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So let’s talk about the Sprint All-Star Race. What did you all think of the new 5 segment format (20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, 10 laps with the winners of segments 1-4 coming in P1-4 during the last mandatory pit stop before segment 5)?  I didn’t like it one bit. I felt it was about 2 segments too long and the winners of segments 1-3 sandbagging to stay out of harms way was ridiculous.  I do not think that should have been allowed- however this format encourages that.  My thought on the matter is that there should be 3 segments and 3 segments only: 20 lap, 30 laps, 50 laps with one mandatory pit stop between segments 2 and 3 that require a 4 tire change from everyone.  There would be no reason to sandbag during this race.  Now you can argue with me that what Jimmie and the other guys were doing was strategy- but I still say they weren’t racing…and that really isn’t fair.

Tony’s All-Star race was anything but stellar (get it?). The car had handling issues and then the nose was damaged during segment 3 (I think it was maybe it was four?) and the race just seemed to get worse.  Tony started the race 9th and finished 17th.  Since it’s a non-points race there was no change in points.  The race winner was Jimmie Johnson.

Notes on the All-Star Race:

  1. Speaking of race winner Jimmie Johnson- how CRAZY was it for him to take Rick Hendrick out for a ride on the track after winning? That was crazy. And poor Rick Hendrick looked uncomfortable.
  2. Dustin Long wrote about a GREAT idea he had for the All-Star Race! In a nutshell he proposes that the winner of the race be given the option of the $1 million dollars or an automatic spot in the chase.  I LOVE IT.
  3. Speaking of LOVING things…I also really liked the fan videos introducing the All-Star drivers…maybe next year they can have fans do it in person.

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, walks during pre-race for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America).

I don’t know what it is- but the Pit Crew Challenge on Thursday this year did nothing for me.  It’s something I usually LOVE to watch but I just couldn’t get into it this year. I think it’s because it doesn’t move fast enough between rounds for me and really what these guys are doing is not a real pit stop. I want it to be a REAL pit stop.  Speaking of REAL pit stops have you seen this from Quicken Loans Racing (Ryan Newman’s Primary co-sponsor?)? It is a really visual of what a pit stop looks like through the eyes of the different crew members: Pit Crew Experience. I love this and highly suggest you check it out!

I also want to share a gratuitous Tony Stewart picture from the event:

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot-Mobile 1 Chevrolet jokes with a crew member during the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

And this humorous picture from the winner’s (the 48 crew) celebration:

Crew chief Chad Knaus celebrates with a member of the No. 48 My Lowe's Chevrolet after winning the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Hey Smoke Fans- if you are lucky enough to be in Charlotte NC next week (and I envy all of you that are there- let me tell you) – Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman are doing a rare joint Autograph appearance at the Office Depot located at 8658 JW Clay Boulevard.  You will need a wristband for the event. The wristbands will be distributed starting at 8:00 am local time on May 23rd at the Office Depot on JW Clay Blvd (one autograph per wristband one wristband per person).  The event will happen at 3:45pm local time (autograph seekers with wristbands will need to be in line no later than 4:15pm local time).

While you are there you may want to stick around because BOTH Tony and Ryan will be participating in another Office Depot Racing Ask Tony (AND RYAN) LIVE event at 5:00pm at the same location! I am looking forward to this one because I *should* be able to watch the stream of this one on the net….so wave at the camera if they show you because I will be watching you all!

Inside A Helmet, Everthing Can Seem Different- David Caraviello for NASCAR.COM

Will Ryan Newman Return To SHR In 2013- Jeff Gluck for SBNATION.com

Whittling Crew Chiefs Down To Top Ten- Terry Blount for ESPN

Newman’s Gone Fishing- Ryan Newman for NASCAR.COM

TV Reporter Juggles Motherhood, NASCAR’s Grinding Road- Nate Ryan for USAToday.com

NASCAR At Darlington: Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman Teams Scuffle After Southern 500- Jeff Gluck for SBNation.com

If I Were A NASCAR Owner, I’d Hire Kurt Busch- Jordan Bianchi for SBNATION.com

Faith On The FrontStretch: A Speedy Apology Calms A Conflict- Beth Reinke for SkirtsandScuffs.com

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Tony and Danica in the garage at Darlington (Again photo blatently stolen from the Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page. Click on Photo to see the original).)

For some reason every time I type Darlington the Trace Adkins song Arlington runs through my head- to the point where I will break into song…and if you have ever heard that song- it’s not a chipper break-into-song type of song so I can’t explain it. I have NO IDEA why except that they kind of rhyme.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 11, 2012 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)

So back to the race report? I honestly don’t have much to say about Darlington. I know…what is WRONG with me- having nothing to say.  Tony finished well- a very respectable 3rd (missed it by that much!). Of course I was hoping Tony would get his first win at Darlington but it wasn’t in the stars I guess.  Tony is still 7th in the points despite his 3rd place finish.

Notes About Darlington:

  1. Kurt Busch was fined $50,000 for his actions during and after the race as well as put on probabtion through July 27th.  One of Kurt’s crew members, Craig Strickler, has also been placed on probation through December 31st.  Ryan Newman’s crew chief, Tony Gibson, has been placed on probation  through June 27th and the gas man, Andrew Rueger has been placed on probation through June 27th and fined $5,000 for his part in the postrace altercation.  I didn’t see the pitstop where Kurt purportedly burned out through Newman’s pit box- but if he did that while members were over the way- that was not a very bright thing to do. Again if he did do that I can see why Andrew Rueger was so pissed off.  I am, however, unclear, what Craig Strickler’s part in the altercation was- all the release would say was “interfering with a member of the broadcast media.”

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Tony at Darlington (I think he's watching Danica practice). (Photo Credit: Stolen from the Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page- click picture for original location)

We have the All-Star Race on Saturday and the Coca-Cola 600 on the 27th- both at Charlotte.

 

Tony Stewart, age 8, helping his mom (Pam Boas) during a Powder Puff Race). (Photo Credit: Submitted to NASCAR for Media Use)

“She’s a pretty patient woman. Anyone that could actually raise me and not want to kill me or kick me out of the house has got to be a very patient person. That’s my mom. She’s a very patient lady with a great heart and she’s really good with people.”- Tony Stewart

NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart, with mom Pam Boas. (Photo Credit: Submitted to NASCAR for Media Use)

I am trying to incorporate more blog posts from other NASCAR bloggers in the weekly reads:

Love To Hate The 88- Ryan McGee  for ESPN Magazine

Too Many Wrecks at Talladega?- Jay Busbee for YahooSports!

Vines and Wines: Jeff Gordon Cellars- Jack Berninger for Richmond Times-Dispatch

Danica Patrick Says She Did Not Mean To Wreck Sam Hornish- Bob Pockrass for Sporting News

Dale Jr Reaches New Level of Consistency- JD / Bumpdrafter

One-on-One With Jeff Gluck- Amanda Ebersole for Skirts & Scuffs

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Tony at Talladega. (Photo Credit: The official Tony Stewart Facebook page- click picture for link)

A while back I read a book hoping to use it to spur kind of a NASCAR-themed Bucket list (review of 100 Things NASCAR Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is here) as I had been kicking around the idea of publishing one here on the blog. The book wasn’t quite what I expected, however the idea of my NASCAR Bucket List has been rolling around in the back of my brain since then.  Some of these are simple and straight forward and may actually happen “one day”. Some of these will never ever happen and I know and accept that. So without further ado my list :

  1. Attend the Prelude To The Dream.
  2. See a race in person at Martinsville.
  3. See a race in person in Charlotte.
  4. See a race in person at Bristol.
  5. See a race in person at Indianapolis. (Ok so the list of tracks I would love to watch could go on and on so I am going to limit it to three four).
  6. Tour race shops in Charlotte (related to number 2).
  7. Interview Jeff Gordon for this website in the same manner we have Tony Stewart. Completed- see interview here.
  8. Tour a hauler at the track (and no I am not talking a merchandise hauler). The haulers always have fascinated me and I would like to be inside one…just to peek. Kinda completed- it wasn’t really an official tour- but I did get to walk through one and sit in the back office with Misty during the Jeff Gordon Interview.
  9. Stand on top of a hauler during practice. This will probably never happen because even IF it was offered to me I probably honestly wouldn’t do it…being majorly afraid of heights and all. Still a part of me wants to do it.
  10. Attend a race with access to a VIP hospitality suite. I want to see how the other half watch a race. Hey a girl can dream right?.
  11. Camp at a track- but my definition of camp is: Have access to a very nice motor home/trailer with all the amenities of home so I don’t have to visit that very scary looking group shower trailer I saw in the campgrounds at Las Vegas that one time I went through the campgrounds in a golf cart with Brad Keselowski (Yeah still can’t believe Misty and  I got to do that- it was SOOO fun)!
  12. Drive to my favorite track (Phoenix) in a Chevy Camaro and blog about the experience. I don’t have a Chevy Camaro and renting one is a bit cost prohibitive for the thrill of writing a couple of blogs about the Camaro. Ever since the Camaro has come out I have this vision of me driving it Phoenix (picking Misty up along the way in Vegas) and taking pics of the car along the route. Plus California car rental places tend to put a cap on the miles you can drive without incurring a fee- and it’s a long way to Phoenix.
  13. Stand on the spotters stand- just to see the view. Spotters have always fascinated me as well. This will probably never happen either because of that wicked fear of heights…they would probably laugh me off the stand because I would have a death grip on the rail (there is a rail right?) and panic in my eyes (possibly along with tears- it just happens I can’t help it sometimes no matter how much I try.  I told you all about the time I decided it was time to get over my fear by going up to the observation deck of the mock Eiffel tower in Las Vegas right? I ended up panicking in the elevator stuffed with people on the way up AND people in the elevator LAUGHED AT ME- which only made it worse. I was in full tears by the time we reached the deck. I did manage to get out of the elevator but I was miserable and just wanted to go back down).
  14. Do a ride-along with Tony. But this is going to sound really weird but I would want to do it in a street car and not a NASCAR. Kinda like that thing that Carl Edwards did for the Ford commercial here…but with Tony Stewart and a Chevy (Camaro? Vette?). If this were to ever happen- I would have to warn Tony that it probably wouldn’t take much before I would be squealing like the girl that I am and screeching “Far too fast…far too fast.”
  15. Sit in a garage stall during practice and watch them work on a car. Any would do but of course you would know that I would like to do it with Tony’s crew best. Just sit in a corner and watch and listen (and knowing me bite my tongue not to ask questions).
  16. Interview Tony Stewart for this website. completed multiple times (interview One, Two, Three)
  17. Ride around in a golf cart with Brad Keselowski delivering beer to fans while Misty interviews him as we speed around the camp grounds. Ok so that probably would have honestly never been on my bucket list- only because I would have never thought that would actually happen to me…but it did so I think I should be able to tick it off- but this really happened!

Gratuitous Tony Stewart picture that really has nothing to do with the post…I just like the picture:

Tony Stewart in the garage at Talladega. (Photo Credit: Nabbed from the Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page- click picture for link)

So what would YOUR NASCAR bucket list include? Did I miss something that you have done that is completely awesome?