I have a love/hate relationship with the Daytona 500. As a long time NASCAR fan I appreciate the rich history of the track at Daytona, afterall NASCAR was born on the sandy beaches there. I love that modern Daytona 500 races retain some of the history by being the only races in the series to retain the tradition of qualifying races (the duels/twins). Hell I love Daytona for no other reason than it signals the beginning of my NASCAR season; when the “big boys” take to the pavement nearly every weekend from now until Thanksgiving- racing their hearts out, pushing themselves and their equipment to the maximum. I LOVE Daytona for the excitement and optimism of a new season…that this will be Tony Stewart’s year!
However, there are things I don’t like about Daytona. And they all hinge on the fact that I don’t like it when drivers have to rely on other drivers to get around the track and win a race. The kind of driving we see on the super speedways of Daytona and Talladega especially. That being said- I much more preferred the two-car break away drafting (I think some people have been calling it pod racing but that makes me think of Starwars) we saw this year. Cars would pair up and work around the track in little two car teams. I thought it made the racing far more exciting that they long train-style drafting of years past- where two really long trains of drafting cars would jockey back and forth around the track all day. That racing I did NOT like at all. At least the two-car breakaways made it more interesting.
Sure there were a lot of wrecks and spins and cautions but that is to be expected as this style of driving is new to the drivers. They need to learn what work sand what doesn’t work- and they only way to do this is to see how far they can push it. Afterall, isn’t that what racing is about; pushing until you can’t push any longer? You need to know how far you can go- and you can only find that threshold of too far by going over it a few times. Even experienced drivers like Tony Stewart where having occasional trouble with it. Tony said on his radio during the race “Will someone please tell me what I’m doing wrong that spins guys out?!”
Speaking of Tony Stewart, it was very very encouraging to me to see both Tony and teammate Ryan Newman both up towards the front of the pack at different points during the race. That’s definitely a marker towards a good season ahead. Tony drafted with several different drivers during the course of the 500 mile race but my favorite was when he was listening to him and Junior draft together. I enjoyed listening to them communicate directly back and forth with each other instead of playing a complicated game of telephone that includes two spotters like he had to do with other drivers he drafted with like Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. Tony also seemed to be able to talk directly to Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer so I think it was a Chevy driver thing. I just wish Tony hadn’t gotten shuffled back so far during the green/white/checker attempts as everyone jockied for dancing partners all day. Tony ended up finishing 13th and is currently 12th in series points with 31 points- which is 11 points behind points leader Carl Edwards.
Of course, the real story of the race is the win by 20 year old Trevor Bayne. They had been poking fun at Trevor during practice- about how he was always the first person out on pit road in the mornings. How he was an eager beaver sort of driver. How he sought out his idol- Jeff Gordon after driver intros then again after the parade lap. How he worked with his idol during the Gatorade Duels. He was obviously a quick study. That move at the end of the race- how he jumped down in front of Carl Edwards as they were coming to the checkered flag? That move was something you would see from a veteran driver. It was awesome to witness. Congratulations to Trevor- he’s one to keep your eye on. He will be going places I am sure of it. If you didn’t see Misty’s post on Trevor’s win- it’s a great read: Fresh Bread, not Sliced Bread, is Good for NASCAR.
NOTES ABOUT DAYTONA:
Congratulations go out again to Tony Stewart for winning his 4th Daytona Nationwide victory in a row (not to mention he’s won 6 of the last 7 nationwide races). I LOVED the oreo paint scheme. I think it was great! You can find the diecast to pre-order available here.
Okay…I SQUEALED when I saw the Transformers NASCAR cars on the warm up laps. Those things look AMAZINGLY COOL! I hope they have them at LVMS when I go- I want to see those things up close.
Well greetings out there to all my readers!!! It’s that time of year isn’t it? The time when going to the mall makes one crazy because there is no parking and the weather is crappy and there are people everywhere and stores are sold out of what you want and really all you want to do is “wad up some cash and throw it at people” (direct quote from Misty) instead of trying to find gifts…but somehow think that my 3 year old and 9 month old nephews wouldn’t really go for the wadded up cash approach. Maybe that’s just me (and Misty). Anyway- if you have a Stewart-Haas Racing fan, a Tony Stewart fan, a Ryan Newman fan, or a NASCAR fan on your list here are some gift suggestions for this year:
1. For Stewart-Haas Racing fans (in particular Tony Stewart fans) I highly suggest the new Office Depot Racing 2011 calendar:
I present to you the cover of the 2011 Tony Stewart calendar. (photo credit: Edelman)
I mean who can resist 12 full months of Tony Stewart (and crew). It’s available at most (but not all) Office Depot locations as well as ONLINE.
2. Office Depot is again this holiday season selling their Teddy B. Caring bears (as seen here with Tony Stewart):
Tony Stewart and Teddy B. Caring have a meeting. (Photo Credit: Edelman)
Proceeds from the bear go to The Office Depot Foundation which has many programs throughout the year for children and families, including the ever popular National Backpack Program which supplies new backpacks and book bags filled with school supplies to children in need. It’s a program that Tony Stewart himself has worked with for two years now helping the foundation hand out the backpacks and book bags to children and service organizations. Tony says, “It’s amazing to see the look on a child’s face when they receive a new backpack and are able to head back to school with an extra boost of confidence. Every child deserves that, and I would like to encourage everyone to consider giving a Teddy B. Caring bear as a gift this holiday season in support of the great work the Office Depot Foundation does all year long.” The bear is a 16 inch GUND bear available at Office Depot. Or you can also pick up a smaller version that is an ornament/ gift card holder.
3. You can make a donation to the Ryan Newman Foundation or Tony Stewart Foundation on behalf of your fan. Both drivers are heavily involved in giving back. The Ryan Newman Foundation focuses it’s efforts on getting the message out there to Spay and Neuter pets- to help prevent overpopulation, urges pet seekers to get their pets from shelters or rescues. They also heavily support conservation efforts to perserve the great outdoors for future generations AND support the Rich Vogler Scholarship program for youth interested in careers in auto racing. The Tony Stewart Foundation‘s mission services children with life-threatening illnesses, abused and endangered animals and injured drivers. I have had the pleasure in our interviews with Tony of talking to him about his foundation and it’s amazing to watch his countenance change when he starts talking about children and animals especially.
5. And I have to bring up my favorite NASCAR book that I have read so far this year…and that is The Weekend Starts On Wednesday. The book is an ode to and of NASCAR Fans. It’s a great read that most any NASCAR fan will enjoy. I have read it and it truly makes me proud to be a NASCAR fan. The author is witty and the book is extremely well written. I highly recommend it!
Tony Stewart, owner/driver of the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Office Depot Chevrolet and teammate Ryan Newman spent time with Office Depot employees at headquarters in Boca Raton Florida, thanking them for their hard work and celebrating the sponsorship relationship the drivers have with Office Depot.
Stewart and Newman took part in a Q&A session, hosted by SpeedTV Broadcaster John Roberts:
Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman address Office Depot employees at headquarters in Florida. Photo Credit: Edelman
The pair even presented Office Depot with an autographed hood:
John Roberts Hosts Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman at Office Depot Headquarters. Photo Credit: Edelman
The duo then autographed items for the employees taking part in the celebration:
Tony Stewart signs autograph for Office Depot employees at the sponsor's headquarters. Photo Credit: Edelman
And…ok sure…another gratutious picture- Tony answers questions from the media while teammate Ryan Newman looks on. The photographer in me LOVES this picture…because Stewart is in the front but Newman is there in the background….it’s a great picture:
Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman address the media at the Office Depot Staff event. Photo Credit: Edelman
Office Depot employees were also visited by Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo and an autograph session with author Andrew Giangola who was on hand signing copies of his book THE WEEKEND STARTS ON WEDNESDAY for employees (If you haven’t read Andrew’s book you should pick up a copy NOW! It really is a good read and makes me proud to be a NASCAR fan!) I wish my department at work would have Tony and Ryan come to one of OUR all-hands meetings. Hee.
It’s no secret that Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart are not only avid outdoors men but love casting a line when given the opportunity. Being the fairly competitive people I can only believe they are since they race cars for a living, can you imagine what you get when you throw the both of them in a lake for a charity fishing competition. That is exactly what both drivers were doing yesterday- they were fishing for charity at Lake Okeechobee in Florida for the Office Depot Foundation Charity Fishing Tournament.
Tony Stewart and His Fish!- 2010 Office Depot Foundation Charity Fishing Tournament. Photo Credit: Gort Productions
Doesn’t it look like Tony was having a GREAT time? Sounds like he did:
“I had a great time fishing and all for a great cause,” Stewart said. “I’ve had a chance to work with the Office Depot Foundation on its National Backpack Program for the past two years, and it’s one of the most rewarding things I do. The National Backpack Program makes a real difference in the lives of kids who might not otherwise be able to go back to school with the tools they need to succeed. It’s pretty amazing to see their faces light up when they get a new backpack.”
The money raised from the tournament will be used to support the Office Depot Foundation’s mission to support the quality of life for children, strengthen communities, encourage economic growth and empower schools and non-profit organizations.
So…the race at Dover was NOT what a Tony Stewart fan wanted to see. Between an ill handle on the car (at one point Stewart described it as plowing) and a detrimental speeding penalty on pit road at lap 115, Tony and the Office Depot Old Spice Chevy did NOT have the best of races. As a fan it was really hard to watch the team struggle so much. What made it even worse? Only one Chase driver finished lower than Stewart- and that was Clint Bowyer. Tony finished 21st and maintains his position in the standings. He is currently 10th, 162 points behind leader Denny Hamlin. Race winner for Dover was Jimmie Johnson.
However, while Tony is down right now, he is not OUT by any means…now for some pictures from the race at Dover, most provided to me by Glenn Bure of AI press:
Tony on track at Dover. Photo Courtesy of Glenn Bure, AI Press
Tony backstage at PreRace Ceremonies. Photo Courtesy of Glenn Bure, AI Press
Tony during PreRace ceremonies at Dover. Photo Courtesy of Glenn Bure, AI Press
Tony and fellow driver (is that JJ Yeley?) share a lighthearted moment in Dover. Photo Courtesy of Glenn Bure, AI Press
Now this picture I included because WTH is going on in the background? Is that guy taking a nap? Photo courtesy of Glenn Bure, AI Press
This is one of those pictures where you just wish you were privy to the conversation...because what the heck is going on? (Photo blatantly borrowed from tonystewart.com media gallery)
As for the Office Depot Official Small Business of NASCAR contest. The winner was Mike Pagano who was riding on Greg Biffle’s car. Congratulations Mike on becoming the Official Small Business of NASCAR.
Well that’s it for this race.
The standings post might be a day late or so…waiting on the appeal for Clint Bowyer. Also- while yes I heard about the Harvick vs Hamlin shenanigans I can’t really comment on them because I didn’t really see or hear much about it because I basically had my head in the sand on Saturday.
Well I don’t have much to day about the race from Saturday evening. Tony qualified 15th for the race at Richmond. His car seemed to start off really strong as he managed to work his way up to third at one point. Then he just started falling back further and further. Unfortunately I was not listening to his radio communications and I am unsure as to why he had this drop…I assume it was poor handling that they were chasing.
Tony finished 16th, one lap down to race winner Denny Hamlin. However- it doesn’t really matter because Richmond was the last race of the “regular” season for NASCAR. Now it get’s stressful for us fans. Now it’s the playoffs.
Tony is seeded 6th in the Chase fifty points behind chase leader Denny Hamlin.
Notes About Richmond:
I was surprised that since the Richmond race fell on Patriot’s day this year that there wasn’t more patriot paint schemes ran. I think I saw maybe two (Jeff Gordon and Kevin Conway). I don’t count Ryan Newman’s Army paint scheme- as it was the usual Army paint scheme he runs…but if you want to count it-that is 3.
I was saddened to hear that Tony Stewart’s grandfather passed away the morning of the race. I was dismayed when one of the journalists (Lee Spencer) asked Tony to “reflect” on it at the post race presser all the chase drivers went through. DISMAYED. Why don’t you rub some more salt into that wound there? Tony handled the question with the utmost professionalism…but still I am dismayed it was even brought up. (Still shaking my head at that one).
The Chase begins Sunday September 19th at Louden, NH. GO TONY GO!
I will be the first to admit that I was frustrated with the end result of the race at Michigan on Sunday. On the one hand it was GREAT to see the #14 car out there running in the front and leading a nice slug of laps (I think Tony lead a total of 36 laps or something like that). It was encouraging and GREAT. What was disheartening was the the debris caution…and watching everyone pit but Tony and Kevin Harvick. Tony must have thought so too because he came on the radio and said “We’re in big trouble here” to which Darian Grubb tried to be the cheerleader and tell Tony it would be ok. Unfortunately though he started falling back and finished 6th. Another GREAT top ten finish- BUT it was sad to see him running so strong but then fall off like that. However, what made it a little sweeter? Was that Tony did advance FOUR spots in the race for the chase and is now fourth in the points standings. That does make ME feel a little better.
BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 14: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot / Old Spice Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 14, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 13: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, climbs out of his car after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 13, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 15: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, rounds turn four ahead of Kevin Harvick, driver of the Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Notes about Michigan:
The Ryan Newman/Joey Logano dust up…my take? It was one of those racing deals. I don’t think Joey intentionally got into Ryan- he looked really loose to me. They are out there to RACE and I don’t think that either one wanted to give in to the other- and you know what? That is RACING. I think that Ryan has some frustrations that he took out on Joey after the race. He is only human. Do I think that either of them should get fined? No. I think that they should call it good and let it go. Now if we get to Bristol or something and there is some retaliation ON TRACK? Then we can talk about NASCAR getting involved.
By far the best tweet of the race? Was right after Ryan spun from that aforementioned contact with Joey Logano when she said ” Thanks Joey Lagano….maybe I should go put my firesuit on!” (@KrissieNewman).
Race winner was Kevin Harvick and he also locked his position in the chase. Congratulations Kevin.
Bonus Caption Photo will be coming. I found a great one but I am waiting for permission to use it.
Ok so I have made it no secret that there is something I just don’t like about races at Pocono. I have NEVER actually been to the track so it’s all based on TV coverage but I have always called Pocono the “evil little triangle” but it should be renamed the “evil big triangle”. Either way…I don’t like to watch Pocono and I think it is because I don’t like things that aren’t symmetrical and Pocono is definitely not symmetrical with it’s three turns and they are all different banking. Yes I know that’s an odd thing to say – but what can I say- they say that humans are generally drawn to symmetry so…I am just human I guess.
So the best news from Friday? Tony go the pole at Pocono! I was at work during qualifying so I didn’t get to watch it…and honestly? I hadn’t even really paid attention to when qualifying was. I went to NASCAR.COM to see if qualifying was over and it wasn’t- but Tony had the pole! WhooHoo! I might have even said that out loud. Ok I did…and I clapped. But I was alone upstairs in my office and I don’t think anyone heard…but so what if they did.
LONG POND, PA - JULY 30: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, poses after qualifying on the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
I have to share this picture of the race because I think it’s an awesome picture of Tony coming over the stripe first and shows just how close Jeff Gordon was to Tony. Jeff proceeded to push Tony to the lead and the two of them took off like gang busters for the first lap or so.
LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 01: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, and Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the Target Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
After the first couple of laps Tony faded back a bit as he struggled with the handling of his car.
LONG POND, PA - JULY 30: Tony Stewart (L), driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Darian Grubb in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
He then proceeded to spend most of the first half of the race in 7th. He would go into the pits in 7th and come out in 7th- which meant that the Office Depot pit crew was definitely on the ball. But the race at this point was one really long green flag run (there was a competition caution at lap 15 because of the rain delay in the morning) and honestly except during pit stops (which fascinate me)- it was a little boring to watch on the TV. I did entertain myself during the race by texting Misty and doing my photography assignment- but I admit it was a little boring…and starting to seem excessively long. After about the halfway point the track started to change because of the sun coming out…so whole most other cars were suddenly loose- Tony’s car seemed to come into itself and Tony worked his way up to sixth…then fifth.
LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 01: Tony Stewart, driver of the Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Then there was a horrendous crash that had both Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler in to the infield wall hard. Kurt lucked out in that his car slammed into SAFER barrier- but Elliott’s car missed the barrier and slammed hard into a wall backed by a solid dirt embankment. It was a hard hit by both drivers- unfortunately Elliott’s crash was not caught by any of the camera angles that ESPN had….except for one where you can just see a wee little bit of the hit into the embankment. It was hard. Then there was the aftermath where all you could see was Elliott’s car in multiple pieces- the engine had become completely dislodged from the chassis. Then Elliot is hanging out of the car half in and half out looking pained….at which time he gets out and lays down next to the car right on the track. Disturbing? Hell yes. But at least he was awake.
Sadler’s car on the wrecker after the wreck:
LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 01: The wrecked Air Force Ford, driven by Elliott Sadler, gets towed through the garage area after he hit the wall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Sadler’s engine on a separate wrecker:
LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 01: The engine of the Air Force Ford, driven by Elliott Sadler, gets towed through the garage area after he hit the wall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Then comes a rather lengthy red flag for clean up and all the cars are stopped on the track. I was listening to Tony’s scanner on NASCAR.COM but he was pretty quiet during the red flag (something they even mentioned during the national broadcast- so I wasn’t the only one who noticed it!).* They get the clean up done and the cars are rolling and then…it starts to rain. So they throw the red again and bring the cars down pit road and park them there. Tony was more animated on the radio while parked on pit road…and I will talk about that in the notes.
They get the track dried and at this point I – to me it feels like the longest race ever in the history of man. I am sure it’s not but it certainly felt that way to me.
Darian called Tony in for a 4 tire stop. I was freaked out because there were a WHOLE SLEW of cars that came out in front of him in the pits- but turns out? Those cars where 2 tire or no tire stops (NO tires? Are you nuts?) Darian’s call was for “four tires and to haul ass!” Obviously I liked it so much I made it the subtitle of this entry. Tony did end up coming out of the pits as the first car on 4 tires so between having the first pit stall and having the Office Depot pit crew on their toes they did good.
Then the racing got really good! Tony was passing people two at a time for awhile there…he restarted 11th I think (am doing this without notes so pardon my memory) and was up to like fifth in what seemed like three or four laps. Meanwhile? Greg Biffle was pulling away! Tony then got caught up fighting Sam Hornish and Carl Edwards for position…by 10 laps to go Tony was up to 2nd and trying to reel in The Biff…and it wasn’t for a lack of effort-as Tony had put some distance between him and third- but there was just no catching the Biff. With his hard fought second place finish, Tony gained a position in the points standings and is now EIGHTH in the standings.
Notes from Pocono:
On Saturday I accidentally watched the Camping World Truck race at Pocono. Apparently it was the first time the trucks had run there and honestly? It was a GREAT race. Of course it was only 50 laps. So was the ARCA race. It wasn’t as good as the truck race but it was still pretty good. How do you accidentally watch the race? Well it was on and I was in front of a TV…but I wasn’t purposely tuned in. Congrats to Elliott Sadler for winning it for Kevin Harvick Inc.! His son Wyatt? A-freaking-dorable!
It’s my opinion that this race is entirely too long. When I am more entertained by doing things like texting and submitting my assignments for my photography class that I am taking in the middle of the race? It’s TOO LONG! And I thought this BEFORE the red flag for the accident/rain. Me thinks that either: Pocono’s race needs to be shorter or they don’t need a second race. Just my thoughts there.
*Ok- I am going to get a little crude here so if you are easily offended by crude-ish talk- avert your eyes or skip this bullet and go down to the the next one. So during the first part of the red flag- right after they asked Darian why Tony seemed so quiet in the car during the red flag (to which Darian replied- “he’s probably taking a nap- resting up” for the rest of the race) it was time to fire the engines and start rolling. Darian called Tony on the radio and asked him if he was awake. Tony replied that he was and that we was “just sweating my nuts off” in the car. AFTER THE RACE, I was relaying this to my father because I found it chuckle worthy to which my dad said to me: “Well you KNOW what that means don’t you?” wait for it…”It means it was DAMN hot in the car!” Um I think I might have figured this out. I am just saying…
Another Tony radio gem was when they were waiting for SPRINKLES on the track to cease and they were sitting on pit road and he asked Darian if they would be allowed to get out of the car for five minutes because the had been in the car for over 4 hours at this point and “Some of us aren’t 21 years old anymore and might need to take a leak.” And then there was the time also while on pit road he became all boss-like and got on his radio and stated that someone needed to tell one of the 39 crew members that he should NOT be on pit road without a hat on. They all laughed that up pretty good too.
Apparently long race equals long post…
Also from earlier in the weekend? Stewart-Haas teammate Ryan Newman helped Pocono flip the switch on the new solar farm next to the track that will power both the track and nearby homes- helping erase the carbon footprint of the race. Here is the video from that: