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You can read Part 1 here.

I am going to admit something right here…Misty and I played hooky from Infineon on Saturday and played tourists in San Fransisco so I really have NOTHING to tell you of Saturday.  Valli has a post about Saturday though if you want to check out what she was doing (plus you can read about how Dale Jr tried to scare her just like Jimmie did to us the day before).

We were up with the chickens on Sunday- grabbed a quick bite in the room and headed right to the track on Sunday morning and it wasn’t even early enough because the race traffic heading into Infineon was in full effect!  I remembered this from the time we came in 2009 and thought we had left in plenty of time- apparently not.  Not that we were late- but we were later than we wanted to be. So we get into the track plop our stuff down in the media center (I LOVE having a place I can ditch my stuff at the race so that I don’t have to carry all my belongings with me everywhere I go) grab both of my cameras and we decide to spend the morning just wandering before the start of the race.  First we wandered over to the driver introduction stage to get some pictures of three greats: Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett and Bobby Allison. I have to admit…Misty got THE best picture of Bobby Allison:

Bobby Allison talks with PRN host before the race at Infineon Raceway. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

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I was gonna try to fit the entire Infineon post into one…but it was just too large and I couldn’t do that to you. I hope you will enjoy part one. Stay tuned for part 2).

After checking into our hotel, Misty and I went to Infineon Raceway Thursday for like 10 minutes- just to pick up our credentials and remind ourselves how to get there because it had been a couple years (2009 to be exact- where the first time we were there we got misguided and ended up in Petaluma).  We returned bright and early Friday morning  got ourselves situated in the media center- grabbed something to drink and headed out to get some pictures before things filled in. We even wandered through the area of concessions behind the grandstands at the Start/Finish line – which was kinda creepy actually since most if not all of them were still closed.  We got a good look at the Infineon Hall of Fame…which honestly should be called the Wall of Fame…but that’s just semantics I guess.

Rick Hendrick, Infineon Hall Of Fame tile (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

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Tony Stewart will be headlining a “Back-To-School” celebration on Wednesday July 6th at the Office Depot located in Florence Kentucky (6825 Burlington Pike, Florence, KY 41042). He will be on hand to help donate 3,000 backpacks to representatives from local schools and non-profit organizations as part of the Office Depot Foundation’s National Backpack Program. You probably remember Tony helped donate backpacks last summer and fall as part of the program.

After the backpack presentation- there will be an autograph signing for the public at 4:45 pm (following the backpack donation). To get an autograph from Tony you will need to obtain a wristband. Wristbands will be available starting at 8:00 am local time at the store. There will be one wristband per person, one autograph per wristband. People with wristbands MUST be in line no later than 5:15pm to receive their autograph.

As I mentioned yesterday these events are FUN- if you are in the area be sure to stop by.

(Photo Credit: Office Depot's Facebook page-Click on photo to be taken to the page)

(As a total aside: In the picture above Tony is autographing one of the Tony Stewart Photobooks by Jostens.  They are a wee bit pricy…but I think they are totally worth it! I have one- the best part is they are customizable…I customized mine with the first interview we did with Tony- so I always have a nice keepsake of it.   They also have some of the other drivers AND they have ones for each race that they release so if you go to a specific race and want a nice memento from the race- you might want to consider it- Kudos to Jamie for pointing out the race books from them as well).

Ok- yes I know that is kind of a lame title but he did cut a ribbon see:

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – NASCAR® star Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Impala in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ (right), participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony during the grand-opening event of a brand-new Office Depot store in Winter Haven, Fl., on June 29. Stewart, shown here with Bob Gernert (left), the Executive Director of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, and Teresa Hill (center), Office Depot Store Manager, also assisted the Office Depot Foundation with presenting donations to local non-profits before signing autographs for 600 fans (Photo Credit: Foster Photography).

I would have so been there- how fun would that have been? Seriously if you can ever attend one of Tony’s Office Depot events I highly suggest going- they are ALWAYS fun. And I will be announcing another one tomorrow morning so keep your eyes peeled.

On a side note: I have always wanted to cut a ribbon on something exciting like a building or a bridge or something. Not just any ole ribbon but a grand opening ribbon. Mostly because of the big scissors you get to use. No chance on losing those suckers (I am always losing scissors).

Forgive me Tony Stewart Fans for not posting this sooner but I am still playing catch up from being gone since last Wednesday.  Tony Stewart will be doing an Office Depot grand opening and autograph session TOMORROW June 29th 2011 at the new Office Depot located at 800 Cypress Gardens Blvd Winter Haven, Florida.

Tony will be on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony and will sign autographs afterwards for 600 fans.  The ceremony begins at 3:30pm local time.

To get an autograph you MUST have a wristband. There is one wristband per person, one autograph per wristband.  Wristbands will be distributed at the location starting at 8:00 am local time.

 

(Instead of giving you my usual spin on what happened during Tony’s race at Michigan (you can read the official race report here for information on Tony’s run) I think I am going to break things up a little bit and wax on about how this season is really starting to concern me as far as Stewart-Haas Racing and Tony Stewart in particular is concerned.)

I am starting to enter panic-mode when it comes to Tony Stewart making the  chase.  This slump or whatever you want to call this string of bad (winless) luck that Tony Stewart and SHR seems to be having is giving me total and complete fits.  Tony is now 11th in points with no wins. I am in fits because of this new chase format where only the top 10 in points are guaranteed chase spots, with the last to spots going to the wildcards with the most wins.  And us having NO WINS? That right there makes Amy a panic-stricken Tony Stewart fan.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not going to abandon ship or hop a bandwagon mind you.  I am a Tony Stewart fan through good and BAD.  And while I tend to be an optimistic sort of fan (oh it’s early…oh at least he finished in the top five, ten, fifteen…oh at least he finished better than he qualified…there are still x races before the chase- he’ll pull himself up by his bootstraps and get some wins) I am having an increasingly difficult time talking myself off the “OH NO TONY’S NOT GOING TO MAKE THE CHASE” ledge that I find myself sitting on more and more often recently. It is definitely not a fun place to sit, let me tell you.

You can try telling me Stewart always heats up with a winning streak in the summer- I have tried telling myself that too. Honestly? That fact doesn’t sooth my panic addled brain right now. Misty is always telling me “You can’t keep a Tony Stewart down!” And while the Tony Stewart fan in me is proud she thinks that…my brain still quietly says “Well remember that one year he didn’t make the chase?” Yeah…thanks for that reminder brain- like I needed that.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 17, 2011 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (June 16, 2011 - Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images North America)

I have to blame it on something and really the only thing I can blame it on is the new points system.  Bad days in this new points system are more devastating to the overall points pictures and harder to rebound from in this points system than the old system.  And while I was all for changing the points system in the chase last season, I still thought that the regular season points should remain the same.

Now I am definitely no mathematician that is for certain.  I don’t understand how people can say that this new points system emphasizes wins.  I don’t see that really thought because if it emphasized wins wouldn’t Kevin Harvick be the current series leader? Wouldn’t someone like Jeff Gordon who has two wins be above Tony in the points then? I don’t like this new system of points- if only because it doesn’t reward consistency enough but punishes for lack of it far too harshly.  As I mentioned I am not good with numbers and math- so I can’t really come up with an alternate solution to the points.  My only thought was to make it more like golf- and make the object the lowest score possible.  But I am not sure if that would make that much of a difference overall when compared to this new system. I don’t have an answer and that too frustrates the daylights out of me.

So yeah- lately Tony’s points situation has been stressing me out- well that and the  horrifying thought that Tony might not make the chase this year.  And yes I know that Tony says they focus on wins and the points take care of themselves. But ACK the win column is a bit empty right now.  And as Misty states- what would Champions Week in Vegas be without crowding around Tony to watch The Stewies?

You are probably asking yourself why it has taken me so long to write about the Mobil-1 Seat Swap between NASCAR’s Tony Stewart and Formula 1′s Lewis Hamilton. Well the main reason is that Kevin wrote a great first hand article about being in attendance at the swap so I didn’t want to overshadow his article. I admit- I was jealous. I would have loved to attend but since I didn’t have any first born to sell to get there I would have to be content to watch on TV (thankfully it was broadcast on SPEEDTV) and on twitter (thanks to @StewartHaasRcng for keeping us people in other places up to date with the swap). (more…)

The USO is launching Operation Front Lines- an effort to bring a touch of home to the front lines by building a new USO center in Afghanistan to assist with their efforts in connecting troops with loved ones back at home and, providing and processing care packages and more. The USO need YOUR help to make this possible. They are trying to raise the $600,000 in only 6 weeks to get Operation Front Lines off the ground.

Donate to the USO between now and midnight June 30th, 2011 for your chance to win a wonderful VIP NASCAR experience thanks to Coca-Cola. The winner will receive a 5 day/ 4 night trip for two to the Labor Day Weekend race at Atlanta Motor Speedway including, airfare and hotel accommodations, A ride along with a Coca-cola family NASCAR driver, attend both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup race, go to an exclusive dinner with Coca-Cola Family drivers and more.

Donate NOW to help the USO support our military overseas.
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And now for the BADGROOVE Contest. The USO has provided BadGroove with a wonderful USO Prize pack to give away to one lucky reader:

Gift Pack includes A USO Hat, bag, cd, pin, and lots of other goodies.

You can enter this contest two ways:

  1. Comment with a valid email address on this post. You can do this once. Multiple comments will still only count as one entry.
  2. Tweet the following statement:  “Donate to the @the_USO for a chance to win a VIP #NASCAR experience. For more info: http://tinyurl.com/3hs3ugw #OpFrontLines (@badgroove)”.
  3. Rules are simple: you can enter each way one time (but if you comment or tweet more than once that is okay- but it will still only be counted one time per method). Comments must include a valid email address and if you tweet you must allow me to DM you so if you win I can contact you.  All entries must be received by midnight pacific time on June 30th, 2011 (that means your comment or tweet must be before midnight on June 30th, 2011.   On Friday July 1st, 2011 a random name will be drawn from all methods of entry.

(The USO provided the prize bag for the contest as well as USO pins for Amy and Misty)