Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Don't Try This At Home

The team got a Halloween treat and a crash course demo on what not to attempt on your bike from Red Bull Moto Trials superstar Geoff Aaron. The 10-time US Trials champ (record holder!) sat atop a steel deck, swooped down a narrow ramp, flew across triple-wide, oversized Red Bull cans, and continued up an inverted V- shaped ramp, all while avoiding a trip to the ER. His Gas Gas Pro didn’t have a seat, but Aaron was too busy popping front wheelies, back wheelies, jumps, burnouts and one-footed stunts to even notice. Treats came next with true Southern staples – a lunch of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and pumpkin pie.

Monday, October 30, 2006

International Interest

More and more Europeans are thirsting for NASCAR news, so they sent some Austrian journalists over from Auto Revue magazine to catch the Cup action at Atlanta (or lack thereof for TRB) and Texas. Between their journeys, the motoring magazine duo is touring TRB and some of the other big raceshops, and hurling a 3,400-lb stock car down the straightaway at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. But the real bragging rights come out on Thursday when they fly to Texas on the team’s new 52-seater plane in its maiden flight. Now that’s making history. If you can read Austrian, visit http://www.autorevue.at/

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It rained, then rained harder, then rained some more, and then just kept on raining. The NASCAR gods sure are doing a stellar job of challenging TRB to get into their first Cup race. First, the team was nudged out of a qualifying spot at Charlotte - now they’re saying buh-bye to Atlanta in a washed out qualifying session. Score: NASCAR Gods = 2, TRB = 0. But have no fear, the Bulls aren’t backing down. AJ’s big Cup debut will still come – it’ll just be at Texas. Consider him fashionably late. On a dryer note, the media still got a few words and a few good laughs with the self-proclaimed “The M-Man” (not just “The Man”) in TRB’s morning press conference.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Styrofoam Luge

Bruised body parts and a slightly banged up jaw, but it’s all for the love of the game…or just a creative way to pass time on their lunch breaks. The guys in the Finish Fab shop have been performing Styrofoam Luge Olympics on a 4-foot long piece of foam left over from a packaging shipment. All she needs is a coat of Telfon silicone lubricant (complete with Jeff Gordon branding), a flying start, and a heave of dead body weight to launch a guy across the shop floor and into a pile of jack stands. “Ricky” was kind enough to demonstrate; with one condition - that a pseudo name be used to identify him. Some words of advice for the guys - you might want to pick something softer to launch yourselves into.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Revolving Door

The entryway to TRB has turned into a revolving door for Red Bull athletes. Mr. Allmendinger made his first appearance in yesterday’s team meeting and endured the new employee hazing ritual – introducing yourself in the middle of a circle of 70+ team members. Some jokes went around about band camp and flutes…but that’s classified team info. Then pro wake boarder Parks Bonifay rolled through for a shop tour. Parks and his 6-man posse were heading over to Lowe’s Motor Speedway to meet Jeff Gordon and drive in the Jeff Gordon Racing Experience. Since Parks has more seat time in a Cup car than AJ now, he was hoping to petition for a 3rd Cup ride. Sorry Parks, all seats taken. Rounding out the Red Bull trio of athletes was Truck Series driver Boston Reid who stopped by the race shop today to say hello.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

AJ Crusin'

Well, AJ Allmendinger is in the house today. So Team Red Bull decided to sign him up to be the second driver for next year. That simple. The press release, which included the above cartoon (get it? AJ moving to Charlotte to go stock car racing), went a little something like this...

Team Red Bull formally announces a multi-year agreement with American open-wheel race car driver AJ Allmendinger to race the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry for the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. AJ completes the 2007 driver line-up for Team Red Bull that already includes 23-year-old Brian Vickers, who’ll pilot the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry. Rick Viers, the veteran crew chief who guided the 24-year-old Californian through two successful NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races for Bill Davis Racing earlier this year, also joins Team Red Bull in the same role for 2007.

A former Toyota Atlantic champion and Champ Car rookie of the year, AJ currently stands second in the 2006 Champ Car World Series standings with five race wins. To speed up his acclimation to stock car racing, Bill Elliott has graciously agreed to step aside and let AJ take on driver duties in the Team Red Bull entry for the upcoming 2006 NEXTEL Cup races at Atlanta and Texas.

“I'm really excited about this next challenge in my racing career," AJ said. "To race against some of the best drivers in the world in front of fans that are as enthusiastic about racing as I am is going to be a pretty big thrill. I know this is going to be a lot of work in the upcoming months, but I couldn't be happier to do it with Team Red Bull. Hopefully, we can all go out and deliver a good show.”

Monday, October 23, 2006

Gas 'n Go

NASCAR is trading in their mojo next year, getting rid of high-octane leaded fuel in favor of unleaded fuel. They’re also trading in the notion of using different size fuel cells for different size tracks, by requiring teams to switch to a standard 17-gallon fuel cell (shown) that can be used at all Cup venues. TRB mechanics were heard gossiping around the water cooler about NASCAR’s intentions. Are they really trying to cut costs for teams by using just one size fuel cell, or is this another example of NASCAR trying to gain more control over the teams? Each guy had a different opinion, but the one thing they could all agree on was that fuel cells are pricey – coming in at over $3,000 a pop.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Testing...1, 2, 'er 7

In order to play with the big dogs, you must test like the big dogs. The big ownership Cup teams like Penske, Joe Gibbs and DEI host in-house seven-post shaker rigs, so in August Team Red Bull broke ground on a 4-month project to gut the 10,000 sq. ft. warehouse at the back of the lot and install an equal testing facility. Seven-post rig testing puts a stock car chassis and suspension to the test. Seven hydraulic actuators work on the car to simulate the stresses and strains a car would feel when racing on an oval. With the data learned, teams go out and win their first race, right? Not so fast…Teams use the test to identify potential gains, but the true test is how these “gains” perform when taken to the track. More importantly, the seven-post makes for one kick-ass race car driving simulator. Line up!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Go or No Go

Red, yellow, blue, green…sounds a bit like kindergarten class, but the colors on a template gauge block are measurements for passing a class much more complex - NASCAR inspection. At each Cup venue, officials place 32 templates over every team’s 3400-lb stock car. The template gauge block is slid between the body of the car and the edge of the template with a “go or no go” response – dictating if you got the pony into the show. The room for error is small - 1/16th of an inch for red up to 1/2 of an inch for green - so race shops are equipped with the same set of templates (photo of template rack) to check, double check, and recheck their cars before they ever leave the shop.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Car in Town

The ’07 Camry blazed through the South Florida heat squealing wheels and trading paint in its very first official test outing alongside current Cup cars and Car of Tomorrow machines. Mike Skinner began his assault on more than 75 entries taking the TRB #83 Camry to the second fastest time during twilight testing on Day 2. Skinner’s “Car of Next Year” (nicknamed by the TRB test crew) lapped the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway at a 31.023 sec, 174.064 mph lap, turning in times up to par with Toyotas, Fords, Chevys, Dodges and COT’s at the site of the Nextel Cup season finale.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Attention Class

Today was Red Bull College. That's when you get officially indoctrinated into the Red Bull family. The team employees learned about the brand, its beginnings, the product, its benefits, the marketing, its madness -- all from the floor of the main shop. Slide after slide, video clip after video clip, some funny moments, followed by some boring -- it is a presentation after all -- a certain point was hammered into the skulls of everyone there. This little can fuel an entire race team. It "gives you wings" so to speak. So, while no diplomas were handed out today at the presentation (Honeybaked Ham lunch boxes were instead), it's safe to say that each shop employee knows a little more about what the number 83 means.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hog Heaven

Forget Flying Cows for a moment and embrace Rolling Hogs, hundreds of which rolled into the Team Red Bull compound yesterday as part of the annual Ride to Victory IV motorcycle ride to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. With NASCAR legends Bill Elliott and Kyle Petty at the front, the charitable group of riders made a pitstop in Mooresville on their way from Gastonia (just west of Charlotte) to the VJG Camp in Randleman (near Greensboro). Awaiting the hogs were a display of Red Bull NASCAR and F1 showcars, a DJ with dance floor, Red Bull Flugtag video footage, and all the Red Bull and water one can consume before hitting the porta-potties.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Flash of Reality

Like a flash in the sky, the "soft launch" debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway yesterday, came and went bye bye in a matter of a split second. Bill drove the car well in practice with consistent lap times that put him mid-pack. But at the lottery draw for qualifying slots, No. 83 got picked early (fourth). In NASCAR, early qualifying puts the team at a disadvantage as teams later on the grid get feedback on track conditions in order to make adjustments. Bill posted a 29.131 lap time in his two-lap run, averaging 185.37 mph. Decent, but everyone in the team hauler knew it was going to be close. You see, NASCAR has these funny qualifying rules. 43 cars make a field, but 35 are guaranteed in based on current year points standings. So someone like Jeff Gordon, who posted a time slower than Bill at 29.492, still gets in the field because he sits in the top 10 in points. And if a past champion doesn't make the field based on time, then the 43rd spot goes to the most recent past champion. In this case, Terry Labonte, who ran .195 sec. slower than Bill, got the nod for the final 43rd spot. Labonte won his Cup championship in 1996 and Bill won his in 1988. So in effect, Bill lost the spot by 8 years, not .196 sec. So, the team packed up the hauler and returned to the shop, ready to take another shot at it in Atlanta in two weeks. All the reason, yesterday was a "soft launch." It's all about getting ready for 2007.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Down to the Wire

Last call! The final details for TRB’s maiden race played out in a hustled fashion with a Toyota documentary crew on hand to capture the minutes and moments of each finishing touch. Cars were dressed up with Victory Junction Gang, No. 83 and TRB decals placed to exact specs. Haulers were cleaned up, scrubbed up and loaded up with pit equipment, cars, tools, parts and Red Bull. Guys were geared up with three days worth of TRB logo’d tees, sweatshirts, jackets, coats, shoes, belts, and bags (see photo for a peek at the new gear). Wheels up! The hauler has left the compound.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

'Dega Testing

The Car of Tomorrow will take action at 16 Cup races next year, offering a car that promises to be safer, better performing, and more efficient to tune (accountant speak for lower price tag). The untrained eye might notice the spoiler has been replaced with a rear wing, the front bumper is taller and more box-like with a front-end splitter below, and the windshield sits more upright (or maybe that’s more for the trained eye). Mike Skinner, Toyota-powered Truck Series competitor, tested TRB’s COT yesterday at Talladega working on single-car runs before an afternoon drafting session. Skinner bumped, drafted and ran with thirteen cars on track, but was careful not to knock Jimmie Johnson or Dale Jr. off the track.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Victory for Mr. Vickers, who took his first NEXTEL Cup win yesterday. Congrats! By the way, TRB already beefed up the security budget for next year's Talladega race. But Victory is a theme that will carry on for the rest of the week, as it was announced today that the No. 83 Team Red Bull entry in this weekend's race will be clothed in a special Victory Junction Gang paint scheme (see spy photo of the almost finished back-up car in the shop). With Bill Elliott behind the wheel, all team earnings for the race will be donated to the VJG. Plus the car and driver suit will be auctioned off in November. So here's to Bill for keeping the "Victory" streak alive this weekend.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Countdown

With just 8 days left until their Nextel Cup debut at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, TRB is hoping that practice makes perfect – or pretty close to it. The team staged a practice run down today to ensure electronics, satellite connections, laptops, and LCD monitors were operating. Check. That the haulers were loaded with the necessary equipment – tools, pit carts, sign boards, gas cans, race car. Check. And unloaded and running – cool down unit and generators working. Check. One final check - testing the pit camera boom (shown) to make sure not a single second of pit action is missed during the Bank of America 500.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Pink Flamingo

Rumor has it that we’re wooing away personnel from competing Cup teams with large paychecks, fancy offices, and all the Red Bull they can drink. The folks in the marketing department, might say that’s a bunch of bull (except for the Red Bull part). Their ‘plush office’ is actually a triple-wide trailer tucked behind two large green dumpsters in the farthest corner of the Mooresville compound. Modifications were made to the trailer including pink plastic flamingos to dress up the yard and hamburger-themed hanging lights to decorate the wooden porch, but luxury it’s not. The creative minds are happy to call it home, though it’s just temporary. By May, a new addition will be built onto the race shop and the trailer will no longer have a place in the compound.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Hold on Brian! You're not at Team Red Bull yet. This picture of Mr. Vickers kayaking at the new U.S. National Whitewater Center near Charlotte surfaced today. Apparently, he now prefers to spend his free time driving 45 lb. plastic kayaks when he is not wrestling 3,400 lb. stock cars. Keep it tight and upright, buddy. The folks here are scrambling to arrange for some serious off-season instruction from the likes of Steve Fisher or Tao Berman, two of the world's best pros that kayak for free cans of Red Bull.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bulls in Blue Jerseys

The Bulls in Blue Jerseys (as modeled by Captain Morgan) are out in full force on Tuesday nights at Kannapolis Park off Hwy 3 (so named after Dale). With six Nextel Cup teams duking it out in the annual flag football tournament, the Bulls know their competition is fierce. In the team's first outing, Lowe’s Motor Speedway squeaked one out on the Bulls with a 13 – 6 score. Team quarterback Mike “Deep Dish” Rose defends the Bulls lackluster performance claiming it was all part of a team strategy. “We were just sandbagging LMS so we could show our true talent against Evernham Motorsports this week,” Deep Dish said. The Bulls in Blue Jerseys have endured grueling twice-per-week practice drills at the Mooresville compound and have acquired an impressive roster including “Cucumber,” “Deep Dish,” “Curb Feeler,” “Hulchay,” “Ike & Tina” and more. Heads up Evernham…rumor has it the team is rolling out a no-huddle offense tonight to speed up the clock.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Who will be this man's teammate?

Okay. Let's cut to the chase. All everyone seemed to care about from day one was who the Team Red Bull drivers will be. Filling two high-profile seats on the NASCAR grid isn't easy these days. Lots of competition from the other car owners, both established teams and new ones. You've got several routes to go: 1) Aging veteran; 2) Middle-aged journeyman; 3) Young but unproven; 4) Even younger and a major rookie risk; or 5) Open-wheel hopeful. Drivers from all categories have been linked to the two seats -- from Bill Elliott, Ricky Rudd, Ward Burton, Kevin Harvick, Casey Mears, Scott Wimmer, Jason Lefler, Dale Jarrett, Jeremy Mayfield, Paul Menard, AJ Allmendinger to Patrick Carpentier. Did I miss any? Brian Vickers, well TRB signed him back in June. It's been over three months since that announcement and the Silly Season has toned down a bit with the Chase for the Cup taking headlines. But behind the scenes at TRB, the Chase for Driver #2 is in high gear. Speculation is even more rampant at TRB as only a few know the true status on driver negotiations. Closed office doors are common in the management wing. We could divulge the overwhelming choice, but then they'd make us take this blog down. So we will hold off for now...and wait.