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First off I want to start off by admonishing DirecTV again.  They changed HOT PASS so now that we do not hear the national broadcast- but instead hear MRN. I have nothing against MRN but I don’t want to hear them when listening to Tony’s hotpass I find it more distracting to pick out Tony’s crew audio over the top of MRN. I would rather hear/see the national broadcast with Tony’s audio laid over it.  Of course, I liked it best when each hotpass driver had their own announcers.  I am thinking this might be the “death rattle” as my friend would put it of Hot Pass.

So now about the actual race. Tony qualified 13th.  Not bad for him but definitely not stellar.  He seemed to be doing alright…and the crew seemed to be doing fairly good at getting his stops done quickly. I would basically only switch over to his hotpass channel during pitstops so I could hear them talk about adjustments they were making to the car- because the MRN broadcast was just too annoying for me.  Towards the beginning of the race Tony seemed to be complimenting the crew on their pit stops so I assume they were doing a good job.   At one point I had wandered away from the race momentarily and came back and Tony was in 2nd.  Whoo!  It was not to last.

According to the team release posted on Tony’s website a late race pit stop issue that I didn’t catch and apparently neither did the national broadcast but them down a bit.  And since the race was mired with last minute cautions, Tony was forced to stay out to gain track position. Unfortunately everyone behind him had fresh tires.  But he “valiantly” (that was in the team release- I would love to meet the person who writes them because 9 times out of 10 they humor the heck out of me)  held on for his 9th place finish.  He maintains his 4th place position in the points and is now 192 points away from Jimmie Johnson.  Teammate Ryan Newman also finished in the top ten and is 7th in the points.

Notes About Martinsville:

  • You got to love Martinsville…the racing was pretty exciting!!!
  • What the heck took so long for NASCAR to throw the caution with John Andretti sitting there sideways at the start finish line during the Green-White-Checker? They should have either thrown it a lot sooner (that is my thought) or they shouldn’t have thrown it at all.  I assume that the spotters were notifiying their drivers that John was down there.  Granted I wouldn’t have wanted to be him sitting down there like a duck with 30 3500lb cars careening towards me going all at…so I guess the late caution was better than no caution…but still…
  • I will admit…I am getting sick of the Jimmie Johnson show. At the end- when it was clear that Tony wasn’t going to have a snowball’s chance of winning the race, I was basically cheering for “ANYONE but JOHNSON” to win. Sad but true to quote Metallica.  Sad but true indeed.  Not only is he winning so damn much but he is all they talk about on TV during the race. ARG. I know it can’t be the Tony show but seriously…it is getting old.
  • Speaking of Jimmie Johnson, I think I need some Tums (get it- the race at Martinsville was sponsored by Tums? I should get an award for working a sponsor into my post!) when I think about Tony’s chances of winning the championship.  I have been trying SO HARD to be a glass half full sort of fan…and technically, mathematically he could still win…but I admit…I am starting to think my glass is half empty.  I forget what exactly my friend was telling- (she is way better at math then I am) but for second place Mark Martin to win the Chase right now he would have to win the next four races with Jimmie coming in worse that 10th or 11th?…and that is just for Mark Martin to win.  Not for Tony. Urg…pass me the Tums- I need them.
  • Okay so I have to say…I am fascinated by the Martinsville hotdog because I think it’s kind of gross that they have “slaw” on it. Is it like actual coleslaw? Because I HATE coleslaw!!!  Bleck. And do I even want to know what makes them so red?

Next Week: Dega!!! (urg another reason to pass me the Tums).

Well considering that I was sick this weekend all I can really say about Tony’s 13th place finish could have been better…but it could have been much much worse.  What really didn’t help Tony too much was Jimmie’s win.  I hate to say it but unless Jimmie fubar’s something I think he might be on his way to number four…which bites because it would be awesome to have Tony get number three!!!

Tony retained his fourth position standings in the points but is now 155 points out of the lead.  If he is trying to scare me he did a good job…now go out there and win this damn thing.  Ryan Newman finished 11th and gained two positions in the points and is now up to eighth.

Notes about Lowes:

  • I have to say that Jeff Gordon’s transformer paint scheme was way cooler than Ryan Newman’s. I hate to say it but it is totally true!
  • It was great to see so many cars out there supporting breast cancer research!

Next week: Martinsville!

I probably should have picked a different title because I am sure that some NASCAR fans are going to think this entry is about Chad Knaus running Jimmie Johnson out of fuel at Michigan last weekend.  I am not going to go into that. This is about this coming weekend: Bristol Motor Speedway is doing something a little different this Saturday night. When the cup drivers take to the stage before the race for driver introductions, each driver will enter the stage to approximately 30 seconds of a song snippet from a song of their choosing.  As you would probably expect there is a wide variety of songs- however- it would seem that apparently AC/DC is a favorite as five drivers picked three different AC/DC songs:

Mark Martin will be entering to “For Those About To Rock”

Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and David Ragan all picked “Thunderstruck”

and Jamie McMurray picked “Shook Me All Night Long”

Now I like AC/DC quite a bit. When I drove Doris (the black RAV) my favorite song to pull up in front of home was BACK IN BLACK because– I was back and the car was black, so it just kind of fit.  It also helped that BACK IN BLACK was my favorite of the AC/DC albums so it was often in my car.

There are choices all over the musical spectrum from Elvis Presley (Clint Bowyer picked “C.C. Rider”) to Jerry Reed (Joey Logano picked “Eastbound and Down”) and The Rolling Stones (“Start Me Up” was picked by Jeff Gordon).  I will say, and I don’t know WHY, I am surprised that Jeff Burton decided to walk onstage to Guns N Roses classic “Welcome to the Jungle”.

I have to say that the Stewart-Haas boys picked some awesome songs! Ryan Newman picked Big & Rich’s “Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy” which I absolutely LOVE! Tony picked to walk onstage with “Bawitdaba” by Kid Rock (David Stemme also picked this song).  While I admit I am not a huge Kid Rock fan he does have about three songs I love…and that is the top one. Both I think are excellent choices.

Which leads me to…what if I were being introduced and needed a song snippet. What would I personally pick. I have pretty wide, varied tastes in music that usually depends highly on my mood.  Some days I might be on a country kick and listening to the likes of Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Blake Shelton, Diamond Rio, Big & Rich and others. Other days it could be hair metal favorites like Cinderella, Poison, Slaughter and Dokken. Then again it could be a bad day when I want to hear nothing but the “hard stuff” like Disturbed, White Zombie, and Metallica.  Then of course there are my broadway show days (wicked, les mis, mamma mia), classic rock days (Heart, Zep, Sabbath) or my “whatever the heck Mr. IPOD SHUFFLE DJ picks for me” days.

Honestly it would probably depend on my mood:

If I were in a rockin’ mood I would probably pick “Fuel” by Metallica.  (Sing it with me now..”Gimme Fuel, Gimme Fire….”)

If I were in a more country state of mind- I would probably go with Toby Keith’s “How Do You Like Me Now?”

What about you? What would you pick for yourself? Or for me? Talk to me people- I know you are out there!

Well in my Saturday afternoon post (I know I should do those more often- maybe I will) I mentioned finding out pretty much first thing that Tony Stewart would be going to a backup car because he crashed during practice.  This would put him at the back of the 43 car field in the race that should have happened on Sunday. Then it rained out on Sunday. This seems to be the season of rain! So NASCAR finally (and within a reasonable amount of time in my eyes) postponed the race until Monday. The problem with races on Monday- is I have to work. Bah.

I am going to assume though that Tony and Team Old Spice Office Depot did good today all things considered. I know they dealt with a flat tire early in the race- that ended up putting them a lap down.  I also know that thanks to the competition Caution thrown at lap 20 that he was the lucky dog and fought his way back up to be in or near the top ten for most of the day.  Tony Stewart finished in tenth position at Pocono (after starting 43rd- so I say we call it a good day).  Teammate Ryan Newman finished fourteenth. Tony maintains his position in the points as POINTS LEADER (Yey Tony!!).  Ryan Newman dropped two spots in the standings to 9th (still within the chase- barely).

Notes on Pocono (far and few between since I didn’t get to watch the actual race):

  • Congratulations to Denny Hamlin- race winner. It was good to hear that Denny won!
  • Dear Jimmie Johnson: My friend thinks you should sell the “Chad is Rad” shirts that you were sporting during the Rain Delay on Sunday- she would def love one. She says you could have the proceeds go to your foundation…she is sure other HMS fans would buy them too.
  • Between Fox Sports and NASCAR.COM live leaderboards- FoxSports was just a tad faster for me. Just wanted to share that. But I like the layout of the one at NASCAR.COM better.
  • Part of me wants the Tony Stewart Swaggar shirt that says YOUR DRIVER STINKS MINE DOESN’T. Is that weird?

Let’s just call this good and get on with next week’s race- where our favorite drivers will turn left and right at Watkin’s Glen!

This weekend had me watching the race at THE NASCAR CAFE in Las Vegas with my BFF.  This is the second race I would have watched there and let me tell you this: the NASCAR CAFE has changed a lot in less than a year…and it’s not for the better.  First off they changed the menu drastically. Secondly- they closed the top part of the restaurant…which was always my favorite place to sit. Now you have to sit downstairs by the bar- that sucks too.  And lastly? They have stopped doing the thing where you pay a ten dollar cover and get free cola and are entered in a drawing.

Also? They have this huge burrito. I mean I think I heard it has 27000 calories (no that isn’t a mistake).  And if you can eat it all- it’s free.  Well each time a person decided to try it…they interrupt the race for it…and march it around the bar. Um NO! We were there to watch the race. Not watch a burrito parade.

Anyway- I was glad to see Tony not only qualified in the top ten but that he was able to remain in the top ten through most of the race. I was glad to see him pass Biffle late in the race to take over third. He retained his points lead over a new second place – Jimmie Johnson.  Teammate Ryan Newman finished 14th retaining his 7th position in the overall points standing.

  • One of the things I love about the racing at Indy is the pageantry.  It’s much like Daytona that way.  I think ESPN did a great job by incorporating the driver intros into the broadcast.
  • In my rush to get to Vegas on Thursday I didn’t think to DVR the Stewart HotPass channel. Urg.
  • Interesting Observation One: While at the cafe, when Junior blew an engine? The whole place errupted in CHEERS! I was shocked- normally there would be a collective AWWW MAN or something but not cheers for Juniors misfortune.  I was not shocked however, when the place erupted into cheers when Kyle Busch crashed.
  • Interesting Observation two: Conversation heard at the table behind us during the last five laps of the race: Friend One: GO JJ GO! Friend Two: Who’s in the 5 car? Friend One: Uh I dunno some guy. Of course this was right before Friend Two referred to Jimmie Johnson as junior. I am not sure if they were just not really NASCAR fans or if they were drunk…in Vegas it could be either.
  • Ok…I have been saying for a long time that I didn’t get the “She’s From Russia” version of the Tony Stewart/ Old Spice commercial.  I REALLY don’t get the talking with food in his mouth commercial.  It’s rather gross.

Next weekend we are back at that evil little triangle track Pocono already. Tony won there last race…can he do it agan?

Wow…that was an interesting albeit short race on Sunday.  Well at least it seemed short to me. I don’t know why – since they ran the full race. Maybe it was the lack of cautions?

Tony was a Hot Pass driver this week.  I don’t know if HOT PASS was listening to me or snoozing on the job but I did get to hear Tony complain that his car was “Looser than shit!” on the radio. Despite seeming to wrestle an ill-handling car for most of the race- overall Tony seemed pretty good- he was in the Top 10 most of the day. After the last caution, crew cheif Darian Grubb called on Stewart to save gas- which he did- however about 100 feet from the start finish line Tony ran out of gas but was still able to coast across the finishline in a very respectable 7th place. Tony retained the points lead- leading second place (in both the race and the points) Gordon by 47 points.  Tony’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Ryan Newman also struggles with an ill-handling car all day- at one point actually replacing a spring during a pitstop. Ryan Newman is currently fifth in the points 225 points behind his teammate.

Notes About Michigan:

  • Ok- seriously I didn’t see that it was that big of a deal that Kyle smashed the guitar/trophy.  It is his trophy. It was done in a “rock n roll” kinda spirit. Can we please move on now?
  • Also I am kinda finding the whole Kyle vs Jr and Jr. Nation thing a guilty pleasure to witness. It is slightly humorous. I don’t know why I am finding it humorous to watch the two slug insults back and forth but I am.
  • Wow two races in a row where fuel mileage played a heavy hand.  I don’t see how people can not think it’s exciting. This time we had not only our race leader run out of gas well before the start finish line, but the second place car run out of gas too (Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle). It’s all part of the strategy component of it all.

I have always referred to Pocono as “that evil little triangle track” Now I don’t know why I feel the need to say “little” because there is nothing little about Pocono- it’s a 2.5 mile track with one of THE widest pit roads on the circuit. But still I guess I feel the need to add the diminutive to the moniker because it’s not a favorite track of mine.  I have no real explanation as to WHY but it just is not a favorite.

Anyway this was a rollercoaster of a weekend for team OfficeDepot/OldSpice.  First both first practice and qualifying get rained out- thus giving Tony Stewart his first Pole of the season.  That is a definite up right? Well then- on Saturday during second practice Tony spun his car- ended up taking a ride through the grass and when he hit a grass burm he pretty much ripped the whole front of the car up- separating the splitter completely off the car and damaging the radiator.  So…off to a backup car…and thus starting at the back of the field on Sunday.  That was definitely a big downer.

So the race, the first of the TNT Summer series, started and I nearly forgot that Tony was a HotPass driver.  So I switched over to HotPass just in time to hear Darian Grubb tell the Tony and the #14 guys that he wanted them to bring home a “little triangle trophy” which humored me immensely. Once the green flag dropped, Tony immediately began working his way up the field of cars like a man on a mission.  He was very upbeat on the radio and seemed pretty pleased with the way the car was handling as well as with the tweaks that they made on the car during the pitstops to refine that handling.  Between Tony just slicing and dicing his way through the field and some awesome pitstops- Tony soon heard “Welcome to the top fifteen” from his spotter soon followed by “Top 10″ where Tony would stay for the remainder of the race.

His last pit stop was completely awesome. That pitcrew got him out just in time for him to roll across the line just in front of Carl Edwards…however Jeff Gordon had opted to stay out to lead a lap. Then is started to sprinkle on the track.  This meant Tony was in second because Gordon stayed out. I know all the Gordon fans were probably doing rain dances- (I know my friend was) but the sprinkle was short lived and Jeff Gordon soon ended up having to pit. Once Tony was in the lead he never really looked back.

From here it would be a fuel milage race. Darian Grubb told Tony to save fuel.  This is never a good thing. Could you imagine the hunger you have wanting that first points win. You are within reach. You are in the lead.  You have 800 horses under your foot and you have to conserve fuel? It has to go against everything that makes sense to a racer. Instead of “GO FAST. TURN LEFT.” you now have to “Go Fast enough to stay in the lead but not so fast that you run yourself out of gas- but not so slow that the guy behind you catches you and passes you. oh and TURN LEFT.” Tony was pretty quiet on the radio during those last 40 laps.  He came on once and said “I Hate This.” I took it to mean he hated having to hold back and the whole not knowing if he had enough gas. The sportscasters didn’t think Tony would be able to do it.  That last 40 laps to me seemed to take about three hours to complete.  At one point Jimmie Johnson started coming up towards the field and was battling second place Carl Edwards pretty hard.  I suddenly had visions of Dover last weekend and Jimmie passing Tony to take the lead.  Luckily this did not happen as Jimmie ended up running out of gas. Like Tony, I was fairly quiet (Odd I know- considering I thought that I would get the cops would get called on me last weekend I was cheering so loud).  But finally Tony Stewart took the white flag and then the checkered.  His first Points Race win as an Owner/Driver. Stewart maintains his lead in the points standings. Teammate Ryan Newman also had a stellar top-five finish.

Pocono Notes:

  • I was surprised at the small number of cautions at Pocono. They were few and far between. It made for some great green flag pit stop action.
  • How frustrating was it to be Denny Hamlin?  He struggled all day…right from teh gitgo.  I felt kind of bad for him.
  • My friend pointed this little gem out to me: Tony Stewart…the number #14 wins the 14th points race of the season. Hee I think 14 should be Tony’s new favorite number…if it isn’t already.
  • I was glad to see that Jeff Gordon was able to work his way up to a fourth place finish after pitting late. It was a great finish.
  • Was I the only one who was worried Tony didn’t have enough gas for that little burn out he did?
  • I was pretty pleased with the TNT broadcast.  Granted I was watching HotPass so ask me for sure next weekend…but they seem to have improved from last season. And I love Larry Mac as an announcer. I think he is my favorite.
  • I was glad that Tony’s father Nelson was there at Long Pond to watch the first win in person.  It was great to see him congratulate Tony before he got out of the car.  The crew even made sure to douse him during the celebration in Victory Lane.
  • I was glad to see that Patrick Carpentier was back behind the wheel. I hope they are able to come up with a more permanent ride for him.
  • Congratulations to Robby Gordon who won the Baja race, and then flew directly to Long Pond to race in Sunday’s Pocono 500…his car was practiced for him by Travis Kvapil.
  • Did you happen to notice the hats that Tony’s pit crew were wearing? I want one. They say Office Depot on one side and Old Spice on the other. They had a similar hat at the merchandise Hauler at Phoenix…but it was beige.  I want the red one.
  • Also incase you missed it: Valli is giving away one of Jeff Gordon’s Lugnuts from the race at Talladega as part of an awesome Jeff Gordon/Pepsi throwback prize package.  Be sure to enter now.
  • You might also still have time to submit your questions to From The Marbles for a chance to have RACE WINNER Tony Stewart answer an interview question of yours.  Like I said on Saturday this is a cool contest…I would love to be able to run one like this.

CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN TO TONY STEWART, TEAM OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE, and STEWART-HAAS RACING.

Next Weekend will find us at Michigan Internationl Raceway.

I can only imagine the kind of high the guys at Stewart-Haas Racing are on- considering that I am still excited about the All-Star win. In my excitement over the win I realized that in my last post I didn’t do my usual NOTES FROM THE ALL STAR RACE so I will include them here in their own little post.

  • Was I the only one who was kind of surprised that Joey Logano got the fan vote? I don’t know WHY I was so surprised but I definitely was surprised.
  • Did Jimmie Johnson really not understand the format of the race? He repeatedly asked crew chief Chad Knaus about it. I figured it out within a minute of hearing the rules. My parent didn’t get it (although you would think my dad would since he use to go to our local dirt track when I was a kid) and I had to explain it to them over and over again- throughout the race. Chad- I understand your pain! You have far more patience than I.
  • Speaking of Jimmie Johnson- I happened to catch him Sunday on Wind Tunnel and I will say this- the (extremely) short hair surprised me.  It’s about the same length as his beard. Apparently if you go to a BBQ at Jimmie’s friend’s house…you might come back with much shorter hair. It’s taken me quite awhile to grow mine back out so- remind me to be weary of BBQ invitations.
  • The mandatory 10 minute stop before the dash for the cash? Genius! I think every race should have that. Not before the last ten laps- but maybe at the half way point or three quarters point.  Just think how that would change strategy.
  • Who do YOU think caused the wreck that took out Jeff Gordon: Kyle Busch? Ryan Newman? Jeff Gordon? It was just a racin’ deal? I am interested to find out what you think. Let me know in the comments.
  • I would have loved to been a fly on the wall to that celebration party let me tell you. Tony told the press there was going to be an over/under wager as to when he would actually wake up on Sunday. Considering that the race wasn’t even over til after midnight on the East Coast and that Tony then had media obligations before he and the crew could go out and really ring in the celebration.  Of course I have no idea, but if I could throw my money on it I would pick 3:45pm. And for when he actually dragged himself out of bed? 4:14 pm. I pretty much just picked them out of the air…but I guess we will never know! I emailed my friend and told her (she was the one who told me about the over/under bet to begin with) and her official thought is I am not taking enough into consideration and am being far kind on my actual out of bed. Her two cents are actually out of bed at 5:00pm. Feel free to play along in the comments…but realize we will never know the actual answer.
  • I also love this quote from Tony after the race and first win for Stewart-Haas Racing and his new Office Depot/Old Spice team:

    “My first reaction was, I wish I could have seen the looks on their faces when we came off [Turn] 4, and we had the lead with two to go,” Stewart said of his team. “I didn’t dare say anything on the radio. I didn’t say a word. But man, I wanted to see what the pit box looked like those last two laps.”  –Tony Stewart post All-Star race quote.

  • I love that quote because I was able to see those guys all lined up on that pit box watching and cheering! And then to see them jump off! It was a great moment. I am glad my celebratory leap from the couch wasn’t caught on film!

This next weekend gives us the longest race on the NASCAR circuit: the Coca-Cola 600 also at Lowes Motor Speedway.  I hope Tony’s luck from the all-star win carries over to the 600!!! YEY!!!