Thursday, May 31, 2007

"The Monster Mile"

Dover International Speedway's monster mascot must scale the scoring tower way up high to find the No. 83’s last finish in a Nextel Cup race. Five spots down in the running order from Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 was Brian Vickers, whose own personal weekly boot camp helped him manage a power-steering problem all the way to a fifth-place finish in NASCAR’s marathon race. It was quite the feat. BV’s not a big guy, and that’s a long time to be muscling a 3,400-pound race car as the sun sinks and soreness sets in. But Brian manned up, and it was Red Bull Racing’s best finish ever. Did we mention that BV led 76 laps and at one point drove the dominant car in the race? That was, however, one top five. Red Bull Racing has many more planned in the future, beginning with this weekend’s visit to “The Monster Mile” — a high-banked, high-speed concrete oval that again will sap all the life out of Brian, teammate AJ Allmendinger and the others. Brian has defeated Dover once before. In the fall of 2003 there, he smoked the Busch Series field in the No. 5 Chevy on his way to the championship.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Now we know the Darlington race was a few weeks ago, but yesterday at the team meeting AJ was presented with the right side panel of his Darlington car to commemorate his first Darlington Stripe (and from the looks of the picture, his first several!) The guys in the fab shop have been saving this piece for a few weeks specifically for AJ. For all you blog readers, you probably remember the post and picture from AJ's first day at the "Lady in Black"... this can definitely be considered the "after" picture.

The Darlington stripe has always been a rite of passage for a new NASCAR driver - so congrats Rookie, you did a good job keeping the car in one piece and bringing it home. Everyone from the shop signed and personalized messages on the back of the panel. AJ said his main worry was where it was going to fit in his apartment!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The 83's Strip Show

Two days removed from the Coke 600, Red Bull Racing’s No. 83 looked like it was half dead in the shop today, still recuperating from a rough day and night in NASCAR’s longest race. You might be wondering what happens to such a top-notch machine that escaped LMS with a top five in hand. Here’s the abridged version, according to Doug Richert, the guy who helped Brian Vickers nurse this baby home.
- Stop, survey and assess what’s right and wrong with the car. That damn power steering deal was the focus of today’s investigation.
- Yank the TRD motor. It gets torn apart, packaged and shipped to the big brains at Toyota Racing Development on the left coast. They have their own checklist because this piece was stout for 600 miles.
- Yank the tranny, suspension, brakes, rotors … all the parts and pieces that get used up. Each department dissects its own stuff.
- Strip the bull of its scarred skin, which can make for a hell of a piece of memorabilia. Sometimes, the signatures of AJ and BV grace these pieces of sheet metal and are auctioned off for charity. Other times, they’re simply used as marketing tools.
- Clean the naked frame, check it, re-check it and send it back through the process. Once it’s all done, “You’ll never know the difference,” Doug revealed.
Check with your local Red Bull Racing shop employee for more details.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

"Say it Live!"

And that’s just what AJ and Brian did on the Toyota Live Stage yesterday at Lowe’s. Let's just say there was no holding back. The twosome went to the stage for a traditional Q&A session, but ended up putting their own twist on it. Brian was asked AJ’s favorite saying and before BV even had a chance to answer, the crowd was screaming, “I’m bringing sexy back!” Justin Timberlake's song was then pumped through the stage and the fans got to see AJ karaoke and do his own “booty” dance to the song. Talk about entertainment! He even gave the fans a sneak preview of the “ride the horse” dance that him and crew chief Ricky Viers will do when they capture their first Cup victory. We'll let you use your imagination on that one. AJ was then asked what celebs Brian hangs out with in NYC and AJ’s response, “Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson?” was right, but he left out former boy-band member Nick Lachey. As usual, AJ had something to say, “I heard you’re the reason Nick and Jessica Simpson broke up!” That really got the crowd going too. After their on-stage charades, we made a whole new swarm of Red Bull fans!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Before Cup practice today AJ and NASCAR host Riki Rachtman took a trip to the infield in Lowe's Motor Speedway to recruit some new AJ fans - or, according to Riki, to get people to join the "Dinger Train". They were shooting a segment for SPEED's NASCAR RaceDay show. A lot of fans recognized Riki from his days with MTV's Headbanger's Ball.

The mission of the day was to figure out from fans what it would take to make AJ their favorite driver. We discovered that it wouldn't actually take much, once they met AJ. One group of fans said they wanted convert their bus into to the "Dingermobile." They liked that he came out to "hang" with them. AJ wasn't able to be convinced to get into their blow-up swimming pool though! Another group of folks they approached were sporting "Anything but Toyota" t-shirts. By the time AJ and Riki left, the fans were hugging AJ and drinking Red Bulls. I'd say their work was done.

Be sure to check out AJ's RaceDay segment on the SPEED tomorrow at 3:00 pm EST. There will also be footage of AJ showing Riki around the Red Bull Energy Station. It should be very entertaining!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Point of View

For Thursday Night's qualifying for the 600 race at Charlotte, Red Bull Racing team employees and a guest got the opportunity to cheer on BV and AJ from the friendly confines of the Red Bull Energy Station that sits above the backstretch leading into turn 3. Many of the 160+ employees (minus the race crew down in the infield) soaked in the beautiful sunset, watched a few crashes (Waltrip's occured right down the backstretch), fed their bellies with carved beef and chicken, replenished their veins with Red Bull, and plugged their ears every time a qualifying car whizzed by. Oh, and they cheered BV And AJ to the 26th and 29th starting positions for Sunday's race. Throughout the night, the phrase "This is freakin' awesome!" was overheard time and again. Not a bad point of view.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

High-Low Ropes

Brian took the #83 and #84 pit crews over to the US National Whitewater Center for some team building and team bonding activities (if you’re a blog follower, you know we’ve been hitting that place up a lot). Our crews proved their athletic and agile by flying through the high-low ropes course – not to mention shattering a group of US Secret Service men’s time by more than 20 minutes! Now, that’s something to brag about. Their second daunting task was rafting through the whitewater rapids. We were assured by Ben Cook, Strength & Conditioning Coach, that there were plenty of human spills into the rapids – even trapping some guys underneath the boats. We’re happy to report they all survived the rapids injury-free.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Class Clown

AJ made a bunch of little race fans happy this morning when he visited Northview Elementary in Statesville, NC (Kindergarden - 2nd grades). The school won a visit from AJ by selling the 2nd most NASCAR Day pins in Iredell County at $5.00 a pop. Half of the profits went towards Stocks-for-Tots, which teamed with the NASCAR Foundation for the annual NASCAR Day celebration.

The day began with an assembly for the whole school where all the kids were able to ask Mr. AJ (as they called him) anything and everything they wanted to. Among the questions were "Who is your favorite driver?" (AJ's answer: "Well besides myself, and I am my favorite person, it would have to be Jeff Gordon"); "How old are you?" (with guesses ranging from 13 to 36); "How fast can you go in a racecar" (AJ's response of 200 mph got a lot of oohhh's and aahhh's from the kids); and "What was your favorite subject in school?" (AJ's response: "Math. I love numbers.")

Mrs. Shotkus's 1st grade class was the top-selling class within the school so they received some alone time with AJ. He personalized hero cards for each of the kids. We think a lot of new AJ Allmendinger fans were born today!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Racing to Play

Whether they’re racing to win or Racing to Play, our pit crew is known for busting their butts. Last week, Brian and the #83 crew sweated it out for 6 hours for Tony Stewart’s “Racing to Play” charity. The crew built one heck of a playground – a $33,000 playground (no joke!) - for a local shelter for battered women and their children. Almost 200 volunteers were on-site dragging and raking mulch, building swing sets, piecing together playground parts, mixing and pouring cement, and building a rock climbing wall (the #83 guys took that project over). Get eight guys together and you’re bound to get frat party-like jokes. Overheard between the pit crew and Brian were, “Hey Brian, be careful with those piano hands,” and “I’ve gotta watch these money-makers (Aaron Schields referring to his hands).” A big thanks to Shaun Peet, Eric Groen, Mike Metcalf, Doug Newell, Dustin Necaise, Aaron Schields, Phillip Norris, and Brian Vickers. Your mom’s would be proud.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Role Change

Sunday was an unusual off-day for NASCAR so Brian took the opportunity to hit the new US National Whitewater Center near Charlotte with one of the world's best kayakers - Tao Berman. With a video crew and photographer on hand to capture it, you'd expect Brian to be a little nervous to have an audience, but Tao gave him pointer after pointer as they navigated the man-made rapids with names like Sunset, M Wave, Shutdown and Biscuits & Gravy. Only twice did BV have to bail from his boat while submerged. Not bad for a beginner. Tao, a Red Bull-supported daredevil kayaker with world records for waterfall descents, got his own thrill later that night at the Richard Petty Driving School at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Using instruction BV game him prior, Tao reached 141 mph. Not bad for a beginner. Look out for a feature story and some audio and video on the day later this week at the team's website.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

2nd Place!

Last night AJ drove the 00 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports truck to a 2nd place finish in the Quaker Steak and Lube 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The finish marked his career-best finish in NASCAR in only his 8th start in the Craftman Truck Series. He held his own during several restarts and the green/white checkered finish at the end of the race running between veterans Ron Hornaday and Todd Bodine. In the end, he wasn't able to catch Hornaday, but finished only .244 seconds behind him. The 2nd place finish earned AJ a visit to the media center post-race for a Q&A with reporters. And many had the same sentiment - keep doing what you are doing and you will earn everyone's respect before too long.

Tonight AJ will start 8th in the NEXTEL Open and try to be one of the 2 cars to race their way into the All-Star race. Brian rolls of the grid in 14th in the All-Star race. Tune in to SPEED tonight at 7:30 pm to see both cars in action.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Just Missed

The All-Star Challenge weekend really started on Wednesday night down at Charlotte Bobcats Arena for the Pit Crew Challenge. The No. 83 crew represented and were the team that no one wanted to go against. During the evening, they posted the second fastest time and at one point no team wanted to go up against them during the call-out session. Everyone knew the guys were capable of pulling off the best stop of the night. In fact, during one point in the evening the crew held several of the fastest individual times for specific positions. Yet, the hot team of the night was the No. 12 crew, who squeezed by the No. 83 crew prior to the finals and went on to win the title. The end result was a fifth place finish for our boys. You can see taped version on Speed TV on Saturday at 12:30 pm ET.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

First Person

This year Red Bull has been shooting a series of "First Person" videos across the country with college student Lenay as the subject of the adventures. Basically she gets to participate in different extreme sports and challenges that Red Bull puts their sponsorship dollars towards. Already this year she has gone sky diving with the Red Bull Air Force and flown at 6 G's with Red Bull aerobatic pilot Kirby Chambliss.

Today her mission was to learn to race a stock car, complete a pass on the track and do a burnout on her own. Her teacher for the day? Red Bull Racing's own AJ Allmendinger! A Red Bull film crew rented out Hickory Motor Speedway for the day to complete the driving lessons. First Lenay rode around the track for a while as a passenger in AJ's car (we were using the Red Bull show cars - one of which is a 2-seater). Next she drove around the track for a while on her own in the #83 car, with AJ giving her pointers along the way in her headset. When she was comfortable, AJ joined her on track in the #84 car. She was able to follow his lines and eventually even completed a pass. Now AJ likely slowed down a little to let her pass... but who knows, maybe she was just that good! She did surprisingly well though and completed all of her goals - in fact, she became so confident in the car that she started teasing AJ about taking over driving the #84 car this weekend at Lowe's.

The video footage will be posted on youtube, FaceBook and other sites in the next month or so. So as soon as we have a link, we will be sure to share it with everyone! Stay tuned to see AJ & Lenay in action on the track!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Premiere Footage

Premiere TV, a German television station, was on hand at the shop today to shoot some feature segments with Red Bull Racing. This is the same station that airs the NASCAR races LIVE in Germany. It seems the NASCAR fanbase is growing overseas! What Premiere hopes to do is shoot some footage of specific things many fans would not usually have access to seeing. These segments will air throughout the NASCAR season.

One focus today was "AJ's office," which is essentially just what the inside of his car looks like and how it works. AJ explained the different parts of his cockpit, the instrument panel, and talked about some of the differences between the inside of stock cars versus open wheel cars. The crew was also interested in other stuff like the differences between the current car and the COT, what is kept inside a tool box, and what it is like to be a spotter. The crew will be following Red Bull Racing throughout all of All-Star weekend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pitting For Pride

Believe it or not, there is an event in Nextel Cup that has nothing to do with owner points, qualifying speeds or the go-or-go-home bubble — and we’re in it. Red Bull Racing’s No. 83 crew takes to the floor of Charlotte Bobcats Arena for Wednesday night’s Nextel Pit Crew Challenge. For those of you that have no clue, here are 10 reasons to get one and get your butt there.
1. The men servicing the No. 83 are Aaron Schields (front carrier), Phillip Norris (front changer), Eric Groen (rear carrier), Dustin Necaise (rear changer), Shaun Peet (jack man), Doug Newell (gas mas) and Mike Metcalf (catch can).
2. There is some serious loot on the line. The championship team earns more than $70,000.
3. These guys have a whole hell of a lot of responsibility, and only 15 seconds to do their job.
4. Pride means a ton when there are no points on the line.
5. It ain’t on TV, live anyway. You'll have to wait until 12:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday to watch it on Speed Channel.
6. It’s a good reason to paint uptown Charlotte on a Wednesday night.
7. The best at each over-the-wall position is recognized with a 10-G bonus.
8. Nowhere else is there a racing-related activity going on. The 83’s go in the Winston — err, All-Star Challenge — isn’t until Saturday night.
9. Tickets are only $15, and a slice of the pie goes to the NASCAR Foundation.
10. Leave the house for once.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What If?

Well, the talk of NASCAR continues to be Junior. Why is he really leaving DEI? What did he get Teresa for Mother's Day? Who gave him that bowl hair cut for last week's press conference? But the biggest question is who will he be driving for in '08 and beyond? The speculation has been a Chevrolet team, most likely Richard Childress Racing. But, would he ever drive for a foreign manufacturer like Toyota? Would he drive for another beverage company other than Budweiser? Would he drive the No. 3 that his father drove? Well, the answer my friends is pure speculation., which is exactly what a few shop guys did with one of our cars when this spy photo was taken. Or is it not?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lucky Dog!

We’re trying to turn our racing luck around so what better way to help do that than with a “Lucky Dog?” Luna, an English Bull Terrier, was on hand at Darlington today to wish us good luck against the Lady in Black. (We also saw her sniffing around for leftover Brats, so we’re questioning her intentions!) Regardless, Luna brought a smile to everyone’s face before the race and we even joked about letting her sit on top of the pit box – we’d have to take that one up with NASCAR though so we all know what the answer would be! Normally dogs aren’t even allowed in the garage, but Luna’s owner must have a way with words when talking her way past the security guards. She’s also an attractive lady – that has to help when you’re dealing with mostly all male gate guards! Race at 1 PM (EST) on Fox. Tune in!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Darlington Stripe

Having never seen Darlington before start of practice yesterday, AJ quickly became aquainted with the "Lady in Black" and received his first Darlington stripe on lap 2 of practice. AJ receieved several more as he continued to learn the race track. He was not alone though... looking around the garage area there were very few cars without Darlington stripes! The picture shows the #84 car after last night's Hour Hour practice...

When the garage opened today, the #84 crew re-decaled and smoothed out the right side of AJ's car, as you can see in the picture.

Tune in tonight at 7:30 pm to see Brian and AJ and both Red Bull cars in action. Brian will roll off the grid 15th, and AJ 20th

Friday, May 11, 2007

Smokin' with the "Lady in Black"

As if the COT weren’t shaking up enough change in NASCAR – now it’s also breaking Darlington tradition! With the Car of Today, teams used to wedge a piece of wood in the right side of the car between the roll cage and the body. As the cars scraped and scrubbed down the walls of the track, the wood acted as a barrier to keep the sheet metal from denting down onto the tires. The wood would give off a burning smell that helped signify – you got it – your Darlington stripe. Now that the COT has taken over Darlington, there won’t be anymore burning wood. The walls of the COT are packed with so much insulation (see pic of foam), that there’s no room to stick a 2 x 4 in anymore. What are teams to do? Hold out and hope the jam-packed foam (coated in more fire retardant now thanks to the recent smoking of foam that Harvick had) does the same job as the wood – keeping the sheet metal off the tires.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stars & Stripes

One of NASCAR’s great inevitabilities is the Darlington Stripe, defined simply as a driver whose car makes contact with the wall at Darlington Raceway. It’s a rite of passage for rookies. No driver can say they’ve raced at Darlington until they’ve earned a stripe, and seldom does one come without another. Rest assured, AJ will earn his stripes this weekend. Darlington is also known as "The Lady in Black" and she bowed down to BV in 2003. The second of three victories in his championship Busch Series season came at Darlington when BV (in a Hendrick #5) slipped, slid and slithered around the 1.33-mile, egg-shaped track that’s famous for digesting large amounts of rubber in one sitting. BV admits he has a crush on Darlington as it is his favorite of all NASCAR tracks,. Even more than Talladega?

For the full scoop on Darlington, read this week's website feature.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Red Bull 4-Pack

It was a nice sight yesterday to see both AJ and Brian towards the top of the leaderboard at the NASCAR Cup test at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The guys ended the afternoon session in 7th (Brian) and 11th (AJ), and the evening session in 4th (AJ) and 11th (Brian). The #83 and #84 crews worked hard all day to get the Camry's running well. And once they did, both cars stayed at the top of the charts for the remainder of the day. The Cola-Cola 600 is one of the biggest races of the year and hopefully the guys can take what they learned in this week's test to put both Red Bull Racing cars in the field in a couple of weeks. We all know Brian can run up front at Lowe's, he has proven that in the past. AJ said yesterday that his main goal at the test was to learn the track and become comfortable driving the high speeds (almost 200 mph!) - mission accomplished. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pontoon Heads

While much of the team is busy today testing at Charlotte for second day in a row, or building/prepping cars in the raceshop, employees do get some days off here and there, although not many thanks to the NASCAR schedule. But on a recent weekend, the Parts Dept. decided to do some "bonding" and scurry off to Lake Norman for a day of boating. To cut to the end of the story, the Watercraft boat never made it to water, resulting in a Non-Conformance Report by the team's Quality Control Dept. (see picture and report description). The rather large pontoon fell off the rather small trailer while driving to the marina. Swift afoot, the crew were able to prop it up again on the trailer and safely make it to the marina, but the key to start the engine didn't make it with them. Ah, yes. A missing part. End of day.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Supermoto'd Out

KTM, an Austrian motorcycle manufacturer, was kind enough to hook the team up with a few 560 SMR supermoto motorcycles, so three guys – we’ll use aliases of “Cucumber,” “Kylie-Wylie,” and “The Renegade” – thought they’d take them for a spin around Mooresville last week. A quick trip around Race City USA turned into a minor disaster. We won’t point fingers, but we will say that Guy #1 stalled his bike and couldn’t get the bike restarted. Guy #2 thought the bikes were “too powerful and scary” so he offered up his bike to Guy #1. Guy #2 ate hot dogs at the gas station while Guy #1 and Guy #3 rode off. Guy #1 stalled the borrowed bike and had to walk it back to the gas station - in full leather riding gear in the 90 degree heat. Guy #3 described him as “a puddle in his boots” by the time he got back to the gas station. Guy #3 had to go back to the shop and get a truck to come back and pick up the hot-dog eating gas station guys – and their bikes. What a trip!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunny Skies

The rain is gone today and the race is scheduled to start under sunny skies at 1:00 pm. AJ will start 13th.

Last night we made it to lap 13 under the green/yellow flag before the race was red flagged. During the green/yellow laps, AJ, crew chief Ricky and spotter Tim passed the time with jokes. AJ first asked them: "If I pass all these guys at first will they let me lead a lap?" Ricky's answer was of course no. AJ countered with: "Just so you know Ricky, my car right now under yellow is stuck to the track real good." Tim decided to chip in "You look damn good out there AJ."

Another exchange on about lap 10:
AJ: "What place am I in right now."
Ricky: "13th place. You are doing a good job."
AJ: "My car is weaving back and forth better than any other car out here."
Ricky: "You are killing me."

After the race was red-flagged, AJ and crew hung out in the #84 pit under a tent until the race was officially called. During his live MRN interview during the rain delay, AJ fired up the remaining poncho-covered fans in the stands when he said that they should just race in the rain.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Lucky No. 13

AJ made Red Bull Racing proud yesterday by laying down the team's best qualifying effort of the year. He will start 13th in tonight's race under the lights in Richmond. The test in Iowa last Monday really helped the team find the speed and grip needed with the COT. AJ said he owed it to his crew and crew chief Ricky Viers who he described live on the SPEED Channel as "cool as the other side of the pillow." The #84 even sat on the pole for a while.

Tune in tonight at 7:30 PM EST to see the #84 on track. Right now it is raining in Richmond, so hopefully the clouds part and we are able to race tonight. If not, the race will be rescheduled for Sunday (time TBD).

Friday, May 04, 2007

Queen to Cup Race?

Or so goes the rumor around the NASCAR paddock…Queen Elizabeth arrived in Richmond yesterday to mark the 400th anniversary of Jamestown (America’s first permanent colony for the non-history buffs out there). The Red Bull Racing crew landed at the private airport just moments before the Queen herself. We thought the heavy security, cops stationed every mile down the I-64, and the road blocks downtown were for our arrival - our mistake! The Queen is jetting over to the Kentucky Derby tomorrow morning and Richard “The King” Petty is getting the honor of meeting her, so she must be a NASCAR fan, right? Maybe she’ll stop by the Jim Stewart 400 tomorrow night. We’d even let her sit on top our pit box.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Softball Slaughter!

Red Bull Racing slaughtered Hendrick Motorsports in the weekly NASCAR softball game at Kannapolis Park. Both “The Horn” and “Tricky” hit home runs. “Prince” was on pace for his first shutout of the season until “Bob” let a fly ball get over his head - costing “Prince” the shutout. When the 4th inning came around, the Red Bull crew had racked up 17 runs to Hendricks 2 runs – granting the Bulls the “slaughter” rule. The slaughter rule says, “If a team is ahead by 15 runs anytime beginning with the 4th inning, the game is called.” And that’s exactly what happened. The current Red Bull record stands at 2 wins, 2 losses. Up next: Toyota teams duel on the field for the first time next Wednesday at 7:30 PM. Red Bull Racing vs Michael Waltrip Racing. Who will prevail? Stay tuned…

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Caught on Camera

If you've visited the team website, you've probably seen the weekly video clips that recap the race weekend, good or bad. Sometimes the clips include some non-race action such as last weekend in Talladega when AJ took a crew into the infield to have some fun. Wonder if the Cajun beans and rice he tried in the clip really did hurt him on qualifying day?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Several times on Tuesday, the Red Bull Racing shop got unintentionally buzzed by N2RW, the Bell 427 helicopter owned and sometimes-piloted by Rusty Wallace. You see, RWI has a three-building race shop across the street on Knob Hill Road and it features its very own heli pad (photo was not taken at race shop helipad). So when the buildings start to rattle, a few folks can be heard saying "There's Rusty" out loud. Who knows where he is coming from or going to, but it sure is the best way to beat the congested traffic in ever-growing Mooresville. By the time it takes to round the corner to get on the interstate, Rusty is probably half way to his dealerships near Bristol, TN for a visit. Maybe when the Red Bull BO-105 aerobatic helicopter visits Mooresville, Rusty will let us use his helipad in exchange for a thrill ride.