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A while back I read a book hoping to use it to spur kind of a NASCAR-themed Bucket list (review of 100 Things NASCAR Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is here) as I had been kicking around the idea of publishing one here on the blog. The book wasn’t quite what I expected, however the idea of my NASCAR Bucket List has been rolling around in the back of my brain since then.  Some of these are simple and straight forward and may actually happen “one day”. Some of these will never ever happen and I know and accept that. So without further ado my list :

  1. Attend the Prelude To The Dream.
  2. See a race in person at Martinsville.
  3. See a race in person in Charlotte.
  4. See a race in person at Bristol.
  5. See a race in person at Indianapolis. (Ok so the list of tracks I would love to watch could go on and on so I am going to limit it to three four).
  6. Tour race shops in Charlotte (related to number 2).
  7. Interview Jeff Gordon for this website in the same manner we have Tony Stewart. Completed- see interview here.
  8. Tour a hauler at the track (and no I am not talking a merchandise hauler). The haulers always have fascinated me and I would like to be inside one…just to peek. Kinda completed- it wasn’t really an official tour- but I did get to walk through one and sit in the back office with Misty during the Jeff Gordon Interview.
  9. Stand on top of a hauler during practice. This will probably never happen because even IF it was offered to me I probably honestly wouldn’t do it…being majorly afraid of heights and all. Still a part of me wants to do it.
  10. Attend a race with access to a VIP hospitality suite. I want to see how the other half watch a race. Hey a girl can dream right?.
  11. Camp at a track- but my definition of camp is: Have access to a very nice motor home/trailer with all the amenities of home so I don’t have to visit that very scary looking group shower trailer I saw in the campgrounds at Las Vegas that one time I went through the campgrounds in a golf cart with Brad Keselowski (Yeah still can’t believe Misty and  I got to do that- it was SOOO fun)!
  12. Drive to my favorite track (Phoenix) in a Chevy Camaro and blog about the experience. I don’t have a Chevy Camaro and renting one is a bit cost prohibitive for the thrill of writing a couple of blogs about the Camaro. Ever since the Camaro has come out I have this vision of me driving it Phoenix (picking Misty up along the way in Vegas) and taking pics of the car along the route. Plus California car rental places tend to put a cap on the miles you can drive without incurring a fee- and it’s a long way to Phoenix.
  13. Stand on the spotters stand- just to see the view. Spotters have always fascinated me as well. This will probably never happen either because of that wicked fear of heights…they would probably laugh me off the stand because I would have a death grip on the rail (there is a rail right?) and panic in my eyes (possibly along with tears- it just happens I can’t help it sometimes no matter how much I try.  I told you all about the time I decided it was time to get over my fear by going up to the observation deck of the mock Eiffel tower in Las Vegas right? I ended up panicking in the elevator stuffed with people on the way up AND people in the elevator LAUGHED AT ME- which only made it worse. I was in full tears by the time we reached the deck. I did manage to get out of the elevator but I was miserable and just wanted to go back down).
  14. Do a ride-along with Tony. But this is going to sound really weird but I would want to do it in a street car and not a NASCAR. Kinda like that thing that Carl Edwards did for the Ford commercial here…but with Tony Stewart and a Chevy (Camaro? Vette?). If this were to ever happen- I would have to warn Tony that it probably wouldn’t take much before I would be squealing like the girl that I am and screeching “Far too fast…far too fast.”
  15. Sit in a garage stall during practice and watch them work on a car. Any would do but of course you would know that I would like to do it with Tony’s crew best. Just sit in a corner and watch and listen (and knowing me bite my tongue not to ask questions).
  16. Interview Tony Stewart for this website. completed multiple times (interview One, Two, Three)
  17. Ride around in a golf cart with Brad Keselowski delivering beer to fans while Misty interviews him as we speed around the camp grounds. Ok so that probably would have honestly never been on my bucket list- only because I would have never thought that would actually happen to me…but it did so I think I should be able to tick it off- but this really happened!

Gratuitous Tony Stewart picture that really has nothing to do with the post…I just like the picture:

Tony Stewart in the garage at Talladega. (Photo Credit: Nabbed from the Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page- click picture for link)

So what would YOUR NASCAR bucket list include? Did I miss something that you have done that is completely awesome?

I have never made it a secret that I do not like watching races at Talladega. I watch it through my fingers worried about “the big one” and fretting about my driver’s position (the closer you are to the middle of the field the more likely you are to get caught up in said “big one”).  However after watching the flip during Friday’s Arca race and Eric McClure slam (and I mean SLAM) into the wall during the Nationwide race- I was even more unsettled as I settled in to watch the delayed start of the race at Talladega on Sunday.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 6, 2012 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit- Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

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Here is my almost weekly list of recommended articles out there on the internet:

What I Learned From The NASCAR Sprint Cupt Series Rulebook- Jeff Gluck for SBNation.com

Interview: Tony Stewart on Hunting, Fishing and Racing-The editors of Outdoor Life

Have Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus Lost Their Edge?- Dustin Long for AthlonSports.com

Earnhardt Jr, Keselowski lambaste Reutimann’s Costly Move- Nate Ryan for USAToday.com

Tony Stewart Joins A Legend- Matt Willis for ESPN Blogs

Dale Earnhardt Jr Saves The Day for Tardy Reporter- Jeff Gluck for SBNation.com

Tony Stewart Just Getting Warmed Up- Ed Hinton For ESPN.com

David Stremme Interview: “You’ve Got To Understand Where You Fit In”- Jeff Gluck for SBNation.com

Stewart, Newman Setting Strong Pace- Mike Hembree for SpeedTV.com

Amanda Beard Slams Former Boyfriend Carl Edwards- Bob Pockrass for Sporting News

Your Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures:

(Blatantly Stolen from the Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

This one needs a witty caption don't you think? (Blatantly stolen from the Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page).

What a wild and crazy Daytona 500! Congratulations to winner Matt Kenseth!

I don’t know if I am a big fan of the “pack” racing being back.  To me “pack racing” is just asking for crashes that damage multiple cars.  It’s scary and dangerous and I am glad they don’t race super speedways more because THIS type of racing is what made me watch super speedways through my fingers to begin with.  The drivers seem to like it though- because I guess they feel more in control of their own destiny during the course of the race.  I don’t know about that though…let’s ask Tony Stewart how in control of his own destiny he felt right about here:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #6, spin after an on track incident during the Daytona 500 February 27, 2012. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

Tony was able to avoid multiple crashes until the very end. Despite taking a spin (above) and hitting (below) Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart was still able to bring the Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy home 16th!  I credit this entirely to Misty’s assertions that you “can’t keep Stewart down” – she was so right about that!

Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, spins in front of Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 during the Daytona 500 on February 27, 2012. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)

The result wasn’t exactly what I wanted to see as a Tony fan (I REALLY wanted him to get that first Daytona 500 win!) but judging by all the mayhem he avoided/overcame? We’ll take it!  Tony is currently 16th in the points standings eighteen points behind race winner and current points leader Matt Kenseth.

Notes About Daytona:

  • Fox’s broadcast confused me- as the end was suppose to be that side-by-side coverage. They fully utilized side-by-side during the red-flag incident. And honestly it was kind of fun- especially when we see a group of drivers, including Brad Keselowski, walking from their cars towards turn 3 to see what on earth was going on (they were eventually requested by safety officials to turn back).  However, when they went green there were times that they ran full commercials and other times (during cautions) where they ran side-by-side.  Confusing! Maybe they were befuddled because of the lengthy red-flag? I dunno- but that seemed odd to me.
  • Speaking of Brad Keselowski- there are mumblings about him getting in trouble for having a phone in his car with him.  Um…it’s not like he was out there tweeting and driving.  He was using it during a red flag- so I don’t really see the big deal.  Now if there was proof he was out there tweeting while driving (even during yellows) I think that is a MAJOR no-no, but I don’t see an issue with him using it during a red flag.
  • As of this writing we are still waiting to hear if there will be any penalties for Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus resulting from inspection infractions from the 48- who was found to have a non-standard c-post (or something like that).  I guess I am wrong because I always thought if infractions were found BEFORE practice/qualifying that they just made you fix the issue and roll back through technical inspection again.  Guess I am wrong there. Sounds like beyond monetary/points fines- there could very well be a suspension for Chad Knaus. I hope not because I know one of his fans will most likely be in the Neon Garage during the upcoming Las Vegas race, and I don’t want her to miss seeing her favorite crew chief.
  • I am still really disappointed in Sprint for having discontinued Sprint Cup Mobile on non-droid phones (see my original post: Dear Sprint You Have Disappointed Me).  I missed it ALOT during the race and didn’t realize just how much I did use it until I grabbed my phone and thought ARG FOILED AGAIN!
  • One bright side to the lengthy rain delay on Saturday AND the red flag delay on Sunday? Were the tweets from the Stewart-Haas Racing twitter account.  Funny stuff right there. Don’t follow? You definitely should

Gratuitous Tony Picture(s) of the Week:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, (and PR Guru Mike Arning) walks on the grid while rain falls prior to the start of the Daytona 500 on February 26th, 2012. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images North America)

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, stands on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 on February 27, 2012. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

The Next Race: Phoenix Raceway.

#GoTonyGo! #ImWithSmoke!

Several of the Chase drivers were asked in their media session today at Martinsville Speedway if they were going to attend a NASCAR themed Halloween party- what would they dress up as and why?  The answers are pretty funny….so I had to share the video with you.

I love the look on Tony Stewart’s face when he is asked the question is priceless- I think he was nearly speechless and it was obvious that the question caught him kinda off guard.  His answer is pretty darn funny too.   Also? Dale Earnhardt Jr’s answer cracks me the heck up.  Just what I needed on a Friday afternoon. Enjoy:

I don’t know what I can say about Tony’s run at Bristol. (more…)

Okay- So our latest trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway was jam packed and full of fun. And I just wanted to use this space to tie everything together between the different postings Misty and I wrote regarding the weekend. (more…)

When Badgroove.com was presented with an opportunity to meet with one of NASCAR’s most controversial drivers and talk to him about the sport that he is so passionate about, we welcomed the opportunity.  Little did we know that we would get to take part in one of the coolest sponsor promotions for fans that I have heard of in quite some time.  Early Friday, Miller Lite sent some reps out to talk to fans in the campground and gauge their interest in Miller and Coors.  The reps promised they would return with some free beer later that evening, but what they didn’t know was that the beer would be delivered by the driver of the Miller Lite Dodge, Brad Keselowski.  Badgroove got to ride along for the surprise deliveries and it was a blast. 

In total we surprised three lucky camp sites and Brad met with numerous fans, some stunned, some amorous, but most impressed and excited to get a chance to talk to the driver, get some free beer and a memory that will surely, last a lifetime. 

At the first site, as Brad held court in the center of the make-shift camper quad, one older man, approached and whispered with what can only be described as both awe and disbelief, “Is that Brad Keselowski?”  Yes, sir, it is.  Things heated up at the second site, when an amorous and adoring lady took a liking to Mr. Keselowski and wanted to show him that “rubbing is racing”, but the last site was the ultimate, as fans from other camp sites poured in to see what was going on and get a chance to talk to Brad and take part in this unique experience.  The excitement level was off the charts and even as the cart pulled away, fans continued to run over asking for a picture.  Brad was more than accommodating to everyone and impressed me with just how personable and open he truly is with the fans.

On the way back from the event, we did indeed get more than a few minutes to talk with Brad and what I learned is that this young man is in the right profession.  His love of the sport comes through in every answer he gives, and even more impressive to me was how he described his competitors.  Read for yourself and I think you, too, will be impressed by a driver that is sure to make a lasting mark in NASCAR.

Brad and a fan at the campsite. (Photo Credit: Misty)

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Misty:   Tell us a little bit about what you thought about doing this [the Miller Lite promotion for the fans]?

Brad:    Well, it’s fun you know.  This is like the grass roots of the sport.  People that come out to races and camp out, just hang out and enjoy it as a weekend.  Have some fun with the guys, or girls, the family and watch a great race, ya know? Racing has a huge allure to it because of just the campground lifestyle, so it’s great to kinda rejoin it and have some fun with it.

Misty:  You get to see some fans and be a part of it?

Brad:    Absolutely! The fans are the life blood of our sport, without them we are nothing.

Misty:   You have the new sponsor, new number this year.  We heard Kurt say earlier that for him it’s a whole new vibe this season.  Do you feel the same way?

Brad:    Oh yeah, absolutely! Lots of changes, and I think they are mostly good (chuckle).  So hopefully we will continue to pick up on the performance side.  I think that is the heart of the sport and uh, from there we will see where it goes, but I feel good about everything and the way we are going, and we will just kinda play it one day at a time.

Misty:  Absolutely, and we heard a lot today in the media center about how drivers are surprised at how aggressive it has gotten in just the early part of the season, and early on in the races.  What do you attribute that to?

Brad:    We are all just ready to race.  No testing, no off season, we are all just hungry. The competition level is unprecedented.  You know, there are so many drivers, the same age, the same talent level, that the only way you are really going to make a mark in this sport is by being extremely aggressive, because you are not going to out talent anyone.  Ya know, you are not going to out work them.  You just have to be more aggressive, and make smarter decisions.  So that is really, really tough and when people get really aggressive that is when accidents happen.

Misty:  We have seen the slogan on the back of the car, “Have At It Brad”…

Brad:    Yeah, yeah (laughs) that was cool, wasn’t it?

Misty:   Yeah, definitely. So it sounds like that is a characteristic you are willing to embrace and run with?

Brad:    It’s a core, uh, it’s part of the core of the sport…the whole boys have it and basically we kinda got away from it the last few years and now we are kinda coming back to it, and I think it is starting to pay dividends and I think the fans are starting to recognize just how fun racing is.

Misty:   Yeah, that was my next question; do you think the fans like this a lot more?

Brad:    I think so; I like it a lot more.  Hell, a couple years ago I wouldn’t even watch one of our races and now I watch ‘em all.  So, that’s cool.

Misty:   Alright, and last question is what would you want our readers, or NASCAR fans in general, to know about you?

Brad:    Oooh… what would I want them to know about me…uh, well…you know basically that the biggest thing and the message that I try to get across whether verbally or non verbally is that I am all in to the sport, I eat it, drink it, sleep it, and leave everything there is on the table on the race track, and uh, that is what I am all about.  That’s why I love this sport; it has that ability to get that out in me.  And sometimes different people might disagree with different things I have done, but they are all done in the name of the sport and trying to honor it and the opportunity that was given to me.

Misty:   Alright, I actually lied ’cause I have one more question for you, what’s your primary goal this season?

Brad:    Just continue to get better, and everything I do, everything we do as a team affects the racing.

Misty:   Alright, well thank you very much.

Brad:    You got it!

 

Brad presents fans at a campground with some Miller Lite. (photo credit: Amy)

-MAB