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“I am the car and the car is me.” Martin Warwick in Tenths of a Second an audio short story by Simon Wood

Racers know that racing is a slippery slope of talent, speed, technology and for the up and coming racer sponsorship money (to buy the technology to create the speed to showcase the talent). It’s a sport where, to up-and-coming drivers, tenths of a second can mean the difference between hoisting a trophy in victory lane and having to scrounge around for the money to get to the track for the next race with equipment that may or may not be competitive enough to garner you with anything more than an “also ran” performance.

This is extremely evident to Martin Warwick, protagonist in Tenths of a Second, and driver in the open wheel Formula Ford racing series (yes it’s a real racing series- here is the Formula Fords wiki page if you are curious). He knows he has what it takes to make it as a professional driver but his equipment isn’t of the quality that can get him a performance that will showcase his driving talents. That is until the mysterious Mr. Mallory shows up in Martin’s garage stall at a race with an intriguing offer. While Mallory doesn’t have the much needed sponsorship money Martin’s hoping for, he has an experimental telemetry system that governs the car and driver. Mallory assures that utilizing his system will get Martin the type of performance that will turn heads and have sponsors throwing money his way. Martin signs up with Mallory deciding that he might as well give the developmental system a go because even if it’s a total flop at least it will get him a much needed engine rebuild and testing time at a track before the next race.

“Success was my nourishment, friend, lover and soul mate.” Martin Warwick in Tenths of a Second an audio short story by Simon Wood

As a result of his partnership with Mallory, Martin quickly finds him self on the fast track to the career as a professional racer that he has been yearning for. The question is at what cost will those precious tenths of a second come and is it worth it for Martin?

Tenths of a Second is an audio short story by Simon Wood.  Let me assure you that there is nothing usual about this story and it’s telling. I will be the first to admit that I don’t tend towards audio books at all because I find if I am not engaged with the actual reading of something my mind wanders and I lose interest. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE with this story (and I have even downloaded a second audio short by Simon but haven’t listened to it yet).  At first Tenths of a Second is like pulling up a chair and reminiscing with a friend as he tells his story, but with plot twists (that not be divulged here but trust me) that Simon Wood does so well.  I highly recommend this short (it’s about 40 minutes by my computer) audio story! Order Tenths of a Second today- it is well worth the $1.50- trust me!!

Simon Wood probably sounds familiar- I have reviewed his Aidy Westlake Racing Mysteries novels Did Not Finish and Hot Seat for BadGroove as well as interviewed the author himself.  Simon is a prolific author, ex-professional race car driver, and a licensed pilot. You can find out more about Simon and his books on his website.

The 14 on Pit Road

The 14 on pit road at New Hampshire Motor Speedway 2014. (Photo Credit: Mobil 1 Facebook Page)

I just can NOT seem to get a good feel for this season and Tony Stewart/Team14. The races I have a good feeling about- they do crummy. The races that I don’t have a good feeling about- they do decent.  I had a good feeling about the race in Loudon. After all- Tony qualified 4th! I listened to qualifying at work on SiriusXM  NASCAR- and was quite pleased! So I felt GREAT about our chances at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  And then the race happened. (more…)

Tony sits in the car

Tony sits in the car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2013. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

“It’s just a fun track. It just seems like it’s always been a fun driver’s track. Your car has to work well there, but when you get to racing guys – you’re trying to outbreak them, trying to get your car to turn and you struggle for forward bite. It’s just got a little bit of everything the drivers look for to have a good race.” — Tony Stewart, Pre-Race New Hampshire Team Release

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous editions of the TQMS posts.

#GoTonyGo #StandWithSmoke

Soggy Parade Lap

Tony Stewart takes a somewhat soggy parade lap at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook page)

Well after being postponed until Sunday- the Firecracker 400 (Presented by Coke Zero) finally started on Sunday.  Tony took to the track in his Ducks Unlimited/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. It was a nice looking car:

Tony Stewart's Ducks Unlimited/Bass Pro Chevy SS

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images North America)

The car seemed to be handling pretty good. Tony had worked his way into the top ten for awhile. Until on Lap 20:

Tony and others go boom in the Big One...version One

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevrolet, Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 DeWalt/Wounded Warrior Project Ford, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Home Depot Husky Toyota, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images North America)

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Tony Stewart and Crew

Tony Stewart chats with crew members in the garage last July (2013) in Daytona. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook)

“I love the outdoors and everything that goes into maintaining the outdoors. Nurturing the land is as satisfying for me as hunting and fishing. Giving back is something that drives me, be it in racing or with the outdoors. In order for racing to be sustainable, we have to have younger generations get involved. It’s the same with the outdoors. In order for hunting and fishing to be sustainable, our land and wildlife needs to be managed and maintained, and that knowledge has to be passed on from one generation to the next.”— Tony Stewart about the Bass Pro Shops/Duck Unlimited paint scheme, Team Pre-Daytona Release.

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous editions of the TQMS posts.

#GoTonyGo #StandWithSmoke

(This is part 2 of our two part  annual Sonoma “Race-cation” post! Check out Part 1: Friday & Saturday here— Amy)

Sunday would prove to be one of our busiest and most interesting race days that we have experienced to date. Thanks to NASCAR we had earned a VIP race experience and what an experience it was.

Sonoma Raceway

Bright and early Sunday morning picture taken from parking lot 1 as I waited for the parking shuttle as tweeted June 22nd, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Our race day started as another bright and even earlier day.  We wanted to be absolutely certain we were at Sonoma Raceway in plenty of time so we left quite early knowing that highway 37 towards Sonoma is two lane for much of it (one in each direction) and can back up quite quickly and we wanting to leave nothing to chance. Because we left so early we encountered virtually no traffic except the usual getting into the raceway traffic so by the time we were parked and waiting for the shuttle to the paddock/media center we realized we were there well before we needed to be. So what do an early Misty and Amy do at a race track early? They take a quick walk down the length of the garage and then out to the area behind the pit stalls before they are too crowded.

Early Sunday Morning Pit Road

Pit road at Sonoma Raceway early Sunday morning on June 22nd, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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UPDATE July 7th, 2014: Okay so my voting strategy has changed. I am now voting for whatever helmet has the most votes that is NOT the 40 Years Young helmet because I still think that helmet is UGLY with a capital UGLY.  This means as of late I have been voting for SMOKE. Join me won’t you?

***Original Post***

Tony Stewart fans- I have a question of the utmost importance for you. Is this a face that deserves to run an ugly helmet?

Tony Stewart at Sonoma

Tony Stewart at Sonoma June 22nd, 2014. (Photo credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/Don Grassmann for CIA STOCK PHOTO Copyright, CIA Stock Photography, Inc)

I say no.  I bet you say no too. (more…)

(I ended up breaking this post up into two parts because it was just too long once I added in all the pictures.  Enjoy and watch for Part 2: Sunday tomorrow–Amy)

As I mentioned in a post several weeks ago- I had really been jonesing for a race.  I LOVE being at a race track and Race Sonoma couldn’t possibly get here fast enough for me. Sonoma Raceway is slowly worming it’s way into my heart as one of my favorite tracks that we get to attend in person.  The weather is almost always beautiful when the NASCAR race is there and we seem to almost always find something fun to do off track as well as have incredible adventures at track. After all it was at Sonoma Raceway that Misty interviewed Jeff Gordon a couple of years ago.  Anyway- I had been looking forward to this race pretty much since March.

I love the smell of oil, gas and nomex in the morning.

Friday morning garage picture as tweeted on June 20th, 2014 from my phone. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Our Friday at Sonoma Raceway started bright and early. It’s kind of ironic to me that Misty and I spend a good majority of the vacation hours that we each earn at our respective jobs for our “racations” where we tend to be up and at it just as early (or in my case specifically – earlier) and just as hard as we do for our jobs.

Anyway- I had heard that both Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick were running patriotic paint schemes at Race Sonoma. So my first mission was to try to capture photos of them. My favorite place to do that is as the cars are being rolled out of the technical inspection tent. I caught them and a few more: (more…)