Tag Archives: Kevin Harvick

Top 10 Moments of 2012

25 Nov

It’s been a long, crazy season (my first following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series), capped off with a Brad Keselowski championship last weekend.

Without further ado, here are my Top 10 Most-Memorable Moments of the 2012 season…

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10.

Stephen Leicht (who??) sends a groundhog airborne during practice

June 8, 2012 at Pocono

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9.

Jimmie Johnson rocks colored afro in victory lane

June 3, 2012 at Dover

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8.

Kevin Harvick’s car dented by parachute jumper during pre-race festivities

November 4, 2012 at Texas

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7.

Dale Jr. ends 4-year, 143-race winless streak in the “Batmobile”

June 17, 2012 at Michigan

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6.

Jeff Gordon makes Clint Bowyer angry, prompting priceless YouTube spoofs such as this one:

November 11, 2012 at Phoenix

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5.

Denny Hamlin calls his victory, then delivers

September 23, 2012 at New Hampshire

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4.

After leaving race, (lunatic) Tony Stewart launches his helmet at Matt Kenseth’s car

August 25, 2012 at Bristol

 

[Afterwards, Stewart said: “I learned my lesson there—I’m going to run over him every him every chance I’ve got from now until the end of the year, every chance I’ve got.”]

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3.

Brad Keselowski tweets from inside his car during the Daytona 500 jet dryer incident

February 27, 2012 at Daytona

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2.

Kurt Busch rocks the Ricky Bobby paint job

May 6, 2012 at Talladega

(Here is an article on how he got permission to use it).

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1.

Bad Brad wins championship; gives (awesome) sponsor-fueled interview afterwards

November 18, 2012 at Homestead

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When you think back on the 2012 season, are these the moments that stand out for you, as well?

[Here is a 2012 recap that the folks at the Yahoo! Sports blog “From the Marbles” came up with.]

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Announcing My Favorite NASCAR Driver

17 Nov

So, I’m curious: how do most NASCAR fans pick their favorite driver?

I did some brainstorming and came up with the following list of reasons people support certain athletes or teams (and – let’s be honest – political candidates as well).

(How many of these factors did you you take into consideration when you picked your favorite driver?)

2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers

Do you support someone…

  • from the same state or town as you?
  • who wins a lot? (Jimmie Johnson)
  • who has won a lot? (Jeff Gordon)
  • with family history? (Dale “Earnhardt,” Jr.)
  • who breaks the mold? (“Danica“)
  • with a cool paint scheme?
  • who is “good-looking”? (“Danica“)
  • who shares your beliefs/views/opinions?
  • whose car number is your favorite number?
  • who is similar to you in age?
  • whose car sponsor you support?
  • who is outspoken/unapologetic/rude?
  • who is honest/reflective/intelligent?

More than one of the above?  Or something else entirely?

Below, I’ll tell you how I picked my favorite NASCAR driver, and it involves several of the above.

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I’ve been following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since the season started back in February.  I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but somewhere over the summer (mid-season), I settled on my favorite driver.

(If you’ve been following my Twitter feed – @NASCARneophyte – over the last few months, you may have guessed my favorite driver based on a lot of my tweets and re-tweets).

So that I’m not accused of picking the guy that may win the Sprint Cup Series Championship this season, I wanted to get this in writing before he wins his first Cup Series title, whether that’s tomorrow or years down the road.

That’s right, you guessed it: Brad Keselowski has become my favorite driver.

Bad Brad, driver of the Blue Deuce: the #2 Miller Lite Dodge.

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If I had to summarize my reason for that in one word, it would be: Twitter.

As a young adult myself who is always “plugged in,” Twitter is a pretty big part of my day, and Brad makes Twitter fun and informative.

It started at the Daytona 500 with “the tweet:”

(Here’s that picture):

Keselowski’s tweet from inside his car while stopped on the track at the Daytona 500.

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That night, I became one of the thousands of people who followed Bad Brad on Twitter for the first time, and I’ve been following him ever since.

Number of Twitter followers gained by Keselowski over a two-hour span during the Daytona 500.

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Over the last ~10 months, I’ve enjoyed Brad’s insight into what it’s like to be a NASCAR driver (celebrity, even?).  From the victory lane photos, to the room full of items waiting to be autographed, Brad’s Twitter feed is a great behind-the-scenes look at the NASCAR world:

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I like Brad because he answers more fan questions than any other driver I follow, and he tends to avoid sarcasm, which several other drivers seem to use a lot (*cough,* *cough,* Kevin Harvick!).

Brad is definitely opinionated and sticks up for his beliefs (both on Twitter and in his media interviews), but he doesn’t come across as an ***hole (*cough,* *cough,* Kyle/Kurt Busch!).

I’ve learned a lot during my first year watching NASCAR, and much of that has come from Brad.  His tweets range from:

  • the funny:
  • to the informative:
  • to the opinionated:
  • to the behind-the-scenes variety:

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Looking at some of the other reasons I listed above for why fans support certain drivers, I’ll comment on a few other things…

  • Brad’s main sponsor is Miller Lite, which I drink (mainly because Eat This Not That lists Miller Lite as one of their best beers in America), but not very often, because it tastes like water (let’s be honest)…
  • One of Brad’s sponsors is Adidas, which happens to be my favorite athletic wear company…
  • Brad won consistently this year, winning 5 races (so far)…
  • Brad’s car is blue, which is my favorite color…
  • Brad is 28.  I’m several years behind him, but same generation…

So did any of these factors influence my decision to support BK?  I don’t think they did, consciously, but perhaps subconsciously they did influence my decision…

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No matter how this season ends for Brad, and whether I continue to follow NASCAR after this season or not, I will definitely continue to follow Brad on Twitter and cheer for him as my favorite driver going forward.

Brad celebrates a victory with the traditional post-race burnout.

Race Recap: AdvoCare 500

12 Nov

Wait, did I say last week was an awesome race?  I think yesterday’s AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix topped it.

By a lot.

Kevin Harvick celebrates his victory at Phoenix in the AdvoCare 500. (Grab some Buds).

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If you weren’t able to watch, you missed Jeff Gordon intentionally wreck Clint Bowyer on Lap 311 and set off an all-out brawl between their crews.  Then, when Bowyer got out of his car, he SPRINTED to Gordon’s hauler and had to be restrained at the entrance as he yelled (no doubt) some choice words at the four-time Cup Series champ.

Oh, and did I mention that Jimmie Johnson crashed (due to a cut tire), hit the wall, and needed extensive repairs in the garage, causing him to lose his lead over Brad Keselowski in the overall Chase standings???

On top of all that, Danica Patrick wrecked just before the white flag dropped and started leaking oil all over the track, but NASCAR declined to throw a caution, allowing Kevin Harvick to take the checkered flag as cars crashed behind him.

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Cars crash to the checkered flag after Kevin Harvick wins the AdvoCare 500.

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What madness!

[By the way, here is the Race Rewind for Phoenix, courtesy of NASCAR.com].

But perhaps the greatest thing to come out of yesterday was this spoof commercial for 5-Hour Energy featuring Bowyer’s sprint to the #24 hauler:

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Also, there’s no way you missed this, but since I know you want to watch it again, here is Bad Brad‘s post-race tirade on the incident between the 15 and 24:

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Here’s a NASCAR question that came up during the race:

  • When a driver heads down pit lane, do they have to stay outside the white dotted line until they get near their pit box?

Help me out – if you can – in the comments section below or on Twitter @NASCARneophyte.

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Tweet of the weekend:

There were some outrageous, passive-aggressive tweets this weekend, but I’m a big hockey fan, so this one wins TOTW:

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ONE RACE TO CROWN A CHAMPION!

Next weekend, the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead will decide your 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion.  If Keselowski finishes 15th or better, the championship will be his.

Sunday at 3:15 PM on ESPN…  Don’t. Miss. It.

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The Most Popular* Driver In NASCAR Is…

9 Jun

* Admittedly, Twitter isn’t the be-all, end-all of popularity contests, but it’s a pretty good indication of how popular (or influential) an athlete or celebrity is, based on their number of followers.

With that caveat in mind, here is the list of the Top 30 Most-Followed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers on Twitter:

Car # Driver Followers Twitter Handle
10 Danica Patrick 601,119 @DanicaPatrick
42 Juan Montoya 553,457 @jpmontoya
2 Brad Keselowski 267,074 @keselowski
48 Jimmie Johnson 237,856 @JimmieJohnson
29 Kevin Harvick 219,981 @KevinHarvick
24 Jeff Gordon 212,654 @JeffGordonWeb
5 Kasey Kahne 186,723 @kaseykahne
18 Kyle Busch 186,099 @KyleBusch
55 Michael Waltrip 162,150 @mw55
11 Denny Hamlin 148,580 @dennyhamlin
21 Trevor Bayne 126,872 @Tbayne21
88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 126,829 @DaleJr
109 Kenny Wallace 105,201 @Kenny_Wallace
33 Elliott Sadler 100,445 @Elliott_Sadler
17 Matt Kenseth 99,834 @mattkenseth
39 Ryan Newman 99,437 @RyanNewman39
14 Tony Stewart 99,220 @tonystewart
1 Jamie McMurray 96,965 @jamiemcmurray
56 Martin Truex Jr. 83,026 @MartinTruexJr56
55 Mark Martin 79,204 @55MarkMartin
16 Greg Biffle 77,833 @gbiffle
20 Joey Logano 77,366 @joeylogano
47 Bobby Labonte 63,573 @Bobby_Labonte
22 AJ Allmendinger 62,317 @AJDinger
55 Brian Vickers 57,647 @BrianLVickers
31 Jeff Burton 54,211 @RCR31JeffBurton
7 Robby Gordon 49,377 @RobbyGordon
34 David Ragan 43,353 @DavidRagan
78 Regan Smith 41,667 @Regan_Smith_
33 Hermie Sadler 40,646 @HermieSadler
Notes: Number of followers recorded ~ 12:00 EDT on 6/9/12… List of drivers taken from http://www.nascar.com/drivers/list/cup/dps/ (“Driver Table” tab)… Not all Twitter handles listed above have been “verified” by Twitter…

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Let’s delve into these numbers a little bit.

Danica Patrick leads the list, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, considering she recently made the cover of ESPN Magazine’s Women in Sports issue.  She’s in those pesky Go Daddy commercials on TV, and has posed for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Collection (twice).  Danica Patrick is not a driver, she’s a brand.  If it comes as a shock that she has more followers than any other NASCAR driver, you probably live under a rock.

Next is Juan Pablo Montoya.  He hasn’t had a great deal of success in the Sprint Cup Series so far (and is currently 20th in the standings), so I’m assuming his popularity is based on the fact that he used to drive in Formula One and had some success there.  He probably gets a boost in followers due to the fact that he’s Colombian and bi-lingual (he frequently tweets in Spanish).  As an sports figure with global appeal, this isn’t a huge surprise either.

Third on the list is Brad Keselowski.  Keselowski certainly got a boost in followers when he tweeted this at the Daytona 500 in February:

During the two-hour red flag, with the field stopped dead on the track, Keselowski gained 100,000 followers (going from 85,000 to 185,000).  Due to his strong performances this year, and frequent interactions with fans on Twitter, Keselowski now has more followers than five-time Cup series champion, Jimmie Johnson.

Considering his high level of success in NASCAR (and his overall likeability), I would have expected Jimmie Johnson to have more than ~237,000 followers (by comparison, Lebron James has over 4.7 million followers).  Johnson is a member of Team Hendrick (which has been called the “New York Yankees of NASCAR”) and is a lock for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  Maybe the (comparatively) low follower count for Johnson is an indication of the total number of NASCAR fans on Twitter.

Kevin Harvick rounds out the Top 5, which surprised me only because I expected four-time Cup series champion Jeff Gordon to be closer to the top of this list, (although Harvick only has 7,000 more followers than Gordon).

Some final comments:

The @DaleJr Twitter account has not sent a single tweet, yet it is the 12th most-followed driver account in NASCAR.  Can you imagine if he actually tweeted from the account?  Ditto for the @tonystewart account, which has sent just one tweet (a PR one), yet has almost 100,000 followers.

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I think I’ll revisit this list at the end of the season and see which drivers have gained or lost the most followers since this point in the season.  It will be interesting to see whether winning races gives drivers a boost in followers from week to week.

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Race Preview: Coca-Cola 600

26 May

NASCAR got lazy this week and decided to stay in North Carolina, so we have another Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night…

Just kidding!

It looks like there is a NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway every year on Memorial Day Weekend, and this year is no exception. (Thanks as always, Wikipedia!).

Unlike last weekend’s Sprint Showdown and Sprint All-Star Race, this week’s Coca-Cola 600 will count in the standings, so don’t expect any drivers to “sandbag” their way through this one like Jimmie Johnson did last weekend.

The Coca-Cola 600 is race #12 (out of 36) on the Sprint Cup circuit. Race coverage on Sunday night starts at 5:30 PM EDT on FOX. (The race itself starts at 6:16 PM EDT).

Below the logo (which has to be the most boring one I’ve seen in NASCAR so far), find everything you need to prepare for Sunday’s race.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Coca-Cola 600

  • Location: Concord, NC
  • Track name: Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Track shape: Quad-oval
  • Banking: 24 degrees (turns), 5 degrees (straights)
  • Lap length: 1.5 miles
  • Race distance: 400 laps / 600 miles

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As always, I’ll be tweeting my comments and questions about NASCAR during the race from my Twitter account: @NASCARneophyte. If you can answer my questions, please do.

Enjoy the race everyone!

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Race Preview: Goody’s Fast Relief 500

31 Mar

The Sprint Cup Series shifts back east to the hot-bed of NASCAR this weekend with the Goody’s Fast Relief 500.

These race names continue to get weirder and weirder… and the NASCAR stereotypes continue to prove true. (Or maybe not… I just discovered that “Goody’s Fast Relief” has nothing to do with flatulence. It’s pain relief.)

This week, the “500” in the name refers to the number of laps in the race. Last week, the number in the race name stood for the number of miles. (It’s confusing, I know).

The Goody’s Fast Relief 500 is race #6 (out of 36) on the Sprint Cup circuit. Race coverage on Sunday starts at 12:30 PM on FOX.

Below the logo, find everything you need to prepare for this weekend’s race.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Goody’s Fast Relief 500

  • Location: Ridgeway, Virginia
  • Track name: Martinsville Speedway
  • Track shape: Oval
  • Banking: 12 degrees
  • Lap length: 0.526 miles
  • Race distance: 263 miles / 500 laps

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As always, I’ll be tweeting my comments and questions about NASCAR during the race from my Twitter account: @NASCARneophyte. If you can answer my questions, please do.

Enjoy the race everyone.

Race Preview: Auto Club 400

23 Mar

The Sprint Cup Series heads to the west coast this weekend for the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California (not to be confused with Anchorman stud Brian Fantana). This week, the “400” in the name corresponds to the number of miles in the race, but I’m sure that will change next weekend, so don’t get used to it.

Last year, the race distance was shortened from 500 to 400 miles, which shortened the race time by about an hour (great news for viewers with short attention spans). For the first time in Auto Club Speedway history last year, there was a pass on the final lap, as Kevin Harvick passed Jimmie Johnson for the win. It was the only lap Harvick led on the day.

Apparently, this track features 5-wide racing, which is completely unfathomable to a NASCAR noob like me. I’m pretty excited to see what that’s like.

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The Auto Club 400 is race #5 (out of 36) on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. Race coverage on Sunday starts at 2:30 PM on FOX.

Below the logo, find everything you need to prepare for this weekend’s race.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Auto Club 400

  • Location: Fontana, California
  • Track name: Auto Club Speedway
  • Track shape: D-shaped oval
  • Lap length: 2.0 miles
  • Race distance: 400 miles / 200 laps
  • Banking: 14 degrees

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As always, I’ll be tweeting my comments and questions about NASCAR during the race from my Twitter account: @NASCARneophyte. If you can answer my questions, please do.

Enjoy the race everyone.