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So…the race at Dover was NOT what a Tony Stewart fan wanted to see.  Between an ill handle on the car (at one point Stewart described it as plowing) and a detrimental speeding penalty on pit road at lap 115,  Tony and the Office Depot Old Spice Chevy did NOT have the best of races.   As a fan it was really hard to watch the team struggle so much.  What made it even worse? Only one Chase driver finished lower than Stewart- and that was Clint Bowyer. Tony finished 21st and maintains his position in the standings. He is currently 10th, 162 points behind leader Denny Hamlin. Race winner for Dover was Jimmie Johnson.

However, while Tony is down right now, he is not OUT by any means…now for some pictures from the race at Dover, most provided to me by Glenn Bure of AI press:

Tony on track at Dover. Photo Courtesy of Glenn Bure, AI Press

Tony backstage at PreRace Ceremonies. Photo Courtesy of Glenn Bure, AI Press

Tony during PreRace ceremonies at Dover. Photo Courtesy of Glenn Bure, AI Press

Tony and fellow driver (is that JJ Yeley?) share a lighthearted moment in Dover. Photo Courtesy of Glenn Bure, AI Press

Now this picture I included because WTH is going on in the background? Is that guy taking a nap? Photo courtesy of Glenn Bure, AI Press

This is one of those pictures where you just wish you were privy to the conversation...because what the heck is going on? (Photo blatantly borrowed from tonystewart.com media gallery)

As for the Office Depot Official Small Business of NASCAR contest. The winner was Mike Pagano who was riding on Greg Biffle’s car. Congratulations Mike on becoming the Official Small Business of NASCAR.

Well that’s it for this race.

The standings post might be a day late or so…waiting on the appeal for Clint Bowyer.  Also- while yes I heard about the Harvick vs Hamlin shenanigans I can’t really comment on them because I didn’t really see or hear much about it because I basically had my head in the sand on Saturday.

Next race: Kansas! GO TONY GO!

Attention Tony Stewart fans! Tony will be hosting a “Back to School” celebration at the the Office Depot. He will be presenting 2,000 book bags filled with school supplies to organizations in the area to help students get a leg up this school year.

As part of the celebration Tony Stewart will be doing an Autograph signing for the general public.  You must have a wristband to get an autograph. 350 wristbands will be distributed at the office depot on a first come, first service basis starting at 8:00 am local time.  One wristband per person, and one autograph per wristband.  You must be inline with your wristband no later than 5:15 to receive your autograph.  Tony will begin meeting with fans at 4:45 pm local time.

Where: Office Depot located at 4851 North Oak Traffic Way (in North Oak Village Plaza) in Kansas City, MO 64118

Wristband Distribution begins at 8:00 am local time

Autograph session begins at 4:45 pm local time

Here is a fun little video to get you in the mood:

The race this weekend is at the MONSTER MILE in Dover and it is the second race of the Chase (GO TONY GO). However, it isn’t just championship points on the line at Dover this weekend; for two small businesses it is the race of a lifetime. Office Depot has put a twist in it’s “Official Small Business of NASCAR” contest this year. Earlier in the season Office Depot took in entries for the contest and two finalists have been announced! Each of these businesses have received a $10,000 makeover fro Office Depot and a VIP Race experience for 2 to the race this weekend). One business will grace Tony Stewart’s #14 Office Depot sponsored car and one business will grace Greg Biffle’s #16 3M sponsored car. Whichever driver is the highest placing driver, the small business they are representing gets the title of Official Small Business of NASCAR (including the use of the Official Small Business Of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot Logo). If either Stewart or Biffle win the race at Dover, that business will get an additional prize of $1 million dollars.

Office Depot Contest Winners

Rose Berger, owner of Professional Cleaning Service of Greer, SC and Mike Pagano, owner of Pagano Photo from New Jersey are the Finalists in Office Depot's Official Small Business of NASCAR contest. Photo provided by: Edelman

Driver Greg Biffle was paired with Mike Pagano, owner of PaganoPhoto-Photos by Mike Pagano. PaganoPhoto grew out of Mike’s passion for photography that he developed on the side while working full time as a Supervising Environmental Specialist for New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection. He has worked for the State of New Jersey for 23 years. He officially launched PaganoPhoto as a business venture in 2009 and plans to make it his full time endeavor when he retires. He is currently PaganoPhoto’s sole employee.

“Being a finalist in the ‘Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot’ sweepstakes is a great opportunity for me to expand my business,” said Pagano, who will be joined by his wife at the track. “This photography business is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I really want to get more into it once I retire. The $10,000 small business makeover from Office Depot will enable me to purchase much needed new computer equipment and office furniture for my business, and if Greg wins, the $1 million prize will allow me to retire from my current full-time job and establish my full-time photography business much sooner than otherwise possible!”

Driver Tony Stewart has been paired with Rose Berger, owner of Professional Cleaning Service.  She started PCS in 1995 as a family-run business in Greer, South Carolina.  All three of Berger’s daughters work for the full-service cleaning company in some capacity; eldest daughter Jessica opened the company’s first satellite office in Columbia, South Carolina.

“Being an ‘Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot’ finalist is a great thing for my business, and I hope it will help us move forward and recover from the bad economy,” said Berger, who has had to reduce her staff from 12 to seven over the past year. “It’s been tough – when people have to tighten their belts, cleaning services often get cut. The added attention and exposure from the sweepstakes will be a great reminder to people that we’re still here and ready to help them with their cleaning needs. I’m just so excited to see the Professional Cleaning Service logo on Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy during the race,” she said. “And if he wins the race and I win $1 million, it would be amazing! I’d probably be in shock. And then I’d pay off my business loans, hire more staff and go to a lot more NASCAR races!”

Office Depot Contest Winners

Rose Berger, owner of Professional Cleaning Service, is paired with driver Tony Stewart. Photo provided by: Edelman

Here is a video you might enjoy of the winners courtesy of Edelman:

I will say this about the race at Louden. It was pretty action packed to watch. The racing seemed good early! Bravo.

Tony did well towards the beginning of the race. He qualified  3rd (awesome!) and lead for awhile until a four time pit stop put him a back in the field when Darian called for four tires for the  #14 Office Depot car when many teams took two for track position.

Tony didn’t give up though and the car fought its way through the field over the course of the race slowly worked his way back towards the front of the race. He took the lead again at lap 248  of the 300 mile race and started to run away with the lead.

Crew Chief  Darian Grubb chose not to pit the #14 Chevy and he dominated the last section of the race until running out of  gas at lap 299.  Second place Clint Bowyer took the lead and won the first race of the chase.

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 19: Clint Bowyer, driver of the  Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, celebrates winning the race with his crew next to the  Office Depot / Old Spice Chevrolet which ran out of gas on the final lap during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 19: Clint Bowyer, driver of the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, celebrates winning the race with his crew next to the Office Depot / Old Spice Chevrolet which ran out of gas on the final lap during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

That right there was the most disheartening thing a Tony Stewart fan could see. Stewart barely coasting over the finish line to maintain his position on the lead lap as Bowyer begins his celebratory burnout.

Stewart finished 24th and is currently 11th (I cringe just typing that) in the points standings.

Notes about Louden

  • The Epic Fail award this race  goes to ESPN/ESPN2 for having the pre-race show in ESPN2 and the race on ESPN.  That was a bad move.  The pre-race should not require a channel change- that is just dumb. If that is the case I will just watch Race Day on Speed.
  • Good to see Dale Jr do so well during the race.
  • Sure it’s easy to say that Stewart should have pitted on that last pit stop.  I would have pitted him and let him work his way back through the field (like I would be a crew chief- are you crazy? That job has to be extremely stressful- plus I barely know how to check my oil).  I admit I was sitting there hoping the two of them had some sort of magic up their sleeves but alas what am I to do.  I said to my mom who was watching the race with me: This will either be a HUGE win or a lose so devastating it will KILL him in the points. Unfortunately the latter was what happened.
  • Caption Tony picture for your enjoyment (or I guess in this case it’s a caption Tony and/or Darian). I know you are funny people so come on and caption away in the comments:

Tony Stewart and Crew Chief Darian Grubb during Practice at Louden. Picture courtesy of Glenn Bure/ AIPress

  • Speaking of funny people. That Race Day crew over on speed? Hilarious. Why? Well for a lot of reasons- but especially the following video that they used during Race Day.  Just a few notes before we get to the embedded video. 1. I love this song. I am not embarrassed to admit it. 2. I remember when the original video came out on MTv (that I might be embarrassed to admit. 3. I can’t decide what is the funniest part- it’s ALL GOOD. Take a look for yourself:

Next Race: Dover! Go Tony Go!

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

Want to congratulate Tony on his Atlanta victory? Or wish him luck at Richmond? Tony is scheduled to do an appearance at the Office Depot store in Glen Allen Virginia on Thursday September 9th 2010.  Stewart will greet fans and sign autographs starting at 4:45pm local time at the Office Depot located at  9700 West Broad Street (at W. Broad & Stillman Pkwy) in Glen Allen. Wristbands are required, with distribution limited to the first 350 customers (one per person). Wristbands will be available at Office Depot when  it opens at 9:00am on the day of the event. Fans with a wristband must be in line no later than 5:15pm local time to receive an autograph. As always, there is one autograph per wristband.

So how excited was I that Tony won? Very! WHOO HOO!

Tony and Darian seemed to both be in a good mood before they took even one green flag lap- judging by their radio banter. Darian said something about buying Tony a little pool if he brought back a trophy.  Of course I am envisioning Tony sitting in a kiddie pool but that is probably because I have small nephews who love their kiddie pool on a hot day.

As I was watching, when Tony took the lead the first time I thought to myself…YEY five points! Then he kept leading and leading. There would be some swapping back and forth here and there with Denny or Carl but then I was thinking Hey- we might get 5 more points for leading the MOST laps here.  It really wasn’t until the last 10 laps or so that I starting thinking…DAMN we have been DOMINATE ALL NIGHT  and that is when I start worrying about something going WRONG!

It seemed that the 14 pit crew was ON IT all night (ok they had ONE bad stop- but it wasn’t even THAT bad).  Tony’s only complaint pit-wise was that he was having trouble seeing his stall- but they figured that out- and between Darian counting him down into his pitstall and his dad Nelson waving a flashlight at him he was able to find it much easier on subsequent stops.

It warmed my heart to see the #14 car sooo dominate Sunday night.  I loved it and hope that there is only more of that on the horizon!!

WHOO HOO.

Anyway Congrats to Tony Stewart and Office Depot and all the other sponsors for their win at Atlanta

Tony is now 4th in the series standings and locked into the chase (shwew).

So since Tony won- there are a couple ways you too can win:

Win a Sunoco Checkered Flag autographed by race winner Tony Stewart here from SpeedTV.

You can bid on the Old Spice towel Tony used in  Victory Lane  here (proceeds to benefit The Tony Stewart Foundation).

You can win one of 14 Office Depot Racing autographed hats here at Office Depot Racing’s 14 for 14 Contest.

I celebrated Tony’s win yesterday with a trip to Office Depot- it’s one of my favorite stores anyway. BUT they didn’t have what I was looking for in stock yet but they told me it’s coming September 12th so I will be back I promise.

Tony Stewart will be at the Office Depot located at 2625 Piedmont Road (Buckhead Crossing Shopping Center) in Atlanta, GA on September 2nd.  He will be doing a donation of 4000 book backs as part of the the Office Depot Foundation National Backpack Program- these book bags will be filled with school supplies and given to children and local children’s organizations in an effort to help children start their school year off right.

In addition to doing the presention of the book bags, Tony Stewart will be signing 350 autographs for fans starting at 4:45 local time.  Wristbands are required for the autograph session and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the Piedmont Road Office Depot store in Atlanta, GA beginning at 8:00 a.m. local time on the day of the event only (Thursday, September 2). Fans with a wristband must be in line no later than 5:15 p.m. local time to receive an autograph.  There will also be an #14 Office Depot show car at the event.

These are great events- and very fun. I urge you to attend if you are in the Atlanta area.