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Well folks, here we are- the CHASE is on.  Who will win? Well you all know I want Tony to win of course and Ryan Newman to be a very close second.  I also want the chase to be close this year- I want it to come down to at least Phoenix- but Homestead would be better.  I want it close and fast and fun!

I wish I had caught qualifying or happened to actually dvr it. Tony qualified 2nd- which is a totally awesome qualifying effort for him. I was totally stoked when I saw that he had qualified that well.

I had forgotten how stressful it can be to watch a chase race….Where is my driver? Who’s in front of my driver? Who’s behind my driver.  Wait is that my driver blowing up…no just Kasey Kahne, I can relax.  It’s stressful. I can say this…Tony’s car seemed pretty good for the most part.  He led some laps. The pit crew seemed to struggle a little bit- but we are talking tenths of a second differences between his pit stops and those of the then leader Juan Pablo Montoya.

Then something went wrong- a loose axle cap.  The team came in the next round of pit stops and fixed it but of course it ate up a bunch of spots. Luckily though, they didn’t get a lap down and thanks to Tony driving past people and a two tire stop Tony was able to make his way up to 14th position before the end of the race (under a yellow/checker because of an accident by AJ Allmendinger at the start finish line).

Overall the race could have went a lot better- however it could have been a lot worse…

After CHASE RACE ONE Tony Stewart is in 6th position in the chase, 74 points behind Chase leader Mark Martin, who won the race at Louden. Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman finished seventh at the race and climbed to 7th in the chase standings.

So am I the only one who has noticed that there is a fairly “new” trend in naming the pit crews? I like it. I think it gives the pit crew’s personality! The first moniker for a pit crew i heard was for Matt Kenseth’s KILLER BEES. Fitting. They usually are (were) wearing yellow and black. Bees are fast and sting and I tend to avoid them since I am afraid of them. Then just this year Biffle and 3M held a contest to name his pit crew. They came up with The Pit Bulls. Another fitting one…but I think it would also work for any of Red Bull driver’s crews…

My favorite however, has to be one I just learned about today…and that is the Home Depot team. They apparently are marketing themselves as Logano’s Paisanos. I don’t know why but I LOVE IT. They even have themselves an AWESOME shirt (click on shirt to go to ordering site it Joegibbsracing.com):

I mean what’s not to love? The name even rhymes.  Personally I think the shirt is freaking awesome!!!

However I think Tony’s pit crew needs a name- mostly because I am TIRED of typing TEAM Office Depot/Old Spice over and over.  It’s tiring frankly and I don’t like slashes.  I can NOT think of a good name for them to save my life.  NOR can I think of a good for any team…(I think Kyle’s team needs a name too).  I kinda came up with a name for Ryan’s pit crew…but it’s kinda lame.  So …any ideas people? I know you are a creative bunch…give it to me.

(By the way- my name for Ryan’s pit crew? Newman’s Soldiers? I told you it was kinda lame.)

I like to watch Bristol.  It and Martinsville are my two favorite tracks.  But it really sucks to watch when your driver is doing not so good.  I was so glad that Kyle Busch won that race. I know I am a Tony fan-but I will tell you that I would rather Kyle Busch win over Mark Martin.  Not only because I don’t want Mark Martin that far in front of Tony when the chase starts, but I would really like Kyle to make the chase.

That being said…Team Old Spice/Office Depot had a terrible run of it didn’t they? This seemed to be the race where if it could go wrong? It did go wrong. Weird things. Like radio problems. Electrical issues.  I mean how many radios did they give him? Two? Three? What I want to know is why didn’t they just bring Tony in and have him put on a different helmet. They had one there. I realize it would have taken some time to undo his helmet and slap another on but I think it might have been better for him in the long run because Darian would have been able to compensate better for the ill-handling car. Did he ever have communication with his guys without having to pantomime or play telephone with Ryan Newman?

Speaking of Ryan Newman- I was glad to see him have a good strong run. I wish it could have been a little stronger.  But it was good for him.   Teammate finished 6th and moved up two positions to 7th  in the standings. Tony’s troubles had him finishing 33rd. He maintains his points lead and as of the Michigan race is locked into the chase.

Notes About Bristol:

  • I have to admit that at the beginning of the race when they kept talking about Tony’s radio problems this kept running through my head: “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate…” I think it’s from Cool Hand Luke, not sure because I have never seen Cool Hand Luke…but it is in front of the song Civil War by Guns N Roses.
  • To whoever decided it was a good idea to paint Clint Bowyer’s car red with black trim for this night race. You made it extremely hard for me to pick out Tony’s car because I kept seeing yours and thinking it was Tony’s because it was the same color and had a black wing. Please do not do that again.
  • I felt bad after the race when they tried to interview Clint Bowyer. I believe I even said “Can’t you just leave him alone? He’s obviously upset.”
  • I have to say that I think it was INCREDIBLY sweet of Kyle Busch to give the checkered flag to a fan! That was so neat!

Next weekend we are off but Nationwide goes north of the border to Montreal.

I probably should have picked a different title because I am sure that some NASCAR fans are going to think this entry is about Chad Knaus running Jimmie Johnson out of fuel at Michigan last weekend.  I am not going to go into that. This is about this coming weekend: Bristol Motor Speedway is doing something a little different this Saturday night. When the cup drivers take to the stage before the race for driver introductions, each driver will enter the stage to approximately 30 seconds of a song snippet from a song of their choosing.  As you would probably expect there is a wide variety of songs- however- it would seem that apparently AC/DC is a favorite as five drivers picked three different AC/DC songs:

Mark Martin will be entering to “For Those About To Rock”

Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and David Ragan all picked “Thunderstruck”

and Jamie McMurray picked “Shook Me All Night Long”

Now I like AC/DC quite a bit. When I drove Doris (the black RAV) my favorite song to pull up in front of home was BACK IN BLACK because– I was back and the car was black, so it just kind of fit.  It also helped that BACK IN BLACK was my favorite of the AC/DC albums so it was often in my car.

There are choices all over the musical spectrum from Elvis Presley (Clint Bowyer picked “C.C. Rider”) to Jerry Reed (Joey Logano picked “Eastbound and Down”) and The Rolling Stones (“Start Me Up” was picked by Jeff Gordon).  I will say, and I don’t know WHY, I am surprised that Jeff Burton decided to walk onstage to Guns N Roses classic “Welcome to the Jungle”.

I have to say that the Stewart-Haas boys picked some awesome songs! Ryan Newman picked Big & Rich’s “Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy” which I absolutely LOVE! Tony picked to walk onstage with “Bawitdaba” by Kid Rock (David Stemme also picked this song).  While I admit I am not a huge Kid Rock fan he does have about three songs I love…and that is the top one. Both I think are excellent choices.

Which leads me to…what if I were being introduced and needed a song snippet. What would I personally pick. I have pretty wide, varied tastes in music that usually depends highly on my mood.  Some days I might be on a country kick and listening to the likes of Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Blake Shelton, Diamond Rio, Big & Rich and others. Other days it could be hair metal favorites like Cinderella, Poison, Slaughter and Dokken. Then again it could be a bad day when I want to hear nothing but the “hard stuff” like Disturbed, White Zombie, and Metallica.  Then of course there are my broadway show days (wicked, les mis, mamma mia), classic rock days (Heart, Zep, Sabbath) or my “whatever the heck Mr. IPOD SHUFFLE DJ picks for me” days.

Honestly it would probably depend on my mood:

If I were in a rockin’ mood I would probably pick “Fuel” by Metallica.  (Sing it with me now..”Gimme Fuel, Gimme Fire….”)

If I were in a more country state of mind- I would probably go with Toby Keith’s “How Do You Like Me Now?”

What about you? What would you pick for yourself? Or for me? Talk to me people- I know you are out there!

Michigan was NOT the race for my boys at Stewart-Haas Racing this week was it?  I mean it was bound to happen sooner or later- that Team Office Depot/Old Spice would have an off day- and that is exactly what happened. I mean it could have been a lot better. But it could have been a lot worse…(like Bobby Labonte for instance- who broke on lap 2 and never came back- thus securing himself a last place finish!).  While I watched the race, I am so use to Tony being a hot pass driver that I couldn’t hear what was going on with him but he was definitely struggling all day.  He didn’t qualify very well (18th).  At the beginning of the race he just didn’t seem to be able to come up through the field past 11 or 12th. Like he was stuck there.

Then the crew did a wicked cool two tire pitstop around lap 117.  I was honestly puzzled why they choose to do a two tire stop but it DID put Tony out in front (Tony was apparently puzzled too because ESPN played a snippet of him asking Darian “Now can you explain to me why we just did that?” and Darian explained to him that it was purely for track position).  Unfortunately the track position didn’t last long as Tony then began to fall further and further backwards in the pack.  He finished a dismal 18th, but not only retained his position as points leader, he also clinched a spot in the chase. GO TONY. Ryan Newman finished 15th and remained 9th in the points.  Brian Vickers was the race winner.

Notes about Michigan:

  • According to the official Stewart-Haas Racing race report they found out after the race was over that Tony’s car “had a spring that was out of its bucket” which I assumed is what caused a whole mess of handling issues (first he was tight and then he was loose).  What exactly that means I am not sure…sounds like a doohickey come out of a thingamabob to me.
  • When they threw that caution for rain at lap 7 and then the red flag? I was about ready to go outside, look up at the sky and shake my fists whilst yelling WHY??? WHY MUST YOU RUIN RACE DAY YOU INSIPID B*$#@? but worry not…I didn’t have to curse anyone- real or imaginary and the race continued on as normal not twenty minutes later.  Of course that doesn’t mean I didn’t curse during the race. I certainly did.  But I didn’t feel the need to go outside to do it.
  • Speaking of the brief rain delay- I loved all they drivers talking smack about how meteorologists are never right and they wish they could have a job that easy. That cracked me up!
  • Remember that those wanting to watch the rescheduled Prelude to the Dream- that will be run on Wednesday September 9ths at 7pm eastern (4pm pacific).
  • If you are going to be at Autoclub Speedway for the Pepsi 500 on October 11th, Stewart-Haas’s own Ryan Newman will be on the Opportunity California Fan Zone stage for a “story time” reading activity for children.

Next Weekend: Short track Saturday Night as Nascar moves to BRISTOL, TN!

Ok NASCAR seriously…what are the chances that Tony will NOT start the race this weekend in Michigan (and thus clinch his position in the Chase). All the man has to do is START the race. What are the chances of that not happening? I am not that great in math but I figure that it’s a pretty long shot that he will not start the race this weekend.

I mean what would have to go wrong mechanically on that car where he could NOT start the race thus scoring 0 points for the race.  I can’t even fathom it.  Is the car going to spontaneously combust in the hauler (thus taking with it the backup car)? Even IF that happened…I think they could still probably manage a quick rewrap of Ryan Newman’s backup car so that Tony could race. So we can pretty much rule out a mechanical issue preventing him from getting scored 0 points.

Of course there is always illness….however many Tony fans probably remember last year during the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona that Tony started the race despite suffering from “flu-like symptoms” and was able to drive 72 laps (he was then relieved by driver J.J. Yeley).  So he technically would probably be ok there cuz I think he just has to run one or two laps himself…even if he just putted around the back of the field he could probably do it for a lap or two.  And knowing that Tony is a competitive driver I am pretty sure that he would pretty much have to be SERIOUSLY ill to not make the race at all (knock on fake wood /laminate desktop that this will NOT be the case).

I am also pretty sure that even if something happened and for some unbeknownst reason all the 14 and 39 cars stopped functioning, someone else would loan tony a back up car.

I mean I could go on and on and on here…but I am pretty sure it’s good.  Because even if he wasn’t scored for ANY points….and the most points you can get is like 185 right? He has a 260 point lead over second…that he would be retaining the points lead. So….the point is moot anyway…because he would at the very WORST possible scenario still have the points lead.

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!

This weekend had me watching the race at THE NASCAR CAFE in Las Vegas with my BFF.  This is the second race I would have watched there and let me tell you this: the NASCAR CAFE has changed a lot in less than a year…and it’s not for the better.  First off they changed the menu drastically. Secondly- they closed the top part of the restaurant…which was always my favorite place to sit. Now you have to sit downstairs by the bar- that sucks too.  And lastly? They have stopped doing the thing where you pay a ten dollar cover and get free cola and are entered in a drawing.

Also? They have this huge burrito. I mean I think I heard it has 27000 calories (no that isn’t a mistake).  And if you can eat it all- it’s free.  Well each time a person decided to try it…they interrupt the race for it…and march it around the bar. Um NO! We were there to watch the race. Not watch a burrito parade.

Anyway- I was glad to see Tony not only qualified in the top ten but that he was able to remain in the top ten through most of the race. I was glad to see him pass Biffle late in the race to take over third. He retained his points lead over a new second place – Jimmie Johnson.  Teammate Ryan Newman finished 14th retaining his 7th position in the overall points standing.

  • One of the things I love about the racing at Indy is the pageantry.  It’s much like Daytona that way.  I think ESPN did a great job by incorporating the driver intros into the broadcast.
  • In my rush to get to Vegas on Thursday I didn’t think to DVR the Stewart HotPass channel. Urg.
  • Interesting Observation One: While at the cafe, when Junior blew an engine? The whole place errupted in CHEERS! I was shocked- normally there would be a collective AWWW MAN or something but not cheers for Juniors misfortune.  I was not shocked however, when the place erupted into cheers when Kyle Busch crashed.
  • Interesting Observation two: Conversation heard at the table behind us during the last five laps of the race: Friend One: GO JJ GO! Friend Two: Who’s in the 5 car? Friend One: Uh I dunno some guy. Of course this was right before Friend Two referred to Jimmie Johnson as junior. I am not sure if they were just not really NASCAR fans or if they were drunk…in Vegas it could be either.
  • Ok…I have been saying for a long time that I didn’t get the “She’s From Russia” version of the Tony Stewart/ Old Spice commercial.  I REALLY don’t get the talking with food in his mouth commercial.  It’s rather gross.

Next weekend we are back at that evil little triangle track Pocono already. Tony won there last race…can he do it agan?