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I can’t even remember the last time I did a bullet post for you all and I have some NASCAR thoughts to share that don’t deserve their own post but deserve to be mentioned:

  • My fantasy league? I haven’t even checked my standings for the last month or so because I was sure I was tanking. I checked today. Confirmed- am definitely TANKING! I am currently 85th out of 114!!  I blame the majority of this on Brian Vicker’s blood clots. I picked him as one of my drivers because he tends to be up there towards the front.  But now that he’s out of the seat the team hasn’t been doing so hot. Bah.  Tony and Dale Jr have been doing better- so they are the reason I went up 2 places after Sonoma  (yeah see 87th not so hot) so YEY for that but this is just a sad sad team this year. (By the way- I still love Brian Vickers…I really do and I don’t honestly blame him for my team tanking).
  • We are 10 races away from the CHASE cut off. Don’t think I don’t know that and don’t think that just because Tony’s moved back up into the top ten (YEY GO TONY GO!!!!) that I have relaxed one bit about watching points.  Of course I have been watching points since Daytona…so that says nothing.  I know Tony says he’s not worried about it…but…I am.
  • So you probably noticed my Sonoma post, while it had a pretty picture left much to be desired? It was because I was bummed I wasn’t there like I was last year.  Oh and…I know that Valli would cover it well and in depth. Which she is doing- she got the chance to interview more drivers -so be sure to check out The Fast and the Fabulous for that…she also came up with a catchy title for one of her Sonoma posts: To Infineon and Beyond…why can’t I think of good titles like that?. Oh and she got to experience the confrontation between Said’s crew chief and Tony Stewart first hand. Check that out here…and while you are there look for the  picture of Kevin Harvick hugging Tony’s dad…while Tony squats and messes with his shoe…cute!
  • For those of you in New Hampshire, Ryan Newman will be signing autographs at his merch trailer tomorrow June 25th from 3:30 -4:30 (time subject to change based on qualifying draw- check the trailer for more information).
  • Don’t forget that if you own a small business you should enter the The Official Small Business of NASCAR contest from Office Depot Racing.
  • You also have a little more than a month to buy your raffle ticket for Smoke’s Camaro. You have the change to win a bitchin’ 2010 Chevy Camaro customized by Unique Autosports. Proceeds benefit the Tony Stewart Foundation and their many initiatives supporting criticially ill children, various animal charities and injured drivers.  Go to SMOKESCAMARO.com for more information.

Who doesn’t want their name on a NASCAR cup car?   I certainly do. I actually think sometimes about how if I were independently wealthy I would sponsor a cup car (probably one race for Tony or I might settle for Ryan) and just put my name on the hood. Just AMY). Everyone would wonder who the hell this AMY chick was and why she got her name on the hood of a car…that would be kind of fun. But I am digressing.

This weekend at Infineon (I was their last year and I really wish I was going to be there this year!) Tony Stewart’s “TV Panel” (aka- NASCAR speak for the REAR of the car) will sport a slightly different look:

The Official Small Business of NASCAR Contest. Photo provided by Edelman

If YOU or someone you know or work for owns a small business (99 employees or less) you will want to go to officedepotracing.com to enter the Official Small Business of NASCAR, Courtesy of Office Depot contest between now and July 10th.  This contest has been around forever (ok not forever- just six years according to the press release)- even back when that other driver was sponsored by Office Depot (Carl Edwards) and I thought it was cool contest even back then. This year the contest has a new twist to it.  This year two small businesses will be pitted against each other at the Dover race on September 26th. One small business will be paired with driver Tony Stewart, the other small business will be paired with driver Greg Biffle.  Whichever business is on the car of the highest placing driver wins the title of Official Small Business of NASCAR.  If one of the drivers wins the Dover race, the business being represented by that driver, will win $1,000,000!!! It’s an awesome opportunity thanks to Office Depot!

Now how about an “Official  Blogger of NASCAR?” contest so that I can get a little closer to my dream without having to figure out how to get independently wealthy first? Anyone???

The Coke 600 is not only the LONGEST race they run on the NASCAR Sprint Cup race circuit but it’s also the 13th race of the season. That being said I was really hoping to have something positive to report for our beloved #14 Office Depot Racing- like a win! But alas no win.

So my internet decided to go up and down like a yo-yo during the race. What that means is that I was unable to listen to most of the radio communication on the Trackpass Scanner (and yeah I know Tony was a hotpass driver- but I didn’t watch the hotpass channel because I feel that I lose too much of what is going on with other drivers on the hotpass channel).  I figure that there was some sort of handling issues with the car- but the only radio communications I got to hear was early in the race- Tony complained that Greg Biffle was short pitting and crowding him in the box.  We all know how that ended- with Tony hitting one of Biffle’s crew guys during a later pitstop and knocking him down (for those wondering- scenedaily.com reports that rear tire carrier Kevin McDowell was released early Monday- x-rays showed no broken bones).

On the plus side at least Tony finished 15th- which is better than where he started the race. See I am trying to find the positive- and there it is! He finished better than where he started. Tony is now 16th in the points.  Teammate Ryan Newman finished ninth and is now 12th in points.  I am still hoping for that first win of the season though- hopefully it will come next week since our reader @KevinMBoots77 is going to the race!  Race winner was Kurt Busch.

Notes from the Coke 600:

  • I love the fact that all four Hendrick cars had patriotic paint schemes! That rocked!  (yeah I know other cars had them too- but I still think that the Hendrick stable had the best! And that being said I liked Jeff Gordon’s the best of the four HMS cars).
  • Between the All-Star Race and the Induction ceremony and the Coke 600 it really has Misty and I hankering to go to Charlotte for our next “new” track experience.  We are already planning on going next year…look for a post soon about our excessive planning tactics.

Notes from the Indy 500:

  • This is probably one of the first years in a long time I didn’t sit and watch straight through the Indy 500 and Coke 600. However I did catch the last 100 laps or so of the race at Indy and all I can say it that that wreck on the last lap with Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Yikes.  Racer.com is reporting that Mike Conway underwent surgery to repair fractures to his lower left leg. He also suffered soft tissue injuries as well as a compression fracture of one of his thoracic vertebrae. He will be out of the car for at least three months.   Ryan Hunger Reay also suffered a thumb injury but NOT during the last lap crash but during an earlier altercation on pit road with Scott Dixon.
  • I hope that Dario will take Tony up on his offer of a place in the Prelude To The Dream! That will be an interesting addition to the field.

Next weekend: Pocono. Remember that the races are NOT on Fox any more- we have moved on to TNT.  Also-remember that this is where Tony and the #14 crew got it’s first victory! Let’s hope for a repeat!

If you need a printer or are considering upgrading your printer,  I implore you to consider taking part in the “Buy A Printer, Support Military Families” campaign being hosted by Office Depot.  The program is in conjunction with the Memorial Day Coca-Cola 600 and is quite simple…buy a Lexmark printer in an Office Depot Store or online between May 30th and June 5th.  For each printer purchased Office Depot and Lexmark will donate a printer to Operation Homefront.  They are hoping to donate 4,000 printers.

For those unfamiliar with Operation Homefront- they provide emergency assistance for troops, the families they leave behind and for wounded warriors when they return home.  They have more than 4,500 volunteers across 23 chapters and have been rated a 4-star charity by Charity navigator.  Ninty-five cent of every dollar donated to Operation Homefront goes to fund programs.

To kick off the program- Tony Stewart’s #14 Office Depot chevy will be running a special TV Panel at the Coca-Cola 600 race on May 30th:

Buy A Printer/ Help Military Families

Photo Credit: MATTER, Edelman Sports & Entertainment Marketing

It’s a great way to support the military and their families!

“I am very grateful to the men and women who serve our country, and that includes all of the military families who sacrifice time with their loved ones,” Stewart said. “They make it possible for people like me to do what I love and for fans to enjoy being at the race track every weekend. For any NASCAR fan who needs a new printer, now is the time to visit your local Office Depot store. Your purchase of a Lexmark printer will directly benefit a military family, and that is a great gift.”

As part of the Office Depot and Lexmark program, people can also engage with Operation Homefront and support members of the military via Twitter. Beginning now through June 5, people can give a “Shout Out” to someone serving in the military and be entered for a chance to win one of 10 Lexmark printers.  To participate, go to Twitter (www.Twitter.com) and tweet the name and rank of a loved one in the military, along with the hashtag: #OperationShoutOut, from your Twitter account.

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Also- consider joining the Office Depot facebook team.  Tony wants to rev up their following on facebook in a BIG way…14,000 ways to be exact. Come be part of the fun there by LIKING facebook.com/officedepot.  You will not only get info on great deals at Office Depot- but you will get great updates on Tony and the entire #14 Office Depot race team.  Don’t just do it for me…do it for TONY!

So Dover is one of those tracks that I don’t have feelings for one way or the other. I don’t look at the schedule and think to myself YEY DOVER or AW HELL DOVER.   However I will admit that I might have been thinking something along the lines of  Oh please let Tony get at least a top ten…a win would be all kinds of AWESOME but please please pretty please at least a top ten before the race on Sunday -all the way through the pre-race tv coverage.

So Tony qualified 16th for Sunday’s race and right off the bat he seemed pretty pleased with his car- telling crew chief Darian Grubb with less that ten laps under his belt that the car seemed pretty good from the get-go.  He was passing people and was soon in the top ten.  Ahh maybe my good thoughts were working after all.  Listening in on the radio communications Tony seemed pretty pleased with the car’s handling except that he was a tick tight in the center of the turn (center third as he put it).

Pit stops seemed clean and well executed- a good job all around for the #14 team.  Unfortunately a trackbar adjustment on the third pit stop and changing track conditions made the car’s handling go to pieces and the #14 began to fall back in the field and was soon the last car on the lead lap.  It was not looking good.  I sat there just waiting for the leader to catch and pass him.  Luckily a caution came out and Darian and crew went back on some of the adjustments.  Tony was able to claw his way back up through the field and was also helped by a two tire pit stop with about 41 laps to go.  Tony finished 9th and moved up four spots in the points standings and is now only 37 points behind 12th place (currently held by Martin Truex Jr).  Race winner was Kyle Busch.

Notes:

  • After the race in Dover Tony headed out to Nashville, TN to help with the GAC Telethon benefiting the flood victims.
  • It was great to hear Tony and Darian working well together on the radio. I loved that they were maintaining a fairly positive attitude even after the handling on the car went catywhompus on them. YEY. The pit crew seemed to be spot on with their timing as well.
  • Speaking of the pit crew…it’s the ALL-STAR race this weekend…and what do I love about that? It means that Wednesday is the Pit Crew Challenge.  I LOVE THE PIT CREW CHALLENGE! LOVE IT!!!  It’s on Wednesday night on SPEED at 9 PM eastern time. Cheer on the 14 crew!!
  • Also on Wednesday for those of you with facebook accounts you will want to check out the ARMORALL Facebook page for a  NEW Off Track With Tony Stewart. This episode – entitled the ROOKIE is actually a comedic web episode that was filmed at Stewart-Haas racing…I can not WAIT for that either.
  • And for those of you with Twitter feeds…did you know Stewart-Haas Racing has an official twitter account? It’s @StewartHaasRcng. Follow them for race day updates as well as updates throughout the week.  You might also want to follow my feed at @badgroove.
  • Speaking of twitter…if you are tweeting about Tony…try using the #goTONYgo hashtags….I am using them until he wins. Hopefully it won’t be long!

All-Star Race is this Saturday. The Showdown starts at 6pm eastern and the All-Star race at 9:00pm Both are on SPEED this time.

Tony Stewart will be making an appearance at the Office Depot in Pineville, NC on Friday May 28th at 4:00 pm local time.  Wristbands are required for the event and will be distributed starting at 8:00 am Friday morning.  There will be 700 bands given away one per person.  You MUST be in line by 5:00 pm.  The address is: 9610 Pineville Matthews Road (at Hwy. 51 & I-485) in Pineville, N.C.

I hope that if any of you are going you will share some pictures and stories here…I will be with you in spirit…and jealous because it means you are probably going to go to the Coca-Cola 600 too..and I would love to go to that (and the allstar race….too).

Ahhh!!!!!! That is all I can really say about the race at Phoenix except that the night after the race I actually DREAMED about the race (more on that later).

The thing with this Phoenix race is that it starts in the afternoon and ends in the evening- so it goes from BRIGHT sun to DARK night…and what is interesting is that they say that those who do well during the light hours do not necessarily do so hot after the sun goes down behind the bleachers and that is exactly what happened to Tony Stewart.

I can see you in there!

I can see you in there Tony! Tony sports the Office Depot Grow Greener car at PIR. Not bad considering it was taken through a fence. (April 2010. Photo Credit: ME)

I don’t know exactly what happened. Tony led for awhile (YEY at least we got 5 points for that) and even when he wasn’t leading his car seemed to be a top ten car. Then I could have sworn I heard the announcer say something about contact between Gordon and Stewart and then he seemed to start dropping like someone had tied a 50 lb boat anchor to that fancy new spoiler.  I can not for the life of me however find ANYTHING on the national broadcast about the contact (nor on the team race report release)….so now I wonder if I didn’t dream that up.  In other words? The sun went down and for some reason Tony was struggling for the rest of the night. Was it handling problems due to contact? Was it handling problems due to a wrong set up? Did Digger actual succeed in tying previously mentioned boat anchor to Tony’s car when no one was looking? Did the #14 Office Depot Chevy suck too many bugs into the grill (seriously people the bugs? They were a freaking problem). The reason I do not know- but Tony finished the race 23rd.  I am sure he HAD to be frustrated with that finish because I know I was and I wasn’t the one sweltering in the heat in that car and firesuit. That finish dropped Tony to 9th in the points, 204 points behind the leader Jimmie Johnson.

However, one could not say it was a bad evening.  Why? Teammate Ryan Newman got his first win under the Stewart-Haas banner! I was extremely excited for Ryan and the number 39 team.  And I was excited that he won in the Tornados car because I actually find that paint scheme to be pretty. I like the orange and yellow against the black.  Plus Tornados are yummy.  Anyway…cogratulations to team Tornado!!

Notes About Phoenix:

  • So the dream…I dreamed that Chad Knaus was really pissed off about the 4 tire call at the last pit stop. Like lividly pissed. To the point he was telling media that anyone who took two tires were idiots.  I think this is the reason I dreamed that is that we were directly across from the 48 pitbox- pretty much at eye level with Knaus.  I couldn’t even see Tony’s pit from where I was…but it didn’t stop me from watching the 48 guys each and every pit stop.  They fascinate me (pitstops…not the 48 guys).  Anyway don’t believe me? Here is proof:

Chad Knaus watches his 48 crew in action. (PIR April 2010. Photo Credit: ME)

  • My DVR cut off the end of the National broadcast so I couldn’t even really revel in Ryan Newman’s win when I got home.  Bah. Dumb DVR.  At least I remembered to DVR SpeedTV’s Victory Lane just in case. Arg. Dumb DVR.
  • Tony Stewart’s firesuit was still the traditional Office Depot Red even though his car was white and green.  Now I am guessing it’s a bit expensive to make a new firesuit for the paint scheme….but it was just funny looking and if you look above at the picture of Tony in his car you can see he kinda sticks out in there because you can actually see him in there.
  • Some Pictures:

Ryan Newman during the parade lap. (April 2010 PIR. Photo Credit: ME)

Tony Stewart parade lap. Told you he wore his regular red firesuit. (April 2010. PIR. Photo Credit: ME)

So that’s the race summary.

This weekend we are in TEXAS where everything is bigger….including Tony Stewart’s starts (number 400!).

First off, I wanted to thank you all for the incredible response to my call for questions! I mean I was getting questions thrown at me left and right. I was getting them in the comments section here, in my facebook, on twitter, emailed to me, im’d at me and well I think you get the idea.  My dad even offered up some questions.   I received lots of great questions! I was  surprised to find out that many  people wanted to know more about Tony’s charity work.  So the first person who asked a question about the Tony Stewart Foundation was awarded the Tony Stewart Office Depot Standee (congrats @KevinMBoots77).  However-even if you didn’t win the standee, you may find that I also used your  question in the interview…because they were that good.

Anyway, this is our first interview so we are kind of proud of that fact.  Of course,  deciding to do our first interview and having that be none other than Tony Stewart is kind of like deciding you want to try to get into football so you decide to go to the Superbowl.  Anyway,  enjoy it- I know we did:

Amy: Do you think there is more fan involvement now that champions week is in Las Vegas and do you like that?

Tony: I definitely think so. when we did the lap down the strip the amount of people that turned out for that- it was awesome. It was nice not having to be out there wearing winter jackets and all that. But I thought it was a good turn out. You know, New york is cool but you kinda have to really be into being in New York. Everybody loves going to Vegas so it’s a lot better deal for us to be out here.

Misty: Now was the plan for that everyone was going to get to do a burn out and Jimmie blew it for you or what?

Tony: No actually he was the only one who was allowed to do the big show at the intersection and then he blew it up. It was like, man why couldn’t we have got him to that during one of the last ten races instead of waiting until champions week to do it.

Amy: If you could go back in time, what decade would you be a racer in?

Tony: Oh man. I would say….probably the sixties and seventies. It was a pretty cool era in the sport because there wasn’t all the technology involved. It was really about car owners that sat there with a piece of paper and came up and drew ideas. There weren’t the computers to create the ideas for them. Just racing was a lot simpler then. I mean guys would race Indy and run Daytona. To get to race with someone like AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti and guys like that would be pretty cool.

Amy: Is there one factor you can pinpoint in your success during your first year as an owner/driver?

Tony: Good people. That’s really the biggest key to it. Having the right people in the right places is very instrumental in us having the success that we have had. We have been really fortunate.  It was bad timing to one degree but good timing for us on the other side when the economy turned because there were a lot of really good crew members that became available and that is the hardest part of the process is trying to hire the right people for your group. So that really was an advantage for us- that we were able to get really good people and that has definitely ,no doubt about it in my mind, been the key.

Amy: Do you feel long red flags hurt your momentum during a race?

Tony: No. I mean I have been racing 30 years so when you go back you’re ready. Its not as big a deal as it would seem. There’s days we’ve gotten in the cars and had red flags because of rain and not even got the chance to do it again until the next day. You’re just use to it. When it comes to get in the car and time to fire it up you kind of go through that whole sequence of getting ready.

Amy: Do you have a specific sequence when you get in the car?

Tony: When I get in the car I buckle in exactly the same way. Everything I that put on is in order and it’s the same way every time. It’s almost second nature, you don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just very routine for us how we do it.

Amy: Your foundation works with many different charities, is there one charity that is closest to your heart?

Tony: Well, I think it still, on the children’s side of the foundation, is the Victory Junction Gang Camp. I mean Kyle and Patti Petty are really close friends of mine.  I didn’t know Adam very well but I knew Kyle and Patti very well. To see obviously how much it hurt when they lost Adam and it would have been easy for them to just walk away from everything there but they really pushed forward to make Adam’s dream happen and that’s something that we’re really proud to be a part of helping them realize that dream for him. You know any of the animal charities we do- it doesn’t matter WHAT it is. Those are a really big deal to us. I’m a big animal lover which ruins my bad reputation but it’s worth it. I just love animals and I always have. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Friends of Ferdinand program that we have with the horses or the ICAN Program with the trained dogs. You know any time that animals are involved is pretty cool.

Amy Tony Misty

Amy (left), Tony Stewart, and Misty at the Office Depot in North Las Vegas. (Photo Credit: Edelman)

So there you have our interview with Tony Stewart. It was an amazing experience and I am sure I will write more about it when I do the annual “Racecation Recap” later this week. I just want to thank Lisa and Jessie for making it happen.  And of course Tony for taking the time out of his schedule for us.