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I am going to be straight with you- I actually don’t like watching races at Talladega….and am the only one I know who feels this way.  The races at Talladega make me nervous. The track is huge and super fast. Add to that 43 cars going 200 mph most of whom are not just inches apart (thanks to the restrictor plates they run)  but also purposely banging into each other’s bumpers (bump draft) and its a recipe for disaster….or what fans and teams call THE BIG ONE.  Inveribly there is going to be at least one wreck that takes out a good portion of the field.  I watch between my fingers (figeratively not literally) because I fear “my driver” will be taken out by “THE BIG ONE” and then the race will pretty much be ruined for the day.

Now I have stated before that I usually take notes while I am watching the race. I usually grab a notebook or some paper and have it with my while I am watching so I can take notes of the laps that certain things I might want to write about happen on.  I also am a big doodler so usually besides my notes there are flowers and meager attempts at cars and such all over the notes.  I had my notebook at the ready during Talladega but I didn’t really make any notes. I mostly just drew…I drew a car and a flower and then the biggest checkered flag that takes up about two thirds of the page.  Now I am going to to tell you that this was graph paper so no wonder I picked a checkered flag…it was not because I felt Tony was going to win…it was because I was nervous and I doodle when I am nervous.

What I do remember is that on the radio during the race Team Home Depot Subway was fairly quiet.  Even more so than usual.  Before the race, driver Tony Stewart told his crew- as he usually does to be careful on pit road and promised to do his part better today.  Most of the chatter was the spotter Mike alerting driver Tony Stewart of where people were on the track and that kind of thing. This tells me one thing- the car was set up pretty well to begin with.  My suspicions were confirmed when right before the first pitstop crew cheif Zipadelli radioed in and asked his driver what he needed- and he just wanted a tiny adjustment and that was it. Usually the go back and forth as to what kind of adjustments are needed but they seemed fairly dialed in today.   Pit stops were also smooth and without problem- the Home Depot Subway car was out of the pits in a time manner each time without incident.

There were two “Big Ones” during the race and several little ones…and during each of the big ones Team Home Depot Subway very narrowly escaped getting caught up in the mele.  The first wreck happened in front of us as we were working our way through traffic and the second one happened behind Team Home Depot Subway…RIGHT behind them.  As in I let out a fairly audible and horrified sounding gasp. Both “Big Ones” resulted in red flags (that stop the race).

The race ended with a green-white-checker finish with Stewart in the lead and working hard with his spotter to block and fend off an advancing line of DEI cars trying to draft past him. As the train of Stewart, Regan Smith, and Paul Menard came down to take the checkered flag Smith actually pulled down across the yellow line towards the apron of the track and passed Stewart – thus technically crossing the finish line first. It was a rookie mistake– you are no allowed to cross the yellow line and advance your position.   It’s ok to go down under the line if you are forced down there to avoid contact however you are not allowed to advance your position under the line.  Smith claimed that he heard that that was the rule except on the last lap (which makes no sense to me- why have a rule that works except for the last lap? That’s crazy).  NASCAR mandated that Smith indeed advanced his position under the line and was thus penalized by being placed at the end of the longest line- placing him with a finishing position of 18th. I see it like this: It’s like catching the football and running just outside the sidelines to the endzone and jumping in- claiming that this is a legal move because it’s the last two seconds of the game. This would clearly not be a touchdown because you went OUT OF BOUNDS.

Driver Tony Stewart broke his 43 race winless drought with a win at a track he has never won at before. A track that in his previous 20 races there- he has been second 6 times. Needless to day it was a very emotional victory lane celebration.

Other Talladega Notes:

  • Denny Hamlin was taken to the hospital following an incident where he cut a tire and smashed hard into the wall. He was kept overnight for observation.  After the race it was reported he was being held overnight for a observation of a possible concussion and an ankle bruise. I hope Denny is ok.
  • Tires were blowing all over the place…however it was surmised by some of the race teams that the teams that were blowing tires may have been running too high of air pressure or that tires were being damaged due to rubs because of the bump draft.  Goodyear promised during the national broadcast that they would examine the evidence at their race office in Akron, OH to find out why there seemed to be an inordinate number of tire blowouts.
  • Travis Kvapil had a great qualifying effort (the POLE!) and a fairly good run most of the day until getting caught up in that Big One. I really think Kvapil is going places.
  • When Regan Smith passed Tony below the yellow line you should have seen me jump off the couch and yell YOU CAN’T ADVANCE UNDER THE YELLOW LINE!!!!  I scared the dog so much she woke up and ran out the back door.  I was already crying foul.  Then the cameras were showing Regan’s pit crew celebrating and I was pissed. PISSED.  But when they deferred to NASCAR who deemed the winner to be Tony I was like HELL YEAH HE WAS THE WINNER!!!
  • While I totally agree that Tony Stewart was the winner I do think penalizing Regan Smith to back in 18th position was a little harsh I will say that.

Next Week: Saturday Night at Lowe’s Motorspeedway in Charlotte!

  1. Name something a friend or loved one did for you in the last month that made you feel good. If I am having a bad day all I need is a call and I instantly feel better. And my friend and I talk a lot so its all good there.
  2. Name something you did for a friend or loved one in the last month and how did it make them feel? Seriously I don’t keep track of that kind of thing…
  3. Tell us about the first childhood family vacation that you remember. That I actually remember would be the summer between fourth and fifth grade…we went up north to a cabin outside of Paradise,CA for a week…and then the next week we went to Disneyland way down in SoCal. Well when up north we had all gone on a hike and gotten LOST! Like seriously lost. As in all day in the mountains…and no one would come looking for us until late that night because my grandparents just happened to be coming up to stay with us in the cabin that day. Any way we finally find this fire break road and hike up it…by now its like 5pm and we find this house and this guys really kinda hinky of us but lets us drink from his hose and tells us how to get back whence we came from…and actually ended up giving us a ride back to the cabin…and everyone but me ended up with poison oak…well until Disneyland…when I had it and everyone else was over it.
  4. Kids get hurt. Tell us a time you recall as a kid when you injured yourself. The summer between third and fourth grade I was in our backyard swinging on this swingset my dad had set up for my brother and I that had two swings…one really low and set up for his use and one higher set up for me…Well I was alone in the yard and decided to just sit on his low swing and swing because I figured since the swing was lower to the ground the chain was longer and with a longer chain the swing would be higher and longer. Well what I didn’t account for was that my feet were closer to the ground and my foot caught on the grass at the edge of the rut under the swing and I went flying off the swing and face planted on the ground..and being a kid and not knowing better I stuck my arms out to pad my fall. Big mistake because I could hear my arm crack in my head and then I instantly got nauseated. I ran inside bawling and told my mom I broke my arm and how it happened and SHE DIDN’T BELIEVE ME when I told her my arm was broken. She made me sit on the couch and rest. I remember she was making brownies for my dad to take to work or something and my aunt came over to pick something up and told my mom that she thought I was telling the truth and she watched my brother while we went to the doctor…where indeed I was vindicated. I had a hairline fracture of one of the bones in my fore arm.
  5. Tell us something you want to do before the snow flies. Well it doesn’t snow here. But I like to take some time in November every year and go through my clothes and give the ones I don’t wear anymore to goodwill.

Over at ON PIT ROW, the discussion was “What are your Five Favorite Bits of NASCAR?” Of course I thought this would make a great post so I am going to post my fave five bits o’ NASCAR loving:

  1. The Carl Edwards kamakazi move to over take Johnson at Kansas- I was sitting back thinking Jimmie Johnson had it made. I looked over at my mom and said “There’s no way Carl will catch him…its too late” and as soon as those words poured out of my mouth Carl goes sliding into the corner past Jimmie. I mean drivers just don’t drive into the corner too hot like that (on purpose anyway). Yeah he knew he was gonna hit the wall…but how many times did we see Kyle Busch use the outside wall as a bumper this season and still win? It can be done. Carl gave it a valient effort…that exhilarated me and I was rooting for Jimmie (well to win…I always root for Tony…but he was too far back to make a bid for the lead way too far back).
  2. Actually attending races this year- I have been a fan since I was in single digits but only managed to wrangle myself out to a NASCAR race for the first time THIS YEAR. Sad but true. However I LOVED it and am totally hooked on that experience. I already have tickets for the Vegas race next year (FYI I also found my way to Fontana later in the year).
  3. Converting my best friend into a NASCAR fan- We have been friends since junior high. Seriously. She moved away to socal to go to college and we remained best friends…then she moved away to Las Vegas to live and we are still best friends. She recently admitted that she always thought my obsession with NASCAR was odd. During the summer last year I was visiting her in Vegas and looked at her and said- “Hey will go to the races with me here?” She just kinda looked at me and said “I guess.” I bought her ticket and we went to the March race in Vegas. However- by the time this season began she was already well into fledgling race fandom. She started watching races and read some books on NASCAR because she “wanted to understand what she was watching” and now she is hard core just like me. She can even do the points spread in her head after most races for her driver. (She picked Jeff Gordon as her driver).
  4. The CHASE format- If we didn’t have the chase format- Kyle Busch would probably still be way way out in the lead. With this chase format at this point anyway- it’s still anyone’s game. Of course I am sure Kyle Busch doesn’t feel this way…and if Kyle were Tony…I probably wouldn’t feel this way- but I am loving it this season.
  5. The SD Channel on DirectTV HotPass- I am probably way in the minority here- but I would much rather watch the SD channel on HotPass than my driver’s channel- because I can here my crew’s team chatter while watching the national broadcast.

HONORABLE MENTION: Tony Stewart and The Home Depot Crew- Tony and the Home Depot boys have had a craptacular season. Their luck absolutely stinks this season. It started bad (On probation, then Tony hitting the wall in Vegas) and has not gotten better yet! There have been speeding penalties, pit road problems (Like running into Vicker’s gas man), illness and more thrown gloves, helmets and towels than you can shake a stick at. Oh and not to mention that whole little “What Will Tony Do” debacle…and then the Tony’s leaving revelation. Yet they still show up every week, dig their heels in and try.

So what are your five things you are loving about NASCAR or about anything…

I had to go to the eye doctor yesterday afternoon to get my new contacts prescription adjusted slightly because the astigmatism in my left eye always tests worse then what it actually is. It’s not a big deal…it took my doctor like 5 minutes.  And he didn’t really do anything but tell me that its not a big deal and write a new prescription.  While we were discussing what was going on in my eyeballs he told me to sit in the exam chair- which gives me a perfect view of his computer screen so I can see my chart and what he’s typing in it. That’s when I saw what he was typing in my chart:

The 34-year old female states that the….

I mean he might as well as slapped me with a wet noodle, or maybe a fun noodle, either way. I am sitting in my optometrist’s chair when it hits me: Crap! I am THIRTY-FREAKING-FOUR years old!!!! When the hell did that happen???  I certainly don’t feel 34 maybe 24 definitely not 34.  Of course when I was 24 I still got carded for liquor…so I must look 34- or at least old enough to buy the hooch!  And by the time my mother was my age she had two children and the youngest was 7! It definitely kinda freaked me out a bit.

It’s great having a best friend though…because when I called her on the way home she said…just be glad you didn’t see him typing that next year. Awww…thanks. That did help…a little.

It’s time for Fill-in #92:

1. October comes before November.
2. A place without music scare me!
3. Leaves are falling all around, it’s time to find a rake.
4. My favorite horror movie is a movie I don’t know the name of but it is OLD and has a hearse in it because it scared the crap out of me when I was in junior high. I just which I could find the name of this movie.
5. Going to the races with BFM = good memories.
6. It was will be a dark and stormy night tonight when the storm rolls in.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to vacuuming, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in and Sunday, I want to watch ‘dega through my fingers (and hope Tony doesn’t get caught in “the big one”)!

Thank you oh so much for making my semi-crappy day even more craptacular by attempting to run me off into the sand dune on the highway during my lunch hour trek back to the office from Starbucks. Hurray for you.  You may not have cared that you nearly ran someone (ME!) off the freaking highway and into the sand but by golly, stores will get their delivery of your icky stale tasting oroweat bread on time. I know you have the bigger vehicle so you win. Be glad I don’t drive Grave Digger or I would have run your ass into the dunes or maybe just ran you over so all you would be able to carry in your truck would be flat bread. Anyway. Hope you have a super day.

Thanks- AMY

As always click on the photo to go to the mosaic in Flickr and check out these amazing photographers. Also- two of them are pictures my dad took. Can you find them?

September Flickr Favorites

September Flickr Favorites

Ok- I would love to meet the person or persons who write the post-race press releases for Joe Gibbs Racing. I almost always find something humorous in them.  This weeks was no different:

The unscheduled soil aeration courtesy of The Home Depot damaged the splitter on the No. 20 car’s nose.–Stewart Forced To Run with the Bulls in Kansas/ JGR

The emphasis is mine…I wish the statement was too because it’s damn funny.

By the way if you are looking for my Kansas post-race it’s right here.


** My funny- not Joe Gibbs. My friend calls Vickers the Leprechaun…so it’s what we call him now.