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Ok…so there are a couple of what I consider “funny” outtakes from the whole champions week festivities that I wanted to share with you (ok after further looking over of my postie note about the “outtakes” post I guess two are outtakes, one is a random snippet of someone else’s conversation and one is something I want answered):

  • After all drivers had passed us on the red carpet into the roast, Jimmie being the last driver to meander by us and by the time he was pretty much out of earshot of us, my friend turned to me and said “Whatchya doing Jimmie?” (in the vain of the Lowe’s commercial)….to which I replied “Winning a championship Chad.” Now this in itself is NOT funny- its just something we occasionally do (snipe back and forth in commercial or movie dialogue snippets) but what WAS funny was that there was some guy on the red carpet right in front of us at the time, who thought we were pretty damn funny. I don’t know who he was but he was on the carpet wearing a credential of some sort…he looked like he wanted to interject something into our conversation…he even stopped right in front of us and chortled but didn’t actually say anything.
  • My BIGGEST faux pas of the entire weekend…and if you know me you know I am faux pas prone…also happened along the red carpet of the roast…but earlier.  I actually debated NOT telling you but then…what is the fun of that if I can’t make fun of myself right? So Denny Hamlin has just passed us on the red carpet…and by just past us I mean apparently he is like still two or three inches from me but I had shifted my attention to Mark Martin. So I catch sight of Mark Martin who is probably about fifteen feet or so down the red carpet to my right…which is the way I am facing and I say to my friend “He is so cute!” Meaning that Mark Martin is so cute because he is so little and friendly. And I mean both of those…he is like the tiniest man…but so so nice. Well my friend looks at me with like a horrified look on her face but says NOTHING to me.  So a little while later after the above bullet, I learn that Denny Hamlin was still right next to me and looked over at me thinking I was talking about him…and smiled. Thank goodness I didn’t realize this at the time or I probably would have either: A. Told Denny I was actually talking about Mark Martin…but really you’re not bad yourself, or B. Run off and hid behind something. Jury is still out on which I would have actually done.
  • The next incident happened at The Stewies. It had been awhile because we had already moved in towards the center of the balcony at least once or twice as we now had people on both sides of us. Ryan Newman was announced as the guest…and made his way down the golden staircase onto the stage, escorted by at least one, probably two lovely showgirls.  He takes his seat at the table with Stewart and Yokum, at which point the guy standing next us up in the balcony proclaims “That Ryan Newman, he’s a big boy! Jesus!” (but the Jesus is drawn out like…GEEEEEEEEEEEEZUZ)- we weren’t even sure if he was talking to us or just made the statement outloud to himself or what.  My friend just looks at me and I just shrug.  The day before I stood pretty much right in front of Ryan Newman…and what you need to know about me is I am on the short side- 5′ 4″ in shoes…and I didn’t think Ryan was overly tall or overly wide (unlike Mark Martin who was incredibly tiny)- especially where I felt the need to proclaim it in such a dramatic fashion! I guess you really kind of had to be there for this one to be funny….
  • And this last one…is more of just me wondering outloud (or in writing) kind of thing. Ok so at The Stewies when Ryan and Greg Biffle left the stage Tony was bidding them adieu and said something to Biffle like Don’t Get Into Too Much Trouble….or something like that. And then patted Ryan on the back and said “I know I don’t need to worry about you- you don’t gamble and you don’t drink…” I didn’t think anything too odd about it…I just carried on. Well then while watching the actual awards (from the comfort of my friend’s living room) Tony said something during his speech about Ryan getting him into trouble when they are together….ok if Ryan doesn’t drink or gamble…he must be kind of straight-laced kind of guy…so what kind of trouble can Ryan get Tony into?

Well that’s it in regards to Champion’s week. I had a  GREAT time.  I hope it stays in Vegas for awhile because I will go out of my way to be in town each year!

So as many of you know I left December first in my HHR for Vegas. My friend and I were SO excited about Champions week that even though I had just driven/ridden 1700 miles round trip two weeks ago for the Phoenix chase race I was READY! My drive to Vegas was problem free and my BFF and I spent the rest of the day hanging out and planning our week’s schedule.  It started on Wednesday at FanFest- which was being held at Las Vegas Motorspeedway.  In our excitement we got their a little early and sat in the car, parked in the infield of a mostly empty race track. It was actually kinda creepy feeling.

(more…)

How ironic is it that this race (HOMEstead Miami) is the last race of the year? I am sure that most of the drivers just want to go home at least for a little while. They have one of the most grueling schedules in sports. I think I would be ready to go home…

So Tony’s race started out pretty strong. He was in the top five, then the top three then poof he was leading the race. YEY! Pit stops and a change in the heat on the track had Tony drop back a little bit but still within the top ten when Montoya slid in front of Tony. Tony retaliated half a lap later by banging into the side of Montoya.  Unfortantely this caused fender damage to the 14 who had to pit to correct the tire rub.  Montoya sustained some damaged and they went into the garage area. When Montoya returned to the race 35 laps later or so he purposely bumped Tony and sent him spinning. NASCAR held Montoya for two laps. Tony ended up getting his lap back and fighting his way to a 22nd spot finish and ended up 6th in the points. 

Teammate Ryan Newman ended his season 9th in the points.  Did you know he hit the wall? Yeah I didn’t know either.  Thanks ESPN for mentioning that little factoid.

The Chase was won by Jimmie Johnson…which was a good thing because judging by the media coverage the last couple weeks I was pretty sure they had already engraved the trophy and stuff.  As much as I wanted Tony to win the chase, I still think Stewart Haas came out of the gate a lot stronger than anyone expected. I hope 2010 is their year for a championship.

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.