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While I am still trying to collect my thoughts and process the few pictures I got at AutoClub- I wanted to take a few minutes to talk some more about the Fan Driven 400.  In case you forgot, you still have time to vote on the name of the 400 mile June race at Pocono. Vote now (through April 8th) on the Walmart FanDriven Page! The three names you have to chose from are: Race More. Live Better, Pocono For The People, and Party in the Poconos.

But what I really want to talk about are some of the names that didn’t quite make the cut. First off there is the I hope Brad Wins! 400 which humors me. Why didn’t I think to submit a #GoTonyGo 400? Or I’m With Smoke 400? Those would have been awesome race names- and it’s not like he’s having the best of seasons right now- so it would show our support!  Why is hindsight always 20/20 when it comes to these things?

Then there is the The P-Town Funk Race which to me sounds like a rejected hip hop song name. And while we are on the topic of music this one sounds like a country song to me: Light Beer in Plastic Cups 400 probably because of Toby Keith’s Red Solo Cup song…which I LOVE by way. Which brings us to my two favorite names that DIDN’T make the cut for naming rights of the FanDriven 400. The runner up is Deer Please Don’t Run on the Track 400 which I can relate to because on my drive to work I sometime have to think to myself Deer Please Don’t Run In Front Of My Car…because that would be messy and inconvenient…and not a way to start one’s work day (for either me or the deer).  And my VERY FAVORITE of the names that didn’t make it (so much so that I wish it had made it because I would totally vote for it) is the What Turn 4? 400! I mean the track IS shaped like a triangle so there really isn’t a turn 4 so…I am all for it and if you submitted this- I think you totally got rooked and should have been in the running for the naming rights! That one right there highlights THE characteristic that Pocono is KNOWN for!

Also don’t forget to stop by Walmart.com/NASCAR to pick up your family track pack for upcoming races like Darlington, Charlotte, Dover and the Fan Driven 400!  A family track pack is $99.00 and includes 4 tickets, four sodas and four hotdogs! It’s a good deal!

Now back to getting my Auto Club post written!

The smell of cow manure in the air should have been the first clue that Friday morning at Auto Club Speedway wasn’t going to go as planned. We got to the track early to pick up our credentials- which were waiting for us at the office- no problem. We were then be directed in a huge circle in the parking area at Auto Club. This happens to us EVERY YEAR we have been coming to the track whether it be as fan or as media (as we decided to do this year).  It seems to me that the parking attendants/volunteers that park the fans never know what to do – and just directed us in a big circle that included being flagged into the infield (which I am pretty sure was where we were suppose to park) only to then be directed right back out of the infield.  We ended up parking in general lot Green and hoofing it through the pedestrian tunnel only to be told that our credentials could not get us into the infield.  We explained that we were press and heading to the media center- and were told that we could only go through if we had a hard card. So we left the infield and went to the Tony Stewart Walk of Fame induction- which was luckily for us- directly outside of gate twelve so we could attend that with no issue.  Since we were press we went into the restricted area- only to be told to leave there too. So we stood outside the fencing and waited Tony’s arrival.

It was there that Misty overheard some Tony Stewart fans talking about his Bass Pro Appearance the night before. I was interested to hear that according to the fans who attended, that they were instructed not to ask to take pictures (not a big deal- if he took pictures with everyone who wanted a picture he would probably still be at Bass Pro Saturday morning) but that they were also told not to talk to him or ask him any questions at all. That seemed a little weird. I have been to MANY an Office Depot signing (and Home Depot too) and fans were never told they couldn’t TALK to the man.  I don’t know where that edict came from but it was kind of cruel to me.  I am surprised they allowed fans to look at him.  The fans we overheard said they do appreciate it much more when the signings aren’t so rushed.

Tony finally arrived and was presented with the plaque and said a few words.  He then stepped into the wet cement and left his impression in the concrete.  Fans BOOED because the photographers there who were DOING THEIR JOB to capture the event stood in front of a couple to get some pictures of the event.  That was kind of tight- because I doubt Tony understood why they were booing- and may have thought they were booing HIM.  But no the poor photographers who were tasked with photographing the event were booed.

Then-as quickly as he came- The Peoples Champion was ushered off in a white SUV back to the infield and to practice.

We did not want to go back and fight with the gate lady again about trying to get into the infield so we left because we didn’t have tickets for Friday.  And that was our Friday morning at Auto Club Speedway.

PS– Misty got some great pictures of Tony during the Walk of Fame Induction that I am sure she will share with us later!! So stay tuned for those!

Okay Smoke fans- this is what I have dug up for you appearance wise this week:

1.On Thursday March 21st, 2013 (yes this is TOMORROW people) Tony Stewart will be appearing at the Bass Pro Shop located in Rancho Cucamongua in an autograph session with driver Jamie McMurray.  This was taken right from the Bass Pro Rancho Cucamonga location facebook page: Starting at 9am on 3/21 we will pass out 350-400 wrist bands and affix them to each wrist. We have heard people may want to camp in line overnight or plan to arrive very early, so the line may be very long. After we have affixed the wrist band, people can then line up inside the store or can leave and return. The bands are not numbered and having a wrist band does not hold a place in line or guarantee an autograph. Jaime and Tony will be together at the same table from 6pm-8pm and we’re hoping all goes well and each wrist band gets an autograph. The line will start at our first set of double doors on the left as you face the store. Each will sign one item only.

2. On Friday morning on March 22nd, 2013 at approximately 10:45 Tony Stewart will be inducted into the Auto Club Walk of Fame…I don’t think there will be anything more than a little appearance by the man- so I doubt there will be any chances for autographs or anything (but who knows)- but you might catch a glimpse of your favorite driver. Look for the roped off section at the Walk of Fame at the speedway.

3. For NORTHERN CALIFORNIA Smoke fans- Tony will be appearing/racing a winged sprint car at Stockton 99 Speedway on Friday night.  Tickets are on sale now at the World of Outlaws Website: http://www.woosprint.com/. For more information on tickets and times, please contact the Speedway Office at (209)466-9999 or visit their Website at www.stockton99.com.

Don’t think that Northern Cali appearance doesn’t stick in my craw- since you know that is where I am located! I have ALWAYS wanted to see Tony race dirt in person and that speedway is only a couple hours from my house but because it’s Auto Club- I will be down in Southern Cali and I have not perfected transporting myself by flue powder or bending the space/time continuum I will miss it since it’s about 6 hours by car EACH WAY from Fontana.  Sigh. If only I had a jet pack or a private plane or helicopter something (not a helicopter because I am pretty sure that would KILL ME DEAD since flying in a plane is bad enough)- that would be a GREAT time (could you imagine THAT story on the ole blog? Especially the part about flying.) When the man (Tony Stewart) sleeps I have no idea.

It’s Bristol Baby- seems to the be the Bristol race’s motto doesn’t it? It’s fitting I suppose. I actually like watching the short tracks at Bristol and Martinsville- despite a text I may or may not have shot Misty after Tony’s lap 9 crash that said I HATE SHORT TRACKS. I don’t actually- I love them. I do hate them when my driver blows a tire and ends up 36 laps down for a majority of the race…but I still like watching the racing at my beloved short tracks.  I was watching the race and listening to his scanner on my NASCAR 13 mobile ap. Unfortunately the scanner was about 4 laps behind the TV so I saw it before I heard Bob warn Tony his tire was going down.  I was hoping he’d make it to pit road but my eyes were telling me that wasn’t going to happen unfortunately.

Tony Stewart drives the wrecked #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet after cutting a tire early during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 17, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)

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If you have been reading BadGroove for awhile you know that I go to the NASCAR race in VEGAS every year.  It was the track I took in my first NASCAR race at (the same holds true for Misty because I drug her to that first NASCAR race- and a fan was born).  Of course it helps that Misty lives in nearby Henderson and lets me stay with her while we are having our racecation fun.  Anyway, fair warning- I took a LOT of pictures while in Vegas.  Most at the track were taken on my “real” camera (I used a Canon 20D with a 300mm lens) but some on my iPhone as well.  If you followed along on twitter or happen to be my Facebook friend- you were subjected to lots of my iphone pictures over the course of my trip.  So don’t be surprised but I am not going to just post pictures here- but I will more than likely direct you to Flickr sets (yes multiple ones) so you can see all the race time FUN we had in Vegas.

So I drove into Vegas on Wednesday- it takes me a good 8 hours to get there…I got a tour of Misty’s rockin’ new house (it’s AWESOME- her room? Is HUGE) out by Lake Las Vegas in Henderson.  On Thursday Misty had to work a part day…so I hung out with her at her job- which was kind of cool- to see her in action at her job.  Then on a lark we decided to drive out to the Speedway to pick up our credentials for Friday-Sunday.  If we knew about the Thursday test in Vegas we both forgot and were SURPRISED when we got there.  We picked up our credentials and then walked into the speedway because HELLO CARS WERE ON TRACK!!! Fans could watch the test free and even get into the NEON GARAGE FREE which I think was a SMART thing to do.  Of course I didn’t have my “real” camera with me because I didn’t think about it- I am not use to being at the track on a Thursday.  It was fun though watching the cars practice and zip in and out of the garage.

There was even a driver Q&A in the Neon Garage with drivers Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Mark Martin (Casey Mears was also suppose to be there but he was MIA for some reason that was never explained). So Misty and I decided to stick around for that- it was fun watching all the fans gather around the stage for the Q&A and wait. Mark Martin arrived early to the Q&A and spent a lot of time with fans out in the Neon Garage signing autographs and taking pictures.  That was great to see that fan interaction and let me tell you the fans ate it up.

Mark Martin interacts with fans in the Neon Garage at Thursday afternoon’s Q&A at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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Remember back when I told you that I would be giving you reminders about the different contests that are all part of Walmart’s Fan Driven 400 contest? Well – it is now time for PART 2- helping decide the name of the race!  Fans submitted their ideas for names on the Walmart Fan Driven Facebook page- those entries have now been narrowed down to three possible names for the 400 mile race in Pocono:

  1. Race More. Live Better–submitted by Carrie Conway Wilson
  2. Pocono for the People–submitted by Diane Martin Carroll
  3. Party in the Poconos–submitted by Shawn McMillan

Be sure to exercise your right to VOTE right now!   You are able to vote once a day, every day until April 8!  So head on over to the Walmart Fan Driven Facebook Page and help choose the name of the Pocono 400.

Also don’t forget that you can purchase tickets for the Fan Driven 400 race on June 9 for ONLY $25!  That’s a GREAT deal!  You better hurry though, there will only be 16,000 of these specially priced tickets. There are also TRACK PACK deals available for 16 other races that include a family pack of tickets- making NASCAR affordable fun for the whole family!!  Tickets can be purchased at Walmart.com/NASCAR (for the Fan Driven 400 and/or Track Pack offers)  or through Pocono Raceway at poconoraceway.com/ (For Fan Driven 400 tickets only).

Yesterday I reviewed Jamie Little and Danielle McCormick’s Essential Car Care For Women- a book about the importance of appropriate car care for women by women.  Today I am so excited to bring you an interview with the authors!!!  Remember if you are in the Las Vegas Area March 8th and 9th you can meet Jamie and Danielle (see paragraph below interview for time and locations!)

Now onto the interview:
BG: How did you end up meeting and what made you decide to come up with this book?

Danielle – A few years ago I blew a head gasket on my car and decided it was time to learn how to maintain my car properly! I went to a book store to buy a book that was written for girls like me which just told me what I needed to know about owning and running a car. I was shocked when after extensive research the book store attendant told me that there wasn’t one! I thought there must be other girls like me out there and it was a really fun project to educate myself and write one. And I was right – as soon as it launched, it became a best seller in my native Ireland and went onto enjoy similar success in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  It was an amazing fun adventure and I ended up getting a blog with Discovery and features on some of their shows.

I moved to Silicon Valley a few years ago to work for a start-up and my publishers suggested that while I was in the states, I should launch an American version of my book. I wanted to team up with a local writer and came across Jamie Little. As soon as I read about her – I knew that she was ‘the one’. I am a big skier and not only does she report on NASCAR, but she also covers the X-Games. I am super jealous of her job. I approached her and she has just been great and has added additional sections to the book to make it more relevant to US readers.

BG: As a female who travels in cars long distances usually alone (often between California’s central coast and Las Vegas) I admit that the thought of car trouble makes me nervous. And while I love my car and do keep it in as good of condition I can I was wondering what in your mind is the single most important thing I should do maintenance wise?  

Jamie -  I too have been driving through the desert from Las Vegas to California, and back, for years.  As a matter of fact, one of the many reasons I wanted to do this book with Danielle is because of something that happened to me on that long stretch of desert highway when I was 20 years old.  It was about 6 am and I’m driving to a motocross race (cutting my chops to one day be a reporter), I was moving along at about 70 mph, inside lane, when BOOOM! my right front tire exploded.  Yes, I had a cell phone. No, I didn’t have AAA or even know how to change a tire.  I had to stop in the middle of nowhere and wait over two hours for a tow truck to come put my spare on and show me to the nearest tire store (45 miles away).  So, to answer your question, to me, the single most important thing to maintain on your car is your tires.  Check your tread every six months and check your air pressure every month!  A blown tire at speed can take a life.  Take it seriously.  I was lucky in my situation. (more…)

I am sure it doesn’t surprise any of you that I am bound for Vegas for the Kobalt Tools 400 and to hang out with Misty!  I have some posts scheduled to post while I am gone- but figure posting will be light especially Friday- Monday.

Be sure to follow myself (@badgroove) and Misty (@fyrstorm24) on Twitter to hear all about our adventures on and off the track!

Here are a couple things you should consider doing while we are gone:

Enter Here for a chance to have your mortgage paid for a month by Quicken Loans Racing. Ryan Newman does have to  #BringItHome in the top 10 but don’t take the chance and not enter- you can’t win if you don’t and who couldn’t use a month break from your mortgage?

Enter here for a chance to win the all new 2014 Chevy Silverado LTZ truck, A NASCAR race weekend for two at Texas Motor Speedway AND a meeting and greet with Tony Stewart!

And here is Tony’s Bass Pro Shops Commercial…just because I think it’s funny:

Until then- see you all on the flip side :-) (aka next week).