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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

Ok…a collective AWWW from everyone will suffice. This is my nephew last weekend…all dressed up in his first Tony Stewart outfit (oh he has more…this is just the first one he’s grown into so far!). Yes I bought him a tony outfit in nearly every size. At least he looks good in orange! He smiles a lot even in his sleep. Actually he started giggling in his sleep before doing it awhile awake. The first time I ever heard him giggle he was sound asleep in my arms.

Also- just a note…I am going to be away from the keys today…so if you email me or leave a comment and I don’t reply…don’t worry. I will be back tomorrow.

Oh ok…since you asked. Here is another picture of my nephew:

ETS has been doing these monthly installment posts of what she’s learned over the previous month. I am totally stealing this idea from her…I don’t know if I will do this monthly but I thought I would just give this a try- see if I like it, see if you like it, see if I should do this more than just this time. Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments.

So far the most important think that this year has taught me so far is how much love a baby can bring an entire family. I knew the moment I found out my brother and sister-in-law were expecting a baby that this was exciting news. I don’t think then I realized just how that excitement would turn to incredible love. That I would come home for lunch on the day he came home from the hospital just so I could hold him for the first time…and love every single second of it.

I also (re)learned babies have their own agenda and timing…and sometimes decide to take over 18 hours to be born. In addition, I (re)learned that babies can go from happy and content to screaming mad in the course of an instant when they decide that they really are hungry afterall. And diapering a baby? I learned that is just like riding a bike- it comes right back to you (complete with the ducking reflex when he sprays mid-change). It brought me back to my nanny days- which I kinda miss- almost. I then (re)learned the incredible peace there is with the world when you are sitting on the the couch with a peacefully sleeping infant on your chest, or in your lap, or in your arms.

I have learned that going to a NASCAR race live and in person, totally rocks. I have been a fan so long that I was sure that it wouldn’t be all that different. I don’t know why I was surprised since the same thing happened when my dad surprised me as a teen with tickets to see the IndyCars at Laguna Seca (before the split). I enjoyed Vegas so much so that I feel myself being pulled towards Infineon raceway in Sonoma (a mere 2 and a half hour drive one way). I can’t go…but I feel myself being pulled towards it…and am sure I will find myself there in the next year or two. I enjoyed Vegas so much that I am counting the days until the Pepsi 400.

So far this year I have learned that I need to write. It is as important to my spirit and my soul as breathing is to my body. I have been writing a lot more this year than I have in recent past years. Both in this blog and in non-blogging venues. Both fiction and non-fiction. I have also learned that even though I am a published poet….I do not like to write poetry. I find it too confining. So I branched out into fiction and creative non-fiction. Its not necessarily uncharted territory, but territory that I haven’t explored in quite awhile- so its kind of like an exciting adventure.

I have learned that even though I am still painfully shy in large groups of people I don’t know..or even medium size groups of people I don’t know, I do not have a burning desire to blend into the woodwork. There is a big part of me that likes to stand out and say THIS IS ME THIS IS WHO I AM (ok so I shamelessly stole that from Little Big Town’s Boondocks…it couldn’t fit me any better). This doesn’t mean that I am not socially awkward, I am. Very much so. But still…I like to be socially awkward my way. I have also very recently learned that it is about damn time I started learning to love myself for who I am, but that is easier said than done.

I am beginning to learn at work to stand up for myself. I have learned that there is a difference between being a “good” worker and being a pushover and that while it is a fine line, I must stand up and say NO I can’t do that, when that line is crossed, or face losing my sanity and my job satisfaction. Even it if means saying no to someone important. This has actually been a very hard lesson for me to learn (its only taken me over 10 years) because I have an intense desire to please and to be liked and saying NO isn’t usually in my vocabulary.

I have learned that I really enjoy being part of a community both online and off.

I have also learned that sometimes, someone will do something for you (like make you a bitching new banner) just because they feel like it.

I have recently learned that I tend to talk (and write) in acronyms, slang and “amyisms” that not everyone understands and I will do my best to try to stop doing that- or at the very least remember who my audience is at any given time. (By the way Bill, COT stands for “car of tomorrow” which is actually this season the “car of today”. It was the new version of the NASCAR cup cars that was introduced at specific tracks last season and this season is being used exclusively. Email me if you are really interested in the specifics).

I have learned that my beagle has a strange and fairly recent fascinating with sleeping in my laundry.

I learned that I still LOVE to take pictures and am trying to get back into it after some frustration with my foray into trying a different lense attachment on my Canon I5.

I learned that a new hairstyle really can give you a new attitude, even if it means having to get up earlier so you can flat iron all the waves out of your hair. I also learned, that I love to get compliments, whether they be on my hair, the color of my shirt, or whatever…love that…keep them coming.

I have learned that I am quite good at snapping a carseat base in and out of my car…and can do it quickly using the latches. Latches rock.

And finally I learned that ETS thought Zippy was Tony Stewart‘s dog until recently and realized I really need to stop obsessing to my non-nascar loving friends about NASCAR so much!

Ok. I know someone out there who reads this is artistic right? I mean yeah I am artistic in a “writer” and “photography” kind of way. But I am severely non-artistic when it comes to drawing. Ok so here is what I am looking for:

This is my baby, GL**, a 2008 Chevy HHR:

Who knew it was so hard to get a good picture of a silverstone (metalflake) car on a sunny day. Anyways, I want to have flames painted on the front of my car but I am having trouble articulating what exactly I want them to look like. I would love it if someone could come up with an artistic rendering of what I am looking for: light graphite flames that show off the flared front fenders of my car. I am looking for something kinda wispy. Not too “thick”. I don’t want them to reach beyond the front doors. Can you, my internet friends, help me with coming up with a drawing. I tried myself…but its too embarrassing to even post. Then I will just have to find someone to paint said flames on said car.

**A gazillion brownie points if you remember what GL stands for. (hint: Its the initials to the “name” I gave my car).

I can sum up Michigan in seven words for my Team Home Depot: Thank God for a Top Five Finish. Because we (don’t you love how I just work it in as a we…as if I am part of the team or something) finished in the top-five we actually moved up a position in the points which makes Amy stress less about being “on the bubble” for the chase.  This is not only good for Team Home Depot morale wise heading into Sonoma (a track where Stewart often does well), but good for driver Tony Stewart’s home town of Columbus, Indiana which has been mostly underwater during the flooding in the midwest. Upon returning home last weekend after Pocono, Stewart pledged that his portion of winnings from the race at Michigan would be donated to flood relief for Columbus.

I am glad to see Jr win. While I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge Jr. fan, it was a good thing to see him get that first HMS win over with. It was a huge relief as much as anything I am sure.  Not to mention it sure made my mom happy!