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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

 

So remember the Mobil 1 Seat Swap with Louis Hamilton? I was REALLY excited about that and we were lucky enough to have Kevin go and give us a great report from that swap. Well Mobil 1 decided to let it’s facebook fans decide what Tony should drive next and over the course of the past several weeks we saw it get whittled down between a TANK and a Formula Drift Chevy Camaro.  I voted for the Camaro personally and was surprised to find that it actually won. So today Tony got to drift a Chevy Camaro around Charlotte (the race track not the city). I bet that was FUN!  But then he also got to drive the tank anyway.  How fun. So there have been two Mobil 1 Seat swaps and I haven’t been able to go to either! BOO to that. Anyway I snagged these pictures from the Official Stewart-Haas Twitter account: (more…)

I was wondering about what kind of racing the “new” new Bristol would produce. I wondered about how the grinding would effect the track and the grooves.  I was working when practice was happening on Friday so didn’t really even get to see any cars on the track.  I had no idea what to expect. During pre-race some drivers kept stating that it would be hard to pass. That is never any fun to watch- so I honestly worried that the race would be terribly boring. Qualifying had been rained out so Tony started 21st, that being his position in first practice.

Tony's Friday Media Availability

Tony Stewart addressed the media on Friday at Bristol. (Photo Credit: The Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page- click the picture to be taken to the original)

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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