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I will be the first to admit that I was frustrated with the end result of the race at Michigan on Sunday.  On the one hand it was GREAT to see the #14 car out there running in the front and leading a nice slug of laps (I think Tony lead a total of 36 laps or something like that).  It was encouraging and GREAT.  What was disheartening was the the debris caution…and watching everyone pit but Tony and Kevin Harvick. Tony must have thought so too because he came on the radio and said “We’re in big trouble here” to which Darian Grubb tried to be the cheerleader and tell Tony it would be ok. Unfortunately though he started falling back and finished 6th. Another GREAT top ten finish- BUT it was sad to see him running so strong but then fall off like that. However, what made it a little sweeter? Was that Tony did advance FOUR spots in the race for the chase and is now fourth in the points standings. That does make ME feel a little better.

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 14: Tony Stewart, driver of the  Office Depot / Old Spice Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 14, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 14: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot / Old Spice Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 14, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 13: Tony Stewart, driver of the  Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, climbs out of his car after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 13, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 13: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, climbs out of his car after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 13, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 15: Tony Stewart, driver of the  Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, rounds turn four ahead of Kevin Harvick, driver of the  Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 15: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, rounds turn four ahead of Kevin Harvick, driver of the Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Notes about Michigan:

  • The Ryan Newman/Joey Logano dust up…my take? It was one of those racing deals. I don’t think Joey intentionally got into Ryan- he looked really loose to me.  They are out there to RACE and I don’t think that either one wanted to give in to the other- and you know what? That is RACING.  I think that Ryan has some frustrations that he took out on Joey after the race.  He is only human. Do I think that either of them should get fined? No. I think that they should call it good and let it go.  Now if we get to Bristol or something and there is some retaliation ON TRACK? Then we can talk about NASCAR getting involved.
  • By far the best tweet of the race? Was right after Ryan spun from that aforementioned contact with Joey Logano when she said ” Thanks Joey Lagano….maybe I should go put my firesuit on!” (@KrissieNewman).
  • Race winner was Kevin Harvick and he also locked his position in the chase. Congratulations Kevin.
  • Bonus Caption Photo will be coming. I found a great one but I am waiting for permission to use it.

So the evil little tricky triangle- the place that holds the spot as being the first points paying win for Stewart-Haas racing.  Tony qualified fairly well- even holding the pole position for awhile but as usually happens with early qualifying draws he was knocked off the pole eventually.  He still  started avery respectable 6th for the days race.   I turned on the race that morning.  Then came the rain.  I get very restless during rain delays so I honestly don’t know how the drivers can NOT.  It poured for what looked like a good 15-20 minutes. Then it would take time to dry the track (and patch a small hole apparently- but I missed that part completely).

I found the best way to spend a rain delay though! It’s across the street at my brother’s house playing with my nephews.  Ok technically only MXM is old enough for play…which we did both inside and out (that boy loves to play with his plastic lawn mower- I say enjoy it now because I doubt he will want to mow when he’s old enough to do the real thing).  But I did get JXM (who is now 15 weeks old or so) to laugh pretty hard- and who doesn’t love toothless, gummy baby laughs?  That rocked. But then it was back to the race.

Tony spent most of the race in between positions 12 and 21.  It did get exciting when pit stops came under caution at around lap 160.  Crew chief Darian Grubb called Tony in and they packed the number 14 full of fuel, planning on staying out no matter what happened to gain track position.  Of course I wasn’t listening to my Trackpass Scanner at this time so I had no idea what they were planning.   When there was another caution on lap 169- a lot of the cars in front of Tony (who was 16th or 17th at this time) came in to pack their cars with fuel. This put Tony into second place behind Kurt Busch.   I always get nervous when the national broadcast shows Tony puttering around under caution flipping his car on and off.  Even before they said it I am exclaimed “look- he’s saving fuel! Arg this could get ugly if this race ends up going to three green-white-checkers!!!”

The field took off at the green and it was looking good for Tony. He was second! Then…right before the last lap there was the Harvick-Logano tangle that caused Logano to spin and put the field into it’s first Green-White-Checker. Not to mention that this bunched the field back up.  So now not only did I have to worry about the fuel situation (don’t you love how I say I have to worry about it…like I am the one on top of the pit box crunching numbers…or even know what numbers to crunch…trust me- you don’t want me crunching numbers). I now also have to worry about Tony getting shuffled back or someone driving like an idiot to get to the front and crashing into Tony.  I was very much  on the edge of my seat.  Denny Hamlin jumped out into the lead and Tony was second with Kyle Busch on his tail.  Tony would eventually be passed by Busch but still came in third despite a horrendous last lap crash (no further green-white-checker since race leader had taken the white flag) happening that seemed to collect about half the field.

With his third place finish Tony moved up to 13th in the points standings, one point out of the top 12 chase.  Teammate Ryan Newman, who crossed the finish line with a damaged car- having been part of that last lap melee finished 14th, dropping him to 14th in the standings, only 18 points out of the top 12.

Notes and Pictures from Pocono:

  • TNT race coverage bites.  They were having sound difficulties. That might have been due to the rain I guess.  But I have two major complaints about their coverage. Complaint one: their timing of commercial breaks sucks. I hate coming back from commercial to see cars in the pits.  I say break AFTER green flag pit stops not before. I know they know about when the drivers will be coming in- pay attention to that.  Complaint number 2: the handling of the last lap accident.  That was a pretty horrendous looking accident.  There were damaged cars ALL over that track.  Several drivers look HARD hits in that wreck!  TNT, while they showed the wreck several times did not update us on driver conditions except for Kasey Kahne. And while yeah- Kasey appeared to take one of the harder hits there were other drivers there…I mean I saw a paramedic leaned into Jeff Gordon’s window and then they never said ANYTHING about his condition.  They did happen to catch a brief glimpse of Jeff Gordon walking past Kasey during his post race interview but if you happened to be looking down you would have missed that.
  • One of my favorite moments from the race? Was seeing Ryan Newman limp his car across the start-finish line. NOT because I wish any ill will against Ryan at all- but because he had the gusto to fight hard to pull that beat-up car across the start finish! Go Ryan!
  • In his after race comments Tony said that “There’s days like today where you’re not proud of how you got there, but you take it anyway because you know for every one you get like this, there’s one that gets robbed from you the same way” (credit team release). I don’t know why you wouldn’t be  proud of it. Sure he didn’t come in first but he came in top 5.  Fuel mileage is just as much a part of the “game” as anything else. Be proud Tony! Darian did good calling you in and you saved enough fuel. YEY.
  • Speaking of NASCAR being a game…I am loving the NASCAR “everything else is just a game” ads. LOVE THEM. Especially this one.
  • I am sure by now you have all heard about the post race fireworks between Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick.  Judging by what I saw on the TV- the accident was nobody’s fault.  To me it looked like Joey got a little loose and came down the track across Kevin’s nose. The pushing and shoving thing? Sure it adds to excitement and it’s all in the heat of the moment.  Joey may have been pushing on his own team guys (and his dad) but that is just youth.  I would rather see this then Joey go out on the track and hunt down Kevin and try to put him in the wall (ala Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski).  These things happen, drivers need to push/shove/yell get it out of their system and move on.  I don’t think that insulting Kevin through his wife Delana was necessarily called for…but again-that was probably youth talking.  And what a great sound bite…and Delana has turned it into a shirt (I wear the firesuit in my family).  I kind of want one…but it wouldn’t really work for me since I am not married. I still LOVE the shirt idea. UPDATED: You too can have a I Wear The Firesuit In My Family shirt.
  • Am I the only one who thought Carl Edwards absconded away with Mark Martin’s car? I mean the paint scheme on that 99 car looked like something you would see on Mark’s car.

Did Carl steal Mark Martin's car?? Carl Edwards sports a different paint scheme at Pocono. Photo Credit: Glenn Bure

  • Speaking of drivers stealing from each other…are Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart sharing sunglasses? Ok probably not- but still I want to point out that they were wearing the same Oakleys.  Ok I might be pointing this out only to be able to showcase some photos provided to me. So what. Case in point:

Pay attention to Kasey Kahne's Oakley sunglasses here. Photo credit: Glenn Bure

The same sunglasses Kasey was wearing! They look better on Tony IMO. Photo Credit: Glenn Bure

Gratuitous Martin Truex Jr Picture for Lauren! Photo taken at Pocono Driver Intros. Photo Credit: Glenn Bure

  • Speaking of photos,  reader and commenter @KevinMBoots77 was at the Pocono race (his first time at the tricky triangle) and had a great time despite getting a little soggy. He agreed to let me direct you all to his Pocono photo gallery for the race. I highly suggest you all check it out- he got some great pictures.
  • Ok you all talked me into it. One more gratuitous picture…this time for me. It’s Tony during driver intros of course:

I couldn't help it...he's kind of smiling and everything. Photo Credit: Glenn Bure

A big thanks goes to Glenn Bure for the photos you see here (I have some more from Glenn of Tony on Trackside I will share later this week)…and to Kevin Boots for sharing his pictures with me and with you!

Next week:  Michigan

I love watching short track racing. Martinsville is probably my favorite track to watch…but Bristol is a close second. There is something about the close quarters.  I had heard on Saturday that there was a good chance of rain on Sunday so I was wondering if they would even be able to start the race- and luckily…they not only were able to start it but they were able to finish it too (although there were two yellow flags because of rain- but the cars never had to leave the track for it).

Tony qualified eleventh which was great considering that he didn’t seem to have the speed during practice.  Tony spent most of the race flirting with and breaking into the top ten, then falling out a bit then (usually after pit stops) back into the top ten.  It really was that last pit stop and the call to take two tires that really put Tony in the position he was in. Unfortunately not only did Jimmie have his supercar (seriously what is under the hood of that car) but he was on four fresh tires and Tony just didn’t have enough to hold him off although he did give it a great effort and was able to maintain a second place finish in the 10 lap shoot out caused by the late race caution. It was Stewart-Haas Racing’s first top five finish of the season.  It moved Tony up to fifth in the points standings 89 points behind points leader Kevin Harvick.  Teammate Ryan Newman finished 16th in the race at Bristol which increase his points standings three positions to 26th. He is 322 points behind points leader Kevin Harvick.  Overall I would over say it was a pretty good day for Stewart Haas racing with both cars moving up in the points.

Notes about Bristol:

  • Did we really think that the Keselowski/Edwards fued would continue at Bristol? Edwards is under probation and did a talking too by sponsor SCOTT. I am not saying it is necessarily over- but it is for now.
  • Did you catch the new Joey Logano version of the coco-cola singing commercial? Instead of it starting off with Tony singing it starts with Joey singing. Sorry I like the Tony one better.
  • Speaking of Tony, Darrell Waltrip said during the prerace (I think it was during the Gas N Go segment) that Stewart-Haas Racing had lost it’s “sparkle” this season because the newness wore off. Um…I think Tony and crew are looking pretty “sparkly” now.
  • I think it would be fun to be a fly on the wall for the Stewart-Haas “competition” meetings. I think it would provide an interesting insight into racing and my favorite team and the kind of work that goes on behind the scenes.  This from the woman who hates going to meeting for her job.

Next Week: My favorite track! Martinsville

Joey “Sliced Bread” Logano isn’t someone I usually blog about.  I am taking the same attitude towards Joey as I am towards Danica (I said it…the D word) and that is very much a “wait and see” attitude because pretty much I decided that you don’t just jump in a stock car and know everything about everything- no matter where you cut your racing teeth.  I do keep tabs on where Joey …just out of habit if nothing else- 10 years following an orange 20 car…I can’t help but occassionally wonder where they are at (although I am now awesome at being able to pick out Tony’s new color – even up against other red cars like Kasey Kahne or Bobby Labonte).  Anyway,  I can’t resist blogging about Joey today.

In case you didn’t know, Joey won his first NASCAR SPRINT CUP pole today.  Exciting right? He SHOULD be excited.  Winning your first pole has got to be a good feeling.

However Joey is not receiving the usual Coors Light Pole award.  Why? Because Joey is only 19 years old.  You might remember me mentioning both last year and this year during the Budweiser Shoot Out position draw that Joey’s crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, would draw Joey’s bottle (the position numbers for the Shoot Out are drawn by picking a bottle of Budweiser containing a flag with the starting number on it).  This was due to the fact that Joey is underage.

So instead of the Coors Light Pole award, Joey gets the 21 Means 21 pole award.  I just find it kind of funny.  I can only imagine that Joey can not WAIT to turn 21 so he can pick his own Bud Shoot Out bottle and that they don’t have to change the name of the pole winner award so he can accept it.

It was also pointed out to me that Mark Martin was going for his 50th pole award (and if I remember correctly there was something about him tying or beating a record from Cale Yarborough too) at Bristol.  And it’s pretty damn ironic that Mark Martin is old enough to be Logano’s father….

Anyway congratulations to Joey and the Home Depot team on their first pole…no matter what they call it.

It’s been awhile since I talked NASCAR commercials.  This year has given us a fair share of new ones to consider…and I am prompted to post this entry that has been rolling around in the cargo area that is my brain for about a month now by an email from NASCAR.COM announcing that the winner of their Daytona Commercial Showcase was the David Ragan UPS Three-Wheelin’ Ad (Seriously?? That one?? Did my votes not count because that commercial did nothing for me).

Since I don’t agree with the winner, I am going to tell you Amy’s favorites of the newest round of NASCAR commercials:

1. The Coca-Cola Drivers Commercial. First off you HAVE to give these guys props.  They are race car drivers NOT singers- but there they are putting it all out there.  I have seen the behind the scenes video and it shows that our favorite coke drivers are singing it themselves.  I can’t imagine doing that and then having it broadcast on TV. I LOVE to sing, especially in the car (because I am alone and who can complain except except on the rare occasion I have the sunroof open).  I also like that the commercial incorporates some of the crew chiefs like Darian Grubb and Greg Zipadelli. By far a favorite. (By the way you can hear your favorite coke family driver sing the whole commercial alone if you want just go to MyCokeRewards.com/Nascar and scroll your cursor over the driver you want to hear.  I say Tony and Elliott Sadler are the best).

2. Second  place is a tie but it goes to the same company- Toyota. I can’t decide which I like better Denny Hamlin asking, “Who doesn’t love love?” Or Kyle Busch driving the car with kitties, bunnies and little baby seals. That is some funny stuff…especially the look on Kyle’s face as he is driving, with his head in that kitty cat helmet…Oh I chuckle just thinking about it.

3. My third favorite is the UPS Delivery commercial- I don’t know why but the fact that Santa gets all aggro and tries to climb the fence while Mercury and some of the other delivery guys try to keep him from going over cracks me up.

Now for my least favorite commercials:

Hands down my least favorite is the Martin Truex Jr. Napa commercial.  Mainly the part that bugs me the most are the two Napa guys at the end.

But the Sprint Jimmie Johnson commercial bugs me too…for two reasons. Reason 1: why is Jimmie playing golf in a bathrobe but he’s got full on pjs on underneath the bathrobe? Who does that unless they are in the artic? Reason 2: Wouldn’t everyone they call be “the real Jimmie Johnson” and not just Jimmie Johnson the race car driver? Just sayin’.

Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that as of the race at Texas Motorspeedway, Steve Addington will no longer be the crew chief for Kyle Busch.  He will be replaced by Dave Rogers, while Addington will be “reassigned” within JGR (see official team announcement here).

I admit when I read that this morning I was completely shocked.  Yeah Kyle hasn’t had the best of years- but you know everyone has a run of bad luck…is that any reason to replace your crew chief?  Especially a crew chief that you had a totally awesome run with the season before?

Then I started thinking about it and ruminating over it. Why why why?? Then  my friend sent me an email stating this: You don’t think that they are eventually going to move Addington over to Logano because Zippy is leaving to be with Tony Stewart do you? Well of course that just launched me into playing musical chairs with the crew chief/driver pairings and this is what I came up with should a game of musical crew chiefs arise out of this news:

Addington goes to Logano, Greg Zipadelli goes to Stewart, Grubb goes to Newman, Gibson goes to Junior, but I am still chiefless for Kyle Busch. So I guess the cheese stands alone for right now.

So what do you think is going on? Is it just a simple personality clash between Addington and Busch? Or is it a more involved game of musical crew chiefs that is going to happen? How do you think the drivers and crew chiefs line up (or how should they line up)?

NASCAR’s Joey Logano and Kyle Busch will be on RAW on USA (DirecTV 242) today…check your local listings (looks like 9:00 / 8:00 CT).

Also, Thisi week is NASCAR WEEK on Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader (check your local listings).  Watch for drivers David Ragan, Michael Waltrip, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards to compete (one driver each day this week during the first half hour). Money the drivers win benefits The NASCAR Foundation and the driver’s favorite charity.

Well if you are privy to my facebook or my twitter (and pretty much anyone is- I am not that person who refuses people unless I know them) you knew that I was kinda of ticked off at DirecTV on the day of the Kansas race. I thought it might be an issue with them talking to our local affiliate- but judging by some of the responses I got on Twitter- I wasn’t the only one having issues.  The picture would scramble, the sound would skip or the picture would just go out completely.  It happened on ALL the receivers and rebooting them did NOTHING.  It wasn’t just ABC…I discovered after the race that all the local stations were doing it. However, the other stations? Like A&E? Not an issue at all- clear as a bell. Judging by my Twitter friends other people in other areas were having the same issue so it wasn’t just me- which makes me feel a little better.  Ayway that made watching the race slightly irritating.

What made up for it was Tony’s win!!  I will be the first to admit I didn’t hold much hope for Tony doing well in Kansas that is certain.  Why? Because I made the mistake of watching the end first practice (which I thought at the time was happy hour).  And by the end I mean the very end- and was not thrilled at all to hear the announcers talking about how everyone in the whole garage area wanted to know “what’s going on with Tony Stewart’s car” and then I heard the words vibration and possibly a lost cylinder and I was like DAMN there goes Kansas.  I SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO WATCH PRACTICE FOR THIS REASONI hear something like that and I am like DAMN there goes Kansas- we will suck now. AHHH there goes the championship (because you should all know me by now…I am a “worst-case scenario” type of person). Yeah that’s right I admit it right here and now that I heard 5 minutes of practice and was all DAMN I JUST HOPE he finishes in the top 10 in the CHAMPIONSHIP.  Again…I SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO WATCH PRACTICE- please steal my remotes during practice. Its for my own damn good. I found out much much later (as in hours AFTER THE RACE) that not only was I apparently NOT watching happy hour, but that Tony’s crew basically tore the entire car down and replaced tons of stuff (so much stuff that it might cost you and I over $6000 and use of our car for 10 days should it be stuff we needed to replace in our passenger cars).

Well the crew obviously did an AWESOME job. Tony seemed to be fairly consistent during the race. I kept expecting him to fall back fall back…but he never did. There wasn’t a time where I thought he needed to turn on his afterburners to get back up to the front. More- it seemed he was very patient and extremely consistent as were all the pit stops. No major errors. Good job for Tony, Darian and all the guys on the pit crew! Tony is now just 67 points out of the lead in fourth position in the championship standings.  Teammate Ryan Newman didn’t have a great run. Ryan finished 22nd (although its an improvement from where he started at 30th) and fell two positions to 9th in the standings.

Notes from Kansas:

  • During pre-race- in between my satellite popping in and out I saw Vickers standing next to his car during the national anthem…with a dolly sitting on the roof of his car. YES a dolly- in the brief glimpse i got it looked kind of like a BRATZ doll… WTH? There has to be a story behind it…anyone one know?
  • Poor Joey Logano must be getting tired about hearing about his flipping at Dover. I know I am.

Next Week: The Chase comes to CALIFORNIA (and no I will NOT be going…but don’t think I don’t want to).