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Well as  you know I was actually at this race…and I will tell you of all the great adventures I had there…but for the race report all I can say is…BAH that race sucked. I don’t rent a scanner so I have no idea what kind of problem Tony was having before the wreck…because he was obviously having some problems before the Junior wreck- so Junior can’t be completely to blame (although Darian Grubb and crew might have been able to fix whatever issues with the car Tony was having a bit better before it was crinkled in the front and the back and on the side- it was a crinkled mess). I am beginning to think that I am a curse- when I go to actual races.  BAH!

Unfortunately Tony is too far back in the points to get a championship this year…even if Jimmie doesn’t start the race (and honestly- what are the chances of that? This is NO chance of that I am pretty sure). I would still love to see him rip out a win at Homestead.  Tony finished Phoenix in 25th (two laps down) and retained his fifth position in the points.  Teammate Ryan Newman finished in 20th and retained his 9th place position in the points.

All I can say about Talladega is wow. Well maybe wow and Oww.  Funny thing was that I sat down with my notepad to watch Talladega.  That is funny because lately I have been relying more on my memory and less on notes taken during the race.  But for some reason I sat down with my notepad and my favorite, freshly sharpened pencil and settled in to watch the pre-race and then the race.

Because of a rained out qualifying session- Tony started fourth. Not bad at all.

I wrote this during the first several laps:

Watching the cars race at Dega is like driving on the southbound highway 101 from northern California to southern California. It gives me a knot in my stomach.  When the cars start to get four wide is like when the 101 goes from two lanes of spread out traffic to the claustrophic, four-lane, bumper-to-bumper traffic where all you can do is watch out the best you can and hope other people are paying attention too.

I mean I was seriously putting effort into this- especially since I have been slacking off lately.  While I took several pages of notes throughout the race (most of them were mundane things like: Yawn-single file racing bores me and Kevin Harvick wants cruise control he’s so bored), I will not be rehashing on these notes for most of this post.   A day after the race, I am still reeling at the Ryan Newman wreck at 5 laps to go (thanks to ryannewmaninfo.info for that link).

I happened to be looking down for a minute…I was probably either doodling in my note book (not making a note…but actually drawing flowers) or trying to get my dog to shake my hand…when something made me glance up at the TV in time to see smoke and what appeared to be the rear bumper of a car pointing straight up. I yelled “Oh SHIT” so loud that the dog retreated to her favorite hiding place and I barely heard Andy Petrie say that a car was airborne.

The part of the accident that stands out the most to me is the part after Ryan’s car comes to a complete rest and the view switches to an aerial shot of the car- and all you can really see is the undercarriage of his US ARMY IMPALA and…stillness.  I sat- on the very edge of my couch just watching horrified. As soon as they had played a little snippet of Ryan saying he was alight- I may have cried a little.  My friend and I texted each other back and forth while the safety team cut open his car like a freaking tuna can…

After watching the wreck a few times online- and talking to my friend a couple hours after the wreck (and judging by her Facebook comment- sounds like Trixie thought the same way) my friend and I think that it could have been a lot worse if Ryan’s car hadn’t first landed on Kevin Harvick’s hood.  That softened the initial blow and I think probably kept the car from getting crushed further despite the fact that it went all the way up the track and back down again and flipped some more (into the grass- which is a lot softer than the track where he first went airborne.  I know that the car has rollbars and stuff…and from Ryan’s comments after the race it sounds like they had pretty much caved down all the way to the helmet for him…I think that the car would have completely pancaked if it hadn’t been for Kevin Harvick’s hood absorbing that initial blow.

Also- despite what the announcer say during the race- it looks to me like Marcos Ambrose hit Ryan Newman (whether he was bump drafting or Ryan checked up slightly I dunno) and Ryan hit Tony who was in front of him.  But because of how Ryan and Tony hit- Tony went into the wall and Ryan went down towards the infield.

There has been a lot of talk about Talladega and the COT and how to keep the cars on the ground.  I personally think this is a product of restrictor plate racing. NASCAR attempting to address concerns from the spring race at Talladega where Carl Edwards went airborne into the catch fence, made the restrictor plates even smaller, and made a new rule (only 1.5 hours before the beginning of the race so the drivers didn’t get to really practice this) that cars could not bump draft through the corners (they kept stressing DAYLIGHT between the bumpers in the corners).  Did these help or contribute to Ryan’s wreck? I have no clue.  Is there something that can be done? Again I have no clue…except that the roof flaps didn’t work in this case.  Do they need to be bigger? Deploy sooner?

It was clear that the changes (smaller plates and no bumpdrafting) made the race fairly boring for most of it. Even drivers Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart joked with their respective crews earlier in the race that the single file racing was boring THEM.  Harvick wanted a cruise control, Tony wanted someone to tell him something interesting so he didn’t fall asleep.  Something is WRONG when your points leader is just riding around at the end of the field at half throttle. That isn’t racing that is riding.

I am not claiming to have an answer- but I really think maybe they should do away with restricting  the engines…that just either bunches the field up so you are waiting for an accident.

Anyway, both Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart got dnf’s for Talladega giving Tony a 35th place finish and dropping him to fifth in the champion standings 279 points out of the lead with only three races left to go in the chase for the Sprint Cup.  Ryan Newman also fell one spot in the standings down to eighth spot 402 points out of the lead.

Notes About Talladega:

  • So like me, Tony Stewart does like scary movies (if you follow me on twitter- you heard me announce this last week after trying to watch some of Halloween- the original).  Yeah no thanks. Not my thing. I think it’s a little brave of him to admit on national television though.
  • I am really enjoying the “PREVIOUSLY IN THE CHASE” segments before each race- you know the little narrative by Mike “Dirty Jobs” Rowe. I think it might be his voice, but I really think it gives a little something something to the race.
  • I have decided that Kim Burton is probably my favorite NASCAR wife right now- and this holds true only more so after watching the segment during the preshow about NASCAR wifes and superspeedways.

Next Race: Texas

Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that as of the race at Texas Motorspeedway, Steve Addington will no longer be the crew chief for Kyle Busch.  He will be replaced by Dave Rogers, while Addington will be “reassigned” within JGR (see official team announcement here).

I admit when I read that this morning I was completely shocked.  Yeah Kyle hasn’t had the best of years- but you know everyone has a run of bad luck…is that any reason to replace your crew chief?  Especially a crew chief that you had a totally awesome run with the season before?

Then I started thinking about it and ruminating over it. Why why why?? Then  my friend sent me an email stating this: You don’t think that they are eventually going to move Addington over to Logano because Zippy is leaving to be with Tony Stewart do you? Well of course that just launched me into playing musical chairs with the crew chief/driver pairings and this is what I came up with should a game of musical crew chiefs arise out of this news:

Addington goes to Logano, Greg Zipadelli goes to Stewart, Grubb goes to Newman, Gibson goes to Junior, but I am still chiefless for Kyle Busch. So I guess the cheese stands alone for right now.

So what do you think is going on? Is it just a simple personality clash between Addington and Busch? Or is it a more involved game of musical crew chiefs that is going to happen? How do you think the drivers and crew chiefs line up (or how should they line up)?

Well considering that I was sick this weekend all I can really say about Tony’s 13th place finish could have been better…but it could have been much much worse.  What really didn’t help Tony too much was Jimmie’s win.  I hate to say it but unless Jimmie fubar’s something I think he might be on his way to number four…which bites because it would be awesome to have Tony get number three!!!

Tony retained his fourth position standings in the points but is now 155 points out of the lead.  If he is trying to scare me he did a good job…now go out there and win this damn thing.  Ryan Newman finished 11th and gained two positions in the points and is now up to eighth.

Notes about Lowes:

  • I have to say that Jeff Gordon’s transformer paint scheme was way cooler than Ryan Newman’s. I hate to say it but it is totally true!
  • It was great to see so many cars out there supporting breast cancer research!

Next week: Martinsville!

First off- I just want to mention that it is HARD not going to a race after I have been to one at a specific track before. Last year I went to the Fall race at Auto Club Speedway.  It was hard not to be there this time.

That being said I have decided that Tony Stewart is trying to kill me.  When the race started Tony was in 20th position.  It seemed he was at first having a mediocre run to begin with.  I am guessing (because honestly they didn’t really talk much about him) that the set up was for the slightly warmer weather and when the track was overcast it caused some issues.  Now like I said…I am assuming that- they didn’t really talk much about Tony at all during the broadcast and from what I have heard of his postrace media comments he made it sound like they missed on the set up early in the race.  During the first part of the race he tended to jockey back and forth between positions 18 and 23rd or so.  The sun came out and he seemed to start doing a little better.  I was pleased.  Then he got a pit road speeding penalty that cost him a lap.  I was not pleased (let’s just say that after the race when my friend called me to chat she said Was that you cursing a blue streak* we heard all the way down here when Tony got that speeding penalty? She wasn’t far off as she knows me quite well.)  Being a lap down had me in conniptions but there was another caution soon (thank you Denny Hamlin- I hate to see it happen but yikes it really helped Tony) and he was able to utilize the wave around to get back on the lead lap.  I relaxed…but only a little because he was still buried way back in the field.  He seemed to be slowly working his way back up the field.  Then came what would be the last green flag pit stop, and let me tell you I don’t know what Darian Grubb was thinking. I would have LOVED to know because while the strategy worked- it could have turned out quite bad.  Darian left Tony out running laps while everyone else was pitting.  If I were Darian I would have brought Tony in as soon as we hit the fuel window. He left Tony out. I still do not understand that call. It’s not like Tony needed to lead a lap for bonus points- he had done that earlier in the race.  My only thought is they thought Tony would fair better on slightly fresher tires?  Then when they did finally bring him in- they made it a FOUR tire stop instead of just two.  I mean obviously it worked out because between just passing people and a couple of on track incidents (one resulting in a 20 minute red flag) Tony ended up finishing a remarkable 5th in the race (I am still not sure how he did that magic but I will take it!). Top five. Talk about digging, clawing and fighting your way back from adversity. Because of his incredible finish Tony maintains his position in the chase as fourth,  84 points behind new Chase leader and race winner Jimmie Johnson.  Teammate Ryan Newman battled back from a cut time to finish the race in 15th which unfortunately dropped him down to 10th in the points.

Notes About Auto Club:

  • Kasey Kahne was quite upset at what he deemed a “show” caution, which he blamed for bunching the cars back up and causing the accident that took him out of the race and pretty much out of chase contention (he is now 306 points out of the lead in 11th spot).  Unfortunately for Kasey he looked a little bit like the fool, because that caution (which was thrown for debris on the backstretch) was for actual debris on the track….they even showed the big hunk of something right there on backstretch up in the top “rim rider” groove. Kasey needs a talking to by NASCAR because when Tony got pissy about debris cautions he ended up in a meeting.
  • If Dale Junior didn’t have bad luck he would have NO luck at all…as my friend says “I am staying as far away from his as I can- he has NO Luck at all.” Poor guy. I actually felt a little sorry for him when they showed the crew working on his car and him just sitting on the tire looking dejected.
  • Was it me or did Jesse McCartney miss a whole section of the National Anthem?
  • I am beginning to think I need a bottle of Tums and a direct phone line to Darian on the PitBox if I am going to survive the chase.

Next week the race is another Saturday Night race at Lowes MotorSpeedway in Charlotte.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT- Stewart Autograph Session in Charlotte area on October 14th (that is THIS Wednesday: Speaking of the race being in Charlotte NC this week. Tony Stewart will be at the Office Depot in Pineville North Carolina as part of the Office Depot Foundation Backpack donations.  Donations are being made to several Charlotte area organization such as A Child’s Place in Charlotte, YMCA of Greater Charlotte, The PAL of Charlotte-Mecklenburg and schools in the Charlotte Mecklenbug area. Backpacks will be directly donated to the organizations. Tony Stewart will also be doing an autograph session at the Office Depot Location in Pinesville NC (address is 9610 Pinesville Matthews Road in Pinesville NC).  Tony will be there from 4:45 – 5:45 local time signing autographs for fans with wristbands. Wristbands are distributed at the location starting at 8:00 am.

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*She didn’t actually say curse a blue streak…she used the words that she thought I used. Which were also pretty close.

Well if you are privy to my facebook or my twitter (and pretty much anyone is- I am not that person who refuses people unless I know them) you knew that I was kinda of ticked off at DirecTV on the day of the Kansas race. I thought it might be an issue with them talking to our local affiliate- but judging by some of the responses I got on Twitter- I wasn’t the only one having issues.  The picture would scramble, the sound would skip or the picture would just go out completely.  It happened on ALL the receivers and rebooting them did NOTHING.  It wasn’t just ABC…I discovered after the race that all the local stations were doing it. However, the other stations? Like A&E? Not an issue at all- clear as a bell. Judging by my Twitter friends other people in other areas were having the same issue so it wasn’t just me- which makes me feel a little better.  Ayway that made watching the race slightly irritating.

What made up for it was Tony’s win!!  I will be the first to admit I didn’t hold much hope for Tony doing well in Kansas that is certain.  Why? Because I made the mistake of watching the end first practice (which I thought at the time was happy hour).  And by the end I mean the very end- and was not thrilled at all to hear the announcers talking about how everyone in the whole garage area wanted to know “what’s going on with Tony Stewart’s car” and then I heard the words vibration and possibly a lost cylinder and I was like DAMN there goes Kansas.  I SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO WATCH PRACTICE FOR THIS REASONI hear something like that and I am like DAMN there goes Kansas- we will suck now. AHHH there goes the championship (because you should all know me by now…I am a “worst-case scenario” type of person). Yeah that’s right I admit it right here and now that I heard 5 minutes of practice and was all DAMN I JUST HOPE he finishes in the top 10 in the CHAMPIONSHIP.  Again…I SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO WATCH PRACTICE- please steal my remotes during practice. Its for my own damn good. I found out much much later (as in hours AFTER THE RACE) that not only was I apparently NOT watching happy hour, but that Tony’s crew basically tore the entire car down and replaced tons of stuff (so much stuff that it might cost you and I over $6000 and use of our car for 10 days should it be stuff we needed to replace in our passenger cars).

Well the crew obviously did an AWESOME job. Tony seemed to be fairly consistent during the race. I kept expecting him to fall back fall back…but he never did. There wasn’t a time where I thought he needed to turn on his afterburners to get back up to the front. More- it seemed he was very patient and extremely consistent as were all the pit stops. No major errors. Good job for Tony, Darian and all the guys on the pit crew! Tony is now just 67 points out of the lead in fourth position in the championship standings.  Teammate Ryan Newman didn’t have a great run. Ryan finished 22nd (although its an improvement from where he started at 30th) and fell two positions to 9th in the standings.

Notes from Kansas:

  • During pre-race- in between my satellite popping in and out I saw Vickers standing next to his car during the national anthem…with a dolly sitting on the roof of his car. YES a dolly- in the brief glimpse i got it looked kind of like a BRATZ doll… WTH? There has to be a story behind it…anyone one know?
  • Poor Joey Logano must be getting tired about hearing about his flipping at Dover. I know I am.

Next Week: The Chase comes to CALIFORNIA (and no I will NOT be going…but don’t think I don’t want to).

Yesterday was the second race of the NASCAR chase. I was in Vegas for the Truck races and on Sunday I ended up missing the first 22 laps of the race at Dover for reasons I will actually cover in a post tomorrow.  I was traveling during practice and qualifying- but my friend kept me up to date. Tony didn’t have the best qualifying run- and earned a 22nd starting position.

So there I am sitting at the house of my friend watching the race and then the lap 31 crash happened.  Wow.  Watching Logano flip ten times was scary. That was one of the more frightening wrecks I have seen in quite awhile. I have to say that I watched it live, watched all the replays and rewatched it again on Tony Stewart’s hot pass channel after I got home and I do NOT see it as being Tony’s fault. Bobby Labonte slid down in front of Logano who slightly tagged him and slowed up. Tony hit Logano and someone hit Tony. It was one of those chain reaction things that happen.  You know one of “them racin’ things.” Since Tony was the inrace reporter for the national broadcast we could hear him say that he was sorry that he just drove through Logano. What you don’t hear or see on the national broadcast that you did with hotpass was Tony sitting in his car under the red flag.  He sat there occasionally shaking his head like he felt REALLY BAD about the whole deal.  I am just glad that Joey walked away unscathed.

After the cars get rolling again after the red flag I see that Tony has front and rear damage, and am sure that has ruined his race.  However, the pit crew quickly patch his front and rear damage without Tony losing too many positions or going a lap down. Tony’s crew seemed to be able to get him in and out of the pits fairly quickly, and tony was able to gain some track positions. What I didn’t get was the call to bring Tony in during that last pitstop. I just don’t understand it. I think he may have finished better if he hadn’t come in…but what do I know.

Tony ended up finishing 9th and gaining one position in the points- moving up to fifth in the points standings, 106 points behind leader Mark Martin. Stewart-Haas racing team mate Ryan Newman finished tenth and retained his seventh position in the standings.

  • I am going to go out and stand on a really unpopular limb here and say this: Can we stop assuming that Mark Martin has the championship in the bag? The race announcers seem to assume that he is the winner. We are only 2 races into the chase.  A lot can happen. I realize he is the sentimental favorite of many (including my father), but there is a lot of racing left in the season (to paraphrase Mark Martin himself).
  • Also- can we please STOP hearing how old Mark Martin is and comparing him to Harry Gant in age of accomplishment factoids? I seriously do NOT understand why it’s even relevent.
  • Yes I heard Tony snapped at a journalist in the media room at Dover. Think about it people….these are the playoffs. I am sure a lot of the Chase drivers have other things they would rather be doing, like talking to their crews about their car, than doing media.  Especially when people ask the same questions over and over. I think we should start a list of questions media should NOT ask Tony right now or risk feeling the wrath of Tony. The top of that list? Danica. YOu wanna know more about Danica and if she is considering running a part time schedule in NASCAR still? Ask Danica not Tony.
  • Also- can we just have Tony win a race? Please.

This coming weekend we are at Kansas for Chase Race Three.

COMING UP SOON ON BADGROOVE: My first Camping World Truck Series Race and Why The NASCAR CAFE Can Suck It.

I honestly do NOT know how the drivers and crews deal with the stress of the chase….because it usually has ME stressed out and I really have NOTHING to do with the outcome…more than just cheering my heart out for Tony (and cursing like a sailor when things like axle caps are loose or broken). Before the chase started mostly I was concerned with my fantasy league drivers and where they were finishing.  I messed around with a couple different fantasy leagues last year- you know the “free” ones online- but really didn’t like them. I found they were too high maintenance (especially the ones where you could only pick certain drivers on certain weeks).  I was invited to participate in a more private league and this season I have been having a ball.  I had even been in the top ten at one point.  But the season wore on and I dropped further and further down…in the standings (although half my fantasy team is in the chase).  Mostly I was trying to keep track of where the “Davids” were finishing (meaning Reutimann and Ragan).  Unfortunately my fantasy team is taking especially hard lately (my drivers are: Stewart, Gordon, Montoya, Labonte/Darnell and the “Davids”).  I blame David Ragan. But clearly I am digressing.

During last weekend’s race that completely changed.  Instead of even caring about my fantasy league,  now I am trying to keep track of where all 12 chase contenders are in relation to Tony, as well as who has led a lap, who hasn’t led a lap, that kind of thing.  I might have even got a little vicious towards Ryan Newman’s position compared to Tony, I admit.  He might be the teammate of my driver- but during the championship- they are all enemies. I want MY driver to be the Champion.  Not my driver’s teammate.  It’s all about loyalties.

So anyway here I am trying to keep points somewhat in my head- and I will be completely honest with you right here and tell you I am not the quickest when it comes to doing math in my head- when my mom comes in and starts feeding me football scores. Then my brain exploded right there in the middle the living room. I was just trying of figure out where Tony was in the points…and my brain exploded.  I had forgotten football season started along WITH the Chase.  I am in a family/friends football elimination pool.  Really she was just trying to tell me how my team of the week was fairing but my wee little brain could not handle any more numbers…and kaboom.

This is I think the third year I have been in the football elimination pool.  The first year I nearly won. The second year I was nearly the first person knocked out. This year I am hoping to be back with a vengence.  You have to know that I am not a big football fan.  I save my fandom for NASCAR yet clearly I stink at fantasy NASCAR. However- so far with football I am doing pretty good- yet I only casually watch…maybe if there is nothing else on. I have three teams that are “favorites” (just picked at random) two that are “anti-favorites” and the rest are just men running around after a ball.  Don’t even ask why I decided to take part in the elimination football pool….because honestly? I don’t know.  But so far I don’t have any dings against me.

Football won’t be taking over my love of NASCAR- ever. There is no danger to that.  And I am actually realy enjoying this NASCAR fantasy league much more than those dumb online ones….even though I stink at it.  Mostly I guess, I just really need to talk to my mom about not giving me football scores when I am intently watching a NASCAR race.  Believe it or not- exploded brains does not clean up easy out of the carpet.