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The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star race is upon us already. It seems like the season just started and we are already onto what use to be one of my favorite weeks of the year- the All-Star race.  I always loved the pageantry that came with the race. Plus there is the fact that it’s not a points race, it’s a let it all hang out because there is million dollars on the line race. Over the recent years though, the race for me has started to lose a little of it’s viewing luster.

For me it started when they stopped the pit crew competition. It was always a favorite of mine. I enjoyed watching the teams in their bracket like competition, a lot of time the drivers were there cheering their team members on.  It showcased that NASCAR is a team sport.  Then there is the fact that the format never seems to be the same two years in a row.  I can honestly tell you that I didn’t even know much about the format this season so I decided to investigate it.

The format will be a four stage race: Lap 30, Lap 50, Lap 70 and Lap 80 and that they are making it so that each stage can go into overtime- which I hope is something that is just for the All-Star race- because that seems like it would just drag out your standard 400 mile race.

The biggest difference I found for the All-Star race this year is the package the cars will be running. The cars will have a six inch spoiler that will have a 12 inch “ear” extension on each side (I don’t know about you but I am picturing bunny ears) and a splitter configuration from back in 2014 and there is talk that this is just a testing ground for a major package change for next year.  From what I read the hope is there will be more side-by-side racing with record number passes for the lead kind of thing. I guess we will find out soon enough.  But there was a reason we moved away from the 2014 splitter and ducting package from back in 2014.

I guess we will find out what happens with the package.

I hope the race has the sparks that NASCAR is looking for. I’ll be watching. Will you? Who do you have your money on? Who do you think will get the fan vote? I have been voting since it opened (but I won’t tell you for who).

(photo credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/HHP/Garry Eller)

Qualified: 36th

Finished: 26th, 3 laps down

Points: 599 (25th in the points standings)

I find it ironic that last weekend’s elimination race at Dover went off without a hitch despite a dire forecast due to hurricane Joaquin yet the Saturday night race at Charlotte ended up being delayed until Sunday morning because of rain. And did it look like it rained hard on Saturday. Kudos to those at the track who stuck it out as long as they could- I saw a lot of people tweeting and facebooking from their drenched location- most seeming to take shelter in their cars.  I will hand it to NASCAR- they didn’t hesitate to postpone the race- and I was glad for it. It was postponed nearly as soon as I tuned into the television to see if it would start. So yey for not being tied to the television for hours while they would try to convince me that track drying would be getting underway any time now. I gladly went grocery shopping instead.  (more…)

(Photo source: Zimbio.com/Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

I usually cut one quote from the race release that I like and share it for the week’s Quotable Tony Stewart- but this week- the release is so short I will just share the whole thing:

What does it take to be successful at Charlotte?

“It always seems like it’s a battle of trying to get your car to cut through the center of the corner and keep the forward drive in it. It seems like it’s a sacrifice of one or the other, but the two ends of the track are different. It seems like you can carry a lot more speed through (turns) one and two, and (turns) three and four are a little more thread-the-needle-type corners. Sometimes there isn’t a big difference between the fall and spring races at Charlotte. They’re spread out so far and they’re at the beginning of summer and the end of summer, so a lot of times they can be very similar.”

How important is it for you to win races and compete for a championship in what’s going to be your last year in Sprint Cup?

“It’s very important. I still want to win races and I can’t think of a better way to go out than to go out on top by winning races and winning a championship. We’re going to continue to put all of our effort toward that and I can promise you next year is not a ‘coast-and-collect’ year. It’s just the opposite because I don’t have to worry about making anybody mad next year and having to deal with it in 2017. We’ve just got to put something on the back of the car that reminds them that I’m not driving it anymore. I can rough everybody up next year, if that’s what it takes to accomplish my goals, and sit there and just smile and laugh about it at Homestead.”

So there’s no “mailing it in” next season?

“No. This added year is not just a ‘ride-it-out’ year. We are going to do everything we can to win races and win another championship. I’m looking forward to that.”

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:  (more…)

I don’t know if it was just me or what but that race in Charlotte seemed to be the LONGEST race of the season. It just seemed to be the race that would NOT quit.  I find that it’s especially trying to watch race when my driver’s car gets damaged in the first 20 laps of the race.  On lap 16 Tony Stewart damaged the nose of the 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet when cars in front of him checked up during the second restart of the race, causing him to effectively rear end another car (Brad Keselowski I think?) at high speeds. The results were not pretty: (more…)

I know I have been absent lately…I apologize and promise to get back into the posting groove very soon…but I had to share two things with you:

First I wanted to to share these pictures provided to me of Tony Stewart with some of the backpack recipients because I think the pictures are precious! Tony, with the help of the Office Depot Foundation, donated several thousand backpacks filled with school supplies to various organizations supporting children and education in the Charlotte NC area just yesterday.

I have made it no secret that I absolutely ADORE office supplies (especially pens and stickie notes) and when I was a kid I was always excited to get new school supplies.  I still can’t go into office depot and come out with just what was on my list….I usually come out with about three times as much stuff (usually pens and stickies but all kinds of other stuff too).  And sometimes when I was a kid my dad would come home with swag from promotions at work and I would always beg for the free pens and pencils (you know like united way or benefit fairs -those kind of things).   So I know these kids are probably really stoked to be getting the backpack filled with goodies!! It’s a great program!

Secondly…Badgroove was given an honor of sorts (YEY me!!).  We are ranked 10th on this website’s list of the top 20 NASCAR Blogs.  How cool is that? We are in some GREAT company…so YEY!!