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Race 16: Michigan

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

The 14 crew services Tony’s car during a pitstop for the Quicken Loans 400 (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page- Click picture to be taken to the original)

Qualified: 14th (after wrecking a car within minutes during first practice and moving to a backup car).

Finished: 5th

Race Winner: Greg Biffle

Points After Pocono: 10th in the points standings! Tony is now 121 points out of first place in the standings!  We are 2 points ahead of 11th currently so we do not need the wild card.  However Tony does have 1 win for the wild card berth should he need it.

My Mood After Pocono: Happy as an uncooked clam in his shell.


I was on a rare non-race vacation this weekend. I know -what is that right? Honestly I don’t know- because it seems that I work to support my NASCAR habit -as it seems that nearly all of my vacations go towards NASCAR something or other. I am pretty sure that my day job knows this because as soon as the NASCAR schedule for the next season comes out I am requesting my race-cations in advance- and usually that schedule doesn’t vary by that much.  Anyway- I was on a rare non-race vacation (I will actually blog more about this later in the week) so I found myself driving home from Southern California when I would normally be sitting at home watching the race.

The HHR has an XM radio so I normally do not have access to Sirius XM NASCAR radio except this season I was able to upgrade for the year (I still haven’t decided if I will continue to pay for the upgrade next year).  You may remember that I mentioned this after the Fontana race because I was tuning in to try to get an update on Denny Hamlin’s condition after his wreck on Monday as I drove home. Because of Tony’s fist fight with Joey- 99 percent of the calls were ANTI- Tony Stewart and I just was not thrilled with listening to talk radio so I haven’t tuned in since Fontana really. Well I decided I would give listening to a race a try.

Tony Stewart sits in his car in the garage at Michigan. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook page- click picture to be taken to original).

OH. MY. GOODESS.  For those that don’t know- NASCAR RADIO (channel 90) uses the MRN race broadcasts. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. I dare say those guys broadcasting for MRN are way better than the television broadcasters on ANY of the stations that air NASCAR races in my opinion. They made the race captivating without the benefit of being able to show me what was going on- that is a feat!  I was horrified as I climbed the I-5 Grapevine to hear about Kasey Kahne’s fiery crash and I was biting my nails as I heard about Jimmie Johnson hitting the wall with laps to go as I began my descent back into central California. I am seriously surprised to admit to you how much I enjoyed listening to it on the radio because I DO NOT LIKE TALK RADIO at all.  In my mind the radio is for one thing and one thing only- playing music for me to howl along to as I drive hither and yon.  Those MRN guys had me glued to the radio for the race.  Really NASCAR needs to rethink TV race broadcasts and have them be more exciting like the MRN guys!

So Tony’s race weekend didn’t start off so great. The first thing I heard was that he hit the wall minutes into FIRST practice and the team was rolling out the back up car. NOT A GOOD WAY TO START.  I honestly paid no attention to practice, qualifying or anything during the weekend except for listening to the race as I drove home. I do know that Tony qualified 14th. I am pretty sure that he started there as well (despite me being told that he would start at the rear because of the backup car- that didn’t make any sense to me since I am assuming he did get to practice the back up car.

Tony Stewart watches the monitor in the garage during practice. (FYI The photographer in me loves the composition of this picture- many of my favorite pictures of people are taken from behind when they aren’t aware their picture is being taken). (Photo Credit: The Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook page- click picture to be taken to the original)

I had no scanner this race because I didn’t want to worry about messing with my phone since my car is not one of those fancy bluetooth compatible vehicles (note to Chevy: If you want me to continue to buy your cars this will totally be an option when I am next in the market. Also as an aside- we need something sporty WITH good gas mileage- please make the SS so or I might end up with GULP something like an Audi).

I was ecstatic when the broadcasters mentioned that out that Tony had worked his way up to eleventh!  When I heard that he had broken into the the top 10 towards the end of the race- I yelped GO TONY GO – even with my windows down during the Grapevine crawl.  I started to hope that he would be able to break into the top 5…but then I would tell myself- don’t get too cocky or he will end up in a wall.  When Jimmie Johnson had his difficulty at the end and Greg Biffle took the lead I was hoping to hear that Jimmie would fall back enough to move Tony into the top five and…guess what!? He finished FIFTH.  With the slow start to the season Tony had been having I was honestly just hoping that he wouldn’t fall back any further in the points so when the announcers went over the points and Tony moved into tenth position points wise? I admit it- I fist pumped in my car in the middle of traffic! I didn’t care who saw me or heard me.  It was just six races ago that I was grimly wondering if Tony would even make the Chase. Three races ago I was wondering if his win would be enough to get him a wild card berth into the Chase.  Now we are in the Chase- and while I still say things like “fingers crossed we stay that way” I have to say I am a WHOLE LOT more optimistic about this season.I hope that Tony is too- especially since we still have some of his hot tracks coming up on the schedule- including this weekend coming up at Sonoma.

NOTES ABOUT MICHIGAN:

1. Of course there is one thing that dampens this race weekend and that is the death of racer Jason Leffler, who died in a crash while racing a 410 sprint car in New Jersey.  Most know Jason as the driver with a huge smile and a faux hawk. While it can be said that he died doing what he loved- it does not overshadow the fact that he does leave behind a very young son (just graduated kindergarten)-  Charlie Dean.  Jason’s death has hit the NASCAR and RACING fan communities hard and most want to know what they can do to help. The Fast And The Fabulous Facebook page pointed out a page driver Kasey Kahne has put up with ways you can help- including purchasing a LEFturn hats with all proceeds going to the trust being set up for Charlie Dean. Check out the link because it also mentions other ways fans can contribute to the trust.

2. I did miss the new #SMOKEWINS Coca Cola Racing family commercial because I was driving home…if you missed it too here it is:

Gratuitous Tony Stewart picture:

Tony at Michigan (Photo Credit: The Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page)

Next weekend our drivers are turning LEFT AND RIGHT at the road course in my backyard. No not that one…the one a little further north- Sonoma!

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