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Or: I Should Come With A Warning Label

Note:This is the first post in a three part series of related posts. You can read Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I, Amy, am a Tony Stewart fan.  I know, I know, it’s a huge shock right?  Go ahead and go splash some cool water on your face and gather yourself together- I’ll be here when you get back.

Feeling better?  Good. Most NASCAR fans have one thing in common- they pull for a specific driver.  Don’t get me wrong- it’s very possible to like and respect multiple drivers, but when push comes to shove their driver is their driver.  I have tried to figure out why fans are fans of whomever their driver is. I gave up on that a long time ago because I decided the reasons are as varied as the fans themselves.

I think I started wondering that because I was trying to pinpoint why exactly I am a Tony Stewart fan.  I can’t even tell you exactly when I became a Tony fan.  I can tell you it was quite early in his NASCAR career.  Yes I know I have mentioned I went through a stage where I loved Indy car racing…and I did. My first race was an Indy car race- but that was back in the CART days before Tony drove in the series. My affination for Indycar waned right about the time Cart was broken up into CHAMP and IRL. There were even some years where I didn’t really follow with racing at all.  It was sometime early in Tony’s NASCAR career that I went back to my first auto racing love: NASCAR.  Part of the draw I suspect was his IRL background.  Another part was Tony’s propensity to say the first thing that popped into his his head- whether that be regarding another driver, NASCAR or the media. Also there is his willingness to stand up for what he believes in (like his recent drawing of the line in the sand regarding blocking).  All of those things, plus some unseen, unrealized affination are why I am a Tony Stewart fan. Well that and the boy can DRIVE!

All that being said, I feel like I should come with some sort of warning sticker.  CAUTION STEWART FAN! or maybe STEWART FAN PROCEED WITH CAUTION!  Why? Because once the NASCAR season starts? It’s on. Any given week I can tell you where Tony is in the standings, what race is coming up, etc.  Who I root against changes weekly (Oh come on you know you root against people too- it’s only natural) and is directly dependent on who is ahead of Tony in the points or who may have “wronged” us the weekend before. I am an equal opportunity anti-fan when it comes to rooting against someone- it’s nothing personal.

If you happen to be watching a race with me- be prepared.  My mood will reflect what position Tony is currently running in. The higher Tony is in the race- the better my mood I am likely to be in.

(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America)

If you have delicate feelings- be prepared. It is not cool with me for you to smack talk Tony.  Don’t flop down next to me mid race and say things like “Where is Tony at? Last Place?” or if on the very rare occasion I flip a race on a little after it started (like the Daytona Nationwide race earlier this month) say “Don’t bother- Tony’s already wrecked out.” These things are NOT funny in the least- even if you think they are.  As I said the other day- nothing can make me go from zero to bitch-with-claws-and-fangs faster than naysaying my driver during a race.  That is not to say that I can’t and won’t say some negative things during a bad run. I have and I will- but it’s okay if I say them, not if you do.

If you have sensitive ears- be prepared. I may curse and it might not be pretty.  It might be done in exuberance and in public- like that one time my mom and I were at Chilis several years ago when Tony was running the nationwide race at Daytona.  I don’t remember the year but I am pretty sure it was down to him and Junior and it was close and we were sitting near the bar but not in it.  When Tony won? I jumped up, pumped my fist and said “HELL YEAH that’s what I am talking about!” Needless to say I am pretty sure I embarrassed my mom that day.  Heck I think I even embarrassed poor Misty with my tirade about Evil Brian Vickers (and yes I still call him that) at Infineon and that included some not so ladylike vernacular.

If you happen to be with me when we see a race in person- be prepared. If Tony suffers a heartbreaking loss- like he did in Las Vegas earlier this season…I will likely be heartbroken for him. It really didn’t help matters that we spoke with him earlier in the week about what a win would mean for him and then for him to have such a powerful car, and a devastating penalty- well let’s just say I left directly after the checkers were flew- so I guess you could say I was a sore loser. But if we are at a race and Tony wins be prepared for me to become so excited I can’t figure out how to work my own damn camera. Be prepared for me to rue the pictures of the win because all I got were blurry pictures of parts of the car during the burnout (not to mention tons of pics of people’s heads and hands) because I was so excited I forgot to unzoom the camera and you know…focus.

So consider yourself warned. I am a proud Tony Stewart fan. I might embarrass you sometimes, but I am not apologetic. I wear my loyal fandom on my sleeve. It is part of what makes me me.

Hey Indiana Stewart-Haas Racing fans- here is a head’s up.  First you saw them qualify P1 and P2 in Loudon. Then you saw them finish 1-2 in Loudon. Now you can meet them both in Indiana at different Office Depot locations in advance of the Brickyard 400! That’s right Stewart-Haas teammates  Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart are doing autograph sessions for fans in their native state of Indiana.

Loudon winner Ryan Newman and Loudon runner up Tony Stewart will sign autographs in their native state of Indiana(Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett MRD/CIA Copyright, CIA Stock Photography)Inc.

Loudon winner Ryan Newman (who hails from South Bend, IN) starts the autograph sessions at the Office Depot located at 16650 Mercantile Blvd in Noblesville IN on July 27th. Ryan Newman will be signing autographs for 600 fans starting at 4:00 pm. A wristband is required for the event. Wristbands will be distributed on a first come first serve (one wristband per person) basis at the Office Depot starting at 8:00 am. There will be one autograph per wristband and one wristband per person.

The following day (July 28th) Tony Stewart, who hails from Columbus, Indiana, will be at the Office Depot in Carmel, IN to help THE OFFICE DEPOT FOUNDATION donate 5,000 sackpacks filled will school supplies to representatives from from local schools and non-profit organizations (FYI sackpacks are not available to the general public) that assist Indiana’s school-age children. After the donation, Tony Stewart will sign autographs for 300 fans at the Office Depot in Carmel. This Office Depot is located at 12417 Meridian Crossing in Carmel, IN. Tony’s autograph session will start as soon as the sackpack presentations are over- so at approximately 4:15 pm. You will need a wristband for an autograph. A wristband is required for the event. Wristbands will be distributed on a first come first serve (one wristband per person) basis at the Office Depot starting at 8:00 am. There will be one autograph per wristband and one wristband per person.

Get their early, wear comfy shoes and have a blast!

You know what I have always wanted? I have always wanted access to one of the swanky suites at NASCAR race. The closest to that I have ever gotten was when I was invited to the Ferrari Challenge out at Laguna Seca – I was given access to the Ferrari hospitality. I have to say it was the nicest food spread I have ever seen- but I got so distracted by being shown the awesome Ferrari FF that I didn’t take advantage of the spread.  Regardless,  I still want the VIP NASCAR race experience one day. I guess you could say that it’s on my bucket list.

I got to thinking about this by perusing the many MANY items up for bid in the National Silent Auction being hosted by and benefiting the Tony Stewart Foundation.   One of the unique items on the long list of items to be bid on- is a race package for the 2012 running of the Brickyard that includes access to the Tony Stewart suite (and lots of other goodies like cold pit access). Awesome because for me anyway that would be TWO things off of the bucket list- swanky suite and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Unfortunately its a wee bit too pricy for my blood…but that is okay because there is TONS of other stuff I could (and I have- so it’s easy to do) bid on. There are tons of autographed guitars (including a bitching Paul Reed Smith Custom Corvette guitar signed by Tony),  Cds (hey I have my eye on that Blake Shelton one- I am just saying), lots of Prelude stuff including two separate helmets signed by all the Prelude drivers (2009 and 2010), A helmet signed by the Indianapolis Colts (and a football in a separate auction), A ride in a two seater Indy car at Indianopolis Motor Speedway, 4 tickets and backstage passes to a Toby Keith concert,  lots of autographed WWE stuff,  some signed Tony Stewart Foundation shirts, there are even some cool things to bid on for those in the local Indianapolis area like golf, wine tasting, or behind-the-scenes tour at the Indianaoplis Zoo.  Of course there are NASCAR items- I already mentioned the Brickyard 2012 package, but there is also signed stuff from Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr- not to mention the Jeff Gordon Celebrity Bowl before the 2012 Brickyard.  It really is an EXTENSIVE list of stuff with bids starting at $14 for some stuff.

Bidding is easy – after you register all you need to do is text in (or call in) your bids.  It’s all helps the Tony Stewart Foundation help kids and animals and animals that help kids.  Bidding is open now through July 31st so check out the auction items, sign up and bid today!

Like I said I have already bid on something and I have my eye on the Blake Shelton CD, there really is something for nearly everybody and every price range on this Auction. So take part today!

By the way…if I had unlimited funding and could bid on anything- it would be hard for me to choose. I would love the Brickyard package…but the Stewart-Haas racing tour would be damn fun too. Luckily I don’t have to make that choice.

Wow, what a weekend for Stewart-Haas Racing.   I admit I was quite pleased when Ryan and Tony qualified 1-2 (although that little teeny competitive person inside me was chagrined that it wasn’t the other way around).  Tony isn’t always the best qualifier- so when he qualifies top 10 I get pretty happy. When he qualifies top 5 I get damn happy. When he qualifies top 2? I do a jig. Ok not really- but I was ecstatic and hopeful for his run on Sunday.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, poses with his team and Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, and his team on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America)

It appears I had every reason to be hopeful.  EVERY REASON.  I settled in for the race with my cell phone and my note pad close.  I started off on the TNT national broadcast- only for the pre-race. Once the command was given to start engines I switched it over to Stewart’s DirecTV HotPass channel where for the second week in a row I just stayed on the HotPass Channel.  I have decided that I like the HotPass because I get the radio communications between Tony, Darian and Bob without draining my battery on my phone and having to relaunch the Sprint ap every time I go to read a text or a tweet- which during the race is quite often.

Anyway- it was quite obvious by the way Tony Stewart moved through the field that he had a car to be reckoned with.  Especially if you consider that during the pre-race show all the drivers interviewed mentioned how hard it would be to pass at Louden.  I don’t remember anyone saying anything different.  Tony seemed to be able to work his way up through the field a couple times and made it look easy.  EASY!  Whoo.

Ryan Newman (R), driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, is congratulated by team owner and second place finisher, Tony Stewart (L), driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

I will readily admit that the competitive side of me came out when Tony was running hard trying to catch Ryan.  I was standing there in front of the TV-hoping Ryan would run out of gas. I know, I should hang my head in shame a little for hoping Ryan would run out of gas, after all that is Tony’s  teammate.  All I can say is that, Tony is my driver and he could be racing my mom out there and I would still be rooting for Tony. It’s just how this fan/driver relationship works.

Tony’s second place finish has moved him into a tie for 10th place with Denny Hamlin.  I can only hope that this 1-2 weekend at New Hampshire signals the start of better luck for Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing.

Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, is congratulated by teammate Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, after Newman won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

Notes on Loudon:

  1. You see that picture up there of Tony congratulating Ryan in the car. The one right above this notes section? You might have to look carefully because it’s small but Tony’s hand is out congratulating Ryan.  I LOVE that picture.  Why? Well, as I mentioned I was watching the race on Tony’s HotPass channel and seeing him celebrate Ryan’s win and his second place from his incar camera was GREAT!  He was UBER excited!!!  Then hearing that one of the first things Tony said when he got out of his car was that he was “so damn proud” that he “couldn’t see straight” made me laugh.
  2. I love listening in on the radio communication. How else would I have known that Tony was mad because the hose that cools his feet wasn’t hooked up and I found that out because he stated over his radio that he in charge of hooking up said hose could drive the car the next time the hose didn’t get hooked up.  So Tony wasn’t hot-headed he was hot-footed.  Ha! I crack myself up.  Not to mention the kind words he had to say about Andy Lally.  LOVE it because that is what is going on right then and there in the car in my driver’s head.
  3. Oh and I am hearing that there is a rumor out there that Carl Edwards may be signing with JGR for next season…I am not sure if JGR is going to a 4 car team or if that means someone is out of one of the JGR cars.  I guess we will find out soon enough.
  4. I still have to say that I would be happier if Ryan and Tony’s finishes were reversed, but still pretty damn happy.
  5. But we really need a win now. Just saying.
  6. Oh and before I forget- Tony mentioned during his post-race press conference that Darian was dealing with pneumonia while on the pit box…I sure hope he’s feeling better soon!

Gratuitous Tony picture:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15, 2011 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Don’t forget next weekend is an off weekend for the Cup cars…they will be back the following weekend at Indy. Go Tony Go!

Lionel NASCAR Collectibles was able to send me some pictures of the actual diecast of the patriotic “Honoring our Heroes” paint scheme that  Tony Stewart will be running at the Richmond Race on September 10th.

If the paint scheme looks anything like the diecast (which I am pretty darn sure it will)- it’s going to be an awesome looking car:

(photo credit: Lionel NASCAR Collectibles)

Tony’s patriotic paint scheme on the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Impala will feature the Stephen Siller Tunners To Tower logo near the rear quarter panel.

(photo credit: Lionel NASCAR Collectibles)

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this diecast will go to the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers foundation.

You can order your diecast here. I already have.

Do you have any favorite road trip stories? The kind you relish telling at family gatherings or on other road trips?  Did you know that your story might just win you a $100 Shell Gas gift card or even better a year’s worth of free Shell gasoline?  I don’t know about you but not having to pay for gas for a year would totally rock for me! Last month alone I spent $310.00 in gas.  For your chance at free gas just share your road trip story in 50 words or less at shell.us/roadtrip (click on the link to enter and to read their rules).

I have tons and tons of road trip stories I could share with you. There was the time my bff and I took in 3 concerts in 4 days in 2 states. We were so doughy at the end of that lengthy road trip we were  singing The Ants Come Marching at the top of our lungs on the way home.  Then there was the time I lost the directions to PIR when we were staying all the way over in Scottsdale.  Let’s just say I am not allowed to be in charge of the directions anymore when Misty and I go on road trips because that wasn’t even the first time that I had done that.  There are all the times I have gotten us lost- because apparently I was born with a broken internal compass (I can get lost in a paper bag that has both ends cut off).  Of course I am forgetting to mention the time that Misty and I bonded with a roadside call box in the middle of the desert in the summer because we RAN OUT OF GAS because our rental car had a faulty fuel gauge (not to mention a slipping transmission to make the mountain passes uber fun).

My point is that everyone has a road trip story of some sort! You might as well use yours to try to win some free gas for goodness sake! Just visit http://www.shell.us/roadtrip to enter now!

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Now the people at Shell kindly provided me with a Kurt Busch prize back to give away! Isn’t that awesome?  This package includes a Kurt Busch license plate, a Kurt Busch car flag, a Kurt Busch travel mug and a Kurt Busch can coolie (wow that is a lot of Kurt Busch in one sentence)!

To enter for the Kurt Busch prize package all you need to do is comment on this post. You could share a road trip story, just say hi, tell me you love my site,  doesn’t matter what you say…just comment by the drop of the green flag for Sunday July 17th’s New Hampshire race to win the Kurt Busch Prize pack.  Your comment must have a valid email address for me to contact you.  Only one comment per person will be counted but feel free to comment as many times as you want.  After the drop of the green flag on Sunday- all entries will be placed in a hat and a winner will be picked at random for the Kurt Busch prize pack. (Remember commenting only gives you a chance at the Kurt Busch prize pack…for a chance at free gas you must go to shell.us/roadtrip)!

Tony had a run that has been typical of his runs this season.  His run at Kentucky could only be described as okayish.  These “okayish” runs really need to stop and turn into GREAT runs…winning runs.  Okayish runs leads to being only okayish in the points.  But anyway I digress.

Tony started the race 9th because rain washed out qualifying about a third of the way into the qualifying session. On track during the race Tony could be seen anywhere from 26th to 2nd but seemed to spend a majority of the racing hanging out about 14th spot (funny since that is his number).  I seemed to notice that he seemed to do best towards the latter part of the runs and that is typically when he would work his way up further into the field. (more…)

I was crawling the web as I usually do on Friday mornings- looking for what was happening in the world of NASCAR, this being before the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky, when an article by Dustin Long (one of my favorites among the NASCAR media) about what the drivers were talking about caught my eye. I was surprised to find out that a couple of drivers were quoted as being concerned about the lack of SAFER barrier at the speedway in Kentucky.  You can read Dustin’s  whole article yourself, but I have culled out the quotes regarding SAFTER barrier from it for you: (more…)