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….
Wow…that was an interesting albeit short race on Sunday. Well at least it seemed short to me. I don’t know why – since they ran the full race. Maybe it was the lack of cautions?
Tony was a Hot Pass driver this week. I don’t know if HOT PASS was listening to me or snoozing on the job but I did get to hear Tony complain that his car was “Looser than shit!” on the radio. Despite seeming to wrestle an ill-handling car for most of the race- overall Tony seemed pretty good- he was in the Top 10 most of the day. After the last caution, crew cheif Darian Grubb called on Stewart to save gas- which he did- however about 100 feet from the start finish line Tony ran out of gas but was still able to coast across the finishline in a very respectable 7th place. Tony retained the points lead- leading second place (in both the race and the points) Gordon by 47 points. Tony’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Ryan Newman also struggles with an ill-handling car all day- at one point actually replacing a spring during a pitstop. Ryan Newman is currently fifth in the points 225 points behind his teammate.
Notes About Michigan:
- Ok- seriously I didn’t see that it was that big of a deal that Kyle smashed the guitar/trophy. It is his trophy. It was done in a “rock n roll” kinda spirit. Can we please move on now?
- Also I am kinda finding the whole Kyle vs Jr and Jr. Nation thing a guilty pleasure to witness. It is slightly humorous. I don’t know why I am finding it humorous to watch the two slug insults back and forth but I am.
- Wow two races in a row where fuel mileage played a heavy hand. I don’t see how people can not think it’s exciting. This time we had not only our race leader run out of gas well before the start finish line, but the second place car run out of gas too (Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle). It’s all part of the strategy component of it all.
I am surprised I didn’t get the cops called on me this Sunday during the last 20 laps or so of the Autism Speaks 400 race at Dover. I was watching alone for a change and when Tony was chasing Biffle down, passing Biffle, and then working that track to make his car seem as wide as possible when Jimmie was doing the same to him, I was screaming. And standing about two feet infront of the television- as if my mere proximity to the tube and yelling my cheers that loudly would somehow propell that 14 car on my voice alone. Because I was alone I wasn’t shy about being LOUD and PROUD in my rooting for Tony and Team. And because I was alone I admit that I may have had a few choice words for Jimmie Johnson when he passed Tony (even though I actually kinda like Jimmie) that didn’t get filtered out by my internal sesor when I watch with other people.
Team Office Depot/Old Spice didn’t have the most stellar first practice or qualifying run on Friday so honestly I wasn’t sure it was going to be the best weekend for us. Then I made the mistake of reading the transcript from Tony’s Friday media session- which is something I almost never do- and he just seemed rather grumpy and overly concerned about his car. Yet another reason to think that Dover would not be a great weekend for Team Office Depot/Old Spice. I was reassured a bit on Saturday morning when I caught glimpses of the last two practices- to see that Tony’s car seemed to be picking it up.
Qualifying 31st, Tony spent most of the race mired in heavy traffic but working his way up the field slowly but surely. Not having the best of pit stalls I think kind of messed him up in the pits and he often lost one or two spots during a stop. Tony eventually worked his way into the top ten- running consistently at about 8th or so. Then there was a lucky debris caution. Darian called Tony in at the last minute for two tires. And because Team Office Depot/Old Spice only took two tires, they found themselves slowly hunting down race leader (at the time) Greg Biffle- and eventually catching him. They raced hard for awhile and Stewart eventually become the race leader. Unfortunately Jimmie Johnson was also moving up the field- and Jimmie was on four fresh tires. Tony held Jimmie off as long as he could- but Jimmie eventually got around Tony with two laps to go and never looked back. Tony came in second at Dover. Partly because of his second place finish and also because of Jeff Gordon’s inability to get either of his laps back, Stewart and Team Office Depot/Old Spice left Dover first in the points, with Jeff Gordon a mere 46 points behind him. Stewart-Haas teamate Ryan Newman also had yet another top ten finish (way to go RYAN!!) and moved up two spots in the points and is now up to fifth.
Notes on Dover:
- This race had too many debris cautions for my taste. People- if your race car has parts falling off of it- pull into the pits! That is my PSA for Dover.
- I am kind of glad its the end of the Fox coverage because DW kind of pissed me off with an offhanded comment he made regarding drivers not having original thoughts during the preshow (in reference to Kyle Busch’s comment about Dale Jr.)
- Well judging by the results this weekend- the crew chief switch on the #88 seems to at least done SOME good. Jr finished 12th. Not bad. Still- Junior seemed down in his afterrace interview. As a side note, my friend says Dale Jr. reminds her of Jeff Boomhauer when he talks.
- As mentioned by Kyle Busch during the preshow- don’t forget to go to RealChocolate.com to try for your chance at a free Mars product this friday. (Thanks Kyle!)
- *Technically most NASCAR fans would call Dover race 13 on the schedule because for some unknown reason they don’t count the All-Star race (yeah I know you don’t get points…but you get a million bucks and a cool ring? What more do you want?).
Next weekend the race is at Pocono (aka the Evil Little Triangle). Also don’t forget race fans that NASCAR coverage switches to TNT this weekend.
I can only imagine the kind of high the guys at Stewart-Haas Racing are on- considering that I am still excited about the All-Star win. In my excitement over the win I realized that in my last post I didn’t do my usual NOTES FROM THE ALL STAR RACE so I will include them here in their own little post.
- Was I the only one who was kind of surprised that Joey Logano got the fan vote? I don’t know WHY I was so surprised but I definitely was surprised.
- Did Jimmie Johnson really not understand the format of the race? He repeatedly asked crew chief Chad Knaus about it. I figured it out within a minute of hearing the rules. My parent didn’t get it (although you would think my dad would since he use to go to our local dirt track when I was a kid) and I had to explain it to them over and over again- throughout the race. Chad- I understand your pain! You have far more patience than I.
- Speaking of Jimmie Johnson- I happened to catch him Sunday on Wind Tunnel and I will say this- the (extremely) short hair surprised me. It’s about the same length as his beard. Apparently if you go to a BBQ at Jimmie’s friend’s house…you might come back with much shorter hair. It’s taken me quite awhile to grow mine back out so- remind me to be weary of BBQ invitations.
- The mandatory 10 minute stop before the dash for the cash? Genius! I think every race should have that. Not before the last ten laps- but maybe at the half way point or three quarters point. Just think how that would change strategy.
- Who do YOU think caused the wreck that took out Jeff Gordon: Kyle Busch? Ryan Newman? Jeff Gordon? It was just a racin’ deal? I am interested to find out what you think. Let me know in the comments.
- I would have loved to been a fly on the wall to that celebration party let me tell you. Tony told the press there was going to be an over/under wager as to when he would actually wake up on Sunday. Considering that the race wasn’t even over til after midnight on the East Coast and that Tony then had media obligations before he and the crew could go out and really ring in the celebration. Of course I have no idea, but if I could throw my money on it I would pick 3:45pm. And for when he actually dragged himself out of bed? 4:14 pm. I pretty much just picked them out of the air…but I guess we will never know! I emailed my friend and told her (she was the one who told me about the over/under bet to begin with) and her official thought is I am not taking enough into consideration and am being far kind on my actual out of bed. Her two cents are actually out of bed at 5:00pm. Feel free to play along in the comments…but realize we will never know the actual answer.
- I also love this quote from Tony after the race and first win for Stewart-Haas Racing and his new Office Depot/Old Spice team:
“My first reaction was, I wish I could have seen the looks on their faces when we came off [Turn] 4, and we had the lead with two to go,” Stewart said of his team. “I didn’t dare say anything on the radio. I didn’t say a word. But man, I wanted to see what the pit box looked like those last two laps.” –Tony Stewart post All-Star race quote.
- I love that quote because I was able to see those guys all lined up on that pit box watching and cheering! And then to see them jump off! It was a great moment. I am glad my celebratory leap from the couch wasn’t caught on film!
This next weekend gives us the longest race on the NASCAR circuit: the Coca-Cola 600 also at Lowes Motor Speedway. I hope Tony’s luck from the all-star win carries over to the 600!!! YEY!!!
I had a good feeling about Richmond all week last week. Part of it was due to press I am sure- with Tony stating over and over again how Richmond was not one of his favorites it was THE FAVORITE. I was hoping that my good feeling meant that Tony would win- or that at the very least Stewart-Haas Racing would get that elusive first win with Ryan Newman. It will probably sound bad but I really want Tony to get that first win for Stewart-Haas Racing- nothing at all against Ryan and I can’t explain why, but I just really REALLY want Tony to be the first win. I also wonder if there isn’t a little bit of competitiveness between the two? Do you think they smack talk each other?
Anyway- it was probably me- since I wasn’t feeling that great on Saturday but I was having a heck of time following where Tony was. Well I mean I obviously could figure out where he was during the Green-Yellow laps- but after that I could It seemed to me like he spent most of the race in the teens and I remember at one point finding that he was being scored 27th and saying to my mom “Twenty-freakin-seventh?? What the hell happened to Stewart?” to which she just shrugged and kinda rolled her eyes. I do get a little wrapped up in my NASCAR races. Anyway towards the end of the race my dad came in wearing his 14 hat proudly and asked where Stewart was. I said I wasn’t sure…because some pitting had just taken place and then it seemed like to me- someone turned Tony on er woke Tony up and told him it was the end of the race because it seemed to me suddenly like he was flying towards the front of the field. What I didn’t realize was that Tony was one of the cars that took fresh tires that last pit stop. (Why didn’t I know that FoxSports? Why?). It wasn’t long until Ryan (who had been running top ten most if not all of the day) had a mirror full of Tony. I said to my dad “I wonder if it makes Ryan a little nervous to have his BOSS driving right behind him like that?” My dad said probably not…but think about it- if my boss decided for whatever reason to sit in my office and watch me do one of the myriad of things I do I would worry that he was critiquing me and my style…even though I think I am damn good at what I do I would worry that he would find flaw in what I was doing.
Tony moves into second and I was really hoping that he would catch up to Kyle- but there was NO catching Kyle- he was on fire and nearly a quarter to half a lap ahead of of Tony. Kyle took the checkered flag on his birthday- only the second driver to ever do that (the first being Cale Yarborough). Tony’s late race charge and second place finish gained him a spot in the points- he now sits in third- a mere 39 points out of the lead. Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman also had a top five finish- finishing in fourth and bringing the US. ARMY Impala into the 10 position in the points standings.
Notes on Richmond:
- Small business owners: Office Depot Racing wants to give you a $14,000 small business makeover, your logo on Tony Stewart’s #14 Stewart Haas Racing Impala and a VIP Weekend at a NASCAR race. Go here to enter your business now (contest is open now thorugh May 31st)! I wish I had a small business just fo the the VIP weekend…let alone the money and the name on the car!!
- Have you seen the World’s Worst Commute Quaker State promotion? About how if you think you have the world’s worse commute you send in a video as to why and I the prize is getting driven to work by Jimmie Johsnon (I think you get some VIP race tickets too). I would love to have any of the drivers drive me to work? But I have probably the EASIEST commute…ixnay that- my mom has the easiest one- she could walk since she only works about a block away from her house…I drive 15-20 minutes…over a river, through ag fields (not actually through the fields—there is an actual road), and then I am there. Seriously the worst thing he would have to deal with on my commute would probably be a tractor towing discing rings or something on the side of the road. So I can’t win that…do you think I could convince them that my commute is to Vegas? While I do drive to Vegas often (I think my coworkers think I am some sort of big time gambler) I have never been driven there by anyone but me and it’s a pretty long (500 miles door to door) boring and lonely drive let me tell you…
- Also it just came to me…I assume he would be driving you in your car? Because how else would you get back home? Unless he is gonna stay there for 8 hours while I work (He is welcome to – I even have an extra chair in my office and our break room is AWESOME -you can see the ocean from it plus it is a college campus so if he got bored he could just wander around the campus chatting up people) and then drive me home?
- Now that we are talking about commercials- you know who can almost always make me laugh? Michael Waltrip. And when you pair him up with Ron Capps- it’s even better. I love the Napa commercials! The pictionary one is laughs- “You ARE a good drawer”. However the Toyota Autograph Seeker commercial is hilarious too…the one with the little flying robots looking for autographs for the fans…and one approaches Michael Waltrip? If you listen carefully one of the crew guys yells “Watch Out It Has A Pen!” right before Michael sprays it with the extinguisher. That makes me laugh too.
- I could probably be coaxed very easily to talk about this in another post…but for now all I will say is Amy from Salinas, CA says thanks to Tony Stewart and especially officedepotracing.com.
- Check out this enthusiastic post about Darlington from TC at The NASCAR INSIDERS. It got me excited about Darlington, and it’s only Monday!
Next Saturday Night? The Southern 500 at Darlington, SC.
After a weekend where two of the three practices and the qualifying session were rained out the weather looked beautiful for Sunday’s race at Martinsville. Martinsville is the shortest track on the circiut but Sunday’s Goody’s 500 was definitely not short on action. I personally, thought Sunday’s race was one of the best this season.
Of course part of that could be because both Stewart-Haas Racing drivers, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman had top ten finishes. Tony finishing the day with an awesome third place finish- the best for Stewart-Haas Racing so far this season. Ryan Newman finished the day in 8th place- a personal best for his since beginning his tenure at Stewart-Haas racing at the beginning of this season. Both Tony and Ryan’s teams seemed to be working quite well on Pit Road despite the inherient cramp conditions in the Martinsville pits as well as having some non-choice pitstalls.
Since qualifying was rained out – the field lined up by points. Initially Jeff Gordon, who started on the pole since he leads the points race right now, took the lead and seemed to stay in the lead a good portion of the race. His only challenger seemed to be Denny Hamlin- who also looked fairly strong. His car seemed to get stronger while Gordon’s handling seem to fade late in the race- causing him to have a fourth place finish. In the end- it was a shootout between Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson- with the two swapping the lead back and forth several times during the last 22 laps or so. At one point during the swapping back and forth of the lead, Hamlin and Johnson were both practically sideways side by side in the turn. In the end- Jimmie Johnson was able to get his first cup win of the season.
More Notes on Martinsville:
- Best Work In of A Sponsor Product: Comes from Saturday’s Practice telecast on SPEEDTv where journalist said to Tony Stewart “This really stinks doesn’t it?” talking about the weather- and Tony retorted “It DOES NOT stink because we have OLD SPICE as a sponsor so it does NOT stink!”
- Tony was apparently cussing at himself during the end of the race: “I was just cussing at myself because I wasn’t close enough to do anything about it.”
– Tony Stewart, on the winning pass (third)
- I love how now that Rick Hendrick has been quoted as supporting Tony Eury Jr as Crew Chief for Dale Jr- that the Fox Commentators (I think it was DW) are now stating that part of the reason that Dale is having poor finishes is Tony Stewart’s fault because he recruited Darian Grubb away from HMS. Um…no.
- I was glad to hear that even Jeff Gordon gets frustrated during a race- as he threatened to “knock his head off” if Denny (or it might have been Tony- I thought Tony when I first heard it but my friend says no he was talking about Denny) he bumped him again.
- I had no idea Joey Logano was so tall- (direct from my notes after seeing him standing next to Greg Zipadelli during the national anthem.)
- Poor Kyle just couldn’t catch a break this race- seemed he was spinning more times than a hula hoop! Neither could Matt Kenseth- always a driver or six short of being the lucky dog.
- Was it my imagination or did Jeff Gordon slight Tony Stewart’s third place finish in his post race interview? Jeff felt he had at least a third place car…but he finished fourth (and maintained his points lead).
Next Week: Texas Motor Speedway.
Sometimes when I am bored or I see something I like or don’t like I mentally compose a letter to whatever it is. Here are some NASCAR related ones (hey it’s on off week- give me a break):
Dear Office Depot Racing Website- I love your website. I love the different backgrounds on the different tabs and moving my mouse from side to side to change the perspective slightly (ok so maybe I am just easily amused). I actually hit your site at least every other day or so. However…I need new content!!! I did notice you have pages for all the crew members now and that occupied me for a tad. But I am looking for new wallpapers and maybe some answers to the ASK TONY questions that have been submitted this far? Or maybe another contest or something?? Just a thought- Amy
Dear Stewart-Haas Racing Website- I visit you quite often too. I have several things to say to you. First off- kudos to the team managing your VIP Garage section. I had some troubles with my VIP Garage account and they went out of their way to get me all set up- and did it extremely quickly. Also regarding the VIP garage- it’s taking me forever to be able to open up my gallery…and I want to post some pictures! Maybe you should lower the number of points needed for the first gallery and up the points needed for the last. Or figure out a way for us to get more points faster. One of the two will work. Also- your store is taking forever to open. Please open it soon. And when you do I would LOVE it if you would have a sticker of just the Stewart-Haas racing logo. I think that is a sweet logo and my car is begging for one. Every day when I go out to start her up she asks me “DID YOU GET ME ONE OF THOSE COOL STEWART-HAAS LOGO stickers yet? I am feeling pretty plain.” Thanks- AMY (PS-no my car does NOT really talk to me- please don’t call the looney bin- I was just being dramatic).
Dear Team Office Depot: I really think that you guys are gelling awesomely. Your win will come soon! Keep digging in and not giving up (Atlanta was awesome- finishing 8th after being 2 laps down at one point! Talk about digging your heels in!). Good Job–keep it up!!- AMY
Dear Kyle Busch- Your M&M’s car really makes me crave peanut M&Ms. I think it’s because its yellow and has M&M’s on it. Just thought you should know. Thanks. AMY (PS. Your Pedigree car has never made me crave dog food though. Just in case you were wondering).
Dear NASCAR.COM- I really really really DO NOT like your new layout. Amy
Dear Old Spice- Ok- I have seen the Tony Stewart Swagger commercials several times now. And I have to ask…what is the deal with being Russian? Why does the nationality of the gorgeous trophy girl have anything to do with anything? Unsure- Amy
If you were keeping track- last year when we decided to go to the Vegas race, BFM woke up Thursday morning really sick- as in throwing up sick. We were going to go see Tony Stewart’s driver appearance at the local Home Depot and at her insistence I went anyway with her brother instead. That was the only driver appearance we got to that race. This year- however was quite the different beast. To begin with no one was too sick to go. Also there were tons of driver appearances – unfortunately it seemed that 85 percent of them were all at the same time (what is it with the Thursday from 4-6 time slot that the drivers love to use for their appearances?). I told BFM that since I got to see Tony at both races we went to last year that this year she could pick our driver appearances. So she picked:
Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Casey Mears. The major problem there? Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch were doing their appearances at the same time at separate ends of the Vegas Strip (Kahne was in the Stratosphere and Kyle Busch was at M&M World which was just down from the MGM Grand).