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(This is part 2 of our two part  annual Sonoma “Race-cation” post! Check out Part 1: Friday & Saturday here— Amy)

Sunday would prove to be one of our busiest and most interesting race days that we have experienced to date. Thanks to NASCAR we had earned a VIP race experience and what an experience it was.

Sonoma Raceway

Bright and early Sunday morning picture taken from parking lot 1 as I waited for the parking shuttle as tweeted June 22nd, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Our race day started as another bright and even earlier day.  We wanted to be absolutely certain we were at Sonoma Raceway in plenty of time so we left quite early knowing that highway 37 towards Sonoma is two lane for much of it (one in each direction) and can back up quite quickly and we wanting to leave nothing to chance. Because we left so early we encountered virtually no traffic except the usual getting into the raceway traffic so by the time we were parked and waiting for the shuttle to the paddock/media center we realized we were there well before we needed to be. So what do an early Misty and Amy do at a race track early? They take a quick walk down the length of the garage and then out to the area behind the pit stalls before they are too crowded.

Early Sunday Morning Pit Road

Pit road at Sonoma Raceway early Sunday morning on June 22nd, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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Tire

Matt Kenseth and the 2014 Goodyear Support Our Troops Tire (Photo Courtesy of Goodyear)

Goodyear will again be running a SUPPORT OUR TROOPS tire design this year at all NASCAR races at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the month of May, culminating in the longest race of the NASCAR season, the Coca-Cola 600 on May 25th.  The custom tires (see photo above) will coincide with the launch of Goodyear’s fifth annual “Goodyear Gives Back” campaign—a charitable program benefiting the Support Our Troops® Organization, a nonprofit nationwide organization that works to bolster the morale and well-being of America’s troops and their families.

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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The 14 crew services the Mobil 1 Chevy piloted by Mark Martin at Chicagoland. (Photo credit: Stewart-Haas Facebook Page- click on link to be taken to the original)

Personally- I think that the over 5 hour rain delay was a bit much.  It has been pretty clear that mother nature is not a NASCAR far sometimes and she reared her head at Chicagoland on Sunday- just shy of halfway through the race.  (more…)

The crew of the #14 Bass Pro Chevy performs a pit stop at Bristol. (Photo Credit: Stewart-Haas Racing Facebook Page- click on pic to be taken to the original)

I know I have said this before- but I love the excitement of racing at Bristol. It and Martinsville are both my favorite tracks to watch on TV (I have not yet made it to either track – but I will one day). But racing at Bristol at night- man there is just something about the lights that adds to the excitement and makes the tension and the vibe at the track almost palpable even through the medium of television.  This Bristol race was no different with plenty of dust-ups, disappointed drivers and of course that racing and that FINISH!  Go ahead and admit it- a tiny little part of you wanted Kasey Kahne to bump-and-run Matt Kenseth…just a little bit right? I certainly did.  I really don’t think anyone would blame him after the issue Kasey has had with the JGR drivers- Matt in particular.  My question to you is this: If Kasey had bumped Kenseth out of the way to take the checkers would that have changed your opinion of Kasey for the better, for the worse, or not at all? Feel free to leave your answer in the comments- I am just curious what your thoughts on this are. (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…)

Crew members push the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet of Tony Stewart on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 19, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

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