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So either while on the way to Phoenix or while driving around in and around Phoenix for the November race- Misty asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  I looked at her and said “A 2011 Sprint Cup Championship” (implied that it was for Tony to win the championship- not that I wanted that lovely Tiffany & Co trophy under my tree all wrapped up- although if the big man in the red suit can make that happen…well let’s just say I have room on my shelf- he is SANTA after all).  Well I got my Christmas present early didn’t I?  Thank you Tony Stewart and Stewart Haas Racing (and all the various support staff entities) for all your hard work to make my Christmas merry and bright!

If, however, you are looking for a cute cuddly stocking stuffer- you can look no further than Office Depot.  You probably think I am kidding but actually I LOVE Office Depot because I have a “thing” for writing implements (right now my favorites are still the Sharpie Pens- and I am always on the look out for purple ones -you know just in case Santa was bored and sniffing around my blog for ideas) and they sell quite the variety of those- plus I also have a “thing” for post-it notes and well they have a whole section devoted to those too.  But I have digressed- back to cute cuddly stocking stuffer.  That would be TEDDY B. CARING…the Office Depot seasonal teddy bear seen here in this month’s (THE LAST MONTH) Tony Stewart Office Depot Poster (which you can get from the Print Center for $9.99 by printing out this coupon):

Tony Stewart with Teddy B. Caring

This cute little teddy bear sitting in Tony’s lap is the perfect stocking stuffer because he is adorable and cuddly and best of all- a portion of his sales go to benefit the Office Depot Foundation and their initiatives that support children (for instance- The National Backpack Program- which I have mentioned here several times this year because I am a big fan of this program).  So stop by your local Office Depot and pick up one today for your Tony Stewart fan, your teddy bear fan, or just because you like cute teddy bears and supporting the Office Depot Foundation giving back to their communities. Plus I think he has a really cool name TEDDY B. CARING.

And if you ARE shopping for the Tony Stewart fan in your life while at Office Depot- remember that you can get a FREE Poster celebrating Tony’s 2011 Championship by spending just $14.00 (or more) in the store. You do need this coupon here.

And…here is Tony talking about TEDDY B. CARING too:

(Watch for PART 2 of All I Want For Christmas where I talk about how NASCAR is missing out on a holiday item for their store…)

Settling in to watch the race at Richmond, the 26th race of the 2011 season, I was a ball of nerves. It was one of those races that I would have fast forwarded through just to see the results without going the stress (and I mean STRESS) of the race.  Tony was one of the drivers on the chase bubble. So to remain in the chase Tony had to finish in the top 18 because if he fell out of the top 10 in points he would NOT be eligible for a wildcard position because he has no wins (YET).  He qualified 22nd. See what I mean- I am sure Tony Stewart is trying to kill me- or give me an ulcer anyway.

I was encouraged by his little beginning of the race radio pep talk that he ended with: WE CAN DO THIS! I settled in and thought…of course WE CAN DO THIS!

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, drives in the garage area during practice for the Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)

It seemed at the beginning of the race that every two or three laps there was a caution because of agressive driving causing someone to spin someone out. I believe I proclaimed a couple of times that at this race the race wouldn’t be over until midnight west coast time (I told you I might have been tempted to fast forward during this race to see what the outcome was).  All my readers know that I was crossing every appendage I physically could in hopes of Tony making the chase. Apparently turning myself into a pretzel worked (yeah sure that’s what did it…I am sure of it).

I started to relax during the end of the race, when I was pretty sure that, barring some catastrophic accident (although I still worried about it slightly) and was able to actually enjoy the racing- but for 90 percent of it I was on pins and needles. PINS AND NEEDLES people.  Were you?  Tony seemed to be able to work his way forward through the field sometimes but other times he seemed stucked where he was.  But in the end- he ended up finishing 7th- well above the 18th place finish he would have needed to clinch his place in the chase.

Tony’s “Honoring Our Heroes” symbolic memorial paint scheme was BEAUTIFUL on the track. It looked like he had an equally amazing helmet.  This is the best picture I could find of it- if you have a better one- please share:

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

Tony’s car was one of four cars in the field in the Saturday night race who raced a special commemorative paint scheme honoring the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation- a foundation that supports the families of first responders, provides scholarships for their children, as well as supports veteran’s wounded in conflict.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the diecasts of Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, David Gilliland and Jamie MacMurray cars will go to the foundation.  Lionel NASCAR Collectibles presented the Stephen Siller Foundation with $125,000 as the first installment of the proceeds of the money raised from the sale of diecasts.

Notes About Richmond:

  1. I was so glad that Dale Junior also made it into chase.
  2. The race coverage by ABC – on what to most NASCAR fans considered a crucial race- wasn’t very good. It seemed to me like there were far too many commercial breaks and a lot of times, when returning from a caution we missed the initial drop of the green flag- to find the cars already taking the first turn of the race.
  3. The race at Richmond had a record tying number of cautions: 15
  4. There were just as many sparks off the tracks as on.  Tony got snippy with AP reporter Jenna Fryer at his media availablity between practices on Friday.  After the race Kurt Busch is reported to had to have been physically restrained in an argument with Joe Menzer (NASCAR.COM), then later exchanged further heated words in the media center with him and even later with Jenna Fryer, when it’s reported that he ripped a transcript from her hand then ripped it in half.  So you think that there were no emotions running high at that race (and after?).  (Ok so I found the video of Kurt tearing the transcript…it appears to me that Jenna just handed it to him- he didn’t “rip it from her hands”- he did tear it in half though.)
  5. Tony helped the Office Depot Foundation donate 2000 sackpacks filled with school supplies to local Virginia children:

Tony Stewart signs a sackpack for a child in Virginia. (Photo Credit: Leon Rubin)

And finally- I just have to point out a favorite quote from the official team post-race report:

“It’s going to be a long 10 weeks, but every Friday when we show up at the track we start with a clean slate and just do the best we can. So, we’ll keep digging.” – Tony Stewart (emphasis mine)

That’s right: #KeepDiggingTony!

Next Race: Chicagoland

A week ago yesterday Tony Stewart was in an Office Depot in Roswell, GA to do not just a fan appearance, but he was there to cut the ribbon on their recently remodeled store as well as there on behalf of the Office Depot Foundation to donate even more sackpacks filled with essential school supplies to local area children! So it was a WIN WIN WIN! I wanted to share some pictures from the event:

The Office Depot Show Car and The Feed The Children Truck in the parking lot of the Roswell GA Office Depot (Photo Credit: Leon Rubin)

(more…)

Hey Indiana Stewart-Haas Racing fans- here is a head’s up.  First you saw them qualify P1 and P2 in Loudon. Then you saw them finish 1-2 in Loudon. Now you can meet them both in Indiana at different Office Depot locations in advance of the Brickyard 400! That’s right Stewart-Haas teammates  Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart are doing autograph sessions for fans in their native state of Indiana.

Loudon winner Ryan Newman and Loudon runner up Tony Stewart will sign autographs in their native state of Indiana(Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett MRD/CIA Copyright, CIA Stock Photography)Inc.

Loudon winner Ryan Newman (who hails from South Bend, IN) starts the autograph sessions at the Office Depot located at 16650 Mercantile Blvd in Noblesville IN on July 27th. Ryan Newman will be signing autographs for 600 fans starting at 4:00 pm. A wristband is required for the event. Wristbands will be distributed on a first come first serve (one wristband per person) basis at the Office Depot starting at 8:00 am. There will be one autograph per wristband and one wristband per person.

The following day (July 28th) Tony Stewart, who hails from Columbus, Indiana, will be at the Office Depot in Carmel, IN to help THE OFFICE DEPOT FOUNDATION donate 5,000 sackpacks filled will school supplies to representatives from from local schools and non-profit organizations (FYI sackpacks are not available to the general public) that assist Indiana’s school-age children. After the donation, Tony Stewart will sign autographs for 300 fans at the Office Depot in Carmel. This Office Depot is located at 12417 Meridian Crossing in Carmel, IN. Tony’s autograph session will start as soon as the sackpack presentations are over- so at approximately 4:15 pm. You will need a wristband for an autograph. A wristband is required for the event. Wristbands will be distributed on a first come first serve (one wristband per person) basis at the Office Depot starting at 8:00 am. There will be one autograph per wristband and one wristband per person.

Get their early, wear comfy shoes and have a blast!

Hey Michigan Stewart fans! Great news! Tony is going to be doing an autograph appearance at The Office Depot in Canton, Michigan on June 16th!

Here are the details: Tony will be signing autographs to 600 fans at the Office Depot Store located at 45580 Michigan Avenue (in the Premiere Shopping Center) in Canton, MI (zip is 48188) starting at 4:00 pm local time. You must have a wristband. Wristbands will be given out at the Office Depot location starting at 8:00 am local time. One wristband per person and  one autograph per wristband.

There will also be a racing simulator on site and the Office Depot show car.

While there fans will be able to participate in the new program from the NASCAR FOUNDATION called NASCAR UNITES. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase a $5.00 NASCAR UNITES wristband.  The proceeds from the purchase of the NASCAR UNITES wristbands will go to a combined effort between the NASCAR FOUNDATION and the OFFICE DEPOT FOUNDATION for programs like the one that helped Stewart and the Office Depot Foundation donate 300,000 backpacks full of school supplies last back-to-school season for children in need.

Fans not in Michigan can still purchase a NASCAR UNITES wristband at their local Office Depot location as the store will carry the wristbands in stores nationwide as part of their partnership.

Well greetings out there to all my readers!!!   It’s that time of year isn’t it? The time when going to the mall makes one crazy because there is no parking and the weather is crappy and there are people everywhere and stores are sold out of what you want and really all you want to do is “wad up some cash and throw it at people” (direct quote from Misty)  instead of trying to find gifts…but somehow think that my 3 year old and 9 month old nephews wouldn’t really go for the wadded up cash approach.  Maybe that’s just me (and Misty).   Anyway- if you have a Stewart-Haas Racing fan, a Tony Stewart fan, a Ryan Newman fan, or a NASCAR fan on your list here are some gift suggestions for this year:

1. For Stewart-Haas Racing fans (in particular Tony Stewart fans) I highly suggest the new Office Depot Racing 2011 calendar:

I present to you the cover of the 2011 Tony Stewart calendar. (photo credit: Edelman)

I mean who can resist 12 full months of Tony Stewart (and crew).  It’s available at most (but not all) Office Depot locations as well as ONLINE.

2.  Office Depot is again this holiday season selling their Teddy B. Caring bears (as seen here with Tony Stewart):

Tony Stewart and Teddy B. Caring have a meeting. (Photo Credit: Edelman)

Proceeds from the bear go to The Office Depot Foundation which has many programs throughout the year for children and families, including the ever popular National Backpack Program which supplies new backpacks and book bags filled with school supplies to children in need.  It’s a program that Tony Stewart himself has worked with for two years now helping the foundation hand out the backpacks and book bags to children and service organizations. Tony says, “It’s amazing to see the look on a child’s face when they receive a new backpack and are able to head back to school with an extra boost of confidence. Every child deserves that, and I would like to encourage everyone to consider giving a Teddy B. Caring bear as a gift this holiday season in support of the great work the Office Depot Foundation does all year long.” The bear is a 16 inch GUND bear available at Office Depot.  Or you can also pick up a smaller version that is an ornament/ gift card holder.

3.  You can make a donation to the Ryan Newman Foundation or Tony Stewart Foundation on behalf of your fan. Both drivers are heavily involved in giving back.   The Ryan Newman Foundation focuses it’s efforts on getting the message out there to Spay and Neuter pets- to help prevent overpopulation, urges pet seekers to get their pets from shelters or rescues.  They also heavily support conservation efforts to perserve the great outdoors for future generations AND support the Rich Vogler  Scholarship program for youth interested in careers in auto racing.  The Tony Stewart Foundation‘s mission services children with life-threatening illnesses, abused and endangered animals and injured drivers.  I have had the pleasure in our interviews with Tony of talking to him about his foundation and it’s amazing to watch his countenance change when he starts talking about children and animals especially.

4.  You can also find great Stewart-Haas Racing gear and gear for both drivers on sale over at the Stewart-Haas Racing online store.  Each driver also has a separate online store: Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman.  You can get everything a fan could dream of between the three sites.

5.  And I have to bring up my favorite NASCAR book that I have read so far this year…and that is The Weekend Starts On Wednesday.  The book is an ode to and of  NASCAR Fans.  It’s a great read that most any NASCAR fan will enjoy.  I have read it and it truly makes me proud to be a NASCAR fan.  The author is witty and the book is extremely well written.  I highly recommend it!

It’s no secret that Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart are  not only avid outdoors men but love casting a line when given the opportunity.  Being the  fairly competitive people I can only believe they are since they race cars for a living, can you imagine what you get when you throw the both of them in a lake for a charity fishing competition.  That is exactly what both drivers were doing yesterday- they were fishing for charity at Lake Okeechobee in Florida for the Office Depot Foundation Charity Fishing Tournament.

Tony Stewart and His Fish!- 2010 Office Depot Foundation Charity Fishing Tournament. Photo Credit: Gort Productions

Doesn’t it look like Tony was having a GREAT time? Sounds like he did:

“I had a great time fishing and all for a great cause,” Stewart said. “I’ve had a chance to work with the Office Depot Foundation on its National Backpack Program for the past two years, and it’s one of the most rewarding things I do. The National Backpack Program makes a real difference in the lives of kids who might not otherwise be able to go back to school with the tools they need to succeed. It’s pretty amazing to see their faces light up when they get a new backpack.”

The money raised from the tournament will be used to support the Office Depot Foundation’s mission to support the quality of life for children, strengthen communities, encourage economic growth and empower schools and non-profit organizations.

Over at the Office Depot Racing website in the Ask Tony section- someone recently asked Tony who was a better fisherman- Stewart or Newman…to which Tony answered

“Unfortunately, I have to say Ryan. I think I’m good, but whenever I fish with Ryan, he always seems to do better. He’s pulling in fish after fish and I’ve got nothing.”
That wasn’t the case during the charity fishing tournament:  Stewart’s fishing team reeled in a total catch of 14.4 pounds, while Newman’s team wasn’t far behind with 9.4 pounds.

A great Rutledge at Large piece featuring Elliott Sadler and Habitat for Humanity as well as Tony Stewart and the National Backpack Program.