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(photo source: zimbio.com/Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

Start: 21st

Finish: 32nd

Points: 2141 (14th in points)

For Talladega- the race on Sunday was fairly uneventful and that was a good thing.  The big one never came- just a few medium to small sized incidents that did little damage- unlike the big melee during the truck race the day before with 34 laps to go.

(Source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook)

Tony dropped to the back of the pack after the drop of the green flag and stayed there for the entire race. When – by chance of caution he was in packs of cars he again would drop back until he was in a smaller group of people whom he trusted.  The plan was to move forward if they thought there would be a chance at gaining position with relatively little danger of being ensnared in “the big one” however even towards the very end of the race Tony radioed in and said that he felt there was something still brewing and he wasn’t going to push it to move forward.  While a couple of smallish accidents happened towards the end of the race- Tony was never really able to climb forward because of the restarts and finished his day 32nd. It was a craps shoot to stay in the back just as much as it was a craps shoot to get up in the main fruckus and possibly get wiped out by someone else’s problem.

I have seen a lot of people online complaining that what the Gibbs cars (minus Denny who took his chances at the front of the pack)  did and what Tony did wasn’t racing.  But wasn’t it? It was a strategic move to keep themselves and their cars safe and it worked well for Gibbs. Why? Because half of the Round of 8 are the four Gibbs cars. So it didn’t work out too well for Tony- but at least he was running at the end of  the race on the lead lap and wasn’t on his way home with nothing but a crumpled mess of car sitting in the Hauler waiting to go back to North Carolina. I have long been of the stance that racing at Talladega and Daytona is dangerous. I don’t know if it’s because of the speeds they run on the high banks, or if it’s due to the restrictor plates putting the cars so close together on the track- but one person messes up and you are in someone else’s mess. Because of the speeds at the superspeedways I am ALWAYS concerned about injury during accidents. Yes I know that those cars are safe- but after seeing two freak accidents injure Tony Stewart (none of which were in Sprint Cup Stock cars) how can I not worry that the intense speeds and “big one” type collisions during these super speedway races will cause a freak accident type injury that severely injures a driver.  Besides- wasn’t it a wreck at Talladega that landed Ryan Newman on his lid on the backstretch several years ago- and he ended up with several cracked teeth because of it?  Minor injury yes but still an injury.  For the possible injury reason alone I can not blame a driver from shying away from running mid-pack when all they have is a mid-pack car. Then you have the cost of the wreck because a lot of times when you wreck at Talladega you wreck big. That’s money out of the owners pockets both in destroyed equipment in addition to any possible purse money depending on where the driver might have finished had the car just suffered a minor ding and gone to the garage to fix it. Therefore it does not surprise me nor do I think it’s cheating or not racing when a team wants to move all or some of it’s cars to be the back to be “safe” when they are in contention for a championship, during an elimination race.  That is just strategy and it will work some times and bite you other times (just ask Tony). (more…)

(photo source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

Start: 14th

Finish: 16th

Points: 2131 (13th in points)

The race in Kansas started out with a good omen for driver Tony Stewart: he was driving the number 14 car, was housed in garage number 14 in the garage area at Kansas and ended up qualifying 14th.  That’s a whole lot of 14 right?

(photo source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

At the drop of the green flag Tony started flying up the field and cracked the top ten within 10 laps.  He reported that the balance was pretty much the same as it had been in practice and it was pretty good. The team did a great first pit stop and no penalties left him in the top ten. By lap 59 he had moved up into 6th place by passing Joey Logano when Tony exclaimed that it was “fun out here.”

Not that I could hear him well. I couldn’t. The static on Tony’s radio from the NASCAR Mobile ap was so terrible it actually hurt my ears to listen and there were times that I would take it out. It would have periods of being better, less staticy but then it would get bad again.  So I missed about half of what went on on the radio. About the time he passed Joey Logano he wanted his spotter to let whom I assume is Joey’s spotter that “he’ll play nice if he does.” Like I said that is what it sounded like anyway because I had a heck of time hearing.

Unfortunately after the laps started to tick away the handling on the Code 3 Associates Chevy went away too and Tony slowly started dropping back as the handing went away.  The team would work on the car during the pitstops but it just didn’t seem to make too big of a difference and I was beginning to think he was going to be lucky to get a top 20 finish but after the last major pit stop of the day- it seemed to turn a corner and Tony was able to gain a few positions and finished the race 16th.   His teammate Kevin Harvick had a great day however and was able to bring home the checkers for his friend/owner Tony Stewart.  This locked Kevin Harvick into advancing into the round of 8 with Jimmie Johnson.

Oh and Tony had another awesome helmet on for the Kansas Weekend:


(photo source: Tony Stewart facebook)

While in Kansas Code 3 Associates founder Nan Stuart presented Tony with a plaque commemorating their partnership and sponsorship:

(photo credit: Code 3 Associates facebook)

Here is a great article about Tony Stewart that came out of the Kansas Race weekend by Darron Cummings for the Kansas City Star: Tony Stewart bidding farewell to NASCAR, but he’s not finished racing.

Also- I hope Alex Bowman (who was driving the 88 for Dale Earnhardt Jr) is feeling better. After the race Dale tweeted out a picture of poor Alex in the infield care center hooked up to an IV- apparently he was suffering from a bug all day yet still drove his heart out:

@DaleJr: The Showman @AlexBRacing did good today. Top 10 with a stomach bug. @nationwide88 guys gave him a great car. (Image Source: Dale Earnhardt Jr Twitter)

Next week…I will be watching through my fingers because it’s Talladega!

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures:

There is just something about this picture that I love:

(Photo Source: Zimbio.com/Jason Hanna/Getty Images North America)


#SmokeAlwaysRises #AlwaysRac14g

(photo source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook)

Started: 15

Finished: 13th

Points: 13th (2074 points)

When Sunday came I found myself in a quandary. I wanted  to watch the race as I usually do on race day but a big part of me didn’t want to watch the race at Dover. Why? It was the stress of it being the last race before the cut to the round of 12.  I understand that NASCAR things that these elimination rounds are exciting to watch but I find this chase format to be exponentially more nerve racking than any other chase format. Especially when at the start of the race your driver is ranked 15th out of the 16 chasers and only the top 12 advance to the next round of the NASCAR playoffs known only as The Chase.  Oh and did I mention it’s Dover? The high banked concrete track can be unforgiving and Miles the Monster (the track mascot that adorns the trophy) looked hungry. (more…)

(photo source: Tony Stewart Official facebook)

It’s just been that kind of week for this little blogger. The kind of week where life gets in the way of the blogging part of things. And it doesn’t help that the Chase is here. So I decided instead of stressing about doing my post race report- now four days late I will skip it and point you in the direction of the official team release about the race if you are here looking for my usual post race rap ups and get right to a “Loose Lugnuts” type post.

1. Most of us Smoke fans are thinking about the chase- and how Dover is critical for Tony Stewart if he’s to continue on in this year’s chase for the Sprint Cup his last as a Sprint Cup driver. Of course we want him to transfer into the next round (which I think should be called the survival round since it includes Talladega) but as most of us know he’s below the points cut off right now- so he will have to have a most excellent weekend at Dover to put him above the cut off. It could happen. But it might not.  It’s important, I think,  to consider that it’s not over even if he doesn’t make that cut.  He made the chase this year- which he hasn’t done since 2012. Which happy day for us going to Vegas means he will be there taking part in all the activities.   He has three championships in this series alone.  He will still have 7 races after Dover to race and to attempt to get wins at regardless if he is in the next round of the Chase or not.  It’s nothing he shouldn’t be proud of as a driver and it’s nothing we shouldn’t be proud of as his fans.

2. Speaking of Dover- Tony will be running a very special Nature’s Bakery Brownie paint scheme. I have heard people who love the paint scheme and people who not pleased with the asthetics of the car. Personally? I like it and think it looks like a Brownie (which considering it’s the Nature’s Bakery Brownie car is a good thing). Here’s the paint scheme (via Stewart-Haas Racing Facebook):

 By the way- has anyone tasted the Nature’s Bakery Brownie? I can’t find them here…and I am curious. I like the Raspberry Fig Bar the best of what I have tried but I admit I am curious about the brownie.

3. I think it’s New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s fault Tony did’t do so hot in the Bad Boy Buggies 300 this last weekend. Why? Because they presented this monument(al) rock dedicated to Tony on their property prior to his last race there. If he had one they would have had to have it redone: (more…)

(photo source: Zimbio.com/Sarah Crabill/Getty Images North America)

Started: 11th (Qualifying was rained out and starting position was based on the points).

Finished: 16th

Chase Standing: 12th*

(photo source: Zimbio.com/Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images North America)

Tony Stewart speaks with his team on the radio before the drop of the green flag before every race- and this week he wanted to emphasize two points with the crew and team before the first race of the playoffs start. He wanted them to know that they win as a team and lose as a team but that he wanted them to finish off the last ten weeks of his last season as a NASCAR driver having FUN no matter where they end up at the end of the season.

I don’t know about how much fun Tony was having out there in Chicagoland during the first race of the Chase however.  After a handful or two of laps Tony radioed into the crew to let them know while he was still having handling issues that car’s stability was much better than it had been during Saturday’s practice. Tony then seemed to struggle for the majority of the race with his handling falling down the field until he was around 19th or 20th but still on the lead lap.  He went a lap down three times during the race- once for pitting during a caution but luckily he was able to take the wave around for that and get our lap right back. Once he got passed by race leader Chase Elliott but was able to maintain lucky dog position until a debris caution came out and allowed Tony to get his lap back.  The same thing happened again at the end of the race when Tony was again passed by leader Chase Elliott but Tony again was able to maintain his lucky dog position and then  the caution with four laps to go put him back on the lead lap. In the first overtime of the playoffs- Tony was able to maintain his position on the lead lap and finished 16th. Race winner was Martin Truex Jr. (more…)

(photo credit: Tony Stewart Official Facebook Page)

Started: 14th

Finished: 33rd

Seeded: NASCAR seeded him 11th, but his team release has him seeded 12th.

Weird Observation: Am I the only one who noticed that Tony wore a Code 3 Associates firesuit during practice but a Mobil 1 Firesuit during the actual race?

Richmond International Raceway has the distinction of being Tony Stewart’s favorite track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. Afterall he did win his first ever Sprint Cup race there, so what’s not to love.  Since he qualified his #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevy 14th at his favorite track- I was hoping it would be a good omen for Tony and his team.  Plus I figured since he also won in the Code 3 Associates paint scheme in June at Sonoma that it couldn’t hurt that omen right? Well I was obviously wrong. (more…)

(photo source: Tony Stewart Facebook page)

Well this Saturday is a Saturday night race at Richmond. It’s the last race before the start of the Sprint Cup Chase and it’s at Tony’s favorite track- so I think that is a good omen right there. Anyway- here is what’s been pinging around my brain like lugnuts pinging around a pit stall after a green flag pit stop.

1. How awesome is this late model that Jon Henry Racing will be fielding for the World 100 at Eldora speedway:

(photo sourced: Jon Henry Racing facebook Page)

It’s an awesome tribute. For more pictures of the car visit the Jon Henry Facebook page.

2. If you are going to the Texas Motor Speedway Chase race I am jealous…and you might want to get there early- I WOULD LOVE one of these bobble heads they are giving away to the first 30,000 fans through the gates: (more…)

(photo source: Tony Stewart Official Facebook)

Started: 17th (Set by points due to rain cancelling qualifying on Friday)

Finished: 35th (DNF)

Points: 426 points (27th in the standings, locking into the chase)

I love the Southern 500,especially the cars with all the throwback paint schemes. I loved Tony’s Coke paint scheme the best- but there were so many awesome paint scheme it was hard for me to choose a second favorite…but I finally decided it was Greg Biffle’s Alan Kulwicki Hooters paint scheme on his number 16- and how awesome was it that Hooters came back to sponsor a car during the race. How awesome was it though that Tony’s throwback Coke paint scheme won the vote for best paint scheme?? That is awesome. (more…)