Monday, April 30, 2007

Close Ups

For the past two weekends Red Bull Racing has been followed by AutoRevue magazine photographer Juergen. He was assigned to cover the Phoenix and Talladega races for the Austrian publication. Juergen had full access to the team (remember last week's blog post about car shoot at Hickory?) and was able to cover everything from qualifying, to AJ's trip to the Talladega infield, to specialty portraits of AJ and Brian, and to shooting from the spotter's stand. As you can see in the picture, the guys spent some time Friday in Talladega posing for their portraits. Although the race results were not what we would have liked to show Juergen, he was still able to get an up close and personal look at the team, drivers and of the NASCAR race weekend experience.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Party in the Infield

A trip to Talladega isn't complete without a trip to the infamous infield. After Cup practice ended Friday afternoon, AJ, his wife Lynne, and motorcoach driver Skippy - along with a camera crew - took his golf cart out to meet and hang out with some race fans. He decided to check out the campgrounds between Turns 1 and 2, where he was immediately greeted by a megaphone and a bunch of screams. As soon as people realized a driver was among them, a crowd quickly formed around him. A bunch of Red Bull was passed out, and as you can imagine, several people asked if we had any vodka or jager to mix it with (which we didn't).

Some highlights from the afternoon:
- AJ sampled some cajun red beans and rice from some folks from Arkansas (and really liked it!) - Several people thinking AJ was Brian Vickers.
- AJ took a tour of a big blue party bus and signed the roof. And the surprising thing was the blue bus was full of Junior fans!
- AJ signed a guy's underwear... while he was wearing it. Seriously.

You will be able to check out the footage at in the weekly race clip, which will be posted Tuesday afternoon.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Morning Wake-Up Call

Brian gave sleepy journalists a jumpstart in the media center Friday morning as the featured driver on the weekly “NEXTEL Wake-Up Call.” The moderator started with, “It was an uneventful win last year as I recall. Do you remember it like that?” – which got a big laugh from the crowd. Journalists drilled Brian on hot topics like “Are NASCAR’s qualifying procedures unfair for teams outside the Top 35?” (BV: Yes – the “go or go home” cars should all qualify one after the other instead of being mixed into the Top 35.) “How far do you think AJ has to go with his Cup driving ability?”(BV: AJ is a talented driver and successful in everything he’s driven. He’s new to ovals and new to Cup – two big learning curves that will take time. For all I know, he could make the race this weekend and win it!) “Do you think Toyota underestimated what it was up against coming in to the Cup Series?” (BV: No, they knew it was going to be a challenge. The biggest thing that’s hurting the Toyota teams is 50-some cars showing up every weekend.) - - The #83 hits the track 5th and the #84 in 51 for tomorrow’s qualifying run. Tune in at 11:15 AM (EST).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Talladega Knights

Well we knew coming into Talladega this weekend that one of the major stories would be the 2006 fall Talladega race where Brian won but Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson ended up spinning through the grass on the last lap. As you will recall, there was a lot said in the media about Brian and NASCAR fans were divided on their opinions of the incident - whether it was a racing deal or whether Brian was at fault - and even Junior and Jimmie had different thoughts on the matter. We figured since everyone would already be talking, why not have a little fun with it? As you can see from our weekly cartoon, one of our resident cartoon artists Buck Jones put his creative spin on the Talladega Nights movie poster. Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Almost Famous

Wednesday at Hickory Motor Speedway, the team held a photo shoot at America's Most Famous Short Track. Organized in a span of 24 hours per the request of an Austrian photographer friend of the team, Hickory provided the perfect backdrop as Juergen photographed the newly decaled 83 showcar from all angles -- static and moving. The moving shots came courtesy of a Toyota Tundra chase vehicle. Not sure how many laps in total were run, but the day ended a tad prematurely when a tire flat-spotted because of broken wheel bearing that locked up the spindle (or something like that). At that moment Juergen was crammed inside the 83 car where a passenger seat would be on a commerical car. No walls were hit, but it did smoke up quite a bit. The pictures promise to be amazing says Juergen. Thanks Hickory!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sign Away!

When AJ stopped by the shop today we put him to work. A lot of fan mail has been coming in for both AJ and Brian lately, and AJ took the time to sign a big chunk of his. He signed all sorts of stuff - newspaper articles, trading cards, photographs, and even a handkerchief.

AJ said he signed so many items that about halfway through the stack his signature started to change... AJ is easy to read on everything, but Allmendinger started turning into a scribbly line. When you have to sign a last name like his over and over, your hand is bound to start to cramp up at some point! He had fun with it though and really appreciates all the support from his fans.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Inside NEXTEL Cup

Brian Vickers, Michael Waltrip and David Ragan were guests this morning on the taping of tonight’s Inside Nextel Cup w/Dave Despain. The controversial topic of the day went to Jeff Gordon. When Gordon collected the checkered flag on Saturday night at PIR he waved a black #3 flag as a tribute to tying the late Dale Earnhardt Sr’s record for NASCAR’s all-time wins. Respectful or disrespectful? All three INC guests were unanimous: respectful. Watch The Sheriff at 8 PM tonight on SPEED for more controversy and drama in the world of Cup Racing.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hokie Nation for a Day

Back at the Red Bull Racing shop today, many employees participated in the national day of "Hokie Hope" by wearing the Orange and Maroon colors that so distinctly represent Virginia Tech. Everyone took a moment to remember and honor those lost in the unbelievable tragedy that took place earlier in the week. With VT located only a couple of hours from Charlotte, many were personally affected.

NASCAR is paying tribute as well, as all of the race cars in Phoenix are carrying the VT logo on the driver's side B-post through the weekend.

A quote from the VT website:

"We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness ... We will prevail ..."
- Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor, poet, activist

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Snake in the Dirt

At Phoenix International Raceway, it’s hot as hell with dry desert all around. There’s a mountain that overlooks turns 3 and 4 where fans can go to watch the race and of course, have a few brews. Where there’s Phoenix desert – there’s Phoenix snakes – rattle snakes at that. Before each Cup race the track has people come in and remove all of the snakes from the hills. When the race weekend ends, the snakes are returned back to the hill. Consider it a weekend getaway for the snakes. We went looking and listening for some rattlers they missed, but couldn’t find any. See our very own “snake hunter” in the pic.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Green Flag Jacket

As you may have noticed in earlier blog entries, each week the team commissions an editorial cartoon to be made for the upcoming race. It's something the communications dept. adds to the news/notes package sent to the media in advance of the race, plus it's included on the press sheets brought to the racetrack's media center. The media perhaps have more of grind than the drivers and team's do, since they don't travel privately and have to work long hours before and after races. So we hope the cartoons bring a little laugh to help them enjoy the day. Right now, four cartoonists are contributors and this week's drawing comes from Atlanta-based illustrator Mike Mikula. Since PIR is known for its dogleg on the backstretch and Arizona is known for great golf, this week's cartoon carries a golf theme. But, just wait until next week's theme. Any guesses?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Kicks!

When AJ showed up at the shop today for the weekly team meeting, he was sporting some new bright yellow kicks. Now AJ has never been one to blend in, but that was made even more apparent today. His crew chief Ricky (as you can see in the picture) wasted no time poking fun at AJ - as did the rest of his crew. All in good fun of course.

One of the perks of being a driver is having a shoe sponsorship deal. In AJ's case, PUMA hooks him up with all the latest and greatest in shoe fashion. If AJ and Brian run well in Phoenix, we may need to look into getting some yellow shoes made for the whole team!

Monday, April 16, 2007


Two things any race fan (of male persuasion) can't deny is that hot girls and fast cars go together. So that theme continues today at an undisclosed racetrack in North Carolina. Elevate magazine, a pocket-sized fashion, lifestyle and entertainment magazine distributed throughout Charlotte, will feature the Red Bull Racing cars in their May issue that's distributed around the two spring Cup race dates here. Three models and both the 83 and 84 showcars are withstanding the 40+mph winds here in NC today to score some sexy shots for the magazine. Expect lots of wind-blown hair in the pics.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup 1 through 35 owner’s points = HEAVEN. 36 and beyond = HELL. On a race weekend like Texas when qualifying gets rained out, being in the top 35 in points proves to be all the more important. Starting 36th today as a 2006 race winner, Brian Vickers drove another solid run to finish 14th on the lead lap, even leading two green flap laps (100-101) along the way. While closing the gap, the No. 83 still sits 5 spots and 65 points outside the coveted top 35 in owner’s points, which guarantees a grid slot for the next race. Meanwhile, AJ Allmendinger and the No. 84 car, out of the top 35, never got the chance to qualify on Friday due to the tornado-spewing thunderstorm and had to sit out this one again.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rifle Man

Thanks to his pole win at last fall's race in Texas, Beretta reps came by the 83 hauler this morning to present the Sheriff with his very own specially-engraved Beretta 12 gauge Giubileo shotgun. Valued at $65,000, it took over 160 hours for an Italian artist to engrave artwork and BV's likeness on a special plate on the rifle. He may be all smiles now, but wait until he sees the tax bill that's due this time next year. Jeff Gordon won the Beretta rifle for this weekend's race the easy way -- thru being the points leader after yesterday's qualifying cancellation. Jeff will get his engraved rifle at next fall's race. The race winner get's Beretta cowboy pistols. Appropriate.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Today began with an ominous weather forecast for Fort Worth-Dallas and throughout the day it appeared the worst was avoided. Rain interrupted practice twice and in the added half-hour session at 4:15 pm, the 83 and 84 were first on the track. Posting practice times that were 7th and 8th fastest for the go-or-go-home cars, both Brian and AJ were ready to race their way into Sunday's show. Then during tech inspection before 6 pm the worst came to be in the surrounding Tarrant, Denton and Dallas counties. The big storm with heavy rain and lightning brewed up, tornado warnings sounded, and hail as big as baseballs pounded the area. Texas Motor Speedway escaped the worse, but it was enough to cancel qualifying for good. The result for Red Bull Racing is mixed as the BV makes the show in 36th starting position (due to NASCAR's rules as a 2006 race winner) while the 84 goes home.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Always Have a Plan B

When you have 150 team members, 38 races, dozens of tests, DC-9’s and King Air’s, rental cars and hotels - you get a travel coordinator with a constant headache. The original plan was for the Texas road crew to depart Concord, NC today and head straight to Fort Worth, TX. That plan was perfect when the team was supposed to be testing in Kentucky on Wednesday…yet the test rained out and was postponed until Thursday! That’s when plan B came about: Have half the road crew depart from Concord, NC today, swing by and pick up the other half of the road crew in Covington, KY, before heading to The Lone Star State. Good thing the Cup garage doesn’t open until 7:30 AM tomorrow because it’s going to be a long day of traveling!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stock(Car)Yard Awaits

While it has certainly been an up and down two weeks for Team Red Bull, getting back to normalcy is always welcome. In NASCAR, that means getting back to the racetrack. This weekend it's that little ditty in Fort Worth. See the pic for this week's TRB press cartoon. If you've been to downtown Fort Worth, then you know what that scene represents. Fortunately, no Nextel Cup driver has gone faster around Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval than Brian Vickers. At last fall’s race in the No. 25 GMAC Chevrolet, Brian turned a Cup track-record lap (by over 2 mph) at 196.235 mph for his fourth career pole. It was the fastest pole in 2006. Beretta plans to present BV with the honorary pole rifle for his fall feat.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Road Rage

Some of the TRB guys bought Road Rage figurines at Walmart to keep around the shop - one for AJ and one for Brian. They serve a good purpose - to let out some frustration and get a good laugh out of the guys. When you are a new team with all the growing pains a new team feels, the guys are bound to feel some 'road rage' every now and again. After the team meeting today, AJ was playing around, revving his up. AJ commented that he hoped he didn't feel the same way the figure looks in Texas this weekend! We hope not either.

After the off weekend, everyone around here definitely seems ready to get back to racing!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Theory of Evolution

Well the evolution of the car's paint scheme (or livery if you hail from Europe) continues this weekend in Texas. Because of the mass call-out for the return of the stripes, we convinced the designers to bring them back to the front bumper. Call it a compromise. The hood, roof and back deck will remain stripe-less. The side design, which changed several races ago, gets a new addition with red rear wheels. There's been a few other tweaks here and there over the last several races if you have been paying attention. For instance, the roof colors for the 83 and 84 have been settled. And did you notice the Bull has a tail now? Before, it was a spike. Will Texas mark the end of the paint scheme's evolution, or will it continue? What's your theory?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Car Diva

Friday was Smackdown day at the Team Red Bull shop. Maria, a WWE Diva, was in the house. That's right. WWE baby! Nothing brings professional wrestling and NASCAR together quite like a Car Diva. Maria posed in several different outfits in several different raceshop settings, much to the enjoyment of the few team members working the holiday Friday. When she is not entertaining crowds at WWE events for television, she contributes to WWE Magazine as the resident car columnist. Starting with the July issue and extending over several issues, you'll see her poses come to life, six-pack abs, fan blown hair, goose bumps, et al. She is a true car fan and hopes to get her first NASCAR ride when the WWE swings through Charlotte down the road. Get your copy at major newsstands starting in June (look in the sports section). Eyewitness accounts say it will be worth the effort.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Batter Up!

Last night the TRB softball team played a scrimmage game against Roush Racing to prep for the upcoming season (if you remember – we had a flag football team last Fall). What was the final score? It doesn’t really matter Team Captain Mike Rose said because, “It was just a scrimmage. Who’s keeping score? All that matters is we learned a lot.” Eighteen players showed up from the Bull Shop and faced some rough and tough competition over at Kannapolis Park. Last night’s game was the last practice before the real season starts next Wednesday against Evernham Motorsports. First pitch goes out at 7:30 pm so don’t be shy - come out and watch The Bulls in action. (See Jordan getting ready to bat one out of the park.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

One of a Kind

Yesterday was a tough day at the shop. Over the weekend, the team lost one of its most well-liked and most colorful characters. Test team mechanic Jimmy Sprinkle (seen pictured to the far left at last October's fall race in Charlotte) passed away after being shot during an altercation on his property's driveway Saturday night. Local authorities are investigating the incident. The mood was somber Monday when the news was announced to the team and a moment of silence was given to Jimmy's memory. But any amount of time is too short to give as Jimmy left pleasant memories with not only members of this team, but also with former team members and colleagues throughout the NASCAR Garage. Simply, he was the guy that always had a funny story to tell. Always had something positive to say. Always lent his help. Always gave 100 percent effort. Jimmy will always be missed. As one Team Red Bull colleague noted: "I don't know if they can replace him."

Monday, April 02, 2007

BV Working on His A-Game

Brian made a visit to Red Bull HQ in Cali last month and challenged some hard core video gamers to a few rounds of Halo2. Big mistake…let’s just say he didn’t fare well in the challenge and got his butt kicked to the curb. His competitors must have been sympathetic because a portable Xbox 360 gaming system arrived at the race shop today with this note:

“Brian - Thanks for coming out to HQ and playing a little Halo2 with us. You seemed like you might have been a little rusty. This should help you out a little as you travel from race to race. Next time you’re in LA – you better bring you’re A-game.”