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Since the Shootout I had been dreading the 500. The truck race and the NW race did little to curb the knot in my tummy. The rain delay only served to further my anxiety levels and when the race finally commenced at 4 pm Pacific on Monday, I found myself at work. Now, I am blessed to work in a friendly family office that is not only cool with me watching the race but actually accommodates us by having flat screens in each office. I turn on the race and didn’t have to wait long for the inevitable to happen. Sure enough at lap 2 a big wreck erupted. Forgetting where I was, I leapt up and screeched- searching the field to see if my driver was caught up in the mayhem and then I had to go apologize and explain to my co-worker that should he hear any screams or cursing to ignore them as it was just me watching the 500.  While this was just the start of the crashes and calamities that made up the Daytona 500, it was the moment when my pent up dread burst out and after that initial wreck, I was actually able to settle in and watch the race without as much trepidation.

I am glad the tandem draft is over and the “pack is back” at the super speedways – I think, but I have a feeling I am not going to get much sleep the night before the Dega races or the next Daytona race this season.

Hands down the most amazing moment of the much anticipated and long delayed (thank you very much Mother Nature) Daytona 500 was the explosive collision between Juan Pablo Montoya and the jet dryer. While certainly not an amazingly good moment- it is a moment that will go down in NASCAR history and will forever make the replay reels. From the collision, to the fire, to the massive cleanup to get the last 40 laps in, this was a truly captivating moment of the 500, but the most amazing thing is that everyone involved was able to walk away.

Personally I was secretly hoping that the race would not conclude and Blaney would have been deemed the winner- that would almost match last year’s stunning win by Bayne, but amazingly the track surface survived and Kenseth took the checkers. Despite the delays, this is a 500 to remember.

What a wild and crazy Daytona 500! Congratulations to winner Matt Kenseth!

I don’t know if I am a big fan of the “pack” racing being back.  To me “pack racing” is just asking for crashes that damage multiple cars.  It’s scary and dangerous and I am glad they don’t race super speedways more because THIS type of racing is what made me watch super speedways through my fingers to begin with.  The drivers seem to like it though- because I guess they feel more in control of their own destiny during the course of the race.  I don’t know about that though…let’s ask Tony Stewart how in control of his own destiny he felt right about here:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #6, spin after an on track incident during the Daytona 500 February 27, 2012. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

Tony was able to avoid multiple crashes until the very end. Despite taking a spin (above) and hitting (below) Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart was still able to bring the Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy home 16th!  I credit this entirely to Misty’s assertions that you “can’t keep Stewart down” – she was so right about that!

Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, spins in front of Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 during the Daytona 500 on February 27, 2012. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)

The result wasn’t exactly what I wanted to see as a Tony fan (I REALLY wanted him to get that first Daytona 500 win!) but judging by all the mayhem he avoided/overcame? We’ll take it!  Tony is currently 16th in the points standings eighteen points behind race winner and current points leader Matt Kenseth.

Notes About Daytona:

  • Fox’s broadcast confused me- as the end was suppose to be that side-by-side coverage. They fully utilized side-by-side during the red-flag incident. And honestly it was kind of fun- especially when we see a group of drivers, including Brad Keselowski, walking from their cars towards turn 3 to see what on earth was going on (they were eventually requested by safety officials to turn back).  However, when they went green there were times that they ran full commercials and other times (during cautions) where they ran side-by-side.  Confusing! Maybe they were befuddled because of the lengthy red-flag? I dunno- but that seemed odd to me.
  • Speaking of Brad Keselowski- there are mumblings about him getting in trouble for having a phone in his car with him.  Um…it’s not like he was out there tweeting and driving.  He was using it during a red flag- so I don’t really see the big deal.  Now if there was proof he was out there tweeting while driving (even during yellows) I think that is a MAJOR no-no, but I don’t see an issue with him using it during a red flag.
  • As of this writing we are still waiting to hear if there will be any penalties for Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus resulting from inspection infractions from the 48- who was found to have a non-standard c-post (or something like that).  I guess I am wrong because I always thought if infractions were found BEFORE practice/qualifying that they just made you fix the issue and roll back through technical inspection again.  Guess I am wrong there. Sounds like beyond monetary/points fines- there could very well be a suspension for Chad Knaus. I hope not because I know one of his fans will most likely be in the Neon Garage during the upcoming Las Vegas race, and I don’t want her to miss seeing her favorite crew chief.
  • I am still really disappointed in Sprint for having discontinued Sprint Cup Mobile on non-droid phones (see my original post: Dear Sprint You Have Disappointed Me).  I missed it ALOT during the race and didn’t realize just how much I did use it until I grabbed my phone and thought ARG FOILED AGAIN!
  • One bright side to the lengthy rain delay on Saturday AND the red flag delay on Sunday? Were the tweets from the Stewart-Haas Racing twitter account.  Funny stuff right there. Don’t follow? You definitely should

Gratuitous Tony Picture(s) of the Week:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, (and PR Guru Mike Arning) walks on the grid while rain falls prior to the start of the Daytona 500 on February 26th, 2012. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images North America)

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, stands on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 on February 27, 2012. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

The Next Race: Phoenix Raceway.

#GoTonyGo! #ImWithSmoke!

I came across this by accident (REALLY it was an accident) but I HAVE to share it:

Enjoy- I know I did!

Every year for the past several years (what’s it been like three at least?) the Tony Stewart Foundation raffles off a Chevy Camaro.  My excitement for these raffles were two fold:

1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Chevy Camaro. It’s a beautiful car.

2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Tony Stewart Foundation and the causes it supports.  Who doesn’t love kids? Or Animals? Or both?

This year- the Tony Stewart Foundation is raffling off  another Chevy- but they’ve mixed things up!  This year? It’s winner’s choice of  Chevy models. (The TSF pages says four chevy models: Corvette, Camaro, Traverse and Silverado…but the Rules states: Avalanche, Camaro, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Impala, Malibu, Silverado, Sonic, Suburban, Tahoe and Traverse).  Winner chooses the model, the color, and the upgrades (up to $50,000).

Raffle tickets this year are $100.00 but the raffle is limited to 3,000 tickets sold. You have until October 1st, 2012 to purchase your ticket.  As of this writing there were only 2912 raffle tickets left!

ADDED BONUS: Each raffle ticket purchaser before April 4th 2011 receives an autographed 2011 Championship Picture.

Remember- not only are you getting a chance to win a Chevy that is truly YOU…but you are also helping the Tony Stewart Foundation help Children, Animals, and Injured Drivers.

To purchase a raffle ticket or for more information visit:

SMOKE’S CHEVY

I read LOTS of other people’s thoughts on what is going on not just with Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas, but with other drivers and NASCAR in general. I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorites with you. I haven’t decided if I am going to do this on a regular basis yet and this list is a little long because I was collecting these for a while for your pleasure.  They will be presented as is without commentary- but know that does NOT mean that I necessarily agree with the article or have no comments about it!

Can Stewart-Haas Repeat? – Mike Hembree for NASCAR on SPEED

Stewart’s success has Gordon lighting new fire- Mark Aumann for NASCAR.COM

Top 20 Countdown: No. 5 Tony Stewart- Jay Busbee for Yahoo! Sports

NASCAR Chase Predictions 2012: Who Will Win The Sprint Cup Series Championship? – Jeff Gluck for sbnation.com

Tony Stewart on The Business Side of NASCAR, Danica, And Being The Champ-  Kurt Badenhausen for Forbes

Fans Rise Early To Meet Racing Champ Tony Stewart- Lacey McLaughlin for the Daytona Beach News Journal

Dale Earnhardt Jr Interview: No Crying In The Autograph Line- Jeff Gluck for sbnation.net

Commentary: Hendrick C-Post Debate Is Much Ado About Nothing- Dave Moody for Sirius-Speedway.com

Video:
(This is longish at nearly 16 minutes but totally worth it!- Amy)

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture from Speedweeks:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America)

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* So do you like this feature? Do you want me to continue it? Also? If you want it to be a regular feature at BadGroove does anyone have any witty and/or catchy ideas for a post title?

Just a reminder that Racing Dreams Premieres on PBS tomorrow! Check you local listings!

I was so excited to hear about this partnership I couldn’t wait to tell you. Back in 2010 I was lucky enough to get to preview the documentary Racing Dreams by filmmaker Marshall Curry.  It was awesome and I gave it a glowing review here. The documentary follows the lives of two boys (Josh Hobson and Brandon Warren) and a girl (Annabeth Barnes) through the five race World Karting Association (WKA) championship season.  It is really AWESOME to see and hear the story of the young fresh talent who dream of going into NASCAR someday.  I found the movie to be very compelling, engaging and interesting.

Since I watched it, Racing Dreams has won a bunch of film festival awards (Tribeca Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Indianapolis International Film Festival- the list could go on and on) AND had a premiere at the NASCAR HALL OF FAME even.

Well I am now pleased to say that Racing Dreams will be featured on POV on PBS.  POV is in it’s 25th season on PBS and features the work of today’s best independent film makers (Marshall Curry, Racing Dreams Director and Producer, was also featured on POV in 2005 for Oscar nominated Street Fight).  The national broadcast premiere for Racing Dreams is on Thursday February 23rd 2012  at 9:00 pm (check your local listings though- because I know my PBS is a timezone off sometimes). It will also stream online in its entirety from Feb 24th to March 24th on the POV website at: www.pbs.org/pov/racingdreams. If you can at all watch it, DVR it or check it out in the internet I HIGHLY recommend it…especially for my race fan readers!

Racing Dreams follows the lives of three young racers (Annabeth Barnes, Josh Hobson and Brandon Warren) through the pavement series WKA national championship.

The release for this announcement also mentioned that DreamWorks Studios is developing the documentary into a dramatic feature film. I can only hope that this actually happens because it will rock if it’s half as good as the documentary is.

Dear Sprint,

I use to be a loyal Verizon customer.  I can’t even remember how many years I was their customer because I had been with them THAT long.  Then about 18 months ago, I had finally had enough of Verizon’s crap; the adding on of fees a dollar at a time, the fact that for my nearly 90 bucks a month I didn’t even have a data plan and only had 500 texts a month, and then there was the fact of the incredibly CRAPPY customer service.  I broke up with Verizon (and let me tell you it was an ugly breakup that took 3 months to finally severe all ties because they just did NOT want to let go).

My jump to you, Sprint, was two prong. My friend had recently switched to you (hello Unlimited EVERYTHING plan) and I really wanted to use NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile. And use it I did.  Last year I used it a ton. I used it at home while watching races on TV, I used it while at the track watching races from the stands, and I used it on those evil rain postponed Mondays when I was toiling at the salt mines.  I LOVE Sprint’s NASCAR Mobile.  Or I should say LOVED.

My access to Sprint Cup mobile was GREAT last season.  I even launched it a couple weeks ago just to make sure it was still working. It was.  I saw my driver was still my default driver.  I was pleased. Little did I know that would be the last time I was able to access my beloved NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile.

With NO warning whatsoever, my Sprint Cup Mobile stopped working.  My friend, you know the one who talked me into coming to Sprint to begin with, was the one who discovered it and told me.  Of course, when she mentioned it to me I launched my ap only to be told it wasn’t compatible with my phone anymore (despite that I had used it just last season…and just a few weeks ago as a matter of fact).

Now my phone is not one of those fancy SMART phones. I have a LG Rumor Touch.  I use it for twitter and facebook, and of course calling and texting. And I used Sprint Cup Mobile…ALOT  Further research into the issue found that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile is now only available for Droid phones.  Not even the iPhone (which I was seriously considering going to- but that is another story).

NASCAR fans are some of the most brand-loyal fans, which no doubt is why I ended up switching to Sprint in the first place.  But now I feel like you have left myself and other fans who do not qualify for an upgrade of any sort high and dry.  We have been abandoned….left on race day to wonder where our driver is or what our driver is thinking (My FAVORITE part was the in car audio)!

I can’t imagine I am the only NASCAR fan who finds it inconvenient and disappointing to have a product I used all last season taken from me- no warning, at the beginning of the season. I can’t help but wonder if this means that soon The Sprint Cup will be re-branded into the Droid Cup? In any case, color me disappointed. I thought you might actually care about ALL of your customers.

Amy, your very disappointed customer.