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Attention Tony fans in the Chicago Area…I have some good news! Tony will be doing an autograph appearance this Thursday September 15th at the Office Depot located at: 2928 North Ashland Avenue.  Wristbands will be given away starting at 8:00 am local time at this location. You must have a wristband to get an autograph.  One wristband per person, one autograph per wristband. Get there early, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to have fun. There will also be a show car at the location starting at 1:00 pm.

These events are great fun.  Honestly- I am jealous- I haven’t been to one of these events since the beginning of the year!  If you attend be sure to tell him: #KeepDiggingTony! Whoo (Sorry- I am still excited he made the chase- you can leave the WHOO! out).

Settling in to watch the race at Richmond, the 26th race of the 2011 season, I was a ball of nerves. It was one of those races that I would have fast forwarded through just to see the results without going the stress (and I mean STRESS) of the race.  Tony was one of the drivers on the chase bubble. So to remain in the chase Tony had to finish in the top 18 because if he fell out of the top 10 in points he would NOT be eligible for a wildcard position because he has no wins (YET).  He qualified 22nd. See what I mean- I am sure Tony Stewart is trying to kill me- or give me an ulcer anyway.

I was encouraged by his little beginning of the race radio pep talk that he ended with: WE CAN DO THIS! I settled in and thought…of course WE CAN DO THIS!

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, drives in the garage area during practice for the Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)

It seemed at the beginning of the race that every two or three laps there was a caution because of agressive driving causing someone to spin someone out. I believe I proclaimed a couple of times that at this race the race wouldn’t be over until midnight west coast time (I told you I might have been tempted to fast forward during this race to see what the outcome was).  All my readers know that I was crossing every appendage I physically could in hopes of Tony making the chase. Apparently turning myself into a pretzel worked (yeah sure that’s what did it…I am sure of it).

I started to relax during the end of the race, when I was pretty sure that, barring some catastrophic accident (although I still worried about it slightly) and was able to actually enjoy the racing- but for 90 percent of it I was on pins and needles. PINS AND NEEDLES people.  Were you?  Tony seemed to be able to work his way forward through the field sometimes but other times he seemed stucked where he was.  But in the end- he ended up finishing 7th- well above the 18th place finish he would have needed to clinch his place in the chase.

Tony’s “Honoring Our Heroes” symbolic memorial paint scheme was BEAUTIFUL on the track. It looked like he had an equally amazing helmet.  This is the best picture I could find of it- if you have a better one- please share:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

Tony’s car was one of four cars in the field in the Saturday night race who raced a special commemorative paint scheme honoring the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation- a foundation that supports the families of first responders, provides scholarships for their children, as well as supports veteran’s wounded in conflict.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the diecasts of Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, David Gilliland and Jamie MacMurray cars will go to the foundation.  Lionel NASCAR Collectibles presented the Stephen Siller Foundation with $125,000 as the first installment of the proceeds of the money raised from the sale of diecasts.

Notes About Richmond:

  1. I was so glad that Dale Junior also made it into chase.
  2. The race coverage by ABC – on what to most NASCAR fans considered a crucial race- wasn’t very good. It seemed to me like there were far too many commercial breaks and a lot of times, when returning from a caution we missed the initial drop of the green flag- to find the cars already taking the first turn of the race.
  3. The race at Richmond had a record tying number of cautions: 15
  4. There were just as many sparks off the tracks as on.  Tony got snippy with AP reporter Jenna Fryer at his media availablity between practices on Friday.  After the race Kurt Busch is reported to had to have been physically restrained in an argument with Joe Menzer (NASCAR.COM), then later exchanged further heated words in the media center with him and even later with Jenna Fryer, when it’s reported that he ripped a transcript from her hand then ripped it in half.  So you think that there were no emotions running high at that race (and after?).  (Ok so I found the video of Kurt tearing the transcript…it appears to me that Jenna just handed it to him- he didn’t “rip it from her hands”- he did tear it in half though.)
  5. Tony helped the Office Depot Foundation donate 2000 sackpacks filled with school supplies to local Virginia children:

Tony Stewart signs a sackpack for a child in Virginia. (Photo Credit: Leon Rubin)

And finally- I just have to point out a favorite quote from the official team post-race report:

“It’s going to be a long 10 weeks, but every Friday when we show up at the track we start with a clean slate and just do the best we can. So, we’ll keep digging.” – Tony Stewart (emphasis mine)

That’s right: #KeepDiggingTony!

Next Race: Chicagoland

I am terrible for losing things. Ask anyone who knows me well and they can detail stories of me losing everything from concert tickets, to driving instructions, to misplacing valuables like my watch, my camera, and jewelry.  So I can really  feel for the woman who lost her wedding ring somewhere at Michigan International Raceway.  It all started with applying her sunscreen that morning.  Andrea Wieland slipped her wedding ring into her camera case as she applied her sunscreen the morning of the Pure Michigan 400 August 21st.  She then proceeded to walk the garage area taking in the sights.  When she looked for her ring- it was gone- fallen somewhere in the garage area at Michigan Speedway.  Andrea and her friend Cheryl Ruse did their best to retrace their steps and look for the ring.  However- Michigan Speedway is a 1400  acre property- talk about trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Andrea Wieland's wedding ring that was lost and found at Michigan (Photo Credit: Andrea Wieland)

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Tony Stewart will be running a special, one-time “Honoring Our 9-11 Heroes” paint scheme this weekend at Richmond.  I have been talking about this paint scheme since I found out about it.  I even posted pictures of the diecast (and I ordered the diecast too).  I know I have mentioned this before but a portion of the proceeds for the sale of the LIONEL NASCAR collectable diecast goes to the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Tower foundation- you can order your diecast here or at the NASCAR.COM Superstore.  The car has a gorgeous, patriotic red, white and blue  paint scheme and the commemoration behind the paint scheme is what makes it extra special:

(Photo Credit: Stewart Haas Racing Twitter Account)

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A week ago yesterday Tony Stewart was in an Office Depot in Roswell, GA to do not just a fan appearance, but he was there to cut the ribbon on their recently remodeled store as well as there on behalf of the Office Depot Foundation to donate even more sackpacks filled with essential school supplies to local area children! So it was a WIN WIN WIN! I wanted to share some pictures from the event:

The Office Depot Show Car and The Feed The Children Truck in the parking lot of the Roswell GA Office Depot (Photo Credit: Leon Rubin)

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Misty wrote this piece about her annual involvement in the NASCAR blood drive at Las Vegas Motor Speedway…it ranat the end of August but I just wanted to republish it as timely this week as well as let you know that many tracks will be doing blood drives this week:  including Daytona International Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Speedway are hosting annual blood drives. Amy

One of the things I admire and respect about NASCAR is the emphasis it gives on encouraging fans to give back. There are numerous ways fans can do this: buy a NASCAR day pin, a NASCAR Unites bracelet, participate in a track walk, donate time or money; but one of my favorite events is the annual blood drive hosted by many tracks. I am lucky to live in Las Vegas and be able to easily participate in the event hosted by the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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Attention Tony Stewart Fans planning on being in Virginia on September 8th. Tony Stewart will be doing an autograph appearance at the Office Depot located in Midlothian Virginia THIS August 8th at 4:30 PM!  The address for this event is: 1230 Huguenot Road, Midlothian, VA.

You must have a wristband to get an autograph.  400 wristbands will be given out at the location starting at 8:00 am local time on September 8th.  One autograph per wristband, one wristband per person.

As always I strongly suggest getting there early- the wristbands can go quickly at some of these events. These events are always great fun. And remember if you go to remind Tony to #KeepDiggingTony! Have fun for me!

I haven’t even watched the Atlanta race yet (thank goodness for DVRs apparently I won’t be watching it because my DVR decided to ignore my command to record the race this morning. Bad DVR- No biscuit) but as I told Misty on the phone earlier…never in my life has a 3rd place finish put me in such a good mood as Tony’s finish today in Atlanta!

Because it’s the first day back to the grind after a three-day weekend, my morning at work was kind of crazy busy. Add into the mix the fact that I forgot to charge my phone last night so I knew I didn’t have enough battery to use the Sprint Cup Mobil ap to listen. And my evil computer at work is 6 years old and slowly dying so multitasking right now is not it’s strong suit. Really the only thing I did during the race is during lulls at work there were times I could coax my dying computer to bring up NASCAR.COM’s leaderboard. The first several times I peeked Tony was somewhere in the top 10. Yey Tony. Then I peeked and he was somewhere in the teens and the race was red flagged. Then I peeked again and he was 25th.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)

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