Finished: Um FIRST!
Race Winner: TONY FREAKING STEWART
Points After Dover: 16th in the points standings!!! Tony is now 135 points out of first (that’s a change of 19 points on the lead right there), and only 33 points out of 10th now. We have 1 win for the wild card berth and are currently the only team in the wild card standings with a win (fingers crossed).
My Mood After Dover: Ecs-Freaking-Static is the only word I have.
I watched every second of the race today (that wasn’t interrupted with commercials anyway) and I am still not sure how those boys pulled off that win. But I do know that by 5 laps to go I was standing two feet from the TV with my hands balled up into fists (now the TV is huge so there is no need to stand that close- but it’s what I do when my driver is in contention for a win- unless I am at a the track at the time- at which point I oddly can not watch and usually sit down and hold my head in my hands so I can’t see what’s happening- what can I say- I am a conundrum like that).
While I was working during qualifying and practice I did pay attention enough to know that the car didn’t seem that great. When the race started- I was kicked back with my earbuds in listening to the scanner and watching the national broadcast. It didn’t sound like Tony hated the car- but it sounded like it could be a lot better. Tony was mostly quiet (either that or my scanner wasn’t working- the ap seemed to drop the scanner on me a couple times. One of his first reports that I heard back to the team was “I’m not sure about the pace but it’s not undrivable. It’s slicker than shit…” and something about it needing to rotate the middle third better. Tony seemed to stay between 19th and 25 for the LONGEST time. They chatted back and forth from time to time about the car’s handling…they ended up adding packers to the front to help keep the splitter from hitting at some point.
When Newman and Gilliland had their on track incident is really when things started to turn around. Tony first came on and said “Fantastic job” and then a little later he said “I’m proud of you guys today. We’re much much better.” I wrote in the notes that I take during the race right under that quote- Good sign?! I really did. Little did I know.
True story- when Tony broke into the top ten? I was THRILLED. I was like Okay- this is GOOD. If we finish here we will be GOOD. We definitely won’t go backwards in the points – we might even go up in the points. When he broke into the top five? I was like WOW- this is EXCELLENT! Please don’t crash! Please don’t have a parts failure of some sort! When they black flagged Jimmie I was What? A TOP 3? OH PLEASE DON’T CRASH. RAIN? RAIN might be good right now. When he was second and seeming to chase down JPM is when I was two feet from the tv going COME ON TONY COME ON YOU CAN GET HIM!!! I was carrying on so much after he crossed the finish line that I didn’t hear what he said when he won. I wasn’t that worried though because I still had my earbuds in, I am just lucky in my exuberance I didn’t throw my phone because then I could hear Tony (the NASCAR 13 Sprint Mobile scanner is usually about two to three laps behind the national broadcast). What did he say? Well I can’t remember exactly (hey I was still REALLY EXCITED) but what sticks with me more than WHAT he said was the tone of his voice. He was REALLY excited and I am pretty sure I could even hear relief…and can you blame him really?
This is what came to me in that moment: How do you spell relief? W-I-N.
It’s not to say that the teams struggles are over necessarily but they have momentum working in their favor now. The spirit on the team HAS to be buoyed by the win. They worked HARD to make that car drivable for Tony during the race. Ever pit stop they were changing SOMETHING; Wedge here, trackbar there, packers here, air pressure change there. You get the idea. This will HELP a LOT. Hopefully so will the fact that we are going into Pocono next weekend where SHR just happened to be testing last week.
Notes About Dover:
1. During the race- they were talking about how Jimmie Johnson and his wife (and Mr. Mike Helton) went to Oklahoma and helped the tornado victims…which was GREAT. I thought it was great when he was doing it. They talked about how he donated his race winnings. They talked about OTHER driver’s sponsors also donating to the cause. That would have also been the perfect time for the on air crew to talk about Tony’s sponsor Code 3 Associates and the work they have been doing to rescue, save pets and animals in the area and reunite pets with their owners. Especially since that at the time they were talking about it Tony was probably running about 19th at the highest and it would have been nice for his fans out there to hear his name. Speaking of Tony- here is another article about his efforts for hurricane relief- in case you missed it.
2. I am going to present this video from Tony’s post-race in the media center without comment:
3. I love all the tweets and texts I get when Tony wins. Seriously! My favorite one this time was from Misty who told me that I needed to quiet down- her father was complaining that I was hurting his ears. She lives 500 miles away.
The Gratuitous Tony Stewart picture for you (I loved this picture so much I changed my FB cover photo to it):
Next week: We are heading to the Evil Little Triangle known as Pocono.
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