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I am still working on getting my pictures edited and uploaded for your viewing pleasure.  However I thought in the mean time I would entertain you with a story of driving hijinks. Or not really.

Yesterday during my lunch break I drove my car into the town next to where I work. I have a PO BOX there and I wanted to pick up my 9 days worth of mail, fill up the gas tank, get lunch, and do some shopping.  So I leave the post office and go to get gas, then head towards the little shopping center.  The light in front of me turns yellow. At this point, it’s what we would call a pretty stale yellow light. So I make the extremely poor decision to go through it. The minute my rear tires cross over the crosswalk into the intersection? The light- she turns red.  I cringe and say SHIT under my breath.  Then I look up into my rearview mirror- and I see it.  That dreaded dreaded thing…the blue and red lights of a cop pulling me over.  Again I muttered SHIT! under my breath and made my way to the right so I could pull over. What you don’t know is I have heard rumors about said police officers in this town being kinda of hard-asses.  So granted I had never had experience with them- I had these rumors swimming in my head and I was starting to panic just ever so slightly.

This is only the second time I have ever been pulled over…the first time was about 8 years ago for speeding…but it was on federal land and I was being pulled over by a federal officer (which was actually good because it didn’t mean points on my driving record or anything like that).  All I could think of was SHIT this is DEFINITELY a moving violation- there are no bones about it. And I did KNOW better and shouldn’t have gone through the light. It was my fault and I had no defense or excuse and that I am pretty much screwed.

I get flustered and roll down my drivers window…forgetting that most officers now approach on the passenger side of the car.  So I rolled down my passenger window and hand him my registration and proof of insurance- which I had just retrieved from the glove box.  He asks for my license- so I am fumbling through my purse looking for my wallet (now I have the smallest purse- all I can fit in it is my checkbook, my wallet and my cell phone and if I am lucky a pack of gum or tictacs).  Why couldn’t I find my wallet…oh wait there  its. Thank goodness.  I may have been panicking just a wee little bit.  The officer asks me if I am Amy and if I still live at (my residence). I say yes to both and hand him my license.  He asks me what I am doing in (town).  I told him I work nearby and often come in on my lunch break.  Today I happened to be going to the drugstore across the way.  He told me very nicely that he was pulling me over for running the red light.  And then proceeded to tell me that (town) has their yellow lights set really quick – that they change very quickly and that the minimum red-light running fine is $381.00- he knows because he was just coming back from court on that for another person.  Inside my head I was yelling SHIT- I can’t afford to waste $400 on me being stupid!!! I nodded and apologized.  AND THEN HE TOLD ME HE WAS GOING TO JUST GIVE ME A WARNING…because I didn’t look like someone who ran red lights all the time. Later this would make me chuckle…does a red-light runner have a police profile…what do they look like?? I probably thanked the officer about sixteen million times… profusely.

So…as the officer was pulling away and I was putting my license back in my wallet I notice that he happens to be a motorcycle officer. My dad has a theory that motorcycle officers don’t give warnings. If they pull you over you are going down for the ticket. Well I just proved him wrong and when I go to tell him this later that night the only thing he has to say is WHY WERE YOU RUNNING RED LIGHTS? And HE ONLY GAVE YOU A WARNING? Making me feel like I am seventeen or something.

When I told my coworker why I was slightly late getting back from lunch, she said “How ironic is it that you just drove like 1000 miles round trip to go to Vegas yet you get pulled over like 3 miles from work the next day.” Ironic indeed. Ironic but lucky.

Yeah..so I went to the Shelby 427 this weekend in Vegas. I have to say I absolutely LOVE that track. Part of that love could be because I saw my first cup race there- but seriously the track is fairly fan friendly when compared with my other cup race experience (Autoclub speedway). And I got burned. Literally I am sporting a nasty sunburn (and before yall chastize me- I used my sunblock and often). I am burned on my right arm and the back of my neck (I might have missed the back of my neck but I know I didn’t not miss sunblocking my arm). I didn’t even notice it until I was leaving the race. BFM and I decided to take the ramps instead of the elevators and I suddenly was overcome with the feeling someone was burning my arm. I looked down to find myself extremely red. I just noticed that my sunburn on my arm is in some sort of strange fascinating pattern. It hurt so much that on wednesday I couldn’t wear a long sleeved shirt!

Anyway- I have nearly three gigs worth of pictures to go through (spread across two different cameras- I hope the Rebel doesn’t disappoint me. It was my first real outing with it…and let me tell you that sucker is heavy compared to my other camera…I hope the pictures come out good- I haven’t even really looked at them yet).

So what were you all up to this last week where I went a missing?

Amy and her illustrious bad groove are not available right now.  She will be gone through March 3rd in Las Vegas- getting high off the fumes of forty three 700+ horsepower engines. In the process she will drive 500 miles there and 500 miles back. Unfortunately it takes her twice as long in this feat than it does the drivers in the Daytona 500.  Her pitstops also take far more time.  Anyway- Please leave your name and number (or comment of choice) after the beep in either the comments or using the email address in the right navigation bar and Amy will get back to you as soon as all her faculties return after spending a week with her best friend and a weekend with over 100,000 crazy NASCAR fans.  She does like comments and emails so leave  as many as possible! See you all on the flipside!!!

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!

So this is something I wrote before the race but forgot to make into a complete thought and publish it:

  • During first practice Joey Logano smacked the wall again. He was fond of the wall in Daytona as well- smacking it several times in Florida.  Sliced bread is more like flat bread…or humpty dumpty is my personal favorite.
  • Also during first practice Jimmie Johnson was fastest with Jeff Gordon right behind him..way to go Hendrick. Now if we could only get Tony up there. (I know I know…its only practice).
  • I wish I had seen this before I published my Twitter for NASCAR fans post: Its RaceDrive’s 99 best twitter accounts to follow for Motorsports Fans. Definitely worth a checkout.

Post Race:

  • This is the first time I have watched a race on TV that is at a track I have actually been to. It was kinda weird. And it really made me wish I could be there.
  • Ok- the pre-show needs to be cut down a bit. And I love watching the preshow but over an hour? Come on…get those boys on the track already.
  • Rain made an appearance several times with a sprinkle here and there- throwing several cautions out – but no red flags- no stopping the race.  They were able to fit in all 250 laps.  Speaking of cautions- there were very few for non-water related reasons.  Amazing.
  • Tony seemed to be stuck most of the race.  He didn’t seem like he could pass very well and just ended up 8th. Teammate Ryan Newman seemed to be having the same problem…only further back in the field. Of course that thingy falling off the wing during the yellow flag didn’t help.
  • I don’t like hearing about Hendrick motor problems since they are who supplies Stewart-Haas with engines. It makes go GULP.
  • I think Logano did better this weekend. He wasn’t up there in the thick of it- however- he kept his nose clean and didn’t slam into the wall or another car…what is it they say? To finish first you must first finish?
  • When it was clear that Tony wasn’t going to fly up towards the front and win- I admit I was kinda cheering for Jeff Gordon on the inside.

Next Week’s Race: Las Vegas Motor Speedway…but expect my entry to be much later than normal.

Bill Sez: I’ll name five places. You name five things you keep in those places, and tell something interesting about one of those five things. If you don’t have one of the places, make something up. Simple, huh?

Name five things you keep in your:

1) Glove box- Owners Manuals for my car, Postage Stamps, Registration/proof of insurance, one of those seatbelt cutter/airbag popper tools(mines not that fancy though and the whistle part is missing), a pen

2) Medicine cabinet-  contacts, my toothbrush/toothpaste, perfume, Advil, cold medicine

3) Refrigerator- Eggs, Milk, yogurt, diet coke, pomegranate/blueberry juice

4) Wallet/purse- cell phone, work keys on a nascar lanyard, lipgloss, two pens, checkbook

5) Desk drawer- A small stack of hero/driver cards from the sports car championship race at laguna seca…autographed, my copy of my taxes from 2006 that I never filed away, two boxes of stationary (one pink and one blue- for writing letters old school), address labels, pens

And the Friday Fill-in Number 112:

. Give me a chance and I’ll be sure not to disappoint you.

2. Whenever you want me, I’ll be there.

3. I wish the economy would turn around already- I am sick of the stress its causing me.

4. My mom’s new recipe for teriyaki pot roast was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.

5. To live in this world one must learn to play nicely with others.

6. Other than this one, fondofsnape.com is the last blog I commented on (I really have to get back into the commenting swing).

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to getting a bunch of chores done, tomorrow my plans include finishing what I didn’t do tonight and Sunday, I want to watch the race in Fontana!

Have you heard of Twitter? Officially twitter is a microblogging utility.  Mini-blog posts in 140 characters or less.  There are any multitude of applications you can use to twitter…and you can interface twitter to do things like update your status on Facebook.  You can twitter from your phone via text. I originally set up my Twitter account to update my blog readers by text because I don’t like to travel with a computer when I am on vacation.  But then I quickly discovered two things:

1. If I am on vacation- I don’t often want to use a phone to update either…because Hello? Too busy having FUN (that is the whole point of a vacation right?)

2. Twitter is so much more than a tool to update friends, readers, or whom and whatever you update with it. Twitter is an amazing social networking site. I like twitter more than myspace because I find it more interactive with less blinkies.

When I started using twitter,  I floundered with it for a bit trying to decide if I really wanted to use it- and then I started getting followers (people who subscribe to see your tweets– updates in twitter are called tweets).  Some of them were people who’s updates (feeds) I was following, some of them found me using the search functions in Twitter or my FOLLOW me link on my website.  And now suddenly I have tons of followers many of whom are NASCAR fans just like me.  Let me tell you it’s not only a great way to meet like-minded people- but its a great way to get breaking news, updates on favorite websites, and even follow races when I don’t have access to anything else but Twitter.

On the Thursday before the Daytona 500-I was stuck at work during the Gatorade Duels before the 500.  While my workplace has a fairly lenient internet policy, it was just not possible in the environment I work in for me to sit there and tune into streaming video or even audio of the race.  I did follow the leaderboard on Foxsports.com (because for me- it seemed to update faster than nascar.com’s live leaderboard) so I could kinda keep dibs on what was going on- but even that lacks.  However, some of my twitter friends were either THERE at the duels updating twitter or watching it from wherever they happened to be. It was truely an amazing experience. While I would definitely rather watch the race with my own two eyes- twitter was there when that wasn’t possible and gave me a more complete picture of what was happening.

I also use twitter to follow updates on some of my favorite NASCAR websites.  NASCAR Insiders have a twitter account that announces new posts to their site, as well as other relavent tweets.  Stewart-Haas Fans has a twitter feed that announces newly posted articles and breaking news.   And there are some NASCAR journalists that Tweet good quality stuff like Matt Humphrey and Dustin Long.  There is even a NASCAR twitter group you can follow- where you can find everything that people have tagged as part of the #NASCAR group.  This is most definitely NOT a comprehensive list by any means.  Its just some of the ones I personally follow.

——

Right before I was getting ready to set a publish date on this entry I got contacted by a company representing TWACKLE, a site that lets you follow certain sports related twitter feeds. They do have a NASCAR feed.  And one driver feed (Robby Gordon).  You can even use Twackle to create a nascar feed widget for your website.  I have not personally tried twackle yet, frankly I just don’t have the time right now. However- it does look promising and you might want to give it a try.

Valentines Day was really no big deal. I did nothing special except I did sit down towards the end of the afternoon and watch a slug of SpeedTV catching up on Saturday’s NASCAR news.  While standing in the living room I heard what I thought was rain which I didn’t think was that odd since we were expecting a big storm later that day. I looked out and saw no rain but instead an inordinate amount of water running down the street in front of my brother’s house (we live on a corner of a T-shaped intersection and he lives on the top of the t part). I believe my exact words were “Where the hell is all that water coming from?” My father and I decided to take a walk to investigate it and the further up the street we went the more water we were encountering. We finally found out that a car four blocks away had hit a fire plug and they couldn’t find the shut-off valve for all the water.  Due to gravity the water was flooding down into our neighborhood.  What do I do? I grab my camera of course.

(more…)

Saturday started with final Daytona 500 practice for Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman of Stewart-Haas racing- and ended badly for the pair. Ryan Newman blew a tire- sending him up the banking and into the wall where he collected his teammate/owner Tony Stewart.  That was not the way one wanted to start their day.  However only hours later Tony Stewart stood in victory lane at the Nationwide race where he drove the Number 80 Hendrick car to victory.  Not a bad turn around in one day. However, Sunday would be the day where all eyes were on Stewart-Haas racing’s number 14 and 39 Chevrolet Impalas.

Watching this Daytona 500 was much like driving while blind deaf.  I did not have the advantage of having HOTPASS this year since DirecTV decided to drop the only sports package I cared about.  I really missed being able to tune into Tony’s in-car radio because it’s how I judge how he feels about the car and his progress during the race.  That way I am not relying on the race announcer’s view of what is going on- I can pretty much tell for myself.

Anyway- during this first race weekend for the newly Stewart-Haas racing, emotions had to run the complete gamet during the week.  The team went through three race cars before the race on Sunday- a feat I am pretty darn sure they were not pleased with.  Ryan Newman’s primary car was wrecked during the Gatorade Duel number 2 on Thursday when he was wrecked by David Reutimann- forcing Newman into his backup car.  Then during the final practice on Saturday, a tire blew and Newman collected teammate/owner Stewart.  Because of the late practice tangle, Stewart had to go to his backup car and Ryan Newman was forced to use Tony’s backup Shootout car, thus sending both cars to start at the back of the field for Sunday’s Great American race.

By lap 25 Stewart had driven his car from 37th to 14th.  After taking on gas and tires during the competition yellow, Stewart was in obvious high spirits as the broadcast switched over to his radio to catch him singing “Ole Ole Ole Ole” and then telling his crew chief Darian Grubb that he didn’t have anything else to do. Announcers later state that Tony believes he has the best handling car out there.  And during short runs on fresh tires Tony seems to be able to draft well and pass cars- charging towards the front. However it seemed to me that the longer the green flag run, Stewart’s car just didn’t seem to have the ability to cut through the field with the ease it did early in the runs.  Also a big kudos to the Team Office Depot pit crew who seemed to get Tony in and out of the pits quickly…Tony rarely, if ever, dropped position after a pitstop…he always seemed to gain a position or two.  I hate to say it but it seemed last year Tony would lose three -five positions during pitstops alone.

Meanwhile teammate Ryan Newman never seemed to really get a feel for the car under him. He was at a serious disadvantage- in a car that was not set up for him or for this race.  The US AMY team did a great job getting the car rewrapped and decal’ed up so that at least it looked like Ryan’s car and not Tony’s. However they did have a slight problem in the pits when Ryan came in for what he thought was a problem with the tire, the crew somehow dropped the car off the jack after the tire had been removed and then had to pick it back up to put the tire up – costing Newman valuable spots in the pits and on the track- a mistake that he was never able to overcome on the track.

At the end of the evening, however, Matt Kenseth ended up winning the rained-shortened Daytona 500 after having led just one green flag lap.  Tony Stewart finished 8th while teammate Ryan Newman finished 36th.

As for Stewart-Haas racing- I think they accomplished one of the bigger tasks on their to-do list for the start of the 2009 (their inaugural) season.  They came to Daytona extremely competitive.  I think good things are going to come out of this team in the very near future.

Other Notes on Daytona:

  • I heard from the national broadcast that Ryan Newman’s crew chief Tony Gibson even used Sharpie markers to cover over some of the last bits of red on the backup car. This I think deserves the race award for most innovative use of a sponsor product.
  • Best quote from the entire speedweeks session at Daytona? Comes from none other than Mr. Tony Stewart who was quoted as responding to the question if going to a backup car after the happy hour crash was a disadvantage to his ability to win the 500 with “I don’t know, Rocket Scientist-I’m sitting here with a backup car. What do you think?”
  • I am probably going to feel the wrath of Jr. Nation for saying this but I really think that frustration was a definite mitigating factor that lead to Junior’s on track skirmish with Brian Vicker’s that ended up taking out a lot of the key players in the race.  I think Junior might not have been thinking clearly because he was pissed about the penalty that he incurred at the previous pit stop.  Junior was held one lap for having the right front tire on the pitbox line which apparently is considered out of bounds.
  • I am also still questioning Joe Gibbs Racings decision to rush Logano into a full-time cup ride. I seriously don’t think he was ready. He seemed to be smacking that car against the wall everytime he went out there and that last incident with Scott Speed  Logano nosed the car into the wall pretty damn hard.  I said this last year and I will say it again…Logano might be too green to be out there with the cup guys on a weekly basis. I still say that Logano should have run a full season or two in the Nationwide series first to break in slowly to the Sprint cup series.

Next weekend NASCAR takes us to the Autoclub Speedway in Fontana California.