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(Share with us why Tony Stewart is your driver- be part of Project: Smoke In My Eyes today!– Amy) 

The side of Tony that I relate to most and admire most is the man himself, away from the track.  Its in the way he looks at a child, they way he stoops down to be at their level when he talks to them.  Its the pure love that I see as both of their hearts melt into one touching moment in time.  Its the Tony who loves and relates animals.  Its the Tony who always jumps into to help another at the drop of a hat, never asking what is in it for him.

(photo credit: Tony Stewart Foundation)

NASCAR has given him a platform and a voice that has enabled him to reach out through the Tony Stewart Foundation to really support those who need it most.

The passion that he puts into Eldora Speedway is awe-inspiring.  To see him out prepping the track late at night shows his dedication to the racers and the fans to make sure they get the best experience possible.

To see Tony dressed for Halloween with a bowl of fruit atop is head, in a dress, is priceless and shows his amazing sense of humor.  And, I will never forget him snuggling with a pig in a blanket!  Pork chop cannot be the softest thing I can think of to snuggle with, though he is rather handsome.

Tony makes me laugh when I least expect it.  He is an inspiration and just an amazing regular guy, who also happens to be an amazing racer with one great big heart.

These are just a few glimpses of the Tony that I admire the most.  I cannot wait to see what he is up to next.

—- Melinda Foster (@fostmel830), East Bend, NC

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If you want to take part in Project: Smoke In My Eyes there is still time! Click on the link for more information and submit your piece today!

(American Muscle Cars: A Full Throttle History)

If you have read BadGroove for awhile, you know that I am lucky enough to get to preview some of the most beautiful books about cars (and car photography) for my readers. I love to do it because it combines my long time love of cars with my long time love of books and photography. Anyway- I have been chomping at a the proverbial bit to get my hands on this latest book, American Muscle Cars: A Full-Throttle History since the publisher sent me a list of books I might be interested in. Also if you have been reading BadGroove for awhile, then it comes as no surprise that I have a thing for cars in general- not just race cars.  And while I love and can appreciate a lovely sporty Ferrari or Lamborghini to me there is nothing more iconic, more representative of the word “car,” and nothing that will make me whip my head around faster to get another look than American muscle cars.  In my “fantasy” car collection, you know, the one in my head with the cars I would love to afford to own but can not because of money, space, time and well mostly money, American muscle cars are the most prevalent cars in that car collection.

American Muscle Cars: A Full-Throttle History is just what it the title states- a chronological history of the American muscle cars from it’s infancy in the early 1960 through the cars coming out of Chevy, Dodge and Ford today as told by author Darwin Holmstrom and photographer Tom Glatch. But really the book is so much more. It’s a song to the era that born the machine. (more…)

(Photo Source: Zimbio.com/Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images North America)

So these are the things that have been pinging around in my brain like (pastel) lugnuts during a green flag pit stop:

1. Penalties, penalties, penalties: As expected there were penalties out of Auto Club:  Kyle Busch got penalized ($10,000 and on probation through April 27th) for not reporting to the media center for post race media after the Xfinity race on Saturday.  He did NOT get fined for his remarks regarding NASCAR on the radio however.  Nor should he in my opinion. Although NASCAR was very forthcoming at the beginning of the semester by letting drivers and fans alike know that disparaging remarks against NASCAR or the sport would not be tolerated- they were not said to the media- they were said on the team radio.  Granted the team radios are heard by the media (and fans). I admit that I am surprised he wasn’t dinged for the radio comment about the lack of a caution and NASCAR fixing the race- but I admit I am very much a free speech kind of person so I want to hear those comments, the cursing, I want to hear it all. To me it’s part of the passion of the athletes in the sport.  Interestingly enough Kevin Harvick didn’t go to the media center after finishing second on Sunday but he got excused from it by NASCAR and thus did NOT get fined.  Danica Patrick did get fined ($20,000 and probation for four races) for approaching the racing surface under caution during the race on Sunday.  As she should have. That rule is in place for safety reasons and violating it is a disregard for personal safety or the safety of others.  Now do I think she should get fined for leaving her car? No- she asked if she could get out because of the fire and her spotter or crew chief told her she could.  A rule is a rule. She broke it by entering the racing surface. Do I think she had reason to be upset with Kasey Kahne? YES I definitely do. It clearly looked to me like he came down on her while she was holding her current position.  Whether he “misjudged” the whole or whatnot- I can’t tell you- only Kasey can but I do think she has a reason to be upset. She does not have a reason to walk out onto the apron track- keep the gestures to after the race. Cole Pearn, Martin Truex Jr’s crew chief,  did NOT get fined or penalized for his post race tweet that was a tad unkind to Joey Logano.  I think the reasoning behind the lack of a fine was two fold- technically the tweet was not against NASCAR or it’s racing product, and he later apologized on twitter.  Hey- who hasn’t tweeted something they regretted at some point?  Most people. Again I didn’t see a need for Cole to get penalized even if he hadn’t apologized. To me that is a heat of the moment thing that shows the passion for the sport and the competition.   (more…)

(Photo source: Stewart-Haas Racing Facebook)

Replacement Driver: Brian Vickers

Started: 24th

Finished: 13th

First I want to start off by stating that I think that this downforce package that the cars are running this season has really upped the racing quality.  The races seem to be more action filled meaning that cars seem to be able to get close to each and swap positions and leads back and forth a lot. They seem to be able to recover from penalties like starting at the end of the longest line because previously starting at the back would always mean your day was over. Now it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you have the machine and the driver to back it up. And I like that A whole LOT especially since I have watched races at Auto Club both on TV and in person- and the quality of the actual racing has really improved in my opinion. (more…)

If you are like me, some NASCAR races are a traditional viewing event and I am always looking for yummy yet easy to prepare dishes. Or maybe you are heading to a race or NASCAR viewing party and looking for some great tailgating recipes to take along with you. Well look no further than AllRecipes.com.

They have a special section dedicated to NASCAR fans! There are collections of recipe ideas put together by fans for specific races even- which I think is the most awesome part of the NASCAR on Fox specific section of AllRecipies.com. For instance here is one collection for the race this weekend in Fontana at Autoclub Speedway. There are also some for people with special diets like Low-Carb & Loving It Las Vegas Race Day Party collection. Some even contain some very interesting looking adult beverages if you are in the market. I would definitely suggest going through some of these NASCAR Race inspired collections and picking up some new recipes.

This one for  Mini Philly Cheesesteaks by Chef John looks both yummy and easy to prepare and is one of their more popular ones in the NASCAR category: (more…)

(Photo Source: Stewart-Haas Racing)

Here is what has been ricocheting around my brain like lug nuts during a green flag pit stop:

1. As I mentioned in the last post, Brian Vickers will be back in the 14 car as Tony Stewart’s replacement driver at Auto Club. For this race the 14 has previously been sponsored by Rush Truck Center, however this year the primary sponsor for the 14 car will be sponsored by Janssen & Arnie’s Army. Janssen, as you might know, is the pharmaceutical company that makes Xarelto the anti-clot medication that Brian Vickers, Arnold Palmer and others credit for helping them survive devastating blood clots.  Arnie’s Army is Arnold Palmer’s charitable organization which provides financial support to institutions and organizations that help children, youth, families, the environment and the communities in which we live. Also a show car with this paint scheme will be near the ninth fairway at the PGA Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida for most of the week.  We all know that blood clot awareness and treatment is something near and dear to Brian Vickers as he has struggled publicly with the condition:

“I’m proud to team up with Janssen once again to talk about this serious condition I share with hundreds of thousands of Americans. I’m also thankful and excited to be driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in the No. 14 Janssen Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation Chevrolet in support of my dear friend and fellow blood clot survivor, Mr. Arnold Palmer.” Brian Vickers, Team Release

Additionally the Xfinity race at Autoclub will be sponsored by TreatMyClot.Com (Xarelto).

2. Your favorite driver and mine Tony Stewart will be Honored on May 25th at the 36th Annual Sonic Automotive Raceway Children’s Charties Gala for his “successes on and off the track including his incredible contributions to Speedway Children’s Charities across all 8 chapters.”  The Gala, being held at the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, will recognize him for his philanthropic efforts:

“For more than 15 years Stewart has wowed NASCAR fans across the country, but he rarely gets recognized for his philanthropic efforts. The Gala will be the perfect opportunity for us to thank him for all he’s done for Speedway Children’s Charities to help children in need around the country.” Marcus Smith, vice chairman of Speedway Children’s Charities per FoxSports.

While our driver has made it clear that he doesn’t want to be paraded through the media center every week to get a gift…this is much deserved recognition that we all know he deserves.

3. One of only two NASCAR Sprint Cup series races in my home state is this weekend.  If you can stop by Auto Club Speedway down in Fontana on Thursday (it’s St. Patrick’s day so remember to wear green or someone might pinch you) it’s Fan Fest which starts at 5:00 pm local time at Auto Club.  Fan Fest is  free to the public and will feature driver appearances through the night including: Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Brennan Poole, and more. There will also be live entertainment, family friendly fun and concessions. Just follow the signs to the O’Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone. Admission and parking are FREE.

4. Are you ready for your laugh of the week? This made me laugh…Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace Jr’s snapchat video of their road trip from Phoenix to Los Angeles: (more…)

(Photo Source: Zimbio.com/Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America)

Replacement Driver: Ty Dillon

Started: 28th

Finished: 15th (lead lap)

Whenever I watch a race from Phoenix at home I get wistful- and wish that I was at that race.  I love PIR, I love the track and I love the racing quality the track produces and this race looked like it was an awesome one because it’s my assertion that for all the good racing you see on the National Broadcast – the actual racing at the track is at least twice as good.  ”  It  seemed the racing at Phoenix this spring did not disappoint! They could not have had a better day for racing in the desert as it was warm but not hot and no hurricane-like winds of the Vegas race just a week ago. (more…)

(Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Last week the lugnuts were early, and this week they are late. See what has been pinging around my brain like lugnuts in a pit box during a green flag pit stop:

1. I think most Tony Stewart fans were excited to hear that he can start his rehabilitation after his appointment on Wednesday. I know it won’t be a pleasant experience but he is tenacious and is under excellent care we can be sure. We can’t wait to see you on track when you are ready Smoke!

2. A member of Kevin Harvick’s crew was in a snow mobile accident while the team was staying out west in Utah and enjoying some of the snow. Shock specialist Michael McCarville broke 7 ribs (OW) and a collapsed lung. Yikes! Sounds like he was having a great time before he hurt himself too. Speedy recovery wishes to Michael!

3. #WholeySmoke have you seen the new Tony Stewart Foundation website? It looks awesome. Check out all the ways you can help children, animals and drivers, and find out more about ALL sides of our favorite driver Tony Stewart at this new website. Of course I might be a little bias because some of our content is featured on the site! Gotta love that. Seriously check out the new webpage and while you are there drop a small (or large) donation to the foundation to show that #WholeySmoke, you support Tony Stewart!

4. Remember the story I mentioned last season in a Loose Lugnuts (see number two) about the Jeff Gordon fan who’s prized Jeff Gordon Edition Monte Carlo ended up destroyed in a car fire. Then Jeff Gordon and his father John Bickford heard the story and they gave her Jeff’s personal 24 edition Monte Carlo? I have been fortunate enough to become friendly with that fan- her name is Loraine Treadwell and she is hoping to show that Monte Carlo at different events.  The first of which will be Sunday March 20th at the Mariner’s Discovery Church Spring Festival.  The car will be on display at the festival from 11:00-3:00pm at Excelsior Middle School (14301 Byron Highway) in Byron, CA outside the old gym. Be sure to check it out and hear the story for yourself.  Tell her you heard about it from us if you go.  I am hoping to catch up with Loraine myself at one of these events. There will be more and I will be posting them as they come available.

5. Someone on Facebook pointed out that in many of the pictures I took during Tony Stewart’s presser last week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series logo on the backdrop behind him just happens to be positioned over Tony’s head so it looks like a halo. Of course I didn’t do this on purpose and actually I didn’t even notice it until the person on Facebook pointed it out, but now it’s all I can see and it seriously cracks me up: (more…)