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(photo source: zimbio.com/ Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

Started: 39th (after qualifying 21st but getting dinged for “unapproved body modification” when pushing the car out to the grid on Sunday afternoon)

Finished: 24th

Points: 111 points, 35th in the standings and 60 points from 30th position (David Ragan)

When you have a race as long as the Coca-Cola 600 (the longest race on the NASCAR circuit) and your driver is having a good day it’s a great and glorious culmination to a day chocked full of racing.  When your driver is struggling, and laps down by the end of the race- it’s just a long-ass day and it’s hard to find good in the day when your driver finishes four laps down after struggling for hours and hours with a car that is “up out of the track.”

(photo credit: zimbio.com/Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images North America))

Unfortunately for Tony Stewart and team 14, Martin Truex Jr set a dominating and blistering pace for the first quarter of the Coca-Cola 600 and by lap 87 while improving his position from 39th to 24th, Stewart ended up getting put a lap down. Handling would be an issue for the entire race and the team would ultimately end up finishing 4 laps down in 24th spot.

But being the glass half-full person I try to be, I found two “little” things that make the race a little easier to swallow.  First off being that Tony despite finishing 24th Tony was able to gain two spots in the points standings and is now 35th (although he still remains 60 points from 30th place David Ragan).  The second little thing is that at the beginning of the race- through the competition caution Tony was able to move UP through the field to 24th after starting 39th despite the ill-handling machine he struggled with all night. It could have been worse…he could have been relegated to a last place or near last place finish- or worse suffer a DNF.  So there was good in the race if you look hard enough. (more…)

(Share with us why Tony Stewart is your driver- be part of Project: Smoke In My Eyes today!– Amy) 

Tony Stewart at Pocono

Tony Stewart at Pocono 2014 (Photo Credit: Glenn Bure for BadGroove.com)

My son Logan who is now 17 has been a Tony fan since about age 4. There was just something about Tony that seemed to draw him. Logan was 5 & we had just bought him a new Tony Stewart shirt. He had to put it on right away. My husband and I were packing the van to get ready to leave in the morning for vacation. Logan had gone to my sister’s house to play with her children. Next thing I know-  she calls me. Logan fell playing baseball and she thought he broke his arm. We took him to the ER and he had broken his elbow and had to have surgery. He was very upset when they said they had to cut his shirt off . We explained it was brand new, that Tony was his favorite and so on. They asked the surgical team if they could take it off him once he was out and they said no. The two nurses felt really bad and the one suggested making a pillow or wall hanging. They were very careful cutting it off. Several months later Logan’s great Aunt Ruthie made him a beautiful pillow that he still had. It is worn and has seen it’s better days but it still bring him comfort. Tony is still his favorite driver and he has had a lot of Tony’s t-shirts since that one but the t-shirt pillow is still his favorite!

— Dee Van Blargan

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If you want to take part in Project: Smoke In My Eyes there is still time! Click on the link for more information and submit your piece today!

Coke 600 2015 (photo source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

Here is what’s been pinging around my brain this week like lugnuts during a green flag pitstop.

1. While I always love the day of racing that is presented on the last Sunday in May- us Smoke fans have something extra special to look forward to- a Kenny Wallace interview with Tony Stewart on NASCAR RaceDay on FS1 prior to the CocaCola 600.  If you don’t watch RaceDay (I plan on watching the Indy 500 myself so I might miss it) you might want to set your DVRs to record it!

2. Also if you are interested in The Smoke Show at Texas Motor Speedway- the date has been released as Wednesday October 12th. You can get more information and sign up by visiting SCCTEXAS.ORG or calling 817-215-8567. BadGroove reader and supporter Judy Seigworth attended last year’s SMOKE Show and shared her experiences with us here at Badgroove. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t yet and consider attending this awesome event for charity.

3. You know how a lot of the drivers honor fallen veteran’s and their families by running their name on the windshield header of their cars? Well Tony Stewart will be honoring Master Sgt. Paul D. Karpowich. Karpowich was one of 22 Americans killed by a suicide bomber in a mess tent in Iraq four days before Christmas 2004.  Sgt Karpowich has a 12 year military career including four years of active duty and working his way up to a senior drill sargent in the Army Reserves.  He was hand-selected to train new Iraqi troops in Northern Iraq in fall of 2004. The #14 crew chief Mike Bugarewicz and his wife Krysten asked to honor Sgt Paul Karpowich since Krysten family knows the Karpowich family.

(more…)

Recently I reviewed for you the book American Muscle Cars and if you haven’t been following my blog very long you probably got the idea that I love muscle cars. And while I don’t have the money nor the space to store a car collection- I like to think if I ever did  win the lottery so that money and space wasn’t an issue I would have a car collection and it would be heavy in American muscle. Anyway today I get to bring to your attention another beautiful book about American muscle cars called Wide-Open Muscle: The Rarest Muscle Car Convertibles by Randy Leffingwell and photographer Tom Loeser.

This book focuses on what is perhaps the least practical cars manufactured during the height of the American muscle car genre of the 1960s and early 1070s- the convertible.  The cars within the covers of Wide-Open Muscle are highly sought after and pricey in today’s collector’s market.  These cars were heavy, stuff and definitely not made for a casual Sunday drive- these were made to street race. (more…)

(photo source: Zimbio.com/Robert Laberge/Getty Images North America)

Oh that All-Star race. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Thanks to an uncooperative mother nature and a dog that gets me up at the crack of dawn ever morning I was able to watch the entire Sprint Showdown live.  Originally scheduled to run Friday evening the Showdown was postponed along with all other ontrack activities at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday.  I usually miss at least a couple of the Showdown segments being on the west coast because of work – so it was actually a nice treat to get get to watch the entire showdown start-to-finish.  In my opinion the racing in the showdown was good exciting racing- exactly what you would expect from drivers racing for the chance to race for million bucks.  That last transfer race between Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson was just good hard aggressive racing that fans want to see at any race! The showdown transfer winners ended up being Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle and Kyle Larson.  Ironically enough the fan vote winner was Chase Elliott and second place fan vote was Danica Patrick both of which also transferred into the All-Star race.  Matt DiBurrito ended up being third in the fan vote for those keeping track. (more…)

All-Star Race 2013 (Photo Source: Tony Stewart FaceBook Page)

These items are what have been pinging around my pitbox this week like loose lugnuts during a green flag pitstop:

1. Don’t forget Smoke fans- Tony will be giving the command to fire engines for the All-Star race…how awesome is that. I hope that other tracks have some neat tributes to Tony as the season winds down…I know he said he didn’t want a fuss but…I kind of want a fuss for him.

2. I was going to go on a little rant about silly season rumors and the whole Harvick to HMS rumor. But now I don’t have to do that because Stewart-Haas Racing officially announced today that Harvick has signed a “longterm contract extension” with the team.  I wonder if people will now listen to Kevin when he states emphatically on his social media that he isn’t going anywhere?! For those wondering, Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers signed a contract extension last June so the pair is likely  in it for the long haul.  Of course this doesn’t mean that the whole Kasey Kahne to finish his HMS contract with a different team isn’t true- but like all silly season rumors- only time will tell with that one. (more…)

 

Garage Area at Sonoma Raceway June 2015

I make no bones about how much I love Sonoma Raceway! It’s the closest track to where I live in which the cup cars run. The track is close enough to San Francisco to have fun excursions to the city during the weekend there. It’s in wine country and it’s close to the ocean.  And of course there is nothing like some road course racing- turning left AND right, braking, rubbing- it’s amazing to experience!

Speaking of experiences- since this is Tony Stewart’s  last year as a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series the Tony Stewart Foundation (in conjunction with sponsor Code 3 Associates and FWCSports) has set up the Ultimate VIP Tony Stewart experience in Sonoma for Saturday June 25th!

This truly is a once in a lifetime type experience with NASCAR driver Tony Stewart at Sonoma Raceway! Best of all the price of your VIP Experience(a $750 dollar charitable donation that may be tax deductible depending on your tax situation) goes directly to the Tony Stewart Foundation Grant Fund!  So you are helping the Tony Stewart Foundation with your generous donation all while getting the experience of a lifetime with Tony Stewart at Sonoma Raceway.

Check out all the great things the VIP experience includes:  (more…)

(photo source: Tony Stewart Facebook page)

Started: 34th

Finished: 34th

Points: 94 points, 37th in the standings and 60 points from 30th position

Quote Of The Race:“$*^3! *(#^$! *$&$#!!!!!!” — me after Tony’s trackbar gave way.

Miles the monster got his fill of cars on Sunday didn’t he?  Unfortunately the Monster Mile was NOT  kind to Tony Stewart this weekend.  When I tuned into practice on my phone at work- just to check how things were going the first thing I see is that Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray all crashed during an incident on track.

(photo source: Zimbio.com/Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

Then I was seeing the words I don’t like to see- that both Tony and Jamie hit walls with no SAFER barrier.  Really??  I do not understand why there are surfaces with no SAFER barrier around the track…I have been saying this a long time- but especially after Kyle Busch broke his leg in Daytona- all inside and outside walls no matter the probability of impact should have SAFER barriers. Anyway- Tony was okay but his car was not and he needed to go to a backup car. The crew was able to get the backup car out onto the track during that first practice but only long enough to make a couple laps. Then the rest of the day- including qualifying was washed away and Tony’s starting position was based on his practice speed which put him 34th in the starting grid.

Sunday started off well for Team 14. At the drop of the green Tony was on the move- and even passed two cars at one time as noted by Bob Jeffrey his spotter.  By the competition caution on lap 40 Tony had already worked his way into 21st position.  At the competition caution he was complaining that he was tight from the center third off and the team started making changes.  The team kept working and Tony kept driving hard and gaining positions.  A small incident of contact with Aric Almirola on lap 130 lead the team to worry that they might have tire damage since the lettering was rubbed off the tire and the national broadcast showed that during the contact- Tony’s car lifted slightly in the front when the contact was made. It left Aric Almirola with a significant tire rub. I wonder if this contact didn’t some how break or weaken the trackbar when the jolt of the contact was made and cause the issue that Tony would suffer later in the race (and yes I know the part that broke was in the rear of the car).  Despite the crew chief and spotter concerns- the tire held until the next round of pit stops. (more…)