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(photo source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page)

With the long weekend it seems like all my posts have been pushed off by a day because honestly- I was hiking with the dogs and not thinking about writing blog posts…and I readily admit it. Sometimes even an Amy needs a break. But this is what has been pinging around my brain this week like lugnuts in a pitbox during a green flag pit stop:

1. I am not the only one off by a day. NASCAR announced their post race penalties on Wednesday this week instead of their usual Tuesday- likely because of the holiday.  Smoke fans seem up in arms about Tony Stewart crew chief Mike Bugarewicz (wow that was the first time I spelled it right without having to look it up all season) being placed on probation through the rest of the 2016 season because of the unapproved body modification that was done as the car was being pushed out to the grid on Sunday. This was the reason Tony Stewart dropped to 39th position before the start of the race despite having qualified 21st for the Coca-Cola 600. The penalty seems fair to me. However accidental the modification was the body was still modified.  It’s no different than in March of 2015 when Paul Wolfe was put on suspension after the crew was caught pulling out the side fenders on the 2 car prior to qualifying for the 2015 Kobalt 400.  The crew chief is responsible for the crew right?  As a fan I hate for my driver and his team but I understand that it has to be done.

2. There were quite a few other penalties dished out this week including: Brian Pattie, crew chief for Greg Biffle, who was fined $50,000, suspended from all NASCAR points events through June 15, and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. Additionally the 16 team has been assessed with the loss of 15 championship owner and 15 championship driver points. This was also do to unapproved body modification. Crew Chiefs Tony Gibson (Kurt Busch) and Randall Burnett (AJ Allmendinger) were each suspended from competition for the Pocono weekend, fined $20,000, and placed on probation through the remainder of the season  for lugnut violations.  Paul Menard is docked 15 minutes of practice time at Pocono for pre-race inspection issue. The teams of Aric Almirola, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth all received written warnings for pre-qualifying inspection issues.  Whew- is that a load of penalties for one race or what?

3. In cased you missed the NASCAR RACEDAY interview Kenny Wallace did with Tony Stewart you can view that here:  (more…)

What a drama filled race weekend both for Tony Stewart and the #14 Team and for NASCAR in general.  There is A LOT to talk about for Daytona- so let’s get right to it.  Tony qualified 2nd.  YES 2nd! I was so stoked because from what I could tell at work, his practice just seemed mediocre.  As a Tony fan, I know he doesn’t always qualify well- so any front row qualifying effort means that the car is on rails to me and the field better watch out!  I was stoked!  Then I checked my FaceBook a little later on Friday and I saw an esoteric status update one of my “Smoke” friends posted that made me think “uh-oh” so I logged into Twitter and that is when I got the full information. Because of a uncapped cockpit air hose, Tony’s qualifying was disqualified and he would be lining up 42nd in a field of 43.  I literally banged my head on my desk and yelled ARG I KNEW IT WAS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. Luckily for me- there was no one around when I did it because I even did it with my office door open.

Tony Stewart at Daytona Speedway (Photo Credit: Official Tony Stewart Facebook Page- click for original)

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The 2009 Prelude may have been delayed but it was worth the wait! During the driver introduction laps Tony  was thankful that the weather was perfect for racing and that most of the drivers were able to rearrange their schedules after the original June 3rd date was rained out. Missing from the lineup were Jeff Gordon, Dave Blaney, Carl Edwards, and Bill Elliott for either scheduling or injury reasons.

Heat race winners were: Jimmie Johnson (driving a car owned by Clint Bowyer), Kasey Kahne and Aric Armirola.  Joey Logano totalled the rear end of his car during his heat race- beyond repair. He ended up driving Tony’s backup car in the Main. Denny Hamlin did not make it to the Main despite wicked fast times in the hot laps and during his heat race because of a bent valve pusher.  The disappointed Hamlin was the only driver not to start the Main.  During the 30 lap Main, Tony started 6th but quickly made his way towards the front of the pack, finally passing Kenny Wallace for the lead just before the halfway point.  Once Tony got to the lead, much like last year, he checked out and was virtually unstoppable.  The real race was between Bowyer and Wallace for second place, when Wallace spun his tires on a restart and Bowyer ran into the back of him, cutting his tire. The racing was close and fast and fun on the TV I can only imagine what going to the race was like in person!

Again all the money raised from ticket sales, pay-per-view fees will be split evenly among four military charities that support wounded soldiers and their families.  If you want to help but weren’t able to make it to the prelude or watch it on pay per view, you can donate using your cell phone by texting PRELUDE to 90999. The donation will be $5.00 and will be added to your next cell phone bill.

Notes about the Prelude:

  • Clint Bowyer may not have gotten the win that he wanted- but I think he should get a special prize for having the shiniest race car! That #33 car was GOLD as in Metallic. It was actually quite pretty and I have never been a fan of gold (cars or jewlery).
  • Joey Logano trashed his car…and then crashed Tony’s back up car.  Good think Tony didn’t need it.  But in his defense when he was driving he was doing pretty good for the most part. Until he hit the wall.
  • Speaking of hitting the wall, too bad Jimmie hit the wall- he seemed to be a real contender until he did that.

I can’t wait until Next Year’s Prelude.