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I can’t even remember the last time I did a bullet post for you all and I have some NASCAR thoughts to share that don’t deserve their own post but deserve to be mentioned:

  • My fantasy league? I haven’t even checked my standings for the last month or so because I was sure I was tanking. I checked today. Confirmed- am definitely TANKING! I am currently 85th out of 114!!  I blame the majority of this on Brian Vicker’s blood clots. I picked him as one of my drivers because he tends to be up there towards the front.  But now that he’s out of the seat the team hasn’t been doing so hot. Bah.  Tony and Dale Jr have been doing better- so they are the reason I went up 2 places after Sonoma  (yeah see 87th not so hot) so YEY for that but this is just a sad sad team this year. (By the way- I still love Brian Vickers…I really do and I don’t honestly blame him for my team tanking).
  • We are 10 races away from the CHASE cut off. Don’t think I don’t know that and don’t think that just because Tony’s moved back up into the top ten (YEY GO TONY GO!!!!) that I have relaxed one bit about watching points.  Of course I have been watching points since Daytona…so that says nothing.  I know Tony says he’s not worried about it…but…I am.
  • So you probably noticed my Sonoma post, while it had a pretty picture left much to be desired? It was because I was bummed I wasn’t there like I was last year.  Oh and…I know that Valli would cover it well and in depth. Which she is doing- she got the chance to interview more drivers -so be sure to check out The Fast and the Fabulous for that…she also came up with a catchy title for one of her Sonoma posts: To Infineon and Beyond…why can’t I think of good titles like that?. Oh and she got to experience the confrontation between Said’s crew chief and Tony Stewart first hand. Check that out here…and while you are there look for the  picture of Kevin Harvick hugging Tony’s dad…while Tony squats and messes with his shoe…cute!
  • For those of you in New Hampshire, Ryan Newman will be signing autographs at his merch trailer tomorrow June 25th from 3:30 -4:30 (time subject to change based on qualifying draw- check the trailer for more information).
  • Don’t forget that if you own a small business you should enter the The Official Small Business of NASCAR contest from Office Depot Racing.
  • You also have a little more than a month to buy your raffle ticket for Smoke’s Camaro. You have the change to win a bitchin’ 2010 Chevy Camaro customized by Unique Autosports. Proceeds benefit the Tony Stewart Foundation and their many initiatives supporting criticially ill children, various animal charities and injured drivers.  Go to SMOKESCAMARO.com for more information.

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

Talladega should comes with mylanta or tums or something. Delana Harvick (@DelanaHarvick) tweeted it best when she said “Oy Vey”

Qualifying at the restrictor-plate race was cancelled as were all ontrack activities for Talladega as incliment weather entered the southeast area of the country.  This meant Tony started 13th -based on points (even though he was tied for 12th the tie breaker is apparently based on best average finish at which point Logano bested Stewart so far this season).  Stewart-Haas Racing was already down one car as Mark Martin sent Tony’s teammate Ryan Newman into the wall during last practice- so the 39 car resorted to a back-up car. 

The racing action did seem a little better this year- I will say that. It was more exciting. Tony even took a turn at leading for awhile towards the beginning of the race.  Then it seemed he fell back. While I was listening to his radio I honestly couldn’t tell if he was heading back there to play the waiting game or if he was back there because he lost the draft- either way he didn’t seemed to concerned so I wasn’t too concerned.  He didn’t think the balance was right on the second set of tires he ran and Darian told him later that he was right- the liner had come loose in on of the tires.  Anyway the pit stops seemed to go good. Everything seemed copestetic.  Heck at one point he even told a pretty damn funny joke.  He was in a good mood, I was in a good mood…it was all good. 

The two car break aways would happen and that particular duo would head towards the front for a bit. There were a record number of lead changes during the race.  I assume that this is because the drivers were pretty much using the first part of the race as a test session as to how long it would take to get to the front and how to time the swoop and dive for the lead. 

Within the last 20 laps thanks to a good pits stops Tony was in the top ten and by eight laps to go he was in second thanks to the two car breakaway as he teamed up with Dale Earnhardt Jr.  However, soon with manuevering becoming much hairier as the cars all jockeyed for position Tony got hung out and dropped significantly.

The race had the maximum of three green-white-checker, shootout or overdrives or whatever the heck they are calling it these days.  Luckily Tony was able to miss a couple of late race accidents and come in 16th.  On the radio after the race he immediately praised the crew and sounded disappointed as he apologized to the crew for not getting a better finish. By finishing 16th Tony has dropped down to 14th in the points 262 points behind points leader Jimmie Johnson.  Teammate Ryan Newman suffered an even more disappointing day as he was collected in a late race crash. Newman finished 35th which dropped him to 18th in the points. The race winner was Kevin Harvick who made a last lap pass on Jamie McMurray.

This race was one for the record books. It was the longest race at Talladega (532 miles) thanks to the extended overtimes. It also had the most lead changes (88) and the greatest number of leaders (29 which coincidently is the same number as the car number of race winner Kevin Harvick).

  • Personally I am enjoying the rivalry going on between Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. I really like that Jeff is standing up for himself and his crew and I will say that I don’t blame him- I would be pissed too.  I like that he isn’t just saying “Well we had a great car- and we did our best.” He’s mad and he’s telling us he’s mad. I like that- it bothers me when a driver gets out of his car and kind of glosses over the face that he’s pissed or upset or whatever.
  • I am thinking maybe Tony should ditch the whole paintscheme cars for awhile. I am starting to stress about points and his luck this season in the alternate paint schemes hasn’t been the best. 

That’s all I have. Next weekend we are at Richmond for some Saturday Night racing and I can’t wait!

Most NASCAR fans know Tony Stewart and the “Media” seem to have their…shall we say… moments.  Last Friday before Bristol was no exception, if you are curious you can go here to read some of Tony’s media from Bristol.  I missed part of Tony’s media because I was working.  I did watch some of it (ie- the last  half of it) and the part I couldn’t watch I did I pay attention to what the “media” were tweeting during his turn in the media center…practically as soon as he sat down certain media members were shooting off tweets about how Stewart was in a typical mood and it wasn’t fun. Some of the tweets were what I considered downright nasty.  I thought about shooting off a quickie blog- calling out some of these people directly.  I thought twice because I was in a foul mood myself on Friday and whilst I recognized this in myself- it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t myself have bitten the head off the first person to cross me (that wasn’t a customer of course).  As a matter of fact- I did bite someone’s head off on the way home, figuratively of course- on the phone and yes I was hands free so I was legal, and no I won’t give you details but I will tell you that it wasn’t one of my finest moments as a human.  But you know what that is what I am, a human. I would bet my last dollar that Tony Stewart is a human too (ok so I did interview him and didn’t see any plugs or cords so I might be hedging my bet a bit).  I have lived life long enough to know that humans can have bad days and bad moods.  Maybe work didn’t go so great. Maybe they got into an arguement with a loved one. Maybe there is some sort of stressor on them right now. Maybe they just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  In my case- it was a little bit of the work thing mixed with the wrong side of the bed thing with a side of a headache.   My point is humans have bad days and Tony Stewart is, gasp, human.  I mean seriously you wouldn’t think this would be much of a newsflash.  Apparently it is something that “media” doesn’t understand because a day or two AFTER Bristol, the same thing happened to Kevin Harvick.  I didn’t personally Kevin’s media – I think it was relating to the Charlotte test of the new spoilers.  But I did see the articles quickly posted after claiming Harvick must have thought he was Stewart in the media center because he was surly instead of a shiny, happy Harvick.

Like I mentioned earlier- my first reaction when I read the negative tweets was to fire off a blog post calling out certain media members.  I made myself promise to wait because I don’t like to post something and then feel guilty to the point that I want to change it or take it down. I have that luxury of time. It’s my blog. I can choose to hit publish or not.  The drivers are sitting there in the media center and they do not have that.  What comes out of their mouth comes out.  They are human. They are prone to have bad days just like me. Maybe Tony’s head was still on his practice speeds (they WERE kind of low). Maybe Kevin woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  My point is this…they are human- so does the media have to take their human moments and shade it with color commentary? So they weren’t all bubbles and rainbows one day. I bet they (as in the media0 aren’t always bubbles and rainbows either.  Can’t they cut someone having a bad day a break?

I bring this up because I know today there will be an onslaught of media today. I know Tony will probably be there. I don’t remember if Kevin will be.  I just think that some people need to understand that no matter if it is Kevin Harvick or Clint Bowyer or Jimmie Joshnson – they are all human (although now that I think about it? Jimmie might not be) and they too might be having a bad day.  Can’t you cut a guy a break.

On Friday I had the chance to watch Tony’s media session on NASCAR.COM at work (I was on lunch)….I even took notes people. But unfortunately in my haste to escape work on Friday evening and get home I left my post-it notes in a little pile on my desk (I knew I should have slipped them into my purse right after the media session).  Anyway, while I was watching his media I happened to have TWITTER going at the same time.  And the general consensus among several of the media people I follow was that Tony was in a bad mood.  However from where I was sitting he seemed to be in a pretty good mood- he may have been a bit of a smart-ass- but that is why I like him.  Whatever his mood he had several interesting things to say…and they are all sitting on my desk at work…so this is from my shoddy memory instead of cute little post-its (they are cute- and I got them at Office Depot- they say TOTAL CRAP on them. Today I went to Office Depot to get more of them but they were out so I had to settle for post-it’s that say WHEN PIGS FLY instead).

When asked about his frustration with never having won a Daytona 500 he said that well it was frustrating sure BUT at least he still has opportunities to win the Daytona 500…he does not feel he has any more opportunities for a shot at an Indy 500 win and that frustrates him more.  He wants that Daytona 500 trophy even if his legs are on fire- give him him trophy.  He was also asked if he thought NASCAR was too safe or if he thought fans thought NASCAR was too safe.  This is where he got a little bit of his smart ass answer going by replying that what if he thought that the media center was too safe because all the media present were sitting in chairs with four legs so he was going to come through and saw a leg off of each of their chairs…what would they think about that? Then he stated that no fan wants to see their favorite driver get hurt so no NASCAR is not too safe.  I have to say personally I agree with him there- and anyone who thinks NASCAR is too safe is …sick. Because if they weren’t as safe as they are Dale Jr would have probably gotten hurt, maimed or killed in the wreck during the Nationwide race today but more on the Nationwide race later.   He also was asked how much more winning this year’s Daytona 500 would mean after the loss of Bobby Hutchens wife Sharon in the off-season (Bobby is the Director of Competition at SHR). The thing that stood out for me that Tony mentioned was when he said that before he even decided to take on partial cup ownership one of the most important things for him was that family comes first for them.  Tony also gave away to the media in a “raffle” two of those awesome Tony Stewart Edition office chairs offered by Office Depot- which was kind of fun.  I would love one of those chairs- they rock!!

Also on Friday I ran across this great Tony Stewart interview that the Racing Fashionista’sdid with Tony down in Daytona…It’s a great read!

And can I just say YEY!!! Tony Stewart won the Nationwide Drive4COP race at Daytona today!!!  I admit that I didn’t watch the whole race- I saw probably about 70 percent of it between loads of laundry and cleaning and that kind of thing. But the parts I did see were action packed.  I believe Tony started 32nd or something like that…and within the first 10 laps of the race only 2 of them were green flag laps because of accidents.  I think that Chrissy Wallace was wrecked out by lap 2?  Danica made it to lap 64 or something like that. While her start wasn’t what I would call stellar it also wasn’t what I would call terrible. She had some good evasive maneuvers that got her out of trouble.  She complained that her car had “oversteer” which I think might mean it was a little to loose but I could be wrong there- I am not up on my IRL terminology.  She was taken out by an accident that was not of her creating- she got tangled mostly because she had fallen back to the rear of the field because of her ill handling car and lack of comfort in the car.  After about half way Tony’s car seemed to really take off towards the front of the pack.  He just seemed to be either in front or behind accidents enough to keep his nose pretty clean.  What gave him one of the best chances to win is when Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski got together and took half the field with him..including the likes of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Dale Jr who went on a wild ride upside down for awhile.  As Tony took the checkered flag Kyle Busch and others were wrecking further back in the field.  Was it just me or did Tony’s car make you want an Oreo cookie?

All I can say about Talladega is wow. Well maybe wow and Oww.  Funny thing was that I sat down with my notepad to watch Talladega.  That is funny because lately I have been relying more on my memory and less on notes taken during the race.  But for some reason I sat down with my notepad and my favorite, freshly sharpened pencil and settled in to watch the pre-race and then the race.

Because of a rained out qualifying session- Tony started fourth. Not bad at all.

I wrote this during the first several laps:

Watching the cars race at Dega is like driving on the southbound highway 101 from northern California to southern California. It gives me a knot in my stomach.  When the cars start to get four wide is like when the 101 goes from two lanes of spread out traffic to the claustrophic, four-lane, bumper-to-bumper traffic where all you can do is watch out the best you can and hope other people are paying attention too.

I mean I was seriously putting effort into this- especially since I have been slacking off lately.  While I took several pages of notes throughout the race (most of them were mundane things like: Yawn-single file racing bores me and Kevin Harvick wants cruise control he’s so bored), I will not be rehashing on these notes for most of this post.   A day after the race, I am still reeling at the Ryan Newman wreck at 5 laps to go (thanks to ryannewmaninfo.info for that link).

I happened to be looking down for a minute…I was probably either doodling in my note book (not making a note…but actually drawing flowers) or trying to get my dog to shake my hand…when something made me glance up at the TV in time to see smoke and what appeared to be the rear bumper of a car pointing straight up. I yelled “Oh SHIT” so loud that the dog retreated to her favorite hiding place and I barely heard Andy Petrie say that a car was airborne.

The part of the accident that stands out the most to me is the part after Ryan’s car comes to a complete rest and the view switches to an aerial shot of the car- and all you can really see is the undercarriage of his US ARMY IMPALA and…stillness.  I sat- on the very edge of my couch just watching horrified. As soon as they had played a little snippet of Ryan saying he was alight- I may have cried a little.  My friend and I texted each other back and forth while the safety team cut open his car like a freaking tuna can…

After watching the wreck a few times online- and talking to my friend a couple hours after the wreck (and judging by her Facebook comment- sounds like Trixie thought the same way) my friend and I think that it could have been a lot worse if Ryan’s car hadn’t first landed on Kevin Harvick’s hood.  That softened the initial blow and I think probably kept the car from getting crushed further despite the fact that it went all the way up the track and back down again and flipped some more (into the grass- which is a lot softer than the track where he first went airborne.  I know that the car has rollbars and stuff…and from Ryan’s comments after the race it sounds like they had pretty much caved down all the way to the helmet for him…I think that the car would have completely pancaked if it hadn’t been for Kevin Harvick’s hood absorbing that initial blow.

Also- despite what the announcer say during the race- it looks to me like Marcos Ambrose hit Ryan Newman (whether he was bump drafting or Ryan checked up slightly I dunno) and Ryan hit Tony who was in front of him.  But because of how Ryan and Tony hit- Tony went into the wall and Ryan went down towards the infield.

There has been a lot of talk about Talladega and the COT and how to keep the cars on the ground.  I personally think this is a product of restrictor plate racing. NASCAR attempting to address concerns from the spring race at Talladega where Carl Edwards went airborne into the catch fence, made the restrictor plates even smaller, and made a new rule (only 1.5 hours before the beginning of the race so the drivers didn’t get to really practice this) that cars could not bump draft through the corners (they kept stressing DAYLIGHT between the bumpers in the corners).  Did these help or contribute to Ryan’s wreck? I have no clue.  Is there something that can be done? Again I have no clue…except that the roof flaps didn’t work in this case.  Do they need to be bigger? Deploy sooner?

It was clear that the changes (smaller plates and no bumpdrafting) made the race fairly boring for most of it. Even drivers Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart joked with their respective crews earlier in the race that the single file racing was boring THEM.  Harvick wanted a cruise control, Tony wanted someone to tell him something interesting so he didn’t fall asleep.  Something is WRONG when your points leader is just riding around at the end of the field at half throttle. That isn’t racing that is riding.

I am not claiming to have an answer- but I really think maybe they should do away with restricting  the engines…that just either bunches the field up so you are waiting for an accident.

Anyway, both Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart got dnf’s for Talladega giving Tony a 35th place finish and dropping him to fifth in the champion standings 279 points out of the lead with only three races left to go in the chase for the Sprint Cup.  Ryan Newman also fell one spot in the standings down to eighth spot 402 points out of the lead.

Notes About Talladega:

  • So like me, Tony Stewart does like scary movies (if you follow me on twitter- you heard me announce this last week after trying to watch some of Halloween- the original).  Yeah no thanks. Not my thing. I think it’s a little brave of him to admit on national television though.
  • I am really enjoying the “PREVIOUSLY IN THE CHASE” segments before each race- you know the little narrative by Mike “Dirty Jobs” Rowe. I think it might be his voice, but I really think it gives a little something something to the race.
  • I have decided that Kim Burton is probably my favorite NASCAR wife right now- and this holds true only more so after watching the segment during the preshow about NASCAR wifes and superspeedways.

Next Race: Texas

On Thursday Journo at The NASCAR Insiders asked quite simply “Do You Remember Why You Love NASCAR?”  I actually pondered this a bit in my guest entry over at NASCAR THIS WEEK back in April. It is hard for me to put into words why I love the sport that I love…but I do.  As I mentioned in the NTW piece, I have had a love of cars and a love of motorsports in general since I was knee high to a grasshopper and was just naturally drawn to cars since childhood.

Then there is the first hand experiences of being at a track that assault you from the moment you get out of your car; the noise that 43 cars make that can take the breath out of you, the mixture of oil, rubber, sweat, and a myriad of food mixing and giving each track it’s own signature smell, the rush of adrenaline I get during the flyover (and I am not even a driver). It’s a very physical thing to actually be on hand for a race. It’s a feeling that I can not adequately describe despite my many attempt, and it’s definitely something that someone who doesn’t love the sport just can not get.  My uncle still doesn’t get why I would travel 500 miles to “watch cars drive in a circle.”  Even my own best friend didn’t get it until recently…and she knew me back when I was a geeky little junior high school kid (she didn’t get why I had race cars on my walls instead of Charlie Sheen and Tom Cruise). She eventually learned to tolerate it in me until just last year when I finally (only took like what 15-20 years) turned her into a NASCAR fan and now she LOVES it like I do.

Journo’s original point was that the whole Mayfield drug debacle is drawing negative attention to OUR sport- and as fans and lovers of the sport we need to step back, take a breath and remember what is GOOD about NASCAR this season and right now (goes on to give several examples such as Mark Martin winning races at 50 and first time winners Keselowski and Reutimann). His comments got me really thinking about what do I personally love about NASCAR right now at this point in the season (in no particular order):

  • Silly Season. I will proudly stand up and say I LOVE the rumors flying around about silly season. Will Harvick be with RCR next season? Will Brad Keselowski get that full time ride an if he does who will it be for? Will Joe Gibbs Racing be bringing on a fourth car? Will Stewart-Haas be fielding a third car? Will Danica make the jump to NASCAR? Who doesn’t love the surmising and the speculating that comes with this time of the year. Last season? I was all wrapped up in the Stewart-Haas thing (read I was shocked out of my socks) so much that I didn’t have much of a chance to enjoy all that goes with silly season…this year I can sit back and enjoy throwing my twelve cents in for whatever its worth.
  • That Stewart-Haas racing currently has two cars in the top 12 in points. I have been a Tony fan a long long time…I was shocked when he made the jump to owner/driver. I didn’t doubt him, I was concerned but I jumped right on board when I saw how excited he was. But how GREAT is it that he is up there leading the points with teammate Ryan Newman behind him in 7th place in points so far? Yes I know a lot can happen between now and the chase but it’s great right now.
  • Speaking of the chase- I love how drivers are teetering on the edge of making it…or not. It’s better than Bubble Day for the Indy 500! Will Biffle or Reutimann or Bowyer be able to fight their way into the chase? Will Kyle Busch, Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth be able to stay in the chase? It’s drama at it’s best people!
  • That NASCAR, tracks and drivers are starting to embrace social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to us fans. I think that they are important tools- I am on twitter through out the day- more than email. It works for me. I admit to a slight addiction to facebook as well. I love that I can get updates (both personal and official) from these sites without having to hunt around for them. I hope more drivers come on board (hint hint Tony). NASCAR is even working with a group of selected bloggers in creating a Citizen Media Corp- which also rocks because bloggers are fans not journalists or sportscasters and have unique opinions and thoughts that they want heard- and it’s a great feeling to be included and listened to. Plus the more NASCAR bloggers unite in any method the stronger the voices are and thus the more we are heard.
  • The Mayfield drug debacle. Yes it’s turning kind of circus-like and pretty soon we almost expect to see someone like Jerry Springer jump in, however- I am going to disagree with Journo and say that this situation is bringing an important subject to light.  It’s something that hasn’t really been talked about much. And no matter what the ultimate outcome specifically regarding Mayfield’s case in particular- I think that NASCAR will emerge with one thing: a stronger and more broadly understood drug policy.
  • Kyle Busch. You may love him or you may hate him, but everyone has some feeling about him. He’s stepped into the “NASCAR BADBOY” role that some feel has been missing.  He’s young. He’s hot. He drives a mean car. He says the first thing that comes to mind (ok he reminds me of Tony so you know I like him). At Infineon I was actually in the crowd on the track during driver Intros…and when he was announced he was booed so viciously that it made me actually stop taking pictures and turn around to see if I needed to run for cover. Do I think he deserves it? No. Do I think he handles himself well? Most of the time. Do I think he has talent? Hell yeah. I also thinks he brings a little something to the table excitement wise- whether its a war of words between him and Junior or a little bitterness over some on-track action with Tony, you have to admit it adds excitement.

Of course this is not an inclusive list of ALL things I love about NASCAR on any given day. It’s just a brief list I came up with in response to a question. There are more long standing things about the sport that I love too. There are GOOD things to love about this sport all the time.

Our last installment of the Road Course Adventure had us never making it to the track on Saturday. Well not past the parking gate anyway. I am warning you right now that this is a LONG post (filled with lots of pictures) as Sunday was A LONG day.  If you are on dialup though I don’t want to kill your ability to see my site so continue on to read the adventure of Sunday at the Races….

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