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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…)

Mark Martin pilots Tony Stewart's 14 car at Kansas

Mark Martin, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevrolet, pulls into the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 13th Annual Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 5, 2013. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)

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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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Hello Las Vegas Smoke Fans!  I have good news!  I have heard of two Tony Stewart appearances in the Las Vegas area that I want to share with you:

1. Tony Stewart will be appearing Wednesday March 6th 2013 at the Bass Pro Shop in Las Vegas with fellow Bass Pro driver Ty Dillon at 1:00 Pm.  The Bass Pro Shop is located next to the Silverton hotel and Casino right off the 15.  I don’t know if wristbands are needed but I would assume they are and arrive early.*

2. On Saturday March 9th, 2013 Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick will be signing autographs at the MGM Grand for Coca-Cola Racing at 7:00 PM.  Wristbands ARE required and will be given away at noon on Saturday at the MGM Grand.  There are only 50 wristbands available for this event- I would expect them to go quickly so you may want to get there early. When they did a similar event for Jamie McMurray a couple of years ago they were stationed in the main lobby- so I would start there.

*Sorry about my lack of knowledge about the Bass Pro Event- the PR company for Office Depot racing use to forward me his appearances in advance of races - I do not get that information from Bass Pro or Mobil or any of his other sponsors- so if I find any info out I try to pass on what I know.

It’s always hard for me to watch races at Phoenix on the TV because I LOVE that track- it is one of my favorites that I have been to in person.  It makes it all the harder that the first Phoenix race is so early in the schedule because I haven’t been to a race track since last November (which coincidentally was Phoenix) and I miss just being at a track. I miss the smells and the noise and the colors and the hustle and bustle of the tracks so watching the first Phoenix race of the season is akin to torture for me.

Why, if I love Phoenix so much, did I not go to the race?  Well regular readers might have heard this before- but it has to do with it being back-to-back with the Vegas race (which I absolutely will not miss if for no other reason than that was my VERY FIRST NASCAR RACE) and also being so close to the Auto Club date as well.  Plus Misty and I both have real 8-5 Monday-Friday kind of jobs (and we work in way different fields in different states) so that going to 3 races in one month is impractical if not impossible.  So Phoenix gets put off until the fall race. I am SO GLAD it has a fall race because otherwise it would be hard to have to narrow which track to miss.

My caption for this picture: Is that a rather large spoiler on your rear deck lid or are you just happy to see me? – Amy.  [Tony Stewart on track at Phoenix Raceway (Photo Credit: Andrew Coppley/CIA Stock Photography, Inc.) Photo borrowed from the Tony Stewart Facebook page- click picture to be taken to original.]

Anyway- the Subway Fit Fresh 500k (312 laps/miles) was not so good for the Stewart-Haas drivers! Yikes!  First poor Ryan Newman couldn’t catch a break! First he suffers not only one but two blown tires- the last one putting a premature end to his race. Then Danica also suffers a blown tire and ends up not only hitting a wall but then getting hit by another car and ending her day.

Thankfully, Tony Stewart didn’t seem to have any tire issues- but don’t think I wasn’t worried that he would…especially as the runs got longer.  Tony started the race in sixth place and it seemed like where he was in the field depended on how many tires he took. For a long time after his four tire stops he would end up mired back in traffic in 18th, 20th position somewhere.  I know he was frustrated too because I heard him say on his radio that he didn’t understand how the were slower when they were on 4 tires than with 2.  He would eventually start working his way up towards the front towards the end of the runs though or so it seemed to me.  Luckily he ended up in or near the top 10 before the last top which ended up being two tires.  Tony ended up finished 8th and moving up to 23rd in the points standings.

Notes About Phoenix:

1. I don’t know if you noticed but when Ryan blew a tire and wrecked the second time- he decided to walk to the infield care center instead of ride in the safety vehicle. Tony must have seen him at some point walking on the track because he asked on his radio “Is he mad or is he just getting out of the way?” I thought it was funny. I think he was frustrated- but not at someone else like Tony may have thought.

2. I don’t have NASCAR.COM’s RaceView to watch the races with. I was actually considering getting it since DirecTV ditched their Hot Pass stations (Boo directv boo!) but I have heard from a couple people that they have been having major issues with it. Is anyone else having trouble? Because I don’t know if I want it if it’s going to be more of a frustration than anything else. (For those wondering- I have Sprint and use the NASCAR13 Sprint mobile ap for the scanner).

3. Am I the only one who can’t find the simple things on the new NASCAR.COM- like race lineups, qualifying orders and the like?  I have been trying to keep an open mind about their new layout (I tend to be one of those anti-change people) but when I can’t find the information I am looking for easily- I get frustrated on give up.

I am going to leave you with this picture from Phoenix Raceway because it seems to me that every time I see Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon together- Jeff is usually CRACKING up big time and that makes ME crack up:

Tony Stewart (right) and Jeff Gordon (left) share a laugh in the garage area at Phoenix International Raceway.

Next race; VEGAS BABY!

I try to think of some witty title for each race post and I admit it isn’t always the easiest of tasks.  This time I did NOT come up with it myself: I totally credit my TwitterPeep @darksider14 with coming up with TallaKansas!  So Kansas was a complete wreck fest on Sunday with a new track record of 14 cautions, the previous track record being set the day before at the Nationwide Series race on Saturday with 12.

(Photo Credit: Borrowed Without Asking From The Official Tony Stewart Website- click on photo to be taken to original)

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*****ENTRIES FOR THIS CONTEST ARE NOW CLOSED AND A WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. Thank you EVERYONE who commented and tweeted.*****

As you probably know there are several #NASCAR drivers that are members of the Coca-Cola racing family- including our beloved Tony Stewart (and fellow Stewart-Haas Racing Drivers Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick)! But did you know that Carmike Cinemas have these really cool collector cups featuring Coca-Cola Family Drivers TONY STEWART, Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick, Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle? They do! These awesome looking cups can be purchased at the theater concession stands starting August 1st 2012 (what a great excuse to go to the movies right?) and will be available until September 30th OR until the cups run out! You will want to get thee to a theater as soon as possible to get one (I tell you I WISH I lived in an area with these theaters because I would be there on August 1st to make sure I got a Tony Stewart cup or three!). And along with your uber cool Coca-Cola collector #NASCAR cup you also have the chance to enter for a trip to the Daytona 500 (WHOO HOO!)! So be sure to head over to your local Carmike Cinema starting August 1st to get your #NASCAR Coca-Cola Racing family cup! If you LIKE the Carmike Cinema Facebook Page they have a great little ap for you to look up movie times that is super handy!

GIVEAWAY: To announce the Coca-Cola Racing Family cups- I have been given a GREAT Coca-Cola/Carmike Gift Basket for you to win!  The basket includes 4 of the Coca-Cola #NASCAR driver collectible cups, a Coca-Cola t-shirt and cooler, 2 Carmike Cinemas movie passes and a $50 AMEX gift card!  What an awesome gift basket!

You could win this Coca-Cola Carmike Gift Basket that includes: 4 of the Coca-Cola #NASCAR driver collectible cups, a Coca-Cola t-shirt and cooler, 2 Carmike Cinemas movie passes and a $50 AMEX gift card!

To enter just leave a comment on this post with your favorite movie or a movie you are looking forward to seeing! It’s easy as that.

The Rules:

To enter you can leave a comment on this post that includes your valid email address so that I may contact you if you are the winner.  As the winner you agree to provide a current shipping address so that your gift basket may be sent to you!

You may only enter once via the comments however you can also get one additional entry if you tweet the following on twitter:

I just entered to win a Cool @cocacolaracing @carmikecinemas gift basket over @Badgroove and you can too- http://www.badgroove.com/?p=8187

You must enter before Midnight Pacific Time August 10th, 2012!

Winner will be chosen at random from all entries via website and twitter. There will be only one winner!

General disclosure: The prize was provided by Coca-Cola. Neither Coca-Cola nor its program partners (NASCAR + Carmike Cinemas) are sponsors, administrators, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of The Coca-Cola Company or aforementioned partners. Winner to be chosen by Bad Groove.

*****ENTRIES FOR THIS CONTEST ARE NOW CLOSED AND A WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL!  Thank you EVERYONE who commented and tweeted.*****

I am trying to incorporate more blog posts from other NASCAR bloggers in the weekly reads:

Love To Hate The 88- Ryan McGee  for ESPN Magazine

Too Many Wrecks at Talladega?- Jay Busbee for YahooSports!

Vines and Wines: Jeff Gordon Cellars- Jack Berninger for Richmond Times-Dispatch

Danica Patrick Says She Did Not Mean To Wreck Sam Hornish- Bob Pockrass for Sporting News

Dale Jr Reaches New Level of Consistency- JD / Bumpdrafter

One-on-One With Jeff Gluck- Amanda Ebersole for Skirts & Scuffs

Gratuitous Tony Stewart Picture:

Tony at Talladega. (Photo Credit: The official Tony Stewart Facebook page- click picture for link)