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Hello Texas Tony fans!  Tony Stewart will start off the Chase Race weekend in Texas at an autograph appearance in Plano, TX on Thursday November 3rd.  Tony will be greeting and signing autographs for 600 fans starting around 4:00 pm local time at the Office Depot located at 1701 Preston Road, Plano, TX 75093. To get an autograph you must have a wristband. Wristbands will be distributed starting at 8:00am local time at the location mentioned above. One wristband per person, one autograph per wristband.  You must be in line by 5:00pm to get your autograph.  Get there early, wear comfortable shoes and have a blast.

Give Tony some encouraging words to help his championship berth (he is only 8 points out of the lead now.  GO TONY GO or #GoTonyGo as we say on twitter).  Speaking of twitter- be sure to look for Billie and say hi..she will probably be the one at the front of the line- right Billie?

And while we are on the subject of Tony in Texas. Tony will be running a special Office Depot Copy & Print paint scheme:

WE DO PRINTING adorns the hood of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy that Tony Stewart will pilot in the 8th race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Action Sports Photography)

Printing Done Right- The rear "TV Panel" of Tony's #14 Chevy (Photo Credit: Action Sports Photography)

The WE DO PRINTING Chevy at an angle (Photo Credit: Action Sports Photography)

And as a reward to his fans- if Tony should take the checkered flag at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday- the following Monday fans will be able to go to the Office Depot Racing website and download a coupon for 14 free color print outs good for that day.  Who doesn’t love free color copies? Hell I will think of something to copy! GO TONY GO!

“We’re not giving up (expletive)” could be heard on Tony Stewart’s radio near the midway point in the race as he battled hard to keep the race leader at the time, Denny Hamlin, behind him and himself on the lead lap.  Stewart’s car had been brough to Martinsville with teammate Ryan Newman’s race set up in the hopes of hitting on something that would work better for Stewart. Unfortunately with only one practice because of weather the set up was mostly an unknown. It’s frustrating because Martinsville is my favorite track. I love it’s close quarters, the bumping and rubbing, the short tempers. It makes for good racing but I can only imagine that 500 laps of fighting an ill-handling car can take a toll on a driver physically and mentally. I know at the point during the race that Stewart was fighting so hard to keep from going a lap down I was disheartened that he was in that position (but proud as hell he was putting up a right good fight).

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America)

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Several of the Chase drivers were asked in their media session today at Martinsville Speedway if they were going to attend a NASCAR themed Halloween party- what would they dress up as and why?  The answers are pretty funny….so I had to share the video with you.

I love the look on Tony Stewart’s face when he is asked the question is priceless- I think he was nearly speechless and it was obvious that the question caught him kinda off guard.  His answer is pretty darn funny too.   Also? Dale Earnhardt Jr’s answer cracks me the heck up.  Just what I needed on a Friday afternoon. Enjoy:

In his NASCAR video conference this last Tuesday, Tony Stewart was asked about the danger involved with racing. One of the many things he said was “It really boils down to the basics of, it’s auto racing. Auto racing, football, hockey, they are all dangerous sports. But we all love to do it and the fans love to watch it.” As racing fans struggle to make sense of the recent deaths of racers Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli due to injuries sustained in on track incidents, it only makes sense that we, as fans,  reflect on what we know and love about our sport as well as the level of danger and risk our favorite drivers deal with every time they race. These are the words of  fellow Tony Stewart fan, MaryAnn Holtz, who agreed to share her thoughts with us here on BadGroove.com. Thanks MaryAnn— Amy

In the days following the horrific accident that took Dan Wheldon’s life, Tony Stewart has been true to his character by answering question after question honestly and thoughtfully.  In short, saying racing is racing…drivers need to be responsible for what takes place behind the wheel…racing is safer than ever but there will always be an element of danger….

Now, we have all heard that Tony’s boyhood dream was to compete in the Indianapolis 500.  But younger fans or NASCAR aficionados that didn’t follow Indy may not realize just how early in his IRL career Smoke was faced with the ultimate dangers of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In May 1996, rookie driver Stewart qualified second alongside his teammate Scott Brayton for Team Menard.  The elder, experienced, successful Brayton and the smiling Rushville Rocket were thrilled to be taking on the famed 2 ½ miles they loved so much – at over 230 miles an hour!

Suddenly, during a Friday practice, a flat tire put Brayton’s backup car into the Turn 2 wall and he was gone.  The young rookie’s friend, mentor, and teammate was…gone.  Tony was moved to the pole position; fulfilling a lifelong dream; bringing him instant fame; and facing a roller coaster of emotions, I imagine.

A few short years later, while running the 2001 NASCAR’s Daytona 500, Smoke’s Home Depot #20 became airborne and flipped several times.  Tony was being examined at the hospital and had no idea what had occurred on Turn 4 at the end of the race.  Another driver was brought in – it was Dale, Sr. and it was bad, very bad.  Smoke called his mom and asked her to pray for Dale.  Another friend and mentor lost to the sport he loves.

So when asked if racing is dangerous, I expect the owner/driver of #14 would answer “Sure, always has been, always will be.”  But then that’s why racers race and why fans love to watch them.  To quote a fan on Twitter the night of Dan’s passing, “Sometimes we hate the sport we love so much.”  And so we go on to cheer for our favorite driver as they tighten up those belts one more time and race on to the next checkered flag.
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For more on the events of the 2001 Daytona 500, read this insightfully honest interview with Tony by Holly Cain, from AOLNews.com, Feb. 9, 2011.

MaryAnn Holtz can be found on twitter: @AzSmoke14fan

What went down between Trevor Bayne and Jeff Gordon at Talladega left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  Even if Trevor was “ordered” to do it by team or manufacturer orders and just left to be the patsy, I still don’t like it.  Either way it makes the driver look bad and it’s going back on one’s word.  I don’t like that. Not to mention the fact that it pretty much wrecked any chance at all that Jeff might have had to win the championship. Sure it may have been a long shot but he still had a chance and now he pretty much doesn’t. All because Trevor said he would work with him and then pulled away when the green flag dropped on that last run. That is nothing to be proud of, nothing at all.  I liken it to those television shows, usually targeted at tweens and geeks, where the not-so-popular girl gets asked to the prom by the school’s star jock as some sort of sad joke…she dresses up as pretty as can be and ends up left at home while he is really dancing with cheerleader at the prom. (more…)

From the Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page I found out that Tony is doing an autograph appearance this Thursday October 27th, 2011 at Simpson World in Mooresville, NC.  From the post:

Fans are invited to attend an autograph session with Tony Stewart on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011 at 3:30 p.m., at Simpson World Mooresville. Wristbands will be given out to the first 250 people in line at Simpson, beginning at 10 a.m., on Oct. 27. We ask that everyone with a wristband be in line by 3 p.m., for the autograph session. For more information, call 704-662-3366.

Simpson World Mooresville is located at: Simpson Racing, 185 Rolling Hills Road, Mooresville, NC 28117

(This was written on Saturday afternoon and meant to be posted then but BadGroove was down- so I am posting it on Monday.  If you are looking for my race report/first (and probably only) attempt at live blogging go here).

I get sick and it seems everything goes to hell in a handbasket.  This illness started not last week but the week before with a simple case of a scratchy throat that evolved into a mild cold. It really wasn’t that bad as far as colds go- and by midday last saturday I was feeling much better. Sunday I felt back to my old self and spent much of the day pumpkin patch hopping.  On Monday of this week,  my throat got scratchy again. By Tuesday, I felt like a truck had hit me. By Wednesday I was wishing a truck would hit me and put me out of my misery. And now here it is Saturday- I am feeling a little better (but still not 100%- more like 75%). I have a ton stuff rolling around in my head to blog about and now- the website is having some sort of problem and I can’t get to it. ARG! So here are a bunch of things that have been rolling around my head along with all the congestion and headache:

  1. This morning I watched about 5 minutes of qualifying for Talladega. Seriously only 5 minutes and during that 5 minutes- Regan Smith qualified. And the people in the booth went on and on about how Regan Smith was a winner at Talladega even if the record books say he wasn’t.  MY GOD PEOPLE.  That was in 2008! LET IT GO! He advanced under the yellow line.  Yes I am a Stewart fan but a rule is a rule. HE ADVANCED UNDER THE DOUBLE YELLOW LINE…not allowed. SO Regan Smith DID NOT win at Talladega. Regan DID NOT WIN. So sorry to burst your little commentator bubbles. AGAIN: LET IT GO- the past is in the past and can’t be changed. Let’s talk about the future!
  2. DirecTV is apparently dropping SpeedTV from it’s line up as of November 1st. If they truly do this? I guess we will have to consider U-Verse or something. Sigh.  I hate how DTV seems to think it’s perfectly fine- when negotiating with stations the piss us fans off by threatening us to take away stations. Last  year it was Versus. This year it’s Speed. Next year it will be something else. Speed is probably one of THE most watched channels in our household- and not just because of NASCAr.
  3. Jeff Gordon reaches 85 wins and because of that part of the 85 has been named the Jeff Gordon Expressway. Does that mean when he gets win number 86 that he will get that taken away from him?
  4. David Gilliland has told Tony Stewart that he will not be able to be his dancing partner at Talladega at the dance race. Why? He is under orders from his manufacturer not to help Chevy. REALLY Ford? You want to be like that? Real mature. They made a good partnership before. Well I guess we will find out who Tony will partner with…but I think it’s really kind of crappy of Ford to do that.
  5. I read on twitter on Friday that the Dan Wheldon Lionheart tribute stickers are NOT going to be available to fans. I think that NASCAR is really missing a chance to help the family of Dan Wheldon- many fans would purchase them and NASCAR could donate the proceeds to the Wheldon Family trust.
  6. Speaking of the Wheldon Family Trust- if you have twitter you can follow @DWheldonAuction for information on the great items going to up for auction to benefit Dan Wheldon’s children.

I have been thinking I should try live blogging a race.  It might be fun. So I decided to kind of give it a go with the Talladega race- without publishing it during the race. This is the results. I am not convinced that I should be taking up live blogging anytime soon…let me know what you think:

So without further ado:

I have said it before and I will say it again- I do not like racing where the drivers have to worry about being partnered up with another driver…and answer me this: There are 43 drivers. That is an odd number…so someone is going to be odd man out.  I rather watch the pod racing that happens at restrictor plate races instead of the the long choo-choo train drafting of several years ago…but I still like racing where it’s more of an every racer for himself kind of environment.

I am also not thrilled that David Gilliland has been told to no longer draft with Tony by his manufacturer.  If you have to race in pods you should race with who you are

Aww- love seeing Jeff Gordon letting his children take turns in his race car before the beginning of the race.  So cute!

Jimmie had one flat tire prerace.

And here we go about to go green….

Jeff Gordon found his partner Mark Martin right away…Tony is using Newman currently as a dancing partner at the beginning of the race. At Daytona in July Tony said he didn’t want to use Newman as a partner because he didn’t want to put all his eggs in one basket…and now here he is with all his eggs in one basket.  This makes me nervous.  They led for a bit but are falling back now- this does NOT surprise me because I read somewhere on Saturday that Tony wanted to hang in the back for awhile. Sounds like everyone is trying to slip to the back on purpose…if everyone deploys this strategy- is there going to be a back?

I just got an idea! I think NASCAR should prohibit them from pod racing until the last 10 laps of the race. It would save engines (cost effective) and might make the racing more exciting. I find it hard to get too excited about a race when there are drivers purposely hanging around the back of the race.

Kevin Harvick sounded more like a spotter than a driver…wow…that was interesting. I wonder if Tony’s radio is like that as well? Time to launch my sprint cup mobile because I am curious to hear his radio. No from what I can tell- it sounds like Bob is talking to Tony. I don’t know if Ryan is taking to Tony as well…I don’t hear him and I don’t want to switch drivers to Ryan.

Apparently Denny Hamlin doesn’t have a dance partner and this is Tony Stewart’s fault because he is paired up with Newman. This goes back to the whole idea that with an odd number of cars there is going to be someone left out…whether you are talking about the number of cars in the field (43) or the number of cars on a team (3 in the case of teams like JGR).  Maybe NASCAR should mandate that IF you are going to push you have to push a team mate? I still find the pod racing boring until the end of the race.

I am having a heck of a time with the red and blue paint scheme…finding it on track.

Debris caution. I think they should be required to show the debris on the national broadcast. REQUIRED.  Sometimes they do show it…but they should be required to show it each time. Just sayin.

Denny is still partnerless- too bad he couldn’t hookup with one of the start-and-park teams for a little dinero or something.

I guess it’s time to start thinking up cute names for the pod couples now that everyone seems pretty content with their partnerships. Tony and Ryan would be: NewStew or Stewman. I obviously like Stewman best.  Kevin Harvick/ Paul Menard would have to be HarMen. Oh that one cracks me up. Kyle Busch/Joey Logano would be LoBu of course. Jimmie and Dale? JohnHardt. Oh I could do this all day.

LoBu got broken up by Trevor Bayne – causing Logano to break off from Busch. Logano saved the car- and was slow in the apron when his tire blew and sprinkled tirebits all over the track.  Second yellow caught several teams on pit road.  Not sure if StewMan was one of those teams. This might just give Denny a partner to dance with now in Busch.

The StewMan tandem is no more.  Newman spun out and now Tony has to find a new partner. Sigh. Boo.  Tony apparently takes the blame- but I think it was Reutimann getting too close and taking away side draft. When asked if his car was hurt Tony he replied with “Just his pride.”

Looks like Tony Stewart is trying to hook up with Joey Logano but Tony seems a little timid to push Joey Logano at first.  I wish Bobby LaBonte wasn’t already teamed up with someone. Urg…this is what is totally frustrating to me about this podracing.

The Big One? Looks like StewLo barely made it through that one. Lots of cars damaged. Looks like Tony remains hooked up with Logano.

Logano pushed Tony to the lead…can we just end the race now? No? Shoot. Sigh. Really disgruntled…this race is killing me. I apparently do not play well with others because I do not like when my driver has to rely on another driver to get around a race track. I think it stinks on ice.

Why I hate the dumb IF THE RACE ENDED NOW Chase points updates: The race isn’t going to end now – the they are completely and totally irrelevent. Plus seeing Tony in the points lead….while it makes me EXTREMELY happy…also makes me think they might jinx him. Please stop with that.

Andy Lally gets turned sideways into Jimmie Johnson and collects the 32 car. Jimmie has to have damage.  Last pitstop of the day is under caution. Sounds like Joey Logano is dumping Stewart as a partner and is going with a JGR teammate. that’s real nice. I HATE THIS TYPE OF RACING.

They went over to talk to Junior as he is the in-race reporter and ended up cutting into Chad Knaus talking to Jr. That was weird…hearing the crew chief talking to another driver.  I really wonder how complex it is with the communications at this track.

Did Junior really just say he doesn’t want to “fart a long too long?” Love it. Sounds like something my brother would say.

I really hate the nonstop stuff. I think that they should really go non stop and stop with the side-by-side. The whole race should be side-by-side except for the last 100 laps or so.

Was it me or after that crash with Kurt Busch and Bobby LaBonte did Bobby look like he was walking to the ambulance in slow motion. I am a little worried about him. Replay shows just how hard Busch hit LaBonte. Ouch. Hope he’s ok.

Tony is leading…YEY Tony. Oh no…a multi-car accident behind them- looks like Mark Martin might have caused it.  The 78 car barely nicked Jeff Gordon. There were multiple cars spinning. And here I was hoping that we would get through the last 10 laps with out incident. Seriously? What WAS I thinking? Sigh.

I really like Clint Bowyer’s 100 years of Chevy.

Wow…what happened to Tony and Paul there at the end? And then with Trevor Bayne agreeing to work with Jeff Gordon as a Thank You and then leaving him high and dry…and being a FORD Driver? That really makes me lose respect for Trevor’s word. And I was already anti-ford drivers after hearing that David Gilliland was dropping Tony as a partner because Ford told him to.

All that being said I think I saw that Tony moved up to forth in points.  And I have pretty much decided I do NOT like this live-blogging thing. I don’t think I am that good at it. Any thoughts?