It’s like the first day of high school. No, not your freshman year, where you’re walking around afraid the seniors are about to do something awful to you, but your sophomore year. Everybody piles off the bus, you exchange news from the summer and you wonder what your friends think about… your new look.
That is what this past week’s Media Day and neverending practice, qualifying and pre-race broadcasts have been. It gave us a moment to catch up with all the familiar faces of our favorite pastime and hear what they did over the offseason. Oh, this stuff has nothing to do with who has the fastest car. It’s purely a social deal. A time when we get to connect on a human level with those that live a life of celebrity.
Oh, wait! Were you looking for a searing commentary on the events of the previous weekend? Perhaps a few notes on a certain female and her astounding accomplishments in her stock car debut? Sorry to disappoint, but I will not stoop to the median level of obsession the rest of the planet has. She is getting plenty of headlines, so I refuse to give her mine. Anyway…
From the social desk at Frontstretch, Have You Heard?
Have You Heard? Dale Earnhardt Jr. arrived at Daytona this week sporting a rather scruffy beard and moustache. It sort of leant the most popular driver in the sport a mountain man appearance. Why the sudden change from his signature clean-shaven look? Apparently, Junior grew the facial hair in an attempt at a disguise for the offseason. Whatever the reason, I kind of like this new Junior.
Have You Heard? Jeff Gordon and his wife, Ingrid, are expecting their second child! The announcement was made on Thursday. Their due date is in August.
Have You Heard? Speaking of babies, Carl Edwards‘s wife, Kate, is due to deliver their first child, a daughter, on February 14th. While you can’t argue the romantic timing of a Valentine’s Day baby, the fact the Daytona 500 is also due to start at 1 p.m. on that day certainly throws a wrench into the whole thing. Carl says he plans to race but, “If something comes up, we’ll have a backup plan, but my plan is to race. Kate would be mad if I got out of the racecar. So it’s really up to her and I, and the plan right now is to race.”
Have You Heard? More babies! Many jokes were made on Media Day about something in the water. Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, are expecting their first child. They are anticipating a due date in July! Some fans and media have speculated that this may be the wrench in the Hendrick Chase engine needed to throw the No. 48 off their Drive for Five Cups this year.
Have You Heard? I have always believed that there is somebody for everybody on this planet. Kyle Busch has apparently found his partner. He asked his girlfriend, Samantha Sarcinella, to marry him on Thursday night. She said yes! I wish the best for this couple.
Have You Heard? On the more solemn end of the social calendar, RCR will honor deceased pit crew member and front tire changer for the No. 29, DJ Richardson this week. All Richard Childress Racing Cup, Nationwide and Truck entries will be sporting a decal behind their front wheel in remembrance.
DJ was an unfortunate victim of the H1N1 virus. He contracted the disease during a Thanksgiving visit to his family in Massachusetts. He died on Christmas Day due to complications.
“DJ should be jumping off the wall and changing tires for us again this season so we wanted to honor him in this special way,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “He was a valued member of the RCR family and is missed as we start the 2010 season.”
And that, my friends, are the social notes from Daytona International Speedway. I hope the upcoming season provides us plenty of exciting racing stories to comment on as we walk the hallways of our daily lives. Until next week, I bid you adieu.