I am going to admit it- it has been a long time since I have been to a Truck Series race- especially a truck race at Las Vegas! So when Misty mentioned us applying for credentials to cover it I was totally for it!!
One of the best things about the truck race at Vegas is that they let anyone in the NEON GARAGE which is one of my favorite parts of Las Vegas Motor Speedway because you can look right in to the garage bays and watch the crews work on the trucks! The kids their with there parents wandering around the Neon Garage seemed to really enjoy the “behind the scenes” views- and they especially enjoyed it when the drivers would wander over to the autograph windows at the rear of each garage bay between practices. Sometimes the garage passes are a bit pricy for the cup races and might prevent families from enjoying the garage area. The fact that the neon garage was free was great because the kids could experience the garage area for free which makes the event family friendly! And that is how you hook a young race fan. You let them into the garage area. Trust me. I know these things.
It was also fun to watch some of the pressers- some of the younger drivers in the series are far less media saavy than more experienced truck and cup drivers (I am especially thinking of Ryan Blaney here- I don’t know if he is shy or what but he hardly looked up at all during his presser znd his hat was screwed down tight on his head- you could barely see his face).
But everyone, fans, drivers, media: was there for one reason! THE RACE. The race was awesome and did NOT disappoint. Race winner was a very excited Timothy Peters!
Here are some pictures from here and there around the track:
Monitors in Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach).
I am climbing in the HHR and heading back down to Vegas to visit Misty and for the #NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race! Whoo hoo- we haven’t been to a race track since June- and that is just TOO LONG (especially considering that our next Cup race isn’t until Phoenix in November- YEY Phoenix- it’s my favorite track that I have been to). Plus I think it’s been quite awhile since I have been to a truck series race.
By the way- if you are going to be in Las Vegas for the Smiths 350 truck race this weekend- South Point Hotel & Casino will be hosting a free autograph session with many of the truck series drivers on Friday September 27th from 7-8pm. Check out this announcement from Las Vegas Motor Speedway for more details.
Going to the truck races also means that I will be late with the Team 14 Dover Race Report this week because I don’t come back from Vegas until Monday (and it takes me a good 7-8 hours to drive it- it’s about 500 miles so be glad you aren’t forced to watch the Amy/Vegas 500- it’s definitely not exciting and pit stops tend to take much longer than 12 seconds) and then expect to get fully slammed when I get back to work on Tuesday (I am in the middle of a project which means meetings, meetings and more meetings). For the same reason I, it will likely take me a bit to get the Truck race pictures up because I will have to sift through about 16 gigs worth of pictures.
You can always follow all my adventures real-time on Twitter and/or Facebook (usually when I am traveling or at a race I tend to be more likely to post to twitter than FB for some reason) but be prepared for NASCAR truck stuff interspersed with whatever else I just happen to be doing while in Vegas this weekend). And of course Misty has twitter as well- and likely we will end up bantering back and forth like we do.
Ok so I have made it no secret that there is something I just don’t like about races at Pocono. I have NEVER actually been to the track so it’s all based on TV coverage but I have always called Pocono the “evil little triangle” but it should be renamed the “evil big triangle”. Either way…I don’t like to watch Pocono and I think it is because I don’t like things that aren’t symmetrical and Pocono is definitely not symmetrical with it’s three turns and they are all different banking. Yes I know that’s an odd thing to say – but what can I say- they say that humans are generally drawn to symmetry so…I am just human I guess.
So the best news from Friday? Tony go the pole at Pocono! I was at work during qualifying so I didn’t get to watch it…and honestly? I hadn’t even really paid attention to when qualifying was. I went to NASCAR.COM to see if qualifying was over and it wasn’t- but Tony had the pole! WhooHoo! I might have even said that out loud. Ok I did…and I clapped. But I was alone upstairs in my office and I don’t think anyone heard…but so what if they did.
LONG POND, PA - JULY 30: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, poses after qualifying on the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I have to share this picture of the race because I think it’s an awesome picture of Tony coming over the stripe first and shows just how close Jeff Gordon was to Tony. Jeff proceeded to push Tony to the lead and the two of them took off like gang busters for the first lap or so.
LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 01: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, and Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the Target Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
After the first couple of laps Tony faded back a bit as he struggled with the handling of his car.
LONG POND, PA - JULY 30: Tony Stewart (L), driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Darian Grubb in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
He then proceeded to spend most of the first half of the race in 7th. He would go into the pits in 7th and come out in 7th- which meant that the Office Depot pit crew was definitely on the ball. But the race at this point was one really long green flag run (there was a competition caution at lap 15 because of the rain delay in the morning) and honestly except during pit stops (which fascinate me)- it was a little boring to watch on the TV. I did entertain myself during the race by texting Misty and doing my photography assignment- but I admit it was a little boring…and starting to seem excessively long. After about the halfway point the track started to change because of the sun coming out…so whole most other cars were suddenly loose- Tony’s car seemed to come into itself and Tony worked his way up to sixth…then fifth.
LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 01: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Then there was a horrendous crash that had both Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler in to the infield wall hard. Kurt lucked out in that his car slammed into SAFER barrier- but Elliott’s car missed the barrier and slammed hard into a wall backed by a solid dirt embankment. It was a hard hit by both drivers- unfortunately Elliott’s crash was not caught by any of the camera angles that ESPN had….except for one where you can just see a wee little bit of the hit into the embankment. It was hard. Then there was the aftermath where all you could see was Elliott’s car in multiple pieces- the engine had become completely dislodged from the chassis. Then Elliot is hanging out of the car half in and half out looking pained….at which time he gets out and lays down next to the car right on the track. Disturbing? Hell yes. But at least he was awake.
Sadler’s car on the wrecker after the wreck:
LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 01: The wrecked Air Force Ford, driven by Elliott Sadler, gets towed through the garage area after he hit the wall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sadler’s engine on a separate wrecker:
LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 01: The engine of the Air Force Ford, driven by Elliott Sadler, gets towed through the garage area after he hit the wall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Then comes a rather lengthy red flag for clean up and all the cars are stopped on the track. I was listening to Tony’s scanner on NASCAR.COM but he was pretty quiet during the red flag (something they even mentioned during the national broadcast- so I wasn’t the only one who noticed it!).* They get the clean up done and the cars are rolling and then…it starts to rain. So they throw the red again and bring the cars down pit road and park them there. Tony was more animated on the radio while parked on pit road…and I will talk about that in the notes.
They get the track dried and at this point I – to me it feels like the longest race ever in the history of man. I am sure it’s not but it certainly felt that way to me.
Darian called Tony in for a 4 tire stop. I was freaked out because there were a WHOLE SLEW of cars that came out in front of him in the pits- but turns out? Those cars where 2 tire or no tire stops (NO tires? Are you nuts?) Darian’s call was for “four tires and to haul ass!” Obviously I liked it so much I made it the subtitle of this entry. Tony did end up coming out of the pits as the first car on 4 tires so between having the first pit stall and having the Office Depot pit crew on their toes they did good.
Then the racing got really good! Tony was passing people two at a time for awhile there…he restarted 11th I think (am doing this without notes so pardon my memory) and was up to like fifth in what seemed like three or four laps. Meanwhile? Greg Biffle was pulling away! Tony then got caught up fighting Sam Hornish and Carl Edwards for position…by 10 laps to go Tony was up to 2nd and trying to reel in The Biff…and it wasn’t for a lack of effort-as Tony had put some distance between him and third- but there was just no catching the Biff. With his hard fought second place finish, Tony gained a position in the points standings and is now EIGHTH in the standings.
Notes from Pocono:
On Saturday I accidentally watched the Camping World Truck race at Pocono. Apparently it was the first time the trucks had run there and honestly? It was a GREAT race. Of course it was only 50 laps. So was the ARCA race. It wasn’t as good as the truck race but it was still pretty good. How do you accidentally watch the race? Well it was on and I was in front of a TV…but I wasn’t purposely tuned in. Congrats to Elliott Sadler for winning it for Kevin Harvick Inc.! His son Wyatt? A-freaking-dorable!
It’s my opinion that this race is entirely too long. When I am more entertained by doing things like texting and submitting my assignments for my photography class that I am taking in the middle of the race? It’s TOO LONG! And I thought this BEFORE the red flag for the accident/rain. Me thinks that either: Pocono’s race needs to be shorter or they don’t need a second race. Just my thoughts there.
*Ok- I am going to get a little crude here so if you are easily offended by crude-ish talk- avert your eyes or skip this bullet and go down to the the next one. So during the first part of the red flag- right after they asked Darian why Tony seemed so quiet in the car during the red flag (to which Darian replied- “he’s probably taking a nap- resting up” for the rest of the race) it was time to fire the engines and start rolling. Darian called Tony on the radio and asked him if he was awake. Tony replied that he was and that we was “just sweating my nuts off” in the car. AFTER THE RACE, I was relaying this to my father because I found it chuckle worthy to which my dad said to me: “Well you KNOW what that means don’t you?” wait for it…”It means it was DAMN hot in the car!” Um I think I might have figured this out. I am just saying…
Another Tony radio gem was when they were waiting for SPRINKLES on the track to cease and they were sitting on pit road and he asked Darian if they would be allowed to get out of the car for five minutes because the had been in the car for over 4 hours at this point and “Some of us aren’t 21 years old anymore and might need to take a leak.” And then there was the time also while on pit road he became all boss-like and got on his radio and stated that someone needed to tell one of the 39 crew members that he should NOT be on pit road without a hat on. They all laughed that up pretty good too.
Apparently long race equals long post…
Also from earlier in the weekend? Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman helped Pocono flip the switch on the new solar farm next to the track that will power both the track and nearby homes- helping erase the carbon footprint of the race. Here is the video from that: