Header image
Tony pilots his Chevy through the garage

Tony pilots his Chevy through the garage at Texas Motor Speedway, November 2014. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store FB/Mike Calamungi/CIA Stock Photo)

I wanted to let the race soak in a bit this week before writing my post (okay who am I kidding- really I was totally slammed at the day job yesterday and not in the mood to write by the time I got home).

Let’s start with my usual fodder- Team 14 and their run at TMS.  I admit I started the weekend a bit excited after hearing that Tony was the first driver to break the 200 mph mark in a stock car at Texas Motor Speedway.  Of course it’s all relative considering Tony has gone around TMS in an indy car at well over 200 mph. Still it’s cool and like Tony mentioned who knows how long the record lasts- but it’s always cool to be the first one to do something!  Tony was able to qualify for the race 6th which is not bad at all! (more…)

The 16 Chase grid drivers were each set to a specific market in North America to promote the Chase and NASCAR in fun often times fan friendly events. Two drivers were even sent to other countries- Jeff Gordon to Canada and Carl Edwards to Mexico. Here are some fun pictures from several events:

What exactly constitutes a breakfast of champions at a taco house? Only Denny and Tom Sneva know for sure:

Joyride Taco House Breakfast of Champions

(L-R) Driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Denny Hamlin and former Indy 500 champion Tom Sneva take part in a “Breakfast of Champions” event at Joyride Taco House in Phoenix, Arizona as part of the Chase Across North America in conjunction with Phoenix International Raceway on September 10, 2014. (Photo Credit: Phoenix International Raceway)

I think Aric is trying to give us subliminal messages that he’s hot: (more…)

Misty texted me a picture earlier in the week that sums up her 2014 Chase Driver conundrum in a single photo:

There Can Only Be One

There can only be one (image found on facebook).

It’s actually kind of a cool, yet slightly creepy picture. But it describes Misty’s chase conundrum perfectly.  See Misty has been a Jeff Gordon fan longer than she’s be a NASCAR fan (yeah I know that sounds weird but it’s true-I can completely vouch for that). However, she has lately (within the last couple of years) been pulling for Jimmie as her number two with a catch: While Jeff Gordon is Misty’s number 1 driver, Chad Knaus is her number 1 crew chief.  I know Misty would be OVER THE MOON if Jeff Gordon won the championship, but I really don’t think she’d cry in her soup if Jimmie won.  So she is being pulled in two different directions but at least it is within the same organization.

Me? I am extremely singular in my fandom. (more…)

Tony on track Saturday night at Richmond

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, leads Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 6, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

Well it was the last race before the new chase. I, and I am sure all other Smoke fans, were hoping that there would be a win so that Tony could indeed compete in the chase.  For Tony Richmond was a MUST win if he was going to compete in the chase- and a little tiny part of me hoped against hope that they would pull that out.  Tony qualified for the race 19th. When the green flag flew he was able to move up a little bit but was stymied by a loose loose car. Tony had to hang on until the competition caution at lap 50. (more…)

The 14 Crew tends to the Mobil 1 Chevy

The 14 Crew tends to the Mobil 1 Chevy piloted by Jeff Burton substituting for Tony Stewart (Photo Credit: Stewart-Haas Facebook Page)

Jeff Burton stepped in to substitute for Tony Stewart at this past weekend’s race The Pure Michigan 400.  He was starting to pull up through the field after qualifying the 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet 27th.  It was a brand spanking new car and unfortunately it seems that at some point during the beginning of the race the tailpipe had cracked and caught the heat shields of the car on fire.  Jeff Burton radioed in and stated that he smelled smoke in the cockpit- and it smelled electrical.  Around lap 75 or so he brought the car in for a regular pit stop and a quick look from the 14 pit crew.  While they smelled the odor they were unable to figure out what was causing it. Jeff Burton returned to the track only to be called back in a lap later.  After another look Chad Johnston decided to take the 14 back to the garage to fix it right.  The crew worked really hard to get the 14 car back out on the track- albeit 24 laps down.  I love that never quit spirit! Jeff Burton continued to pilot the car for the rest of the race and brought it home to a 37th place finish. The 14 car is now 23rd in owner points. (more…)

Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers

Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers during the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Raceway (Photo Credit: The Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page/Tommy Grassmann/CIA Stock Photo Copyright, CIA Stock Photography, Inc.)

I had no idea how this race would play out. The qualifying on it’s own wasn’t the best considering that the #14 team’s performance over the last several weeks showed marked improvement. At Michigan however Tony qualified the #14 Bass Pro Chevrolet 26th. It was a bit disappointing considering that the 14 team’s performance over the last several weeks showed marked improvement. But then on the first practice on Saturday morning Tony finished 6th on the speed charts. And then later during last practice- they finished 31st on the speed charts. Down and up and back down again. And while I honestly don’t usually pay too much attention to practice speeds this yo-yo of performance left me wondering what the heck the race would be like.

During the first lap of the race there was a caution, then the race went green again and again there was a caution. By this time Tony had already moved up into the top 20 but I thought it was possibly due to attrition because of the cautions. Then the race went green for awhile and Tony was able to steadily march forward into the top 15, then the top 10. Yeah this definitely wasn’t attrition at work- Tony had himself a competitive car that he could pass with.  Another good sign was that while listening to his radio he didn’t say too much about the car’s handling. At one time during an early pit stop he did ask for a little more air pressure with one of the rear tires but that was really all he said for a majority of the race. (more…)

The 14 Crew services the #14 Code 3 Associates Chevy

The 14 Crew services the #14 Code 3 Associates Chevy. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

First off I like seeing that the NASCAR race at Dover fully embraces the name of the race: The Autism Speaks 400. It’s not just a race sponsor- many drivers ran special Autism awareness puzzle piece decals on their cars for the race, and Denny Hamlin even ran a special FEDEX Autism awareness paint scheme! I love to see that, but what I loved seeing the most? They had special suite seating for families with autistic children, complete with special toys and a place to get away from the overstimulation that a race track can bring. LOVE THIS! This was the best picture I could find of Denny’s special paint scheme- it’s hard to tell from this picture but the entirely of the blue on the car is comprised of puzzle pieces with names on them- very cool: (more…)

The 14 Car on Pit Road

Tony Stewart’s #14 Bass Pro/Mobil 1 Chevy sits in the pits at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: The Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page/ Andrew Coppley/CIA Stock Photo Copyright, CIA Stock Photography, Inc)

Over my life, my racing fandom has wavered between NASCAR, IRL and even NHRA for awhile before I settled back on NASCAR in the late 90s. I know I have mentioned this here before (usually right around this time of year) but I started off as a mostly IRL fan  (technically it was before the inception of what is now called IRL- back then it was called CART and if anyone mentions that I am showing my age- I will sock you in the eye) likely because that was the premier racing series that the track closest to my home ran at the that time.  I remember watching many an Indy500 “bubble day” with bated breath wondering who was going to make the field and who was going to go home sad. I knew the words to “Back Home Again In Indiana” before my own state song. I have no trouble sitting down and watching an IRL race, and did so with even more glee than usual on Sunday – all because Kurt Busch was running the double. As I listened to the Indy500 pre race show as I flitted about the house before settling into watch some racing, I said after the pre-race interview with Kurt “If he doesn’t crash the Indy car I have no doubt he will do it.” Little did I know what exactly he would do that could in the Indy500 side of the double.  I mean- technically it was his first time in a IRL race. And racing is different than testing, and qualifying and all that.  When Kurt tied Tony’s best Indy double finish…I was IMPRESSED!  I was so disappointed for him when he suffered an engine failure in Charlotte.  I HOPE that doesn’t dissuade him from attempting this again! I love the double and would actually LOVE to see more drivers attempt it- it adds something to the Indy 500 to me as well as the Coca-Cola 600.

The pit crew of the #14 Bass Pro/Mobil 1 Chevy services the car. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart FaceBook page)

That said- let’s talk Coca-Cola 600.  It’s the longest race of the NASCAR season- I know that there has been talk that it’s too long- but I think there needs to be at least one 600 mile race in the season.  In a time when the trend is to want to shorten races in general- I think it’s important to have a long race to showcase the endurance of the drivers, team and equipment.  I think of it as the endurance race of NASCAR. (more…)