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(I ended up breaking this post up into two parts because it was just too long once I added in all the pictures.  Enjoy and watch for Part 2: Sunday tomorrow–Amy)

As I mentioned in a post several weeks ago- I had really been jonesing for a race.  I LOVE being at a race track and Race Sonoma couldn’t possibly get here fast enough for me. Sonoma Raceway is slowly worming it’s way into my heart as one of my favorite tracks that we get to attend in person.  The weather is almost always beautiful when the NASCAR race is there and we seem to almost always find something fun to do off track as well as have incredible adventures at track. After all it was at Sonoma Raceway that Misty interviewed Jeff Gordon a couple of years ago.  Anyway- I had been looking forward to this race pretty much since March.

I love the smell of oil, gas and nomex in the morning.

Friday morning garage picture as tweeted on June 20th, 2014 from my phone. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Our Friday at Sonoma Raceway started bright and early. It’s kind of ironic to me that Misty and I spend a good majority of the vacation hours that we each earn at our respective jobs for our “racations” where we tend to be up and at it just as early (or in my case specifically – earlier) and just as hard as we do for our jobs.

Anyway- I had heard that both Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick were running patriotic paint schemes at Race Sonoma. So my first mission was to try to capture photos of them. My favorite place to do that is as the cars are being rolled out of the technical inspection tent. I caught them and a few more: (more…)

I absolutely hate April Fool’s Day. I am notoriously gullible which makes me a prime target. An example: at college another student and I had the same backpack. I inadvertently took hers from a bookstore cubby and didn’t discover the err until my next class. I ran back, made the exchange and thought nothing of it. Until later that week when my dad called me to tell me the police were at the house looking for me- something about a stolen backpack. I may or may not have been in tears by the end of the joke.

Anyway- I love this video of drivers talking about the best and worst pranks. Check it out!

April Fool’s Day: NASCAR Style

Drivers sit down and talk about some of the best pranks they have seen over the years.


Sponsored by: NASCAR inGEAR

Servicing the #14 Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet

The #14 pit crew services Tony Stewart’s Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: Tony Stewart’s Official Facebook Page)

Before we get into Team 14 and their run- we need to address the tire situation. I know that Goodyear claims that the teams were at fault for the tires but I have trouble with that. Why? Because multiple teams experienced issues across manufacturer platforms. Every 25 laps or so there were a rash of tire failures.  To me that speaks of an issue with the tire compound.  Yes I know that Goodyear brought the same compound as they brought last year and that there wasn’t a problem before- but the cars have a different rules package that affect down force this year. The engineers at Goodyear maybe should have thought of that and either brought a different compound or at the very least issued some sort of bulletin to the teams.

Let me tell you why I care about tire failures beyond the fact that they are dangerous: Auto Club is consistently ragged on for being a boring race- that it should have it’s race taken away and given to another track. This year, from my seat, the racing was GOOD! The cars were moving around and passing and it was just exciting. Many drivers were able to recover from problems and make it back up towards the front (I am looking at you Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart) over the course of a race.  To have that interrupted so much by cautions due to tire failures was FRUSTRATING for me as a fan.  That is not fun- to watch your driver over come something like a wickedly handling car (Tony Stewart- which we will take about later) or a pit road speeding penalty (Jeff Gordon) and make it back towards the front. (more…)

As I mentioned I was gone to Phoenix last weekend- for the race and other fun with Misty.  It’s a trip we’ve made at least once a year since…what? 2009? Anyway- this year’s annual 1700+ mile road trip was fun as it always is.  I drove 500 miles from here (central coast of California) to Vegas and spent the night with Misty and Ronald her adorable dachshund puppy. Now what you need to know about Ronald is that he is an excited pee-er. So when he is excited he pees and luckily for me he finds me very exciting. So when I am about 20 minutes out or so- Misty usually tries to take him for a walk hoping to alleviate any possible peeing (on me) marathons when I get there.  Anyway, I turn into Misty’s neighborhood to see Misty and little Ronald walking up one of the nearby streets. I stopped and said hello and little Ronnie of course wanted to race the car- let me tell you he put his little legs and heart into trying- but he is a mini-doxie and as the shortest legs I have ever seen on a puppy. I beat them to her house so I was waiting for her to turn the corner and as I watched Misty (the ardent Jeff Gordon fan) walk up her little street I noticed something. Let me show you a picture and see if you notice it too:

Misty when I arrived

Misty in her yard when I arrived at her place in Vegas. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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Mark Martin at NHMS

Mark Martin, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at NHMS on September 20, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire.(Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

There are only eight more races of the 2013 NASCAR season now- eight. Usually at this point in the season I am starting to dread the end of the season- but I find myself looking ahead to 2014 so much that I don’t have that usual foreboding dread about the season ending.  The reasoning behind this is two fold I am certain. The big fold being I want to see (a healed, healthy, raring to go) Tony Stewart back at the helm of the #14 Chevy SS and leading the way for the new Stewart-Haas stable.  I excited about the team dynamic for Stewart-Haas Racing next season- I have made no secret of that.  Tony Stewart, Kevin Havick and Kurt Busch…I think that has potential to be HUGE because while I am a Tony Stewart fan- I see nothing but talent in both Kevin and Kurt and think that having them work together has AWESOME written all over it (and yes I know that I am in the minority here but I do think Kurt Busch has HUGE amounts of talent).

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One of my favorite things that come with races are the sponsor events that drivers do for fans. One that happened today in advance of Richmond looks so FUN I wish I had been there (ok I admit it I wish I had been there despite the event- but it still looks REALLY cool)!  Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha as well as the #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry went to Colonial Williamsburg, VA! I would love to go to Colonial Williamsburg anyway but add to NASCAR?!  That sounds PERFECT to me! It would be fun to juxtapose one century with another I think!  One of these days I am going to finagle an interview with Kyle for BadGroove!

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#SmokeWillRise over the door of the #14 Chevy in the garage at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Charlotte Bray/SkirtsandScuffs.com)

Was it just me or was the constant talking about who where so-and-so driver was in the chase standings if it started right then irritating as all get out. That is all good and fine- but here is a little news flash for you (and by you I mean TV booth broadcasters) THE CHASE DOES NOT START UNTIL AFTER RICHMOND. I have a feeling that next Saturday night is going to be rifled with it. (more…)

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

Qualified:20th

Finished: 15th

Race Winner: Matt Kenseth

Points After Darlington: 21st, 170 points behind current series leader Jimmie Johnson. 62 points behind 10th in the standings – still outside of the top 20 and not eligible for a wild card birth.

My Mood After Darlington: Cautiously optimist (more…)