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I do not generally comment on the personal lives of drivers. I think it is distasteful and wildly inappropriate, but lately I can’t help but notice the “fan” posts and comments circulating on social media sites concerning Tony Stewart and the status of his love life.

Apparently there at least some fans who believe he is incapable of managing a relationship and a championship bid. To insinuate such a thing is not only ridiculous, but it is insulting to Tony’s talent. Are these so called fans suggesting that Tony is less able to juggle a personal life and career than let’s say Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, or Kyle Busch (all of whom have managed to have incredible career success, relationships and families)?

The very first interview BadGroove did with Tony Stewart was eye opening to how Tony feels about this kind of private scrutiny. When we were introduced to Tony, he said. “Oh no—I am afraid of bloggers!” He laughed it off, but after the interview he opened up a bit about what he meant when he said that. He explained that he tries to avoid reading anything on the internet about him because it “hurts [his] feelings when they talk about [his] personal life”. He said, “Some of the things they write – they are terrible”. This is probably one of the main reasons he steers clear of social media. He just doesn’t want to open himself up to more of his “fans” unsolicited advice and opinions.

If you are still reading this, I implore you to do as Tony does and avoid those individuals who can’t seem to keep their nose out of his very personal business. Just because he has a career in the spotlight doesn’t mean we are invited into his personal life. Trust his decisions and his talent and leave it at that. Have some respect!

It will be interesting to see what kind of racing the “new” Bristol resurface will hold in store for tomorrow night. Until then enjoy these articles I found on the web. (I especially enjoyed the first one):

Is NASCAR A Sport? – Mike Larson for Autoweek

Fike Opens Up About Emotional Journey To Sobriety- Holly Cain Special to NASCAR.COM

With Tony Stewart On Hand, Paralyzed Lakeville Native Returns To Racing- Angelo DiCarlo for WNDU

Jeff Gordon Was Really Unhappy With Dale Earnhardt Jr In Michigan- Jay Busbee for Yahoo! Sports

Dale Earnhardt Jr Displeased With Brad Keselowski’s Remarks About Hendrick Motorsports- Jeff Gluck for SBNation.com

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Tony Stewart during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Raceway in Brooklyn, MI on August 17, 2012. Rusty Jarrett MRD/CIA (Borrowed from TonyStewart.com)

Tony shares some stories about the Olympics (Via Miss Sprint Cup on FB):

Hey Atlanta Smoke Fans- Tony Stewart will be doing and in store appearance at the Office Depot located at 2126 Henderson Mill Road in Atlanta, GA (zipcode 30345) on Wednesday August 29th, 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 Atlanta area including Atlanta Kids In Need Resource Center, CASA of Georgia, City of Refuge, Georgia Alliance to End Homelessness, Safehouse Outreach, Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, and many others.  The donation ceremony and the sack packs are not available to the public.

The autograph session IS for the general public and will start at approximately 4:45 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 even 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! #ImWithSmoke #GoTonyGo!  Have fun for me!

Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobile 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, is waved around by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger/AARP Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 19, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

I think that the Pure Michigan 400 should be retitled the Kabluey 400.  I can not believe that Tony went down not one but two cylinders over the course of the race.  Since Stewart-Haas runs Hendrick engines and Jeff Gordon suffered the same devastating issue (not one but TWO cylinders over the course of the race) there is OBVIOUSLY something going on with what is a normal very strong power plant in those cars.  Jimmie (also an HMS driver) also went through 2 engines- changing one out before the race and having that terrible luck of the engine blowing 5 laps before he could claim victory over Michigan for the first time.  Tony Stewart’s first DNF in 42 races dropped him down to 9th in the points. Race winner Greg Biffle is now also points leader Greg Biffle.

I have to say that I am GLAD Brad Keselowski didn’t win even though he came oh so close.  Why? Because I don’t want him to have an advantage over Tony Stewart when the chase starts.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobile 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

There are two little “items” from the race that I feel the need to discuss- neither of them really have to do with Tony Stewart per say:

A. During the race- in “the heat of battle” ESPN played some “snippets” of radio conversation showing that Jeff Gordon was none to pleased with some moves on the track by Dale Earnhardt Jr.  I didn’t really see which move upset Jeff- but since I have many Twitter followers that are Jeff Gordon fans and many that are Dale Earnhardt Jr fans- I did see a lot of bantering back and forth between fans of the respective drivers (who just happen to be TEAMMATES I might add).  While having an opinion about what happened, sticking up for your driver, etc, is a natural reaction (believe you me- I do it myself ALL THE TIME)- we have to remember that:

  1. These incidents are in “heat of the moment” situations…for both driver and that driver’s fan.
  2. Being rude or mean to each other or the driver(s) involved on social media whether it be Facebook or Twitter- it UNCALLED for.
  3. Think before you TWEET (or Facebook).

B. It seems a BIG freaking deal is being made by the fact that Jimmie Johnson walked off after blowing his engine with 5 laps to go without talking to the media about it.  Really? We are going to make a big deal of that?  Just seeing the video of him stalking off (helmet still ON) right past the 48 transporter and right to his motor coach shows perfectly well the emotion he was feeling. That video was worth a thousand words- the man was PISSED. Do we really need to hear it from his MOUTH when the actions were very well documented?  If he wanted to talk that would be one thing…but anyone watching the race saw him get out of the car and take off. I mean he didn’t even stop to take his helmet off.  He was mad. I don’t blame him for being mad. He was another casualty of the HMS engine issue but at the time? He was 5 laps from winning a race HE HAD NEVER WON BEFORE.  I don’t really need to hear him say he was mad when I can see it.  Jimmie is not usually a hot-head as some drivers are and have been labeled.  He usually is very generous and gracious with his time with the media. He happened to have a REALLY bad day. Leave the man be.

Tony Stewart and Kid Rock during driver introductions

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobile 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, hugs Grand Marshal Kid Rock during driver introductions prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 19, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images North America)

Next Race: Bristol on Saturday Night

This week’s weekly reading list:

Tony Stewart To Everyone: Back Off Of Danica And Let Her Learn- Jeff Gluck for SBNation.net

Joe Gibbs Says Joey Logano’s Future Still Up In the Air- Staff Reporter for Sporting News

Penn Yan Boy’s Dream Weekend At The Glen- The Chronicle Express

Juniorism! Dale Earnhardt Jr. Drops NASCAR Knowledge On Michigan Reporter- Jeff Gluck for SBNation

Keselowski Credits Crew Chief As Huge Part Of His Success- AP for Sports Illustrated

AJ Allmendinger’s Drug Test Claims Disputed- Staff Reporter for SportingNews.com
Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

This is way back from Pocono…I get this look a lot from anyone in my family I approach with a camera…it’s the look I call the “will get that flippin’ camera out of my face before I make you eat it” look.  Not that is what Tony was thinking (but who knows…maybe he was):

(Photo Credit: Lovingly borrowed from TonyStewart.com click on the picture to be taken to the original)

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Video:

When I found this video I bookmarked it because I knew I had to include this video of Tony Stewart from the way back machine in a post somewhere- what better place than in my Reading List post:

My favorite part? When Tony compared driving a stock car to driving a school bus. Hopefully they don’t drive our local school buses that fast!

When I got the announcement that Nick Cannon was going to be in Fort Lauderdale with Tony’s show car I was more than happy to blog about it because not only is it Tony Stewart related (because hello- show car) and that there was a special guest at this show car appearance (Nick Cannon! Yes I watch AGT- shut up.) but my regular readers know I am a HUGE supporter of the Office Depot Foundation National Backpack Program and not just because it’s something that Tony Stewart supports. I am supportive because I love the fact that kids who need supplies to help them succeed in school are getting them. What a confidence builder to them to say here are the tools to help you make the most of your education. It’s that simple. But I digress. I got the PR announcement about the event and I kiddingly wrote back that  I would “love to see a picture of Nick Cannon with Tony’s show car” I think I even said I would be very “impressed” if my contact could make it happen. I wasn’t serious..I was trying to make a very busy person smile at the thought.  I REALLY WAS KIDDING PEOPLE…yet if you scroll down? There it be people- there it be. Now I am not saying that this picture was take only because I asked for it- more than likely there was other need for it…but the fact that it was taken tickles me pink. And if I WAS the reason the picture was taken? Well I apologize to Nick Cannon- but I am still posting it because I am still tickled pink.

Before we get right to the picture I want to share some information about the event to go along with the photo: Award-winning actor, comedian and “America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon took a moment to check out three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ champion Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy Impala on Thursday, August 16, 2012, during a special “Back-To-School Celebration” at an Office Depot store in Fort Lauderdale. Cannon joined the Office Depot Foundation to help donate 10,000 colorful new sackpacks to deserving children served by local organizations, schools and agencies in Greater Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. By the end of 2012, the Office Depot Foundation will have helped more than 2.9 million children since launching its National Backpack Program in 2001.

Are you ready for it?

Ok here it is:

(Photo Credit: Alex Gort)

It’s even MORE awesome because it’s the Back-To-School paint scheme that Tony’s car is sporting (my favorite of his Back-To-School paint schemes to date) and the tires are the Support Our Troops Goodyears.  See…this picture is ALL kinds of awesome wrapped up in one little picture (or bigger picture if you click on it). It would only be better if Nick Cannon was holding a sign that said For BadGroove.com. I am nearly giddy at the thought…then again- it’s the little things that make my day!

By the way- I still think my idea of teaming up Nick Cannon and Tony Stewart for an Office Depot commercial is good. I even have the commercial in my head.  All I will say is that it’s Nick and Tony in an Office Depot around the holidays and that the Teddy B. Caring bear is involved. Think about it- it could be comedic gold right there.

(Editor’s Note: Yesterday longtime BadGroove reader Kevin M. Boots shared his experience at Watkins Glen on Friday and Saturday.  As promised yesterday here is the conclusion- all about Sunday.  Again I just want to thank Kevin for sharing his experiences and his pictures from the track at Watkins Glen! – Amy)

Sunday, I drove up to the track earlier than I did Saturday. I didn’t park in the infield. I drove to my usually spot near Gate 5. I took my little secret route, “the back way” to the track. There is never any traffic on this road, there is never any traffic getting to this road after you get off the hill. There is a barn on a 90 degree corner along this back way in that says “Bat Cave this way” It makes me laugh every time I see it. (more…)

(Editor’s Note: As mentioned before Kevin M. Boots is back with the first of two posts about his experience at Watkins Glen! Kevin also posted on BadGroove about the Tony Stewart/Lewis Hamilton Seat Swap last year. A big thanks to Kevin for blogging about his experiences over at Watkins Glen and for the great photos!- Amy)

It was dumb luck really, when I think back on it. I was just talking on Twitter about whether I should go to Pocono or Watkins Glen for my race in 2012 and tweeting pros and cons to each track. Surprisingly, both tracks have produced some of the best racing the last few years. WGI was, from the beginning, out to get me to buy a ticket from their track. They would reply to my tweets almost every time.

Then I tweeted something at the end of May that really got their attention. They replied and asked me to send an email to an address.
I was contacted by the WGI Director of Marketing & Fan Experience about calling me. Really? Me? I remember being nervous and excited about this. He called and we talked and he had an idea he had been thinking about; a fan tweeting at the track all weekend. The official WGI twitter account would then retweet me so others could see what fans could do at the track. So my mind was made up, WGI again for 2012.

Fast forward two months, Friday August 10, 2012. I left work and headed right up to the track. I had to pick up my credentials and they wanted to meet with me. I got to the track just before Denny and Burton had their run in. I had a meeting with a gentleman at 4:30PM in the Media Center. So I went and parked in the infield and headed over to it. First off, I always have parked outside of the track before this. Parking inside was different. There were race cars driving over my head at one point. I went and met with my contact and I then I was off. They wanted me to tweeter pictures of my adventures each day. I went to the midway area and started. It was getting late and most of it was closing so I headed to an area I had only dreamed about go in before: the Garage. (more…)