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Tony Pre-Race at Chicagoland

Tony Pre-Race at Chicagoland (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store/Tommy Grassmann/CIA Copyright)

With qualifying rained out Tony started the race with his first practice speed which meant he started 22nd at Chicagoland.  Unfortunately the car’s handling would prove to be an issue throughout the race. It started too tight and through the first part of the race- large swings to adjust the car during pitstops made the worse and then it was far too loose.  At one point Chad Johnston called for them to put a spring rubber in during one of the cautions, and that is when the handling really went away on the car.

Tony and Zippy Talk It Out

Tony and Zippy Talk It Out (photo credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/Don Grassmann/CIA Photo Copyright)

At one point the #14 Mobil 1 Chevy was even a lap down- but the team never quit and eventually got their lap back by being the lucky dog. Tony finished 18th (and on the lead lap so yey!).  He is still 26th in the points standings.

Race winner was Brad Keselowski, which automatically puts him into the next round of the chase. There are two more races left in the challenger round.  The top three in the chase points are: Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, and Joey Logano.  Kevin Harvick is currently fourth in the Chase standings and Kurt Busch is currently sitting in ninth for the chase standings.

Notes:

1. I thought that the yellow roof numbers, splitters and name banner at the top of the windshield would be cool. I decided I don’t like them. Why? I don’t know. Part of it may be the actual color of the banners.  I have an idea.  I think that to make the chase cars stand out let’s make the rest of the field race primer gray paint schemes with just their numbers and car logos the same.  I mean I assume that the yellow is to make the actual sprint contenders stand out- and it does- but I honestly find it distracting and on some of the cars- it is downright ugly.  So this is my idea to combat the ugly yellow on the normal paint schemes.

2. Was I the only one who thought OH THAT’S GONNA BE AWKWARD when Danica and Ricky collided on track on Sunday? Oh to be a fly on the wall anywhere near the vicinity of that discussion!

3. Did you notice that Dale Jr.’s trademark skeleton hand gloves were teal and not black? I did (except I thought they were green and could not figure out why). Well it is in support of Sherry Pollex  and Ovarian Cancer. The gloves will worn each weekend in September and then auctioned off- the proceeds will be donated to the charity of Sherry’s choice. Here is an article all about them.

Sorry this post stinks- but I am exhausted beyond explanation. I blame it on solar flares and vaccinations, what other explanation could there be?

The Gratuitous Tony Stewart pictures have the man greeting his people:

Tony Stewart greets fans

Tony Stewart greets fans at Chicagoland (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/ Gayle Martens/CIA STOCK PHOTO

Pleased to meet you

Tony Stewart greets fans during driver introductions at Chicagoland (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/Chris Anderson/CIA Stock Photo Copyright)

 

Next week we are racing in New Hampsha again.

Hey did you know that Office Depot Racing is currently running a contest to attend the race in Chicago? How cool would that be? Five winners will win:

  • Two grandstand tickets to the NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series™ race at Chicagoland Speedway on September 16, 2012
  • $750
  • One (1) $50 Office Depot gift card
  • One (1) 1:24 No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet diecast car autographed by Tony Stewart

That is a pretty awesome prize package if you ask me!  But you must act quick though because you only have until August 23rd to enter!!  Go to OfficeDepotRacing.com to enter today!!

Another exciting finish thanks to the new double file restart rule.

Tony qualified and started 32nd in Saturday night’s race.  But once that green flag dropped Tony was on a mission to move forward and that is exactly what he did nearly immediately.  It didn’t take him long to work his way up to the top 15 and then to the top 10- where he stayed around 7th place most of the evening. He seemed to be struggling a bit with the handling of the car into the turns judging by his hotpass audio.  Crew chief Darian Grubb continuously took stabs at adjusting the car to make it work more for Stewart with adjustments to air pressure and trackbar. The race at Chicagoland was actually fairly incident free…the first two cautions of the race thrown for track debris.  Team Office Depot/Old Spice seemed to be working their way towards a solid top 10 possiby even a top 5 finish.

Then there was the bad pit stop and things just seemed to go downhill for a bit.  First there was the pitstop- under caution where Tony took off from the pits two lugnuts short of a full load.  Crew Chief Darian Grubb calls him back in almost immediately- reminding him to be calm about it. Tony may have been mad but if he was I didn’t hear it.   Then during the next caution, after pitting, Tony either cuts down a tire on debris or thinks he cuts down a tire and comes back in to the pits again.  During that last 60 laps he must have pitted 4 or 5 times, luckily all of them were during cautions and he fell no lower than 17th. Each time Stewart and Grubb discussed changes to the car that Tony needed to be able to push through the field.

Tony was determined though and didn’t let a frustrating night get the best of him and continued to push forward through the pack with the help of his spotter.  Before the last restart Tony and Darian had one of my favorite exchanges of the night with Darian telling Tony that it “aint been pretty.” and Tony telling Darian that was true but “he wasn’t done yet.” And how true that was because Tony ended up pushing forward into 4th, retaining his points lead over second place Jeff Gordon.  The race winner was Mark Martin. Teammate Ryan Newman finished 6th to help Stewart-Haas racing land another double top ten for the team.

NOTES on CHICAGOLAND:

  • How cool that Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon were able to finish 1-2 and how great for the fan to get that money! Wish it was me!
  • Boy Jeff Burton doesn’t like the double file restarts…but I do. Of course they have been working to Tony’s advantage so far.
  • I decided that I didn’t much care for the back-to-school paint scheme Tony was running- with the exception of the part of the car that looked like a composition book. I think it would have been cooler to make the whole car look like the book and then maybe have it look like a kid scribbled on it… instead of the crayons on the front and the pens on the side.  Plus I just don’t like the white base to the car.  But that is just me.
  • Speaking of alternate paint schemes…should it be called a paint scheme or a wrap scheme…since technically they wrapped the car?
  • Being alone and watching a race doesn’t stop me from talking to the tv. Or yelling things like “WATCH OUT!” like Tony can here me (regarding when Paul Menard nearly spun into his right side. Tony’s reaction was a nice calm “Wow that was about as close as I wanna get tonight.” Me I was all “WATCH OUT!!!”
  • I really could just slap whoever sits there at DirecTV central with their finger on the censor button where it comes to Tony’s radio feed. I know I have harped on this before…but I really wanted to know what he and Darian said at the end of the race but all I got to hear was something like “Damn….win them and lose them as a team.” I know that there was stuff inbetween.
  • I know that you know I love the commercials.  Did  you catch the new ending to the Toyota Autograph Seeker commercial…when the little flying robot comes back with Kyle Busch and he just kind of moans? It made me laugh.
  • Speaking of the commericals…I also noticed a new version of the old spice commercial that had the girl who in previous versions was “from russia” presenting tony with a big ole turkey leg- which he bites into and then proceeds to say “Thanks Old Spice” complete with mouthful. All I could do is shake my head. At least it wasn’t as disturbing as last week’s Burger King commercial that had Tony and the King (who you all know gives me the creeps) swapping spots in the car so Tony can enjoy himself a Double Whopper (I still can’t find that commercial on youtube or anything or I would post it for your pleasure)…that was just creepy. I wish Tony had just run over the King or something.

Next weekend is an off weekend. The next NASCAR race is on July 26th at Indianapolis Motorspeedway.

All I can say is wow. I was able to catch most of Kyle’s press conference, along with snippets of Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and all of Tony Stewart’s today thanks to live streaming video (gotta love the internet!!) And wow.

I heard Tony’s statement yesterday (I think it was yesterday) about him talking to Kyle about the incident and that they were on the “same page” regarding the last lap incident at Daytona (don’t know what I am talking about? Click here for video of the last 5 laps). I don’t necessarily know what that page is- but there must be a pretty darn big page break in the middle of it.

Frankly, I was kind of surprised yesterday when Tony made it sound like it was pretty much water under the bridge, these things happen let’s get on with Chicago kind of thing (that wasn’t exactly what Tony said mind you but that is the impression I got)  because Saturday night…Kyle LOOKED pissed. And frankly- he probably WAS pissed- especially being in the heat of the moment on a hot evening.

Well today during the media session with Kyle- not only did he look pissed but he sounded pissed.  Kyle was asked what could be done about incidents like the one that happened on Saturday at Daytona and he said that “If the second place car purposely dumps the first place car- NASCAR should black flag them and they should definitely not be called the race winner.” Then he was asked by the same reporter (I believe it was Dustin Long) to clarify- did he believe that he was dumped on Saturday to which Kyle definitely responded with an emphatic affirmative.

Fast forward through the media sessions a bit- other drivers have come and gone including Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne- both of whom were asked about their views on the incident and both of whom said they did not believe the incident was on purpose.   Tony comes out for his session and starts off by stating straight away that he’s not going to say anything any different than what he said previously- he has spoke with Kyle and they are on the same page.  Someone immediately brings up that he probably didn’t hear what Kyle said earlier and he tells them he read the transcript he knows what he said- his statement still stands. The media in the room were mostly respectful in that they didn’t go where clearly Tony didn’t want to go…except for one guy who wanted to ask about Kyle’s stance that in a situation like that a black flag should be given to which Tony answered “I am not going to bite on your lure.”  I can’t really blame him. He clearly stated at the beginning of the session that he didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

Now I don’t know what the “same page” is Tony was talking about because  seems that Tony is in a different chapter of the book than Kyle is.  Does it surprise me? No. Kyle is a young, very aggressive driver. I have been to a race and heard half the track boo the guy. He had a hot season last year. This year he is struggling a little bit (in comparison to last year).  It was obvious by hearing Kyle talk today (I am speaking of his comments about Stewart-Haas Racing’s affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports) that he is still a little bitter about being let go from Hendrick Motorsports (and I bet after Kyle’s season last year Rick Hendrick might have been wondering if he made the right move there).

Kyle doesn’t have a yellow stripe on his bumper but he is only 24 years old.  I personally think that the younger you are the more likely you are to lash out. The more likely you are to try to fight EVERY battle. I think of where I was when I was 24 years old compared to where I am now personally- I was different. I was more aggressive (where know I tend to refine passive-agressiveness into an art).  Best I can figure it, at that age I had just hired on at my job in a permanent basis and just thinking about my attitude towards difficulties on my commute has changed  (got to carry the whole cars theme here)…I now don’t get as angry. Someone cuts me off- most days now I will just mutter under my breath and carry on with myself (notice I said MOST days…not ALL). Back then…I would have made sure the driver knew I felt I was “wronged” somehow.  People change (I like to think mostly for the better) as they get older.

If you were to compare Kyle to a book, Kyle is still in the preface (and Joey Logano- in case you are wondering- he has barely made it to the Title Page). Tony is probably about a a quarter to a third of the way into the story (I have to say this – cuz Tony’s only a couple years older than me). It’s not too far into the story that Tony doesn’t understand where Kyle is…but he understands a little bit more of the plot.

I actually REALLY like Kyle…and honestly had he won Daytona- I would have been a little disappointed that Tony didn’t win (I am, after all a Tony fan first and foremost) but I would have been glad for Kyle.  (I did get to see Kyle win in Vegas this year- and let me tell you that rocked! Seeing him win at his hometown track was awesome).  I am still of the stance that this was “one of those racing deals.” I don’t think Kyle expected Tony to be pulled up to his right rear quarter panel as far as he did when he moved right for the block any more than  Tony expected Kyle to move up on him.  These cars are moving extremely fast and you have to remember the drivers have limited vision in the car (various factors do play into this including lack of side view mirrors and safety restraints- which Kyle and Kasey and Joey should all be very thankful for seeing as they all took hard hits and walked away to play another day).

So last weekend Tony was driving a new paint scheme (the BK paints scheme was mostly white with blue and orange) and won at Daytona at night. This weekend Tony is running a special “Back To School” Office Depot paint scheme (mostly white with lots of other colors) for a race Saturday night at Chicagoland.  Hmmm maybe he will win again.

I found a picture of the car- so be prepared to look for it (not that you can miss it- it will probably be the most colorful car out there):

My favorite part is the part at the top that looks like a composition book. And of course the writing implements because I LOVE pens and the sort!! Anyway…the car will be hard to miss don’t you think?