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I have been as antsy for the 2014 season to start as I can ever remember being.  I am sure most Tony Stewart fans know that feeling I am talking about. Hopefully it brings back our beloved driver into the driver’s seat where he belongs, where we love to see him.  Since his injury at the beginning of August I know that I personally struggled to maintain much of an interest in the 2013 NASCAR season.  It was hard for me to get into it on that personal enjoyment level. Yes my driver’s car was out there being piloted (mostly by Mark Martin – but also by Max Papis and Austin Dillon depending on the race) and yes my driver happens to also be an owner so I had other teams to root for, but it felt much like watching football feels to me. I am vaguely interested in what is happening but not personally vested in it. I miss that feeling.

That said- there is still the unknown for our driver. How will he be able to physically be able to handle the car? The 500 is a long race.  He will only have been in the car a bit for the practices and Sprint Unlimited. I know he is chomping at the bit to get into the car and drive and I honestly can not blame him- I WANT him in there too…but part of me worries it is too soon, he’s not healed enough, etc. Because I am a worrier- that is what I do.  So this fear of the unknown is knot one.

But now- NASCAR is switching everything up this season. (more…)

(L-R) Gene Haas, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing and driver of the #14, Danica Patrick, driver of the #10, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4, Kurt Busch, driver of the #4, and Mike Arning, public relations for Stewart-Haas Racing, speak with the media during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. (Photo Source: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

If I took one thing from 2014 NASCAR media tour in Charlotte this week it is this: Tony Stewart is EXCITED for the 2014 season. Don’t believe me? He said “excited” 20 times during the general media scrum (I was going to go back to the transcript and count because I noticed it while he was speaking but thanks to Nate Ryan I don’t have to) and a bazillion more times during his interview on SiriusXM (click on link to hear his excitable snippet) after they broke out into individual sessions. I love it. This season is going to be a great one- I can feel it. (more…)

To use one of Amy’s favorite words: flummoxed – that is exactly what I was last weekend when I got the details of this year’s Meet and Greet opportunities with Jeff Gordon. I was beyond excited when it was announced that Jeff would be holding meet and greet opporunities this year for fans at EVERY race. I even said to Amy, “Whoo hoo that man is going to get sick of seeing us!”.

Having attended the last Jeff Gordon Network event in Phoenix a few years back, I was not surprised that there was a fee to participate. As I recall it was $40 a person, but that got you a breakfast with the other attendees, some swag, and of course the whole reason for attending – a moment with Jeff, one on one on stage, to talk to him and have a personal photo taken. Seemed reasonable, after all they did have to rent a room to hold the event in, they served breakfast and whatever else. However, I was more than a little surprised when I opened up the email last weekend to find out the cost to attend was $599.00 PER PERSON! I was left searching for some misplaced decimals to say the least. Even more surprising, for that amount of money there is no mention of a meal, although they do promise an autographed item, BUT get this “due to time constraints” you will likely have your picture taken with Jeff and four to five other fans! Is it April? Cause someone has GOT to be fooling me!

Now I am just about as devoted of a Jeff Gordon fan as you can get. I think he is a great person on and off the track and his humanitarian work truly makes me proud to call him my driver, but there is something just so unsettling about this. Why is the cost SO much? To me it is not even a matter of affordability, I could have Warren Buffet sized bank accounts and would not spend that to meet anyone. If you are attending or planning to attend, I think that is great and I am in no way judging you- but I truly do want to hear from you and find out what about this offer seems reasonable or appealing to you.

Needless to say, this is one fan who is not planning to attend any of the events this year. I can think of any number of better ways to spend my money than on this- heck I think I would even be better off to buy 6 tickets to Jeff’s corvette raffle, where the money goes to a fantastic charity, The Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital. At least then I am giving to a good cause, could win a car, and likely meet Jeff anyway and not have some strangers mucking up my picture with the man. Just saying …

Remember back when NASCAR ’14 (the video game) was running a Facebook competition where NASCAR fans could vote for who was going to be on the cover? I voted EVERY SINGLE round for Tony.  I figured it was a way I could support my driver while he was on the mend from his broken leg. I guess a bunch of my fellow Tony Stewart fans felt the same way I did because as many of you already know Tony Stewart won.  In the end he was up against driver Jeff Gordon (whom I might add is usually second in the Most Popular Driver voting- second to Dale Earnhardt Jr.) so I was a little surprised…but not THAT surprised. Tony Stewart fans had banded together to show their support.  Well guess what? That game is coming out in just a little over a month!  NASCAR ’14 is scheduled to be released on February 18 for XBox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC!

Tony Stewart on the NASCAR ’14 cover.

I will admit it right here right now: for a professional geek (I work in technical customer service/support in the educational field) I am not a big gamer.  I figure I am in front of a computer 40 hours a week for my day job, more at home for my blog. Whatever other screen time I have in a week goes to things like facebook (of course), personal photo editing, and other stuff like that.  I WILL admit that I do play Words with friends (hey that is technically facebook right?) and recently I have gotten pulled back into TheSims with their FreePlay ap for Kindle but other than that I am not a big gamer.  I do have the gamer gene though- my dad is a big fan of COD, and lately World of Tanks. However- if my driver- Tony Stewart is on the cover of a game? I will own that game!  I will play that game! I can’t wait for the release of NASCAR ’14.

“You want to show all those wanna be knuckleheads out there what it means to drive…” Tony Stewart in the NASCAR ’14 ad (see video below)

So I didn’t even need to see the ad to know that I would own NASCAR ’14…but the ad? It’s so good. I absolutely love love LOVE this ad:


Here are some features of NASCAR ’14 the game if you are interested:

  1. NASCAR Highlights: Take advantage of “NASCAR Highlights” to determine the outcome of the biggest race thrills from the season.  Eutechnyx recreates the action where the condition of the cars is exact, weather the same, track positions identical – the only difference is you!
  2. Career Mode: Work your way through the ranks in a comprehensive career mode; complete with custom car builds, sponsor acquisition, and R&D to get your team into victory lane.
  3. Official Teams & Tracks: Race against the official NASCAR teams & drivers on your favorite tracks from the high banks of Daytona, to the twists & turns of Sonoma, and exhilarating speed of Talladega.
  4. Leagues: Take competition to the next level and host online leagues with your friends, fully supported by dynamic statistics, challenges, rankings and replay.
  5. Online Multiplayer:  Take advantage of dynamic skill-based matchmaking, tournaments, and easy drop in/out server browser functionality for a fair and enjoyable experience.

It looks fun to me:

NASCAR ’14 Screenshot

You can find more information about NASCAR 14 by checking out:  https://www.facebook.com/NASCARGaming, https://twitter.com/NASCARGaming, or http://www.etxracing.com.

#14in14

As I mentioned in my last post, Tony Stewart appeared at a grand opening of the new River Run Xfinity Comcast retail store in Jacksonville, Florida. The store showcases the innovation and speed of Xfinity products, and is designed entirely around the needs of customers, offering consumers an opportunity to explore and interact directly with the latest Xfinity products and services. At the grand opening ceremony Tony was also present with a check for $15,000 for the Tony Stewart Foundation from Comcast. For those not familiar with The Tony Stewart Foundation- it celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary as a foundation last year and has awarded $5.2 million to outstanding organizations serving children, animals and injured motor racing drivers in 41 of 50 states, including Florida!

Tony helps the Mayor cut the ribbon

Jacksonville, Florida, Mayor Alvin Brown (center) cuts the grand-opening ribbon along with NASCAR driver Tony Stewart (second from left) and Comcast executives on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, during a special event celebrating the new River City Xfinity® store location in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo credit: Comcast Florida/Dan Van Slyke, Jr.).

Tony Stewart and Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown

Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart addresses attendees while Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown looks on during the grand-opening celebration of the new River City Xfinity store location in Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. (Photo credit: Comcast Florida/Dan Van Slyke, Jr.).

Tony gets a really big check.

Three-time NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series™ champion Tony Stewart is presented with a $15,000 donation to The Tony Stewart Foundation on behalf of Comcast by Derek Cooper, Regional Vice President of Government Affairs and Community Investment in Florida for Comcast, on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, during the grand-opening celebration of the new River City Xfinity® store location in Jacksonville, Florida. Last year, The Tony Stewart Foundation marked 10 years as a charitable foundation and has awarded $5.2 million to outstanding organizations serving children, animals and injured motor racing drivers (Photo credit: Comcast Florida/Dan Van Slyke, Jr.).

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Give the gift of Tony Stewart

As the holidays are drawing eve closer- are you looking for that perfect gift for that hard-to-buy for Tony Stewart fan in your life but running increasingly out of time to go out and find or order that perfect gift? Might I suggest a CelebCalls from Tony Stewart himself? Yes it’s a recording but unless you have Smoke on speed dial (and if you do- lucky you) this is the next best thing!   It will likely make them smile and that is the whole idea right?! (By the way- CelebCalls has other celebrities too- like Mike Tyson, Justin Beiber (the one and only time that name will appear on this blog lol), Charlie Sheen and more).

CelebCalls are a fun and not too expensive (so schwing there) present for the Tony Stewart fan in your life. It’s easy to do- you just pick out the type of call you want to make, fill in the mad libs-esque script and provide the recipient’s phone number. It will look like the call is coming from you.  I actually used the Tony Stewart Celeb Call to prank Misty one day who was having a bad day- and it made her giggle.

They also have a customizable voice mail greeting that you can buy also from Tony!  Then I decided to have some fun and use the Tony Stewart personalized voice mail greeting- set it and just left it there and then promptly forgot about it because honestly- I don’t get too many calls and the ones that do usually don’t go to voic email.  Then one day Misty and I were having a conversation as I walked around Target and my call dropped.  So we started calling each other back and the same time and she ended up getting my voice mail. She said she didn’t know WHAT on earth happened because it caught her totally off guard.  She even pulled the phone back to make sure she had dialed my number.  HA! Fun times.  Of course there was also the time I took my car in to America’s Tire to get a rotation and a nail-in-the-tire fixed (if you follow me on Facebook you know that my HHR seems to be a nail magnet). The tire tech who was taking care of me noticed that I was a Tony Stewart fan right away (I wear my fandom quite visibly on my car) and chatted me up about Tony and his broken leg (I was impressed- NASCAR is not that big around here- and that he not only knew WHO Tony was but knew that he’d broken his leg was impressive to me but that is a different story).   While I waited I walked down to Target (I know- it’s my favorite store) and did some shopping. I didn’t even think about my voice mail message but America’s Tire apparently called me to tell me that my car was done. Yeah that was a little embarrassing. Oh well- it’s still my voice mail message.  But again I digress. It’s a great (semi-cheap) and always fun gift to consider.

Or you can do like I do and buy giftcards supporting Tony’s sponsors. Last year my dad received a Bass Pro Gift card. They have everything the outdoors oriented man or woman in your life could want- hunting, fishing, camping, boating supplies and clothing.  I actually do love a trip to a Bass Pro Shop myself and go nearly every time I am in Vegas.

You can also consider a donation to the Tony Stewart foundation as a gift to the Tony Stewart Loving fan in your life. Money donated to the Tony Stewart foundation is used to fund grants for charitable organizations serving animal welfare, children, and injured racers in 41 of the 50 states.  The Tony Stewart Foundation accepts one time donations or monthly donations.

More importantly- give your Tony Stewart loving fan a hug and tell them you can’t wait for Tony to be back in the car in 2014! Because we really can’t! Go Tony Go!

(Here are links to Celebrating A NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion…Vegas Style Part One and Celebrating Part Two)

First off I wanted to let you know that you can see all of our pictures from Champions Week over in our Sprint Cup Champion’s Week 2013  flickr set (all pictures no commentary) so I hope you enjoy those.

Here are my favorite (often times silly and possibly only funny to us) “outtake” moments from this year’s NASCAR Champion’s Week celebration:

1. That the only part of Tony Stewart Live that Misty and I managed to catch (since Tuesday was my travel day) was Jimmie Johnson saying that Chad Knaus was aging in dog years and he didn’t know how much more he had in him. (For those not in the know- Misty’s favorite driver is Jeff Gordon- but Chad is her favorite crew chief). Okay- well maybe only I (Amy) found that hilarious- am pretty sure Misty didn’t find it too funny but don’t worry- she gets me back in this department with outtake 3. Needless to say “aging in dog years” became the catchphrase of the week.

2. That time Robin Leach (yes he of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous fame) photobombed Misty’s picture of Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth during The Victory Lap (and all three of the drivers were smiling- not an easy thing to catch):

Robin Leach, Photobomber extraordinaire

Thanks for the photobomb Robin Leach. (Also from left to right  after the photobomber are: 6 time champion Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth). (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

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(Here’s the link if you are looking for Part 1 of Celebrating A Sprint Cup Champion…Vegas Style)

2013 Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson, the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup (and six time) Champion is introduced at NASCAR After The Lap. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

While ALL the NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion’s Week festivities are fun- by far my favorite event is NASCAR After The Lap.  This year the event was held at THE PEARL theater at The Palms- after the drivers did their victory lap and burn outs down the strip.  While The Palms is off strip- I think that this was my favorites of the locations that they have held this event at so far. (The first several were held at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (also off-strip) with last year’s being held at Planet Hollywood). (more…)