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(photo source: HHP/Harold Hinson)

Ahh I always look forward to the All-Star race- who doesn’t? It’s time for the drivers to just drive. No points- it’s purely for the cash at the end of the day.  For those who are not in the know – the 2017 All-Star Race format has changed (which is no surprise- they seem to tweak this on a yearly basis).

How The All-Star Race Will Work

Four stages for a total of 70 laps. The first three stages are twenty laps a piece.  The last stage is a 10 lap shoot out that only 10 cars will race in (whot? I know we will get to that in a second).

The winner of each of the first three stages is guaranteed a spot in the final stage provided they are on the lead lap at the end of stage 3.  The rest of the final stage (7 additional cars unless the same car wins multiple stages) will be filled by the cars with the best average finish in the first three stages will make up the remaining spots needed to fill the 10-car final stage again providing they are on the lead lap at the end of stage 3.

The final 10 car field will be lined up by average finish of the first three stages and given the option to pit. If they pit and  how they come off of pit road WILL effect how they start the final stage. The winner of the final stage gets the $1 million dollar race purse.

How A Driver Qualifies For The All-Star Race  (more…)

(Photo source: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

I have been kind of quiet lately as I process the new racing format and a couple of other issues. To catch you up- if you haven’t been reading me very long- I came out against the new “stages” format at the beginning of the season.

However, it was at the Las Vegas race that my mind started to turn slightly.  While at the Vegas race I was talking to Misty and she stated that she thought the stages actually did bring excitement mid race to races that usually lacked a little something in the middle. Because of this it held her attention longer. Also while in Vegas I was privileged enough to listen to Chad Knaus (crew chief for Jimmie Johnson) talk to a group of fans and associates at a Lowes in nearby Henderson Nevada and one of the fans posed a question to him about his thoughts on the new format. He stated that he thought it was a good thing on their end because it honestly keeps even the team more engaged during a long race.  I decided to continue to keep my mind open about these stages.  It wasn’t until the Martinsville race though that I really personally saw the excitement that the stages bring to the races. I do still think the new format needs some tweaking though. Mainly I think that the caution laps that immediately follow the stages should not be counted towards the total laps of the race. There should be something put in place there so that these cautions – which tend to be longer don’t impact the race so much. (more…)

(Photo Source: Charlotte Bray for Skirts & Scuffs)

I have to say that so far I am admittedly impressed with Stewart-Haas this season. Yes I know that we are only two races into the season and all but all four cars seem strong so far for the most part.  Oh and no I haven’t forgotten that they switched manufacturers in the off season. To me this makes their showing early in the season even more impressive.  While it was regrettable that Kevin Harvick dominated, and I mean DOMINATED the majority of the race from the pole only to be foiled by his own hand (or foot in this case) with a pit road speeding penalty after a late race caution when many drivers took the wave around, it’s Harvick’s performance that you can judge the team by. He has been a strong teammate since joining Stewart-Haas Racing and while I know that it can make for a boring race when one car is so dominate the way Harvick’s was- it’s a pretty damn good indicator to me that the move from Chevy to Ford is not the learning curve or difficult transition that many thought it would be.  This has always been the little team that could since it’s inception in 2009 and look at them charge up that hill. (more…)

(source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

The Daytona 500 is the first NASCAR anything I have seen all season.  I missed the Clash because we were in the midst of a 52 hour power outage thanks to hurricane force winds that showed up with one of the many rain storms this area has received over the past several months. I always miss at least one of the duels because of work and this time I missed both duels. I don’t usually watch qualifying or practices for work reasons as well.

So settling in to take in the Daytona 500 was my first experience as a driver-less race fan as far back as I can remember. You may have noticed I have purposely not made a sweeping declaration of whom I will be supporting because I feel that will have to come organically and naturally as it did back when I picked up being a Tony Stewart fan way back when I did. Since no one applied to by my favorite driver I am forced to adopt a wait and see attitude driver wise.  I have a certain pool of drivers that I pull for but we will see who ends up being a stand out. As for the race itself- I have decided I want to discuss certain components of the race before I give my thoughts on the race as a whole.  (more…)

I had been anticipating the release of “Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive, & Destiny” by Joe Garner since I first heard about it.  I had it preordered at Amazon- and then cancelled my preorder because I found out I could get it sooner if I ordered it directly from Jeff Gordon’s online store.  I admit I had slight trepidation when I found out it was a biography and not an autobiography because sometimes biographies to me can seem a big like a flat historical account of someone’s life and I often times have trouble reading those kind of books but I ordered it anyway because if nothing else it would make for something right up Badgroove’s alley for the #NASCAR Reading List.  Well I have finally finished it (more on that later in the review) and I have to say that I absolutely  adored this biography about Jeff Gordon both on and off the track.

While the title might seem lofty “Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive and Destiny” this book does discuss his dreams and focuses immensely on his drive to get there and what decisions he made when and why. This book by Joe Garner tells Jeff Gordon’s whole story from his humble beginnings in Vallejo, California right up to the man he is today and everything in between. And let me tell you this book was not the “flat historical” type of biography that I have seen many books about racers become.  The writing in this book is quite engaging and interesting and I learned a LOT about Jeff Gordon that I didn’t really know before including one very surprising fact about him and Dale Earnhardt Sr that I will keep under my hat so that you are just as surprised to read about it when I was.  My favorite thing about the book was that his parents and friends took such a huge role in the telling of Jeff’s story through their eyes. Kudos to them for taking part in telling the story of who is sure to be a Hall of Fame driver.

Because “Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny” is the first ever authorized biography of Jeff Gordon- it has many full color photos not just of Jeff and his family through the various stages of his life and his racing career but of Jeff Gordon memorabilia as well adoring the pages. It even discussed things such as the alienation of his parents after his first marriage and his divorce ad well. It also goes into fatherhood and how it effected him. This book was truly a delight to read and it will take a proud place on my racing bookshelf- which was so full already I had to rearrange the racing shelf just to make it fit.

Joe Garner’s book about Jeff Gordon is 192 thick glossy pages chocked full of color photos.  My only complaint about this book is the size. It’s a large coffee table book at 8.5 in by 11.8 inches and is a heavy book weighing in at nearly 3 lbs- which is why it took me so long to read it. While it’s absolutely gorgeous- it’s also not the kind of book you can cuddle up with in bed or throw in your purse to read during lunch break at work. I have smallish hands and it was just awkward to hold for me to read for any length of time at one sitting.

That said, if you are a NASCAR fan I would suggest a read- I don’t think you will be disappointed and you will certainly learn something new- I sure did. If you are a Jeff Gordon fan- it’s obviously one of those must read, must own items.

About The Author:  Joe Garner is a former radio executive and author who lives in Los Angeles, CA. He has authored 11 media-enhanced books, which have sold more than 2-million hardcover copies, and achieved multiple New York Times best sellers. Joe’s books have also been bestsellers in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly. He had worked with Jeff Gordon in 2006 on the book SPEED, GUTS & GLORY, about landmark moments in NASCAR history where Gordon narrated the video chapters that accompanied the book. You can find out more about Joe Garner on his website: JoeGarnerCompany.com or on twitter @JoeGarnerAuthor.

Related Fun Fact: BadGroove had the opportunity to interview Jeff Gordon back in 2012- with Misty taking point on that interview. You can find it located here.

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For Full-Disclosure purposes (I am looking at you FTC): I purchased this book with my own money and reviewed it because that’s what I do occasionally for this website. Not only did I purchase the book but the opinion about the book is also my own.  No books were harmed in the making of this review. 

Click here for other installments of Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List

Attention all #NASCAR Drivers:

Apply within for the job of new favorite NASCAR Driver.

About The Position:

I find myself staunchly in the middle of the dreaded “off-season” for us NASCAR fans, pondering what will be in the 2017 NASCAR season. There are lots of changes afoot- including an awesome new series sponsor in  MONSTER ENERGY.  I am finding myself unable to concentrate on any of that because I find I am faltering since I am now without a favorite NASCAR driver. I haven’t been in this position in many years and it’s unsettling.  So I decided that I am currently taking applications for the position of a new “Favorite NASCAR Driver.” If you are a #NASCAR driver looking for a new fan- please read on to see if this position is a good fit for you!

What You’ll Need For This Position:

This position is NOT an easy one to fill so please make sure that you fit the qualifications before applying:

  • Fiery passion to win.
  • Talent to back up that passion.
  • Competitive
  • Tender heart that may not always show.
  • Wear that passion and heart on your sleeve

Helpful but not required skills:

  • Championships in other series.
  • Lacking a filter and saying the first thing that pops into your head while speaking with the media is acceptable as is using terms like “dart with no feather.”
  • Willingness to wreck own mother (or other family members) to win championship.
  • Tenuous relationship with NASCAR beat media okay.

What’s In It For You:

I offer an exclusive benefits package including but not limited to:

  • A cheering section of at least one- possibly more.
  • Blog posts written about you.
  • All channels of your social media followed.
  • Merchandise sales.
  • May drive in other series while active in MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES.

Please Note:

Fitting with the right  NASCAR driver is a process that has to develop organically so a trial run might be necessary before position becomes permanent.

Position may or may not include additional responsibility of being included in the Race Fan’s workgroup of favorite racers. Previous “Favorite NASCAR Driver” holder currently holds court in this exclusive group but retirement from #NASCAR forced him to leave the position of “Favorite NASCAR Driver”.

How To Apply:

Email cover letter and resume/cv to:  badgruv@netzero.com.

 

Now that the dust has settled on the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series I wanted to take a stab at explaining just why many Smoke fans including myself feel that Tony wasn’t given the farewell season he deserved.

(photo source: @StewartHaasRcng Twitter account)

When Tony announced his “retirement” (and I use that term loosely because I am sure that he will race more this year than he did last year) he made it absolutely clear that he did not want the rigmarole that Jeff Gordon was given week in and week out. He didn’t want to be drug into the media center every weekend and presented with gifts ranging from the thoughtful to the truly bizarre (not that he escaped that- since he got a bigger than life-size bobble head of himself from Texas Motor Speedway). All Tony wanted to do in his last season is what Tony has wanted to do since he got behind the steering wheel of his first goKart- he wanted to buckle in and race. And for the most part that is what he got.

His fans, however, voiced their discontent all season long about the lack of Tony recognition. Some might be thinking, well he got what he asked for.  While I don’t think what a majority of fans wanted was Tony paraded through the media center pulling gifted ponies and poker tables behind him- they wanted something.

What the fans wanted, expected, hoped for were the things they saw tracks doing the year before with Jeff Gordon. Fans wanted the opportunity to feel engaged and made to feel that not just that their driver was recognized but that they had a part in that recognition.  Case in point: I have no fewer than three Jeff Gordon towels each from different tracks that were dispersed to fans during the 2015 season for fans to wave during lap 24. I went to one race more in 2016 and I don’t have any Tony Stewart towels. Fans wanted to see things like a race named after him like Phoenix did for Jeff Gordon.  They wanted to see Speed Limit 14 MPH when the drove around Las Vegas Motor Speedway although that would be a pretty damn slow speed limit and technically Tony wasn’t driving at Las Vegas because of his back injury. You get my drift though.

Some tracks did do things for Tony fans. Some had Tony’s likeness gracing program covers, posters, and even a coveted (normal sized) bobbleheads. But subtle signs on backstretches, wall of fame presentations and a rock in his honor not withstanding tributes denoting Tony and engaging fans in celebrating their driver were actually far and few between at the track.  Fans at home missed out too- many times lap 14 was not even televised let alone mentioned showing fans standing in celebration of their beloved driver.  They wanted Tony mentioned occasionally during races despite his less than stellar performances most races.

Ultimate what was missing for Tony’s NASCAR fans was the sense of community that the track promoters and sponsors created during Jeff Gordon’s farewell season. Sure they can claim it is what Tony wanted but what he wanted was to be subjected to constant distraction. What Tony fans wanted and perhaps needed by and large could have been done without going against Tony’s wishes. THAT is why SMOKE fans feel slighted by the treatment of Tony’s retirement.

As my readers know, I will occasionally post a book review here and there when I come across something race or car related that I think my readers will enjoy.  I have been lucky enough to read several this year but I have three more that I would like to present to you as my three most standout books from 2016 as the year draws to a close today. These books are all for the car enthusiast and are of the coffee table variety.  Here are my standouts in reverse order: (more…)