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(photo source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page)

Since the race was on Monday- there seem to be fewer lugnuts pinging around my brain than normal- but here are the few that are pinging around. One gets a little soapboxy…so sorry about that.  Let’s get to them shall we?

1. First and foremost on my mind is Brad Keselowski and his comments about Jeff Gordon in the booth.  According to Sports Nation this is what Brad said:

“They need to get some people that aren’t inbred to the sport and own teams and have internal knowledge, because that is pretty crappy. It is what it is,” Keselowski added, via ESPN. “It’s not that I don’t like Jeff Gordon in the booth, it’s just that you need to have people in the booth that don’t own teams or have commercial interests to the sport, because they say things that are very biased.”

So first thing I am going to address is Brad using the term “inbred” in his statement because I have seen comments from several Jeff Gordon fan’s who have taken extreme offense to that term.  I do not think (and I could be wrong) that brad meant it as an affront to Jeff Gordon- stating that he is inbred.  I think that was just a poor choice of wording on Brad’s part. I think Brad meant it more in the way that one would use the words ingrained or inherent not in the “persons conceived of breeding between two closely related individuals” sort of sense.

However I do not agree with his assertion that Jeff Gordon shouldn’t be announcing in the booth because he is biased because he has a commercial interest in a team on the track. You can NOT tell me that any announcer or reporter for that matter is not biased in some fashion or other. It’s how they deal with that bias. While yes Jeff Gordon is financially involved in a race team on track (in an owner role with Jimmie Johnson’s team) it’s not like he is sitting there jabbering on and on about how great Jimmie is and that is it it. Jeff provides insight into the race from a fairly current driver stand point- he is more familiar with the cars than the other announcers. I appreciate and like his insights above all the other announcers to be frank (although Mike Joy is a close second). I would rather hear the race from the point of view from an announcer/commentator that knows the sport from the inside than have say…an ex-football player who knows nothing about racing sitting up there trying to commentate on what is happening on the track. I am sure that football fans would rather hear their games commentated on by ex-players and coaches than by say…ex tennis players who don’t know the sport. See where I am going with this? Do I want John McEnroe commentate a NASCAR race? Um no, not really. I want to hear about it from someone who knows what it’s like in that car, and who knows what officials are looking at.  It’s not like Jeff Gordon is the one that reported the possible hip check by the jack man on Brad’s car. He was just explaining it and the penalty and comparing it to a similar penalty in Vegas (which I would compare it to as well). They explained it on the MRN broadcast too (for those of us who had to listen instead of watch because of work obligations.  Brad’s not being picked on. Tony’s team got penalized for illegal body modification prior to a race last week at Charlotte- it was why he started at the rear of the field and why his crew chief is now on probation through the end of the year. I really do not understand what Brad’s issue is. Does that mean Dale Jr shouldn’t commentate before the Xfinity race series? It just seems like a pointless complaint. Plus- and I mentioned this on twitter- what does it really matter to Brad since that he is in the car and not listening to the commentary anyway.

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(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…)

(photo credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

So I guess this would be the unlucky version of the Loose Lugnuts post since it’s number 13. Run and hide people! Run and hide and don’t forget to cover your lugnuts (sorry today is the Great Shakeout here in Cali- which means we all do your standard duck and cover earthquake drill- so if you are looking for me tomorrow around then check under my desk).  Anyway- onto the the things that have being ricocheting around my brain like loose lugnuts during a green flag pit stop:

1. Speaking of unlucky- I guess we might as well lead with the fact that Charlotte wasn’t really that lucky for team 14. Not only did we finish laps down but we were dinged with two penalties that have us losing 15 minutes of practice time (and we seem to need all we can get lately) AND losing our pit stall selection that is usually based on qualifying. Seems the infractions were due to failing pre-qualifying inspection too many times and failing pre-race templates too many times. Sigh- so we already have been having a tough year and now we can’t practice for 15 minutes and we get the pit stall that went over the fence last. This season man…this season.

2. While on the subject of Tony Stewart- have you seen this awesome Mobil 1 GridTV Video detailing the progression of his career:

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Darlington, March 2014. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

The lugnuts have been rolling around a little more than normal on this pit stop.  Here you go:

1. If you are looking for my post on Tony Stewart announcing his retirement- it is located here. It was pretty much one of those “knee jerk” posts and after I wrote it I published it then nearly yanked it down – but Misty told me I should keep it up since it’s honest.  I have more to write about Tony Stewart himself- but I have a year to do that right? So I am letting that ruminate in the old brain bucket for a while longer. I will say I am thankful he is giving us fans a year to digest it.

2. Here are some articles about Tony that I have enjoyed recently: ESPN- Tony Stewart’s Brief Indy Car Career Still Stands Out, USA Today- NASCAR Will Lose Star Power When Tony Stewart Walks Away, National Speed Sport - Interview With Ralph Shaheen.

3. I have been considering taking in submissions from fans to post here about Tony Stewart- why you are a fan, what made you stay a fan, etc.  Anything fans would be willing to share about being a fan of Stewart.  If you are interested in submitting something of this nature to Badgroove.com for possible publication feel free to email me (badgruv@netzero.com) or Facebook message me.  I would publish them throughout the year- so it’s definitely something you could take your time with – if you are interested just let me know.

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02 August 2015: Tony Stewart during the Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page/HHP/Rusty Jarrett )

Here’s the latest of what is rolling around in my brain like loose lugnuts in a pitstall after a green flag pit stop. As always it’s in no particular order- it’s just listed as it comes to me: (more…)

Tony pilots his Chevy through the garage

Tony pilots his Chevy through the garage at Texas Motor Speedway, November 2014. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store FB/Mike Calamungi/CIA Stock Photo)

I wanted to let the race soak in a bit this week before writing my post (okay who am I kidding- really I was totally slammed at the day job yesterday and not in the mood to write by the time I got home).

Let’s start with my usual fodder- Team 14 and their run at TMS.  I admit I started the weekend a bit excited after hearing that Tony was the first driver to break the 200 mph mark in a stock car at Texas Motor Speedway.  Of course it’s all relative considering Tony has gone around TMS in an indy car at well over 200 mph. Still it’s cool and like Tony mentioned who knows how long the record lasts- but it’s always cool to be the first one to do something!  Tony was able to qualify for the race 6th which is not bad at all! (more…)

The pit crew hard at work

The pit crew of Tony Stewart is hard at work on pit road trying to repair damage at Talladega Super Speedway. (photo credit: Tony Stewart Official Store)

So wow- Talladega was a cluster of a race wasn’t it?  That is two weeks in a row where NASCAR has suffered some sort of major FAIL regarding a Chase (playoff) race.  Last week if you remember – ABC failed to show the first 26 laps of the race at Charlotte because of a college football game.  This week? NASCAR failed themselves by up and changing the qualifying process (yet again). Obviously the drivers themselves didn’t understand it much either- because many big name drivers- including several CHASE eligible drivers only made the race on owner points/championship provisionals. Hey NASCAR- SOMETHING IS WRONG with your new qualifying format if drivers in the Chase only make the field because of owner points/past champions provisionals.  Fans and teams alike just got use to the new qualifying format and then NASCAR had to go throw a wrench in the plans? That is NOT cool.   What also concerns me about this qualifying format is that drivers with full-season funding and sponsorship did not make the field (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) – yet one-off drivers riddled the field (Mike Wallace, Terry Labonte, Michael Waltrip).  I honestly do not know what NASCAR was thinking there.

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I just want to take second to THANK everyone for all the support for the last post (the Open Letter To GMA). It was truly overwhelming to see how many of you out there not just felt the same way as I did but shared the link, shared your thoughts (either on the original post, on FaceBook, on twitter)! While I have no doubt that my letter did little in the overall scheme of things- especially judging on the ABC Nightly News coverage this evening, I like to think that us fans banding together at least showed that Tony Stewart fans NASCAR fans are not blind to slanted, biased reporting.  Hopefully it somehow got back to Tony and his people that we support him on a wide scale. Onto the actual post.

I think after the post-race antics last Saturday night, most of the NASCAR world was waiting and watching to see what the NASCAR sanctioning body would dole out.  I know I certainly was. In case that you haven’t heard yet (and I know most of you have) these were the penalties doled out by NASCAR today:

Brad Keselowski was fined $50,000 and placed on probation through the Phoenix race. Tony Stewart was fined $25,000 and placed on probation through the Phoenix race.

I know everyone has thoughts on what should and should NOT have been done with the penalties. I know I certainly do and judging by some of the things I read on social media afterwards my thoughts may not be the most popular ones. So I ask that you approach my thoughts with an open mind- and remember these are MY opinions and nothing more.

What NASCAR Did Right (more…)