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Ahh- did you hear that? It’s the sigh of a happy race fan girl now that cars are officially back on track for the beginning of the 2018 NASCAR race season.

Keselowski takes the checkered flag at Daytona Speedway on February 11, 2018. (photo credit: Getty Images)

And can you believe that Jimmie Johnson crashed at the Clash yet again? The clash and Jimmie just don’t get along well.  Before his bigger incident at the end of the race he actually had a narrow miss earlier in the race when a car decided to split the difference in the middle. I was impressed though by the power that team Penske seemed to exhibit in the Clash- finishing 1 (Brad Keselowski) ,2 (Joey Logano) and 4th (Ryan Blaney) with fellow Ford Kurt Busch coming in 3rd- a strong showing from last year’s Daytona 500 winner from Stewart-Haas Racing. Winner was

After watching the clash though I have to admit- I am reconsidering some of my drivers that I was going to pick for my first race using the new NASCAR Fantasy Live for certain. I haven’t officially picked my roster yet because it was my understanding that you can’t really select your roster until this week anyway. I am thinking of waiting until the results of the duels. I will miss watching the duels because I am stuck in training sessions most of the day.

One driver I was considering having on my fantasy team that I think I will remove is McMurray. I wasn’t impressed with his performance even before he had his on track incident.  One driver that I wasn’t the least bit considering and now am thinking twice about is Chase Elliott.  He was strong and aggressive at the beginning of the clash. I was impressed I admit.  Although then again at the end of the race he fell back and never really recovered ending up 13th in a field of 17 cars.  So I am kind of wishy washy about selecting him although maybe I could use him as my garaged driver and put him in (before the final stage).

So tell me- did results of the Clash and other on track activity this last weekend make you change your mind about who you will include on your race team this week?

Oh by the way- I have my own league in the NASCAR Fantasy LIVE edition…wanna join? Leave a comment with your email address and I will contact you with the information for joining us.

(source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

The Daytona 500 is the first NASCAR anything I have seen all season.  I missed the Clash because we were in the midst of a 52 hour power outage thanks to hurricane force winds that showed up with one of the many rain storms this area has received over the past several months. I always miss at least one of the duels because of work and this time I missed both duels. I don’t usually watch qualifying or practices for work reasons as well.

So settling in to take in the Daytona 500 was my first experience as a driver-less race fan as far back as I can remember. You may have noticed I have purposely not made a sweeping declaration of whom I will be supporting because I feel that will have to come organically and naturally as it did back when I picked up being a Tony Stewart fan way back when I did. Since no one applied to by my favorite driver I am forced to adopt a wait and see attitude driver wise.  I have a certain pool of drivers that I pull for but we will see who ends up being a stand out. As for the race itself- I have decided I want to discuss certain components of the race before I give my thoughts on the race as a whole.  (more…)

While I didn’t watch the truck race at Talladega- I did hear about the last lap melee that ensued and it had me sitting down on Sunday with my usual trepidation about Talladega. I know you probably think I kid but this track makes me very very nervous. From what I heard of the ending of the truck race- I had every reason to be worried.  Luckily there wasn’t anything major that happened. Well if you don’t count Austin Dillon’s little flight on the last lap.

Austin Dillon, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, looks on prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

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(Yes I know this is late- but I wanted to make sure I gave this entry the attention it deserved. I hope you find it worth the wait-Amy)

The sights of the Kobalt 400 in Las Vegas 2012. Click collage to be taken to Flickr photo set from the race. (Photo Credit: All photos in collage taken by me- Amy K. Marbach)

The NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway holds a special place in my heart- it was the first NASCAR race I ever attended (and the first oval track race I ever attended). Las Vegas Motor Speedway was also the first Speedway I ever held a media credential at- so it is a track of firsts for me. (more…)

Tony Stewart will be one of several drivers running a special “Honoring Our Heroes” paint scheme commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the world trade center in 2001.  The #14 Office Depot Chevy will carry a red, white and blue patriotic theme during the September 10th race to be run at Richmond and will look something like this:

Tony Stewart - Honoring Our Heros Diecast (Image Courtesy of Lionel NASCAR Collectibles)

The paint scheme is one of many running under the “Honoring Our Heroes” program which is a partnership with Lionel NASCAR Collectibles and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.  A portion of the proceeds from merchandise sales from all of the “Remembering Our Heroes” merchandise will be donated to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which children who have lost a parent, firefighters, and military who have been seriously injured and sacrifice their quality of life in the line of duty.  Other drivers carrying themes under this banner are: Danica Patrick, David Gilliland, Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray.

The diecast is already available through pre-orders.  There is a reason I don’t collect diecasts:  I would be the type of collector that would have to have every variation of every paint scheme out there…and my bank account would never have any money in it. EVER.  And Roxy kind of likes to eat.  And frankly so do I.  But with a portion of the proceeds going to a wonderful cause, how can I not add this special paint scheme to my collection? You can too here.

For more information on the paint scheme, other drivers running similar schemes and the partnership between Lionel NASCAR collectibles and The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation visit here.

Ahh if you never had braces you were a lucky ducky.  I work braces for a couple years and getting them finally removed was cause for celebration. No more painful “adjustments” which is orthadontal speak for tightening and no more food restrictions. My particular braces removal celebration included caramel popcorn.  But anyway, NASCAR fans, I digress.  We got our first taste of the new nose on the cup cars without the splitter braces when the cars hit Daytona International Speedway for testing last Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I have to say I LOVE the look of the new nose on the cars.  In my opinion, the new nose adds to the aesthetics of the car and makes it look sportier.  Hopefully the lack of braces on the splitter will keep the cars from collection hot dog wrappers, grass clumps and other debris and make possible overheating less of an issue. 

SHR cars

Look Ma! No Braces! The new nose on the cars for this season is visible here in this picture tweeted by Stewart Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) today.

Many drivers were getting their first feel of the new surface on the speedway as well, as Daytona was repaved during the off season.  Many drivers reported it to be quite smooth and likened it to the newer surface at Talladega.  It should make for some interesting racing that is for certain.  I loved that testing was streamed live on the internet because I could tune in from my side of the states.  Seeing and hearing the cars on the track put a huge smile on this fan’s face.  Why? Because it means soon our season with be on again in full swing.

 Just from the little pieces of testing that I was able to watch it is going to be hard for me to get use to certain changes.  It’s really weird seeing Kasey Kahne in the Red Bull number 4 car.  I did see him race for Red Bull in person in Phoenix at end of last season, and it was weird then. Still weird.   Weirder yet?  Is Harvick in Budweiser red and Kurt in the number #22! It’s all going to take some getting used to that is for sure.  However this nothing new to us NASCAR fans; sponsors and teams change because our sport is dynamic like that. 

Other changes to look forward to or get use to this season:

  1. Ethanol used as fuel in the cars.  Preliminary reports had the cars getting fewer miles per gallon on the ethanol so we will see how much the switch to a “greener” fuel changes strategy on the track.
  2. Speaking of Ethanol- because of the change to ethanol fuel, the gas can needed to be modified. Because of the modifications to the gas can, it was determined that the catch can man was no longer needed.  It is a plus for pit road safety to have one less man over the wall (especially on smaller tracks with cramped pit roads).  While it may be plus for safety though it probably sucks if you were a catch can man.
  3. Drivers now have to declare a series in which they want to run for the championship.  This I don’t like. Why? Because that means my dreams of watching Kyle Busch sweep all three championships one day has died. Yes I am a Tony fan but I am SURE that Kyle could sweep all three series if he put his mind to it.
  4. There is the possible change in the points system that will be most likely announced soon. 
  5. There is the change in the chase format….playfully called the Jamie Mac Chase Clause (JMCC) between Misty and I.  I think its weird use the last two positions of the chase into more wild card spots given to the two non chase contenders with the most wins. I don’t know how that will change the chase…but I guess we will see.

Needless to say there are a lot of changes this season and not JUST to the drivers/teams.  Here we go NASCAR fans. Let’s buckle in for a new season. And to my Tony Stewart readers all I can say is #goTONYgo!

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Also NASCAR fans- be sure to head over to The Fast and The Fabulous and vote in Round 4 of the Hottest Driver contest. This round pits Stewart-Haas teammates against each other. Go vote…

First I have to preface this by saying I was not watching the Brickyard here at home. I watched it with Misty at HER house with her family as we celebrated her birthday the day before. 

Tony qualified 15th after pulling an early number in the qualifying draw.

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 25: Tony Stewart, driver of the  Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet, looks on from the grid before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 25: Tony Stewart, driver of the Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet, looks on from the grid before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Reports on the TV said that he wasn’t happy with the car throughout practices and his numbers seemed to reflect this. He raced hard and the pitstops for the race were flawless as they continually adjusted on the #14 chevy impala driven by Stewart.  

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 25: Tony Stewart, driver of the  Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 25: Tony Stewart, driver of the Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Darian made a gutsy call for two tires at the end of the race. I admit I was definitely skeptical with that call.  But that two tire call got Tony the track position he needed to finish 5th! YEY! Tony remains 9th in series points. Kevin Harvick remains the series leader. Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray won the 17th running of the Brickyard 400.

“Feels almost like a win to be honest. When we finished Happy Hour yesterday, I was in a doom-and-gloom mood. It’s just been a hot three days and I’ve been dehydrated because I’ve been sick. I’m proud of how good I feel right now, to be honest. That’s due to the Clarian Medical Center here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They’ve worked with me the last two nights trying to get me feeling better and because of that, it got us where we are today.” Stewart, after the brickyard, – credit Team Release.

NOTES ABOUT THE BRICKYARD:

  • I am absolutely loving the Burger King commericals with Tony working at the Burger King. HILARIOUS. Some great stuff there. You can see the extended version at clockedinwithtony.com.
  • I have to admit that I thought we were going to be in for one long Brickyard 400 when there was a huge crash on Lap 1. But there actually weren’t that many cautions thankfully!

BFTP (Bonus Funny Tony Picture)-feel free to leave your humorous captions in the comments:

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 24: Crew member Shane Church, crew chief Darian Grubb, and Tony Stewart, driver of the  Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet have some fun in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 24: Crew member Shane Church, crew chief Darian Grubb, and Tony Stewart, driver of the Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet have some fun in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

I had been following Jamie McMurray on twitter (twitter.com/jamiemcmurray) before he won the Daytona 500 but it has been fun following him since the win- telling us what he has been up to.  Who knew that the Daytona 500 winner had so many appearances just because they won the season opener.  My dad would tell you that it’s because NASCAR starts with it’s superbowl race.

This photo was sent to me of Jamie McMurray at his Friar’s Club engagement in NY where Andrew (yes the author of  The Weekend Starts On Wednesday whom also works for NASCAR) says he was giving New Yorker’s advice on driving around pot holes (Ha- loving all the pot hole jokes):

2010 Daytona 500 Winner Jamie McMurray poses with a picture of himself at 10 after winning a Kansas gokart race. (Photo Credit: Andrew Giangola)

I had to post this picture because I think it’s  cute! Congratulations to Jamie McMurray!