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First we will start with G’s Eclectic MI-5:

1.  A new planet has just been discovered.  And you get to name it.  What name do you choose and why? Well Amy is a good name don’t you think?

2.  What would be your 3 main laws (rules) if you ran your own country? (mine are evidence why I should NOT run a country or probably even a household LOL) Treat others like you want to be treated, Respect Authority, and NASCAR would be the national sport.

3.  What villain from literature or history do you relate to the most?  Why? Kate from Taming of the Shrew.  Because we both have wicked tongues and a rebellious streak a mile long. Although I don’t know that you could call her a villian.

4.  What, if any, is the value of optimism? It’s something I really have to strive for because if I lose my optimism then I just wanna fall into a depression. So I really try to be optimistic…it doesn’t always work because a lot of times the glass looks a lot more empty than it does full.

5.  What annoys you most about technology? That it has turned me into a NOW person. I want to be able to have the world at my fingertips and can get grumpy when I can’t find what I am looking for online.

Bonus -  What is your favorite “special feature” on a DVD? Behind-the-scenes footage

And now for Friday Fill-in #127

1. After work, I am looking forward to going home.

2. My favorite thing for dinner lately has been Fajitas made with leftover steak- quick, easy and delish.

3. Every freaking morning Roxy goes bark! bark! bark!

4. A nice long walk is the best exercise I get.

5. I want to hear some good news.

6. When all is said and done, I want to write a book.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to a nice long walk just me and my ipod, tomorrow my plans include general cleaning and household chores like laundry and Sunday, I want to watch TONY win at LONG POND!!

Today I was hoping to tell you all about the great racing from the Prelude To The Dream race. Unfortunately the race was postponed due to rain.  It will be rescheduled for September 9th.

So then I thought to myself, what am I going to talk about instead? I could tell you my thoughts about Carl Long. Or I could tell you that I really need a hair cut and have an incredible urge to cut it really really short again.  Or I could tell you that I came in to work and when to take out my lunch to defrost from the fridge only to discover someone had taken it (along with one of my yogurts!!)

But really I thought…I would instead just ask…what’s been going on with YOU lately?

I have mentioned this a lot but I wanted to revisit it again. A lot of drivers have charitable foundations that do great things that are not only fun for fans but help capitalize on the love of their fans for the greater good.

Here are three great examples of things coming up (of course these are all Tony Stewart Related):

The Prelude To The Dream.  I talked about the Prelude A WHOLE LOT last season. I haven’t been doing it quite as much this season. Do I think anything has changed? NO! I am still GREATLY looking forward to the race on Wednesday. One day I will go in person.  What is so great about this race? Let me tell you: Lots of Big Name Drivers (Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, Kasey Kahne, Ron Capps (NHRA), Cruz Pedregon (NHRA), Ray Evernham, Bill Elliot, are just a few.  ON DIRT. For no money, no points…just a trophy and bragging rights. I have ordered it on PPV for the last three years and have NEVER been disappointed. The cause this year are four charities that support injured and fallen military heroes- all proceeds go to these four charities. The goal this year? A million dollars.  If you can afford it- check out the PPV race (Channel 125 for DirecTV customers, for others check your listings. THIS IS THIS WEDNESDAY.

Invest N Vests. A collaborative effort between the Tony Stewart Foundation and The Greg Biffle Foundation to raise funds for to outfit 192 K-9 officers with bullet and knife resistant vests.  For each $10.00 donation fans are entered for a chance to win 25 percent of the pot (the rest going to www.vest4k9.com).  At this writing the pot is currently at $14,680.00.  The drawing is on Wednesday June 16th. Both the Tony Stewart Foundation and The Greg Biffle Foundation are committed to animal causes.

Smoke’s Camaro. Capitalizing on the love of cars many NASCAR fans have The Tony Stewart Foundation is having a raffle of a 2010 Camaro. Raffle tickets are limited (currently there are only 5,926 left out of 6014 available raffle tickets).   The winner not only wins Tony’s 2010 Chevrolet Camaro (in Victory Red), but they win a trip for two to Charlotte, NC and a personal tour of the Stewart-Haas Racing Shop as well as a lunch where Tony will present you with the keys himself (you also get money to help offset the cost of fees, licensing and taxes). Buy your raffle ticket early to also be included in the running for early bird prizes as well.  Camaro drawing is on October 5th, 2009. Proceeds raised by raffle will go directly to the Tony Stewart Foundation to provide funding for children, animals and injured drivers in need.

I am surprised I didn’t get the cops called on me this Sunday during the last 20 laps or so of the Autism Speaks 400 race at Dover.  I was watching alone for a change and when Tony was chasing Biffle down, passing Biffle, and then working that track to make his car seem as wide as possible when Jimmie was doing the same to him, I was screaming. And standing about two feet infront of the television- as if my mere proximity to the tube and yelling my cheers that loudly would somehow propell that 14 car on my voice alone.  Because I was alone I wasn’t shy about being LOUD and PROUD in my rooting for Tony and Team. And because I was alone I admit that I may have had a few choice words for Jimmie Johnson when he passed Tony (even though I actually kinda like Jimmie) that didn’t get filtered out by my internal sesor when I watch with other people.

Team Office Depot/Old Spice didn’t have the most stellar first practice or qualifying run on Friday so honestly I wasn’t sure it was going to be the best weekend for us.  Then I made the mistake of reading the transcript from Tony’s Friday media session- which is something I almost never do- and he just seemed rather grumpy and overly concerned about his car.  Yet another reason to think that Dover would not be a great weekend for Team Office Depot/Old Spice. I was reassured a bit on Saturday morning when I caught glimpses of the last two practices- to see that Tony’s car seemed to be picking it up.

Qualifying 31st, Tony spent most of the race mired in heavy traffic but working his way up the field slowly but surely.  Not having the best of pit stalls I think kind of messed him up in the pits and he often lost one or two spots during a stop.  Tony eventually worked his way into the top ten- running consistently at about 8th or so.  Then there was a lucky debris caution. Darian called Tony in at the last minute for two tires. And because Team Office Depot/Old Spice only took two tires, they found themselves slowly hunting down race leader (at the time) Greg Biffle- and eventually catching him. They raced hard for awhile and Stewart eventually become the race leader.  Unfortunately Jimmie Johnson was also moving up the field- and Jimmie was on four fresh tires.  Tony held Jimmie off as long as he could- but Jimmie eventually got around Tony with two laps to go and never looked back.  Tony came in second at Dover. Partly because of his second place finish and also because of Jeff Gordon’s inability to get either of his laps back, Stewart and Team Office Depot/Old Spice left Dover first in the points, with Jeff Gordon a mere 46 points behind him. Stewart-Haas teamate Ryan Newman also had yet another top ten finish (way to go RYAN!!) and moved up two spots in the points and is now up to fifth.

Notes on Dover:

  • This race had too many debris cautions for my taste. People- if your race car has parts falling off of it- pull into the pits! That is my PSA for Dover.
  • I am kind of glad its the end of the Fox coverage because DW kind of pissed me off with an offhanded comment he made regarding drivers not having original thoughts during the preshow (in reference to Kyle Busch’s comment about Dale Jr.)
  • Well judging by the results this weekend- the crew chief switch on the #88 seems to at least done SOME good. Jr finished 12th. Not bad.  Still- Junior seemed down in his afterrace interview. As a side note, my friend says Dale Jr. reminds her of Jeff Boomhauer when he talks.
  • As mentioned by Kyle Busch during the preshow- don’t forget to go to RealChocolate.com to try for your chance at a free Mars product this friday. (Thanks Kyle!)
  • *Technically most NASCAR fans would call Dover race 13 on the schedule because for some unknown reason they don’t count the All-Star race (yeah I know you don’t get points…but you get a million bucks and a cool ring? What more do you want?).

Next weekend the race is at Pocono (aka the Evil Little Triangle). Also don’t forget race fans that NASCAR coverage switches to TNT this weekend.

Jim Sez: This has been a really crazy week for me.  Work has been busy.  I am planning a wedding.  I have tons of stuff to do.  I have tons of appointments to make and keep.

1.  How do you deal with being really busy? I would actually prefer to be really busy than really unbusy.  I thrive in that kind of situation. I like knowing exactly what I am doing, when. I like being able to mentally check things off the list so to speak as I go through my busy day. That being said, if someone comes in and throws me a curve ball I can usually adapt pretty well (so I think).

2.  What do you do to relax when you are very stressed? Escape…a book…a movie…a rerun of some stupid 80s sitcom…or a nap.

3.  Tell us about your wedding or a wedding you attended that was memorable in some way? I have only been to two weddings in my life…some friend of my mom’s when I was a kid and I just remember the brides dress being really pretty. And my brother and Sister-in-laws…which was small but nice.

4.  Do you have any summer travel plans or special plans? Oh I am always planning something!

5.  What are you going to do after finishing this blog post? Probably laundry.

Friday Fill-in #126:

1. It’s cold and foggy again today.

2. I like home-grown tomatoes.

3. My favorite health and beauty product is my Benefit eyeshadow in Buckle Bunny...it’s my favoritest shade ever.

4. I still love a nice long (car) ride.

5. Well, first of all you need to make sure you have all the ingredients before you start cooking.

6. Me and BFFM; those were the cast of characters in a recent dream and it was scary because I was lost at Laguna Seca raceway and I couldn’t find our seats where BFFM was…because I wandered off and got turned around.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to getting home and going for my walk, tomorrow my plans include sleep and Sunday, I want to watch Tony win at the Monster Mile of Dover!

This last long drawn out race weekend was the first weekend I have personally used DirecTV’s HOT PASS (It’s free this season- check channel 795, 796, 797 and 798 to find out the drivers for the week). Why did it take me 13 races into the season to check it out (well really only 12 because they didn’t bother to even carry the All-Star Race)? Well because it was the first race TONY was one of the drivers.  I was excited to use the new HOT PASS mostly because I haven’t really had a chance to actually hear with my own little ears what the group sounded like on the radio. Similarities and differences between this spotter/crew chief/driver combo and what Tony had before with Zippy and Mark was what I was really most curious about.

Well I can only say that I was disappointed in this new incarnation of HotPass.  Unfortunately I was disappointed in what I saw. The first thing that disappointed me was my inability to control the audio.  I could hear the team radio but it was laid over the audio of the national broadcast. So most of the time when Team Office Depot was conferring on the radio it was extremely hard to hear because of the national broadcast announcers.  Previous incarnations of HotPass gave users the ability to cycle through three different audio packages…those being: National Broadcast, Team Radio, and HOT PASS broadcast (which were broadcasters assigned to each Hot Pass Driver).

Another thing I was disappointed with was the camera views seemed to be having some major issues and would often actually go completely black sometimes.  I have a feeling that this might have been due to weather and moisture in the car’s on board equipment than anything else though. So I probably can’t fault DirecTV with that one.

I can fault them with one of my biggest complaints all along and that has been the censorship of the team radio feed. If I was offended by the possibility of cursing on the radio it is something I wouldn’t listen to.  My issue is that they are a bit…bleep happy at DirecTV.  So instead of cutting out just the “bad” word…they cut out the whole freaking conversation.

For instance.  This was a bit of Tony’s radio transmission on Monday (taken from an article on NASCAR.COM because I couldn’t hear it) in regards to some on-track issues with David Reutimann:

“Go tell that ignorant [expletive] that this isn’t the Nationwide Series and if he holds me up like that again, he’ll beat the traffic on the way home,” Stewart told his spotter over the radio. “I love him to death, but I’m not going to [expletive] with him like that again.”

This is what I heard on the Hot Pass Audio:

“Go tell that….(dead air)”

Yeah that is ALL I heard. I don’t know if the spotter replied or not because I didn’t hear that either.  I honestly couldn’t tell much from what I actually heard- except I could tell by the tone of his voice that Tony was …agitated. Now I can’t say that I am paying for the HOT PASS so I want to hear all the audio- not what DirecTV wants me to hear…because HOT PASS is free. But I will say this I WOULD NOT PAY for this current incarnation of HOTPASS.  There are only 4 drivers (the first year I used HOT PASS there were five). The selection this season almost never has Tony as a featured driver. There is no way to control which audio feed I am hearing. AND THEY ARE STILL CENSORING THE RADIO feed.

By censoring the driver radio feeds I think that it is censoring what is going on in the car.  When Tony gets “wound up” about something, if I can hear the feed- I know what’s going on. In this case, he obviously felt like the driver in question above was holding him up- racing him too hard too early. He was frustrated. I can get that from the full feed. From the HOT PASS feed all I get is that he is upset about something but what I don’t know. Is he upset with a driver? Did something go wrong on a pit stop? Did his wheel just fly off? Is he having visibility problems? What is going on??

I am a big girl. Let me decide what I want to hear. If it offends me, I will turn it off.  If they are worried about children happening into the feed- maybe make the team feed lockable or something so that a parent has to unlock the feature for it to work. Whatever- just give me my driver’s radio feeds warts and all.

***Updated***

I will say, however, one of the best things with being able to hear Tony and his crew on DirecTV is when he went four wide at one point in an effort to pass I could hear his spotter go “Um- 4 wide, 4 wide you have the bottom” then after that resolved itself I got to hear Tony giggle and say “That’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.”

Have you seen the movie Almost Famous? There is a scene in that movie where Frances McDormand who plays lead character William’s mother and a college professor stands in front of one of the classes she is teaching and states: “Rockstars have kidnapped my son.” Well I stand before you today and state: The Coca-Cola 600 kidnapped my long weekend. I have also heard it called the 24 Hours At Lowes Motorspeedway (Thanks Trixie…that’s a good one).

So- The Coca-Cola 600 was scheduled to start on Sunday but never really got the chance because of rain delay after rain delay.  I continued to watch Rain Delay coverage…until suddenly my Fox affiliate went out and decided to play Fosters & Smith infomercials disguised as television shows.  No warning or anything…one minute I was watching the DW and Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond and the next minute I was learning about how to care for my turtle, frog, or bearded lizard using Fosters & Smith products of course.  It annoyed me.  I waited and waited and finally decided to check online and apparently it had been postponed until Monday.

Since I live on the west coast the race started at 9:00 am for me…on the last day of my long weekend so there would be no sleeping in for me.  Yey finally the race started. Tony did not have the best of qualifying efforts (he started 28th) so he was mired way down in the pack. The track was green because of the rain- but Tony seemed happy and comfortable with his car and able to move up the field- breaking into the Top Ten inbetween more rain delays.

Unfortunately that last rain delay at lap 227 (mile 340.5) would kind of screw Tony’s Office Depot team.  Having just cycled though some green flag pitstops- he was 19th and trying to work his way back through the field when that last red flag for rain came out.  about three and a half hours later David Reutimann would be declared the winner of the SHORTEST ever Coca-Cola 600- winning on pitting strategy- the same strategy that gave Tony Stewart’s teammate a second place finish.  Tony Stewart remains second in points and is now 44 points out of the lead.  Teammate Ryan Newman moved up to 7th in points after his second place finish.

Notes about the 600:

  • Seriously David Reutimann- Why did you insist on standing around your car for nearly three and a half hours in the rain without an umbrella? It was a little silly.  Did you really think it would make a difference?
  • Ok- I admit I chuckled at the “Billy Bad-Butt” incident.  When Tony called the crew guy Billy Bad-Butt” I laughed.  And we may have even taken turns calling each other Billy Bad-Butt for the rest of the day.  Mostly I thought it was funny because I was pretty sure Tony would have rather said bad ass but didn’t want to get docked 10K for it.  However- Fox displaying it while focused on the crew guy was a little tacky (ok I still laughed…I admit it). And NASCAR.COM leading off this morning’s headline with MEET BILLY BAD BUTT was even worse.
  • I was hoping they would be able to go green as much as the next guy- really I was (especially since Tony was stuck in 19th at the time of that last red flag) but three and a half hours? Is too freaking long to wait!
  • It’s one of my biggest fears? Being at a race that is postponed to the next day. Usually I would end up not being able to go because I tend to use the day after the race as my day to get myself back home and then I am off to work the next day….have you ever experienced the postponement of a race? What happened?

Next Sunday is our first visit of the season to the Monster Mile at Dover.