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So Chicagoland. I was looking forward to watching this race. First off, Tony was driving the #14 Back-To-School paint scheme on his Impala.  That is probably one of my favorite alternate paint schemes…because as a kid I would remember how much I looked forward to shopping for school supplies.  Secondly,it was a Saturday Night race…and I like those.  Thirdly, I was encouraged because Tony had a good qualifying run and qualified 3rd! That is an awesome qualifying effort from Tony and the Office Depot crew!

JOLIET, IL - JULY 09: Tony Stewart, driver of the  Office Depot Chevrolet, smiles after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LIFELOCK.COM 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 9, 2010 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

JOLIET, IL - JULY 09: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot Chevrolet, smiles after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LIFELOCK.COM 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 9, 2010 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

At the beginning of the race Tony was strong. Very strong. Making is way up to second after falling back a couple of positions at the start of the race. The car just looked good on the track:

JOLIET, IL - JULY 10, 2010: Tony Stewart (14) and Jeff Gordon (24)during race action for the LifeLock.com 400 race at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL.

JOLIET, IL - JULY 10, 2010: Tony Stewart (14) and Jeff Gordon (24)during race action for the LifeLock.com 400 race at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL.

His major complaint about the car was that it was a bit tight.  Around lap 38 there was a caution flag- so all the teams came in for pitstops.  I was watching Tony’s DirecTV Hotpass channel so I could see Tony sitting on pitroad…and continuing to sit and sit on pit road.  I could see the other cars that were well behind Tony leaving pit road.  It was frustrating.  I heard Darian say “Sorry about that, Bud” to which Tony replied that he could see what was happening and not to worry about it- they would get them back. What you ask? That would be the 15 spots they fell during the pitstop.  Apparently what happened is the wheels on the jack got stuck in a seem and caused the delay in the pitstop. Arg! Tony restarted in 17th.  Tony seemed calm but I wasn’t!

When the race went green again it was like Tony was on FIRE. He was passing people left and right…quite literally. Even his spotter said “That’s pretty sweet!”

I had to chuckle at Tony’s reply which was “I’ve got a little business to take care of…” which you know- is Office Depot’s theme…”Taking care of business.”

Taking care of business- I should say so because Tony was soon in the top ten.  He would stay between 7th and 10th for the rest of the race and would finish 9th.  He remains 9th in the sprint cup points. Points leader is still Kevin Harvick.

Race winner was David Reutimann.  It was cute to see David win a race. I always want Tony to win. Always…but I wouldn’t begrudge Reut a win.

Notes about Chicagoland:

  • As I mentioned I was watching the Tony Stewart channel on DirecTV hotpass. I have to say…HOTPASS YOU STILL STINK!!!  There was one point where Tony was very obviously holding on an animated conversation with Darian or his spotter during one of the late race yellows. I know this because I could see his incar camera. He was waving his hands around- it was OBVIOUS he was having a conversation…but they were obviously editing it so we didn’t get ANY of that conversation.  Your HOTPASS stinks. I ended up at that point going and getting my laptop and listening to the SCANNER on the NASCAR.COM Trackpass…which was weird because it was a bit behind the TV surprisingly.  But at least I got more of the conversation that way…unfortunately I missed most of the good stuff.
  • Robby Gordon ran SMACK into Bill Elliott’s disabled car. I mean he hit him HARD! I was glad that Bill was ok.  That was crazy. Did Robby’s spotter miss the spin?
  • Whilst listening to the bantering back and forth between Darian and Tony I heard Tony describe his car as “nervous.” Um what the heck did that mean? Nervous? Did it have butterflies?

Next week the Sprint Cup cars have a week off. The week after is huge. It’s the BRICKYARD!

Every single time I go to type Sonoma it comes out Sonomo. I can’t explain why but I can tell you that over the last week or so I have had to correct myself umpteen times.  So anyway- Sonoma.  I went to this race last year…I sat in turn 7 where all the action was this race…or a lot of it and thought these seats were pretty good except for the potty situation (only portapotties…and nasty gross ones at that…although I do admit I have never been it a portapotty that was the epitome of cleanliness).  As a matter of fact this picture here where they are all coming down the hill …this was heading right towards my seat:

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 20: Tony Stewart drives the  Office Depot Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 20, 2010 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 20: Tony Stewart drives the Office Depot Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 20, 2010 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

So Tony qualified 7th for the race. The word of the day even before the race started is “forward bite” everyone seemed to find it elusive and unfortunately the 14 team was no different, adjusting on the car even on their last pit stop with 24 laps to go.  Unfortunately because they were green flag pit stops that put Tony out on the track in 24th. Fortunately Tony was able to fight his way up the field and ultimately finished 9th. He is now 10th in the standings.  The race winner was Jimmie Johnson getting his first road course victory in his home state. 

Notes on Infineon:

  • Did you know that there was an after race altercation between Tony Stewart and Boris Said? Of course not- because TNT failed to mention it.  After the checkers Tony went up and knocked into the side of Boris’s car in retribution for a previous on track incident.  Said’s crew chief chased Tony into the garage area. You can read about it here.
  • Jeff Gordon has made no friends at Infineon. Martin Truex Jr. wants his pound of flesh and made no bones about telling all the television viewers so.  Elliott Sadler was also a victim of Jeff’s aggressive driving and wasn’t too pleased either.

Next weekend: Louden!

I know I tend to write here ad nauseum about Tony Stewart….but I am going to break away from that to tell tell you about a promotion PEPSI is doing with Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Jimmie Johnson.  Each driver has in IDEA to REFRESH the community (pun totally intended since it’s sponsored by Pepsi Refresh) and has put them out there to a fan vote.  The winner will get a $100,000 grant from Pepsi to fund their idea.  So here are the drivers ideas: (more…)

Talladega should comes with mylanta or tums or something. Delana Harvick (@DelanaHarvick) tweeted it best when she said “Oy Vey”

Qualifying at the restrictor-plate race was cancelled as were all ontrack activities for Talladega as incliment weather entered the southeast area of the country.  This meant Tony started 13th -based on points (even though he was tied for 12th the tie breaker is apparently based on best average finish at which point Logano bested Stewart so far this season).  Stewart-Haas Racing was already down one car as Mark Martin sent Tony’s teammate Ryan Newman into the wall during last practice- so the 39 car resorted to a back-up car. 

The racing action did seem a little better this year- I will say that. It was more exciting. Tony even took a turn at leading for awhile towards the beginning of the race.  Then it seemed he fell back. While I was listening to his radio I honestly couldn’t tell if he was heading back there to play the waiting game or if he was back there because he lost the draft- either way he didn’t seemed to concerned so I wasn’t too concerned.  He didn’t think the balance was right on the second set of tires he ran and Darian told him later that he was right- the liner had come loose in on of the tires.  Anyway the pit stops seemed to go good. Everything seemed copestetic.  Heck at one point he even told a pretty damn funny joke.  He was in a good mood, I was in a good mood…it was all good. 

The two car break aways would happen and that particular duo would head towards the front for a bit. There were a record number of lead changes during the race.  I assume that this is because the drivers were pretty much using the first part of the race as a test session as to how long it would take to get to the front and how to time the swoop and dive for the lead. 

Within the last 20 laps thanks to a good pits stops Tony was in the top ten and by eight laps to go he was in second thanks to the two car breakaway as he teamed up with Dale Earnhardt Jr.  However, soon with manuevering becoming much hairier as the cars all jockeyed for position Tony got hung out and dropped significantly.

The race had the maximum of three green-white-checker, shootout or overdrives or whatever the heck they are calling it these days.  Luckily Tony was able to miss a couple of late race accidents and come in 16th.  On the radio after the race he immediately praised the crew and sounded disappointed as he apologized to the crew for not getting a better finish. By finishing 16th Tony has dropped down to 14th in the points 262 points behind points leader Jimmie Johnson.  Teammate Ryan Newman suffered an even more disappointing day as he was collected in a late race crash. Newman finished 35th which dropped him to 18th in the points. The race winner was Kevin Harvick who made a last lap pass on Jamie McMurray.

This race was one for the record books. It was the longest race at Talladega (532 miles) thanks to the extended overtimes. It also had the most lead changes (88) and the greatest number of leaders (29 which coincidently is the same number as the car number of race winner Kevin Harvick).

  • Personally I am enjoying the rivalry going on between Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. I really like that Jeff is standing up for himself and his crew and I will say that I don’t blame him- I would be pissed too.  I like that he isn’t just saying “Well we had a great car- and we did our best.” He’s mad and he’s telling us he’s mad. I like that- it bothers me when a driver gets out of his car and kind of glosses over the face that he’s pissed or upset or whatever.
  • I am thinking maybe Tony should ditch the whole paintscheme cars for awhile. I am starting to stress about points and his luck this season in the alternate paint schemes hasn’t been the best. 

That’s all I have. Next weekend we are at Richmond for some Saturday Night racing and I can’t wait!

Race 8: Texas

Posted by Amy in General - (0 Comments)

Texas was all about the numbers. It was Tony Stewart’s 400th start. It was his first pole in five years pretty much (apparently they don’t count poles based on points when qualifying gets rained out. Who knew? Not me.)

So first I want to talk about qualifying.  I work on Fridays (most of the time with furloughs you never know) so I don’t often pay attention to qualifying. I will peek in at NASCAR.COM’s live leaderboard sometimes to see if Tony’s gone, where he is but that is it. Last Friday was no different- except I happened to peek in when the driver before Tony was qualifying. When I noticed that I stayed on the live leaderboard to watch Tony.  I almost didn’t believe it when I saw him sitting there on the pole when it was all over. I proclaimed quite loudly HELL YEAH TONY and I believed I clapped. Then I got a call so I had to work. But don’t think that I then didn’t peek in at twitter every so often to see if someone had taken the pole from him.   I don’t know what Tony and/or Darian and the guys did…but YEE HAW a pole!  It will seem crazy but it put me in a great mood the rest of the day that is for sure.

So now on to the race.  What do you have against us NASCAR fans mother nature? Sunday was a rainout for the race.  Monday I work….but decided to sign up for the scanner on NASCAR.COM’s trackpass so I could listen to Tony’s radio. It actually worked quite well. I had that on in the background and would really only check the nascar.com live leaderboard every once in awhile- like during pitting or whatever.  Tony was staying in the top 10 most of the day. I did see him drop to 14th at one point but he seemed to be able to work his way up pretty well.  Then my lunch came and I left. I left just as Jeff Gordon took the lead from Tony. But I wasn’t that concerned because I knew Tony was only on two tires and I was pretty sure Jeff had four. I needed to leave so I did my errands and was pulling into the parking lot 45 minutes later when my cell starts ringing. I answer it and my friend says “Um about the race? I am about to break your heart…but first let me start with saying Jeff Gordon crashed and his car is wrecker material. Would you like to ask me who crashed him? Yeah Tony. Except that I went into the breakroom and it looked to me like it might have been Carl’s fault.”

Did you hear someone unleash a curse laden tirade during the red flag? (It would have been about 12:45 PDT). That would have been me.  The wreck had him finish the race 32nd. He is tied for 12th in points 307 points behind the points leader Jimmie Johnson.

Teammate Ryan Newman finished 11th and maintains his position of 16th in the points standings.

Notes about Texas:

  • The NASCAR.COM  Trackpass Scanner is impressing me so far. I am gonna play with it again on my laptop during Talladega…I just may keep it.  My only issue is that it is hard to figure out where to go to get it to turn on.
  • Speaking of listening to the radio transmissions of the #14 team- I was impressed. They seemed to be doing an awesome job during the pit stops- even Tony pointed that out a couple times.
  • I am thinking there is something behind Tony’s superstition with green…and he should really get rid of the GROW GREENER rear on the Office Depot car. Please! Thanks.
  • After watching the replay of the wreck a couple times I really REALLY don’t think it was Tony’s fault. I mean yeah I heard him with my ears take responsibility. But I think it was a combination of Biffle pushing Gordon up the track causing Jeff to crowd Tony a bit…and Carl brushing up against his backside. If Carl hadn’t done that I think that Tony probably would have been able to gather himself back up.  I may be biased of course…but that is my thought.
  • I am really tanking in my fantasy league.  Bah!  I think my two highest drivers were Dale Jr and Kyle Busch…but the rest of my team tanked too. Oh well.
  • I LOVED how Tony calmed Jeff Gordon down after the wreck and then the two walked to what I assume was the waiting ambulance like buds. What I didn’t LOVE was hearing Tony say he was tender the next day during his media at the Indy tire test. I thought it looked like he got a pretty hard hit.  ARG!

Next Race: Talladega Baby!

Ahhh!!!!!! That is all I can really say about the race at Phoenix except that the night after the race I actually DREAMED about the race (more on that later).

The thing with this Phoenix race is that it starts in the afternoon and ends in the evening- so it goes from BRIGHT sun to DARK night…and what is interesting is that they say that those who do well during the light hours do not necessarily do so hot after the sun goes down behind the bleachers and that is exactly what happened to Tony Stewart.

I can see you in there!

I can see you in there Tony! Tony sports the Office Depot Grow Greener car at PIR. Not bad considering it was taken through a fence. (April 2010. Photo Credit: ME)

I don’t know exactly what happened. Tony led for awhile (YEY at least we got 5 points for that) and even when he wasn’t leading his car seemed to be a top ten car. Then I could have sworn I heard the announcer say something about contact between Gordon and Stewart and then he seemed to start dropping like someone had tied a 50 lb boat anchor to that fancy new spoiler.  I can not for the life of me however find ANYTHING on the national broadcast about the contact (nor on the team race report release)….so now I wonder if I didn’t dream that up.  In other words? The sun went down and for some reason Tony was struggling for the rest of the night. Was it handling problems due to contact? Was it handling problems due to a wrong set up? Did Digger actual succeed in tying previously mentioned boat anchor to Tony’s car when no one was looking? Did the #14 Office Depot Chevy suck too many bugs into the grill (seriously people the bugs? They were a freaking problem). The reason I do not know- but Tony finished the race 23rd.  I am sure he HAD to be frustrated with that finish because I know I was and I wasn’t the one sweltering in the heat in that car and firesuit. That finish dropped Tony to 9th in the points, 204 points behind the leader Jimmie Johnson.

However, one could not say it was a bad evening.  Why? Teammate Ryan Newman got his first win under the Stewart-Haas banner! I was extremely excited for Ryan and the number 39 team.  And I was excited that he won in the Tornados car because I actually find that paint scheme to be pretty. I like the orange and yellow against the black.  Plus Tornados are yummy.  Anyway…cogratulations to team Tornado!!

Notes About Phoenix:

  • So the dream…I dreamed that Chad Knaus was really pissed off about the 4 tire call at the last pit stop. Like lividly pissed. To the point he was telling media that anyone who took two tires were idiots.  I think this is the reason I dreamed that is that we were directly across from the 48 pitbox- pretty much at eye level with Knaus.  I couldn’t even see Tony’s pit from where I was…but it didn’t stop me from watching the 48 guys each and every pit stop.  They fascinate me (pitstops…not the 48 guys).  Anyway don’t believe me? Here is proof:

Chad Knaus watches his 48 crew in action. (PIR April 2010. Photo Credit: ME)

  • My DVR cut off the end of the National broadcast so I couldn’t even really revel in Ryan Newman’s win when I got home.  Bah. Dumb DVR.  At least I remembered to DVR SpeedTV’s Victory Lane just in case. Arg. Dumb DVR.
  • Tony Stewart’s firesuit was still the traditional Office Depot Red even though his car was white and green.  Now I am guessing it’s a bit expensive to make a new firesuit for the paint scheme….but it was just funny looking and if you look above at the picture of Tony in his car you can see he kinda sticks out in there because you can actually see him in there.
  • Some Pictures:

Ryan Newman during the parade lap. (April 2010 PIR. Photo Credit: ME)

Tony Stewart parade lap. Told you he wore his regular red firesuit. (April 2010. PIR. Photo Credit: ME)

So that’s the race summary.

This weekend we are in TEXAS where everything is bigger….including Tony Stewart’s starts (number 400!).

Well I have a great excuse for being late in posting my race review…you know- I was there at the actual race so I didn’t even get back home until last night and came home to a beagle who missed me (she tried to play it cool by sniffing my luggage for a minute and then going to take a nap but I know she missed me…the little demon).  While the whole trip is worthy of it’s own post and I promise it will get one- this is just going to be my usual race recap.

So I have been going to this race for three years now and the weather has been different each time. The first year it was so freaking cold but totally clear but the cold was icy cold and dry and felt like it would cut through you. It was so cold that I ended up buying a beanie to wear under my hat! Last year it was just warm. This year it was some weird combination of the both.  While sitting in the stands I alternated between quite warm to freezing when the big puffy clouds would ocassionally float by and block the sun.

Now I don’t rent one of those race scanner things – mainly because I don’t want to have to worry about turning it back in after the race. I would rather just leave. Secondly I don’t want to get all use to hearing the team communication and then have to go home and wonder what the heck is going on. 

So Tony qualified 9th…which is awesome!! I like it when he qualifies in the top ten!  So he pretty much held that position at the beginning but then he began falling back a wee bit.  So instead of proclaiming myself a jinx as I usually do,  I decided to focus on the leader, which happened to be Jeff Gordon.  I knew this because I think Misty clapped so hard when he passed Kurt Busch that I think she broke something in her hand- I would love to see her reaction to a  J. Gordon win- I worry she’d fly out of the stands! Anyway I digress.  The neighbor behind us happened to be a Stewart fan too and she had a radio and would give little updates like what they were doing on pit stops and stuff. So luckily I was able to tell that Tony was having trouble on restarts for some reason and that he felt his car was tightish (that is an official word…don’t believe me? Go find a NASCAR dictionary and look it up).  Still he seemed to be like he was playing on a seesaw…up to seventh, down to ninth, up to fourth, down to sixth, and I am sure you get the picture.  Honestly I blame it on the weird hot/cold weather but I am sure there is a more technical reason.  Meanwhile it seemed that Jeff Gordon was just dominating the race…with Jimmie Johnson steadily coming up through the field.  

During one of the pit stops Tony stayed out to lead a lap (hello bonus points).  But then the next pit stop he seemed to stay out for a long time after all the other teams had pitted. I don’t know what the reasoning was behing this…and frankly it puzzles me. If you know the reason- leave a comment and let me know why…seriously. Inquiring minds like to try to figure these kind of things out.

So Tony started 9th, finished 7th and stayed in the top ten the whole race (which was a darn good thing considering at the end of the race there were only something like 11 cars on the lead lap- seriously.  I mean that Jeff Gordon/Jimmie Johnson breakaway move really just kinda ate up the competition.  All in all the race was ok for Stewart who moved up to 11th in points and is now 120 points behind points leader Kevin Harvick.

Unfortunately Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman did not fair as well. He started the race third and placed 18th. I didn’t really see much of Newman but it sounds like he had some pit road issues and handling problems. He is 32nd in the points right now, 281 points behind points leader Kevin Harvick.

Notes:

  • I really like the Tornados paintscheme on Ryan Newman’s car…it makes it stand out with the yellow and orange against the black.
  • I also really like the new dark red on bright red paint scheme on Tony’s old spice car much better than the old paint scheme of red and silver.
  • I did not like the pink Kim Kardashian car- but I think Sephora would be a great sponsor for someone. I mean what is it they say? That 40 percent of NASCAR fans are female??
  • I am just going to throw this out there but…I am already sick of Jimmie winning and we are only 3 races in people!!!

I know you are just as excited as I am to read the Tony Stewart interview Misty and I did last thursday…it’s coming I promise. Check back later today- hopefully I will have had time get it posted by then.

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.