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Tony Stewart at Martinsville

Tony Stewart at Martinsville 2013 (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Facebook Page)

“One thing about Martinsville is there is no lack of excitement. I don’t care how flawlessly your day goes, you’re going to bump into somebody at some point, even on a perfect day. You put 43 cars on this half-mile track and it’s always going to be exciting. You will never have a race there where you don’t have some sort of drama during the day. I think every driver will say they will have some drama at some point. When you have 43 drivers with 43 dramatic moments, that’s a lot of action going on.” — Tony Stewart, 2014 Martinsville Team Release

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart

#14in14 #GoTonyGo #StandWithSmoke

Talk about completely out of order- here it is almost two weeks out from the annual Vegas Racecation and I am just now getting the post up. Urg…forgive me!  This year the Vegas Racecation included some new experiences I hope that you will enjoy hearing about! Be warned- this is LONG but rewards you because it’s photo rich!

Misty and I picked up our credentials at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during her lunch on Thursday from her day job! This  was a harrowing feat because Misty works by McCarran Airport which is probably about 30 miles from the track.  We were able to make it back and forth however, between Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Misty’s work (which is blocks away from McCarran Airport) within the hour without breaking traffic laws- so YEY us.  I picked Misty back up after work so we could head directly to South Point Casino so that we could go to an autograph appearance where several drivers were appearing. So we rush over get parked and go into the Casino and can not FIND the autograph appearance…anywhere.  We were all over that place. We gave up and went to Steak N Shake for dinner since it was right there.

Friday morning saw me getting to the track insanely early and alone- Misty had to tie up some important work business and would join me later in the afternoon.  When I first ventured out of the media center and into the Neon Garage area- it was still fairly early and not crowded at all- so it was no wonder that a Pee Wee Herman impersonator riding his bike through the lower level caught my eye:

Pee Wee Herman

A leisurely ride through the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Neon Garage on Friday morning for Pee Wee. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Only in Vegas right?!

During first practice I hung around the upper level of the Tony Stewart garage trying to catch a picture of Tony Stewart or Chad Johnston.. Luckily I caught Tony arriving to his pit stall with business manager Eddie Jarvis:

The Bossman Arrives

Tony Stewart arrives at his garage bay at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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Smoke IS The Bandit

Tony Stewart as Bandit in Smoke IS The Bandit by Mobil 1 (Photo Credit: Mobil 1)

Well the sixth installment of Smoke IS The Bandit really is just a compliation of all the webisodes into one.  I think it’s even more entertaining to watch all at once. For your viewing pleasure- what I like to call Smoke IS The Bandit: The Whole Enchilada:

 

Also I got this in my email and I thought you all might be interested: Mobil 1 synthetic oil is giving you the chance to win a Corvette Stingray. Four randomly selected entrants will win a trip to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY (yes THAT one- where the hungry earth opened up and swallowed up 8 beautiful Corvettes)- each of those winners gets an awesome prize package that includes a key. One of those four keys opens the door to the Stingray.  There are also other prizes so even if you don’t win a trip to see The National Corvette Museum- you might win some great Mobil 1 or Corvette swag! You can’t win if you don’t ENTER! Good luck. Hopefully I will see you in Bowling Green KY. And if I do- no hard feelings but I hope my key starts the Stingray.

Servicing the #14 Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet

The #14 pit crew services Tony Stewart’s Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart’s Official Facebook Page)

Before we get into Team 14 and their run- we need to address the tire situation. I know that Goodyear claims that the teams were at fault for the tires but I have trouble with that. Why? Because multiple teams experienced issues across manufacturer platforms. Every 25 laps or so there were a rash of tire failures.  To me that speaks of an issue with the tire compound.  Yes I know that Goodyear brought the same compound as they brought last year and that there wasn’t a problem before- but the cars have a different rules package that affect down force this year. The engineers at Goodyear maybe should have thought of that and either brought a different compound or at the very least issued some sort of bulletin to the teams.

Let me tell you why I care about tire failures beyond the fact that they are dangerous: Auto Club is consistently ragged on for being a boring race- that it should have it’s race taken away and given to another track. This year, from my seat, the racing was GOOD! The cars were moving around and passing and it was just exciting. Many drivers were able to recover from problems and make it back up towards the front (I am looking at you Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart) over the course of a race.  To have that interrupted so much by cautions due to tire failures was FRUSTRATING for me as a fan.  That is not fun- to watch your driver over come something like a wickedly handling car (Tony Stewart- which we will take about later) or a pit road speeding penalty (Jeff Gordon) and make it back towards the front. (more…)

(photo credit: TonyStewart.Com Photo Gallery)

Regarding racing at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA:

“Regardless of what everyone else is doing, you can find a way to help yourself out. It makes you feel good knowing that because the place is so wide, you can move around, and basically, earn your money that day. As far as when to start trying the different grooves, really from the drop of the green flag, you do it from there on out because what works for one part of the race may not work at another point. Basically, it’s as soon as you feel like you’re not where you need to be. If you feel like you’re slower than the pace you need to be running, you’re going to move up the racetrack and find a place that helps balance your racecar.”— Tony Stewart, Team Release. (more…)

Smoke_is_the_Bandit

(Photo Courtesy: Mobil 1)

Aww darn it! Who else is a little disappointed that the fun Mobil 1 web series of Smoke IS The Bandit is over??!!  Yep that is right the final episode is here: (more…)

First off- I can’t believe I forgot to mention last week’s Episode 3 (The Interview) of Smoke IS The Bandit!

FrogandSmoke

Frog and Smoke (Photo Provided by: Mobil 1)

This is the one that introduces the character Frog played by ESPN reporter Nicole Briscoe who is trying everything in her arsenal to get an interview with Smoke but unfortunately for her, The Bandit showed up instead (well you know Tony and his LOVE of the media right ;-) ).

My favorite line: “I’m gonna call you Frog.”  But WHY is she in a wedding dress? You will have to watch the episode here to find out.

Finally in the Mobil 1 parody Smoke IS The Bandit- we see the Sheriff played by none other than Jeff Hammond- begin his pursuit of that black Trans Am. My favorite part of this episode are the “extras” sitting at the tables next to the snack stand who aren’t the least bit fazed by the car doing a burn out right next to them. Guess it has been a long day at the track without ear protection for them.  Jeff Hammond actually does a great job in character- talk about great casting! (more…)

The pit crew services Tony Stewart's #14

The crew works on the #14 Bass Pro/Mobil 1 Chevy of Tony Stewart under the lights at Bristol (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart’s Official FaceBook Page)

One of the things that I adore about Bristol is that the drivers get introduced during intros to a song of their choosing. Some drivers open it up to a fan vote, some just pick a song that they love, some pick songs by the same artist.  I LOVE seeing the range of songs.  There were some good songs and good fits to their drivers this year (for a complete list of drivers/intro songs from Sunday check out this article).  THE best song/driver combo? Tony Stewart’s choice of “Back In The Saddle Again” by Aerosmith because it could not have been more apropos.

Practice and qualifying typically happens when I am at work- and Bristol was no different- but it doesn’t mean that I am not paying attention. I am.  I was sad at the results of qualifying for Tony.  The car was obviously not handling well.  At a track like Bristol- if you sneeze you go a lap down. So it is not the track you want to fight an ill handling car because you can get laps down before you hit on that something that makes a difference- and by then it can be too late.  So going into the race on Sunday- I was not optimistic frankly. Even though I had seen that Tony felt better in the car on Saturday after Happy Hour practice- but still- starting 37th? That isn’t an easy place to over come from.

Silly Amy!  Why you worry so much? 

Tony Stewart is jocular as he mounts his stead

Tony Stewart gets into his car at Bristol Motor Speedway March 2014 (Photo Credit: TonyStewart.com Photo Gallery)

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