car. Sure the chatter gets heated, but welcome to NASCAR. Some driver chatter definitely isn’t for youngsters.

#5 for Varitek

The 2009 season hasn’t even started yet, and Jason Varitek has already hit 5 homers. During the sixth inning vs. the NY Mets, Dillon Gee pitched the perfect pitch to Tek. The home run came after Red Sox pitcher, Ramon Ramirez gave up a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to put the Mets on the board. Before that, the Sox were leading 7-0. All of Varitek’s homeruns have come from left handed pitchers. Today’s homer brought his RBI total to 16 during Sprint Training.

During the first inning, Jed Lowrie hit a grand slam after Oliver Perez walked four to make it 6-0. Rocco Baldelli had opened the game with a single to the left and scored on a walk to Kevin Youkillis. Dustin Pedroia scored courtesy of Jason Bay.

Today was the last exhibition game for the Red Sox before the season opener vs. the Tampa Bay Rays.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Whose ready for some Red Sox baseball?

They say beginnings are often picked up right where they left off. Well, for the 2009 Red Sox, that will be the case as they kick off the 2009 season right where they finished the 2008. On Monday afternoon at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox will take on the 2008 ALCS Tampa Bay Rays.

The last time these two ball clubs played, it didn’t end pretty. Three days after the Red Sox pulled off a historic comeback in Game 5 of the ALCS, they ended up losing in Game 7: 3-1. The Rays ended up moving on to the World Series, while the Red Sox went home and were done to next year.

Now it all begins again. This time with Josh Beckett pitching his first opener in a Red Sox uniform, and James Shields pitching for the Rays. This match up will be the first of 18 meetings between the teams, not including a possibility for another ALCS rematch. This will be the first Opening at Fenway for the Sox since 2002, and they are looking forward to the challenge of facing one of their top competitors right out of the gate.

Unlike 2008, the Rays will no longer be a surprise team of the MLB. Aside from this awesome matchup, the Red Sox have several stories of their own for the opener.

It will be the first game at Fenway for Rocco Baldelli, Brad Penny, Takaski Saito, and Ramon Ramirez. Oh yeah! Don’t forget, this is also Jason Bay’s first Opening Day as a Red Sox. When asked about this special day, Bay said, “It will be fun. I mean, I kind of had my first Fenway opener last year on some level. This is a little bit different---Opening Day.” Also, this will be Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie’s first Opening Day in Major League Baseball. Definitely one that he’ll remember.

Seal will sing the National Anthem for the Season Opener. Also, the Boston Pops will perform “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch.

You can catch the Red Sox season opener on Monday, April 6th. Coverage starts at 2:05 pm/eastern on NESN and ESPN2.

David "The Franchise" Reutimann captures 2nd Pole of Career.

David Reutimann, drover of the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine for Michael Waltrip Racing, has captured the pole for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Reutimann earned the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the 1 ½ mile, high-banked track with a lap of 190.517 mph this afternoon. Reutimann told the media, “I guess that puts an exclamation mark on just how things have changed.”

Texas Motor Speedway hasn’t always been kind to Michael Waltrip Racing. Last year, the No.00 was driven in Texas qualifying by Cup rookie Michael McDowell, who escaped without a scratch from a horrific, tumbling crash when he slammed into the wall and rolled eight times before coming to a rest at the bottom of the track. McDowell would start the race 40th and end up 33rd. Two years ago, the first year for MWR, Reutimann didn’t even get the chance to qualify for the race. Severe weather canceled qualifying and sent the Reutimann and his team home, since they didn’t have enough owner points to make the race.

Boy have things turned around for Reutimann and the #00 team. He is currently 11th in points, and captured his first Coors Light Pole last season in Homestead.

Carl Edwards, who won both Texas races in 2008, qualified 13th. Last year, he became Texas Motor Speedway’s first three-time winner.

Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader, Jeff Gordon, will start on the outside of the front row after qualifying with a speed of 190.194mph. Texas is one of two active tracks, the other one is Homestead Speedway in Miami, where the four-time Cup champion has never won. Jeff Gordon told the media “We’re pretty god. We’ve got a similar car to that from last fall.”

Top 10:
1. Carl Edwards
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Matt Kenseth
4. David Ragan
5. Paul Menard
6. Kasey Kahne
7. Tony Stewart
8. Kyle Busch
9. Jimmie Johnson
10. Joey Logano

Other Notables:
13. Carl Edwards
14. Greg Biffle
17. Kevin Harvick
18. Brian Vickers
19. Clint Bowyer
20. Dale Earnhardt, Jr
22. Denny Hamlin
36. Jamie McMurray
38. Reed Sorenson

You can catch the Samsung 500 from Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 5th. Coverage starts at 12:30pm/eastern time on Fox.


Don’t expect the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to get a second race anytime soon, but they will be getting one of the biggest events in the sport….the NASCAR Sprint Cup banquet awards ceremony and postseason celebration. NASCAR and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority have finally reached an agreement to bring the awards ceremony to Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authorty[LVCVA] president Rossie Ralenkotter confirmed the move yesterday afternoon, saying deals need to be finalized but it will be moving. The remaining decisions are if the city gets three or a five year contract, also what degree Las Vegas will be included in the advertising and marketing references to the event.

The LVCVA will pay NASCAR between $500,000 and $1 million for reach year of their contract. However, NASCAR has the option to select the venue for the banquet which will likely be held on December 4th, 2009.

The event honors the Top 10 Drivers from the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Every key person in NASCAR including top executives from NASCAR, sponsors, drivers, and crew chiefs attend the banquet. Speedway Motorsports Inc, the owner of Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been lobbying for the awards banquet for the past two years.

NASCAR first moved the awards banquet from Daytona Beach to New York City in 1981. The move was successful at first, but high priced hotels in Manhattan and the cold weather suddenly dampened the mood. Racers, sponsors, and media traveling to the five-day event had a hard time traveling up there from North Carolina. Even last year the “Victory Lap” was canceled due to traffic congestion.

NASCAR is the second major professional sport to move their awards ceremony to Las Vegas. The LVCVA recently negotiated a three year deal to bring the NHL awards to the Palms on June 18th.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

1st Victory..9 years later!

Can you believe it’s been nine years since Dale Earnhardt, Jr won his first NASCAR Cup Series race? The date was April 2, 2000 and the race was the DirectTV 500 from Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. This was only his 7th start of the 2000 cup season, which was also his Rookie Year. He started outside the second row in 4th, and was dominant the entire race; leading 106 of 334 laps. When asked in Victory Lane if he thought he’d get his 1st victory so soon, he replied “I didn’t think it was actually coming this quick. I can’t believe it. When you put together a car that good, it’s going to get you in victory lane sooner or later.”

That day, Dale Earnhardt his father and car owner finished 7th and parked his #3 Chevy next to Victory Lane and joined in the celebration for his son. That day, Dale Sr told reporters that Dale Jr had been talking about winning at Texas for his first Winston Cup race. He had all the support in the world for his son. At that moment, he became Dale Earnhardt: Proud Papa.

With Dale Jr coming back to the site of his first win, a lot of things are playing in his mind. He and the #88 Amp Energy Drink team are ready for their first win of the 2009 Sprint Cup Series. Last weekend, he finished 8th at Martinsville and are headed to Texas Motor Speedway with momentum. In this race last year, Dale Jr captured the pole, lead 31 laps, and finished 12th.

You can see Dale Jr and the entire 43 car field take on Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 5th, 2009. Coverage starts at 1:30pm/eastern time.

Happy Birthday, Ricky Hendrick

Ricky Hendrick would have turned 29 today. Instead, we are all remembering what a great racecar driver, son, and business owner he was.

Joseph Riddick Hendrick IV, named for his father and known as Ricky, was the future of Hendrick Motorsports. His father, Rick Hendrick, was grooming him to take over the family business after his retirement. He begin in stock car racing as a driver. He started in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he became the youngest driver to win a race in 2002. In 2002, he moved up to the NASCAR Busch Series, and was forced to drop driving in October 2003 after injuring his shoulder at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

When asked during an interview with what he would do if he could no longer race, he responded “be president.” Cars was his passion. He definitely inherited that from his father. Shortly after retiring, he purchased a Honda dealership in Pineville, NC. He definitely started to follow closely in his father’s footsteps. He also joined with his grandfather, Papa Joe Hendrick, in managing two of the Hendrick Motorsports cars.

Ricky Hendrick was definitely growing up in front of the fans, other drivers, and even the team owners eyes. He even made the BIG decision to put Brian Vickers behind the wheel of his Busch Series car, against his father’s wishes. Vickers later went on to win the 2003 Busch Series Championship.

On October 24, 2004, Ricky Hendrick passed away. He was on a team flight to the race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Up until his death, he was always thinking racing. He was the owner of the #25 driven by Brian Vickers in the Nextel Cup Series, and the #5 driven by Kyle Busch in the Busch Series.

Rick and Linda Hendrick are always keeping the memory of Ricky alive. The Levine Children’s Hospital dedicated their Pediatric Intensive Care Centers in honor of Ricky Hendrick. The centers feature a five-room sleep in for parents, two private family waiting areas, a large open waiting space, and a state of the art business lounge. "Our family is proud to make this pledge in Ricky's name," said Linda Hendrick, Ricky's mother. "He was a young man who would run, not walk, to wherever he was going. This hospital will make certain that others have the same opportunity."