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Chase Race 7: Martinsville

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

“We’re not giving up (expletive)” could be heard on Tony Stewart’s radio near the midway point in the race as he battled hard to keep the race leader at the time, Denny Hamlin, behind him and himself on the lead lap.  Stewart’s car had been brough to Martinsville with teammate Ryan Newman’s race set up in the hopes of hitting on something that would work better for Stewart. Unfortunately with only one practice because of weather the set up was mostly an unknown. It’s frustrating because Martinsville is my favorite track. I love it’s close quarters, the bumping and rubbing, the short tempers. It makes for good racing but I can only imagine that 500 laps of fighting an ill-handling car can take a toll on a driver physically and mentally. I know at the point during the race that Stewart was fighting so hard to keep from going a lap down I was disheartened that he was in that position (but proud as hell he was putting up a right good fight).

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America)

But then David Gilliland spun his #34 car and saved Tony from eventually succumbing to Denny Hamlin and going a lap down he was able to come in and get some major work done on his car that helped the handling.  Some pit strategy soon had Stewart battling Kevin Harvick for the lead, battling a little too hard because on the next caution Tony soon had to come in unscheduled because Stewart thought he felt a tire going down. This put Stewart back in the field again.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, celebrates with his crew members after winning the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway . (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

However, with four fresh tires and a fire in his belly (and some well timed cautions) Tony worked his way back up the field. Racing with Jeff Gordon, Tony discovered there was more grip on the outside then he though which gave him the confidence to pass Jimmie Johnson on the outside after the last caution.  Tony moved up to second in the points and is only 8 points behind the points leader Carl Edwards.  He is 13 points ahead of third place Kevin Harvick.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: by John Harrelson/Getty Images North America)

Notes on Martinsville:

  1. While I absolutely LOVE Tony’s “We’re not giving up” radio battle cry while battling Denny Hamlin, I was also pretty fond of some chatter I found out about on twitter.  After Jr. turned Joey Logano and Logano said “He just turned me.” His crew chief Greg Zipadelli reportedly replied back with “I’m sick of this shit. You better grow some balls and take care of it.” LOVE it.
  2. I am still of the mind that speeding at any point of pit road should not be tolerated.   Pit road at Martinsville is tight enough to begin with with the drivers speeding between the “speed traps” it is only putting the crew members at greater risk. I think NASCAR really needs to add more of the “traps” to each pit road and randomize which ones will be used during any point during a particular round of pit stops.
  3. Speaking of tight pit quarters, Sean Irvan, the jackman from the #38 car was treated and released from a Martinsville area hospital for injuries suffered when struck on pit road by Mark Martin during pit stops. He suffered a concussion (and loss of consciousness) neck and knee injuries.
  4. I loved Marty Smith’s pre-race interview with Brad Keselowski. Marty really does some of the best interviews around in my opinion both on camera and written.
  5. I love the Toyota commercial with Kyle Busch where he pulls into the puts and the crew changes his car from his NASCAR to a street car. It’s a cool commercial all-around, but my favorite part is at the end when Kyle’s singing along to Loverboy’s Working For The Weekend and he gets out of synch with the lyrics and while the lyric he should be singing is “everybody wants a little romance” he actually sings the lyric from a little further in the song so he actually sings “everybody needs a second chance.”  I LOVE that on so many levels. I mean honestly who doesn’t get the lyrics wrong some time. And there is just something apropos about needing a second chance. LOVE IT.
  6. Speaking of loving it…I love this picture of Tony signing autographs in the garage:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/El Monterey Chevrolet, signs autographs in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images North America)

Next weekend is TEXAS.  #KeepDiggingTony and Stewart Haas Racing!

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