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I am just going to put this right here for right now:

I had it made back when Tony broke his leg- in the picture it’s actually even on a car I don’t even own anymore in the above picture. Unfortunately it looks like I threw the apropos license plate frame away after he was back in the car following the leg injury. Don’t worry- I just ordered another one and will have it on the Equinox as soon as I get it.

In case you didn’t know Tony broke his L1 vertebra in a sand rail accident last weekend. Here is the most recent official announcement from Stewart-Haas Racing about the incident:

As I have told several people now- I am just genuinely glad that he didn’t actually injure himself worse- when I hear back injury I think scary things like paralysis. A back is nothing to mess around with.

Here is a great article by Dustin Long about it: Question and Answers About Tony Stewart’s Situation

While sure we are all disappointed because no one wanted Smoke to start off his final NASCAR season like this, I can imagine that Tony is disappointed too. I heard him during the media they did last week- he was wanting that Daytona 500, That Southern 500 and the Championship.  You know how you can be hard on yourself? He likely is being quite hard on himself. I am just glad he’s not injured worse than he is and I am actually glad they aren’t giving out a time table on his recovery.  I am every optimistic that it will be a quick one, but it needs to be on his body’s terms.  I am cheering for him to make a good steady healing recovery and hope to see him in the car as soon has he is able.


#GetWellSmoke #SmokeAlwaysRises

Media Day (Photo Source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

How about a pre-season Loose Lugnuts to get the juices flowing. This seemed to be one of my most popular weekly features last year so I will definitely be bringing it back this season. Especially since it was also one of my favorites to write.  So how about we go over some of the things that have been rolling around my brain like lugnuts rolling around a drawer in a pitbox (you know since they aren’t flying around pitstalls quite yet): (more…)

Tap, tap, is this thing on?

Hi. Remember me?

I know I have been unusually quiet this off season here on BadGroove.  Honestly I needed a blogging break. I just took a bit longer one than I had meant to take.  I could blame it on my laptop and it wouldn’t be a complete lie- my laptop is not the most reliable beast as of late.

But that isn’t the reason I didn’t come back after Champion’s week right away.  I can’t explain it completely but part of it was that I was still trying to digest Tony’s retirement announcement. After witnessing all the Jeff Gordon love at Homestead Miami in Florida and then again at Champion’s Week, and then there was of course Jeff’s very emotional banquet speech.  I was left introspective to the point of introversion. What would this season be like for us Tony fans? What kind of season would he have? Would he make the chase? Would he be at champions week? And what about BadGroove? Is there a BadGroove without a Tony Stewart in NASCAR?

What if, what if, what if,  my brain was chocked full of what ifs and all those questions pinging around in my brain and all that thinking made my fingers very very quiet.  Then work got busy as heck and the next thing I know it’s the preseason media week and I am too busy at the job that pays all the bills for this little website to even think about paying attention as it happened.

What brought me back to center? A simple picture posted by NASCAR on Instagram:

Tony Stewart as posted by NASCAR on Instagram

This one little instagrammed photo says it all to me: He’s focused. He’s back. For one last season (in NASCAR). It’s almost go time. And I am ready. Kind of.

As always NASCAR Champions week in Las Vegas was a ton of fun.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup In Las Vegas December 2015. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)


(In light of Tony’s retirement announcement, I have decided to open up BadGroove to Tony Stewart fans who want to tell their stories about Tony. It can be anything- your thoughts on his retirement, what he’s meant to you, a specific experience you had meeting Tony, anything really that YOU want to say in your own words.– Amy)

By: Maureen

When I look back at Tony’s career I see a man who throughout his life has just wanted to race.  Growing up he could never have imagined the success he would have or the sacrifices he would have to make in order to get there.

While the rewards are tremendous for someone of Tony’s talents and abilities, the sacrifices are also too numerous to list thoroughly.  Sacrifices such as giving up his free time and privacy, being hounded and stalked by fans who don’t understand the responsibilities and commitments he has every day of the year come at a high cost, a cost that none of us can really understand.

(Photo Source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook)

Tony has had to learn (sometimes the hard way) to live in the world of NASCAR while still trying to be true to himself and his beliefs because all he has ever wanted to do is race and win.

NASCAR has given Tony a lifestyle he could never have imagined and probably wouldn’t trade for the world.  It has given him the ability to build a beautiful home where he can sometimes escape the hectic lifestyle and recharge his batteries (although admittedly not frequently enough), fund and support so many worthwhile charities and be a co-owner to one of the most successful NASCAR teams today.

Living in the public life is not and can never be easy.   I admire the way that Tony has handled his role as a NASCAR star yet still be Tony the kid from Columbus Indiana who still wants to have some semblance of a normal life.  A life that includes relaxing, fishing, partying with friends and family.

We as fans can honor him throughout the remainder of this year by supporting him at the races, the Tony Stewart Foundation and all the other drivers at Stewart Haas Racing.

When he hangs up his helmet for the last time at Homestead in 2016 the fans will be sad, NASCAR will never be the same, but take heart Tony will still be at the track as co-owner of Stewart Hass Racing and the achievements of Anthony Wayne Stewart will be forever remembered.

Thank you Tony for all the wonderful memories.


Thank you Maureen for sharing a great piece on what Tony Stewart’s career has meant to you! If you would like to submit your own piece for Smoke In My Eyes – please email them to badgruv@netzero.com

Panoramic of Homestead-Miami before the race (Photo Source: Amy K. Marbach)

Just an fyi this post is going to be different because this is a first person race diary. If you are looking for just a telling of Tony’s race day experience you can read the official Stewart-Haas Racing post race wrap-up here. — Amy

It started back in February when Misty said to me- after hearing of her driver Jeff Gordon’s retirement announcement- “I wish we could go to the race in Miami“.  I responded with “Why can’t we? We can just skip Phoenix this year and head to Miami instead.”  She was surprised- I remember the exact words out of her mouth were “You’d go to Miami with me?” I said “Heck yeah I would.”  And so began our odyssey.  I found out that there was a list you could put yourself on to buy tickets for the race in Miami and I put us on the list to buy tickets as soon as they became available to non-season ticket holders. We didn’t buy anything else or plan anything else until I got a very early phone call from Homestead Miami’s ticket office when they were going through the online list of potential ticket buyers.  The ticketing agent was very helpful in getting us awesome seats (at the end of a row- our favorite spot) in our price range.  As a surprise to Misty, I sprung for the pre-race pit passes because we decided back in February that we were going to this race as fans. No media center for us at Homestead because when you are in the media center there are rules- like no wearing driver gear and there was no way we were going all that way for Jeff Gordon’s last race to have Misty NOT wear her Jeff Gordon gear proudly.  As a matter of fact- I had a great conversation with the ticketing agent about why I only wanted Sunday only tickets (because we wanted to spend the rest of our short time in the area sight seeing having never been to the area before).  After our tickets were secured Misty took over as our travel agent securing us a Hotel right on the beach, securing our direct flight from McCarran Airport (LAS) in Vegas to Miami International Airport, securing us a rental car. She did it all. She even bought us a guide book for Miami that we both poured over in the months prior to the trip so that we could decide in advance what we wanted to see while we were there.  We also knew that we were traveling an airline that charges to check bags and since we weren’t going to be there that long we (Misty) decided we could do this with just our carry-on. I am a notorious over-packer so I really had to limit myself to taking just what I thought I would absolutely need. It would also seriously hamper the amount of souvenirs I could bring home. I also decided for this reason- to only bring a point-and-shoot camera and my cell phone because I didn’t want my camera equipment taking up my clothing allotment in my carryon! (more…)

2011 Sprint Cup Champ  (Photo Source: Zimbio/Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America)


I usually take Tony’s weekly race press release and pull a quote out of it that resonates with me for whatever reason for my “Quotable Tony Stewart” posts. But this week I am going to do it a little different. I am going to put up the video of Tony’s 2011 Championship Awards Speech. Consider this somewhat of a Flashback Friday:



And as a bonus here is a video talking about the Glory Road exhibit at the NASCAR Hall Of Fame (where we all know Tony will eventually be) that kind of ties into this at the end of the short video: (more…)

Phoenix, AZ  November 2015 (Photo Source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/HHP/Harold Hinson)

So- I usually write the “Loose Lugnuts posts” in what is a mostly stream of conscious session on Wednesday night and schedule them to publish on Thursday morning or afternoon- but here it is Monday evening and I am getting a jump start on it because I am going to be traveling and won’t have time to write it up on Wednesday night so I am going to schedule a few while I am gone. Also I realized that I forgot to mention a couple of things in my race report on Monday that I totally spaced on- but will do just fine here. So without further ado here is what has been rolling around my brain like lugnuts rolling around a pitstall after a green flag pit stop during the championship race:

1. Because of the lengthy rain delay in Phoenix- my dad didn’t get to see the F35 flyover that he was so looking forward to watching. While it is not the first flyover the elusive F35 Lightning II has done at a sporting event- it is the first ever at a NASCAR event and my dad is an aviation fan.  He was bummed out. I know the flyover happened (Thanks to someone I follow on Instagram) but you would think that since one of the two jets was carrying a Jeff Gordon Raceway flag you would thank they would have made a bigger hoopla out of it.

(Photo Source: Martin Truex Jr Official Facebook)

2. I watched a heck of a lot of the rain delay coverage that came out of Phoenix last weekend. More than I probably should have. But one thing I didn’t hear mentioned was who Elijah Aschbrenner was and why his name was above the passenger door on Martin Truex Jr’s car at the track. As a matter of fact very little was mentioned about it at all and I think that is a shame.  Elijah was a pediatric cancer patient that was not just part of Martin and Sherry’s Catwalk for a Cause fashion show that raised money for pediatric cancer but he was known and wished well by many many many NASCAR fans and teams. Other drivers such as Kasey Kahne ran special yellow ribbons with Elijah’s likeness on them on their cars during the race as well.  Elijah fought Epitheliod Sarcoma like a hero but earned his angel wings on November 10th.  Here is a wonderful story about Elijah that NASCAR’s Holly Cain did it’s just a shame that they didn’t mention him (or mention him more) during the hours and hours of rain delay coverage.

3. While we are on the topic Martin Truex Jr.’s long time girlfriend Sherry Pollax is battling stage III ovarian cancer as many of you know. She is currently going through once a month maintenance chemo for it.  Well her Chemo session was Monday morning (today).  I can only imagine that she must have been tired- having been in Phoenix so late between it being delayed until all hours, and then I am sure Martin had to do a lot more media than normal after the race considering he made the Final Four.  Go Sherry! (more…)