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Race 15: Party In The Poconos

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, pulls into the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Party in the Poconos 400 at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America)

Qualified: 19th* (qualifying was rained out and set by points).

Finished: 4th

Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson

Points After Pocono: 13th in the points standings! Tony is now 143 points out of first (we actually lost ground to first), and only 17 points out of 10th now- that means we covered HALF the points distance to 10th place from last week!  We have 1 win for the wild card berth and are still the only team in the wild card standings with a win (fingers crossed).

My Mood After Pocono: Pleased at the performance and optimistic that the car seemed to come off the hauler better this weekend.

I admit it, I was actually excited when I found out that qualifying was rained out.  I figured that being 16th in the points would be a good thing and we wouldn’t probably have qualified any better than that anyway.   I didn’t realize that when they say they are going to line up by points- they mean owner points. And that the owner points are apparently different than the driver points. So we ended up being 19th instead of 16th.  I just have one question when it comes to owner points: wouldn’t they be the same for all three of the Stewart-Haas cars then?? So wouldn’t you have Tony, Danica, Ryan all together since they all have the same owner? Frankly if you are going to “line up by points” they should be the Sprint Cup Series points standings- not these mythical “owners” points. Why? Because it’s the drivers in the cars not the owners (well in most cases that are NOT Tony Stewart anyway).  It makes NO sense to me.  I could not for the life of me figure out WHY he wasn’t 16th until one of the people in one of the Tony Stewart FB groups explained it to me (thank you Frank R. for that)!

Tony Stewart in the garage at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: The Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook page- click on the picture to be take to the original on FB)

I noticed that Tony ended final practice 4th on Saturday! That is a very very good sign I thought but I still tried to not let myself get too excited because well- it’s only practice.  But it seemed that lately when Tony would practice he would be practicing around 30-40th. That was disheartening. No one wants their driver practicing so low.  So when the race started I was cautiously optimistic that the testing SHR did last week at Pocono might have paid off.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, stands on the grid during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Party in the Poconos 400 at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

Indeed it did pay off. Tony’s car seemed to be able to move forward through the field (yey for moving in the right direction) and my notes consisted of positive progress through out the field.  Tony had positive feedback about the car through the race- and the changes that did need to be made during pit stops – just judging by the scanner fodder-  were small changes.  Nothing like other races where it seems the team was just throwing the whole kitchen sink at the car and hoping SOMETHING worked.  THAT was the most positive thing about the race for me.  That the changes that were made were small and seemed to make a difference that Tony could feel.  The only time that I ever really saw him slip backwards was on a problemed pit- stop  when Tony was blocked in by the 2 car of Brad Keselowski and then again when he had ever so slight contact on the track with Keselowski he fell backwards a little bit (thankfully he didn’t wreck – talk about car control) and quickly hopped on the radio and told the guys not to worry “we’ll get those back in a minute” (referring to the positions I am assuming). He quickly did and finished FOURTH! I will gladly take that. I was even more estactic when I did the math (yeah I admit it- I broke out a calculator to make sure I wasn’t dreaming) and figured out that he covered over half the points spread to 10th with his fourth at Pocono. So the testing paid of in aces I think. I only hope this momentum shift continues in the same direction.

Notes about The Party In The Poconos 400:

1. We have transitioned into the TNT race coverage and while I was watching their Countdown To Green Show I found myself already correcting Adam Alexander and Matt Yocum- who both stated that Pocono was the site of Stewart-Haas Racing’s first win. Um NO! It was the first POINTS PAYING win- but the team’s first win was actually at the All-Star Race in 2009.  Urg people- a little research goes a long way.

2. Already sick of people making a big deal out of Jimmie getting black flagged at Dover. It happened. He should have surrendered the spot back to Juan and he didn’t. So sorry.  Do we have to go over it ad nauseum on the pre-race show? It’s not some conspiracy against Jimmie and the 48 team (ahem Chad Knaus- I am looking at you)- it’s a rule.

3. Okay- I am starting to get a little annoyed at the Dale Jr “who’s on first” shtick Sprint texting advertisement. It was cute at first but now it annoys me. And it mostly annoys me because that ap that they are talking about? Isn’t available for iphones.

4. And while I am on a roll about commercials… that Geico commercial with the Pillsbury Doughboy going through TSA at an airport- my question for you all is this: WHY is the doughboy going through a pat down at all- he is NAKED! Think about it- the doughboy wears NO CLOTHES. Just something to think about. You will never watch that commercial the same way again. You’re welcome.

5. Long time reader and BadGroove supporter Kevin Boots was at Pocono and has promised to share his experience there with you all- I will get that up as soon as he gets it to me! We look forward to that Kevin!

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Tony Stewart stands in the garage at Pocono (photo credit: The Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook page- click on photo to be taken to original on Facebook).

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