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I love blogging here. I love talking Tony Stewart, and love especially love when I can hopefully introduce you all to something new – whether that be information, a product or whatever and there are even times when the blogging more for myself than you all (my readers) because I just have to write!  But then again, there are some days when I am at work and things at work are just beyond crazy and then at the same time things are getting thrown out at me for the blog via email and social media that it can and does overwhelm me. Sometimes that means I miss things or I have to put things off until I leave work to respond or deal with. That happened to me earlier in the week when someone tweeted a video they wanted me to see.  I was crazy-making busy at the work so I put it off until I got home but then when I got home and watched it, I was excited to be able to share it with you all. The video is a song called “Smoke Will Rise” and it is by Joanna Lower and here it is:


But instead of just sharing it with you and carrying on though I wanted to give you some information on the person who created this heartfelt song, and luckily for us all Joanna took a few minutes to answer some questions about the song and herself for us here at BadGroove to share with you:

BG: How long have you been a NASCAR / Tony Stewart fan?

JL: I’ve actually been around NASCAR my whole life. My parents and my brother have always been really big fans but I became a big fan about two years ago after watching a pretty intense Talladega race! I’ve always liked Tony, maybe because my brother (who ironically looks like Tony Stewart) has been a fan for as long as I can remember. To me Stewart is that driver that you just can’t help but love. He’s talented, he’s bold, and he’s always fun to watch on the racetrack!

BG: Who would you consider your biggest influences both musically and personally?

JL: Krystal Meyers and Britt Nicole are two of my biggest influences musically! Their lyrics are so powerful and bold, and I love that! Personally, I’d have to say my Mom is my biggest influence! She’s always been so supportive of my career and of everything I do! I don’t know where I’d be without her!

BG: Can you talk about what inspired you to write the song and why you felt compelled to do so?

JL: I’d been wanting to write a song called “Like a Phoenix” for a long time, just because the whole concept seemed very empowering, but I just couldn’t find the right words. No matter how hard I tried the song just wasn’t working. I finally sang the one small part of the song that I liked to my Mom and she said, “That sounds like you are singing to Tony Stewart!” In that moment, it was like something clicked. I thought about how Tony was going through so much and I wanted to write something that said, “You’re going to get through this. You will rise above everything that is coming against you.” I locked myself in my room and thirty minutes later I had a completed song! That’s when I changed the name to Smoke Will Rise!

BG: The song has a positive message that anyone can draw from despite it being specifically written for Tony Stewart. Can you talk about the how and why of this?

JL: I think anybody could really relate to this song because everyone goes through difficult situations. Everybody has been through a time in their life where they just need someone to tell them that it’s going to be okay, you’re going to make it, you can overcome the obstacles in front of you. What’s interesting is that when the song was finished, I started to notice other NASCAR drivers that this song could apply to. Trevor Bayne being diagnosed with MS, Brian Vickers and how he’s unable to drive right now due to health problems, Kurt Busch and everything he had to deal with not too long ago. I hope that anyone and everyone that hears this song is inspired and blessed by it!

BG: Talk about yourself here- anything you would like our readers to know.

JL: Well, I’ve been singing since I was about three and I just felt like God was calling me to sing professionally. I love writing new songs and creating something out of nothing! (Smoke Will Rise is actually my third original song on Youtube.The first two are called “Different Ending” and “Break the Masquerade!”) If you’d like to check out some of my other songs and find out more about me, you can check out my Facebook fanpage here: www.facebook.com/joannalower.fanpage

Thanks to Joanna for taking some time with us here at BadGroove and for sharing her song with us!

So Tony Fans…do  you have any guesses as to the Tony Stewart Racing Announcement:

Tony Stewart Racing Announcement

Credit: Tony Stewart Store on Facebook

It was posted on the Tony Stewart Racing Facebook page, The Tony Stewart Store Facebook page and sent out via email from the store email account.  Anyone want to gander a guess as to what the announcement is? Really all it says is that fans have asked and they have answered, that is really the only clue.

Here are my guesses in the order of what I think is probability:

1. They are bringing back the Prelude To The Dream.


2. They are bringing back Tony Stewart Live on Sirius as a regular feature on Sirius.
So? What do YOU think they announcement will be on Tuesday?

Speaking of which don’t forget: Tony Stewart Live will return at 7:00 PM ET on Sirius XM NASCAR (Channel 90) on 2/3/15!

Sonoma 2014- Happier TimesLast Thursday my world came skidding to a halt quicker than The Drive for Five after the incident with Keslowski at Texas Motorspeedway last fall. My driver dumped me. That’s right! Jeff Gordon is breaking up with us, his fans. He announced that this will be his last season as a driver in NASCAR. Initially I was shocked. Sure there have been murmurings for a few years about the impending R word, especially after the resurgence of some back pain a few seasons ago, but last season, man- last season seemed to have cleared all such nonsense talk out of the air. Jeff Gordon was back – Championship Contending Rainbow Warrior Jeff Gordon (though personally I never thought he went away). Sure the season ended in bitter disappointment for the 24 and his fans, but that just meant reason to look forward to the next season. Right?

Apparently, wrong! Jeff says he made the decision to make this his last season about midway through last year and that he is looking forward to the next chapter in his life. Well, just like any person dumped unexpectedly (no matter how evident the signs were) by their significant other, I say “Well bully for you, but what about me???.” I have shed tears over the announcement. I have received “condolence” texts from not just friends but from casual acquaintances! They recognize the suffering and pain I am enduring over this heartbreak.

I try to think positive. I try to visualize what it will be like without Jeff Gordon on the track and it does nothing to ease my heartache. I try to think about who I will cheer once Jeff is no longer driving. I have rolled a few drivers around in my head and as much as I like those drivers – I don’t love them. I love Jeff. I always have and I always will! I just can’t see myself in another driver’s jacket. It doesn’t feel right!

They say time heals all wounds, and I am sure that at some point there will be another driver, but I expect there will be a rebound driver or two in between that time comes, if it ever does. So fair warning to friends and family: don’t load me up on merch from the next driver I take up for ‘cause I can darn near guarantee that he ain’t a keeper. Not the kind I would take home to momma. It’s just too painful right now to think about giving my all to another driver. My relationship with Jeff lasted over 20 years, I am going to need some time to get through it.

It’s been nearly a week and talking about it still brings tears to my eyes as I think about all the experiences we will no longer share: knee slapping laughs at After the Lap, pit lane brawls leaving the villain spitting blood, pre-race invocation family shots, and most importantly Victory Lane fist pumps.

I am sure Jeff will stay in touch and still be in my life in some way, but it won’t be the same. It’s the end of a beautiful ride. Good luck, Jeff. What we had was special, and though you hate to hear it: DRIVE FOR FIVE, now is the time!
Love Always,
A Jeff Gordon Girl (Misty “24ever” Bethany)

I love to read. That is probably evident judging by the “Amy’s NASCAR Reading list” posts I make (and for those of you wondering I will be continuing that this year and already have some posts planned) but I can’t imagine a world without reading. That is why I love the speedway reading events. I know Fontana does some reading events around their race and Texas Motor Speedway has the Speed To Read program. This year Speed To Read has partnered with Lionel Racing in a Design-A-Diecast program! How cool is that?

More than 3,500 students in the seven schools that participate in the Speed To Read program will have the opportunity to use their artistic talents to design their a diecast paint scheme. Students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade will design a NASCAR paint scheme .  Winners will be picked in each of two grade categories:  grades K-2 and grades 3-5. The winner will have their diecast actually produced on a 1:24 scale diecast and presented to them in an acrylic case. That is such a cool idea- I would have LOVED that as a kid! Their classmates will recieve a 1:64th Lionel branded diecast as well.  The winner in each category will additionally receive tickets to the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 11th, 2015. So not only do they receive a cool diecast as their reward but they will be heading to the race in April! How fun!

Tony and Teddy B. Caring (credit: Office Depot)* Yeah I know it’s an old picture- but it’s very Christmasy isn’t it?

Are you looking for that holiday gift for the NASCAR fan in your life? Here are some quick suggestions from your friendly neighborhood Smoke fan: (more…)

I have lots to write still to wrap up the season- but I wanted to congratulate the winner of the Ford EcoBoost 400 AND the winner of the 2014 Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing #4 Budweiser Chevy:

Winner winner chicken dinner! Winner of both the Ford EcoBoost 400 and the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship Kevin Harvick hoists the trophy for the cup championship in victory lane in Homestead, Fl on November 16th 2014. (photo credit: 303081Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Harvicks in Victory Lane

The Harvick family celebrate the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship in victory lane at Homestead, FL on November 16th, 2014. (Photo Credit: 303098Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

And my FAVORITE picture of the night- Driver, Owner, Friends, Champions.

The Driver. The Owner. The Friends.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

Thanks Kevin Harvick- Stewart-Haas Racing and Tony needed that!!  So did the fans.

If you look up the word champion up on dictionary.com this is what the definition is:

dictionary.com definition of champion.

Do you see that very first definition there? A person who has defeated all opponents in a competition or series of competitions, so as to hold first place.  It’s makes sense right? After all if you look at probably the two most popular stick-and/or-ball sports in the United States that is what they use as a Champion.  What Super Bowl team does not have the BEST record for their division going into the big game. Same for the World Series- it’s a series of games between the two teams with the best records in their respective divisions. It’s what NASCAR use to have. (more…)

I know that I have mentioned the Lionel Racing Golden Ticket program before but here is the gist of the program: Buy a 2014 1:24 Lionel Racing Diecast and you could find a golden ticket in it for one of several awesome prizes.  I know personally that the private tour of Stewart-Haas Racing shop in Concord, NC followed by lunch with a pit crew member  would be my DREAM prize (and as of this writing that dream prize of mine? Hasn’t been claimed yet! Hmmm maybe I should consider buying another diecast)!

Sounds too good to be true right? Well just ask Judie Kochenower! She bought a Dale Jr Diecast for her collect and lucked into finding a Golden Ticket for a Dale Jr meeting n greet- which took place at Texas Motor Speedway.  Judie and her mom Ann Clark (A SMOKE FAN based on her attire! Go Ann!) were lucky enough to get to spend some time with Dale Earnhardt Jr!Here are some great pictures of Judie, Ann and Dale’s meeting:

Judie, Dale and Ann

Judie Kochenower and Ann Clark meet Dale Earnhardt Jr in Texas. Judie was the lucky winner of a golden ticket in the Lionel Racing Golden Ticket Sweepstakes. (Photo Credit: Lionel Racing/Tommy Grassmann/CIA)