Racing News Now: The Magazine

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Racing News Now: The Magazine

Post by pennst24 on Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:27 pm

(OOC: I decided I wanted to work on my writing a little bit. This thread will be something I do for fun, as I'll report on the major news of pretty much all of the canon leagues, and maybe have an opinion piece once in a while. Anyway, here's the first article.)

2016 Dash Cup Preview
by Jon Wagner

The 17th season of Dash Cup will kick off at the appropriately named Toddring, named after Todd Benatar, who currently works Dash Cup broadcasts for CloudSport. After that, the series will sweep through its usual British tour, then the European tour, the South Pacific tour, and will come to a conclusion at the New York Autoring. Wait a minute. The New York Autoring? Why would they run touring cars on an oval?

Well, they aren't. Dash Cup officials have mandated the use of stock car bodies previously used by the TM Master Cup Series for 2016, dumping the touring bodies after one season. TV revenue and ratings were down for Dash Cup last season, and many fans felt slighted by the use of touring cars in 2015. Unsurprisingly, they weren't afraid to voice their opinion. "I thought the touring bodies just took the uniqueness out of Dash Cup", said young fan Timmy Gilmore, who has camped out all week in Carlisle waiting for the start of the new season. "They became just like every other touring car series on earth. I'm stoked to watch these beautiful stock bodies come back this year." Laura Graham, 59, from Kent, echoed Gilmore's sentiments. "I've seen every season of Dash Cup but last season felt like there was no soul in it. The racing was still good, but it didn't look right." Clearly, Dash Cup officials felt much the same way, and teams now have registered for the season with an astonishing nineteen different body styles.

The 2016 Dash Cup season could prove to be the best season yet, with so many entries, and the series adopting the "two sprints, one feature" format used in FARC. However, no race series can go on without the efforts of all drivers and teams. Let's meet the teams participating in Dash Cup's 17th season.

STS ATK Racing -- STS Arrow
#1 - Cassandra Collins (ENG)
#5/#21 - Emily Brannagan (SCO)/Ben Atkins (ENG)
#28 - Matilda Dillinger (ENG)
#84 - Jacob Eichholtz (USA)
#155 - James Hewitt (ENG)

The STS-backed, Atkins-owned team returns with 5 entries, with each driver coming from a different background. Cassie Collins will don car number 1 in 2016 after the most dominant season in Dash Cup history, which placed the 19-year-old as the winningest driver in Dash Cup's history. She hopes to have the same results as she did last season. Collins is currently the betters' favorite for the 2016 crown. Emily Brannagan won the rookies-only race in a dramatic photo finish, and she will split time with team owner Ben Atkins. Matilda Dillinger is another rookie for ATK, but she proved to be very handy behind the wheel in the now-defunct Oval Stocks series. Jacob Eichholtz is the wild card for this team, finishing top 20 in points in FARC, TM Lights, and Dash Cup, proving he can compete. He's also won a certain race called the Spa GP twice in his career now. James Hewitt is another rookie, but some outsiders say he has a higher ceiling than anyone on the team, perhaps even higher than Atkins, Collins, or Eichholtz. This team should be one of the teams to beat if everything goes right.

Simonet Sport -- FIAM DeltaTC
#2 - Thomas De Bock (BEL)
#3 - Patrick Arceneau (SUI)
#4 - Dino Venneri (ITA) - Part-time

Simonet Sport is back with the newest FIAM Dash Cup model, and their driver lineup remains unchanged as well. Belgium's Thomas De Bock looks to place himself into the winners' circle, as does Patrick Arceneau, who hasn't won since 2014. Dino Venneri of Italy is the team's part-time competitor. Despite struggling last season and both full-time cars finishing outside the top 15 in standings, the team's FIAM should prove to be race-winning. I wouldn't be surprised to see Arceneau take a race win once the series hits the European road courses. Despite all the winless streaks and 2015 struggles, Simonet Sport is still a strong team and should be ready to have a successful 2016.

Jack Golden Enterprises -- Lycoia Infiltrator
#7 - Daxter Hamlett (ENG)
#29 - Natalie Kendall (ENG)
#70 - Jennifer Goodwin (ENG)

One of the series' new full-time teams, Jack Golden Enterprises has solidified a solid driver lineup in their first season. The all-English lineup of Hamlett, Kendall, and Goodwin could easily win a race out of the box with their Lycoia power and British Petroleum sponsorship money. Hamlett, while crass at times, can get the job done, and Natalie Kendall is a proven winner. It will be interesting to see how the young team handles their first season of a championship assault. They have the resources and the drivers to do it. However, this team is still a huge question mark, and how they perform could have rippling effects on the rest of the grid.

Team Kwik Fit -- Kanako Youkusei
#00 - Amber Clagett (IRE)
#02 - Harriet Wallace (WAL)
#20 - Joey Clagett (IRE)
#22 - Ike Durbin (USA)

Kwik Fit opts for a very youthful driver lineup in 2016, with Wales' Harriet Wallace as the senior member. Amber and Joey Clagett will be teammates again, and they should both improve as the season goes on. American Ike Durbin's Kwik Fit ride came somewhat out of left field, considering he started his career on the Midwestern short tracks. However, he has proven time and again in various American leagues that he is a very good driver, and I'd expect him to not be too far off the pace of his teammates to start the season. Quinton Young's team has branched out to TMMC one-offs and a full-time WCC effort. It's doubtful this would impact their Dash Cup efforts, but nothing is a given in racing. Kwik Fit should be quick out of the gate, as usual.

Matthews Atlantic Motorsports -- Matthews Aspira DC
#06 - Ryan Matthews (USA)
#26 - Carter Fitzgerald (USA)
#56 - Hannah Percy (ENG)
#66 - Ashley Flynn (SUI) - Part-time
#90 - Kellan Rogers-Ashby (CAN)

Ryan Matthews, the 2014 FARC Elite Series champion, purchased Atlantic Motorsports, further expanding his ever-growing racing empire. This is a championship contending team, and there could be a rivalry budding with STS ATK, as Ben Atkins and Jacob Eichholtz, now drivers for ATK, used to be involved with this team. Let's not forget about the fact Atkins' wife Hannah Percy has stuck around at Matthews-Atlantic instead of joining her husband at ATK. Many business deals in racing are odd, but none could be possibly more odd than the previously mentioned circumstances. Either way, Matthews will compete with 5 of the very best the sport has to offer right now. The case could be made that this is the strongest driver lineup in the series for 2016. I expect the Aspira DC to be fast and capable of winning many races this season.

Snowdrift Motorsports -- STS Arrow
#10 - Elizabeth Francisco (CAN)
#11 - Justin Keith (CAN)
#12 - Lucas Flint (CAN) - Part-time

The popular Canadian armada is back for 2016, running the STS Arrow. Francisco and Keith will head up the midfield, and will probably surprise the frontrunners on many occasions. This team has remained pretty much unchanged, and can expect to be the reliable competitors they have been throughout their Dash Cup careers.

Altoros GP -- Kosovet KS16
#33 - Stasya Filipov (RUS)
#37 - Tomas Prochazka (CZH)
#72 - Barney Ward (ENG)
#73 - Velmier Jankovic (SRB)

The Belorussian team is back for another run, this time with 4 cars. This team's competitiveness will hinge on the performance of the Kosovet KS16. Filipov and Ward are young but very fast. Velmier Jankovic is somewhat obscure, but the Serbian driver looks to be on pace with his 3 teammates. Without question, the team's leader is Tomas Prochazka, the popular Czech driver. This team should have no problems finding resources considering the fact they are backed by a multinational corporation. All 4 cars should be competitive right out of the gate in 2016. Barney Ward is my personal darkhorse pick for the Dash Cup Driver's Championship. As noted before, however, their hopes lay in the performance of the car. If they can't get that, it could be a tough season.

Tom Delgado Racing -- Matthews Aspira DC
#36 - Carla Rosinski (POL)
#83 - Amanda Torres (USA)

Carla Rosinski finds a home at TDR, teaming with 15-year-old Amanda Torres for 2016. Torres has drawn her share of ire, culminating with a big crash in the rookies-only race. Delgado has had her back at every turn and will continue to do so. The Aspira DC they are running will be fast, so Rosinski has a shot at winning races. Torres on the other hand, would probably consider having a few good runs an indication of a successful first year. However, Tom Delgado demands excellence, but Torres and Rosinski look like they can live up to the standards of The American Devil.

Keep Up GP -- Tutino T11
#19 - Oak Treediee (CAN)
#55 - Israel Bruce (SWE)
#59 - Casey Lester (USA)

By far the best named team in the paddock, Keep Up will be looking to do just that in their Tutino-powered entry. Oak Treediee of Canada is the series' most interesting driver. Sweden's Israel Bruce is also a bit crazy. The only sane person on this team is Casey Lester, who after returning this soon from his injuries in a FARC Super Series race, might not be so sane after all. This teams seems like they will be deeply entrenched right in the middle of the midfield, but will probably be able to score some good results, especially with Bruce and Lester.

(to be continued........next time we will be discussing FIAM, Hannagan Enterprises, Citra Performance, Proline, Macena Racing, TH Racing, Autosport France, Carter, Big Bang, Williams Racing Team, and RA Racing)
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Re: Racing News Now: The Magazine

Post by pennst24 on Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:02 pm

2016 Dash Cup Preview -- Part 2

FIAM Engineering -- FIAM DeltaTC
#14 - Mireille Allain (FRA)
#15 - Franco Giovanardi (ITA)
#75 - Vincenzo Fochasato

The flagship Italian team is back, with a strong driver lineup and a very fast race car underneath them. Allain showed flashes as a rookie, as did lead driver Vincenzo Fochesato, who looks to take on the British-based teams for a run at the title. Giovanardi is a young driver, who, like his teammates, should prove to be on the pace at the start of the season. This team is capable of winning plenty of races, and will have the support of the home crowd when the series travels to Illebianchi.

Hannagan Enterprises -- Kosovet KS16/Casari C4
#05 - Stjepan Svetadic (SRB)
#50 - Tanya Carter (IRE)

Hannagan Enterprises will have a different car for each of their drivers, a situation entirely unique to them. Svetadic only had three top fives last year, while Tanya Carter took home a win. This team looks like its setting itself up for trouble, and there could be possible whispers of a lack of funding if the season does not start off quickly for them. This is one of the more interesting teams in the paddock due to their two-car setup.

Citra Performance Sport -- Juneau AMX5
#08 - Dan Morton (ENG)
#18 - Carl Astor (ENG)
#81 - Terry Orvell, Jr.

Dan Morton and Terry Orvell will be tasked with being the team leaders, as both are experienced Dash Cup veterans and should have no problems showing flashes of speed. Carl Astor is the rookie of the bunch, and faces an uphill climb in his maiden Dash Cup title run. The team has solid backing from Citra Squeeze, so resources should not be an issue. The Juneau this team aims to run last ran in 2011 with Owen DeGarmo's Master Cup team, scoring a win with Zelda Ashby in Quebec. CPS should be solid midfield contenders, competing with the likes of Snowdrift and Keep Up.

Proline GP -- Volpi VC03
#09 - Becky O'Rodagh (IRE)
#79 - Grant MacIntosh (ENG)
#89 - Dan Johnson (ENG)

Two rookies and Grant MacIntosh head up the only Volpi-powered team in the series, as they look to impress at the start of the season. Ireland's Becky O'Rodagh and England's Dan Johnson are hoping for good results early on to build confidence and show the team bosses of the front runners that they are worthy of a drive in the future. However, the Volpi definitely has the capability to provide better results than is expected of this team. They'll be fun to watch, if nothing else.

Gabriel Macena Racing -- Lenard R37
#13 - Luc Pellerin (CAN) - Part-time
#31 - Ross Carter (IRE) - Part-time
#71 - Gabriel Macena (BRA)

Gabe Macena's own team comes to Dash Cup for 2016, using the Lenard R37. The Brazilian driver enlists the services of Luc Pellerin from Canada, and Ross Carter, who both will go part-time for this team. All three are experienced and should be fast, proving their rookie status to be only a formality. Macena has a good shot to win a race during the European tour.

TH Racing -- STS Arrow
#17 - Dieter Ziegler (GER)
#47 - Soren Kanerva (FIN)
#77 - Stefan Halvari (FIN) - Part-time

The Finnish, Neste Oil-backed team returns for another championship assault, looking to repeat their 2013 feat, when they won the championship with Robert Dorian. Ziegler took 4 wins and 7th place in the championship, while Soren Kanerva brought home a top 5 points finish, impressive for a first year driver. Halvari will return part-time, taking 3 wins in 28 starts in 2015. The STS is the quickest car in Dash Cup, and that should provide THR a good foundation to a title run.

Autosport France -- Meprise Chatte
#27 - Pascal Vallee (FRA)
#43 - Suzette Doiron (FRA)
#44 - Lydia McKenzie (CAN)

France's national team debuts with 3 rookies in a Meprise Chatte. 2016 will be a learning year for this team, and the results should improve as the year progresses. Lydia McKenzie should be the quickest of this trio, considering the various experiences she had in her junior career.

Big Bang Racing -- Gessler MTR94
#88 - Harold Smith (ENG)
#99 - Perrie Forrester (ENG)

The aptly-named Big Bang Racing looks to avoid the big bangs that have plagued them throughout their existence in Dash Cup. After only winning 1 race last season, they've changed their driver lineup, combining the experience of Harold Smith with the youthful potential of Oval Stocks champion Perrie Forrester. Gessler makes its debut in the series, although it is not known how much (or alternatively, how little) support Big Bang is receiving from the German manufacturer.

Williams Racing Team -- Matthews Aspira DC
#93 - Katherine Williams (USA)
#94 - Bethan Kelly (ENG)

Despite the fact Katherine Williams was the lowest full-time driver in points, I don't expect her to hold that very disappointing title at the end of this season. 2016 should see a huge uptick in performance as this team adds a second car. Combined with the new Matthews Aspira, I wouldn't be shocked if Williams put her car on the podium at least once in 2016. Bethan Kelly is more of a question mark, but will have a teammate to lean on. The American team looks to have a good showing in year 2.

Ren-Ran/FAC Autosport -- STS Arrow
#46 - Frank Azure (USA) - Part-time
#777 - Miko Rantanen (FIN)

Another STS team, Ren-Ran/FAC should compete up front despite the fact they're only running 1 full-time car. Frank Azure joins as a part-timer, looking to broaden his racing horizon, so to speak. Miko Rantanen of Finland has a good shot as anyone to be deeply entrenched in the top 20 in points as the season winds down.


2016 DASH CUP PREDICTIONS
First-time winners: Mireille Allain, James Hewitt, Daxter Hamlett, Ike Durbin, Ryan Matthews, Carter Fitzgerald, Perrie Forrester
Most wins in a season: Soren Kanerva
Upset of the year: A one-off with no experience wins the Spa GP
Disappointments: Hannagan Enterprises
Best race of 2016: Spa GP
Worst race of 2016: Rockingham
Retirees at season end: Harold Smith
Reject(s) of the year: Tony Long, Danny Lee Rayma
Champion: Soren Kanerva
Runner-up: Cassie Collins
3rd place: Kellan Rogers-Ashby
4th place: Jacob Eichholtz (ooc:  Razz )
5th place: Barney Ward
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Re: Racing News Now: The Magazine

Post by The_Wall_91 on Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:40 pm

These are pretty good... except with my name in Reject of the Year. Oh well, gives me a reason to prove everyone wrong.

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Re: Racing News Now: The Magazine

Post by pennst24 on Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:17 pm

2016 Round of Victoria Preview
by Jon Wagner

The TM Master Cup Series hits the first of two Australian races at the Calder Park Thunderdome in Victoria. With nine races left in the 2014 season, the championship is still wide open. Luciano Soveral currently holds a twelve point lead over two-time Cup champion Adrien Devereux, who in turn has a four point advantage over four-time champion Leonid Roderick. Soveral, winner in Russia and Quebec, sits atop the standings in Lenard International's debut season, although with the level of experience possessed by their senior management, it should come as no shock. That's not to discredit Soveral, who has done a fantastic job in car 5 to be at the top of the heap at this stage in the season.

Melanie Clevenot in her first season at HWR sits 4th, followed by Karjala winner Alessandro Rossini in the Volpi in 5th. Arto Kekkonen, who has yet to win a race in 2014, has been steady in car 9 to sit 6th. Gaspar de Sousa, twice a winner this season, is 7th, while Zelda Ashby, Scott Bates, and Kevin Dwyer round out the top 10 in standings, each with a chance to make a late push at Soveral, Devereux, and Roderick. Each of these drivers have been top contenders for several years, while de Sousa and Kevin Dwyer have both made statements in 2014 that they are ready to take the fight to the frontrunners and be around the Master Cup Series for years to come.

It should come as no surprise then that nine of the top ten in points were in the top 10 in first practice at Calder Park, the only exception being de Sousa, who was very, very far down the time sheets in 12th. Meanwhile, in other parts of the practice, several new faces were welcomed back to the grid. Maximus Racing, who have struggled all season trying to find any pace at all in their old Gasnier, sold their entries for the Australian tour to Velocity Motorsports. Adam Purcell and Ash Bridges were the two slowest cars in practice, three tenths off the next-slowest car of Ben Atkins, and about 1 whole second off pace-setter Kekkonen's fastest lap. Dalton Johnson is the only non-Australian to receive the Promoter's Option, and he failed to set a time in opening practice. The other new face for the weekend is Jon Dilks in car 29, kicking off his Independents' Trophy run, before moving on to the Rounds of Queensland, Brazil, and Argentina.

The other three Independents' Trophy contenders for this weekend are Hannah Percy, Daniel Leckliter, and Richard Scott. Percy was the fastest of the three, placing 21st on speed, two spots ahead of Leckliter. It will be interesting to see how the battle shapes up between Percy and Leckliter in the race, as either one seems to be the favorite to be the highest placed IT car when the checkered flag falls. Percy, the former Dash Cup champion, and Leckliter, the veteran, are both seeing their Independents' Trophy hopes diminish to some extent. Leckliter will start his final race of the season, while Percy will compete next week in Queensland to finish off her run for Atlantic Motorsports. Neither are currently anywhere near the current benchmark set by American youngster Archer Harris in his Tonare, however, Percy is a fantastic young driver and could easily surprise in both Australian rounds to close the gap to Harris.

Overall, this race is shaping up to be the third consecutive thriller at Calder Park, and it's quickly becoming obvious why this race has stuck on the calendar for the past three seasons.

ROUND OF VICTORIA PREDICTIONS
Pole Sitter: Leonid Roderick
1st Place: Arto Kekkonen
2nd Place: Scott Steudler
3rd Place: Scott Bates
Driver of the Race: Scott Steudler
Reject of the Race: Ash Bridges
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Re: Racing News Now: The Magazine

Post by pennst24 on Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:20 am

Interview with Natalie Balandier
by Jon Wagner

Natalie Balandier is an interesting young driver looking to make her way up the ranks. She currently competes in World Challenge Cup, where she is the defending champion, but off to a slow start in her title defense. She has also competed in Formula Overdrive before the series collapsed, and Dash Cup, where she took a race win with the now-defunct Scuderia Pazzano team. Today I sat down with Miss Balandier before the first practice session for the WCC race at Carbondale.

JW: How did you first draw an interest in racing?
NB: I had family on my mom's side who were British and raced in touring cars around the UK. My dad's side was never really interested in racing until I started paying attention to it. I'd say the first car race I can remember seeing was a touring car race at Knockhill in Scotland. I saw an STS make an incredible move on an Inglesby into the final corner of that track, and I was taken aback, even as a 7 year old!

JW: What was your family's reaction?
NB: My mom was ecstatic at the thought of me being a driver, my dad, not so much. My dad's family is very traditional, and the thought of a woman racing driver maybe spooked them at first. But luckily for me I was young enough to grow up in an era where more and more female drivers were coming through, which showed them that if I had the talent level I could make something of myself. I got a go-kart in the summer of 2000, and we raced around some of the tracks in southeast England and northern France. We went back and forth a lot from England to France, it was something that I found cool, growing up basically with two different cultures.

JW: Is this why you chose to race with a French license?
NB: I chose to race with a French license because my dad is French. If roles were reversed and my dad was English and my mom was French, I'd be racing under the English flag. Just a personal preference of mine, I know a lot of drivers will choose which ones they want for a variety of different reasons.

JW: Take us through the timeline of your racing career
NB: I started in mid-2000 with the go kart and raced that until the end of 2007. At that point it was an interesting decision to make, either single seaters or touring and stock cars. I chose single seaters because a lot of drivers I raced with in karts ended up there and I figured if I could beat them in karts I could beat them on a bigger stage as well. Formula A was always the goal, but I knew it would take a lot to get there. In 2008 and 2009, I ran in Formula Micro, the smallest single seaters around, and won the championship the second year. I raced in Formula Inglesby in 2010 and got a win at Jerez, but I didn't have any drives set up for 2011, and I was worried. Luckily I was invited by an old family friend in America to attend the Master Cup finale at Decatur at the end of 2010, and after seeing that race, I felt that stock cars is maybe where I should be. I never really paid attention to American racing, even though [Alexis] Rainsford was someone I did somewhat look up to. 2011 and 2012 I ran in the Stock Tourers series, which only ran those two years before going bankrupt. I did enough to impress the people in Dash Cup because I did get there for 2013 part-time and won a race. However, I decided I needed to take a crack at America and one more attempt at single seaters.

JW: Did going to Formula Overdrive hurt your career?
NB: Looking back on it, it did. But while I was racing there I was having fun. The American tracks were incredible and I scored a few good results at the British tracks they ran on. I thought that Overdrive was slowly gaining momentum after Texas, but it was never going to surpass Champ Car. Champ Car has Indy, and all Overdrive had was silly gimmick races at high banked ovals that were too dangerous. I liked the people in the paddock, but right after Overdrive collapsed I knew my career was at a crossroads and I'd have a long road to pull it back.

JW: How did the World Challenge Cup deal come together?
NB: The people who fund WCC were a part of Hanmore when Overdrive was still around, so they asked me to come test one of their cars. It was really fun getting to drive a former Master Cup car, that was a thrill. I knew right then I was a stock car driver. I still got placed in the road division, but that was ok because I think that it gave me a clearer path to the title.

JW: Why not try your hand at TM Lights or Dash Cup again?
NB: Well, WCC didn't have very good TV coverage in 2015 and it was the series' first season, so I don't think many people knew who I was. *laughs* I love the series because I got a championship out of it, but I would like to move up. Dash Cup is really right up my alley when it comes to my skill set, but you never know what opportunities might approach in the future. I have to be mindful of not making a similar mistake as going to Overdrive, which set my career back two years. I can't afford that, I'm already 24. I'd like to race for a long time coming but still be young enough to have a family some day. So if I could move up as quickly as possible, I would. I'm doing everything in my power to try to get recognized and hopefully have future deals come down the pipeline.

JW: I noticed on the c-pillar of your WCC car this year there is a Lynxe logo. Care to elaborate on that?
NB: I have a personal services deal with Lynxe, very small contact. I wouldn't read too much into it. Lynxe is a great company. For me, with the apprehension my family had about me being a female race driver, the Lynxe team has been very important and very inspirational for what they've accomplished in the past couple of years. If the opportunity ever presented itself, I'd jump at the chance. But right now it's just a personal services deal and nothing more.

JW: Talk about the start to the 2016 WCC season. Did you expect to be this far down when you're trying to defend a title?
NB: Well, I'm in a new team and I'm trying to figure everything out. The Nemoto we're running hadn't run in anger since 2011, while some teams have fully updated 2016 models of their cars with powerful new engines and such. Finishing 3rd at Quincy was a hell of an effort from everyone especially on my first time there. I'm just glad that I can keep up with the Kwik Fit and 9th Plan cars at this point. My old car with Henke driving has won a race too, so it's been kind of depressing to see our performance compared to the other front runners. But I know this team will get it back on track and by Dubai, I expect to still be mathematically eligible for the title, that's how confident I am we can do this.

JW: That's a bold statement! Final question: Do you think you can achieve your goals this year?
NB: Yes. The season is still three races old, and later in the season when we go to the road course portion of the schedule, I expect to catch right back up. I want to get one oval win, and I want to win Dubai as the final send-off to the WCC.

JW: So you won't be back in WCC next year?
NB: Most likely, that is correct. I am proud to be the series' first champion but I want more. Tasting success at this high of a level makes me want the success that's available at the even higher levels.

JW: Well Natalie, it's been a great chat, hope to talk to you soon.
NB: Thanks Jon, have fun in the press box this weekend! *laughs*
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