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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.

I have professed my love of books- not just reading but the physicality of the actual bound paper structure called books before and I have to tell you that I have just found another one that is as much a work of art as it is an actual book.  Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered The World by Colin Comer is absolutely stunning as far as book’s go- much like Shelby’s Cobras are when compared to other cars. This book is actually a special collector’s edition of the author’s book Shelby Cobra Fifty Years that includes new and updated material, including tributes to the late Carroll Shelby, poster-sized gatefolds with artwork by Hector Cadametori, and frameable garage art.

Something most of my readers know about me if they have been reading for any length of time is that I love American muscle cars- with Chevrolet’s  Nomad and Corvette being my all-time favorites. But the photos in this book are swaying me towards adding a Cobra to my “fantasy car garage” that I have built in my mind. The book starts off by detailing the how and why of Carroll Shelby, chicken farmer turned champion race driver, deciding he is going to manufacture cars and not just any kind car mind you but an ultra high performance car. It continues on through the production span of the Cobra. The book has several “pit stops” along the way – sidebars within the regular book that talk about or are interviews with people who knew Carroll Shelby or worked directly for him- my favorite of those is the interview with Phil Remington, Shelby’s lead engineer, on page 26-27.

And have I mentioned the photos? The photos in this book are just as stunning as the cars themselves- making it easy to appreciate their beautiful lines and structure- at least as far a piece of paper can possibly do a machine justice.  There aren’t just photos of the cars however in the book- there are graphics from magazines in the day like Road and Track (page 71), the promotional postcards (page 118), and the elusive 1963 dealer “snake skin” kit (210-211). There are also two “garage art” pull-outs featuring artwork but if you pull those out of the book to hang in the garage you are crazy- or ordered two books!  Oh and I mentioned the gorgeous photos right?

This book is by author Colin Comer. Comer has built a successful restoration business and collector car dealership and developed a passion for writing about cars.  He has written for many sports car and American car collector magazines, as well as publishing several books including this one.  In the book’s preface Comer shares many pictures of his own Cobras!

The book is a definite show piece and something I have already cleared space for on my cluttered motorsports shelf on my bookcase. If your father (or anyone really) is a Shelby Cobra lover, just a lover of automotive history, racing history, or motorsports photography this book would be the perfect gift!

Read other Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List reviews.


For “full disclosure purposes” (FTC I’m Looking At You): A copy of Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered The World was provided to me by the publisher for review purposes. The words and ideas in the review are my own.

(photo courtesy of omaze.com)

Have you heard of Omaze.com? Let me explain what that is before I get to the experience.  Omaze.com allows for fans to enter a raffle for really awesome once in the lifetime experiences with favorite celebrities and sports stars. For instance- I came to learn about Omaze.com earlier this year when I entered a raffle to watch the series finally of Justified with Walton Goggins and Tim Olyphant of Justified. Unfortunately I did NOT win that experience but I do have first hand experience with how Omaze.com works. How it works is this: You donate at a specific level- the money raised goes to the charity mentioned in the experience usually something near and dear to that particular celebrity host’s heart.  For instance in the Justified experience the money went to support City School West Adams- a language immersion charter school in Los Angeles. Depending on your level of donation depends on the amount of raffle tickets you get. Obviously the more you buy the better your individual chances are at winning- that is just probability and statistics at work for you.   Also the more raffle tickets you buy the better the incentive is to buy the raffle tickets.

Anyway Dale Earnhardt Jr has paired up with Omaze.com to give an experience of a life time. The raffle goes to Nationwide Children’s Hospital  and what an experience it is: A 3-lap ride along with Dale Jr, meet Dale Jr. and take a photo AND get a signed pair of his exclusive skull gloves, two tickets to the October 8 XFinity and October 9th Cup races in Charlotte and of course airfare and hotel included for you and a friend. That is a wicked awesome prize! Raffle ticket packets start at $10.00 for 100 tickets and go up- the more you spend you can get incentives like a digital thank you card or thank you video to some cool merchandise if you are willing to deal out the big bucks.  Interesting in entering the raffle? Go to Omaze.com/DaleJr. Even if you aren’t interested in the raffle however- check out this cool video about the 5 Rules For Riding With Dale:


14 June 2015–Tony Stewart during the Quicken Loans 400 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.(Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook/HHP Photo/Alan Marler)

Tony Qualified: 15th

Tony Finished: 28th

Points: 269 points (26th in the standings)

So this week was a bit wet- turning the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan into the Quicken Loans 276.  Races that are delayed by rain can be a pain- but races that are red flagged three different times for weather are a snoozefest for those of us at home but at least we were dry! I felt bad for those out there in the elements at Michigan- especially those in the campgrounds! Kudos for those of you that stuck it out in the miserable weather! I guess mother nature is not a race fan.

I had high hopes for Tony Stewart’s race at Michigan. Tony qualified 15th. Not too bad.  When the green flag initially few though- Tony started dropping back and over the scanner reported that the car was really loose.  I shook my head and told myself that is what I get for being optimistic. But then Tony radioed in to Chad and said that he had used the track bar adjuster and it seemed to be helping. Then the first caution flew which turned into a red flag eleven laps into the race. (more…)

Today Tony Stewart tells us how he got into fishing and why Bass Pro Shops is more than just a logo on the car kind of sponsor:

June 6, 2015: Tony Stewart at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond PA. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/HHP/Harold Hinson)

“I spend more time fishing than I do the hunting. I had only been fishing a few times until I had a roommate that really turned me on to trout fishing. Now it’s literally something I do whenever I have the chance. We have a pretty big pond back in Indiana that we keep stocked, and while we mostly put back what we catch, we do have to keep some. We have to do that in order to maintain the conservation aspects to manage the population. But it’s something I enjoy and it’s an example of how the Bass Pro Shops sponsorship is more than just logos on the car for us. We – and by that I mean a lot of the people at Stewart-Haas Racing – are their customers.” — Tony Stewart, Michigan Race Release


Read other Quotable Tony posts.



6 June 2015: Tony Stewart during Sprint Cup practice at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/HHP/Rusty Jarrett )

Tony Qualified: 28th in back up car

Tony Finished: 21st

Points: 253 points (27th in the championship standings)

Pocono is often called the tricky triangle. I like to call it the evil little triangle, despite the fact that it is 2.5 miles around it.  Why? Because it seems to me when you have a good day at Pocono you have a really good day, but when you have a bad day…it can be really bad. (more…)