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(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…)

YUM- delicious @jeffgordonweb themed donuts served at a @acsupdates promo event #NASCAR

Jeff Gordon Gives Fans The Ultimate Treat!

Jeff Gordon met with fans to promote the upcoming Auto Club 400 and surprised them with free Krispy Kreme doughnuts emblazoned with his No. 24

Sponsored by: NASCAR inGEAR

Someone please tell me what is it with Misty and I? Of the last three races that we have been able to attend in person (Fall Phoenix 2012, Las Vegas, and now Autoclub) post race fights have broken out at two of them and each fight included one of our favorite drivers (Phoenix had  Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer going at it and of course you may have heard that my driver went a little agro on Joey Logano at Autoclub).  I will get into the post race pugilism a little later. First let’s get to the actual race.

The Naval Re-Enlistment Ceremony before Driver Introductions at AutoClub Speedway. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)


The smell of cow manure in the air should have been the first clue that Friday morning at Auto Club Speedway wasn’t going to go as planned. We got to the track early to pick up our credentials- which were waiting for us at the office- no problem. We were then be directed in a huge circle in the parking area at Auto Club. This happens to us EVERY YEAR we have been coming to the track whether it be as fan or as media (as we decided to do this year).  It seems to me that the parking attendants/volunteers that park the fans never know what to do – and just directed us in a big circle that included being flagged into the infield (which I am pretty sure was where we were suppose to park) only to then be directed right back out of the infield.  We ended up parking in general lot Green and hoofing it through the pedestrian tunnel only to be told that our credentials could not get us into the infield.  We explained that we were press and heading to the media center- and were told that we could only go through if we had a hard card. So we left the infield and went to the Tony Stewart Walk of Fame induction- which was luckily for us- directly outside of gate twelve so we could attend that with no issue.  Since we were press we went into the restricted area- only to be told to leave there too. So we stood outside the fencing and waited Tony’s arrival.

It was there that Misty overheard some Tony Stewart fans talking about his Bass Pro Appearance the night before. I was interested to hear that according to the fans who attended, that they were instructed not to ask to take pictures (not a big deal- if he took pictures with everyone who wanted a picture he would probably still be at Bass Pro Saturday morning) but that they were also told not to talk to him or ask him any questions at all. That seemed a little weird. I have been to MANY an Office Depot signing (and Home Depot too) and fans were never told they couldn’t TALK to the man.  I don’t know where that edict came from but it was kind of cruel to me.  I am surprised they allowed fans to look at him.  The fans we overheard said they do appreciate it much more when the signings aren’t so rushed.

Tony finally arrived and was presented with the plaque and said a few words.  He then stepped into the wet cement and left his impression in the concrete.  Fans BOOED because the photographers there who were DOING THEIR JOB to capture the event stood in front of a couple to get some pictures of the event.  That was kind of tight- because I doubt Tony understood why they were booing- and may have thought they were booing HIM.  But no the poor photographers who were tasked with photographing the event were booed.

Then-as quickly as he came- The Peoples Champion was ushered off in a white SUV back to the infield and to practice.

We did not want to go back and fight with the gate lady again about trying to get into the infield so we left because we didn’t have tickets for Friday.  And that was our Friday morning at Auto Club Speedway.

PS– Misty got some great pictures of Tony during the Walk of Fame Induction that I am sure she will share with us later!! So stay tuned for those!

I do a majority of my souvenir shopping at the track on qualifying day (Friday) because on race day I am usually bogged down with my cameras and backpack full of race supplies on race day and I don’t want to add my souvenirs to my already crammed full backpack and honestly I worry I will lose track of them if I just carry them in bags.

What you also need to know is that since the last race I was at (spring Phoenix race) is that I also went through the rigmarole of changing banks. I use to bank with US BANK…but had become increasingly disgruntled with them. I was concerned after a friend with the same bank had some issues with a fraudulent charge on her account- their policies did not instill confidence in me if my identity should be stolen. Then they spent a good 3 to 4 months calling me twice a day every day to get me to buy some sort of insurance or whatever. I am not exaggerating either. I was usually polite but after awhile even I got downright nasty. I finally unloaded on the poor telemarketer and told her in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t interested last month, I wasn’t interested last week, I wasn’t interested yesterday and I am still not interested today…and if they called back I would be closing my account as soon as possible. Needless to say? The phone calls never really stopped until I finally threatened to call the police on them for harassment. Needless to say I signed up with Bank Of America for three reasons. First- they are everywhere. US Bank is not so easy to find in some places. Secondly, I am impressed with their identity theft policies. Third, they finally got a Tony Stewart debit card for their NASCAR Banking.

That being said when I was at the Auto Club Speedway on Friday, I shopped at the Tony Stewart Hauler like I always do. Misty shopped that the Jeff Gordon Hauler.  I bought a couple things at the Chevy Racing hauler (gifts) and in the gift shop for the track.   As we were leaving that day though we wandered by the Junior Nation Hauler because it was on our way out and a cute little Whiskey River cowgirl hat caught both of our eyes.   When I go to the tracks and shop I usually use cash because it’s an easy way of budgeting myself.  But I had to have this hat and purposely had not brought all my cash with me on Friday.  So I pulled out my trusty Tony Stewart Debit card to pay for my cute little hat and handed it over.  The salesman at the hauler chuckled at my card and jokingly said “I don’t know if I can accept this card!” (its a gray card with the #14 Chevy Impala on it).  He grabbed the hat I desired and asked if I wanted a bag and then ran my card. With a very straight face he said: “Yeah it’s not accepting your card.” The minute he said that I started to panic just a little bit because this is the first time I have traveled using my new debit card…what if there was something wrong with it?  Then a few seconds later he said “Yeah…it says invalid driver…” Ha! Funny guy! Not! Misty laughed and laughed.

I did not take this picture…but it was taken on that Friday…so I thought it was fitting:

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 08: Tony Stewart, driver of the  Office Depot Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi Max 400 on October 8, 2010 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 08: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi Max 400 on October 8, 2010 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Bullet style cuz you know I love the bullets.

  • Tweet Up In Indy for a chance to meet Elliott Sadler!  Elliot Sadler and Allstate are organizing a Tweet-Up in Indy this Thursday (July 23rd).  Not only will you get to meet NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler but you have a chance to win tickets to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.  Fans just need to follow @Elliot_Sadler and @allstate on Twitter to find out where to meet up or can register for the tweet-up here (thanks @ryanmcshane for the heads up!)
  • If you happen to be both an ENTOURAGE fan and a race fan- you are going to be in luck this Sunday July 26th.  HBO will be airing an episode of the show shot at Auto Club Speedway (California Speedway).  Auto Club Speedway got a taste of international flair in May on track as cast members Kevin Connolly (Eric), Adrian Grenier (Vince), Kevin Dillon (Drama), Jerry Ferrara (Turtle), shot episode 603 which included the new Ferrari California – the latest edition to the new generation of Ferraris. I don’t watch the show but I can tell you that I have been to Auto Club Speedway. Might be worth tuning in for- just for a peek at the Ferrari if nothing else!
  • Attention Tony Stewart Fans: The Tony Stewart Foundation is holding its inaugural blood drive in Indiana today and tomorrow (July 21st and July 22nd). Called the “TONY IS OUT FOR BLOOD” drive, those who donate at one of the one of the 12 participating Office Depot store blood drives or 10 Indiana Blood Center donation centers across the state will get a free limited edition OUT FOR BLOOD t-shirt, appointments are encouraged but not required.  For more information go here. Fans of Stewart-Haas Racing across the country are encouraged to donate blood in their home communities.
  • Iowa Speedway will roll out the red carpet on July 30 to welcome members of NASCAR and the local community to Rusty’s Roast presented by Musco Lighting, a night of revelry and reflection on the life and career of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series legend Rusty Wallace. The event will highlight key moments from this former NASCAR champion’s illustrious career, including his 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship and 55 career wins, and point out some of those moments he would rather be forgotten. Rusty’s Roast, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., will raise funds for The NASCAR Foundation, of which Wallace serves on the Board of Directors. Fans are invited to submit congratulatory notes to Rusty on The NASCAR Foundation’s Rusty Roast message board now through July 28. Select notes will then be shown on screens at the event.
  • Amp Energy is again giving Dale Jr fans the change to get their name on his #88 Amp Energy car that he will be running at Talladega. Check out GET ON THE 88 for details and to enter.