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Winding Up For The Pitch

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, throws his hans device at Kevin Harvick (not pictured), driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, after an on-track incident  at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

I couldn’t resist the title. After the Denny/Harvick incident I actually tweeted that.  But I am getting ahead of myself. Bristol is one of my favorite tracks to watch on television; it and Martinsville. I guess I am a just a short track racing girl at heart.  Jeff Burton was again piloting the #14 Bass Pro Chevy for our driver Tony Stewart.  He qualified the #14 25 for the race- I wasn’t able to catch ANY of practice or qualifying so I couldn’t gauge how the car was running and had no idea what to expect from our team 14.

I was pleased to see that once the green flag flew Jeff Burton was able to move up through the field, slowly and steadily picking off positions one at a time fairly methodically and patiently- a feat that is not easy at a track that known to ignite the tempers of even the most mild mannered of drivers. Crew Chief Chad Johnston made an interesting call during a caution at lap 198 and that put the 14 car up in the top four of the race! That right there was a BEAUTIFUL thing to see. (more…)

I absolutely hate April Fool’s Day. I am notoriously gullible which makes me a prime target. An example: at college another student and I had the same backpack. I inadvertently took hers from a bookstore cubby and didn’t discover the err until my next class. I ran back, made the exchange and thought nothing of it. Until later that week when my dad called me to tell me the police were at the house looking for me- something about a stolen backpack. I may or may not have been in tears by the end of the joke.

Anyway- I love this video of drivers talking about the best and worst pranks. Check it out!

April Fool’s Day: NASCAR Style

Drivers sit down and talk about some of the best pranks they have seen over the years.


Sponsored by: NASCAR inGEAR

Servicing the #14 Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet

The #14 pit crew services Tony Stewart’s Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart’s Official Facebook Page)

Before we get into Team 14 and their run- we need to address the tire situation. I know that Goodyear claims that the teams were at fault for the tires but I have trouble with that. Why? Because multiple teams experienced issues across manufacturer platforms. Every 25 laps or so there were a rash of tire failures.  To me that speaks of an issue with the tire compound.  Yes I know that Goodyear brought the same compound as they brought last year and that there wasn’t a problem before- but the cars have a different rules package that affect down force this year. The engineers at Goodyear maybe should have thought of that and either brought a different compound or at the very least issued some sort of bulletin to the teams.

Let me tell you why I care about tire failures beyond the fact that they are dangerous: Auto Club is consistently ragged on for being a boring race- that it should have it’s race taken away and given to another track. This year, from my seat, the racing was GOOD! The cars were moving around and passing and it was just exciting. Many drivers were able to recover from problems and make it back up towards the front (I am looking at you Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart) over the course of a race.  To have that interrupted so much by cautions due to tire failures was FRUSTRATING for me as a fan.  That is not fun- to watch your driver over come something like a wickedly handling car (Tony Stewart- which we will take about later) or a pit road speeding penalty (Jeff Gordon) and make it back towards the front. (more…)

Denny Hamlin in Victory Lane at Homestead

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
(Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America

I always feel kind of bad when the winner at Homestead-Miami is not the same person as the one who won the Championship-  because their win gets overlooked a little.  So congratulations to Denny Hamlin on winning the race!  By winning at Homestead- Denny Hamlin was able to keep his streak alive- of winning at least one race for the past 7 season. Awesome!

And speaking of the race what a race it was.  There was after all- Matt Kenseth (second in points) leading the most laps, Jimmie the series leader sustaining damage during a restart when another car spun it’s tires.  It was a real nail biter there wondering if Jimmie was going to need to pit- he also fell down to like 26th at that point so it was all YIKES what will happen for a little while- something I did not think would happen because I went into the race pretty darn sure that Jimmie was going to come out 6-time.

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Since I got all philosophical, sentimental, or whatever you would call that with the Texas Race Report –I left out the “Notes” section where I usually go into all things NASCAR that didn’t fit nice and tidy in the race post. So I present to you- NASCAR tidbits in no particular order that have been floating around in my brain: (more…)

Someone please tell me what is it with Misty and I? Of the last three races that we have been able to attend in person (Fall Phoenix 2012, Las Vegas, and now Autoclub) post race fights have broken out at two of them and each fight included one of our favorite drivers (Phoenix had  Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer going at it and of course you may have heard that my driver went a little agro on Joey Logano at Autoclub).  I will get into the post race pugilism a little later. First let’s get to the actual race.

The Naval Re-Enlistment Ceremony before Driver Introductions at AutoClub Speedway. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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I thought the race in New Hampshire was a snooze fest on TV.  I don’t know if it was that way in person or not.  Denny Hamlin lead a majority of the laps…a HUGE HONKIN’ majority – and by quite a large lead. Basically no one could catch him.  Unfortunately when a race is dominated so greatly like that I tend to find them a tad boring.

Tony Stewart in his car during practice at New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Glenn Bure for BadGroove.com)

Tony qualified 3rd!  A stellar effort. I was THRILLED.  WhooHoo!  He lead thirty somthing (38 sticks in my head but I am not sure) laps. Thrilled. He fell back a little having to shove the break down when someone came across his nose during pit stops- but he still came out third. Still thrilled.  The race went down hill from there. They were chasing the car handling and Tony fell further and further back. He even dropped out of the top 10 a couple times. He was always able to get back into the top ten but still…they were NOT the car they were at the beginning of the race. Tony was disappointed- and voiced his dissatisfaction on the radio after the race telling the team “Disappointed guys- all the way around.” Don’t worry Tony- I was disappointed too.

Tony Stewart drives the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevy during practice at New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Glenn Bure for BadGroove.com)

Tony was able to actually finish the race 7th.  This caused him to drop down to 4th in the Sprint Cup Championship standings.

Tony Stewart speaks with Greg Zipadelli, Director of Competition for Stewart-Haas Racing in the garage area at New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Glenn Bure for BadGroove.com)

Notes:

  1. All of the cautions at New Hampshire were for debris- except for the competition caution at lap 40.  Those don’t help for the excitement level that is for certain. Sometimes races are boring. I am sure that happens with other sports too. Sometimes there is just a dude.
  2. I decided to try out RACE BUDDY for the first time ever today during the race…while watching the National Broadcast. I decided not to do that again. Race Buddy was actually about a lap behind the TV and was driving me bonkers so I turned off my laptop and used DirecTV Hotpass instead. But I do think it would be great to use if I wasn’t able to watch the race- like say…during a rain- postponed race at work or something.
  3. Last season- there was a large contingent of Tony Stewart fans (before the 2011 Chase that is) who wanted Stewart’s then crew chief Darian Grubb replaced. I know this because I was often subscribed to their FaceBook groups (come on Facebook- make it so that people can ASK you to join not just auto join you into their groups).  They got their wish despite the fact that Tony won the 2011 Championship.  I often wonder if they regret getting their wish?
  4. A special thanks to Glenn Bure for providing our pictures from the race at New Hampshire!

Next week: DOVER!

My Favorite shot of Glenn’s from New Hampshire:

Tony Stewart’s Helmet sits on the top of the car in the garage area at New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Glenn Bure)

As a Tony Stewart fan, I went into the 2011 Sprint Cup chase extremely pessimistic.  After all, Tony Stewart went into the chase saying he thought the team was wasting a chase berth with the way they had been performing.  Of course we all know what happened; Tony Stewart went on a tear- won FIVE of the ten Chase races (something that had NEVER been done before)  including the season closer at Homestead-Miami, thus winning the Chase by TIEBREAKER.  It was both exhilarating and stressful to be a Tony Stewart fan towards the end of the 2011 chase.  I was AT the Phoenix race and spent most of the race perched on the patio of the media center- watching the race through my fingers.  I don’t even remember much about the Homestead race- except that I was so stoked that I promised my family that if Tony won the championship I would treat them to dinner at the Outback. Guess you all know what I had for dinner that night.  What made the chase so great last year- especially during Homestead was that it was so CLOSE- and to win it Tony Stewart HAD TO WIN THE RACE- a second place wouldn’t cut it.

CHICAGO, IL- SEPTEMBER 12: (L – R) Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Clint Boyer, Denny Hamlin, Kaey Kahne and Tony Stewart pose in front of “The Bean” as part of NASCAR Chase Media Day and NASCAR Contenders Live on September 12, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. They are the twelve drivers competing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. (Photo Credit: David Banks/Getty Images North America)

This year however, I feel EXCITEMENT going into the chase because this year NASCAR’s Chase for the 2012 Sprint Series Cup could be brought home by ANY of the 12 drivers. I personally do not count ANYONE out.  Sure Tony’s the reigning champion and I would LOVE to see him become a FOUR time champion. Denny Hamlin goes in to the Chase seeded first and his crew chief Darian Grubb no doubt feels he has a point to prove. But I can’t count out Jimmie Johnson- he’s won five and is looking hard for 6. With FOUR of the 12 cars being Hendrick Motorsports cars that means mathematically (and I am NOT good at math people) there is a 1/3 chance that winner could be a Hendrick car- and Junior has been looking strong and CONSISTENT all season. And Jeff Gordon has been driving like a maniac (in a good way) these last few races.  And Kasey’s had some bad luck but pretty much had that first Wild Card spot in the bag in Richmond. Kenseth no doubt would like to leave the 17 team with a Championship before jumping over to Joe Gibbs Racing next season.  Harvick is tenacious and they didn’t give him the nickname THE CLOSER for anything.  Then we have dark horses like Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr and Clint Bowyer who have also been RIGHT there all season long.  And I would NEVER ever ever count out Brad Keselowski. In my mind- right before we go into the first race of the Chase it is ANYONE’s trophy right now.

CHICAGO, IL- SEPTEMBER 12: Front row L-R The Next 9 drivers Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Cameron Hayley, Dylan Kwasniewski, Daniel Suarez, Sergio Pena, Kyle Larson, Darrell Wallace and Corey LaJoie, back row Eleven of the NASCAR Chase drivers L-R Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. at a party as part of NASCAR Chase Media Day and NASCAR Contenders Live on September 12, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo Credit: David Banks/Getty Images North America)

As a NASCAR fan, the fact that it is anyone’s championship right now is EXCITING. Of course I still want Tony Stewart to win it!

CHICAGO, IL- SEPTEMBER 12: Tony Stewart (C) speaks with young drivers who are from the Next 9 at a party as part of NASCAR Chase Media Day and NASCAR Contenders Live on September 12, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo Credit: David Banks/Getty Images North America)

Who do YOU think will win it all?