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Sport’s Illustrated came out with the “Fortunate 50,” simply a list of the top 50 highest earning American athletes based  on salary, winnings, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees only.  Four NASCAR drivers made the top 50:

8th- Dale Earnhardt Jr

18th- Jeff Gordon

29th- Tony Stewart (technically Tony is tied for 29th with baseball player Cliff Lee).

And

33rd- Jimmie Johnson
I don’t know why but I am surprised Jimmie Johnson is that low on the list. And pleasantly surprised that Tony is above him. But wow…the other three drivers are all Hendrick drivers. Just saying that is a strong team financially.

So to me it seemed like the 14 Team and crew chief Steve Addington had to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the #14 Chevy during the 301 laps at New Hampshire Speedway yesterday. It was near painful to watch the team struggle getting the car where it seemed drivable.  And when I say they threw everything at it- they threw EVERYTHING at it. The first caution pitstop they threw 2 tires (most teams were taking 2)  fuel 1 round up on the track bar and 2 rounds of wedge.  Yet Tony continued to struggle- even after searching for different grooves on the track and being unsuccessful.  The team eventually fell a lap down struggling with grip (I believe at one point Tony mentioned wanting to choke the Goodyear engineers in his frustration with lack of grip).

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, comes in for a pit stop during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

The team has to be credited for not giving up though. After falling a lap down the team was able to get back on the lead lap (and stay there) by taking a wave around.  Then during the last caution pit stop Steve Addington took another HUGE swing at the car- calling for yet another track bar adjustment AND spring rubbers out of the front of the car. He restarted in 16th and was able to move up through the field to 11th at one point.  He finished the race 12th and fell down to 7th in the points.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, stands on the grid during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)

I don’t really have any “notes” for this race and while watching the race I thought it might be fun for me to share some of my favorite race day tweets with you. You can click on the tweet to be taken to the original. Let me know if you like this feature!

My Favorite Race Day Tweets from LOUDEN, NH:

 

Next weekend is an off weekend as teams prep for the Brickyard 400!

 

I know I usually just throw up a list of articles I have read and then carry on when it comes to the #NASCAR reading list but today I have some words I must share about last night’s Espy’s. Tony Stewart was nominated for two of ESPN’s Espy Awards (Best Championship Performance and Best Driver).  He won Best Driver (Yey! He has won Best Driver every year following a championship win- so whoohoo for keeping the streak alive there!). He did NOT win Best Championship performance, which I think is RIDICULOUS.  Seriously?  The #14 team went into the chase wondering if they should even BE there.  They turned around and won HALF of the chase races- something that has NEVER been done before- and it still came down to a seat of your pants race at Homestead-Miami- where basically Tony HAD TO WIN the race to win the championship.  HAD TO WIN.  Then there was the race…where he had to come up through the field not ONCE but TWICE.  A race where his car sustained damage early on and STILL THEY WON- because that is PURE WILL right there.  And I know Tony would tell you right now- it wasn’t just him- but the WHOLE TEAM that made that happen.  Some of you might be saying I am biased and yeah I probably am (hell I KNOW I am).  But I don’t care which TWO drivers it had come down to- it would still have been spectacular if the situation was the same.  It greatly helped that it was Tony and Carl because the two bantered back and forth in the media about it.  So to quote one my twitter friends- it’s “EMBARRASSING” that they didn’t win. While Tony gets DRIVER of the year all to himself- I think the Championship Performance of the year would have been one that the entire 14 TEAM could have held up together- as they totally deserved that.  (And Yes I voted. And YES I encouraged my Tony fans on twitter and facebook to join me in voting).

Ok so I am off my Espy’s soapbox! Now onto the reading list which includes a link from my brother who does not follow NASCAR as closely but wanted me to share a link with you.

Allmendinger’s NASCAR Career Is Effectively Over- TC for NASCARInsiders.com

The Science and Smoke Behind NASCAR’s MOBIL 1 Motor Oil- Karla Sanchez for MotorTrend.com

The NASCAR drug policy- Bob Pockrass for SportingNews.com

Long Road Ahead For Allmendinger?- David Newton for ESPN.com

Very UGLY Incident Involving Tyler Walker at Williams Grove- Jeff Gluck for SBNation.com

Monday Morning Tear Down: Frustrated Dale Earnhardt Jr. Says Daytona Rules Need Some Work- Bob Pockrass for SportingNews.com

12 Questions with Brad Keselowski- Jeff Gluck for SBNation.com

And the one my brother emailed me to share with his concise commentary of WTF: Woman Watched NASCAR With Deceased Man For Over A Year- Nick Bromberg for Yahoo! Sports

As always a Tony picture for your viewing pleasure:

(Photo Credit: Taken from TonyStewart.com's gallery of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Click to be taken to the source.)

In my excitement after Tony took the checkered flag after a drama filled Daytona- I had forgotten a couple things that I wanted to mention- but then I watched this video recap from Showtime’s InsideNASCAR and remembered them: (more…)

What a drama filled race weekend both for Tony Stewart and the #14 Team and for NASCAR in general.  There is A LOT to talk about for Daytona- so let’s get right to it.  Tony qualified 2nd.  YES 2nd! I was so stoked because from what I could tell at work, his practice just seemed mediocre.  As a Tony fan, I know he doesn’t always qualify well- so any front row qualifying effort means that the car is on rails to me and the field better watch out!  I was stoked!  Then I checked my FaceBook a little later on Friday and I saw an esoteric status update one of my “Smoke” friends posted that made me think “uh-oh” so I logged into Twitter and that is when I got the full information. Because of a uncapped cockpit air hose, Tony’s qualifying was disqualified and he would be lining up 42nd in a field of 43.  I literally banged my head on my desk and yelled ARG I KNEW IT WAS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. Luckily for me- there was no one around when I did it because I even did it with my office door open.

Tony Stewart at Daytona Speedway (Photo Credit: Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page- click for original)

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I kind of got out of the habit of doing these when Sonoma Race weekend got here. Sorry about that! I hope you enjoy this week’s list:

F1 Marussia driver Maria de Villota In Duxford Crash- Andrew Benson for BBC News

Why NASCAR Drivers Are Smarter Than Novelists- Steve Ulfelder for the ChicagoSide.com

How Tony Stewart’s NASCAR Tech Trickles Down To Your Car- Nick Goddard for Popular Mechanics

Misty’s Bucket List Interview: Jeff Gordon Talks To BadGroove- Misty Bethany for BadGroove.com (ok yeah I know this is from my site- but it’s damn good- have you read it?)

Defending Daytona Coke Zero 400 Winner David Ragan Talks Future Plans- Matt Weaver for SBNation

 

Gratuitous Tony Stewart picture:

(photo credit: From the Official Tony Stewart facebook page- click picture to be taken to original)

Needless to say the race in Kentucky ended up being a cluster of a race for Tony and the 14 crew.  I honestly don’t know how many laps down they ended up but it seems like somebody gave the electrical or ignition gremlins water or fed them after midnight or something*. The most frustrating part? Was that the car seemed quite strong after the damn problems were fixed.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, pits during the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 30, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

Honestly when Tony is running poorly and is laps and laps down, when I have no hope that some shifty pit stategy shenanigans might get him a lap back or two, I stop paying attention and then I feel guilty for that.  I listen to the race and throw a “Go Driver X Go” with Driver X being whomever is still in my good graces at the time.  This week it was Jeff Gordon (still on the high from sitting in on Misty’s interview with him…have you read it?).  But how disheartening was it to watch after an awesome race at Sonoma where Tony jumped up to 5th in points to watch him sink back down to 9th in points- four full positions. I mean I had to look up how many laps down he was (36 laps down- which I guess is better than a DNF but not by much).

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 29, 2012. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

Notes About Kentucky:

  1. Dear Team 14: Seriously, stop feeding the gremlins* or giving them baths or whatever you all are doing!

Next Race: Daytona Night Race on Saturday

*If you seriously have no idea what I am talking about when I mention gremlins, feeding them after midnight and giving them baths you need to STOP and read this wiki entry then go queue up GREMLINS on the Netflix or whatever you use for your movies and educate yourself.

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