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Team 14 services the #14 Bass Pro Chevy on pit road at Richmond International Raceway (photo credit: Stewart Haas Racing Official Facebook page)

I am purposely NOT going to mention the Richmond brouhaha that happened at the end of the race because I feel that I have given it enough of my time and energy as well as two blog posts.  Let’s talk about the task at hand: Team 14 and the Richmond race!

Qualifying was not stellar. However- I learned with Tony not to put stock in where they start- but in where they finish. The uber competitive race fan in me- who lives vicariously through my driver wants nothing less than a win every single race.  The points watcher in me always wants a top 5 finish. One thing that is kind of frustrating to me about short tracks (as much as I do love them)- is it is SO easy to go a lap down. And this happened again to Mark Martin in the first half of the race. I will admit it- I was a wee bit disheartened.

Mark Martin stands on the grid at Richmond

Mark Martin stands on the grid at Richmond. (Photo Credit: Official Stewart-Haas Racing Facebook Page)

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Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, pulls into the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Party in the Poconos 400 at Pocono Raceway. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America)

Qualified: 19th* (qualifying was rained out and set by points).

Finished: 4th

Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson

Points After Pocono: 13th in the points standings! Tony is now 143 points out of first (we actually lost ground to first), and only 17 points out of 10th now- that means we covered HALF the points distance to 10th place from last week!  We have 1 win for the wild card berth and are still the only team in the wild card standings with a win (fingers crossed).

My Mood After Pocono: Pleased at the performance and optimistic that the car seemed to come off the hauler better this weekend. (more…)

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

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Hands down the most amazing moment of the much anticipated and long delayed (thank you very much Mother Nature) Daytona 500 was the explosive collision between Juan Pablo Montoya and the jet dryer. While certainly not an amazingly good moment- it is a moment that will go down in NASCAR history and will forever make the replay reels. From the collision, to the fire, to the massive cleanup to get the last 40 laps in, this was a truly captivating moment of the 500, but the most amazing thing is that everyone involved was able to walk away.

Personally I was secretly hoping that the race would not conclude and Blaney would have been deemed the winner- that would almost match last year’s stunning win by Bayne, but amazingly the track surface survived and Kenseth took the checkers. Despite the delays, this is a 500 to remember.

So I don’t really have much to say about The Glen.  I am glad that they made safety improvements to the track that the drivers seem to approve of.  The racing was good…and I still think that this track needs to be in the Chase.

For those that didn’t know- during the race Tony was struggling with side bite issues- especially towards the end of the race.  Which is pretty much why he seemed stuck in the order.  He was good if he was running alone but if he was up around cars he lost his bite.  Tony qualified 6th and finished 7th and remains 8th in points. Race winner was Juan Pablo Montoya.

I love this shot of the #14 because of how the wheels lift off the ground on the road courses:

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 06: Tony Stewart, drives the  Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, during practice for the NASCAR Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen on August 6, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 06: Tony Stewart, drives the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, during practice for the NASCAR Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen on August 6, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 06: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, looks on in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen on August 6, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Happy Tony during practice:

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 06: Tony Stewart, driver of the  Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, looks on in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen on August 6, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 06: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, looks on in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen on August 6, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Shot of the pit crew performing a backwards pit-stop that Watkins is famous for:

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 08: Tony Stewart, driver of the  Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 08: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2010 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Notes about Watkins Glen:

  • When they were showing some of the racing action on the track at The Glen they were showing Jeff Gordon fighting Robby Gordon for position on the track…and I believe it was Dale Jarrett, said: “And GORDON takes the position.” Um well either way that battle panned out a Gordon would end up taking the position.
  • Another DUH moment during the broadcast, they were going over the top ten in the field and they got to Tony who at the time was running 8th or 9th and again now that I think about it, Dale Jarrett said “Well Tony’s probably not running where he wants to be running…” I’m pretty sure you could say that about any driver except maybe whoever is leading because I am 99% sure they would all rather be leading the race.
  • About the Boris Said/ Tony Stewart on-track skirmish that ended up spinning Boris….all I have to say is…what did Boris Said expect to happen? Was Tony suppose to run up the wall- it’s not a cartoon- the cars can’t go up the call to drive.
  • Caption Tony Time: Tony appears to be telling quite the amusing story in the picture below…entertain me by giving it your own caption in the comments (this might be a new weekly feature):
Aug. 08, 2010 - Watkins Glen, New York, United States of America - August 8, 2010: Driver TONY STEWART.

Aug. 08, 2010 - Watkins Glen, New York, United States of America - August 8, 2010: Driver TONY STEWART.

Next Weekend: Michigan!

 

 

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.

How ironic is it that this race (HOMEstead Miami) is the last race of the year? I am sure that most of the drivers just want to go home at least for a little while. They have one of the most grueling schedules in sports. I think I would be ready to go home…

So Tony’s race started out pretty strong. He was in the top five, then the top three then poof he was leading the race. YEY! Pit stops and a change in the heat on the track had Tony drop back a little bit but still within the top ten when Montoya slid in front of Tony. Tony retaliated half a lap later by banging into the side of Montoya.  Unfortantely this caused fender damage to the 14 who had to pit to correct the tire rub.  Montoya sustained some damaged and they went into the garage area. When Montoya returned to the race 35 laps later or so he purposely bumped Tony and sent him spinning. NASCAR held Montoya for two laps. Tony ended up getting his lap back and fighting his way to a 22nd spot finish and ended up 6th in the points. 

Teammate Ryan Newman ended his season 9th in the points.  Did you know he hit the wall? Yeah I didn’t know either.  Thanks ESPN for mentioning that little factoid.

The Chase was won by Jimmie Johnson…which was a good thing because judging by the media coverage the last couple weeks I was pretty sure they had already engraved the trophy and stuff.  As much as I wanted Tony to win the chase, I still think Stewart Haas came out of the gate a lot stronger than anyone expected. I hope 2010 is their year for a championship.

Well folks, here we are- the CHASE is on.  Who will win? Well you all know I want Tony to win of course and Ryan Newman to be a very close second.  I also want the chase to be close this year- I want it to come down to at least Phoenix- but Homestead would be better.  I want it close and fast and fun!

I wish I had caught qualifying or happened to actually dvr it. Tony qualified 2nd- which is a totally awesome qualifying effort for him. I was totally stoked when I saw that he had qualified that well.

I had forgotten how stressful it can be to watch a chase race….Where is my driver? Who’s in front of my driver? Who’s behind my driver.  Wait is that my driver blowing up…no just Kasey Kahne, I can relax.  It’s stressful. I can say this…Tony’s car seemed pretty good for the most part.  He led some laps. The pit crew seemed to struggle a little bit- but we are talking tenths of a second differences between his pit stops and those of the then leader Juan Pablo Montoya.

Then something went wrong- a loose axle cap.  The team came in the next round of pit stops and fixed it but of course it ate up a bunch of spots. Luckily though, they didn’t get a lap down and thanks to Tony driving past people and a two tire stop Tony was able to make his way up to 14th position before the end of the race (under a yellow/checker because of an accident by AJ Allmendinger at the start finish line).

Overall the race could have went a lot better- however it could have been a lot worse…

After CHASE RACE ONE Tony Stewart is in 6th position in the chase, 74 points behind Chase leader Mark Martin, who won the race at Louden. Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman finished seventh at the race and climbed to 7th in the chase standings.