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Attention Small Business owners: The Office Depot Official Small Business of NASCAR contest has started! Enter now to become branded the Official Office Depot Small Business Of NASCAR. It runs now through May 28th!

Tony Stewart's car that will race at the Southern 500 at Darlington will carry information on how you can become the Official Small Business of NASCAR (photo credit: Action Sports Photography)

Enter early because Office Depot will be giving away $1000 gift cards each day to a random entrant.   Two small businesses will be selected as finalists . Each finalist will be awarded $10,000 AND a VIP race weekend.  One of the finalist’s logo will end up on the rear “tv panel” of Tony Stewart’s #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy during the Labor Day race at Atlanta Speedway later this season.  The other finalist will have their logo on the rear “tv panel” of Greg Biffle’s #16 3M Ford.  The small business on the highest finishing driver’s car will be this year’s 2011 Official Small Business of NASCAR.  And as added incentive – if either Stewart or Biffle win the Atlanta race- that driver’s small business will be awarded $1 million dollars!

This is a great opportunity for a small business! Don’t take my word for it take Tony’s word:

What are you waiting for? Enter now at OfficeDepotRacing.com!

 

I know you are probably saying to yourself that you thought this was a NASCAR blog not a fashion blog and I promise that it is and that I will be able to tie this entry to NASCAR and even work in a little Earth Day love so stick with me. Also please not that this is a completely unsolicited review- I received no compensation for it at all- I just bought this for myself and fell in love with it and thought my female NASCAR fans might be interested. (more…)

I LOVE the All-Star Race.  There is something pure about racing all out just for the win that brings out the raw energy of the sport.  It’s truly is an all-out dash for the cash.  This year the All Star Race is May 21st and as always it is at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  But you can start voting NOW for the fan vote!

A little about the All-Star Race:

A driver makes the field of the race by either winning a race in the previous or current season or by being a past winner of the All-Star race.

If drivers are not already qualified for the All-Star race field by May 21st (they qualify by winning)- they have a chance to race their way in via the Sprint Showdown.  Winner and runner up of the Sprint Showdown will also make the field.

The final spot in the race is determined by YOU!

If drivers are not already qualified for the All-Star race field by May 21st (they qualify by winning)- they have a chance to race their way in via the Sprint Showdown.  Winner and runner up of the Sprint Showdown will also make the field.

The final spot in the race is determined by YOU!

Fans can vote multiple times and can vote ONLINE or if you are a SPRINT customer you can vote by using the NASCAR SPRINT CUP MOBILE ap on your phone or by texting “VOTE” to 7777 on their Sprint or Nextel devices (standard text messaging and data rates apply). Votes cast by any Sprint/Nextel handset count DOUBLE.

Fans can also vote in person at any race before the All Star Race by visiting THE SPRINT EXPERIENCE located in the midway at all tracks.

All Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway May 21 2011

Click logo to VOTE NOW!

Drivers who are already in the 2011 All-Star Race already include: Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Trevor Bayne, Mark Martin, among others.

Well since it is an off weekend I decided to be a little lax about posting my weekly race report. I have been thinking about the race at Las Vegas.  Usually when I am settling in at home on the couch with my phone within arms reach to watch a race I silently think to myself, Please let us have a good day…a top ten would be GREAT! A top ten finish would be even better!  Of course I want a win for Tony. I definitely want a win. But I don’t want to be too greedy- I just don’t want anything too devestating…no damaged cars or people. 

When I am at home I have my phone (NASCAR SPRINT CUP MOBILE) and sometimes I have my computer on my lap too.  But in person, we were sitting up in our seats- not even a scanner. I think the scanners take away from the experience. I can’t explain why.  I can tell you what I DO love…I love being able to see the drivers being driven around the track waving to the fans.  I love to watch the teams gather in little circles for private prayer/peptalks before prerace.  I LOVE the fly over.  But there is nothing like standing and watching 43 cars take the green flag at a race.  The sound of the cars, of the fans- it’s like nothing I have ever experienced. 

So I am sitting there in the Petty Terrace and the race starts and Tony was STRONG and it wasn’t long and Tony was in the lead.  And not only would Tony lead but he would pull AWAY.  I don’t think I have ever watched a race where his car seemed so strong.  I sat there and I was nervous. By lap 90 I was parched but like hell was I gonna get up and miss something.  By lap 100 I had to pee but I wasn’t about to leave my seat so I just put it out of my mind and concentrated on watching Tony go round and round.  If I had been at home I would have been pacing the living room. 

I didn’t actually SEE what happened that caused the pass through penalty.  Our seats in the terrace were at pit road out and I couldn’t really see Tony’s pits stops all that well.  But I heard it over loud speaker.  Ahh the disappointment.  The Smoke fan in the row behind me was disappointed too. He grabbed his 14 hat and pulled it down over his face in disappointment.  Oh I feel ya man. I feel ya. 

However- one thing that you HAVE to love about Tony is that he does NOT give up. Now as I mentioned I did not have a scanner. So I can only imagine what he was saying. And honestly he might not have been even saying it over the air. But I know what I would have been saying if roles had been reversed.  It might even make Tony Stewart blush! You never know. Anyway…what you have to love about Tony is that he doesn’t give up.  He was moving through the field pretty well.  Between that and a two tire stop pit stop for track position he was back towards the front of the field by the end of the race. I think that if the race had been longer or if there had been a caution- no question in my mind Tony would have won.  None at all.  But these are things that were not.  And a second place should be celebrated. Especially when it means that Tony is now tied for the points lead with Kurt Busch.  That is something that should be exciting.

But I have to say after seeing Tony with such a strong car I can not just reiterate his post race comment to Matt Yocum but I can feel it: Second sucks.  Second indeed does suck. 

Get Me That Tire Changer's Head...on a platter.

Thanks to LOLRacePics for permission to use their LOL because it is just OH SO FITTING...be sure to check LOLracepics.com for more NASCAR LOLS.

My next post will showcase some of my pictures from the LAS VEGAS race weekend.

Well I am heading off to Las Vegas today (Wednesday)- so posting here might be a little light until I get back. If you are wondering what I am up to  you can follow me on twitter.

One of the reasons I LOVE the race at Vegas (besides the fact that it was my first NASCAR race and my first oval race) is because that there seems to be a lot of driver appearances there.  A lot of time getting an autograph from your favorite driver isn’t that hard- as long as you are willing to do some sleuthing and stand in lines. 

I have found if you take your favorite driver - we will take Tony Stewart for instance and pay attention to things like their website (TonyStewart.com), their team website (StewartHaasRacing.com), any team social media (StewartHaasRcng on Twitter, StewartHaas Facebook, Tony Stewart Facebook) , major sponsor websites (officedepotracing.com, mobil1racing.com and social media (officedepot on Twitter, Mobil1Racing on Facebook)…you can usually find out if your driver is doing an event near you. There are other places on the web to look – one of my favorite sources is Jayski.  For the Vegas weekend appearances I also found this great guide of driver appearances over on SB NATION. Also check your favorite drivers merchandise trailer at the track…if they are going to do an event at their trailer there is usually a sign posted at the trailer. Track websites will sometimes have listing of fan events that are local to that particular track. 

Taking Tony Stewart as my example again…he is actually a very busy man in Las Vegas this week. He will be doing an Office Depot appearance Thursday starting at 12:30 at the Office Depot in North Las Vegas at 1435 West Craig Road (this is probably your best bet at getting an autograph from him and I have to say that these events are usually GREAT fun- I reccomend them if you have the time. Wristbands will be given out starting at 8:00 am local time Thursday), He is holding a poker tournament to benefit the Tony Stewart Foundation at the MGM Grand on Friday in the Poker room at 7:00 pm and doing a Fan Q&A at the MGM Grand (in the lobby) on Saturday at 6:00 pm.  Plus as we all know from the pre-race show that at some point Tony will be driving a cab around Las Vegas…which I hope that I can see that video because that is bound to be hilarious.   So you might get lucky and end up with Tony as your cabbie. 

You just have to know where to look. If all else fails find a fan decked out in your driver’s gear and ask them if they have heard of any appearances- you never know. You might make a new friend and get your driver’s autograph.

Of course just don’t shoplift near the track - or Morgan Shepherd may run you down and sit on you until the cops come for you. (I HAD to work this in somehow because I think this is AWESOME)!

If I had been able to flash forward to the end of the Daytona 500 and watch my reaction I would have bet everything I have that Jeff Gordon had just wheeled his Chevrolet to victory lane, because what else would have me on my haunches, screaming, shouting and pumping my fist in the air as the checkered flag waved?! Good thing my flash forward button doesn’t work cause I would have lost my pants in that bet, since Gordon crashed along with a good portion of the field on lap 30 ending his shot to drive to Victory Lane.
So what else could possibly cause me to have such an enthusiastic and heart-felt reaction to this year’s Daytona 500? It’s the kind of ending that we usually only see in Disney movies, but this time we got to see it all unfold for ourselves during this year’s Speed Weeks. It is the story of part-time, rookie driver, Trevor Bayne.
D.W. said it best at the end of the race when he held up a blank piece of paper and said that it was the bio he had on Trevor Bayne before the race. Few people had heard of Trevor before this race. He had only one other Sprint Cup Series start, in last fall’s Texas race, and here he was in Daytona proving himself. First by laying down the fourth fastest lap during Qualifying and then in his eagerness throughout the week leading to the race. He quickly became the talk of the media by being the first in his garage everyday, the first on the track to practice. He wore his eagerness and excitement on his sleeve throughout Speed Weeks.
I, personally, took notice during his Duel race when he waited after his driver intro to talk to Jeff Gordon, presumably to seek advice from the veteran driver. Throughout their Duel Gordon and Bayne worked together, Bayne pushing Gordon in the two car tandem that characterized this year’s races on the newly re-paved track. Despite a last lap crash in the Duel, Bayne clearly earned credibility among the other drivers. Time and again, seasoned drivers looked to Bayne in the 500 as a drafting partner. Again, I took notice when mid-way through the 500 Carl Edwards got on his radio to ask Bayne if he needed someone to push him. Many rookies would have leapt at the chance to work with a proven driver like Edwards, or simply been too intimidated to turn him down, but Bayne showed his intelligence and integrity and told Carl that he was a better pusher and preferred to continue pushing David Ragan. Bayne’s demonstration of integrity, intelligence and independence are all qualities that will serve him well in his career.
So when it came down to the final restart and Bayne looked like he could pull off what had really never been done before – winning the Daytona 500 on his first Daytona 500 start (Lee Petty won his first start at the 500, but since it was the very first 500 does not count), I was on the edge of my seat, screaming for this kid. When he actually pulled it off, I the felt the kind of sweeping emotion and pride that I usually only feel for truly great moments in sports, like the U.S. winning another Gold in the Olympics or the Yankees winning another series. Then again, this is another great moment in sports history.
I admit that I usually do not watch post race, especially when my driver finishes 35 laps down, but today I watched and I continued to be impressed by Bayne. Earlier in the race, D.W. had mentioned that Trevor had taken time before the race to pray with his team and the first thing that Trevor said when he climbed out of his car in Victory Lane was to mention the prayer and the power that God had. What is not to like about NASCAR’s newest hero?
I watched his reaction as David Ragan came over to offer his congratulations and saw Trevor’s genuine concern and empathy to Ragan, who’d been his drafting partner most of the day and had nearly pulled off the win himself, when he prematurely switched lanes during a restart and got black flagged by NASCAR. This is the kind of personality that NASCAR and this country needs – a good hearted, genuine, eager, talented young man to invigorate the fans and make us feel good.
NASCAR promised just such a driver a few years ago in rookie Joey Logano (“Sliced Bread”), but Logano never quite lived up to the hype and you can’t market this kind of a moment and you can’t create this kind of honest emotion.
Before this 500 no one knew who his kid from Knoxville, Tennessee was and now with his remarkable victory, the publicity machine will undoubtedly roar to life, like the engine of his #21, but at least it does so as a response to a hard earned achievement versus a contrived, marketing ploy to draw in fans. This NASCAR fan will take fresh, homemade bread over commercialized sliced bread any day. It’s good for the sport and good for the heart of NASCAR.
2011’s Daytona 500 will go down as one of the greatest moments in NASCAR history and I wouldn’t be surprised if a Disney movie isn’t already on the drawing board. Here’s to a fantastic and unbelievable start to the season that proves that anything can happen!

I have had tires on the brain lately. Mostly because I think that its time to get new ones on my HHR- the current ones have just under 50k on them so it’s probably about time. Unfortunately since they are those fancy low profile suckers- I am pretty sure that they will cost me an arm and a leg. I might as well get to sawing them off now so that I can pay for the tires when the time comes.

Anyway, as most NASCAR fans know- Goodyear is the official tire of NASCAR- and every NASCAR Sprint cup series car (and NATIONWIDE series too) will take the green flag with four Goodyear Eagle racing tires underneath it.  I have been fortunate enough to have pit passes (sidebar: just the kind you can buy at the track- nothing like those fancy hot or cold garage passes that I would DIE to have…ok not die because then what would be the point since I’d be dead and wouldn’t be able to use them- but I am SURE you get the point. So if you are reading this and you can hook me up for two cold garage passes for LVMS in March check out the ABOUT tab for how to contact me or leave me a comment on this entry- sorry for the shameless act of begging. AMY) for different races on the west coast and I love walking the pits and taking pictures.  Invaribly I will end up with pictures of tires.  Tires stacked, tires laid out in rows, the specially made tire dolly the crew guys use to transport tires from the Goodyear area to their pits, the “stickers” that indicate the tires are new, and my favorite shot to get- crew members gluing lugnuts onto to tires on Sunday morning.  At one track…I believe it was Fontana- I actually ended up walking right through the area the Goodyear guys were set up in in the pit area and was fascinated to watch them setting up the tires for the race.  I could have stood there and watched longer but I was in danger of melting into a big puddle- because the Auto Club Speedway in the Fall..is almost always HOT!

Back to tires.  As we all know and will no doubt be told a bazillion times between now and Sunday- Daytona went through a historic repave.  They didn’t just resurface Daytona- they dug it up down to the sand and put down new surface all the way around that sucker.    However did you know that the tire they are using at Daytona was developed before the repave was completed? The fascinating part is that they knew the repave would most likely be similar to the Talladega repave of 2006 because it was being done by the same company.  So that’s how they were able to get a useable compound for Daytona.  Just a little fun fact for you.

Another fun thing I have for you is this little video from Goodyear. It’s got a little bit of everything for the NASCAR fan including driver commentary and some behind the scenes looks at Goodyear…I thought it was pretty interesting. I hope you will too:

You can also find more vidoes at the Goodyear channel on youtube and of course you can always visit the Goodyear website as well.

Oh and am I not on a roll with witty titles for posts lately??

Shock and Yaw

Posted by Amy in General - (1 Comments)

I love cars. Not just race cars but I am a fan of cars in general. If I had unlimited funds (or was insanely wealthy at the very least) I would have a classic car collection. I know I have mentioned this before and am pretty darn sure I went into gory details as to which cars I would have in my collection  (split window vette! Nomad!) and why somewhere on this blog before. Unfortunately I an not insanely wealthy or have unlimited funds…so I have my every day car, a 2008 Chevy HHR LT and that is it. I actually was originally going to buy a Toyota pickup (ie a Tacoma). I had a Toyota Rav4 that was perfect for me it was fairly reliable for most of it’s life (200,000 miles). But then it started to have some issues starting.  Personally I think it was a problem with the fuel pump or filter but damned if they would listen to me at Toyota…they played the hunt and peck and change this thingy and that doohickey to the tune of 300+ bucks at a time and by the time I was nearly $1 grand into trying to fix the problem and still having the same freaking issue I decided it might just be cheaper for me in the long run to go for a new car.  About that  time I needed to drive to southern California.  Because the Rav decided it would only start *sometimes* I rented a car.  I ended up getting an HHR from the rental company and I fell in love with it.  Thus a couple months later- I went to my local Chevy dealership and drove off with a silver HHR.

I take very good care of my car: A loving car wash often enough to keep her shiny, an oil change every 3,000 miles and all the recommended services (yeah I know I am getting gouged at the dealer but…I am a girl and while I know just enough about cars to have a sense when I am getting bs’d about something, I honestly don’t know that much about cars and their, um working parts).

A couple of weekends ago the weather turned from dreary to lovely.  I gathered up my parents and a bazillion tons of camera equipment and we went for a drive to take pictures.  We ended up going over a fairly steep grade in our adventures and on the descending side of the grade my car developed a nasty vibration every time I applied even the tinest bit of brake.  The HHR had nearly 50k miles on it.  My dad said it was probably brake related. I called when we got to our destination and made an appointment to take the HHR  in to be fixed.  The problem was indeed the brakes and had a brake job.  All better right? Well kind of.

A week to the day later from the brake job? I am circling the parking lot at work like a shark working a school of anchovies as I look for a spot to open up when my car start dinging at me and a warning light on my dashboard comes on and my digital read out kindly states SERVICE ESC.  Well being the PANIC! PANIC! THE WHEELS ARE GONNA FALL OFF!!! kind of person that I am…I called OnStar and they ran a diagnostic (awesome they can do that while you are driving around looking for a parking spot).  I mean that is what I pay them the big bucks for right? So they can tell me what’s going on with my car and send help should I crash or something.  Well OnStar told me I needed to take my car in because there was a problem with the stabilitrack on the car (the electronic stability controls- you know the system that keeps you from sliding all over in slippery conditions- ie the bane of wanna be drifters everywhere).  So again because I am a PANIC! PANIC! THE WHEELS ARE GONNA FALL OFF!!! kinda person I call Chevy and make an appointment for the next day to take it back to have this looked out.

Diagnosis: Malfunctioning yaw rate sensor.  I nearly asked when I traded in my car for a freaking sailboat.  Because doesn’t a yaw sensor sound like it belongs on a sailboat?  Anyway thanks to what I have learned watching NASCAR my entire life I had a fairly good idea what that probably did just based on the name alone.  But I asked my service adviser anyway.  He chuckled and said “I had a feeling you were going to ask that!” (I think he could sense that I am a PANIC! PANIC! THE WHEELS ARE GONNA FALL OFF!!! AND ITS GOING TO COST ME A FORTUNE TO FIX! type of person when I brought it in right away).  He tried to put it in a way I could understand…which was nice. So if you are wondering? The yaw sensor on an HHR with ESC is what tells the ESC when the back end is scooting around on you (as if you are a loose race car).  Luckily for me it was covered under the extended warranty (yey extended warranty). But yeah…so here’s to hoping nothing else on my car wants to go haywire for a bit.

Mostly? I had to tell you the story because, well, is that not the coolest title for a post? I hate titles and usually have a hard time titling them.  But this post was all about the title.