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I didn’t watch much of the pre-race show, I admit. I did watch some of it. But I am wondering if they mentioned WHY the Brickyard 400 was called Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard? I know I mentioned it when the name was announced but it seemed to me that it wasn’t mentioned at during the parts of pre-race that I watched. Just a quick FYI from my original post, John Wayne Walding is a highly decorated Green Beret from Texas who lost the lower part of his leg during a firefight in overseas in 2008 (for more information about John Wayne Walding see my original post) Any way- I wanted to take a couple minutes before we talk about Tony Stewart’s run and share some photos of John Wayne Walding (for the record- that is a cool name) experience at The Brickyard on Sunday:

Green Beret John Wayne Walding enjoying his experience at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the race that bares his name in July 2014. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images for Crown Royal)

As part of his VIP race experience provided by Crown Royal and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, John Wayne Walding waves the green flag during NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images for Crown Royal)

Race namesake, John Wayne Walding hands Jeff Gordon the trophy during the Victory Lane celebration crowning him as the 2014 winner on July 27 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images for Crown Royal)

Brickyard 400 namesake Green Beret John Wayne Walding at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s famed yard of bricks on July 27th, 2014. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images for Crown Royal)

Pretty awesome for your first NASCAR race huh? To get to go to Indianapolis alone would be an amazing race…but to have it named after you would be cool. And i have always wanted to wave the green flag even if only for Qualifying. It was a great way to honor John Wayne’s service and sacrifice for us!

Well now onto the race and Tony’s run. I have to say that I am giving up trying to figure out what kind of run he’s going to have based on his starting position and the track that they are running at and what my “gut” tells me. Because my gut- is usually wrong. If you need proof just look at my fantasy NASCAR season. When I sit there and really try to pick my drivers for the race like I did all spring long…I end up finishing dead last. When I pick drivers based on silly things like how many times I have used them already or what paint scheme they are using for a particular race and how I feel about that paint scheme- I have high scoring races.

Servicing the 14 at Indy

The pit crew of owner/driver Tony Stewart services his #14 Mobile 1 Chevy at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (photo credit: Tony Stewart Facebook)

Anyway- it seemed that no matter what the crew did to work on the car it didn’t really help the handling and in fact seemed to deteriorate as the race went on. Add to that coming in for a flat (at least that is why twitter told me Tony came in…I heard him say he was bringing it in for four tires on the Mobile Ap while ESPN was at commercial and when ESPN came back from commercial they didn’t even say that he had come in- that was nice ESPN since it’s kind of your job to let us know what happens during break)!

Tony walks the garage area

Tony walks the garage area at Indianapolis Motor Speedway July 2014. (photo credit: Tony Stewart Facebook)

Tony got his lost lap back thanks to being a lucky dog and managed to finish 17th and is still 19th in points.

Race winner was Jeff Gordon. He got his 90th win and his 5th Brickyard which makes him tied for the most Indianapolis wins with Michael Schumacher.

Notes About The Brickyard:

1.So Stewart-Haas Racing not only had a bad day over all in Indy- but then they get back to North Carolina and their (empty) SHR parked plane gets hit by a Joe Gibbs Racing plane on the tarmac at Concord Regional Airport. No one was hurt as a result.

2. Have you read the texts between Dale Jr and his mom regarding the Brickyard- they are awesome!

3. One of the worst kept secrets in the garage since the creation of SHR in 2009 was that Carl Edwards would be leaving the Roush Fenway at the end of this season. That was made official at the Brickyard.  Carl is still mum on where he will be going next but the new Roush line up will be: Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Trevor Bayne.

4. Here is a video shot from Tony Stewart’s pit box by actor Chris Pratt that gives an awesome once in a life time view that most of us Tony fans can only dream of.

The Gratuitous Tony Stewart:

Tony Oohs

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)

Tony and Nelson check the monitors

Tony Stewart and father Nelson Stewart check the monitors in the garage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway July 2014. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook)

Next week we are racing at Pocono. #KeepDiggingTony

(This is part 2 of our two part  annual Sonoma “Race-cation” post! Check out Part 1: Friday & Saturday here— Amy)

Sunday would prove to be one of our busiest and most interesting race days that we have experienced to date. Thanks to NASCAR we had earned a VIP race experience and what an experience it was.

Sonoma Raceway

Bright and early Sunday morning picture taken from parking lot 1 as I waited for the parking shuttle as tweeted June 22nd, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Our race day started as another bright and even earlier day.  We wanted to be absolutely certain we were at Sonoma Raceway in plenty of time so we left quite early knowing that highway 37 towards Sonoma is two lane for much of it (one in each direction) and can back up quite quickly and we wanting to leave nothing to chance. Because we left so early we encountered virtually no traffic except the usual getting into the raceway traffic so by the time we were parked and waiting for the shuttle to the paddock/media center we realized we were there well before we needed to be. So what do an early Misty and Amy do at a race track early? They take a quick walk down the length of the garage and then out to the area behind the pit stalls before they are too crowded.

Early Sunday Morning Pit Road

Pit road at Sonoma Raceway early Sunday morning on June 22nd, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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Today’s TQMS is one of my favorite Tony vs The media moments- right here on video coming out of the man himself:

And here is an early gratuitous Tony Stewart picture because do I need a reason? I didn’t think so:

Here is a picture of Tony Stewart in Sonoma last weekend. This is not one of mine…it’s way too good :-) . (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official store Facebook/Tommy Grassmann/CIA Copyright, CIA Stock Photography, Inc)

 

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*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart. Click here for previous TQMS posts.

#GoTonyGo #StandWithSmoke

YUM- delicious @jeffgordonweb themed donuts served at a @acsupdates promo event #NASCAR

Jeff Gordon Gives Fans The Ultimate Treat!

Jeff Gordon met with fans to promote the upcoming Auto Club 400 and surprised them with free Krispy Kreme doughnuts emblazoned with his No. 24


Sponsored by: NASCAR inGEAR

I love this first hand account of the @jeffgordonweb prank from @tokulski- #NASCAR #epic

Jeff Gordon’s Epic Prank – Must See!

Jeff Gordon pranks a fan by taking over insane cab ride!


Sponsored by: NASCAR inGEAR

Ahh its time for Fun With NASCAR ads.  I love NASCAR themed ads- whether they are advertising the sport or a particular sponsor nothing will make me pay more attention to an advertisement on television than to see a NASCAR tie in somewhere, somehow.

Case in point: A tire ad.  How many ways can there be to sell tires right? Pretty much show tires performing under adverse yet every day conditions- like in rain, in snow, and the like.  You don’t really think too much about the science that goes into tires.  Well this Goodyear ad does- by tying in the physics of racing with NASCAR.  And in it it just so happens that driver Kevin Harvick destroys teammate (and team owner) Tony Stewart’s trophy case in the name of illustrating tire science: (more…)

Tony Stewart and Eddie Jarvis in the Daytona Garage

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, walks through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2014. (photo credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)

I had been waiting (sometimes not so) patiently for nearly 7 months: Tony Stewart’s return to the NASCAR circuit. I will admit it freely- I did not hold the same enthusiasm for NASCAR after August 4th of last season as I had before. It wasn’t the same without my driver.  That said, I was apprehensive about his return.  Two busted leg bones, infection, three surgeries, physical therapy…that is a lot to come back from.  But after listening to his media from Daytona this week- I was lulled into a sense of security.  Tony was in a good mood. He seemed to be feeling good- he said that the last two weeks- even he had been impressed with his rehabilitation.  He was obviously chomping at the bit to get back into the car. He claimed he had no fear, no worries (I honestly don’t see how this is possible after such a major injury but good for him) and that there was no back up driver waiting in the wings should it be too much (well not a real one anyway- he did tell journalist Bob Pockrass he was his back-up driver).  Tony displayed his normal charisma and swagger during media. Not only was my beloved NASCAR back for the season but my driver was back in the saddle again*!

I heard good things about practice for the shootout- Tony’s first time driving the 14 since Pocono (I think) last season.  He was comfortable (he used the it’s like an old pair of shoes analogy) and the car was competitive.  Both things I like to hear.  Tony Stewart was ready for the Unlimited and so was I.

Tony Stewart strapped in and ready to go at Daytona.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2014. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images North America)

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To use one of Amy’s favorite words: flummoxed – that is exactly what I was last weekend when I got the details of this year’s Meet and Greet opportunities with Jeff Gordon. I was beyond excited when it was announced that Jeff would be holding meet and greet opporunities this year for fans at EVERY race. I even said to Amy, “Whoo hoo that man is going to get sick of seeing us!”.

Having attended the last Jeff Gordon Network event in Phoenix a few years back, I was not surprised that there was a fee to participate. As I recall it was $40 a person, but that got you a breakfast with the other attendees, some swag, and of course the whole reason for attending – a moment with Jeff, one on one on stage, to talk to him and have a personal photo taken. Seemed reasonable, after all they did have to rent a room to hold the event in, they served breakfast and whatever else. However, I was more than a little surprised when I opened up the email last weekend to find out the cost to attend was $599.00 PER PERSON! I was left searching for some misplaced decimals to say the least. Even more surprising, for that amount of money there is no mention of a meal, although they do promise an autographed item, BUT get this “due to time constraints” you will likely have your picture taken with Jeff and four to five other fans! Is it April? Cause someone has GOT to be fooling me!

Now I am just about as devoted of a Jeff Gordon fan as you can get. I think he is a great person on and off the track and his humanitarian work truly makes me proud to call him my driver, but there is something just so unsettling about this. Why is the cost SO much? To me it is not even a matter of affordability, I could have Warren Buffet sized bank accounts and would not spend that to meet anyone. If you are attending or planning to attend, I think that is great and I am in no way judging you- but I truly do want to hear from you and find out what about this offer seems reasonable or appealing to you.

Needless to say, this is one fan who is not planning to attend any of the events this year. I can think of any number of better ways to spend my money than on this- heck I think I would even be better off to buy 6 tickets to Jeff’s corvette raffle, where the money goes to a fantastic charity, The Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital. At least then I am giving to a good cause, could win a car, and likely meet Jeff anyway and not have some strangers mucking up my picture with the man. Just saying …