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(Photo Source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

Started: 18th

Finished: 19th

Points: 22, 101 points from 30th

Quote of the race: “Line them up and I’ll run 800 laps right now and not have a problem. There will be a bunch of these guys falling out of the seat if they had to run 800 more laps, but I will not be one of them.” — Tony on the radio after the race, when asked by his crew chief how he was feeling. LOVE IT!

(Photo Source: Mobil 1 facebook)

I have had the chorus from the Welcome Back Kotter theme song stuck in my head since Thursday morning when Tony made the announcement that he would be piloting the #14 Mobil 1 Chevy  for the first time this season.  That of course later turned to Bill Engvall’s “Here’s Your Sign” routine- except I was stating in my head it was “here’s your fine.” But I already wrote all about the fine and my views on the subject haven’t changed so you can read that in the Welcome Back Tony, Here’s Your Fine post I made. That is all I will say about that whole debacle in this post. Anyway- what better track for Tony to make his “comeback” race at than Richmond. It’s his favorite track after all.

So on Friday I was quite distracted on Friday at work trying to pay attention to practice and qualifying (that was rained out) because I wanted to know how Tony’s first day back in his office was going. Apparently his biggest issue was that he wasn’t use to the new digital dash board they are running in the cars now which I found out via video embedded in a tweet, yet he was obviously still in good humor about it. So it wasn’t that big of an issue. Later on Sunday during the national broadcast they actually talked about what kind of adjustments they can make to the digital dash because how and what the driver sees is customizable and they have to also take into account where the driver sits, and what kind of steering wheel he uses. I found that all fascinating. So the qualifying on Friday had been rained out as I mentioned which meant that cars would be lined up on the grid according to practice speeds- putting Tony 18th on Sunday. There were changes to the Saturday schedule because of the weather issues and that meant the sprint cup teams ended up with one practice on Saturday. (more…)

(Photo Source: Tony Stewart Facebook Page)

Usually when my cellphone vibrates with a text message as I am coming off the elevator at work onto my floor- it’s something work related. Today it’s YEY related. Here is what has been pinging around my head like lugnuts in a pitstall during a green flag pit stop- you just never know where they will end up…except I kind of do- they end up here. Let’s get to it shall we:

1.So I am a little late with the lugnuts- I usually post them on Wednesdays- but to be completely honest it was just because I ran out of time yesterday to track down pictures to put in the post and all that but now we have something else to discuss and it’s probably the most important thing to discuss so I am bumping everything else down a notch! So in case you live in a world without social media Tony Stewart announced today not just the timeline of when he would be back in the #14 but SURPRISE he’s going to be back in the car this weekend.  There are not enough exclamation marks in the world to exclaim how excited I am about this.  So Tony will be racing his first race back at his favorite NASCAR track too- so that can’t hurt right? Tony has always exclaimed his love for Richmond.  Also in case you didn’t know- Tony will then do a tire test at Indy and will start Talladega for the points then hand the car over to Ty Dillon because of the significant increase of crash and injury at Talladega. I can’t tell you how much better this makes me feel about Talladega. Also as expected NASCAR did grant Tony Stewart a waiver for the missed races. So come on Tony let’s go out there and rip off a win and maintain top 30 status…I want to see you in Vegas my man! This definitely made my morning!

2. Here is Tony yesterday on RACEHUB last night- actually yesterday afternoon for me on the west coast…but I dvr’d and watched it this morning well before the announcement and thought to myself- hey self- you should find the video and add it before I publish the post: (more…)

(Photo source: Stewart-Haas Racing Race Release)

Well it seems that my brain is full of lugnuts this week! Here is what has been pinging around my brain like lugnuts during a green flag pitstop:

1. I find it interesting that Kyle Busch’s recent back-to-back sweeps has sparked a lot of interest but not in the way you would think. Instead of everyone being a buzz about what a monumental accomplishment back-to-back weekend sweeps (even haters have to be impressed) are,  most of the buzz I am hearing is from NASCAR fans who don’t think that the cup drivers should be able to drive in any of the feeder series but instead should be relegated to just driving the premiere cup series.  If this is the case (and I don’t believe this should be the case AT ALL just to make that clear) then by following that same logic new drivers should not drive in the cup series until they have a full time cup ride. See? Cup drivers driving in the series not just give the up-and-coming racers different driving levels and styles to drive with and around (the thought here being is that they can learn from the cup series regulars) but there is the bigger draw to having the cup drivers participate in races in the “lesser” series  and that is that you are drawing fans to seats that might not have otherwise been filled.  I honestly don’t see a problem with it. It’s not like the cup drivers can run for the lesser series championships anymore so I don’t really see why it’s a big deal- they should be able to run if they have the ride and sponsorship to do so.  I know that when Tony occasionally would run what is now the Xfinity series I would be more apt to tune in and pay attention then not.

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(photo credit: Amy K. Marbach)

This is a list of what’s been pinging around my brain like loose lugnuts during a green flag pit stop:

1. It’s time to start voting for the driver you want to see in the Sprint All-Star Race in May! You can vote daily!

2. It’s also time to vote for the hero you think should have The Brickyard 400 named after them! Visit Rename The Brickyard After A Hero page now to get your daily vote in! You will be voting for one of five nominated heros: Piper Hill, Chris Mintz, Jason Redman, Leigh Ann Hester, and Michael Gallardo.  The page has a bio of each hero at the end of which is a button that you can press to vote for that particular hero. Of course all five are deserving in their own unique way but unfortunately only one can win.

3. Probably THE most interesting news item to come after the race last weekend at Martinsville comes from the post-race traffic jam. You know how you are driving 5 mph at a snails pace after the race. Just remember- you never know who is in the lane next to you.  One lucky Kyle Busch fan found that out first hand on Sunday: (more…)

(Photo Source: Zimbio.com/Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images North America)

So these are the things that have been pinging around in my brain like (pastel) lugnuts during a green flag pit stop:

1. Penalties, penalties, penalties: As expected there were penalties out of Auto Club:  Kyle Busch got penalized ($10,000 and on probation through April 27th) for not reporting to the media center for post race media after the Xfinity race on Saturday.  He did NOT get fined for his remarks regarding NASCAR on the radio however.  Nor should he in my opinion. Although NASCAR was very forthcoming at the beginning of the semester by letting drivers and fans alike know that disparaging remarks against NASCAR or the sport would not be tolerated- they were not said to the media- they were said on the team radio.  Granted the team radios are heard by the media (and fans). I admit that I am surprised he wasn’t dinged for the radio comment about the lack of a caution and NASCAR fixing the race- but I admit I am very much a free speech kind of person so I want to hear those comments, the cursing, I want to hear it all. To me it’s part of the passion of the athletes in the sport.  Interestingly enough Kevin Harvick didn’t go to the media center after finishing second on Sunday but he got excused from it by NASCAR and thus did NOT get fined.  Danica Patrick did get fined ($20,000 and probation for four races) for approaching the racing surface under caution during the race on Sunday.  As she should have. That rule is in place for safety reasons and violating it is a disregard for personal safety or the safety of others.  Now do I think she should get fined for leaving her car? No- she asked if she could get out because of the fire and her spotter or crew chief told her she could.  A rule is a rule. She broke it by entering the racing surface. Do I think she had reason to be upset with Kasey Kahne? YES I definitely do. It clearly looked to me like he came down on her while she was holding her current position.  Whether he “misjudged” the whole or whatnot- I can’t tell you- only Kasey can but I do think she has a reason to be upset. She does not have a reason to walk out onto the apron track- keep the gestures to after the race. Cole Pearn, Martin Truex Jr’s crew chief,  did NOT get fined or penalized for his post race tweet that was a tad unkind to Joey Logano.  I think the reasoning behind the lack of a fine was two fold- technically the tweet was not against NASCAR or it’s racing product, and he later apologized on twitter.  Hey- who hasn’t tweeted something they regretted at some point?  Most people. Again I didn’t see a need for Cole to get penalized even if he hadn’t apologized. To me that is a heat of the moment thing that shows the passion for the sport and the competition.   (more…)

Ty Dillon doing media at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Photo source: Stewart-Haas Racing Twitter)

I am hoping that late lugnuts are better than no lugnuts this week but between the Ford announcement and the day job and a puppy that demands my attention when I get home because she is currently going through a very mischievous stage right now I had to delay the lugnuts post!  Here is what has been pinging around my head this week like lugnuts in a pitbox during a green flag pitstop:

1. Biggest thing this week was the Stewart-Haas manufacturer switch announcement that seemed to take everyone by surprise which is interesting to me because usually when something happens there always seems to be rumblings about it on social media. This literally WAS the biggest secret in NASCAR in a while.  Well until it wasn’t a secret any more.  I already had my say about the switch here. BUT I did want to share some additional information that I didn’t know at the time of that writing- and that is that for those who are upset about Tony affiliating his team with Ford for 2017- Tony HAS driven a Ford himself in competition before- just not NASCAR. You can read more about that here in an article from National Speed Sport News.

2. Also for those interested in the teleconference Stewart-Haas had following the initial online announcement I have two resources for you. First is an audio of highlights of the press conference as posted by SiriusXM NASCAR with Tony Stewart. And second I found a transcript of the press conference now too that you can find here as posted by Autoweek.  (more…)

As always NASCAR Champions week in Las Vegas was a ton of fun.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup In Las Vegas December 2015. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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Panoramic of Homestead-Miami before the race (Photo Source: Amy K. Marbach)

Just an fyi this post is going to be different because this is a first person race diary. If you are looking for just a telling of Tony’s race day experience you can read the official Stewart-Haas Racing post race wrap-up here. — Amy

It started back in February when Misty said to me- after hearing of her driver Jeff Gordon’s retirement announcement- “I wish we could go to the race in Miami“.  I responded with “Why can’t we? We can just skip Phoenix this year and head to Miami instead.”  She was surprised- I remember the exact words out of her mouth were “You’d go to Miami with me?” I said “Heck yeah I would.”  And so began our odyssey.  I found out that there was a list you could put yourself on to buy tickets for the race in Miami and I put us on the list to buy tickets as soon as they became available to non-season ticket holders. We didn’t buy anything else or plan anything else until I got a very early phone call from Homestead Miami’s ticket office when they were going through the online list of potential ticket buyers.  The ticketing agent was very helpful in getting us awesome seats (at the end of a row- our favorite spot) in our price range.  As a surprise to Misty, I sprung for the pre-race pit passes because we decided back in February that we were going to this race as fans. No media center for us at Homestead because when you are in the media center there are rules- like no wearing driver gear and there was no way we were going all that way for Jeff Gordon’s last race to have Misty NOT wear her Jeff Gordon gear proudly.  As a matter of fact- I had a great conversation with the ticketing agent about why I only wanted Sunday only tickets (because we wanted to spend the rest of our short time in the area sight seeing having never been to the area before).  After our tickets were secured Misty took over as our travel agent securing us a Hotel right on the beach, securing our direct flight from McCarran Airport (LAS) in Vegas to Miami International Airport, securing us a rental car. She did it all. She even bought us a guide book for Miami that we both poured over in the months prior to the trip so that we could decide in advance what we wanted to see while we were there.  We also knew that we were traveling an airline that charges to check bags and since we weren’t going to be there that long we (Misty) decided we could do this with just our carry-on. I am a notorious over-packer so I really had to limit myself to taking just what I thought I would absolutely need. It would also seriously hamper the amount of souvenirs I could bring home. I also decided for this reason- to only bring a point-and-shoot camera and my cell phone because I didn’t want my camera equipment taking up my clothing allotment in my carryon! (more…)