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Well in my Saturday afternoon post (I know I should do those more often- maybe I will) I mentioned finding out pretty much first thing that Tony Stewart would be going to a backup car because he crashed during practice.  This would put him at the back of the 43 car field in the race that should have happened on Sunday. Then it rained out on Sunday. This seems to be the season of rain! So NASCAR finally (and within a reasonable amount of time in my eyes) postponed the race until Monday. The problem with races on Monday- is I have to work. Bah.

I am going to assume though that Tony and Team Old Spice Office Depot did good today all things considered. I know they dealt with a flat tire early in the race- that ended up putting them a lap down.  I also know that thanks to the competition Caution thrown at lap 20 that he was the lucky dog and fought his way back up to be in or near the top ten for most of the day.  Tony Stewart finished in tenth position at Pocono (after starting 43rd- so I say we call it a good day).  Teammate Ryan Newman finished fourteenth. Tony maintains his position in the points as POINTS LEADER (Yey Tony!!).  Ryan Newman dropped two spots in the standings to 9th (still within the chase- barely).

Notes on Pocono (far and few between since I didn’t get to watch the actual race):

  • Congratulations to Denny Hamlin- race winner. It was good to hear that Denny won!
  • Dear Jimmie Johnson: My friend thinks you should sell the “Chad is Rad” shirts that you were sporting during the Rain Delay on Sunday- she would def love one. She says you could have the proceeds go to your foundation…she is sure other HMS fans would buy them too.
  • Between Fox Sports and NASCAR.COM live leaderboards- FoxSports was just a tad faster for me. Just wanted to share that. But I like the layout of the one at NASCAR.COM better.
  • Part of me wants the Tony Stewart Swaggar shirt that says YOUR DRIVER STINKS MINE DOESN’T. Is that weird?

Let’s just call this good and get on with next week’s race- where our favorite drivers will turn left and right at Watkin’s Glen!

Ok, so I was laying in bed this morning contemplating whether or not to get up. It was 9:12. I had been awake for probably about 20 minutes or so trying to think of something fun yet extremely cheap that my mom and I could do today since my dad has to work and it isn’t often that we both have a day off where we can do something fun- just the two of us.  As I was laying there all comfy and warm in my bed I get startled with a BEEP BEEP BEEP …meaning that someone has sent me a text message so I roll over and grab my phone to see:

FROM BFF: Y is Tony in a backup car?

I initially think “Oh she must have misunderstood- they were probably talking about the race in Pocono in June- where Tony crashed during practice and had to go to a backup car…where he then won.”

I grab my remote and hit SpeedTV first – forgetting that we are on ESPN now…so I have to search the DTV menu because I can never remember where ESPN is and as soon as I find Happy Hour I flip it and sure enough in the ticker running across the bottom: Tony Stewart Crashed in Practice, Will start in backup car at the rear of the field.

Well- if you have ever watched a race with me where Tony isn’t doing too well you might be able to imagine- a string of expletives about a mile long.  We text back and forth. I may have mentioned that “I hate this track” and something about the “evil triangle.” And even though we are both fairly competitive people and she would love nothing more than to see her driver (Jeff Gordon) win ever race from now until the end of the season- she texted me back with a reassuring he can do it. And she is right…if any one can do it? Tony can.

But still tomorrow team old spice/office depot will have to dig their heels in and work hard to get their car to the front. Tony will have be more focused than ever. All I can say is at least they should have a good pitstall- which should help gain positions in the pits and move Tony up the field.

Thoughout the rest of practice, ESPN sportscasters kept referring to Pocono as “the tricky triangle” but I am sticking to my “evil triangle moniker.” I KNEW there was a reason I didn’t like Pocono!

I have always referred to Pocono as “that evil little triangle track” Now I don’t know why I feel the need to say “little” because there is nothing little about Pocono- it’s a 2.5 mile track with one of THE widest pit roads on the circuit. But still I guess I feel the need to add the diminutive to the moniker because it’s not a favorite track of mine.  I have no real explanation as to WHY but it just is not a favorite.

Anyway this was a rollercoaster of a weekend for team OfficeDepot/OldSpice.  First both first practice and qualifying get rained out- thus giving Tony Stewart his first Pole of the season.  That is a definite up right? Well then- on Saturday during second practice Tony spun his car- ended up taking a ride through the grass and when he hit a grass burm he pretty much ripped the whole front of the car up- separating the splitter completely off the car and damaging the radiator.  So…off to a backup car…and thus starting at the back of the field on Sunday.  That was definitely a big downer.

So the race, the first of the TNT Summer series, started and I nearly forgot that Tony was a HotPass driver.  So I switched over to HotPass just in time to hear Darian Grubb tell the Tony and the #14 guys that he wanted them to bring home a “little triangle trophy” which humored me immensely. Once the green flag dropped, Tony immediately began working his way up the field of cars like a man on a mission.  He was very upbeat on the radio and seemed pretty pleased with the way the car was handling as well as with the tweaks that they made on the car during the pitstops to refine that handling.  Between Tony just slicing and dicing his way through the field and some awesome pitstops- Tony soon heard “Welcome to the top fifteen” from his spotter soon followed by “Top 10″ where Tony would stay for the remainder of the race.

His last pit stop was completely awesome. That pitcrew got him out just in time for him to roll across the line just in front of Carl Edwards…however Jeff Gordon had opted to stay out to lead a lap. Then is started to sprinkle on the track.  This meant Tony was in second because Gordon stayed out. I know all the Gordon fans were probably doing rain dances- (I know my friend was) but the sprinkle was short lived and Jeff Gordon soon ended up having to pit. Once Tony was in the lead he never really looked back.

From here it would be a fuel milage race. Darian Grubb told Tony to save fuel.  This is never a good thing. Could you imagine the hunger you have wanting that first points win. You are within reach. You are in the lead.  You have 800 horses under your foot and you have to conserve fuel? It has to go against everything that makes sense to a racer. Instead of “GO FAST. TURN LEFT.” you now have to “Go Fast enough to stay in the lead but not so fast that you run yourself out of gas- but not so slow that the guy behind you catches you and passes you. oh and TURN LEFT.” Tony was pretty quiet on the radio during those last 40 laps.  He came on once and said “I Hate This.” I took it to mean he hated having to hold back and the whole not knowing if he had enough gas. The sportscasters didn’t think Tony would be able to do it.  That last 40 laps to me seemed to take about three hours to complete.  At one point Jimmie Johnson started coming up towards the field and was battling second place Carl Edwards pretty hard.  I suddenly had visions of Dover last weekend and Jimmie passing Tony to take the lead.  Luckily this did not happen as Jimmie ended up running out of gas. Like Tony, I was fairly quiet (Odd I know- considering I thought that I would get the cops would get called on me last weekend I was cheering so loud).  But finally Tony Stewart took the white flag and then the checkered.  His first Points Race win as an Owner/Driver. Stewart maintains his lead in the points standings. Teammate Ryan Newman also had a stellar top-five finish.

Pocono Notes:

  • I was surprised at the small number of cautions at Pocono. They were few and far between. It made for some great green flag pit stop action.
  • How frustrating was it to be Denny Hamlin?  He struggled all day…right from teh gitgo.  I felt kind of bad for him.
  • My friend pointed this little gem out to me: Tony Stewart…the number #14 wins the 14th points race of the season. Hee I think 14 should be Tony’s new favorite number…if it isn’t already.
  • I was glad to see that Jeff Gordon was able to work his way up to a fourth place finish after pitting late. It was a great finish.
  • Was I the only one who was worried Tony didn’t have enough gas for that little burn out he did?
  • I was pretty pleased with the TNT broadcast.  Granted I was watching HotPass so ask me for sure next weekend…but they seem to have improved from last season. And I love Larry Mac as an announcer. I think he is my favorite.
  • I was glad that Tony’s father Nelson was there at Long Pond to watch the first win in person.  It was great to see him congratulate Tony before he got out of the car.  The crew even made sure to douse him during the celebration in Victory Lane.
  • I was glad to see that Patrick Carpentier was back behind the wheel. I hope they are able to come up with a more permanent ride for him.
  • Congratulations to Robby Gordon who won the Baja race, and then flew directly to Long Pond to race in Sunday’s Pocono 500…his car was practiced for him by Travis Kvapil.
  • Did you happen to notice the hats that Tony’s pit crew were wearing? I want one. They say Office Depot on one side and Old Spice on the other. They had a similar hat at the merchandise Hauler at Phoenix…but it was beige.  I want the red one.
  • Also incase you missed it: Valli is giving away one of Jeff Gordon’s Lugnuts from the race at Talladega as part of an awesome Jeff Gordon/Pepsi throwback prize package.  Be sure to enter now.
  • You might also still have time to submit your questions to From The Marbles for a chance to have RACE WINNER Tony Stewart answer an interview question of yours.  Like I said on Saturday this is a cool contest…I would love to be able to run one like this.

CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN TO TONY STEWART, TEAM OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE, and STEWART-HAAS RACING.

Next Weekend will find us at Michigan Internationl Raceway.