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(Photo Source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

Started: 18th

Finished: 19th

Points: 22, 101 points from 30th

Quote of the race: “Line them up and I’ll run 800 laps right now and not have a problem. There will be a bunch of these guys falling out of the seat if they had to run 800 more laps, but I will not be one of them.” — Tony on the radio after the race, when asked by his crew chief how he was feeling. LOVE IT!

(Photo Source: Mobil 1 facebook)

I have had the chorus from the Welcome Back Kotter theme song stuck in my head since Thursday morning when Tony made the announcement that he would be piloting the #14 Mobil 1 Chevy  for the first time this season.  That of course later turned to Bill Engvall’s “Here’s Your Sign” routine- except I was stating in my head it was “here’s your fine.” But I already wrote all about the fine and my views on the subject haven’t changed so you can read that in the Welcome Back Tony, Here’s Your Fine post I made. That is all I will say about that whole debacle in this post. Anyway- what better track for Tony to make his “comeback” race at than Richmond. It’s his favorite track after all.

So on Friday I was quite distracted on Friday at work trying to pay attention to practice and qualifying (that was rained out) because I wanted to know how Tony’s first day back in his office was going. Apparently his biggest issue was that he wasn’t use to the new digital dash board they are running in the cars now which I found out via video embedded in a tweet, yet he was obviously still in good humor about it. So it wasn’t that big of an issue. Later on Sunday during the national broadcast they actually talked about what kind of adjustments they can make to the digital dash because how and what the driver sees is customizable and they have to also take into account where the driver sits, and what kind of steering wheel he uses. I found that all fascinating. So the qualifying on Friday had been rained out as I mentioned which meant that cars would be lined up on the grid according to practice speeds- putting Tony 18th on Sunday. There were changes to the Saturday schedule because of the weather issues and that meant the sprint cup teams ended up with one practice on Saturday. (more…)

(Photo Source: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

Usually when my cellphone vibrates with a text message as I am coming off the elevator at work onto my floor- it’s something work related. Today it’s YEY related. Here is what has been pinging around my head like lugnuts in a pitstall during a green flag pit stop- you just never know where they will end up…except I kind of do- they end up here. Let’s get to it shall we:

1.So I am a little late with the lugnuts- I usually post them on Wednesdays- but to be completely honest it was just because I ran out of time yesterday to track down pictures to put in the post and all that but now we have something else to discuss and it’s probably the most important thing to discuss so I am bumping everything else down a notch! So in case you live in a world without social media Tony Stewart announced today not just the timeline of when he would be back in the #14 but SURPRISE he’s going to be back in the car this weekend.  There are not enough exclamation marks in the world to exclaim how excited I am about this.  So Tony will be racing his first race back at his favorite NASCAR track too- so that can’t hurt right? Tony has always exclaimed his love for Richmond.  Also in case you didn’t know- Tony will then do a tire test at Indy and will start Talladega for the points then hand the car over to Ty Dillon because of the significant increase of crash and injury at Talladega. I can’t tell you how much better this makes me feel about Talladega. Also as expected NASCAR did grant Tony Stewart a waiver for the missed races. So come on Tony let’s go out there and rip off a win and maintain top 30 status…I want to see you in Vegas my man! This definitely made my morning!

2. Here is Tony yesterday on RACEHUB last night- actually yesterday afternoon for me on the west coast…but I dvr’d and watched it this morning well before the announcement and thought to myself- hey self- you should find the video and add it before I publish the post: (more…)

Phoenix, AZ  November 2015 (Photo Source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/HHP/Harold Hinson)

So- I usually write the “Loose Lugnuts posts” in what is a mostly stream of conscious session on Wednesday night and schedule them to publish on Thursday morning or afternoon- but here it is Monday evening and I am getting a jump start on it because I am going to be traveling and won’t have time to write it up on Wednesday night so I am going to schedule a few while I am gone. Also I realized that I forgot to mention a couple of things in my race report on Monday that I totally spaced on- but will do just fine here. So without further ado here is what has been rolling around my brain like lugnuts rolling around a pitstall after a green flag pit stop during the championship race:

1. Because of the lengthy rain delay in Phoenix- my dad didn’t get to see the F35 flyover that he was so looking forward to watching. While it is not the first flyover the elusive F35 Lightning II has done at a sporting event- it is the first ever at a NASCAR event and my dad is an aviation fan.  He was bummed out. I know the flyover happened (Thanks to someone I follow on Instagram) but you would think that since one of the two jets was carrying a Jeff Gordon Raceway flag you would thank they would have made a bigger hoopla out of it.

(Photo Source: Martin Truex Jr Official Facebook)

2. I watched a heck of a lot of the rain delay coverage that came out of Phoenix last weekend. More than I probably should have. But one thing I didn’t hear mentioned was who Elijah Aschbrenner was and why his name was above the passenger door on Martin Truex Jr’s car at the track. As a matter of fact very little was mentioned about it at all and I think that is a shame.  Elijah was a pediatric cancer patient that was not just part of Martin and Sherry’s Catwalk for a Cause fashion show that raised money for pediatric cancer but he was known and wished well by many many many NASCAR fans and teams. Other drivers such as Kasey Kahne ran special yellow ribbons with Elijah’s likeness on them on their cars during the race as well.  Elijah fought Epitheliod Sarcoma like a hero but earned his angel wings on November 10th.  Here is a wonderful story about Elijah that NASCAR’s Holly Cain did it’s just a shame that they didn’t mention him (or mention him more) during the hours and hours of rain delay coverage.

3. While we are on the topic Martin Truex Jr.’s long time girlfriend Sherry Pollax is battling stage III ovarian cancer as many of you know. She is currently going through once a month maintenance chemo for it.  Well her Chemo session was Monday morning (today).  I can only imagine that she must have been tired- having been in Phoenix so late between it being delayed until all hours, and then I am sure Martin had to do a lot more media than normal after the race considering he made the Final Four.  Go Sherry! (more…)

I didn’t watch much of the pre-race show, I admit. I did watch some of it. But I am wondering if they mentioned WHY the Brickyard 400 was called Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard? I know I mentioned it when the name was announced but it seemed to me that it wasn’t mentioned at during the parts of pre-race that I watched. Just a quick FYI from my original post, John Wayne Walding is a highly decorated Green Beret from Texas who lost the lower part of his leg during a firefight in overseas in 2008 (for more information about John Wayne Walding see my original post) Any way- I wanted to take a couple minutes before we talk about Tony Stewart’s run and share some photos of John Wayne Walding (for the record- that is a cool name) experience at The Brickyard on Sunday:

Green Beret John Wayne Walding enjoying his experience at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the race that bares his name in July 2014. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images for Crown Royal)

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The pit crew services Tony Stewart's #14

The crew works on the #14 Bass Pro/Mobil 1 Chevy of Tony Stewart under the lights at Bristol (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart’s Official FaceBook Page)

One of the things that I adore about Bristol is that the drivers get introduced during intros to a song of their choosing. Some drivers open it up to a fan vote, some just pick a song that they love, some pick songs by the same artist.  I LOVE seeing the range of songs.  There were some good songs and good fits to their drivers this year (for a complete list of drivers/intro songs from Sunday check out this article).  THE best song/driver combo? Tony Stewart’s choice of “Back In The Saddle Again” by Aerosmith because it could not have been more apropos.

Practice and qualifying typically happens when I am at work- and Bristol was no different- but it doesn’t mean that I am not paying attention. I am.  I was sad at the results of qualifying for Tony.  The car was obviously not handling well.  At a track like Bristol- if you sneeze you go a lap down. So it is not the track you want to fight an ill handling car because you can get laps down before you hit on that something that makes a difference- and by then it can be too late.  So going into the race on Sunday- I was not optimistic frankly. Even though I had seen that Tony felt better in the car on Saturday after Happy Hour practice- but still- starting 37th? That isn’t an easy place to over come from.

Silly Amy!  Why you worry so much? 

Tony Stewart is jocular as he mounts his stead

Tony Stewart gets into his car at Bristol Motor Speedway March 2014 (Photo Credit: TonyStewart.com Photo Gallery)

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The 14 reflected at Martinsville

Mark Martin drives the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet out of the garage area during practice at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2013. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)

I love Martinsville. There is something about that little paperclip shaped track that makes the racing exciting. This track is HIGH on my list of must visit tracks. Really high.  Quarters are close both on track and on pit road- which makes it easy to slip up. Restart wrong? And you might be getting lapped in a few minutes.  Another car short pitting might block you into your stall and cost you to go from 3rd to 23rd while you try to jockey out of your pitstall.  The cars are in constant danger of contact- and while some of the “rubbing” is unintentional- sometimes- just sometimes it is intentional and nothing will piss you off more that to have your driver intentionally wrecked.   But one of the good things about Martinsville- is that you can bang your car up a bit- and still be in contention for the win as long as you don’t let your temper get too out of hand and end up collecting yourself in the drama.  However, It’s not just the drivers that are in danger of constant contact- just ask race winner Jeff Gordon’s tire carrier who got clipped (by I think Denny Hamlin but I don’t remember) a car on pit road during a pit stop. (more…)

Team 14 services the #14 Bass Pro Chevy on pit road at Richmond International Raceway (photo credit: Stewart Haas Racing Official Facebook page)

I am purposely NOT going to mention the Richmond brouhaha that happened at the end of the race because I feel that I have given it enough of my time and energy as well as two blog posts.  Let’s talk about the task at hand: Team 14 and the Richmond race!

Qualifying was not stellar. However- I learned with Tony not to put stock in where they start- but in where they finish. The uber competitive race fan in me- who lives vicariously through my driver wants nothing less than a win every single race.  The points watcher in me always wants a top 5 finish. One thing that is kind of frustrating to me about short tracks (as much as I do love them)- is it is SO easy to go a lap down. And this happened again to Mark Martin in the first half of the race. I will admit it- I was a wee bit disheartened.

Mark Martin stands on the grid at Richmond

Mark Martin stands on the grid at Richmond. (Photo Credit: Official Stewart-Haas Racing Facebook Page)

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Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, races Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet, and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Ducks Unlimited Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images North America)

Qualified: 13th

Finished: 2nd! WhooHoo- that is nearly a win and I will take it!

Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson

Points After Daytona: 1oth- six points over 11th, and 159 out of first. Houston, we are back in the top 10!

My Mood After Daytona: How could I not be happy with a 2nd at Daytona?!  (more…)