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All week the media hyped today’s race at the Glen to be a race where Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon were favorites.  One had a considerably better day than the other. But here I go again getting ahead of myself.  Lets start with my new Watkin’s Glen fun fact…pointed out first by NASCAR INSIDER and then mentioned again during the pre-show.  As you know I am fascinated by the ballet of service performed during pit stops…I have mentioned this several times.  Anyway at The Glen the cars actually pull into the pits backwards at this track compared to every other track.  Normally when the car pits, the driver is nearest the wall.  At Watkin’s Glen the driver is farthest from the wall.  This means that everything is done backwards for the pit crews- which is a challenge for all crew members. So that is your Watkin’s Glen fun fact.

Now about the race. Team Home Depot started with some sort of plan judging by their radio communications in which during lap 3 or 4 Tony radioed into his crew chief with the cryptic message of “I am already working on what we talked about.”  Obviously I have no idea what he was working on…but I think he was working hard on being consistent and not overly aggressive- as he seemed to just hang in fourth place…like he was waiting for something…just nailing the turns and avoiding trouble.  The only real trouble Team Home Depot ran into was on lap 24 when Stewart pitted and there was a slight stall when he was leaving the jack.   Even on lap 37 when Tony was slightly tapped by lapped car Robby Gordon, he didn’t spin or over-correct. Luck was on Team Home Depot’s side and he continued on virtually unscathed. Stewart then radios in to Zipadelli that he need help cutting to the right…and then just a few laps later he says he definitely needs help turning to the right. Then at about lap 53 Kyle Busch and Tony are running first second when Kyle agrees to let tony by for his bonus points for leading a lap- and then Tony waves Kyle back around. That is teamwork there.

During Team Home Depot’s last pit stop Tony follows Kyle right into the pits and the team puts on four tires for a flawless pit stop, and nearly beat teammate Kyle Busch out of the pits. Nearly but not quite.  I was not quite sure what the strategy was for Earnhardt to stay out so long- but it ended up biting him in the butt when a debris caution was thrown for gravel on the track.  Or as Tony Eury Jr put it…”A cup of dirt on the track.” Ha that was actually a lot of gravel.  After Earnhardt pits Kyle is again in the lead and Tony is again in second.  At 14 laps to go Newman spins out and ends up rolling right back into the middle of the track, driver-side door to the oncoming track right in the middle of the racing groove.  Several cars nearly t-bone Newman, including very close calls for Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch.  Then with just 8 laps to go there is THE WRECK. It was HUGE. And I bet several drivers will be sore tomorrow.  All in all – 9 drivers were involved and several of those trashcans filled with sand…I forget what they call them…were destroyed.  The race was red flagged for nearly 45 minutes. Those taking incredibly hard hits were: Bobby Labonte (who was sent to the hospital- but later released), David Gilliand, Max Papis, and Dave Blaney. It was a hard hard crash- it looked like David Gilliland and Michael McDowell were bumping and racing hard and McDowell got into Gilliland and that is what started the chain reaction pile up.

After the race finally got back underway, Tony Stewart ended up having to spend his energy fighting off a charging Marcus Ambrose instead of trying to battle Kyle for the lead.  Luckily Tony was able to hold off Ambrose for his second second place finish in two races.  Overall I think Team Home Depot ran a most excellent race both on the track and in the pits.

MORE NOTES ON THE GLEN:

  • At the beginning of the race when Jeff Gordon was having trouble hearing his crew- they had NASCAR black flag him. That was genius.
  • I have not seen a teammate help another teammate like Sam Hornish did for Ryan Newman in years. That was really cool to see one teammate push the other all the way into the pits like that and risk dropping out of the top 35 in owners points to do it. Color me impressed.
  • Why do they call Carl Edwards “Cousin Carl?” Is there something I am not getting?
  • Speaking of Carl Edwards I just have to tell you this little funny. My mom said to me one night DID YOU HEAR ABOUT CARL EDWARDS??? and I was all ears…so I am WHAT? And she says: HE GOT CAUGHT COMING OUT OF HIS GIRLFRIENDS HOTEL ROOM THE OTHER NIGHT.  (I seriously was waiting for the punch line like…and then he did a backflip…or something like that). Finally I said SO? HE’S YOUNG and SINGLE SO WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL? And my mom looked at me and goes NO HE IS NOT! Turns out…she was talking about John Edwards. Yeah.
  • My final note for this race was while watching and listening to the communication between Greg Zipadelli and Tony Stewart and Mark Roberson I was reminded again why I am sad that Tony and Greg will not be on the same team together next year.  Greg was very encouraging to Tony, telling him that his lap times were good even though he was fighting a car that didn’t want to turn right. Tony telling his crew chief exactly what the car was or wasn’t doing that he needed it to. Mark keeping Tony updated on the track clean up while he sat with his motor off on a different part of the track.  Greg enthusiastically telling Tony to DIG DIG DIG DIG out of the pit box, so enthusiastically that I won’t be surprised if he is hoarse tomorrow.  That kind of thing is going to be hard for both Stewart and Zipadelli to recreate with their new crew chief/driver. And it is definitely something I will miss.

Anyway…I have spent enough time waxing on about what will be next year.  Next week: Michigan.

I have never been big into following sports, except for NASCAR. I mean I loosely follow football- to the point where I have a favorite team…basically one I pulled out of the air as a child…and that is who I root for if they are playing. That is about it.

However, NASCAR is a completely different story. I have been a Tony Stewart fan a long long time. I want nothing more than to see my driver in victory lane every week. I know he wants to be in victory lane every week too- he has all but said that. A lot of people who know me casually would probably be very surprised to find out that I am a very competitive person. Seriously competitive. But trust me- I am sure we will talk about this more next week after I find out how I did at the fair.

That being said it is freaking hard for me as a Tony Stewart fan to have my driver still be winless this far into the season. Every week I fret about him falling out of the chase. He lurks dangerously close to the bottom. A place I don’t like for my Tony to be. I would probably still worry even if he was 6th or 7th….but not as much as I worry about him as a ninth place guy.

It’s been hard to see “my” race team struggle. I have stood in front of my TV more times than I am willing to admit willing Team Home Depot to victory as if that could help. Obviously it doesn’t or we would have won Daytona. My dad seems to have picked Tony as his driver, as have my brother and sister-in-law, and of course my nephew doesn’t have a choice (mom is still the evertrue Junior fan-I don’t think I can convert her. And BFM is still the die hard gordon fan- so much so that I think she may actually bleed dupont paint). Half of his wardrobe is orange! Ok maybe not half but a damn good portion. He’s got 20 stuff up to size 24 mos- and you can be damn sure as soon as they have Stewart-Haas or #14 child wear- I will be ordering it up. But there I go digressing again.

I watch practice times (I try to remember to dvr it so I can actually watch it but that doesn’t always happen). I pay attention to qualifying (I am usually at work so I can’t watch it persay- but I keep track of what is going on best I can via nascar.com and foxsports.com). I actually cheered when my friend called me as I was leaving for lunch yesterday and said QUALIFYING WAS RAINED OUT! Because I knew that means automatically Tony gets to start 9th. That gives Team Home Depot a fighting chance tomorrow at The Glen. Tony has won a lot at the Glen…and I know he likes the track and feels comfortable there. I hope to see him cross that finish line first tomorrow…because we really need a win before we hit the chase and the Glen is as good as place as any to get it!

BY THE WAY: HI MRS. CHEESEBALL!!!

First is Friday Fill-in #84:

1. You know you’re old when you don’t get carded anymore when you buy alcohol.

2. My heart is divided between racing and writing.

3. To go home is what I need RIGHT NOW!

4. I have felt the sun, I have known the depths of it’s warmth.

5. Gah, won’t these people just go away already.

6. Finish this project  as soon as you can!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to finishing up my laundry and chores, tomorrow my plans include possibly some baking and Sunday, I want to watch Tony Stewart win at Watkins Glen!

And this week I had the MI-5 so this is my LOCAL YOKEL MI-5:

1. If I were coming to visit you- what time of year would you suggest? The best time of year to come here is late September/early October. Its when its the warmest and there aren’t as many tourists getting in the way.

2. Any specific things you would suggest I visit while there? In the immediate area I would suggest The National Steinbeck Museum, The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Lobos State Park, The Wharf in Monterey and possibly Gilroy Gardens.

3. Where should we eat? We would have to eat on the Wharf somewhere…or maybe at Bubba Gumps right on the waters edge.  I would also suggest Robatas in Carmel Valley.  Another must would be a barbeque at my house after a trip to one of the vegetable stands to get some artichokes, asparagus and corn (and strawberries if they are in season).  YUM.

4. Is there anybody I should meet? You would have to see my nephew because I like to show him off:

5. Where else should I visit in your state? Gosh there are so many great places because California is so big. It would depend on you but I definitely suggest HEARST’s CASTLE in San Simeon and Alcatraz in the SF Bay.  I love the ZOO in Santa Barbara and have always wanted to go to the ZOO in San Diego.  If Lisa were coming I would suggest a trip Disneyland, Universal Studios or Knotts Berry Farm because I know she likes Theme parks (same goes for ETS btw).  If you were a race fan we might be able to catch a race at Infineon, The California Speedway or Laguna Seca.  We would definitely be able to find something to do!!

Look- I know you were probably running a little late this morning. I know this because I myself was running a little late after chasing around my beagle trying to convince her that stealing my robe was not a game.   This however does not give you an excuse to NOT look in your mirrors when changing lanes.  Luckily the lane to my left was empty because coming over into my lane with no warning when I am next to you? So NOT COOL.  I was so not in the mood to be sideswiped.

Now I am not a perfect driver. Far from it, since I am always being scolded for not using my directionals when I drive (bad me but I am trying to be better about that).   However you could have ruined my morning and probably your morning by changing lanes without looking. Next time glance in your mirror.

Thanks — AMY

When requested by my boss a couple weeks ago to write down my “process” for a certain aspect of my job, I sat at my computer and just typed out my process in a paragraph and shot it off to him in email- fully expecting never to hear about it again.  This happens every couple years (you would think I would be smart enough to figure out that I really should just save my email and recycle it) -it’s really no big deal.

Today my boss came back to me and told me that what I sent him was a great start (!) and that he was really looking for something far more formal…and so I spent my afternoon formally documenting a process I have spent nearly 10 years (10 years!) perfecting.    When I was halfway through this process my boss came back to me and said something to the effect of “Hey, your process here is good…but I was thinking it might be easier if you did this: blah blah blah.” And his process actually cuts out about three steps off the end and cuts out a middle man.  So I went back and fixed my process document to document my brand new process.

This got me thinking about how I blog.  I usually have all these ideas for things I WANT to write about and usually the strong ones stay with me and the weaker, less developed ideas go POOF in my head because my brain can only handle rolling around a million concepts at a time…add one more and forget about it.  This also happens with my creative writing that I do…and makes it kind of hard for me to actually finish a project.

So I have come up with a semi solution for my blogging ideas…and I will have to come up with a similar idea for my non-blogging writing ideas because somewhere last year? My brain became too full.  Either that or it has something to do with getting older (is that why I am getting more and more jeopardy questions right?? I am just chocked full of useless facts and can’t make some of them go away to make room for more important useless facts).   Anyway- my idea is this: When I get a blogging idea I shall immediately open my wordpress dashboard and create an entry dash out a couple lines, some links and save it in my drafts.   Of course this means that I will have a ton of drafts and I am usually a fan of having NO drafts at all…so that is something I will have to just get over.  I know this seems simple enough…especially considering I am in front of a computer a lot more than I would like to admit.

My big question to you readers is this: I have “non” blogging ideas. Some are writing ideas, some are just regular old ideas about life, and some are things like GET GAS YOU BAFFOON before your call yells at you again for letting it get below 2 gallons (don’t yell at me this doesn’t happen often).  My problem (and it has been this way since I was a child) is that my brain works a lot faster than the rest of me (including my mouth believe it or not) so any given moment I have come up with a grocery list, two story ideas, three blog ideas and a commerical idea.   See where I cam going? Does anyone else have a way that they capture all the ideas firing in their brains?

  • A while ago I bought my sister-in-law a Tony Stewart scrub top (while she was out on maternity leave). She called me today to tell me that she wore her scrub top for the first time today and she had the best day she’s had at work in a really really long time. She attributed it to the shirt. Now she says she can’t wear it too often or the good luck-ness of the shirt will rub off. Cute! She also said that she found out there were more NASCAR fans at the hospital than she would have ever thought. Glad she liked it.
  • After watching Mamma Mia! on Friday I have had DANCING QUEEN running through my head. ABBA…I want my brain back. Thank you.
  • I also saw Swing Vote on Saturday. It was good but in a different way than I thought it would be.
  • My favorite part of this video of the post-race media from Pocono is when someone asks both Tony and Jimmie Johnson to comment on the tire situation from Indy to Pocono…and Tony leans over and says something quickly and quietly to Johnson and then Johnson does ALL the talking. That cracked me up.

That is my new name for Pocono. I have no reason except that I don’t like this track (I have said that many times). Team Home Depot came in second today after battling an extremely loose race car. When the race started I saw some ominous and obvious thunderheads in the area and I said (to myself since I am the only one in the room) that I was sure there would be a rain delay at some point today. I would be right.

During the warm up laps before the race the banter on the radio between Stewart and his crew was lighthearted. Stewart even claimed that the crew might be able to work on their tans from where they were. The race started out with two fairly quick cautions, one of which (the Harvick/Nemechek spin), I heard Tony ask his spotter if he caused (he didn’t). Tony then moved up quickly through the field. At the first pit stop they opted to put in a spring rubber and that is when he started falling backwards like a brick. Despite the first couple of spins there were relatively few cautions (especially when compared to last weeks all-caution 400). First there is the yellow for a sprinkling on the track. Then it goes green again…. Then we ended up with a red flag rain delay. By the rain delay team home depot had fallen back to 26th position with something like 69 laps to go because of a pit stop right before the rain delay. During the rain delay it was fun to see all the drivers out of their cars on pit road socializing. When Tony was giving his HotPass interview during the red Jeff Burton came over and doused him with a cup of water. That was pretty funny.

It was after the red flag that Team Home Depot really seemed to turned it on. Tony quickly worked his way up through the field…sometimes passing people two at a time. Pitting right before the red flag actually worked to their advantage and they were able to make the rest of the race on only one more stop where many had to take two more stops. With Greg Zipadelli urging Stewart to save him a little bit of fuel each lap Tony was able to make it to the checker flag with just one more pit stop which brought him up to second -where he finished. This brought Tony up one position in the points up to 9th spot. Carl Edwards, race winner, gained two positions in the points standings bringing him up to third behind second place Dale Earnhardt Jr and first place in points -Kyle Busch.

Some Notes About Pocono:

  • Keifer Southerland gave a damn good command to start engines. Almost as good as Brendan Fraiser.
  • Rear tire changer for Team Home Depot made an excellent recovery after slipping/tripping on the hose and still got Tony’s tire changed and out on pit row in a decent time. Good job.
  • Funniest thing I heard was when Greg Zipadelli relayed to Tony that “the two just spun all by himself they just showed it!” and then you see the Home Depot crew watching the hotpass feed.
  • I found out the best way to kill time during a red flag…take pictures of my nephew. Those will come tomorrow.
  • Also- while watching Tony on HotPass I swear my nephew was occasionally watching him. It seemed like he would watch for awhile and then play with his toy…watch for awhile and play with his toy. I swear he was checking to see where tony was! (remember he is only 4 months old)
  • And? Cheering with a four month old in my lap? A whole new experience.  I tend to be very…vocal in my cheering but didn’t want to scare the boy-child on my lap…so I found myself motioning for him to pass people with my hand…you probably had to be there…but it was…different. :D Maybe my nephew brings tony luck.

Next week: Watkins Glen (aka The Glen). Tony does well on road courses usually…lets hope he brings us Smoke fans home a trophy!

Ahh its a gorgeous day today. Let’s start with Paddy’s Radio MI-5:

Paddy sez: I just started a radio show on WRFR 93.3FM in Rockland (streaming on the web at wrfr.org) and I thought a radio-related 5 for this week:

1. What was the first song you remember hearing on the radio? Maybe a favorite that you really looked forward to hearing? Honestly I don’t remember…music has always been a huge part of me…however I don’t have a memory of the first radio music but I am pretty sure it was probably a country song as that was always on in the background in our home as a child.  Unless I was at my grandparents house and then it was big band radio at my paternal grandparents house and old old country on the radio at my maternal grandparents house.

2. As a kid, I had a transistor radio that I took with me EVERYWHERE! Did radio play a big part in your childhood? What specifically did you listen to? I had a walkman as on older kid but usually I just played tapes! As a young child I had a turntable and vinyl…my parents gave me some old records. I remember having Jan and Dean, an elvis one, and doors record.

3. When I was a teen growing up in Maine, there were two kinds of kids: WBLM kids (album rock) and WIGY kids (Top 40). Which one, if either, were you? If you aren’t from here (or are older or younger), relate as best you can your listening preferences as a teen. If I lived there I would have been a WBLM kid. Here I started out as a KDON (pop) girl and around jr high moved into being a KMBY girl  (Rock) although now KMBY doesn’t exisit anymore.  Truthfully the radio stations around here all suck and if I am not listening to my ipod I have it on XM.

4. Do you have a special “radio moment” that you can share?  The first time someone ever dedicated a song to me it was .38 Special’s “Caught Up In You” and the song still brings a smile to my face…

 5. In this age of micro-mp3 players, XM and iTunes … how often (if at all) do you listen to radio? When I am driving I will listen to XM if I am not listening to my ipod. I consider that radio though.

 And now Friday Fill-in #83

1. If I could travel back in time, I’d go to whatever year my paternal grandparents got married because the story is very vague and I would like to find out more.

2. Give me money or give me a book deal.

3. I am listening to the sound of gummy coke bottles being chewed in my head.

4. Somewhere, someone is thinking when will she ever shut up about that NASCAR crap.

5. I’ll always be a NASCAR girl.

6. My idea of a good time includes a sunny day, my bff, garage or pit passes and a  camera.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to a movie (maybe Mama Mia?), tomorrow my plans include reading, writing (but no arithmatic) and Sunday, I want to watch Tony and Zippy win Pocono…that evil little triangle shaped track!