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Okay- so I set my dvr to record CBS This Morning because when I caught wind yesterday that they would be airing Dale Jr Writes A Letter To Himself at 16 I was extremely curious and wanted to watch it. Not even because it was JR- but just because the idea of writing to yourself at 16 fascinates the heck out of me. I couldn’t help myself this morning and during a brief lull at work I started checking the CBS This Morning webpage because I wanted to watch it (now you know- I am impatient sometimes). I found it on their website and have to say…WOW. I highly suggest you watch- even if you aren’t a JR fan…because it’s telling and makes me wonder what I would tell myself at that age:

I am still wondering what I would say. Do you know what you would say?

Hey Illinois Smoke Fans- Tony Stewart will be doing a store appearance at the Office Depot located at 392 East Rand Road Arlington Heights, IL THIS Thursday September 13th, 2012!!   The autograph session will take place after Tony Stewart assists the Office Depot Foundation in donating 6000 sackpacks filled with school supplies to nonprofit organizations that support school-age children in the Chicago area.  The donation ceremony and the sack packs are not available to the public.

The autograph session  however IS for the general public and will start at approximately 4:45 pm local time. You must have a wristband to get an autograph. Wristbands will be distributed starting at 8:00 am local time the day of the event at the location of the event on a first come, first serve basis. One wristband per person, one autograph per wristband.  You must be in line with your wristband by 5:15pm.

I strongly urge all Tony Stewart fans who can go to show up to show their support for their favorite driver and congratulate him for making the CHASE! WHOOHOO!!!  #ImWithSmoke #GoTonyGo!  Have fun for me- I wish I were going!

Two days later and my head is still spinning from the drama that was the Richmond race.  The race at Richmond on Saturday night had more plot lines than a soap opera on a Friday afternoon. Since Tony Stewart was pretty much guaranteed to make the chase- even if he fell out of the top ten- I was strangely relaxed at first.  When I turned on the TV to settle in for the race and saw college football and that it was only in the 3rd quarter I didn’t even freak out as I normally would have.  Nothing ticks me off more, usually, then when I turn on the TV to watch a race and some other programming is on instead. It didn’t bother me Saturday for some reason- possibly because thanks to Twitter I realized that there was a rain delay at Richmond- but I can’t be sure.

By the way- I don’t watch college football ever but I kept the game on as background noise while I did some household chores- because frankly- there wasn’t much else on anyway .  I heard the announcers of the game (it was USC and Someone- see how little I paid attention) talking about how NASCAR was currently in a rain delay which was good for them because they were running late because of a lightning delay.  So they bantered back and forth about The Chase a bit and how it worked.  Or I should say how they THOUGHT it worked. How many drivers they THOUGHT made it to the chase- it was a little sad that they didn’t know.  I mean like I said I don’t watch much football or baseball but I still know for the most part how the games are played. But I digress.

Tony Looks Befuddled At Richmond

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)

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So it’s been awhile since I talked about any initiatives the Tony Stewart Foundation is doing to raise money- so I thought I would talk about a couple of EBay Auctions going on right now and the Chevy Raffle.

First- remember back when Tony Stewart ran the Back-To-School / Office Depot Foundation paint scheme in Pocono just a few weeks ago. Well Tony also had a Back-To-School/Office Depot Foundation firesuit and helmet to go with that spiffy paint scheme.  And now you have the chance to bid on one or both of those items via eBay.  The proceeds to the firesuit and the helmet go to The Office Depot Foundation. The auction stated today and goes through September 14th.  Click here to see the Firesuit auction. Click here to see the Helmet auction. Happy bidding if you choose to bid on it.

This is the helmet you can bid on- the Back-To-School/Office Depot Foundation helmet Tony wore at Pocono just a few weeks ago. (Photo Credit: the Tony Stewart Foundation Ebay auction)

Also there are still tickets left for the Tony Stewart Foundation Customize Your Ride Chevy raffle. Tickets are $100.00. Winner get’s their choice of a chevy vehicle plus customizations up to $50,000 (Chevy VOLT is not included). Two lucky runner ups get a Wallhanger autographed by Tony Stewart.  (For those who don’t know- a Wallhanger is an authentic piece of aluminum door from a race car- there are pictures of them on the website).  The raffle ends October 1st. Only 3000 raffle tickets will be sold and currently there are over 2,000 tickets left.  Visit the Tony Stewart Foundation Customize Your Ride Chevy Raffle page now for more details and to purchase your ticket.

This Friday, September 7th, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is hosting the 7th Annual “Remember the Fallen” Blood Drive to benefit Speedway Children’s Charities. For more information and to register, visit http://www.lvms.com/media/news/speedway-childrens-charities-joins-united-blood-service-for-seventh-annual-blood-drive-friday.html

This is an event that I am proud to take part in each year and encourage all of you, whether you live in Las Vegas or not, to find a blood drive near you and give as we approach the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

The Office Depot in Fredericksburg VA will be hosting a “Back To School” Celebration.  Part of the event will Tony Stewart assisting the Office Depot Foundation with a donation of 4000 sackpacks filled with school supplies to local nonprofits servicing school-aged children in the Fredericksburg area (these sackpacks are not available to the public) including Fredericksburg City Public Schools, Spotsylvania Public Schools, Open Arms Community Development Center, Hope House, and many many others.  This year Tony Stewart will assist the Office Depot Foundation in donating 400,000 sack packs this year (the most in any single year thus far)!

After the sackpack donation ceremonies Tony Stewart will be on hand to sign autographs for fans.  The autograph event will take place at approximately 4:45 pm. You will need a wristband for the autograph event. Wristbands will be given away on a first come, first serve basis starting at 8:00 am local time on Thursday September 6th, 2012.  One autograph per wristband, one wristband per person.  You must be in line with your wristband by 5:15pm.  The Office Depot is located at 1591 Carl D. Silver Parkway in Fredericksburg VA!

Enjoy yourself! Wish I was going with you all!!

While checking out the Ritz Facebook page earlier this week for information about when Tony’s video chat would be, I happened upon a comment posted to their page about Tony Stewart’s Helmet Toss at Bristol last Saturday.  This particular commenter was  upset about the Helmet Toss, the lack of penalties levied and commented that they were going to stop buying Ritz because they sponsor Tony Stewart and they were going to encourage all their friends to do the same.  I had seen some similar comments made about the already infamous helmet toss on other social media sites so it didn’t surprise me really. As a Tony Stewart fan my first instinct is to classify these kind of comments as coming from “haters” and carry on with myself. After being a Tony Stewart fan for AGES, it’s not like I haven’t been exposed to the “haters” before. I decided long ago that probably every driver has “haters” and it’s just par for the course…and best not to “poke the trolls” as I like to say because often that is what they want. (more…)

Lots of great articles today for you to read…and the playback of the Ritz chat with Tony Stewart is at the bottom! Enjoy and #GoTonyGo in Atlanta!

Tony Stewart’s Helmet Toss Raises Questions About Fan Demands- Dustin Long for SportsIllustrated.com

Why Bloggers Scare Tony Stewart – Misty for BadGroove.com

NASCAR Needs Kyle Busch To Be Himself- Jenna Fryer for AP

Mercedes-Benz DTM Pit Crew Airline Accident (with Video) -Jonathan Ramsey for  AutoBlog

The Backseat Driver’s Fan Council on Bristol- Dustin Long for Athlon Sports

There’s Something About Tony- David Caraviello for NASCAR.com

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Photo:

This awesome picture of Tony throwing his helmet- well just because I can.  This picture was texted to me the day after the race by Kevin!:

Thanks for point this picture out Kevin! (Photo Credit: Earl Neikirk/Bristol Herald Courier)

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Video:

Today’s Tony Stewart video is the playback of his online chat with fans sponsored by RITZ:

Watch live streaming video from ritzcrackers at livestream.com