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(photo source: Zimbio.com/Sarah Crabill/Getty Images North America)

Started: 11th (Qualifying was rained out and starting position was based on the points).

Finished: 16th

Chase Standing: 12th*

(photo source: Zimbio.com/Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images North America)

Tony Stewart speaks with his team on the radio before the drop of the green flag before every race- and this week he wanted to emphasize two points with the crew and team before the first race of the playoffs start. He wanted them to know that they win as a team and lose as a team but that he wanted them to finish off the last ten weeks of his last season as a NASCAR driver having FUN no matter where they end up at the end of the season.

I don’t know about how much fun Tony was having out there in Chicagoland during the first race of the Chase however.  After a handful or two of laps Tony radioed into the crew to let them know while he was still having handling issues that car’s stability was much better than it had been during Saturday’s practice. Tony then seemed to struggle for the majority of the race with his handling falling down the field until he was around 19th or 20th but still on the lead lap.  He went a lap down three times during the race- once for pitting during a caution but luckily he was able to take the wave around for that and get our lap right back. Once he got passed by race leader Chase Elliott but was able to maintain lucky dog position until a debris caution came out and allowed Tony to get his lap back.  The same thing happened again at the end of the race when Tony was again passed by leader Chase Elliott but Tony again was able to maintain his lucky dog position and then  the caution with four laps to go put him back on the lead lap. In the first overtime of the playoffs- Tony was able to maintain his position on the lead lap and finished 16th. Race winner was Martin Truex Jr. (more…)

(photo source: Zimbio.com/Robert Laberge/Getty Images North America)

Oh that All-Star race. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Thanks to an uncooperative mother nature and a dog that gets me up at the crack of dawn ever morning I was able to watch the entire Sprint Showdown live.  Originally scheduled to run Friday evening the Showdown was postponed along with all other ontrack activities at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday.  I usually miss at least a couple of the Showdown segments being on the west coast because of work – so it was actually a nice treat to get get to watch the entire showdown start-to-finish.  In my opinion the racing in the showdown was good exciting racing- exactly what you would expect from drivers racing for the chance to race for million bucks.  That last transfer race between Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson was just good hard aggressive racing that fans want to see at any race! The showdown transfer winners ended up being Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle and Kyle Larson.  Ironically enough the fan vote winner was Chase Elliott and second place fan vote was Danica Patrick both of which also transferred into the All-Star race.  Matt DiBurrito ended up being third in the fan vote for those keeping track. (more…)

(Photo Source: Ty Dillon Facebook Page)

Replacement Driver: Ty Dillon

Started: 18th

Finished: 17th

I think I was more excited for the pre-race for this race than the actual race itself since it was announced that an interview of Tony Stewart by Jeff Gordon would be shown.  Let’s just say this was the first pre-race I have actually watched in over a year.  Here is the interview in case you might have missed it: (more…)

Tony drives through the garage at Texas Motor Speedway. November 2015 (Photo Source: Tony Stewart Facebook page/HHP/Rusty Jarrett )

Tony Qualified: 22nd, but started 42nd because he missed driver intros.

Tony Finished: 42nd

Points: 663 (27th in the points standings)

Tony had a short-lived day at Texas unfortunately.  He had qualified 22nd, but ended up missing driver introductions because he had been fighting a migraine all morning and had to go to the back. So Tony technically started 42nd. But it didn’t take long and he was moving that Bass Pro Chevy through the field well. It was actually good to see- because when he started at the back I was like arg…again?! He was well into the top 30 when the first caution came out – the one for Joey Logano’s spin.  By the competition caution at lap 25 he had broken into the top 20. For the rest of his time on the track he ran between 15th and 19th until he spun and took a ride through the still quite wet grass. Unfortunately this tore the splitter completely off the car, it disconnected the radiator and there was other fairly terminal damage and the team decided to just hang it up for the day at lap 52. His 42nd place finish added a new stat to his stat record: Tony’s first finish outside the top-35 in 27 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas. It was a pity because he seemed to have a good car that was able to move around on the track and pass people.

Other than Tony’s short lived day- it was a tiresome day at Texas don’t you think? I know that Goodyear was blaming lack of practice on things like rubs, teams pushing the envelop with air pressures but it was a lot of different drivers experiencing some problems. I left my notes at home but these are just the drivers that I remember: Joey Logano, Dale Jr, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, Trevor Bayne, and at least one other person I can’t think of (but it’s making my brain tired to try to think of it- lol tired? Get it?). A couple of the issues seemed like the tire was inflated but the tread came off- which to me seems like a compound issue.

Race winner was Jimmie Johnson- and I can’t tell you how many times on my facebook and twitter feeds yesterday I saw this (or a similar sentiment): It’s not often you will hear me cheering for Jimmie to win but I was!  I was too- but I will usually take up the team chevy driver who is closest to the lead when Tony is out of it.  As a matter of fact I cheered so loudly that I scared poor Abbie who jumped off the couch where she was dozing next to me and hid. Anyway because Jimmie Johnson is no longer chase eligible- Jeff Gordon is still the only driver locked into the final four.

Well onto Phoenix.

The Gratuitous Tony Stewart:

Tony Stewart  in the garage at Texas Motor Speedway (photo source: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)



Do you #StandWithSmoke? Showing him is as easy as 1. Donate at least $1.00 (but seriously if you can- do at least $10- because then your donation will get doubled by an anonymous donor) to the Tony Stewart Foundation atStandWithSmoke.Com 2. Download the sign (the link will be in your donation receipt) 3. Take a photo (or a short video) with your sign and either post it to the Tony Stewart Foundation facebook page or Tweet it using #StandWithSmoke and @14TSF. Let’s all show Tony Stewart we #StandWithSmoke.

#StandWithSmoke #KeepDiggingTony #TonyStewartFan4Life #HellbentOnVictory

(photo credit: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

So I guess this would be the unlucky version of the Loose Lugnuts post since it’s number 13. Run and hide people! Run and hide and don’t forget to cover your lugnuts (sorry today is the Great Shakeout here in Cali- which means we all do your standard duck and cover earthquake drill- so if you are looking for me tomorrow around then check under my desk).  Anyway- onto the the things that have being ricocheting around my brain like loose lugnuts during a green flag pit stop:

1. Speaking of unlucky- I guess we might as well lead with the fact that Charlotte wasn’t really that lucky for team 14. Not only did we finish laps down but we were dinged with two penalties that have us losing 15 minutes of practice time (and we seem to need all we can get lately) AND losing our pit stall selection that is usually based on qualifying. Seems the infractions were due to failing pre-qualifying inspection too many times and failing pre-race templates too many times. Sigh- so we already have been having a tough year and now we can’t practice for 15 minutes and we get the pit stall that went over the fence last. This season man…this season.

2. While on the subject of Tony Stewart- have you seen this awesome Mobil 1 GridTV Video detailing the progression of his career:


September 18, 2015: during practice for the myAFibRisk.com 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway, in Joliet IL . (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook/HHP/Andrew Coppley)

Tony Qualified: Qualifying was rained out so he started 23rd based on first practice speeds.

Tony Finished: 25th, 3 laps down

Points: 530 (26th in points standings)

I admit it, I didn’t watch the race on Sunday. Go on and digest that one for a tad.

Before you get upset- I did listen to every second of it as broadcast on SiriusXM 90 because I was traveling back up to my home from Pomono in Southern California. (more…)

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…)