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A Six Pack Of Gatorade Celebration of 6 Time!

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in Champions Victory Lane after winning the series championship following the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2013 in Homestead, Florida. (November 16, 2013 – Source: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

On Sunday November 17th, 2013 Jimmie Johnson was crowned NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion for the the 6th time in 8 years.

I KNOW I am not in the majority here but I think what Jimmie and the 48 team has managed to do is historic- possibly bordering on- wait for it: legend-ary. We are witnessing one of the greats in NASCAR- and I am interested to see just how many championships Jimmie can amass.  Yes I am a diehard Stewart fan- but I can appreciate what Jimmie and Chad and the rest of the Lowes racing team is doing. They obviously have a little something more than the rest of the field. I don’t know if it’s more dedication, more drive, more talent, better engineering, the fact that their crew chief openly admits he has no life outside of work. Whatever they have- they have just a wee little bit more- and have had it six times now.  Misty mentioned that she didn’t understand why Jimmie and team are so widely despised.  I told her “Haters just hating on success…they are just jealous.”

Of course you can be dang sure if he was running up against Tony Stewart for that championship I would have been all sour grapes about number 6- that is just the way I am- and I freely admit that. (more…)

Denny Hamlin in Victory Lane at Homestead

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
(Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America

I always feel kind of bad when the winner at Homestead-Miami is not the same person as the one who won the Championship-  because their win gets overlooked a little.  So congratulations to Denny Hamlin on winning the race!  By winning at Homestead- Denny Hamlin was able to keep his streak alive- of winning at least one race for the past 7 season. Awesome!

And speaking of the race what a race it was.  There was after all- Matt Kenseth (second in points) leading the most laps, Jimmie the series leader sustaining damage during a restart when another car spun it’s tires.  It was a real nail biter there wondering if Jimmie was going to need to pit- he also fell down to like 26th at that point so it was all YIKES what will happen for a little while- something I did not think would happen because I went into the race pretty darn sure that Jimmie was going to come out 6-time.

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As I mentioned I was gone to Phoenix last weekend- for the race and other fun with Misty.  It’s a trip we’ve made at least once a year since…what? 2009? Anyway- this year’s annual 1700+ mile road trip was fun as it always is.  I drove 500 miles from here (central coast of California) to Vegas and spent the night with Misty and Ronald her adorable dachshund puppy. Now what you need to know about Ronald is that he is an excited pee-er. So when he is excited he pees and luckily for me he finds me very exciting. So when I am about 20 minutes out or so- Misty usually tries to take him for a walk hoping to alleviate any possible peeing (on me) marathons when I get there.  Anyway, I turn into Misty’s neighborhood to see Misty and little Ronald walking up one of the nearby streets. I stopped and said hello and little Ronnie of course wanted to race the car- let me tell you he put his little legs and heart into trying- but he is a mini-doxie and as the shortest legs I have ever seen on a puppy. I beat them to her house so I was waiting for her to turn the corner and as I watched Misty (the ardent Jeff Gordon fan) walk up her little street I noticed something. Let me show you a picture and see if you notice it too:

Misty when I arrived

Misty in her yard when I arrived at her place in Vegas. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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Misty and Amy In the Car

Posting here on BadGroove will be light while we are gone! Please head over to Twitter: @BadGroove (Amy) and @Fyrstorm24 (Misty) or to Amy’s Facebook for updates while we are gone!

See you all next week.

Mark Martin piloting the 14 at Texas

Mark Martin drives the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America)

I am going to be the first to admit I was a little distracted during the race in Texas for multiple reasons but mainly I had been running around on Saturday trying to get all the stuff I needed done and taken care of because I am heading off for Phoenix Wednesday so during commercials I was doing exciting things like laundry.

Team 14 in action

(This is a cool view isn’t it? –amy) The crew of the number 14 services the Bass Pro Chevy piloted by Mark Martin in Tony Stewart’s stead. (Photo Credit: Official Stewart-Haas Racing Facebook Page- Click Picture for the original)

And wouldn’t you know it the one day that I decide to forgo listening to the scanner that the 14 has a fairly decent run! (more…)

If you’ve been reading for awhile- you know that I reviewed author the first two books in Simon Wood’s racing thriller series here on BadGroove a couple months ago. As I mentioned in the review, I rather enjoyed both DID NOT FINISH and HOT SEAT and expanded out to Simon’s other “non racing” books.  I am excited that Simon was kind enough to answer some questions for me for BadGroove. So without further adieu:

BG: Did you always want to be a writer? Did you have a proclivity towards writing as a child?

Simon: No, not at all.  I’m dyslexic so I avoided the written word like the plague.  I wanted to draw.  I was a daydreamer coming up with stories but I didn’t begin writing until I was thirty.

BG: Your bio mentions you are a sometimes private investigator. How did you get into private investigation work?

Simon: When I moved to the US, I couldn’t get a job.  My wife and I were living pretty close to the breadline so we were looking to supplement our income so we responded to an ad to become mystery shoppers.  We “shopped” cinemas, electronic stores, fast food joints, etc.  We did well enough that we kept being bumped up the food chain moving to restaurants, to hotels and to finally casinos.  Once we started working in Vegas, we had to get PI licenses.

BG: Does being a “sometimes private investigator” help with being a writer- especially in the suspense/thriller genre?

Simon: To be honest, most of the work was pretty sedate and detail oriented.  The only thing we did have to do was come up with a lot of cover stories as we were undercover a lot of time.  The best thing about the job is all the people watching I got to do.

BG: Who are a couple of your favorite authors and/or books?

Simon: I’m a big Reginald Hill & Raymond Chandler fan.  But I would say my biggest influence is Hitchcock.  He understood human frailty and he liked to poke it with a stick and I like that.

Simon’s books DID NOT FINISH and HOT SEAT are the first two installments that follow Aidy Westlake, a young racer with a pension for finding trouble. Since Simon is an ex-race car driver I wondered how his experience factored into the personality of Aidy.

BG: Did you always want to be a racer? How did you get into it? (more…)

The 14 reflected at Martinsville

Mark Martin drives the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet out of the garage area during practice at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2013. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

I love Martinsville. There is something about that little paperclip shaped track that makes the racing exciting. This track is HIGH on my list of must visit tracks. Really high.  Quarters are close both on track and on pit road- which makes it easy to slip up. Restart wrong? And you might be getting lapped in a few minutes.  Another car short pitting might block you into your stall and cost you to go from 3rd to 23rd while you try to jockey out of your pitstall.  The cars are in constant danger of contact- and while some of the “rubbing” is unintentional- sometimes- just sometimes it is intentional and nothing will piss you off more that to have your driver intentionally wrecked.   But one of the good things about Martinsville- is that you can bang your car up a bit- and still be in contention for the win as long as you don’t let your temper get too out of hand and end up collecting yourself in the drama.  However, It’s not just the drivers that are in danger of constant contact- just ask race winner Jeff Gordon’s tire carrier who got clipped (by I think Denny Hamlin but I don’t remember) a car on pit road during a pit stop. (more…)

Cars on track at Laguna Seca

This picture has nothing to do with the post other than it’s a favorite of cars on track at Laguna Seca that I have taken. This was taken during the 2012 ALMS race in what I believe is turn 7 but I could be wrong about the turn number. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

So several weeks ago I promised you all a story at the end of this post about the first Chase race. Really it’s the story of my first ever race…and I am not talking my first NASCAR race.

Not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away- back when the IRL series was known as the CART series, my dad decided that my fandom of motorsports was not a flash in the pan and I think secretly he was thrilled.  The Indy cars were coming to Laguna Seca- which is very close to where we lived.  At the time I was into that series (I lost interest in it when CART split into IRL and CHAMP and half of my favorite drivers went one way and half went the other way). Since I had always shown a love of racing and specifically CART at the time- my dad laid down what I know was big bucks for him at the time for weekend grandstand tickets in Turn 11 as well as weekend paddock passes for the two of us for the race in Monterey.  I was a teenager at the time- so it was probably somewhere around 1990-1991 I think.  My parents even excused my absence from school so that we could take full advantage of our weekend tickets. (more…)