Miles the Monster, mascot to the concrete mile track in Dover, made sure that Tony Stewart, his crew, and his stalwart fans were left disappointed, disheartened, and bewildered at the team’s luck after Sunday’s race (not to mention generally pissed off- but that’s a post for another day). Saturday’s qualifying session was rained out and forced the race line up to go by the practice speeds , a new rule in 2011, for the first time this year. Unfortunately this put the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet deep in the field- starting 27th. (more…)
Restrictor plate racing brings with it it’s own set of rules and lately it’s own style of racing. The two-by-two “pod” style of racing that we saw at Daytona in February was indeed back again at Talladega. It was no surprise that during the extended first practice when it featured many pod runs (two cars bump drafting all the way around the track).
The two car tango that we have been seeing at the plate tracks brings with it two “issues” that seem to be on everyone’s mind. Of course you know I am going to throw my opinion in the ring. (more…)
So part of the reason I have lacked in posting here lately is that I have too many things swirling around my pea brain that I want to write about- but none of them will flush out into an appropriate full-sized posting. That being said, I have decided to give up trying to make nice single subject posts and give you a NASCAR brain dump, bullets style in hopes that new ideas will stand on their own two feet. So without further ado…my NASCAR Brain Dump:
- Tony Stewart fans you have less than a week to enter this month’s 14 for 14 Office Depot Racing contest. This month the prize is a race used lugnut and an autographed picture (to 14 lucky fans). After you enter the contest be sure to poke around a bit and download a wall paper or Ask Tony a question.
- Also, while I am on the subject of Tony, don’t forget to buy your raffle ticket (only $25.oo) for the 2011 Convertible Camaro that Tony is giving away- proceeds to benefit The Tony Stewart Foundation. Go to SmokesChevy.com for more information now.
- There is a great article in the new edition of Sports Life Magazine (the magazine has Danica Patrick on the cover) called the 21 Coolest Things About NASCAR (here’s a link to the article on the author’s blog). Its an interesting article and it has a quote from yours truly (Amy) in it. Brownie points if you read the article and come back and tell me what you think is the coolest thing about NASCAR…or just tell me you like my quote!
- Have you noticed that they are making a big deal out of how they are going to nickname Kevin Harvick The Closer instead of Happy? Just because he won two races in a row? I would be surprised if Junior Nation didn’t want to call him Hated Harvick – only because he took the lead from Junior at Martinsville in the last laps of the race- not because I think he should be hated. I am still trying to find out why Tony’s Spotter Bob calls Kevin Harvick “Cupcake”. There is a story there I am sure…but then again we might not want to know. Maybe Kevin Harvick is the driver with the most nicknames…maybe that should be his nickname. Ok now I am just getting silly.
- The points watcher in me is starting to panic. Tony’s dropping and it’s disheartening to watch. Not as disheartening as watching him lose at LAS VEGAS…that was sad. But this is worrisome. Junior and Jeff Gordon are going up steadily in the points and Tony’s dropping. ACK. I will try not to obsess about it too much.
- When you are attending a race, do you let race traffic influence how good or bad of a time you had a said race? I am just wondering this because apparently traffic at Texas is expected to be an issue judging by the tweets I am reading. I mean- I don’t know how anyone can go to a large sporting event such as a race and NOT expect traffic. Figure a race has 100,000 attendees. Average 3 people per car – that’s still 33, 333 cars. All trying to enter or exit a track facility at the same time. Personal experience wise- it’s taken me anywhere from 5 minutes (the parking gods were good that day) to 2+ hours to get out of a track and on the road. I think it was Las Vegas the first time…I sat in the same spot in a parking lot trying to get out for this long: I had time to watch the fellows parked in the aisle I was driving down arrive at their vehicle, watch them set up their grill and table, grill some steaks, drink some beverages, and then sit down at a little camp table and eat their steaks. I didn’t let that influence how I felt about the race though.
- One of my favorite parts of pre-race is watching the teams do their individual prayer huddles:
- Assignment for you: Tell me WHY you love your favorite driver….whomever that may be. What made you a fan? What keeps you a fan?
So after a strong start to the 2011 Sprint Cup season it is hard to see Stewart-Haas racing strugggling. As a Tony Stewart fan it’s REALLY hard.
Over a week later I still don’t understand what happened at the end of the race in Fontana. Tony seemed to have a strong car- but that car just faded away that last run. Was it lack of tire? Mechanical? I still don’t understand what caused the fade away that left him finishing 13th after such a strong run all day long.
Then today- we have Martinsville. Tony didn’t have speed in practice earlier in the weekend. He qualified poorly (28th) on Saturday. Then when the race started, he just seemed to fight an ill handling car all day while trying to conserve tires. He was able to work his way up to a high of 20th at one point. Judging by radio communications Darian seemed to have some sort of plan to get Tony track position so he has something to work with. Unfortunately that plan wouldn’t really get placed in effect after Stewart was penalized for changing lanes before reaching the start finish line during a restart. I admit- that one had me shaking my head. Okay…shaking my head and cursing like a sailor. I it is disheartening to watch your team have a couple of bad weeks. Tony finished 38 laps down in 34th position. He dropped to 11th in points.
Race winner for both Fontana and Martinsville was Kevin Harvick. I can only imagine Junior Nation is NOT a Harvick fan after the last several laps of Martinsville.
- Two drivers who had GREAT days- Dale Earnhart Jr and Jeff Gordon. I swear I could hear the crowd at Martinsville go wild all the way over here in California when Jr took the lead during the last 30 laps of the race. Jeff Gordon also had a great finish considering he qualified 21st. He rose from 19th to points to 12th in points. That puts him right behind Tony. Jeff is going in the right direction. Tony however is not. Dont think I am not starting to panic about points. Yes I know that there is a lot of racing left in the season…but I worry because we are going in the wrong direction.
- The tire issue that everyone seemed to be concerned about didn’t really seem to be that big of a deal after all.
- Was it just me or did Martinsville seem to take FOREVER to finish? Maybe it was just because I was cranky because Tony was having a bad day. Any Kevin Harvick fans want to weigh in on the length of the race?
Next week we are racing under the lights at Texas on Saturday night.
Well that was all she wrote…our beloved NASCAR season is over and we now have a Champion – Mr. Five-Time Jimmie Johnson. And I really don’t understand people who say the chase system doesn’t make for an exciting finish- because that was a nail biter. I am going to be completely honest…I was so wrapped up in the chase that I don’t honestly have much to say about Tony’s run at Homestead except for this: You can’t keep a good man driver down (a lap). Tony somehow ended up a lap down not once, but TWICE through out the race and each time he was able to get that lap back. That last time he was a lap down (I think it had to do with the caution coming out after he and several others went through a round of pit stops- but I am not 100% sure about that) and it could have been bad since it was at the end of the race- but no Tony was about to pull off an eighth place finish (after being a lap down…TWICE) and moved up two positions in the points standings finishing the year in 7th place. Race winner was Carl Edwards!
So who were you rooting for of the three contenders at Homestead? Were you rooting for Denny? Kevin? Jimmie? I will tell you who I was rooting for if you tell me who you were rooting for!
Notes about Homestead:
- I hate to say this…but that incident between Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle on lap 24- the one that caused Denny to spin – and some damage to the car? That really looked like Denny drifted up into Greg to me anyway.
- And what about Kyle Busch? That was a fiery crash! I was all STOP THAT SUCKER AND JUMP OUT KYLE!!! Of course I don’t want to see Kyle burn! I actually enjoy him as a driver (not as much as Tony of course).
- I always feel bad when the championship is clinched by a driver who is NOT the winner in the race. It made me feel that Carl Edward’s celebration was truncated. He did win the race. I was a little worried for his safety when he got out of his car to do his trademark backflip and Jimmie had started burning out right next to him. Yikes!
- Jimmie’s in-car reaction to having won the championship though? He was so excited! I have to say that Chad Knaus’s Post-It note (Our TEAM won!) to the camera- was appropriate. I liked how he emphasized TEAM especially since the pit crew swap. (Consequently enough I noticed that nearly right away – with in the week of the swap- the Lowes racing website listed the “new” crew- while the Jeff Gordon website also listed his original crew. Interesting.) Ha! Take that Mike Ford!
- Speaking of the pit crew swap- I had to say I was concerned that since the swap the wrong crew would get credited with the Tissot Fastest Pit Crew – but luckily they explained that on the national broadcast….that while Jeff Gordon’s crew won the award- it was the original crew….the one that ultimate went to help Jimmie after Texas.
- Apparently we missed some sort of on track altercation between Logano and Montoya after the wreck? They mentioned it on the national broadcast quite briefly but inquiring minds want to know! What happened?
Next Race: Daytona 2011.
Seriously though- like last year, I am planning on attending Champion’s week celebrations after Thanksgiving so posting might be light that week. I will tweet and facebook so follow me or friend me or whatever…but of course I will post afterwards!
(SMOKE fans…be sure to check back here Wednesday…Just saying).
If you know me personally or have read me for eons, then you know that I love music and have pretty damn eclectic tastes in music that really runs a wide gamut. I also absolutely adore a mix cd (ahhh mix tapes) thoughtfully compiled for me of music that the giver thought I would enjoy or that reminds them of me. That is really cool. Because of this I also like to peruse the celebrity playlists on iTunes.
Anyway, I recently received a 2010 Chase Playlist compiled to go along with the chase with songs picked by some of the drivers from this years chase (this was sent to be by a PR person- I didn’t compile it myself):
- Not Afraid- by Eminem (Denny Hamlin)
- Nothing Else Matters- by Metallica (Jimmie Johnson)
- Walk The Line- by Johnny Cash (Kevin Harvick)
- CC Rider- by Elvis (Clint Bowyer)
- Jukebox Hero- by Foreigner (Carl Edwards)
- Everything- by Buck Cherry (Greg Biffle)
- Another Way To Die- by Disturbed (Matt Kenseth)
- Love The Way You Lie- by Eminem (Denny Hamlin)
- It’s Now Or Never – by Elvis (Clint Bowyer)
- Say It Ain’t So- by Weezer (Kevin Harvick)
- Enter Sandman- by Metallica (Greg Biffle)
- Miracle- by Nonpoint (Matt Kenseth)
(yes I know that not ALL chase drivers were represented…but this is the list that was given to me). Interesting choices don’t you think?
It got me thinking of songs I could add to this list…a 2010 Chase Playlist….here is what I would add:
- I Don’t Wanna Stop- By Ozzy Osbourne
- Shut Up and Drive- by Rihanna
- Right Now- by Korn
So tell me what you would add or what songs remind you of your favorite driver ( in the comments) because honestly? I am looking for some new (to me) music!
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.
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.
Well first off, I hope all of you out there had a great 4th of July holiday! I had a friend in town (MISTY! YEY!) over the long weekend and believe me did we ever make the most out of the couple of days we had! Believe it or not? Our plans had NO FIREWORKS in it at all. Speaking of fireworks…the July race in Daytona will ALWAYS be the Firecracker 400 to me. Coke Zero- you know I love you…at least you should since I swill enough of it to float a pontoon boat.
Of course we worked all of our fun around watching the race. I admit I was a wee bit worried that it would rain all night in Daytona and our Sunday plans would have been ruined- but luckily they were able to get the race underway with just a 90 minute delay for a thunderstorm that passed through.
There I go getting ahead of myself though- so while I was out and about something happened during practice and Tony ended up wrecking in the primary car and resorting to a back up car. One of the things that irritates me the most about Daytona is the fact that one lap my driver can be running 5th and the next 35th…all depending on how the draft was working out. Tony was working his car towards the front of the race and even led the race twice (yey for bonus points for leading a lap) only to be caught up in “The BIG ONE” on lap 148 pf the race. This “Big One” was aptly named because 19 cars were involved in the accident. It was huge. Although if you were watching the TNT race coverage you would think that the only car that was on fire was Mark Martins. Nope…as Misty said…I guess Tony’s Burger King sponsored car took “flame broiled” a bit too literal:
That picture caption up there is NOT something I wrote …I just had to point that out- they are written by the source of the photos…because I would have never worded it “Tony Stewart bursts into flames” because that makes it sound like the man spontaneously combusted or something….I just had to clarify that. Anyway, those flames look like they are right on my name. My name was probably all melted and charred.
After seeing a photo like that you might be surprised to know that Tony’s pit crew did an awesome job fixing up the 14 Burger King chevy and were actually able to get him back on the track. You might be surprised to find this out because TNT never really mentioned it at all.
You can see from the above picture that the crew got Tony’s car back out on the track- granted it didn’t look the same. From the Tony Stewart Facebook race report:
“Really proud of everyone on this race team,” said Stewart, who started ninth after qualifying was rained out on Friday and the field was set by car owner points. “Everyone had a role and they worked quickly and efficiently to get me back out to make enough laps to where we ended up picking up a lot of positions. Little things like that make a big difference.”
I think Tony and the whole #14 crew should be really proud of getting back onto the track and not giving up and just loading up the hauler and heading back up to Charlotte. Tony was able to gain back several positions (7!) and really didn’t too much of a hit in the points. Tony finished the race 25th and is currently 9th in points. Race winner was Kevin Harvick. Notes About Daytona:
- TNT’s Wide Open Coverage? Kind of stinks when you have a small TV. I am just saying. I also find it kind of stressful because I don’t feel I have a moment’s break.
- Speaking of TNT- you know what was kind of sucktastic about the broadcast? That they never really talked about Tony after “the big one” and honestly they didn’t really talk too much about him before it. But the only thing I heard about Tony was “Tony Stewart (long pause that made Misty look over at me with a worried look) released from the infield care center.” Yep that is all they said. It would have been nice to grab a look at the team repairing the car in the garage or maybe the car as it rolled back out onto the track or something…anything.
- I forgot how FUN it is to watch a race with Misty. She is competitive and it definitely spills over into her NASCAR loving.
- My favorite moment from the race was watching the Lowe’s pit crew guys drag Mark Martin from his burning car…it was so brave and yes I know they are teammates but I bet they wouldn’t have done it not matter who it was. Good thing Mark Martin is on the smallish side and was probably a bit easier to help get out of the car!
- Did anyone else catch the Burger King commercial about Tony actually working at a Burger King? I have looked ALL OVER for more information on this and haven’t found any. Let me know if you come across any information…I would love to write about this.
- I also wanted to pass along this article from Raygan Swan at NASCAR.com about a woman who got her minivan skinned by Newman sponsor TORNADOS as well as got to visit him in Daytona…it’s a great read.
Next week: Chicago at Night! Whoo!