Roll call: Drivers, crew relax on off weekend
March 30, 2013, Farrah Kaye, NASCAR.com
The rare off weekend between Auto Club and Martinsville allows members of the NASCAR family to take time to travel, relax and recover from the early part of the season. Ranging from testing to traveling to the beach, drivers and crew members elected to spend the weekend in different ways.
RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING
One of the perks of the time off is it’s a great time for special occasions, like weddings, births (if well-planned) and engagements. Brian Scott, driver of the No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, was two days into his vacation in Cabo San Lucas when he announced he proposed to longtime girlfriend, Whitney. He tweeted, “The Woman of my dreams and my future wife said YES! I am engaged and sooo happy!”
His teammate Austin Dillon was having a different off weekend, hunting with his grandfather and team owner Richard Childress in Argentina. Joining him was Truck Series driver and younger brother, Ty Dillon. Austin Dillon marveled at the "awesome" weather during the group's first excursion -- bird hunting.
On the Sprint Cup side of the organization, Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick started out their off weekend with some fishing, although not together. Burton listed off every fish he caught (Sailfish, Kingfish, Mahi-mahi) and Burton’s trainer was around to cook for dinner.
ROUSH FENWAY RACING
Bayne plugged sponsor Cargill when he posted this picture, saying he was “grillin and chillin” to start the weekend. Pastrana, meanwhile, headed home to Maryland, where his tricked-out backyard was covered in snow.
JOE GIBBS RACING / KYLE BUSCH MOTORSPORTS
One of the biggest stories as the off weekend began was Denny Hamlin’s injured back and the fact he would be out for up to five races. He tweeted to his fans “If me getting back in a car was based on pain tolerance then I would be in the car next week. There’s just more to it that I can’t control.” While resting at home, he began his recovery by spending time with his daughter, Taylor.
Hamlin’s teammate, Kyle Busch, began his time off following a win at Auto Club Speedway and extended his stay in Los Angeles to hang out in Hollywood. In a succession of tweets, Busch posted pictures of his time on the set of FX’s “Anger Management” starring Charlie Sheen. Busch and his wife, Samantha, took off to parts unknown, using the hashtag #paradise to describe where they were hiding out.
Nationwide Series driver Brian Vickers began his off weekend with a trip to Dollar General in Nashville for Dollar General Employee Day. Elliott Sadler posted a video about his plans to go to the beach through his sponsor, One Main Financial.
Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Parker Kligerman announced on Twitter he was given the keys to a Lexus IS F for a month and was thinking of taking it on a road trip -- and did exactly that. Kligerman, a native of Westport, Conn., drove the 11 hours from Charlotte to the streets of New York City on his way home, saying the streets of New York are like Bristol and the avenues are like Talladega.
Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson, known for running in triathlons in his down time, was back to training for his next event, posting a picture of his bike with the hashtag #BackYardTrails. His teammate and four-time champion Jeff Gordon took to the snow, saying he had plans to go skiing with his family.
Kasey Kahne headed to Ohio for his off weekend to race in one of his Kasey Kahne Racing machines. He said he was looking forward to racing in the dirt again because he hadn’t raced since last year. Before leaving, he shot a commercial for Time Warner Cable with golfer Ian Poulter and football player Victor Cruz.
Points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he didn’t want to have the off weekend “as well as (they’ve) been running.” With a friend getting married on the other off weekend of the season, Earnhardt said he plans to spend time with family and friends but would rather be at the track. His crew chief, Steve Letarte, decided to take a break from Twitter to spend time with his family and said he would be using his “Letarte Koozie” during the weekend.
Brad Keselowski started his off weekend by announcing a brand new website, including a fan-interactive “Crew Challenge,” which will allow fans to create content for his website and win prizes. Other than answering questions about the site on Twitter, Keselowski said he plans things “one day at a time” and can’t plan out far ahead.
Teammate Joey Logano, who had been silent on social media sites since the race ended at Fontana, started his time off with a golf tournament for his sponsor, Shell. Joined by his crew chief Todd Gordon, the two played in the Shell Houston Open, where Gordon brought home a trophy.
Casey Mears (Germain Racing) went to Little Rock to do some testing while Michael McDowell (Phil Parsons Racing) went hunting. Aric Almirola (Richard Petty Motorsports) had a chore list from his wife, Janice, to complete while Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s Juan Pablo Montoya was spending time at the Sony Open tennis tournament with his wife (and riding his bike during down time at the event).
Stewart-Haas Racing driver Ryan Newman had a visit from Junior Johnson at his farm and then traveled to Utah with his family while No. 55 crew chief Rodney Childers headed to camp at the beach with his family (but still stayed connected to answer questions about Mark Martin filling in for Denny Hamlin).
In one of the more fun events to start an off weekend, Turner Scott Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier and Kyle Larson headed to Pahrump, Nev., to drive exotic cars at the Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club. Allgaier tweeted his view while Larson did the same.
The Sprint Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway on April 7 for the STP Gas Booster 500 while the Nationwide Series will return at Texas for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 on April 12. Making its second appearance of the season, the Camping World Truck series returns to Martinsville for the Kroger 250 on April 6.
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