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Dale Junior’s Car Graveyard: A Bird’s Eye View- Jay Busbee for Yahoo!Sports

NASCAR’s Pre-Race Pairings Make For Some Interesting Conversation- Dustin Long for SportsIllustrated.com

Danica Patrick Doesn’t Deserve Her Ride? Give Me A Break- Bob Pockrass for SportingNews.Com

An Open Letter To Bruton Smith- Pete Pistone Eye On NASCAR forCBSSports.com

Backseat Drivers Council- 2012 surprises, tips for the track and listening to NASCAR on SiriusXM Radio- Dustin Long for Athlon Sports

Telltale Signs: Key Questions That Could Be Answered In The Next Four Races- Bob Pockrass for SportingNews.Com

A Tony Stewart Quote for you:

For us to battle through all the variables that were thrown at us throughout the year makes our championship even more remarkable. It definitely makes you go, ‘How did we do this? How did we overcome all these variables to get to where we are?’ At the same time, it made the championship very gratifying because we were able to take a less-than-perfect scenario and have success with it. (Tony Stewart answering a fan’s question about his favorite part of the 2011 Championship. Office Depot Racing website)

Your Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Blatantly Stolen from The Official TSR Fan Page (Click picture to be taken to Official TSR Facebook Fanpage).

I have to say that I worried that we wouldn’t get the entire race in Fontana in.  While I live in California- (granted I live much much  farther north than Fontana)  it rained on and off  all day.  So YEY that the race didn’t seem to be too affected by the rain. 

Tony qualified 16th for the race today and early on he struggled- sometimes finding himself as low as 24th position.  However, during the last half of the race, the team seemed to recover some of the handling that Tony was looking for and he was trekking off towards the front of the field- at one time he was as high as 5th.  Unfortunately for Tony he seemed to fall off a bit towards the end of the race.

I will admit right here that I missed somethings during the race because I kept having to run out to do laundry so that I get it all done before I leave for Vegas on Wednesday. I missed Juan Pablo Montoya’s engine blowing. I also missed Ryan Newman’s engine blowing and only knew about that thanks to Twitter when I peeked in at my account.  I admit when they were talking about Jeff Gordon also having possible engine issues I worried that Tony too would fall pray to the mysterious engine gremlins that seemed to be plaguing some of the Team Chevy drivers. Luckily that was not the case though and he was able to finsih 9th at Autoclub Speedway.  He now has a total of 235 points and raising his standings in the points to 17th.  Unfortantely teammate Ryan Newman’s engine failure caused him to finish 36th in the race which dropped him two places in the standings to 36th.

Race winner Jimmie Johnson (Jimmie also won the only race I have seen in person at Autoclub! My thoughts are you don’t want Jimmie in the lead at Autoclub because he is going to be hard to get around!) beat out second place Kevin Harvick in an exciting duel. The two actually ended up racing each other a lot both at the beginning of the race and then again at the end- giving fans an exciting finish to the day. 

Notes about Race 2:

  • I have to say I really REALLY liked Dale Jr.’s orange AMP JUICE paint scheme. REALLY!
  • Speaking of Dale Jr. – I have to send out my congratulations to Andy (prize pack 1) and Lindi (prize pack 2) who won the Dale Jr. Prize packages we gave away (thanks also to AMP and Conye PR who provided the prize packs).
  • What was with all the speeding penalties this race? I guess it was even worse in the Nationwide race.
  • I am looking forward to Vegas…be sure to stay tuned to my twitter updates to see what Misty and I are up to while in Vegas.

Wow…I don’t know what to call the Daytona 500 today. When they were racing the racing was pretty good.  The problem with the hole though? That was sad that it seemed to ruin the momentum of a good race.  Over two and half hours split between two red flags –yowzer. That sucked for me and I was on a cushy couch inside…not sitting on a hard bleacher for all that time. I can’t imagine what that was like.  And Fox? Um- could you have managed to talk to Tony/Darian a little more during all that time? Granted maybe Tony didn’t want to talk but…you could have at least talked about what kind of problems they were having- I was left in the dark there. 

Tony didn’t have the best of runs. I don’t think the car was set up correctly- when they finally did talk to Tony he mentioned they were fighting a tight car.  And don’t ask me what they were doing to the car’s front end after each of the ends of the red flags- maybe because the track had cooled down so much between the red flag runs that it made his car undriveable? I guess we will have to wait for the official Stewart-Haas racing release that usually comes out on Monday or Tuesday.  I am not sure but he seemed to be nursing the car along somewhere between the 20th and 30th at the end of the race. He finally finished 22nd- after a caution caused by some cars getting together – including Kasey Kahne smacking into Tony fairly hard.  Ryan Newman unfortunately faired worse than Tony did- getting collected during an accident…and ended up finishing in 34th.  Unofficially Newman has 61 points and Stewart has 97 points. 

Race winner was a very emotional Jamie MacMurray- driving the #1 Tracker Bass Pro car during the second attempt at a green white checker.  This year not only has NASCAR relaxed bump drafting rules but they resolve to make three attempts at a green white checker finish.  Even though there was an accident involving Jeff Gordon among others during that second attempt the rule stipulates that if the race leader has taken the white flag under green that the race will end on that lap. 

I have to give a huge shout out to Dale Earnhardt Jr though for his amazing moves on that last lap and a half or so.  He came from 10th to 2nd by just ballsing his way through…what a great recovery for Dale Jr.  Speaking of Dale Jr…you can enter to win one of two Dale Jr. Prize packs here.

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Instead of my notes section that I usually do I wanted to share some pictures:

Race fans taking part in the pre-race Coca-Cola track walk at Daytona International Speed way this morning. (Photo provided by: Fast Horse PR)

And for our annual Daytona 500 viewing party spread I went with a Stewart-Haas Racing theme:

The Stewart-Haas racing theme spread included SHR sponsor products (purchased by me of course) of: Burger King, Coca-Cola, Oreos, Ritz, and Tornados. Other items included Tony Stewart Origianl BBQ on the ribs we ate for dinner that night, Stewart's brand soda and Cheetos cuz I love 'em. (Photo Credit: ME!)

My dad decided that just laying out one of the hash brown tots things from Burger King didn't cut it and built the leaning tower of hashbrown tots. (Photo Credit: ME!)

In celebration of it’s third year of sponsoring the number 88 Chevy of Dale Earnhart Jr. Amp Energy is releasing a DVD entitled “6 Days To Race Day.” The DVD takes fans inside and behind the scenes of Hendrick Motorsports as they prepare during the six days prior to the race where no fewer than 75 pairs of hands will touch the car during the prep period before the race going over a checklist that 250 items long!  The DVD also includes the 2010 Amp Energy Paint scheme and off-track moments with Dale Jr and the team of the #88 Amp Energy Chevy.  The DVD is going to be available on specially marked Amp Energy 4 packs for a limited time so be sure to pick yours up as soon as you can.  These special packages will likely sell out so be sure to pick yours up! 

And now…for the best part of this post…THE BADGROOVE AMP ENERGY Giveaway!!!!

The kind folks at Amp Energy and Coyne PR have provided me with not one but TWO Dale Jr Prize packs for you. 

What do you win? Prize pack #1 is the grand prize and includes an Amp Energy Dale Jr Jacket (jacket is a Large), Hat, Diecast, and other (really cool) goodies. Prize pack #2 is an Amp Energy Dale Jr. Hat, race used sheet metal piece and other (really cool) goodies. 

 How do you enter? It’s quite easy: Just answer the following trivia question in the comments section of this post. All the correct answers will be put into a hat and a random winner will be chosen. Be sure to make sure you leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you are the big winner…you can only enter once…and no family members are allowed to enter (sorry Mom- yeah I know Jr. is your favorite driver but you are not eligible).   Trivia question: What years did Jr. win back-to-back NASCAR Nationwide (then the Busch series) series championships? As I mentioned you can only enter once BUT you can get a bonus entry by Tweeting about this contest with a link to this entry…just comment a second time and leaving the link to your tweet.  All entries must be received by noon pacific time on friday February 19th, 2010.

Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that as of the race at Texas Motorspeedway, Steve Addington will no longer be the crew chief for Kyle Busch.  He will be replaced by Dave Rogers, while Addington will be “reassigned” within JGR (see official team announcement here).

I admit when I read that this morning I was completely shocked.  Yeah Kyle hasn’t had the best of years- but you know everyone has a run of bad luck…is that any reason to replace your crew chief?  Especially a crew chief that you had a totally awesome run with the season before?

Then I started thinking about it and ruminating over it. Why why why?? Then  my friend sent me an email stating this: You don’t think that they are eventually going to move Addington over to Logano because Zippy is leaving to be with Tony Stewart do you? Well of course that just launched me into playing musical chairs with the crew chief/driver pairings and this is what I came up with should a game of musical crew chiefs arise out of this news:

Addington goes to Logano, Greg Zipadelli goes to Stewart, Grubb goes to Newman, Gibson goes to Junior, but I am still chiefless for Kyle Busch. So I guess the cheese stands alone for right now.

So what do you think is going on? Is it just a simple personality clash between Addington and Busch? Or is it a more involved game of musical crew chiefs that is going to happen? How do you think the drivers and crew chiefs line up (or how should they line up)?

This weekend had me watching the race at THE NASCAR CAFE in Las Vegas with my BFF.  This is the second race I would have watched there and let me tell you this: the NASCAR CAFE has changed a lot in less than a year…and it’s not for the better.  First off they changed the menu drastically. Secondly- they closed the top part of the restaurant…which was always my favorite place to sit. Now you have to sit downstairs by the bar- that sucks too.  And lastly? They have stopped doing the thing where you pay a ten dollar cover and get free cola and are entered in a drawing.

Also? They have this huge burrito. I mean I think I heard it has 27000 calories (no that isn’t a mistake).  And if you can eat it all- it’s free.  Well each time a person decided to try it…they interrupt the race for it…and march it around the bar. Um NO! We were there to watch the race. Not watch a burrito parade.

Anyway- I was glad to see Tony not only qualified in the top ten but that he was able to remain in the top ten through most of the race. I was glad to see him pass Biffle late in the race to take over third. He retained his points lead over a new second place – Jimmie Johnson.  Teammate Ryan Newman finished 14th retaining his 7th position in the overall points standing.

  • One of the things I love about the racing at Indy is the pageantry.  It’s much like Daytona that way.  I think ESPN did a great job by incorporating the driver intros into the broadcast.
  • In my rush to get to Vegas on Thursday I didn’t think to DVR the Stewart HotPass channel. Urg.
  • Interesting Observation One: While at the cafe, when Junior blew an engine? The whole place errupted in CHEERS! I was shocked- normally there would be a collective AWWW MAN or something but not cheers for Juniors misfortune.  I was not shocked however, when the place erupted into cheers when Kyle Busch crashed.
  • Interesting Observation two: Conversation heard at the table behind us during the last five laps of the race: Friend One: GO JJ GO! Friend Two: Who’s in the 5 car? Friend One: Uh I dunno some guy. Of course this was right before Friend Two referred to Jimmie Johnson as junior. I am not sure if they were just not really NASCAR fans or if they were drunk…in Vegas it could be either.
  • Ok…I have been saying for a long time that I didn’t get the “She’s From Russia” version of the Tony Stewart/ Old Spice commercial.  I REALLY don’t get the talking with food in his mouth commercial.  It’s rather gross.

Next weekend we are back at that evil little triangle track Pocono already. Tony won there last race…can he do it agan?

Bullet style cuz you know I love the bullets.

  • Tweet Up In Indy for a chance to meet Elliott Sadler!  Elliot Sadler and Allstate are organizing a Tweet-Up in Indy this Thursday (July 23rd).  Not only will you get to meet NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler but you have a chance to win tickets to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.  Fans just need to follow @Elliot_Sadler and @allstate on Twitter to find out where to meet up or can register for the tweet-up here (thanks @ryanmcshane for the heads up!)
  • If you happen to be both an ENTOURAGE fan and a race fan- you are going to be in luck this Sunday July 26th.  HBO will be airing an episode of the show shot at Auto Club Speedway (California Speedway).  Auto Club Speedway got a taste of international flair in May on track as cast members Kevin Connolly (Eric), Adrian Grenier (Vince), Kevin Dillon (Drama), Jerry Ferrara (Turtle), shot episode 603 which included the new Ferrari California – the latest edition to the new generation of Ferraris. I don’t watch the show but I can tell you that I have been to Auto Club Speedway. Might be worth tuning in for- just for a peek at the Ferrari if nothing else!
  • Attention Tony Stewart Fans: The Tony Stewart Foundation is holding its inaugural blood drive in Indiana today and tomorrow (July 21st and July 22nd). Called the “TONY IS OUT FOR BLOOD” drive, those who donate at one of the one of the 12 participating Office Depot store blood drives or 10 Indiana Blood Center donation centers across the state will get a free limited edition OUT FOR BLOOD t-shirt, appointments are encouraged but not required.  For more information go here. Fans of Stewart-Haas Racing across the country are encouraged to donate blood in their home communities.
  • Iowa Speedway will roll out the red carpet on July 30 to welcome members of NASCAR and the local community to Rusty’s Roast presented by Musco Lighting, a night of revelry and reflection on the life and career of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series legend Rusty Wallace. The event will highlight key moments from this former NASCAR champion’s illustrious career, including his 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship and 55 career wins, and point out some of those moments he would rather be forgotten. Rusty’s Roast, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., will raise funds for The NASCAR Foundation, of which Wallace serves on the Board of Directors. Fans are invited to submit congratulatory notes to Rusty on The NASCAR Foundation’s Rusty Roast message board now through July 28. Select notes will then be shown on screens at the event.
  • Amp Energy is again giving Dale Jr fans the change to get their name on his #88 Amp Energy car that he will be running at Talladega. Check out GET ON THE 88 for details and to enter.

Here’s a story of a girl named Amy, who went to Infineon for the first time on June 19-21st to see the NASCAR race.  In tow- her BFF.

On Friday on a semi lark,  we left my home, drove to Santa Rosa to see Tony’s show car:

Tonys Show Car at Office Depot in Santa Rosa, CA

Tony's Show Car at Office Depot in Santa Rosa, CA. Did you know that the office depot car is sparkly? It is when you are up close to it. Photo Credit: ME

From there we were off to the hotel. We were staying in in Concord, CA. All I can say is that HOTWIRE has not led us astray yet. This was a nice hotel- centrally located for our purposes. After a moment to refresh we were on our way to Infineon to check out the track- get our bearings and hopefully catch qualifying since we definitely did not catch practice.

You all know I have a fear of heights.  Its actually a fairly intense fear- so much that I the Ferris Wheel at Disney’s California Adventure made me cry (as an adult). Well this fear also extends to extremely tall bridges…and I knew we would have to be crossing one so I was a little freaked out to have to drive across a bridge. I must have been envisioning like the Bay Bridge or The Golden Gate- because this one didn’t freak me out at all.  So YEY there- since we would have to cross it several times.  The other thing I would have to deal with that I have never dealt with before would be a toll! $4.00!! That is crazy- or so I think anyway! That would be 20 bucks a week if I had to cross that bridge everyday for work or something! Of course I would also have one of those fancy fastrac things and not have to wait to hand my money to a person.

Anyway- we follow our directions to the speedway- and in trying to find the parking area- end up by passing the track and the parking area only to end up in nearby Petaluma. Whoops.  I never said I had a great sense of direction. So we get turned back towards the speedway and I see that I totally missed the parking area turn off- and get turned into the speedway and parked (next to a pasture filled with sheep and goats I might add).  So we walked up to the shuttle stop and just as I was cresting the top of the hill I hear what sounds like my car being pelted with pebbles. I turn to see a jerk in a car peeling out of the gravel lot and peppering my car (which was parked in an end spot) with dirt. Both my friend and I turn and instinctively yell “REAL NICE JERK” and apparently we did it loud enough they heard cuz the passenger turned towards us.  I mean seriously use your freaking head people.  Anyway, we just happened to hit it right so that the shuttle was there at the stop and made our way down to the grandstand area of the track. We were going to watch qualifying in our Turn 7 seats…but problem there was that we were kinda late by the time we made it to the grandstands and it would require either quite the hike or a shuttle ride!! So we took a place right next to the start/finish line about halfway up- which was actually the optimum place to watch qualifying:

Martin Truex Qualifies at Infineon Raceway

Martin Truex Jr. Qualifies at Infineon Raceway. I really liked Martin's blue car for Infineon. Photo Credit: ME

Denny Hamlin takes the green flag at the beginning of his qualifying run. Photo Credit: ME!

Denny Hamlin takes the green flag at the beginning of his qualifying run. Photo Credit: ME!

Jeff Gordon qualifies. I have to say that Jeffs car is extremely pretty in person.  It stands out well.

Jeff Gordon qualifies. I have to say that Jeff's car is extremely pretty in person. It stands out well. Photo Credit: ME

Junior makes his qualifying attempt at Infineon

Junior makes his qualifying attempt at Infineon. Photo Credit: ME

I am going to have to admit that it was a little more disorientating than I thought it would be to be sitting in stands on the “wrong” side of the track. By that I mean that the grandstands at the startfinish line they are on the side of the track that would be considered “infield” at an oval. That was just a little odd to me.

After qualifying we wandered through the tunnel to the merchandise area (you can see it on the otherside of the track over there in the qualifying pictures). I don’t know if it was me or not but there seemed to be signifigantly fewer merchandise haulers at infineon than elsewhere. I don’t know if the others were located somewhere else but I didn’t see that many. When were done with merchandise we wandered back over to the shuttle and left for the day.

Next Up: Infineon: A Road Course Adventure Day 2: Saturday