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As always click on the picture to go to the original flickr entry to see the photos and their attributions.

(I really can’t explain why but the lyrics “And now its startin’ to rain/on my parade” have been going through my head all afternoon. ALL AFTERNOON and EVENING. It’s actually kind of annoying. 50 billion brownie points if you know the song they come from. No fair googling!).

First off I want to start this off by saying I am not a big fan of the Louden race. It seems like to me weather is almost always an issue. Of course this whole weekend was nothing different. Qualifying took nearly three hours because of rain delays. The Nationwide race ended under yellow because of rain (and YEY Tony for your fifth Nationwide win of the season)! And the cup race? Well it was called with 17 laps to go because (you guessed it) of rain.

Team Home Depot had another strong performance. Yet again, the finish (13th) is not indicative of the race that was ran. Luckily Tony was a HotPass driver this week and I listened to the team audio channel on my hotpass for the entire race. The team communication was excellent and everyone seemed to be working together flawlessly. The twenty car had moved up fairly quickly through the field even before the first round of pit stops. It was exciting to see the pit crew work flawlessly and to watch the twenty car move up through the field by good hard racing…it was truly a stellar performance considering that the car wasn’t exactly perfect judging by the adjustments called for but the crew worked to make the car better and Tony worked to drive what he had when he had it. The Home Depot car was soon in the top five and stayed there for a good portion of the race, including a nice stint of leading the field, being chased down hard by Jimmie Johnson. Overall- there was a lot of good clean hard racing (even when we had to remind David Blaney that he was not racing for position and was holding us up a tad).

Unfortunately Mother Nature was a mean lady…and decided to rain while we were under a caution. Team Home Depot had taken their final pitstop and even though team home depot only took two tires and some gas (and some more tweaking) We ended up shuffled back to thirteenth in the field when that final caution came out. Then the rain moved in. And NASCAR decided to call the race a race***, thus handing a very lucky Kurt Busch his first victory of the 2008 season. (Does anyone else remember when we were in Kurt Busch’s position last year during Kansas…and the race was on rain delay for over two hours? Yet they finished? Who makes these decisions?). I can only imagine the disappointment team home depot felt at the end of that race, having run so solidly to come in 13th.

To be noted about Louden:

- I was very impressed that Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears all seemed to have fairly good cars this weekend. They all raced really hard, but too were caught off guard by the early ending of the race. Their places are also not indicative of the race they ran (Mears ended up 7th, Jimmie Johnson 9th and Jeff Gordon 11th).

- Also, color me impressed with pole-sitter Patrick Carpentier’s comments before the race, about how he was hoping to lead the first lap for the points and then planned to just fall back into a rhythm since he didn’t have any real experience at this track. He said he hoped for a top 15 finish…which unfortunately he did not get, ending up 31st in the standings.

- It should also be noted that Bobby Labonte finished 10th after starting second. He too ran a good hard clean race.

Next weekend…Daytona under the lights!

_________

***My reaction when the race was called due to rain? Was to throw my yarn ball (I was crocheting another baby bunting while watching the race…what? I have to have TWO made by the end of July!) at the TV. Luckily it was a yarn ball and not…you know like a brick or something.

Well qualifying for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 (in Loudon, NH) is in rain delay…but frankly if they go by points, Tony will probably be starting in a better position then if he actually gets to do a qualifying run. I say this because the track will be clean so there won’t be any rubber on it after the rain (less grip) and qualifying is always hit or miss for Tony anyway. I make it sound like I am watching qualifying but I am not…well not really. I watch using foxsports.com and my imagination.

Here is my friday fill-in:

1. Birthdays are usually just another day for me.

2. Summer is my favorite season because it’s usually warmer and there usually isn’t any rain.

3. I feel my best when I am working towards a goal.

4. Pepperoni with extra cheese, white onion and pineapple is my favorite food!

5. First impressions are not always correct.

6. The best piece of advice I ever received was if you are having trouble writing something, read what you have outloud and you will fine the problemed spots.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to relaxing with a book or my nintendo DS, tomorrow my plans include being open for whatever adventure comes my way and Sunday, I want to watch Tony Stewart win the race in Louden while I crochet up another baby bunting!

Ok, I have alluded to this fact before- my Mom is a big Dale Jr fan. She loves him! I am obviously more of a Tony Stewart girl myself, but hey…at least she likes NASCAR and will often sit down and watch a race with me (even when I embarrass her in Chili‘s during a Nationwide race). What you don’t know about my mom? Is that she is the world’s most technology unsavvy person. Here my dad is all about his computer (he’s big into gaming actually- and loves COD4 right now and often plays online with my brother). Anyway my mom looks at a computer sideways and the thing needs to be reformated…and my dad has her kind of scared to even use his. Anyway, you are probably wondering what one thing has to do with the other, I am sure?

Because I just signed my mom up to have her name on Dale Jr’s car that he will be running at Talladega (because I know she will not figure out how to do it herself- despite the fact that it is uber easy to do). He will be running a special paint scheme where they are going to jam the first 70,000 people who purchase a can of Amp Energy drink and enter the code on the bottom of the can at www.ampenergy.com onto his car. How cool of a promotion is that? I think its wicked cool. What is even cooler? Right now- to celebrate Jrs recent win at Michigan- there is a free code: DALEWINS…so you don’t even have to buy a can of Amp- but this is a limited time promotion. So…grab a ride around Talladega with Dale JR at ampenergy.com…I can’t wait to tell my mom that her name will be SOMEWHERE on Dale JR’s car!! She will be so excited!  Even if you aren’t one of the 70,000 people to get their names on the car you might be lucky enough to get it on his pit wall or car cover! Heck, if they didn’t have the free promotion going for it- I would even go out an buy some Amp just for the code because I know my mom would be that excited!!

If you are looking for my recap of Sonoma go here.

If you have been reading awhile you know that while I love Tony Stewart and would cheer for him even if he decided to drive a John Deere riding mower around the track (I wouldn’t recommend by the way- I am sure he would get black flagged)- I also think Travis Kvapil has talent. Unfortunately, he also does not have a full-time sponsor. His lack of a sponsor has led to some interesting paint schemes as he tends to get sponsors per race (or sometimes none at all- and then his poor car looks so…blank). Sonoma was the best of these one-race sponsor paint schemes so far when he was sponsored by the California Highway Patrol. Kvapil’s car looked similar to the actual CHP cars (you know…if they had sponsor stickers all over them, and no doors. And while I didn’t see it up close, I am pretty sure Kvapil’s car didn’t have a rifle mounted in the front and one of those little prisoner cages in the backseat):

Kvapil’s CHP-Sponsored Ford gets a push at Sonoma’s Infineon Raceway (Photo Credit: Valli at theFastandtheFabulous.com)

On friday, I was stuck at work until five. When qualifying started at 4:00 for the Savemart 350 I “watched” by using the live scoreboard tracker on Foxsports.com. I waited patiently for Tony Stewart to qualify. And finally he was out on the track so I sat there watching my one computer monitor with vigor (i have dual monitors) waiting and waiting to see where he placed. I was very upset to see at the time he placed second to last of all those who had qualified, which at the time was eleventh or something like that. I even shot off a pissy email on friday to my friend that said “I see Tony tanked qualifying. I am not even gonna watch the race at Infineon.” I was frustrated because we should have qualified way way better. We usually do at Infineon and then being stuck at work I had no idea why we hadn’t.

Did I not watch the race? Oh I hope you know me better than that by now- I was frustrated and blowing off steam to my friend. I certainly did watch it. Team Home Depot couldn’t have run a better race. Tony was able to move through the pack fairly quickly and thanks to a most excellently timed pitstop for Tony paired with a caution, we were able to gain many positions and quickly recover from our poor qualifying effort. Towards the end of the race, we were able to see Tony climb as high as 3rd. He had a car that could have won the race, until we were hit in the rear and spun by Jamie McMurray who was hit and pushed into Tony by Kevin Harvick. AHH. The curse words flew out of my mouth. One of these days I may be able to watch a race without cursing. Initially putting us back down in a top-fifteen position, we got lucky with a good restart and an accident right in front of Tony that caused a couple cars to spin including Scott Pruett. This helped Tony limp the battered looking Home Depot car back into a top ten finishing position at Infineon.

Also, I had to love that post race interview with Tony. That is Tony is typical Tony fashion.

Also, it should be noted that Marcus Ambrose, the Nationwide Series driver who originates from Australia, made his first sprint cup debut at Infineon and had a fairly strong showing until he ended up having an accident that left him mired well back in the pack with not enough laps left to make it back towards the front.

My final thought on the Savemart 350 is this: What is up with the road race “ringers?” They show up every year for Infineon and Watkins Glenn and tend to expect a good showing. Don’t get me wrong I have said it before here and I will say it agan, I am a huge Scott Pruett fan…have been since his Indy driving days. But why did Reed Sorenson need to be replaced by Scott Pruett? I am sure the thinking behind it was something to the effect of, with Scott Pruett we might get more points. Sure, you might or you might not. And how do they expect Sorenson to learn to road race better if they throw Pruett in the drivers seat? I don’t believe in the ringers. Sorry.

Also- I sent this to Twitter via my cellphone but for some reason it didn’t post under the Speed Updates section:

If HMS fired casey mears methinks hms is possibly making room for Tony Stewart.

I know the rumor out there is Mark Martin will be filling Casey’s shoes at Hendrick Motorsports, but a small part of me thinks it might be for Tony. Just think about last year. First it was announced that Kyle would be leaving HMS, but no way were HMS signing Jr….then all of the sudden here comes Jr. Just a little something for you all to chew on for a bit.

I have no words to express the sadness that I felt in my heart and in the pit of my stomach when I found out that Scott Kalitta died today qualifying for the Lucas Oils SuperNationals in New Jersey. I haven’t seen the wreck…but I know it was on tv- I have been asked by several people if I have seen it and frankly- I don’t want to, at least not right now. I have mixed feelings about the media reshowing fatal accidents.

I will admit to you right here and now I do not follow NHRA as closely as I use to. But I was always a fan of Scott’s dad Connie. Anyway, Scott is survived by his father, his wife and two children.

Crossposted on NBFTD here.

First the Friday Fill-in 77

1. A smile is something to share.
2. Ticket To Ride: Europe and San Juan is are my favorite board or card game (but it was hard to pick because I am a total board/card game geek).3. I would love to have more happiness in my life and less stress.
4. When I think of the Summer Solstice, I think of sunny days.
5. I just remembered I need to submit my entries for the fair soon.
6. One of my favorite song lyrics goes like this:

Oh, on I burn/Fuel is pumping engines/Burning hard/Loose and clean

Oh, and on I burn/Churning my direction/Quench my thirst with gasoline

So gimme fuel/Gimme fire/Gimme that which I desire. (partial lyrics to Fuel by Metallica)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to getting off work and getting the heck out of here, tomorrow my plans include reading, writing, and relaxing… and Sunday, I want to watch Tony Stewart win the race at Infineon (which will always be sears point to me!)!

And now G’s Poetic MI-5:

G sez: For this week’s MI-5, let’s do something different. Let’s write a poem. About the person you should know the best. YOU !! I encourage you to take a moment or two to think about your responses. Reintroduce yourself, to yourself. Rediscover what makes you tick.

I am tenacious and humorous
I wonder what makes some people tick
I hear the heartwarming roar of a stock car engine
I see cars zooming around Sears Point
I want to be at Sears Point on Sunday
I am tenacious and humorous

I pretend to have photographic talent
I feel concern and frustration
I touch the smooth skin of my nephew
I worry about the future
I cry for critically ill children
I am tenacious and humorous

I understand love is elusive
I say it’s out there somewhere
I dream of rollercoaster overpasses and rolling off of redwood picnic tables
I try to be the best person I can be
I hope my nephew loves me when he’s older and I am ancient
I am tenacious and humorous