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(photo credit: Tony Stewart Facebook)

“I’m a Southern Indiana guy, so the track is not very far from where I grew up and where I currently live. It’s kind of a home track to us, and that’s kind of the feeling we have going into it. You always want to run well at your home tracks. Even though Indy has always been my home track in the past, having Kentucky Speedway on the schedule, it’s as much home to me as Indy. Plus, it’s an area that has deep racing roots. There are a lot of dirt-track racing roots around Kentucky.” — Tony Stewart Kentucky Race Release


Read other Quotable Tony posts.

#KeepDiggingTony #SmokeAlwaysRises

Sometimes there are many things I want to share but I either don’t have time to devote a whole post to it, or there just isn’t enough content there to devote a whole post to it so I am going to start back up my lists, which, for now, will be called What’s Rattling Around In The BG Inbox*! These will be a list heavy on NASCAR & Tony Stewart of course, but may mention other things- you never do know what is sitting in my email inbox or in my mind waiting for me to share it with you. It will also have a gratuitous Tony Stewart picture or two because when do I ever not need an excuse to tuck a Tony Stewart picture on a post.  Let me know what you think of the new feature (and if you can think of a better name for it)  in the comments or via social media! So this is the very first “What’s Rattling Around In The BG Inbox*”

What’s rattling around this week:

  1. Have you seen the Kyle Busch Days Of Thunder trailer video? It’s GREAT- a must watch. You can also find the blooper reel for it here.
  2. Speaking of NASCAR movies- I loved the movie Days of Thunder. I couldn’t stand the movie Talladega Nights but then again I can’t stand Will Ferrell as an actor so I blame the fail for me on him. I want a new (not a Days of Thunder reboot) NASCAR/Stock car racing movie! Hear that Hollywood?! Make it so!
  3. On a related note I have heard that there is a scripted TV drama in the works about NASCAR…we will see if that comes to fruition. While it would be really cool for us fans I am not confident it will happen because I remember there was something similar in the pipes about five years ago but nothing every became of that either.
  4. I haven’t mentioned the Tony Stewart Foundation lately! They have many ways you can help them make a difference in the lives of critically ill or physically disabled children; at-risk or endangered animals; and drivers injured in the sport of motor racing. There are many ways you can help- a donation, becoming a lap leader (a monthly donation of $10 or more), or something as simple (and free to you) as using AmazonSmiles and setting up your donations to go to The Tony Stewart Foundation- that way the foundation gets a tiny donation from amazon every time you shop. All those tiny donations can lead to helping children, animals or injured drivers and is free to you just by buying whatever you usually do on Amazon.
  5. Speaking of the Tony Stewart Foundation- if you live near or happen to be traveling near Tony Stewart’s hometown of Columbus IN on July 14 2015 you might want to consider going to some TQ Midget racing because it’s “Tony Stewart Foundation Night” at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds in Columbus. Adult general admission is $10 and children under 12 are $5. Racing begins at 7 p.m. and the feature will pay $500 to win, $125 to start with all positions increased.
  6. I was excited to find out that Joanna Lower mentioned on facebook that her video for her song for Tony Stewart “Smoke Will Rise” has gotten over over 530 views in a little over 48 hours! You can hear her song and read our interview with her here.
  7. If you have read BG for any length of time you probably know I am a big fan of the blog SkirtsandScuffs.  I have been really enjoying the Rookie Stripe column lately- it’s from the perspective of a relatively new NASCAR fan. I love that concept! The post on road racing also features one of my pictures from Sonoma last year!
  8. For those curious- I have discontinued writing for Fansided’s Beyond The Flag. While I learned a lot working with the other writers over at BTF I felt it was taking away from my blogging here and made the choice to resign.
  9. In The Pipes: I am working on finishing up the Sonoma Race Diary post, as well as a post featuring Tony Stewart tattoos (got any? email me badgruv@netzero.com), and some other exciting content!

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Smoke spent some time at ExxonMobil’s new state-of-the-art campus in Houston. Such a rich history. It was an honor to be there. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)


* I have had a heck of a time naming this column so I am not married to the “What’s Rattling Around In the BG Inbox” title…if you have any ideas PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know!!

#KeepDiggingTony #SmokeAlwaysRises #Faithinthe14

I love blogging here. I love talking Tony Stewart, and love especially love when I can hopefully introduce you all to something new – whether that be information, a product or whatever and there are even times when the blogging more for myself than you all (my readers) because I just have to write!  But then again, there are some days when I am at work and things at work are just beyond crazy and then at the same time things are getting thrown out at me for the blog via email and social media that it can and does overwhelm me. Sometimes that means I miss things or I have to put things off until I leave work to respond or deal with. That happened to me earlier in the week when someone tweeted a video they wanted me to see.  I was crazy-making busy at the work so I put it off until I got home but then when I got home and watched it, I was excited to be able to share it with you all. The video is a song called “Smoke Will Rise” and it is by Joanna Lower and here it is:


But instead of just sharing it with you and carrying on though I wanted to give you some information on the person who created this heartfelt song, and luckily for us all Joanna took a few minutes to answer some questions about the song and herself for us here at BadGroove to share with you:

BG: How long have you been a NASCAR / Tony Stewart fan?

JL: I’ve actually been around NASCAR my whole life. My parents and my brother have always been really big fans but I became a big fan about two years ago after watching a pretty intense Talladega race! I’ve always liked Tony, maybe because my brother (who ironically looks like Tony Stewart) has been a fan for as long as I can remember. To me Stewart is that driver that you just can’t help but love. He’s talented, he’s bold, and he’s always fun to watch on the racetrack!

BG: Who would you consider your biggest influences both musically and personally?

JL: Krystal Meyers and Britt Nicole are two of my biggest influences musically! Their lyrics are so powerful and bold, and I love that! Personally, I’d have to say my Mom is my biggest influence! She’s always been so supportive of my career and of everything I do! I don’t know where I’d be without her!

BG: Can you talk about what inspired you to write the song and why you felt compelled to do so?

JL: I’d been wanting to write a song called “Like a Phoenix” for a long time, just because the whole concept seemed very empowering, but I just couldn’t find the right words. No matter how hard I tried the song just wasn’t working. I finally sang the one small part of the song that I liked to my Mom and she said, “That sounds like you are singing to Tony Stewart!” In that moment, it was like something clicked. I thought about how Tony was going through so much and I wanted to write something that said, “You’re going to get through this. You will rise above everything that is coming against you.” I locked myself in my room and thirty minutes later I had a completed song! That’s when I changed the name to Smoke Will Rise!

BG: The song has a positive message that anyone can draw from despite it being specifically written for Tony Stewart. Can you talk about the how and why of this?

JL: I think anybody could really relate to this song because everyone goes through difficult situations. Everybody has been through a time in their life where they just need someone to tell them that it’s going to be okay, you’re going to make it, you can overcome the obstacles in front of you. What’s interesting is that when the song was finished, I started to notice other NASCAR drivers that this song could apply to. Trevor Bayne being diagnosed with MS, Brian Vickers and how he’s unable to drive right now due to health problems, Kurt Busch and everything he had to deal with not too long ago. I hope that anyone and everyone that hears this song is inspired and blessed by it!

BG: Talk about yourself here- anything you would like our readers to know.

JL: Well, I’ve been singing since I was about three and I just felt like God was calling me to sing professionally. I love writing new songs and creating something out of nothing! (Smoke Will Rise is actually my third original song on Youtube.The first two are called “Different Ending” and “Break the Masquerade!”) If you’d like to check out some of my other songs and find out more about me, you can check out my Facebook fanpage here: www.facebook.com/joannalower.fanpage

Thanks to Joanna for taking some time with us here at BadGroove and for sharing her song with us!

3 July 2015: Tony Stewart during Sprint Cup practice at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/ HHP/Rusty Jarrett )

Tony Qualified: He didn’t – qualifying was rained out and starting grid was set by first practice which had Tony starting at 31st.

Tony Finished: 14th

Points: 331 points (25th in the standings)

Quote After The Race: “I really thought we were going to have a shot there with our Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevrolet,” said Stewart, a four-time winner of the Coke Zero 400 (2005, 2006, 2009 and 2012). “I don’t know what happened there at the end, but the No. 3 car literally went over the top of me. That was one of the crazier things I’ve been a part of. I’m glad Austin is OK, and I’m hoping the same for the fans that were injured. Tony Stewart- Post Race Team Release….


The 14 in the tech inspection tent at Sonoma 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K Marbach)

“Sonoma is one of those tracks where you just don’t get a break. There’s really nowhere in the lap where you get a chance to relax and catch your breath. It’s a very busy lap around Sonoma.” — Tony Stewart


Read other Quotable Tony posts.

#KeepDiggingTony #SmokeAlwaysRises

The 14 in the technical inspection tent at Sonoma Raceway 2014

It’s that time of year when I head north from here on the central coast of California to the road course of Sonoma Raceway (which just happens to be on CA 37- so the Train lyric I used as the title to this post is so true at least for me). So this morning at an hour too early to even consider- I got up and started northbound to pick up Misty who is flying in to SFO from Vegas and then we are off to wine country and more importantly race country!

As always I will be tweeting about my adventures up at the track (and wherever else Misty and I find ourselves- last year besides the track we ended up at the Charles Schulz (he of Snoopy fame) museum so who knows where we will end up this year). Feel free to follow along with our adventures by following myself on twitter: @BadGroove and you can follow Misty as well: @Fyrstorm24

In the meantime check out this Mobil 1 GridTv video about Somoma:

#KeepDiggingTony #SmokeAlwaysRises #GoTonyGo!

It maybe an off weekend- but Tony Stewart shares about his father and racing go-kart:

Tony Stewart, his father Nelson Stewart, and Jeff Gordon talk during practice for the Kobalt 400 in Las Vegas 2015. Extra brownie points if you remember WHY I like this picture so much!! (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook/ Rusty Jarrett)


Father’s Day weekend actually falls on the off-week this year. Do you have any particular racing memories of you and your dad?

“Probably the first 10 years of my life in racing, we raced together with our go-karts. I would say probably our greatest memory is the first Grand Nationals that we went to in Iowa together. We won out there, and I think it was about 4 o’clock in the morning when we finally finished. I was 12 years old, so it was way past my bedtime, but it was the first time I had seen that much excitement in my father’s face. I guess he realized more at the time what we had accomplished than what I realized had happened.” — Tony Stewart, Michigan Press Release


Read other Quotable Tony posts.

#KeepDiggingTony #SmokeAlwaysRises

I have the privilege of reviewing yet another beautiful book of historic race photography for you my readers- this book is Riverside International Raceway by Pete Lyons. Riverside International Raceway documents the history of a track now gone (it is now a subdivision) in beautiful pictures and words.

Right from the back dust jacket of the book we are told that even diehard Riverside raceway fans “will admit the environment was usually too hot, sometimes too cold, extremely dry or depressingly wet, often windy and never ever a garden spot” however they still came in droves.

The book details the three decades or so of Riverside Raceway’s life and subsequent death. The desert, the races, the speed. It’s laid out in chapters that detail specifics of the track and the series that ran it including: FIA Formula 1, SCCA Pro Racing, NASCAR, TransAm, Can-AM, USAC, CART Indy Cars, IROC, Off Road (and the list goes on). A sampling of names in the book: Fred Lorenzen, Rick Mears, Geoff Bodine, Emerson Fittipaldi, Terry Labonte, Bobby Rahal, Tom Sneva, AJ Foyt, and native son Dan Gurney (who also wrote the book’s forward) to name a few grabbed while flipping through the book to remind myself of it’s contents  for review purposes. My favorite part of the book- beyond the photography, is  just a little sidebar on page 43 detailing the track’s history in film- being so close yet so far away from Hollywood. The book is chucked full of interesting sidebars- including one on how the track was used for teaching driving (page 74), the Olympic Relay (Page 83). There are so many photos that it’s impossible to pick just one…but perhaps the most poignant picture is the one on page 191- a photo of piece of the speedway and a Riverside Raceway patch.  Gone but obviously not forgotten by this book.

They physical book itself is a heavy duty book, with a gorgeous dust jacket. The book is 204 pages inclusive of the indexes.

Written by Pete Lyons, Riverside International Raceway clearly demonstrates Lyon’s obvious love of motorsports and the time period of Riverside.  Pete Lyon’s father, Ozzie Lyons was the U.S. correspondent to Britain’s Autosport magazine, and often took Pete with him during vacations.  It’s that kind of of exposure- from childhood through adulthood that allows someone like Pete Lyon’s to cultivate such a gorgeous book.

This book will satisfy the history buffs, the auto racing buffs and the photography buffs. If your father is any one of these? He will love this book for father’s day- or any day.

Read other Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List reviews.


For “full disclosure purposes” (FTC I’m looking at you): A copy of Riverside International Raceway was provided to me by the publisher for review purposes. The words and ideas in the review are my own.