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Coke 600 2015 (photo source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

Here is what’s been pinging around my brain this week like lugnuts during a green flag pitstop.

1. While I always love the day of racing that is presented on the last Sunday in May- us Smoke fans have something extra special to look forward to- a Kenny Wallace interview with Tony Stewart on NASCAR RaceDay on FS1 prior to the CocaCola 600.  If you don’t watch RaceDay (I plan on watching the Indy 500 myself so I might miss it) you might want to set your DVRs to record it!

2. Also if you are interested in The Smoke Show at Texas Motor Speedway- the date has been released as Wednesday October 12th. You can get more information and sign up by visiting SCCTEXAS.ORG or calling 817-215-8567. BadGroove reader and supporter Judy Seigworth attended last year’s SMOKE Show and shared her experiences with us here at Badgroove. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t yet and consider attending this awesome event for charity.

3. You know how a lot of the drivers honor fallen veteran’s and their families by running their name on the windshield header of their cars? Well Tony Stewart will be honoring Master Sgt. Paul D. Karpowich. Karpowich was one of 22 Americans killed by a suicide bomber in a mess tent in Iraq four days before Christmas 2004.  Sgt Karpowich has a 12 year military career including four years of active duty and working his way up to a senior drill sargent in the Army Reserves.  He was hand-selected to train new Iraqi troops in Northern Iraq in fall of 2004. The #14 crew chief Mike Bugarewicz and his wife Krysten asked to honor Sgt Paul Karpowich since Krysten family knows the Karpowich family.

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All-Star Race 2013 (Photo Source: Tony Stewart FaceBook Page)

These items are what have been pinging around my pitbox this week like loose lugnuts during a green flag pitstop:

1. Don’t forget Smoke fans- Tony will be giving the command to fire engines for the All-Star race…how awesome is that. I hope that other tracks have some neat tributes to Tony as the season winds down…I know he said he didn’t want a fuss but…I kind of want a fuss for him.

2. I was going to go on a little rant about silly season rumors and the whole Harvick to HMS rumor. But now I don’t have to do that because Stewart-Haas Racing officially announced today that Harvick has signed a “longterm contract extension” with the team.  I wonder if people will now listen to Kevin when he states emphatically on his social media that he isn’t going anywhere?! For those wondering, Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers signed a contract extension last June so the pair is likely  in it for the long haul.  Of course this doesn’t mean that the whole Kasey Kahne to finish his HMS contract with a different team isn’t true- but like all silly season rumors- only time will tell with that one. (more…)

The practice hokey pokey is what Misty calls this. (photo source: Tony Stewart Official Store/HHP/Andrew Coppley)

Well looks like the lugnuts are pinging around that pitbox I call a brain again:

1. Did you hear? BadGroove is having a contest and you can enter to win some Tony Stewart swag. Pay special attention to the part about how you can earn a bonus entry on Saturday.

2. So it sounds like the new lugnut rule is in action- Crew Chief of the #18 Adam Stevens and the front tire changer Josh Leslie have been suspended through May 18th for a lugnut violation. Additionally Stevens has been fined $20,000.  This according to a tweet from Dustin Long.  I hate to say it but it’s been pretty obvious that the teams can’t police themselves when it comes to lugnuts so I expect to see more of these fines in the future. It’s a safety issue. You wouldn’t drive your passenger car down the freeway at 65 MPH (or higher- come on you know you don’t go the speed limit) missing lugnuts, explain to me why it’s safe for a stock car going 150 plus MPH (depending on the track) to do that on a race track? It’s common sense.

3.It was great to see the 14 lead a few (ok 12) laps on Saturday.  I hope to see that Code 3 Associates Chevy in victory lane this weekend. I can’t be the only one right? Speaking of Code 3 Associates did you know that they in conjunction with Adam’s Flea and Tick Pest control are offering you a sweepstakes where you can win a VIP race experience including the chance to meet Tony Stewart? Enter today! (more…)

(photo source: Tony Stewart Facebook)

Are you all ready for Talladega? I admit I always fret about Talladega even more than I do about races at Daytona. So this is what has been rolling around in my head like lugnuts during a green flag pitstop:

1. Just a reminder first- Tony will only be taking a few laps at Talladega and then use replacement driver Ty Dillon. The risk of aggravating his back injury in those crazy crashes is just too great. As much as I love seeing Tony back in the car I can’t even express how much of relief that is to me as I have made no secret about how I feel about Talladega and the danger it presents to drivers. It seems this whole relief driver points going to Tony Stewart thing is causing quite a stir – I guess that just shows it’s been a really really long time since a driver has utilized a relief driver in a race.  NASCAR isn’t changing any rule by allowing Tony Stewart to retain the points from his relief driver Ty Dillon. It has been this way since well before the current chase format.  It’s the whole point of a relief driver- that the driver who is sick or injured “tap out” of the race so as to not be a danger to himself or other while another driver takes over.  The whole point of Tony even starting Talladega I would assume is for the points- or else they would likely just have him sit out because that track is dangerous and the likelihood of being caught up in an accident is great- and Tony is still healing from his sand rail accident.

2. This isn’t NASCAR or even racing related. This is human being related and needs to be watched: (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 Source: Stewart-Haas Racing)

Here is what has been ricocheting around my brain like lug nuts during a green flag pit stop:

1. As I mentioned in the last post, Brian Vickers will be back in the 14 car as Tony Stewart’s replacement driver at Auto Club. For this race the 14 has previously been sponsored by Rush Truck Center, however this year the primary sponsor for the 14 car will be sponsored by Janssen & Arnie’s Army. Janssen, as you might know, is the pharmaceutical company that makes Xarelto the anti-clot medication that Brian Vickers, Arnold Palmer and others credit for helping them survive devastating blood clots.  Arnie’s Army is Arnold Palmer’s charitable organization which provides financial support to institutions and organizations that help children, youth, families, the environment and the communities in which we live. Also a show car with this paint scheme will be near the ninth fairway at the PGA Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida for most of the week.  We all know that blood clot awareness and treatment is something near and dear to Brian Vickers as he has struggled publicly with the condition:

“I’m proud to team up with Janssen once again to talk about this serious condition I share with hundreds of thousands of Americans. I’m also thankful and excited to be driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in the No. 14 Janssen Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation Chevrolet in support of my dear friend and fellow blood clot survivor, Mr. Arnold Palmer.” Brian Vickers, Team Release

Additionally the Xfinity race at Autoclub will be sponsored by TreatMyClot.Com (Xarelto).

2. Your favorite driver and mine Tony Stewart will be Honored on May 25th at the 36th Annual Sonic Automotive Raceway Children’s Charties Gala for his “successes on and off the track including his incredible contributions to Speedway Children’s Charities across all 8 chapters.”  The Gala, being held at the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, will recognize him for his philanthropic efforts:

“For more than 15 years Stewart has wowed NASCAR fans across the country, but he rarely gets recognized for his philanthropic efforts. The Gala will be the perfect opportunity for us to thank him for all he’s done for Speedway Children’s Charities to help children in need around the country.” Marcus Smith, vice chairman of Speedway Children’s Charities per FoxSports.

While our driver has made it clear that he doesn’t want to be paraded through the media center every week to get a gift…this is much deserved recognition that we all know he deserves.

3. One of only two NASCAR Sprint Cup series races in my home state is this weekend.  If you can stop by Auto Club Speedway down in Fontana on Thursday (it’s St. Patrick’s day so remember to wear green or someone might pinch you) it’s Fan Fest which starts at 5:00 pm local time at Auto Club.  Fan Fest is  free to the public and will feature driver appearances through the night including: Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Brennan Poole, and more. There will also be live entertainment, family friendly fun and concessions. Just follow the signs to the O’Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone. Admission and parking are FREE.

4. Are you ready for your laugh of the week? This made me laugh…Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace Jr’s snapchat video of their road trip from Phoenix to Los Angeles: (more…)

(Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Last week the lugnuts were early, and this week they are late. See what has been pinging around my brain like lugnuts in a pit box during a green flag pit stop:

1. I think most Tony Stewart fans were excited to hear that he can start his rehabilitation after his appointment on Wednesday. I know it won’t be a pleasant experience but he is tenacious and is under excellent care we can be sure. We can’t wait to see you on track when you are ready Smoke!

2. A member of Kevin Harvick’s crew was in a snow mobile accident while the team was staying out west in Utah and enjoying some of the snow. Shock specialist Michael McCarville broke 7 ribs (OW) and a collapsed lung. Yikes! Sounds like he was having a great time before he hurt himself too. Speedy recovery wishes to Michael!

3. #WholeySmoke have you seen the new Tony Stewart Foundation website? It looks awesome. Check out all the ways you can help children, animals and drivers, and find out more about ALL sides of our favorite driver Tony Stewart at this new website. Of course I might be a little bias because some of our content is featured on the site! Gotta love that. Seriously check out the new webpage and while you are there drop a small (or large) donation to the foundation to show that #WholeySmoke, you support Tony Stewart!

4. Remember the story I mentioned last season in a Loose Lugnuts (see number two) about the Jeff Gordon fan who’s prized Jeff Gordon Edition Monte Carlo ended up destroyed in a car fire. Then Jeff Gordon and his father John Bickford heard the story and they gave her Jeff’s personal 24 edition Monte Carlo? I have been fortunate enough to become friendly with that fan- her name is Loraine Treadwell and she is hoping to show that Monte Carlo at different events.  The first of which will be Sunday March 20th at the Mariner’s Discovery Church Spring Festival.  The car will be on display at the festival from 11:00-3:00pm at Excelsior Middle School (14301 Byron Highway) in Byron, CA outside the old gym. Be sure to check it out and hear the story for yourself.  Tell her you heard about it from us if you go.  I am hoping to catch up with Loraine myself at one of these events. There will be more and I will be posting them as they come available.

5. Someone on Facebook pointed out that in many of the pictures I took during Tony Stewart’s presser last week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series logo on the backdrop behind him just happens to be positioned over Tony’s head so it looks like a halo. Of course I didn’t do this on purpose and actually I didn’t even notice it until the person on Facebook pointed it out, but now it’s all I can see and it seriously cracks me up: (more…)